I have no doubt that the recent Supreme Court decision, allowing the federal government to prosecute as material support for terrorism anyone who so much as talks to a known a terrorist group, even to convince them to take a peaceful path, played a role in this. Here is our hope and change that we can believe in: the FBI playing its traditional role of murder, terrorism, and harassment of the left (from Fred Hampton and Martin Luther King to these raids). You can rest assured that no one from the tea party movement or Fox "news" is going to mind the sight of federal law enforcement and big government cracking down like this. Such is their belief in freedom and liberty.
FBI searches 8 locations in Minn., Chicago
Agency says it's part of terror probe; antiwar activists say they are targets
MINNEAPOLIS — The FBI said it searched eight addresses in Minneapolis and Chicago as part of a terrorism investigation Friday. Warrants suggest agents were looking for connections between local anti-war activists and terrorist groups in Colombia and the Middle East.
FBI spokesman Steve Warfield told The Associated Press agents served six warrants in Minneapolis and two in Chicago.
"These were search warrants only," Warfield said. "We're not anticipating any arrests at this time. They're seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism."
The homes of longtime Minneapolis anti-war activists Mick Kelly, Jess Sundin and Meredith Aby were among those searched, they said. All three were subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago: Aby on Oct. 5, Sundin on Oct. 12 and Kelly on Oct. 19.
"The FBI is harassing anti-war organizers and leaders, folks who opposed U.S. intervention in the Middle East and Latin America," Kelly said before agents confiscated his cell phone.
Sundin said she believes the searches are connected with the Minnesota Anti-War Committee's opposition to U.S. military aid to Colombia and Israel, as well as its opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"It's kind of outrageous that citizens of the United States could be targeted like this," Sundin said.
Warfield said he couldn't comment on whose homes were searched or give details on why because it's an ongoing investigation. "There's no imminent threat to the community," he said.
The searches were first reported by the Star Tribune.
The warrant for Kelly's home, provided by his attorney, sought evidence on travel he did as part of his work for the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and information on any travel to Colombia, the Palestinian territories, Jordan, Syria or Israel. The warrant for Sundin's home was similar but included a slightly different list of targeted groups.
Kelly's warrant also said agents sought information on contact with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Hezbollah. The U.S. government considers those three groups terrorist organizations.
"It appears to be a fishing expedition," said Kelly's attorney, Ted Dooley. "It seems like they're casting a huge seine or net into the political sea and see what they can drag up on shore and dry out. There's no rhyme or reason to it in a free society."
The federal law cited in the search warrant prohibits "providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations."
"I'm having a hard time paying my rent," Kelly said. "There is no material support."
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a free-speech challenge to the law from humanitarian aid groups that said some provisions put them at risk of being prosecuted for talking to terrorist organizations about nonviolent activities.
Two groups use the name Freedom Road Socialist Organization, one based in Chicago and one in New York. They split several years ago, and the New York group said it was not targeted.
The website for the Chicago group, which describes itself as a "revolutionary socialist and Marxist-Leninist organization," shows Kelly and Sundin have been affiliated with it. Kelly edits FightBack!, a Minneapolis-based website and newspaper for the group.
Kelly's subpoena also commanded him to bring records he might have relating to the Middle East and Colombia, along with "all records of any payment provided directly or indirectly to Hatam Abudayyeh."
The subpoena did not further identify Abudayyeh, but FightBack has interviewed and carried articles by a Hatam Abudayyeh who's the executive director of the Chicago-based Arab American Action Network.
Abudayyeh did not immediately return a phone message left at his office.
Kelly said he went to Lebanon two years ago for a Palestinian solidarity conference, and he's been on Colombian radio by phone from the U.S.
Sundin said she visited Colombia 10 years ago for a conference organized by a social movement there in opposition to U.S. military aid.
Aby said she went to Palestine in 2002 and Colombia in 2004 and 2006 to meet with activists. She said anyone who's an activist in those counties gets labeled as a terrorist.
Both Sundin and Kelly were organizers of a mass march on the first day of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul two years ago, and recently appeared at a news conference to announce plans for another protest if Minneapolis is selected to hold the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Police estimated the peaceful march in 2008 drew 10,000 protesters; organizers put the figure at 30,000.
Other protests were marked by destructive acts by anarchists. More than 800 people were arrested during the four days of the convention, including Sundin and Kelly.
Other Minnesota anti-war activists whose homes were searched included Anh Pham, Sarah Martin and Tracy Molm, Dooley said. He said he didn't know whose homes were searched in Chicago.
The FBI's spokesman in Chicago, Ross Rice, would only say two searches were conducted Friday in Chicago and there were no arrests.
Asked about the reports, the U.S. Attorney's office spokesman in Chicago, Randy Samborn, confirmed warrants were served in the city "in connection with a law enforcement investigation." He also declined to provide details.
I am sure if we decided to round up anyone who has so much as talked to a member of the Likud Party, an organization that has been responsible for the deaths of many more people than the PFLP, there would be a much different response amongst the freepers and anti-masturbation set the Delaware GOP. When was the last time an anti-war person in this country truck-bombed a federal building? You never see anyone declaring that pro-gun Republicans (as Timothy McVeigh was), out of respect for the families, should be prohibited from walking within a three block radius of the federal building area that their brethren bombed.
But no, an anti-war person may have emailed someone who was a member of one of those groups, or even met a supporter at a conference eight years ago, with no pretenses of wanting to blow something up. That's terrorism to our friends in the FBI, but showing up at a presidential speech like this is perfectly OK to them (probably because they agree with him and hope he does what he's advocating on the sign).
If anyone from the NSA/Google is cataloging this, or even better the FBI, I say this with all sincerity and full meaning: Fuck You.