The FBI initiated a raid on six houses in Chicago and Minneapolis on Friday, September 24, 2010, at 7 a.m. central time. About a dozen activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan were handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury. They also attempted to intimidate activists in California and North Carolina.
“This is a blatant attempt by the FBI to silence activists who struggle for peace and justice. Standing in solidarity with people fighting against U.S. imperialism is not a crime!” stated Meredith Aby of the Anti-War Committee, one of the activists whose homes were raided.
“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 U.S. support for repressive regimes,” said Colombia solidarity activist Tom Burke, one of those handed a subpoena by the FBI in Michigan.
“They are designed to suppress dissent and free speech, to divide the peace movement, and to pave the way for more U.S. military intervention in the Middle East and Latin America.”
Sources indicated that the FBI seized computers, contact lists and other office equipment from the groups.
War, Repression Opponents Targeted
According to an activist bulletin, this suppression of democratic rights is aimed at those who dedicate their time
and energy to supporting the struggles of the Palestinian and Colombian peoples against U.S.-funded occupation and war. The activists are involved with well-known anti-war
groups, including many of the leaders of the large protest against the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN in September 2008. The FBI agents emphasized that the grand jury would investigate whether terrorism charges should be filed against the activists.
A release announcing a press conference organized by the Anti-War Committee, and supporting organizations WAMM, Students for a Democratic Society, and the Welfare Rights Committee listed Jess Sundin, 612-865-8234; Mick Kelly 612-296-5649; Deb Konechne 612-816-4321 as press contacts.
The organizations also released a “Call for Action at Federal Buildings and FBI Offices.” This document states, in part: “The activists involved have done nothing wrong and are refusing to be pulled into conversations with the FBI about their political views or organizing against war and occupation. The activists are involved with many groups, including: the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Colombia Action Network, Students for a Democratic Society, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization. These activists came together with many others to organize the 2008 anti-war marches on the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. We ask people of conscience to join us in fighting this political repression, as we continue working to build the movements against US war and occupation.”
The document urges readers to call the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-353-1555 or write an email to: AskDOJ@usdoj.gov and demand:
* Stop the repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists.
* Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc.
* End the grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists.
It also requested that readers support national days of protest at FBI offices or Federal Buildings, planned for September 27 and 28. Φ