Friday, September 24, 2010

FBI raids homes of antiwar activists

Apparently they were searching for evidence of "material support of terrorism":

The homes of five Twin Cities activists, including three prominent leaders of the Twin Cities antiwar movement, were raided Friday by the FBI in what an agency spokesman described as an "investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism." The office of an antiwar organization also was reportedly raided.

An FBI spokesman Steve Warfield confirmed that warrants were issued on six Minneapolis addresses this morning.

Among the homes raided were the apartments of Jessica Sundin, who was a principal leader of the mass antiwar march of 10,000 on the opening day of the Republican National Convention two years ago, and Mick Kelly, who was prominent in that protest and among those who announced plans to march on the Democratic National Convention in Minneapolis, if the city is selected to host it in 2012. Neither has been arrested.

From the Star-Tribune (h/t bludstone at ontd_political, bold following bludstone's example). So there's nothing obvious to pin on these people, though they're doing their best to find something:

Dooley said the search warrants cited a federal law making it a violation to provide, attempt to provide or conspire to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.

In the search warrant on Kelly's apartment, Dooley said, "It appears they are looking into any connections, travel, etc., to Palestine and Colombia, also around the United States," he said. He said that in Kelly's case, the warrant mentions a political organization called Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Dooley said, "They are looking at any connection between him and 'FTO's,' foreign terrorist organizations, including but not limited to FARC, PFLP and Hezbollah," and any support, contact or association with those groups. FARC is a revolutionary peasant organization in Columbia, and PFLP is the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Hezoballah is a political and paramilitary organization based in Lebanon.

Dooley said the search warrant mentions documents, files, books, photographs, videos, souvenirs, war relics, notebooks, address books diaries journals, maps or any other evidence in electronic for that shows Kelly's connections to those groups, and whether he supported or recruited people or talked to them. It also mentions potential co-conspirators, Dooley said.

Hmm. Would having communicated with a member of one of the aforementioned organizations be considered "material support of terrorism"? If not, what are they trying to do? I'm thinking the real reason is simply chill; they want activists to think twice about talking to people who support causes the US government disagrees with. For instance, if you were going to book a Palestinian activist to speak at an event, you might be a bit unnerved by thoughts like "what if s/he turns out to be a member of Hezbollah or somthing? Could I be convicted of supporting terrorism?" Indeed, you might well think twice about bringing in such a speaker, just in case there was something you didn't know. And most likely, that's what the authorities want.

1 comment:

unclebob said...

So does providing a link to Al Jazeera on a blogger's website constitute signs of nefarious intent or something that should be investigated?