United States: FBI raids on activist homes condemned

The statement below was released on September 24 by the International Action Centre, IACentre.org

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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, September 24, 2010, at 8am. 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.

Colombia solidarity activist Tom Burke, one of those handed a subpoena by the FBI, said: “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 US wars and occupations, and those who oppose US support for repressive regimes.

“They are designed to suppress dissent and free speech, to divide the peace movement, and to pave the way for more US 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 US-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, Minnesota in September 2008.

The FBI agents emphasised that the grand jury was going to investigate the activists for possible terrorism charges. This is a US 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 organising 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 anti-war activist whose home was searched, called the raids, “an outrageous fishing expedition”.

We urge all progressive activists to show solidarity with those individuals targeted by the US government. Activists have the right not to speak with the FBI and are encouraged to politely refuse and just say “No”.

Please contact info@colombiasolidarity.org or info@fightbacknews.org to provide support to the targeted activists.