Cross-posting Brenda J. Elliott’s article at the Real Barrack Obama blog.
“Under Democrat Harry Truman, it was the Communist bogeyman that was used to destroy the Left that had built the labor movement; today Democrat Barack Obama uses the terrorist bogeyman to try to destroy the peace movement, both actions for the same goals: To maximize the profits of the capitalist class.” – Bay Indymedia
September 24, 2010 interview with Mick Kelly of Minneapolis
According to the Chicago Tribune report, Federal agents, under the auspices of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, “searched homes of anti-war activists in Chicago and Minneapolis . . . in an investigation of possible links with terrorist organizations in the Middle East and South America.”
About 20 FBI agents spent most of the day searching the Logan Square residence of activists [and spouses] Stephanie Weiner and Joseph Iosbaker, Weiner said… In Jefferson Park, neighbors saw FBI agents carrying boxes from the apartment of community activist Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the Arab American Action Network. In addition, Chicago activist Thomas Burke said he was served a grand jury subpoena that requested records of any payments to Abudayyeh or his group.
…Melinda Power, an attorney for Weiner and Iosbaker and a longtime friend, said agents took about 30 boxes of papers dating to the 1970s, including a postcard from an old girlfriend of Iosbaker’s.
“They said they would determine what was evidence later,” Power said.
Weiner, who said she and her husband for years have been active in labor causes and the anti-war movement, complained the search was an attempt to intimidate her and other activists.
“We aren’t doing anything differently than we have in 20 years,” said Weiner, a teacher at Wilbur Wright College. Iosbaker is a staff member at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a union steward for Service Employees International Union Local 73.
Burke said he received a grand jury subpoena requesting records of payments to Abudayyeh’s organization as well as two groups among the State Department’s list of foreign terrorist organizations, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The subpoena also requested “items relating to trips to Colombia, Jordan, Syria, the Palestinian territories of Israel.” Burke said he toured Colombia eight years ago with members of an oil workers union there.
Burke, a former school custodian-turned-stay-at-home father, belongs to the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, a group mentioned in subpoenas and search warrants issued Friday to activists in Minneapolis.
Burke said he knows Weiner, Iosbaker and Abudayyeh from years of involvement in demonstrations and activities in Chicago. Most of the people whose homes were searched or who were issued subpoenas attended anti-war rallies at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., he said.
In Minneapolis, according to the Pioneer Press, the homes of Minnesota Anti-War Committee “organizers Mick Kelly, Jess Sundin and Meredith Aby were among those searched. The organization’s office also was searched.”
“I have no idea what all this is about,” said Kelly’s attorney, Ted Dooley. “Mr. Kelly is an activist; he’s a socialist or perhaps a communist and has been forever. He never hides his political views. They’re fishing. They’re casting big nets into the sea of political activism.” . . . The home of Tracy Molms, 29, who works with Students for a Democratic Society [at the University of Minnesota], also was searched. The fifth person whose home was searched didn’t want the name made public, Sundin said.
RBO wrote in September 2008 about the “new” SDS here.
Molms said she’d traveled to “Palestine” in 2004. She said she’d raised money for the trip in the Twin Cities activist community.
A press release by Burke was posted at the Workers World web site. It includes the name of Steff Yorek, “one of the activists whose homes was searched.”
Yorek, a member of AFSCME who is also an organizer for the Minnesota Coalition for a People’s Bailout, as well as a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, is with the University of Minnesota.
“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.”
SDS, in its statement following the raids, said it would “stand in solidarity with their brothers and sisters across the country in the face of FBI repression of progressive causes.”
The SDS item included the name of another radical group raised in the raids, National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera. Palmera is a FARC revolutionary who was convicted in July 2007 “in federal court of helping hold three Americans hostage for years in jungle prison camps.”
Fox News Chicago reports:
“Among the targets of the raids were Jessica Sundin, who led a 10,000-person anti-war march on the opening day of the Republican National Convention in 2008, and Mick Kelly, who was part of Sundin’s 2008 protest and who has planned to march in Minneapolis if the Democratic National Convention is held there in 2012.”
The World Socialist Web Site “clarifies” the identities of these groups:
“FARC is a nationalist, peasant-based organization at war with the US-backed regime in Columbia; the PFLP is the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, or PLO; and Hezbollah is a mass Islamic political party in Lebanon with a paramilitary wing that has fought off invasions by Israel.
The political nature of the raids was barely concealed. The warrant to raid Kelly’s home specifically cited his membership in a group calling itself socialist, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO).”
“The targeted activists have done nothing wrong. They are long-time organizers in the struggle for justice in the United States and against U.S. wars and repression abroad. They are leaders of organizations like the Twin-Cities Anti-War Committee, the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Colombia Action Network and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, among others. Many of the targeted activists helped organize the successful mass mobilizations at the RNC in Minneapolis, Minn. in 2008. Now, the government is attempting to implicate them in a bogus federal “terrorism” investigation. These allegations are baseless, reactionary and wrong.
The aim of the FBI raids is clearly the suppression of free speech and dissent. The government wants all activists to be afraid to speak out. And the Obama administration’s Justice Department is now leading the charge. But we cannot allow the government to stamp out the right of people to advocate for political beliefs that do not align with the aims of the Pentagon war machine. We cannot allow them to continue to erode our civil rights and civil liberties.
ANSWER encourages all anti-war activists to follow the example of the targeted activists if you are confronted by the FBI or other police agencies. The activists have refused to engage in conversations with the FBI about their political beliefs and anti-war organizing.”
P.S. The radical Left has turned on the Chosen One. Where once he was cheered, he is now reviled. Just saying.