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
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 organized 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
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
in Chicago on November 5, 2011.
Committee to Stop FBI Repression - www.stopfbi.net
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Build the Movement Against Political Repression