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PORTSIDE  September 2010, Week 4

PORTSIDE September 2010, Week 4

Subject:

Activists denounce FBI raids on antiwar and solidarity activists' homes

From:

Portside Moderator <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 27 Sep 2010 21:49:32 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (312 lines)

Activists denounce FBI raids on antiwar and solidarity
activists' homes

Subpoenas, Searches, and FBI visits carried out in
cities across the country

By Fight Back! staff

http://links.org.au/node/190

September 24, 2010 -- We denounce the Federal Bureau of
Investigation (FBI) harassment of anti-war and
solidarity activists in several states across the
country. The FBI began turning over six houses in
Chicago and Minneapolis this morning, Friday, September
24, 2010, at 8 am central time. The FBI handed
subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to
about a dozen activists in Illinois, Minnesota and
Michigan. They also attempted to intimidate activists
in California and North Carolina.

"The government hopes to use a grand jury to frame up
activists. The goal of these raids is to harass and try
to intimidate the movement against U.S. wars and
occupations, and those who oppose US support for
repressive regimes", said Colombia solidarity activist
Tom Burke, one of those handed a subpoena by the FBI.
"They are designed to suppress dissent and free speech,
to divide the peace movement, and to pave the way for
more US military intervention in the Middle East and
Latin America."

This suppression of democratic rights is aimed towards
those who dedicate much of their time and energy to
supporting the struggles of the Palestinian and
Colombian peoples against US-funded occupation and war.
The activists are involved with well-known antiwar
groups including many of the leaders of the huge
protest against the Republican National Convention in
St. Paul, Minnesota (MN), in September 2008. The FBI
agents emphasised that the grand jury was going to
investigate the activists for possible terrorism
charges. This is a US government attempt to silence
those who support resistance to oppression in the
Middle East and Latin America.

The activists involved have done nothing wrong and are
refusing to be pulled into conversations with the FBI
about their political views or organising against war
and occupation. The activists are involved with many
groups, including the Palestine Solidarity Group,
Students for a Democratic Society, the Twin-Cities
Anti-War Committee, the Colombia Action Network, the
Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the National
Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera (a Colombian
political prisoner).

Steff Yorek, a long-time antiwar activist and one of
the activists whose homes was searched, called the
raids "an outrageous fishing expedition".

We urge all progressive activists to show solidarity
with those individuals targeted by the US government.
Activists have the right not to speak with the FBI and
are encouraged to politely refuse, just say "No".

Please contact [log in to unmask] or
[log in to unmask] if you would like to provide
support to the targeted activists. At least four houses
in Minneapolis raided, other houses in Michigan, NC,
Chicago targeted

September 24, 2020 -- Update -- At least four known
houses were raided this morning including another
location at Stevens Square. There were also at least
two subpoenas served on activists. Keep on alert! Know
your rights! Don't talk to the FBI!

On Friday morning, three houses in the Minneapolis area
are believed to have been raided by SWAT teams. While
we have few details right now, the FBI appears to be
targeting people associated with the Freedom Road
Socialist Organization. Besides the raids in
Minneapolis, houses in Michigan, North Carolina and
Chicago were also targeted.

Raids occurred at 1823 Riverside, above the Hard Times
Cafe, and the 2900 block of Park Ave. One other raid is
reported, as well. Outside Hard Times Cafe, three
unmarked black SUVs (one with an Illinois license
plate) sat in the parking area as of 10am, when a
lawyer observed 8 FBI agents sitting in the residence
examining materials. Otherwise the scene was calm.

Agents had broken in the door there at 7am Friday
morning, breaking an aquarium in the process.

The federal search warrants appear to be focusing on
seizing electronic devices, international travel and
allegeing "co-conspirators". They do not authorise
arrests.

The search warrant for 1823 Riverside, the residence of
activist Mick Kelly, sought information "regarding
ability to pay for his own travel" to Palestine and
Colombia from 2000 to today. The warrant hyped
potential documents indicating any
contacts/facilitation with the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (FARC), Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Lebanon' s Hezbollah
-- what it called "FTOs" or "foreign terrorist
organizations". It mentioned seeking information on the
alleged "facilitation of other individuals in the US to
travel to Colombia, Palestine and any other foreign
location in support of foreign terrorist organizations
including but not limited to FARC, PFLP and Hezbollah".

The wording of the warrant appears to indicate the
government seeks to create divisions among social
justice and international soldarity activists by hyping
alleged connections to what they call "foreign
terrorist organizations."

The warant also sought information on "Kelly's travel
to and from and presence in MN, and other foreign
countries [sic] to which Kelly has tavelled as part of
his work in FRSO [Freedom Road Socialist
Organization]", as well as materials related to his
finances and the finances of FRSO, and all computer and
electronic devices.

The federal warrant was signed by Judge Susan Nelson at
3:30pm , September 23. FBI raids: What you can do

By Lynn Koh for War Times/Tiempo de Guerras

September 26, 2010 -- By now, most War Times/Tiempo de
Guerras readers have heard about the September 24 FBI
raids on peace activists' homes in Minneapolis and
Chicago, and at the Minneapolis office of the Twin
Cities Anti-war Committee. We add our voices to the
rest of the progressive movement, and all those who
value democracy, in denouncing these raids. We believe
that the peace movement must support the folks who have
been targeted for their antiwar work.

Plans for solidarity demonstrations are developing
quickly. The Anti-War Committee has called for a
demonstration at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, September 27,
2010, at the Minneapolis offices of the FBI, 111
Washington Street, South. Click here for more
information.

We encourage War Times readers to call US Attorney
General Eric Holder at 202-353-1555 and to send emails
to the Department of Justice at [log in to unmask] Ask
Attorney General Holder to put an end to the FBI's
attacks on peace activists.

What do we know about these raids?

On Friday, September 24, the FBI raided at least six
homes in Chicago and Minneapolis, with the explanation
that peace activists were providing "material support
to foreign terrorist organizations", namely the FARC in
Colombia, the Peoples Front for the Liberation of
Palestine and Hezbollah. The FBI also raided the office
of the Anti-war Committee in Minneapolis, which had
organised a demonstration during the 2008 Republican
National Convention. Some of the peace activists whose
houses were raided are members of the Anti-War
Committee. The New York Times quotes an FBI
spokesperson who said the raids were part of "an
ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation".

While no arrests have been made so far, the activists
have been served with grand jury subpoenas.

The raids appear to be "fishing expeditions" --
attempts to gather as much personal information as
possible from the activists' homes in the hopes of
bringing some charges against them. The search warrant
which we have seen authorises the federal agents to
seize all documents and records related to any
activities in the US or overseas, especially those
related to the FARC, PFLP and Hezbollah, as well as
emails, phone records and internet usage; it also asks
for information pertaining to the activists' work in a
left group called the Freedom Road Socialist
Organization. Click here to download a PDF of the
search warrant.

What do these raids mean?

Many of the communities we work with live with state
violence on a daily basis. Still, we believe these
events to be of signal importance to the antiwar
movement. In the post-9/11 political landscape, War
Times/Tiempo de Guerras has worked to bring an
internationalist perspective to the antiwar movement, a
perspective which focuses not only on the domestic
costs and victims of war, but also on the suffering war
and occupation bring to peoples around the world. We
believe this perspective is essential to achieving a US
foreign policy based on justice and solidarity rather
than on either domination or isolationism.

The FBI raids occur months after a 6-3 Supreme Court
decision upholding a broad interpretation of "material
support to foreign terrorist organizations", whereby
offering advice, training and service to a designated
terrorist organisation constitutes material support for
terrorism -- even if the service in question has
nothing to do with any "terrorist" act. In this
context, Friday's FBI raids contribute to the
criminalisation of any communication with any group the
US State Department has designated a terrorist
organisation. Even advocating negotiating with one of
these named groups may become a crime, not to mention
deeper attempts to build solidarity with groups
struggling against war and occupation. (It should be
noted, for example, that Hezbollah forms part of the
democratically elected government of Lebanon.) These
raids, and the policy that underlies them, strike
directly at the internationalist perspective that
grounds all of War Times/Tiempo de Guerras' work.

War Times has been a multigenerational project from its
inception in 2001, and several of our members lived
through periods of heightened government repression.
These new FBI raids bring those experiences to mind,
not least because of the deliberate and comprehensive
targeting of Freedom Road Socialist Organization. The
warrant authorising the search of one peace activists'
home instructs government agents to look for any
materials related to the recruitment and political
education activities -- referred to somewhat quaintly
as "indoctrination" -- of Freedom Road Socialist
Organization.

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised to see a resurgence
of FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas focused on
today's peace activists. This kind of red-baiting and
demonisation of the left has a long history in the
United States. These tactics have served US government
efforts to undermine many social movements, from
workers' rights to civil rights. The best known
examples include the machinations of FBI director J.
Edgar Hoover against Bayard Rustin, Stanley Levison and
the entire leadership of the southern civil rights
movement. Such methods are also familiar to people who
worked in solidarity with Central American peoples
fighting dictatorship and US intervention during the
1980s, and in the anti-apartheid movement in the 1990s.

So these tactics of intimidation are familiar. But that
doesn't mean we can ignore them. Unless we challenge
the legitimacy of the FBI's raids now -- loudly,
visibly and in as many ways as possible -- the antiwar
movement may be facing a more dangerous and difficult
road than we had imagined.

What you can do:

*

Call the Attorney General's office at 202-353-1555 and
demand an end to political intimidation of peace
activists.

*

Call or write the "newspapers of record" such as the
New York Times and Washington Post, asking them to give
full and prominent coverage to this story.

*

Write a letter to the editor of your local paper,
explaining why this kind of intimidation is a danger to
democracy.

*

Call your local members of Congress to demand that the
FBI stop harassing peace activists.

*

Participate in any local actions to protest these
raids.

War Times/Tiempo de Guerras

PO Box 22748 | Oakland, CA 94609

http://www.war-times.org/

_____________________________________________

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