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Sunday, September 26, 2010

FBI raids on peace groups unnecessary

From Wichita Peace and Freedom Party Examiner

Conservatives in the Tea Party complain of an overbearing government that interferes in our lives, but if they really mean that they should say something about the FBI using what is obviously harassment tactics against peace activists.
The latest act of harassment was a raid of the head-quarters of a group known as the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
The search warrant for 1823 Riverside, the residence of activist Mick Kelly, sought information “regarding ability to pay for his own travel” to Palestine and Columbia from 2000 to today. The warrant hyped potential documents indicating any contacts/facilitation with FARC, PFLP, and Hezbollah – what it called “FTOs” or “foreign terrorist organizations”. It mentioned seeking information on the alleged “facilitation of other individuals in the US to travel to Colombia, Palestine and any other foreign location in support of foreign terrorist organizations including but not limited to FARC, PFLP and Hezbollah”.
The group has been a solidarity and peace group for many years. some groups in the Middle-East. These groups have expressed sympathy for the above mentioned groups but have not given them any material support. Most of these groups have a shoestring budget and longtime Minneapolis anti-war activists Mick Kelly, whose home was raided, said he can barely pay his rent much less send support to the so called “FTO’s”
“The FBI said it searched eight addresses in Minneapolis and Chicago as part of a terrorism investigation Friday. Warrants suggest agents were looking for connections between local anti-war activists and terrorist groups in Colombia and the Middle East.
FBI spokesman Steve Warfield told The Associated Press agents served six warrants in Minneapolis and two in Chicago.
"These were search warrants only," Warfield said. "We're not anticipating any arrests at this time. They're seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism."
Why raid these places if they are not going to arrest people? What do they need a grand jury for? Something here just doesn’t make sense.
It’s pretty hard for peace groups and solidarity organizations across the county not to feel threatened by arrest when The FBI starts calling them supporters of terrorism. These groups have opposing opinions, but that alone is not a crime. It is free speech and it is protected by the constitution. All these groups no better than to send support to groups that are on the US terrorist list and many of these groups are pacifist and don’t support any violence. This is not about terrorism but it is about dissent. It is supposed to be legal in this society.
If we allow the government to arrest people for having the wrong opinions we are on our way to a police state or another McCarthyist era of the 1950s.

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