Critics: Purpose was orchestrated and unlikely to find evidence of any ties to Hezbollah, PFLP and FARC.
In a replay of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s infamous COINTELPRO operations targeting the left during the 1960s and ’70s, America’s political police launched raids on the homes of antiwar and solidarity activists.
Heavily-armed SWAT teams smashed down doors and agents armed with search warrants carried out simultaneous raids in Minneapolis and Chicago early morning on September 24.
Rummaging through personal belongings, agents carted off boxes of files, documents, books, letters, photographs, computers and cell phones from Minneapolis antiwar activists Mick Kelly, Jessica Sundin, Meredith Aby, two others, as well as the office of that city’s Anti-War Committee.
Meanwhile, as federal snoops seized personal property in Minneapolis, FBI agents raided the Chicago homes of activists Stephanie Weiner and Joseph Iosbaker. According to the Chicago Tribune, “neighbors saw FBI agents carrying boxes from the apartment of community activist Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the Arab American Action Network.”
“In addition,” the Tribune reported, “Chicago activist Thomas Burke said he was served a grand jury subpoena that requested records of any payments to Abudayyeh or his group.”
Amongst those targeted by the FBI were individuals who organized peaceful protests against the imperialist invasion and occupation of Iraq and 2008 protests at the far-right Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.
As Antifascist Calling reported in 2008 and 2009, citing documents published by the whistleblowing web site WikiLeaks, state and local police, the FBI and agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Pentagon’s Northern Command (NORTHCOM), the United States Secret Service, the National Security Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency implemented an action plan designed to monitor and squelch dissent during the convention.
As part of that plan’s execution, activists and journalists were preemptively arrested, and cameras, recording equipment, computers and reporters’ confidential notes were seized. Demonstrations were broken up by riot cops who wielded batons, pepper spray and tasers and attacked peaceful protesters who had gathered to denounce the war criminals’ conclave in St. Paul.
With Friday’s raids, the federal government under “change” huckster Barack Obama, has taken their repressive program to a whole new level, threatening activists with the specter of being charged with providing “material support of terrorism.” A felony conviction under this draconian federal law (Title 18, Part I, Chapter 113B, § 2339B) carries a 15 year prison term.
The trend by federal, state and corporate securocrats to situate antiwar and international solidarity activism along a bogus “terrorism continuum,” is an alarming sign that plans for building an American police state are well underway as I pointed out in my 2008 analysis of the FBI’s “Counterterrorism Analytical Lexicon.”
Recently, the secrecy-spilling web site Public Intelligence posted 137 bulletins produced by the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR), an American-Israeli company, under terms of a $125,000 contract to the Pennsylvania Office of Homeland Security.
Billing itself as “the preeminent Israeli/American security firm providing training, intelligence and education to clients across the globe,” ITRR is part of a large, but little understood nexus of “public-private partnerships” fusing state and corporate surveillance against leftists and environmentalists.
Amongst the targets of ITRR’s alarmist screeds were anti-drilling and environmental activists, permanent quarry for corporate spies and provocateurs, as the web site Green Is The New Red (GNR) amply documents.
Earlier this month, GNR reported that while ITRR and their political paymasters have been monitoring non-violent activists, “including a film screening of Gasland,” Pennsylvania’s heimat security boss James Powers wrote in an email that his office intended to “continue providing this support to the Marcellus Shale Formation natural gas stakeholders while not feeding those groups fomenting dissent against those same companies.”
In the bizarre parallel universe inhabited by Powers and his Israeli cohorts, anti-drilling activists are “ecoterrorists,” while the mass-murdering neo-Nazi mastermind of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people including 19 children, Timothy McVeigh, was “just a person very angry with the U.S. government.”
While corporate polluters and criminals get a free pass from the federal government and an anti-Muslim and anti-Arab crusade is in full-swing, stoked by right-wing goons and their media shills, it is little wonder then, that Friday’s raids targeted supporters of the Palestinian solidarity movement.
With a pretext that the raids were seeking “evidence related to an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation,” FBI spokesperson Steve Warfield told The New York Times that repressors are “looking at activities connected to the material support of terrorism.”
Attorney Ted Dooley who represents Mick Kelly, a union- and socialist activist targeted by the Bureau told the Times that the SWAT team broke down Kelly’s door at 7 a.m. on Friday and served a search warrant on his companion.
According to Dooley, the warrant claimed the secret state was searching for “evidence” that activist groups had provided “material support” to “Hezbollah, the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.”
Activism in the Age of Tyranny and Terror – G20 Report