FBI raids target antiwar activists in Minneapolis, Chicago, and Michigan

[ This morning, the FBI conducted raids at the homes of activists in Minneapolis, Chicago, Michigan and North Carolina. These provocations, under the guise of "anti-terrorism", appear to target leaders of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, which publishes the Fight Back! newspaper and website. The articles below - from Twin Cities IndyMedia and Fight Back! News - give some picture of the unfolding story. As details and opportunities for solidarity and defense become clear, please post or repost comments here - Isaac ]

UPDATE - video interviews with three activists whose homes were raided:

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At least four houses in Minneapolis raided, other houses in Michigan, NC, Chicago targeted.
Submitted by smiley on Fri, 09/24/2010 - 09:20

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!

Urgent - Community Meeting tonight! 5:30 pm Walker Church 3104 16th Ave S regarding the FBI Raids

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 F.B.I. 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 authorize 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 Columbia from 2000 to today. The warrant hyped potential documents indicating any contacts/facilitation with FARC, PFLP, and 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 ins upport 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 taveleled 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 yesterday, September 23.

More information as this story breaks. If you have info, please publish it to TCIMC as a comment or a new story.

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Activists Denounce FBI Raids on Anti-war 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 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, October 24, 2010, at 8:00 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 U.S. 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 U.S. 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 U.S. funded occupation and war. The activists are involved with well-known anti-war groups including many of the leaders of the huge protest against the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, MN in September 2008. The FBI agents emphasized that the grand jury was going to investigate the activists for possible terrorism charges. This is a U.S. 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 organizing 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 U.S. Government. Activists have the right not to speak with the FBI and are encouraged to politely refuse, just say “No”.

Please contact info@colombiasolidarity.org or info@fightbacknews.org if you would like to provide support to the targeted activists.

Plan Colombia hits home?

The timing of this with the bombing raid targeting the FARC in Colombia is relevant I think. The raid of a FARC camp that killed FARC commander Jorge Briceño who was better known as ``Mono Jojoy'' and 20 other fighters took place two days before the raids in the U.S. Some of the U.S. activists who were targeted participated in Colombia solidarity work and were active in the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera, a Colombian professor and now political prisoner who was arrested for allegedly being in the FARC. Several months ago without any warning, facebook suddenly deleted the accounts of three people, Josh Sykes, Angela Denio, and Tom Burke, who had set up a facebook group to support Palmera. Another facebook group to demand their account reinstatement--which I joined--was set up which resulted in Denio and Sykes being reinstated at this time, but not Burke.


Being that anything that the Colombian military would do is of course coordinated with U.S. military and intelligence operations, it seems like the timing of the raid targeting U.S. activists some of whom apparently participated in the defense of a political prisoner accused of having connections to the FARC, along with a major deadly bombing raiding launched against the FARC by the Colombian military, hardly seems coincidental.

contact Holder & POTUS Obama re: raids

You can call Holder or Obama to register your protests against the raids and trials:

Here is a sample phone message I found on one website, to give you an idea of what to say when you make your phone calls:

Sample phone message: My name is ______________ and I live in _____________. I want to protest the September 24, 2010, FBI raids on Minneapolis and Chicago peace and justice activists. People involved in peaceful, anti-war activism and humanitarian justice work should never be harassed in this way. Please return their belongings to the activists, drop grand jury hearings, and end surveillance of peace and justice activists. Thank you.

Make protests to:

Attorney General Eric Holder

Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington DC 20530-0001

202-514-1057 Main switchboard

202-353-1555 Comment line

AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

President Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

202-456-1111 Comment line

president@whitehouse.gov

www.whitehouse.gov/contact

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