Monday, September 27, 2010

Activists denounce FBI raids on antiwar and solidarity activists' homes

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


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 or 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



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 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





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





Call your local members of Congress to demand that the

FBI stop harassing peace activists.




Participate in any local actions to protest these



War Times/Tiempo de Guerras


PO Box 22748 | Oakland, CA 94609


No comments: