Published on Thursday, May 19, 2011 by the Associated Press
Activists Decry Probe Revealed by Found FBI Papers
FBI documents recently found by the anti-war activists suggest the trips may have started an investigation into apparent connections between local activists and radical groups in
"I believe those types of reports and public speaking that I did is what has landed me in the heart of this investigation," Aby said Wednesday.
Since Sept. 23, people in
Authorities haven't revealed the targets of the investigation or its exact nature, other than to say it involves activities concerning the material support of terrorism.
No one has been charged. None of the activists have testified before the grand jury.
The documents were found at the
Kelly said agents went through thousands of files at his house, emptied drawers and cabinets and took away boxes of materials. When his partner was recently looking through a file cabinet, she came across the FBI documents, Kelly said.
FBI spokesman Steve Warfield said most of the papers appeared to be legitimate FBI documents and were left behind by mistake.
The activists condemn the raids and subpoenas as harassment and an attempt to stifle their rights to free speech and assembly. They have held several news conferences and rallies in protest.
Sundin said the group chose to release the documents because they provide a glimpse into the origins of the investigation. Subpoenas have only hinted at the sort of evidence authorities were seeking.
"This is the first confirmation we have of what the government is thinking, where this investigation began and how it expanded outward," Sundin said.
Bruce Nestor, an attorney representing some of the activists, said "it's clear that this investigation was initiated without evidence of criminal activity."
Warfield had no additional comment. Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Chicago, also had no comment.
The documents, which are not labeled as classified, suggest that activists' involvement with people in
"The captioned case was initially predicated on the activities of Meredith Aby and Jessica Rae Sundin in support of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a U.S. State Department designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO), to include their previous travel to FARC-controlled territory," one document says. "Since opening the original investigations, an additional 16 Subjects in six FBI Field Divisions have been identified."
The document goes on to say that people in the Minneapolis, Chicago, Phoenix, Detroit, Los Angeles and Charlotte, N.C., divisions have "provided and/or conspired to provide material support to the FARC and/or the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, also a U.S. State Department designated FTO."
Sundin said her trip to Colombia did not involve passing money or weapons to FARC, but visiting the people and understanding some of their demands.
At the time, FARC was negotiating with the Colombian government. Sundin said she took a Columbia military plane to a small, demilitarized town where peace talks were being held. She said people traveled to the area by busload.
"It obviously wasn't illegal in
Aby said she went to
"It has enriched my activism and my ability to really be an expert in the anti-war movement in
The documents given to the AP also include a strategic plan for the FBI's raid, a subpoena, and a list of questions that agents would presumably use in an interview. Warfield could not immediately verify that the questions — which were typed and not on an official law enforcement document — were from the FBI.
The subpoena, which was made public previously, orders Kelly to appear before a grand jury and bring information relating to any trips to Colombia, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria or Israel. It also commands him to bring records relating to the Middle East and
One document labeled Kelly as "dangerous" and said he had weapons in his house. It noted several agents were involved in the raid and gives detail about the weapons and ammunition they carried. Kelly said he has a rifle and a handgun, and both are legal and were not seized.
The document also says Kelly has offered to provide weapons training to other activists, which Kelly said was untrue.
The activists also took issue with the list of over 100 questions in the documents. The top of the list says the questions "pertain to a terrorism investigation." Many deal with activities of the
The group, named in several warrants, shares the Marxist ideologies of FARC and PFLP. Two groups use the name. Kelly and Sundin have said their
When it comes to the interview questions, Sundin said
© 2011 Associated Press
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs