No to Government Impunity! Yes to Resistance
Vigorously Oppose Government Attacks on Activists! Resistance is a Right!
Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Minnesota and Chicago raided the homes of activists September 24, seizing, as the search warrants demanded, “documents, files, books, photographs, videos, souvenirs, war relics, notebooks, address books, diaries, journals, maps or other evidence, including evidence in electronic form” meaning computers, cell phones, email and internet records, etc. Passports were also confiscated even though none of those targeted were arrested or charged with any crime.
About a dozen armed agents at each location, some with guns drawn, raided people’s homes in Illinois and Minnesota, with other activists in Michigan and North Carolina also targeted. These Joint Terrorism Task Forces include not only the FBI but commonly the military, local and state police and other federal policing agencies like ICE, ATF and the DEA.
The organizers involved were also subpoenaed to testify in October before grand juries that are supposedly investigating “terrorists,” and "conspiracies to provide material support to terrorism." Refusal to testify, which is the just stand of those involved, could mean jail.
The U.S. Marxist-Leninist Organization denounces these raids and demands an end to all government attacks on activists and organizers. We salute the activists for their refusal to be intimidated and join all those across the country opposing these attacks. Undaunted and unafraid together we say, All Out to Support Resistance, At Home and Abroad!
The people targeted are known for their work in defense of rights here at home, their firm opposition to aggressive U.S. wars and their support of the peoples of Palestine and Colombia fighting for their national and social rights. Efforts by organizers in the U.S. to build fraternal ties with the peoples in Colombia and Palestine were directly targeted, with correspondence, travel and any ties made to peoples in both countries seized. These raids are also taking place when numerous organizing efforts are being done to raise funds and humanitarian aid for Gaza. Some of the people attacked were active in organizing demonstrations at the Republican National Convention (RNC) in St. Paul in 2008 and defending the RNC8. The trial of the RNC8, activists arrested even before demonstrations began at the RNC and initially charged with "terrorism" starts October 25. So these attacks are also part of creating an atmosphere in the Twin Cities that it is activists opposing the U.S. that are dangerous, not the U.S. government carrying out the raids and police violence.
These attacks are an attack on the right to dissent in the U.S., and an attack on the right to resistance, abroad and at home. They are directed at the anti-war movement as well as all the many efforts to defend and support resistance, whether in Palestine, Colombia, Lebanon, Cuba, Venezuela or Korea to name a few. They are designed to dampen and paralyze organizing efforts that favor the peoples while diverting time and resources to legal cases.
More than this, the Obama administration is attempting to impose as normal and acceptable that anyone it determines is a "terrorist" or “providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support to designated terrorist organizations,” as the search warrants put it, can be targeted for spying, harassment, jailing and even death. All on the president's say-so.
The “terrorism” charges of today were the “communism” charges of the past and the present as well. As former British Prime Minister recently put it, "Islamic fundamentalism" and "extremism" are analogous to " revolutionary communism," and requires the government to spend "as long as we need to," to defeat it. The current government raids and grand juries are the McCarthyite witch hunts of the present, aimed again at communists, at leading anti-war and rights activists and all those who affirm the right to resist and organize for change that benefits the people. Promoting and using the claim of "terrorism" and equaitng it to "revolutionary communism" are the weapons to safeguard the U.S. state at all costs and justify any crime, while blocking efforts to develop an alternative to U.S.-style democracy.
We firmly stand against all attacks on resistance and support all those advancing the fight for the rights of all abroad and at home. We are stepping up the fight for empowerment of the people as central to the solutions of the problems of our time. We reject all efforts to block emergence of an alternative, including institutions of our own, where the people themselves govern and decide.
No to Government Impunity!
Yes to Resistance!
Build Politics of Empowerment!
Government Raids Are Part of Broad
On September 24, the government unleashed raids against activists and organizers opposing aggressive U.S. wars and standing to support resistance at home and abroad. These attacks took place right on the heels of numerous reports of years-long government spying on anti-war and other activists as “terrorists.” And just days after the Department of Justice's Inspector General issued a report “admonishing” the FBI for “targeting antiwar activists with no justification” and putting these groups and their members on terrorism “watch lists” with no evidence or justification. Government impunity is escalating daily right before everyone’s eyes, while the Inspector General’s office, the courts, Congress, the Constitution, all are showing themselves incapable of stopping these crimes.
It is certainly no accident that the raids against organizers of resistance took place on the day President Obama met with President Manuel Santos Calderón of Colombia. Obama specifically emphasized that “Because of outstanding work by Colombian security forces, they were able to embark on a mission that resulted in the death of the leader of FARC.” Obama congratulated the Colombian president for the killing.
FARC, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has been arbitrarily branded as a "terrorist" organization by the U.S. The people of Colombia do not consider FARC a terrorist organization. They consider the U.S. the terrorists. They are standing against U.S. bases and demanding that the U.S. stop interfering. And they very much oppose the U.S.-backed Colombian government and its U.S.-armed and funded state terrorism, including death squads that kill thousands of trade unionists and activists opposing U.S. imperialism. The raids make clear that those in the U.S. standing with Colombians are now subjected to the same “terrorism” label as the FARC.
In addition, the Obama administration has put a U.S. citizen on its assassination list, labeling him a “terrorist.” In this manner, the crime of assassinating civilians, including U.S. citizens, is to be eliminated. In addition, in the related court case attempting to block such death sentences against U.S. citizens on the say-so of the president, Obama has said the government cannot provide any evidence justifying its decision, as it would jeopardize the security of the U.S. state. Thus assassination of those abroad the U.S. deems are "terrorists" and of U.S. citizens is being sanctioned. And right alongside this, harassment, disruption and infiltration of organizing efforts, forced testimony and confessions, jailing of activists and organizers is also being sanctioned.
We say NO! to this government impunity and efforts to outlaw resistance. It is U.S. aggression, genocide and brutal attacks here and worldwide that are the crimes to be ended!
The September 24 attacks on organizers follow reports of years of FBI spying on numerous organizations and individuals, claiming they were “terrorists.” These include spying on an antiwar rally and the Quaker’s Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh at the time of the G20 last year; the Catholic Worker peace magazine; members of the environmental group Greenpeace; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and an anti-war student group in Iowa City, Iowa who were targeted for 9 months in 2008. Spying on activists by Pennsylvania’s Homeland Security Office, using an Israeli contractor, was also recently revealed.
The completely arbitrary and false nature of the “terrorist threat” claimed by the Joint Terrorism Tasks Forces and FBI was admitted by the Inspector General (IG) of the Department of Justice. An IG report issued just days before the raids specifically stated that the FBI was routinely labeling individuals and groups as “terrorists” without factual evidence. As a Boston Globe editorial brought out, the report admonished the FBI for “targeting anti-war groups and advocacy organizations with no apparent justification, and for placing non-violent activists in those groups on terrorist watch lists. The report chastised the bureau for having a “weak” rationale for some of its investigations; investigating where there was “little indication of any possible federal crimes”; and extending “the duration of investigations involving advocacy groups or their members without adequate basis.” The agency was also taken to task for improperly retaining information about the targeted groups in its files and for classifying investigations of peace groups “under its ‘Acts of Terrorism’ classification.” Clearly, the IG report carried no weight as the government’s Joint Terrorism Task Forces moved to more openly attack organizers.
What stands out in the situation is that the government and its institutions, like the FBI, Homeland Security and Pentagon are using the claim of “terrorism” to justify any crime against humanity — including aggressive wars, massacres of civilians, assassinations, indefinite detention and concentration camps like Guantánamo and Bagram, mass round-ups of Arabs as occurred after September 11 or of any deemed possible “threats,” and unrestricted spying, police provocations, disruptions, harassments and jailing of those organizing resistance to U.S. crimes and the system of U.S. imperialism they serve.
More than this, it is clear that the Constitution and existing institutions like Congress and the Courts do not block these crimes against the people. An alternative to U.S.-style democracy, its Constitution and institutions is necessary. They are not the people's institutions. They do not serve the fight for the modern democracy needed today, a democracy that empowers the people to govern a decide. As we stand together to oppose attacks and build resistance, let us also elaborate together what a modern democracy looks like and strengthen our organizing efforts to achieve it.
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, September 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.”
Call the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-353-1555 or write an email to: AskDOJ@usdoj.gov.
• 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
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you would like to provide support to the targeted activists.
Contact: Tom Burke, 773-844-3612; Steff Yorek, 612-865-8234
On the morning of Sept. 24, FBI agents armed with Grand Jury subpoenas raided the homes of several antiwar and social justice activists in Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois. As we write reports are coming in that FBI agents have been contacting other activists in Wisconsin, North Carolina and California.
Using the pretext of investigating “terrorism,” and with “possibly providing material aid to terrorists,” the FBI agents – 20 in the Twin Cities and 12 in Chicago – were armed with search and seizure warrants signed by U.S. Magistrate Judges and/or representatives of the U.S. Attorney’s office. They seized computers, cell phones, political leaflets and other printed materials. In Minnesota agents worked in one home for 12 hours confiscating material including 30 boxes of literature, photographs of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and pictures drawn by their children.
The individuals targeted included leaders of organizations like the Minneapolis Antiwar Committee, whose office was also raided, the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Colombia Action Network and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
The activists were ordered to appear before Grand Juries in various cities investigating criminal activity and possible association with “terrorist” organizations. The earliest subpoena dates were October 5 and 7.
The FBI has also served or harassed activists in North Carolina and Wisconsin as part of the same “investigation.”
The government’s subpoenas “commanded” the recipients to bring with them to the Grand Jury proceedings:
“(1) all pictures and videos relating to any trip to Colombia, Jordan, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, or Israel;
(2) all items relating to any trip to Colombia, Jordan, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, or Israel;
(3) all correspondence, including but not limited to emails and letters, with anyone residing in Colombia, Jordan, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, or Israel;
(4) all records of any payment provided directly or indirectly to Hatem Abudayyeh, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (“PFLP”) or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (“FARC”);
(5) all records of any telephonic or electronic communications with anyone in Colombia, Jordan, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, or Israel; and
(6) any item related to any support provided to any designated terrorist organization, including the PFLP or the FARC.”
All those subpoenaed have refused to discuss their political work and views with FBI agents, as is their right. They have publicly denounced these raids as an attempt by the government to intimidate and repress opposition to U.S. wars of intervention and occupation.
The United National Antiwar Committee denounces the government’s raids, seizures and subpoenas as an attack on the entire antiwar movement and all organizations seeking social justice and to end U.S. wars of intervention around the world. We stand in full solidarity with all those who now face government persecution and possible imprisonment.
The United National Antiwar Committee demands:
• 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 and FBI raids against all anti-war activists.
We call on all antiwar and social justice organization across the country to organize protest demonstrations in the coming days at Federal Buildings or FBI offices.
The war on dissent, rather than terrorism, continued full steam with FBI SWAT teams breaking down doors at 7 am Friday, September 24, and raiding the homes of several anti-war leaders and activists in Minneapolis, Chicago and possibly a couple other Midwest cities. Members of the “Joint Terrorism Task Force” spent a few hours at each Minneapolis residence, seizing personal photographs and papers, computers and cell phones as well as serving Federal Grand Jury subpoenas on the various activists.
Obviously the scathing review of post 9-11 FBI “terrorism investigations” targeting various peace and social justice groups completed by the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) and just issued four days ago gave no pause to the FBI to reflect before continuing to do more of the same. Nor did accompanying media revelations about the FBI having improperly conducted surveillance of an antiwar rally in Pittsburgh; the Catholic Worker peace magazine; a Quaker activist, the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, of members of the environmental group Greenpeace and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and of a small student group of anti-war activists in Iowa City, Iowa who were targeted for 9 months in 2008.
National news stories revealed that in one of the investigations, FBI Director Robert Mueller [provided] a fabricated justification for the surveillance of an antiwar rally. From The Boston Globe’s editorial, “Red-Baiting, Circa 2002 – 2006”:
“The Justice Department’s Inspector General report released this week pulled few punches in admonishing the FBI for targeting anti-war groups and advocacy organizations with no apparent justification, and for placing non-violent activists in those groups on terrorist watch lists. The report chastised the bureau for having a “weak” rationale for some of its investigations; investigating where there was “little indication of any possible federal crimes”; and extending “the duration of investigations involving advocacy groups or their members without adequate basis.” The agency was also taken to task for improperly retaining information about the targeted groups in its files and for classifying investigations of peace groups “under its ‘Acts of Terrorism’ classification.
“These are serious abuses. Using anti-terrorism laws to target domestic protest organizations is redolent of the actions of the Justice Department against law-abiding protesters during World War I and the Vietnam War — actions that are rightly remembered as disgraceful.” […]
The IG has only reviewed FBI “terrorism” investigations thus far from 2002 to 2006. What happened in Iowa City in 2008 shows the FBI did not cease its improper investigations after 2006. Documents obtained through FOIA showed the FBI and its local law enforcement partners targeted students and anti-war activists in Iowa City, following them to parks, food co-ops, libraries, bars and restaurants, etc., over a 9-month period, with little factual justification other than the allegation that the group was plotting to protest the Republican National Convention. The FBI even managed to secretly search the anti-war members’ personal trash.
Friday’s raids in Minneapolis occurred after previous Attorney General Guidelines — that used to require a level of factual justification before domestic groups could be spied on — were erased. Additionally, the Patriot Act and an earlier 1996 law broadly prohibiting “material support to terrorism” were allowed to stand even though these laws make speech advocating human rights a terrorist crime. The final problem is the law enforcement mindset first seen back in 2003 from a spokesman for the California Anti-Terrorism Information Center (CATIC) who was forced to defend his agency’s unjustified targeting of anti-war protesters without any factual evidence. CATIC Spokesman Van Winkle, apparently without thinking too hard, reasoned that evidence was not needed to issue warnings on war protesters. “You can make an easy kind of a link that, if you have a protest group protesting a war where the cause that’s being fought against is international terrorism, you might have terrorism at that (protest),” said Van Winkle, “You can almost argue that a protest against (the “war on terror”) is a terrorist act.”
Antiwar activists and many others are taking action against the recent government raids on activists opposing war and defending rights in the U.S., Palestine, Colombia and elsewhere. The raids mainly involved people standing to support resistance to U.S. occupation and aggression. Actions are demanding an end to the government attacks, including use of the grand jury to further spy on and attack those organizing for rights. All are rising to affirm the right to dissent and the right to resistance, including support of resistance against U.S. imperialism on a worldscale.
Minneapolis, Minnesota: 4:30pm, FBI Office, 111 Washington Ave. S.
Chicago, Illinois: 4:30pm, FBI Building
Kalamazoo, Michigan: 4:30pm, Federal Building, 410 W Michigan Ave
Buffalo, New York: 4:30 pm, FBI Building, Corner of S. Elmwood Ave. & Niagara St.
Durham, North Carolina: 12 noon, Federal Building, 323 E Chapel Hill St
Gainesville, Florida: 4:30pm, FBI Building
Salt Lake City, Utah: 9am at Federal Building
Boston, Massachusetts: 5pm, JFK Federal Building
New York City, New York: 4:30pm, Federal Building, 26 Federal Plaza,
Newark, New Jersey: 5pm at Federal Building, Broad Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 4:30pm, Federal Building, 6th & Market,
Washington DC: 4:30pm, FBI Building, 935 Pennsylvania Ave NW.
Atlanta, Georgia: Noon, FBI Building
Raleigh, North Carolina: 9am at Federal Building, 310 New Bern Ave
Asheville, North Carolina: 5pm, Federal Building
Detroit Michigan: 4:30pm, McNamara Federal Building
Tucson, Arizona: 5 pm Federal Building
Los Angeles, California: 5 pm, Federal Building, 300 N Los Angeles St
Albany, New York: 5pm, Federal Building