Tag Archives: US repression of anti-war activists

Committee to Stop FBI Repression: One Year Since the Raids

stopfbi.net

Build the Movement Against Political Repression
One year since the September 24 FBI Raids and Grand Jury Subpoenas
Statement of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, 9-22-2011

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) is asking you to build the movement against political repression on the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 24, 2010 FBI raids on anti-war and international solidarity activists. We need your continued solidarity as we build movements for peace, justice and equality.

The storm of political repression continues to expand and threaten. It is likely to intensify and churn into a destructive force with indictments, trials, and attempts to imprison anti-war activists. The last we knew, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald was preparing multiple indictments as he and Attorney General Eric Holder attempt to criminalize the targeted activists and the movements to which we dedicate our lives.

It is one year since the FBI raided two homes in Chicago and five homes plus the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis, eventually handing out 23 subpoenas. The anti-war activists’ homes were turned upside down and notebooks, cell phones, artwork, computers, passports and personal belongings were all carted off by the FBI. Anyone who has ever been robbed knows the feelings – shock and anger.

The man responsible for this assault on activists and their families, on free speech and the right to organize, is U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago. Fitzgerald has an ugly record of getting powerful Republicans like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove off the hook, while mercilessly pursuing an agenda to scare America into silence and submission with the phony ‘war on terror.’ Fitzgerald is attempting to criminalize anti-war activists with accusations of ‘material support for terrorism,’ involving groups in Palestine and Colombia.

First the U.S. government targeted Arabs and Muslims, violating their civil rights and liberties and spying on them. Then they came for the anti-war and international solidarity activists. We refuse to be criminalized. We continue to speak out and organize. We say, “Opposing U.S. war and occupation is not a crime!” We are currently building a united front with groups and movements to defeat Fitzgerald’s reactionary, fear mongering assault on anti-war activism and to restore civil liberties taken away by the undemocratic USA PATRIOT Act.

Many people know the developments in the case, but for those who do not, we invite you to read a timeline at stopfbi.net. We think the repression centers on this: During the lead up to the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, a federal law enforcement officer, using the phony name of “Karen Sullivan” got involved and joined the Anti-War Committee and Freedom Road Socialist Organization in Minneapolis. She lied to everyone she met and helped the FBI to disrupt many activities in the anti-war, international solidarity and labor movements in Minnesota – and also other states and even over in Palestine. It is outrageous.

In fact, many of those being investigated travelled to Colombia or Palestine to learn firsthand about U.S. government funding for war and oppression. There was no money given to any groups that the U.S. government lists as terrorist organizations. However, we met people who are a lot like most Americans – students, community organizers, religious leaders, trade unionists, women’s group leaders and activists much like ourselves. Many of the U.S. activists wrote about their trips, did educational events, or helped organize protests against U.S. militarism and war. In a increasingly repressive period, this is enough to make one a suspect in Fitzgerald’s office.

This struggle is far from one-sided however. The response to the FBI raids and the pushback from the movement is tremendous. Minneapolis and Chicago immediately organized a number of press conferences and rallies with hundreds of people. Over the first two weeks after the raids, 60 cities protested outside FBI offices, from New York to Kalamazoo, from traveled to the Bay Area. The National Lawyers Guild convention was in New Orleans the day of the FBI raids and they immediately issued a solidarity statement and got to work on the case. Solidarity poured in from anti-war, civil rights, religious and faith groups, students and unions. Groups and committees began working to obtain letters of support from members of Congress. The solidarity was overwhelming. It was great!

It is possible that U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald thought he was picking on an isolated group of activists. Instead, those raided proved to have many friends and allies from decades of work for social justice and peace. Over the months, all the targeted activists refused to appear at the grand jury dates set by U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald’s office. In November 2010, a large crew of us travelled to New York City to found the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, after the United National Antiwar Committee meeting.

In December 2010, U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald’s office called in three of the Minnesota women and threatened them. We prepared a campaign in case they were jailed for refusing to speak. The FBI also delivered subpoenas to nine more Arab-American and Palestine solidarity activists in December. Their grand jury date was on Jan. 25, 2011, and we organized protests in over 70 American cities, plus a few overseas. The movement was building and expanding, so we organized conferences with over 800 participants in the Midwest, the South, and on the East and West Coasts. While we were organizing a pushback, the FBI was making new plans.

On May 17, 2011, at 5:00 a.m., the Los Angeles, California Sheriff, under the direction of the FBI, busted down the front door of Chicano leader Carlos Montes, storming in with automatic weapons drawn and shouting. The early morning raid was supposedly about weapons and permits, but they seized decades of notes and writings about the Chicano, immigrant rights, education rights and anti-war movements. The FBI attempted to question Carlos Montes while he was handcuffed and in the back of a L.A. sheriff squad car. Montes is going to another preliminary court date on Sept. 29, prepared to face six felony charges, carrying up to three years in prison for each, knowing he is extraordinarily targeted by the FBI. We will walk every step of the way with Carlos Montes, and more. Montes was with us at the Republican National Convention protests; his name was included on the search warrant for the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis, and the FBI attempted to question him about this case. We ask you to support Carlos Montes and to organize speaking events with him and local protests on his important court dates, Sept. 29 being the next one.

The same week the FBI raided Carlos Montes in May 2011, the CSFR came back with a big revelation – we released a set of documents, the FBI game plan, which the FBI mistakenly left behind in a file drawer at one of the homes. The FBI documents are on the CSFR website and are fascinating to read. Fitzgerald and company developed 102 questions that come right from a McCarthy witch-hunt trial of the 1950s. It is like turning back the clock five decades.

The whole intention of the raids is clear: They want to paint activists as ‘terrorists’ and shut down the organizing. They came at a time when the rich and powerful are frightened of not just the masses of people overseas, but of the people in their own country. With a failing U.S. war in Afghanistan, a U.S. occupation of Iraq predicted to last decades, a new war for oil and domination in Libya, a failing immigration policy that breaks up families and produces super-profits for big business, and now a long and deep economic crisis that is pushing large segments of working people into poverty, the highest levels of the U.S. government are turning to political repression.

The only hope for the future is in building stronger, consistent and determined movements. In a principled act of solidarity, the 23 subpoenaed activists refuse to testify before the grand jury. This sets an example for others.

In addition, the outpouring of support and mobilization into the streets from the anti-war, international solidarity, civil rights, labor and immigrant rights movements means that not one of the 24 has spent a single day in jail. That is a victory.

We ask you to stand with us, to stay vigilant and to hold steady as we proceed to organize against wars abroad and injustice at home and as we defend Carlos Montes from the FBI charade in Los Angeles.

Please come to the Committee to Stop FBI Repression one-day Conference in Chicago on November 5, 2011.

Committee to Stop FBI Repression – www.stopfbi.net

Our mailing address is:

Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183
Minneapolis, MN 55414

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Committee to Stop FBI Repression: Support Carlos Montes!

Committee to Stop FBI Repression (stopfbi.net)
Support Carlos Montes as he goes to court Friday, August 12
Call
President Barak Obama at 202-456-1111

Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-514-2001

Sample call: “My name is ________ and I am calling from [city, state]. I’m calling about Carlos Montes of Los Angeles. He is one of the anti-war activists being targeted by the FBI. I want you to tell Attorney General Holder [or President Obama]:

1. Drop the charges against Carlos Montes!

2. Stop the FBI and the Grand Jury repression of the other 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists.

3. Return all property to Carlos Montes and the other activists raided by the FBI.

The U.S. government should not be prosecuting us when we exercise our rights to freedom of speech and dissent.”

On Friday, August 12, Carlos Montes will appear in a Los Angeles court again, for a preliminary hearing. At his last court date on July 6, Carlos pled not guilty to six charges, including a felony charge each for a firearm and ammunition, and four related to the permits’ paperwork. Like millions of Americans, Carlos has for many years held legal permits. So why is it that all of a sudden the government is saying there is a problem? These charges are a pretext to attack Carlos for his years of activism.

Please join us in calling U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama, demanding a stop to the prosecution of Carlos Montes. We need to stop the persecution of political activists like Carlos, like the 23 Midwest anti-war and international solidarity activists, people like you and me.

Make no mistake: the U.S. government’s trial of Carlos Montes is an attack on the immigrants’ rights and anti-war movements. So please call today and let Holder and Obama know we are building a movement that will not bow down to dirty tricks and political repression.

In addition, the Los Angeles Committee to Stop FBI Repression is mobilizing to pack the courtroom on the morning of Friday, August 12, in Department 100 at the Criminal Courts Building, 210 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, when Carlos Montes appears.


About Carlos Montes:
Carlos Montes is a veteran Chicano activist known for his leadership of the 1968 East Los Angeles education reform movement (see film Walkout), the historic Chicano Moratorium against the U.S. war in Vietnam, and the recent immigrants’ rights mega-marches of 2006. Carlos Montes was a co-founder of the Brown Berets, a Chicano youth organization that stood for justice, equality, and self-determination.

With the 2003 Bush administration war and occupation of Iraq, Montes helped form and lead L.A. Latinos Against War. In recent years, Carlos helped initiate and organize the Southern California Immigration Coalition, to fight against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and police repression.

About this case:
Now Montes himself is the target of government repression and the FBI’s dirty tricks. When the FBI raided several Midwest homes and served subpoenas on September 24, 2010, Carlos Montes’ name was listed on the FBI search warrant for the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis–the organizing center for the 2008 Republican National Convention protests, where Carlos participated.

Then on May 17, 2011, the LA Sheriffs broke down Carlos’ door, arrested him, and ransacked his home. They took political documents, a computer, cell phones and meeting notes having nothing to do with the charges. The FBI attempted to question Montes while he was handcuffed in a squad car, regarding the case of the 23 Midwest anti-war and solidarity activists.

On June 16, 2011, Carlos appeared in court and obtained the arrest documents showing the FBI initiated the raid. A reporter interviewing a Los Angeles Sheriff sergeant confirmed that the FBI was in charge. Carlos Montes is facing six felony charges with the possibility of 18 years in prison due to his political organizing. Carlos Montes case is part and parcel of the FBI raids and political repression centered in the Midwest. We need you to take action against this repression.


You can also invite Carlos Montes to speak using a live Internet video call. It is easy to do and works well. More details on the video calls coming next week.


Please sign the petition for Carlos Montes on the International Action Center website.

Visit www.StopFBI.net or write StopFBI@gmail.com or call 612-379-3585.

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Filed under activism, immigration, open letters, manifestos, appeals, political repression, war & peace

Sarah Smith: I Am Being Subpoenaed by the FBI

Editor’s Note. Below is a statement by Sarah Smith, a young Chicago woman subpoenaed by the FBI to appear before a grand jury – apparently for the “crime” of going on a trip to Israel and Palestine. The statement was read out by her father, Stansfield Smith, to a press conference/protest on December 6. We thank him for permission to reprint Sarah’s statement here.

I Am Being Subpoenaed by the FBI
by Sarah Smith

On Friday morning, December 3rd, I received a phone call from an FBI agent. He asked if I had about 30 minutes to sit down and speak with him so he could ask me some questions. I asked about what and he said he “was not at liberty to discuss it.” I then asked if I needed a lawyer present and he said it was up to me but that I was not in any trouble and that they just had a few questions. I felt something suspicious about him telling me he wanted to ask me some questions, but he would not tell me what these questions were. So I said that I had to consult a lawyer and check my schedule and that I would get back to him. I reiterated that it would be easier for me to meet him if I knew why an FBI agent wanted to sit down with me. He then said that it had to deal with the trip I took this summer. He then emphasized, “I think you know which one I’m talking about.”

The trip I took last summer was to Israel and Palestine. I am Jewish and wanted to see first hand what life is like for Israelis and Palestinians. If I went on the standard tour to Israel, I would not be shown how Palestinians live. So I went on a tour that showed me both worlds, Israel, and the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank. I went with 2 Palestinian-American friends. You would think Jews and Palestinians going together to visit Israel and Palestine is something the U.S. government would encourage. Instead, we are now being ordered by the FBI to go before a Grand Jury for going on that trip.

The US government says it supports peace between Israel and Palestine. It says it supports separate Israeli and Palestinian states. So why does the FBI investigate us because we went to see the Palestinian land? Top US government leaders meet with Palestinian leaders, so why does the FBI investigate us because we talked to average Palestinians on the street? I went there so I could make up my own mind and talk about what I saw. It seems to me our government wants to hide what Israel is doing to Palestinians.

I would like to thank the Committee Against Political Repression for the support they have given me and I encourage everyone to check out www.stopfbi.net to learn more and to sign the petition against this witch hunt.

You can help by donating to my legal defense by sending a tax-deductible check to NLG Foundation. In the memo write: FBI Raids. You can mail it to Sarah Smith at 2961 S. Bonaparte, Chicago, Il 60608.

___________

http://www.stopfbi.net/take-action/2010/12/8/december-9-call-us-attorney-fitzgerald-demand-end-grand-jury-witch-hunt

Fitzgerald Expands Repression with 3 New Subpoenas in Chicago

Under the direction of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office, the FBI is expanding their repression of anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists in Chicago. On Friday, December 3, 2010, the FBI targeted three young women who traveled together to Palestine last summer. After the FBI called to question a young Jewish-American woman, Sarah Smith, FBI agents knocked on the door of two young Palestinian-American sisters. One sister was already on the phone with lawyer Jim Fennerty and handed the phone to the FBI, causing the FBI to leave. The FBI agents soon returned with subpoenas to the Grand Jury targeting anti-war and solidarity activists, dated for January 25, 2011. The three are standing strong with the other 14 subpoenaed activists from Illinois, Minneapolis and Michigan. Over 100 people protested in Chicago on Monday against the expanding repression.

Help Keep 3 Minneapolis Women Out of Jail

Fitzgerald’s new wave of repression comes a week after the re-activation of subpoenas for three Palestine solidarity activist women in Minneapolis. Tracy Molm, Anh Pham and Sarah Martin are being asked to appear before the Grand Jury again, despite refusing to speak in October. In Minneapolis and other cities a week of actions demanded “Protest to keep Anh, Tracy, and Sarah, out of jail!” Lawyers for each of the three are meeting with Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox this week. However, on orders from Fitzgerald’s office, the FBI shenanigans continue with visits to anti-war activist’s homes.

So please stand with the 17 subpoenaed anti-war and solidarity activists and make a phone call to Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300.

Also, please sign and circulate our petition at http://www.iacenter.org/stopfbi/.

For more information, visit www.StopFBI.net or write to stopfbi@gmail.com or call 612-379-3585.

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