Timeline of events
September 24: Over 70 FBI agents simultaneously raid homes and serve subpoenas to prominent antiwar and international solidarity activists in Minneapolis, MN, Chicago, IL, and Grand Rapids, MI.
- FBI agents seize documents, computers, cell phones, passports, family photos and children's artwork.
- FBI agents also visit and attempt to question activists in Milwaukee, WI, Durham, NC, and San Jose, CA.
- Fourteen subpoenas to a federal grand jury in Chicago are issued, ordering the subpoenaed activists to appear before the grand jury on October 5, 12 and 19, 2010.
- Search warrants and subpoenas indicate that the FBI is looking for evidence related to the "material support of terrorism".
September 28: The San Francisco Labor Council becomes the first labor organization to issue a strong condemnation of the FBI raids. Eventually, dozens of trade union locals, labor councils, and other organizations of labor – collectively representing over 800,000 workers – will issue statements and take action.
September 24 - October 1: Thousands of Americans take to the streets and hold protests in front of FBI and federal buildings to protest the raids. Over sixty cities across the country hold demonstrations. The International Action Center initiates a national petition to Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama, quickly generating thousands of signatures. Hundreds of antiwar, civil liberties, student, religious, and international solidarity organizations begin to issue statements of solidarity and organize actions in support of those being targeted by the FBI.
October 1: The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 5 issues statement condemning the FBI raids on anti-war activists and union members at its state convention. Council 5 is the union of 46,000 public sector workers in Minnesota. Many of the people subpoenaed from Minnesota are members of AFSCME Local 3800.
October 5, 12, 19: Each of the fourteen subpoenaed activists declines to appear before the grand jury, pleading his or her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The U.S. Attorney's office temporarily suspends the activists' subpoenas.
October 8: FBI agents continued their campaign against anti-war activists in the Twin Cities. Jenny Eisert, a member of the Anti-War Committee said, "FBI agents came to my work and wanted to talk to me about activists in the anti-war movement. I was called away from my desk and when I refused to talk to them, they tried to turn me against my friends and fellow activists."
October 18: Sixty-two members of the Minnesota State Legislature, including members of the leadership of the State House and Senate, sign a "Dear Colleague" letter (based on this resolution) addressing President Obama, U.S. Senators Klobuchar and Franken, and Minnesota’s U.S. House delegation, supporting their constituents targeted by the FBI raids. Also on October 18, 68 organizations and dozens of public figures demand an end to FBI investigations and Grand Jury subpoenas on community activists, via a jointly signed letter. Signatories include the American Friends Service Committee (Western Region), National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, and American-Arab anti-Discrimination Committee, as well as four San Francisco Supervisors, and Rashida Tlaib of the Michigan House of Representatives.
October 23: When President Obama came to speak in Minneapolis, activists handed out thousands of leaflets and got hundreds of post cards signed by Obama supporters calling on the FBI to stop attacks on the anti-war and international solidarity movement.
November 2: The U.S. Attorney's office notified lawyers that three of the original 14 people subpoenaed would have their subpoenas reactivated. Later that week, Anh Pham, Tracy Molm and Sarah Martin were named as the three to be reactivated.
November 6: First national coalition meeting of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression held in New York City. Over 150 people attend very successful meeting, which builds broad coalition support and motivation to stop FBI harassment of the movement and to defend the activists under attack.
November 17: Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) writes letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder about the FBI raids and subpoenas against anti-war activists.
November 17 - December 2: Three delegations of subpoenaed activists and supporters go to Washington D.C. and meet with dozens of U.S. Congresspeoples' offices about the case and urge them to speak out and take action to stop the grand jury harassment of anti-war and solidarity activists.
November 19: Open Letter signed by 43 prominent community, civil and human rights organizations to President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, Jr and the U.S. Congress, condeming the FBI and grand jury attacks on anti-war & international solidarity activists.
November 22: Government asks for and is granted renewal of sealing of the applications used to obtain the warrants for the raids on homes and offices on September 24. So the secret investigation continues.
Early November: FBI agents attempt to visit home of a former member of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee.
December 3: Three new women in Chicago are subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury on January 25, 2011. The three went on a delegation to Palestine together in the summer 2009. Two are Palestinian-American and the other one Sarah Smith is Jewish. Smith made this public statement. This brings the total number of subpoenas to 17.
December 8: Two more anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists in Chicago are subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury on January 25, 2011. This brings the subpoena total to 19.
December 21 (Chicago): FBI delivers four new subpoenas to Palestine solidarity activists in Chicago, including Maureen Murphy, a journalist and organizer with the Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago. Murphy released this statement after receiving a subpoena. The subpoenas order them to a January 25, 2011 grand jury date. This brings the total number of activists subpoenaed to 23.
December 21 (Minneapolis): Dozens of activists and progressive organizations in Minnesota get together to request a copy of their FBI files under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to attempt to learn how broad the surveillance and harassment of progressive movements goes.
January 12: At a press conference in Minneapolis, activists announce that a law enforcement officer infiltrated the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee (AWC) . The infiltrator went by the name Karen Sullivan, joined the AWC in April 2008, and about a year later she joined the Freedom Road Socialist Organization .
January 25: Grand jury hearing date scheduled of the 9 additional people subpoenaed in December. 50 protests in 49 cities take place across the United States and the world. The nine release a statement announcing that they will not appear before the grand jury.
February 12, 19: Regional conferences of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression are held in San Francisco, CA (2/12), Chicago, IL (2/12), New York, NY (2/19), and the Triangle Area, North Carolina (2/19). Hundreds of activists participate in the conferences.
March 4: In the 2010 Annual Report of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR), a body of the Organization of American States, the IACHR took note of the FBI and grand jury repression of antiwar and international solidarity activists. The IACHR discusses the FBI raids in a section called "Evaluation of the state of freedom of expression in the hemisphere." More info & IACHR report here.
March 19: The Committee to Stop FBI Repression joins with and helps build the national day of action of local anti-war protests around the country. CSFR's flyer Opposing War is Not a Crime is distributed at local protests around the country.
April 5: Rep. David Price (4th District, North Carolina) writes letter of concern to Attorney General Eric Holder about FBI investigation of anti-war activists.
April 9,10: The Committee to Stop FBI Repression participates in and has speakers at the bi-coastal national anti-war protests in New York City and the Bay Area. CSFR's flyer Opposing War is Not a Crime is distributed at both national protests.
April 14: Congressman David Price of North Carolina’s 4th district writes a letter of concern about the FBI raids on anti-war activists to Attorney General Eric Holder. It is the third such letter by members of Congress, following letters by Rep. Keith Ellison (Minnesota) and Rep. Danny Davis (Illinois). Rep. Price is the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.
April 26: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (Illinois) writes letter to Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the September 24 FBI raids on anti-war and international solidarity activists. Rep. Schakowsky also attached a letter provided by Michael Deutsch, an attorney with the People's Law office and a member of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression legal team.
April 28: Representative Jim McDermott of the 7th District in the State of Washington writes letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder expressing concern about the targeting of political and anti-war activists, the suppression of 1st amendment protected free speech, and asking for more information on the FBI raids and Grand Jury repression.
May 2 - 4: The CSFR sends a delegation to visit with congressional offices in Washington, D.C. and meets with 25 offices in two days.
May 6: Congressman Luis Gutiérrez (D-Illinois) writes a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder expressing concerns about the FBI raids.
May 6: Bank accounts of Hatem Abudayyeh and his wife, Naima at TCF Bank are frozen. A call-in campaign was immediately lauched to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitgerald's office, which claimed they didn't initiate the freeze. The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which has the power to freeze assets, also said they were not responsible.
May 10: TCF Bank admits they had unilaterally frozen Hatem and Naima Abudayyeh's bank accounts, and after days of pressure they finally return the Abudayyehs' money.
May 12: House Judiciary Committee voted to reauthorize provisions of the PATRIOT Act. In the debate, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas spoke against the PATRIOT Act. To show that the PATRIOT Act had led to abuses of civil liberties, she pointed to the case of the 23 anti-war, labor and international solidarity activists facing FBI and grand jury repression. Her office requested a personal letter from some of the Midwest activists being subjected to this investigation, and submitted into the Congressional record this letter from Joe Iosbaker and Stephanie Weiner.
May 13: Rep. John Lewis (5th District, Georgia) sends a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder about the FBI investigation of anti-war activists.
May 17: Carlos Montes's Los Angeles-area home is raided at 5:00 a.m. by a Los Angeles County Sheriff SWAT team together with FBI agents. His door is broken down, house is ransacked, and his computer, cell phone, computer disks, photos, and 44 years worth of political activist files were taken. He was arrested and FBI agents immediately attempted to question him about the case of anti-war activists in the Midwest who had been raided on 9/24/10, and about Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
May 18: CSFR press conference: activists who had been raided in Minneapolis on September 24, 2010 announce the release of a file of secret FBI documents that the FBI apparently accidentally left behind in the raid on Mick Kelly and Linden Gawboy's apartment in Minneapolis. Gawboy stumbled across the file on April 30th while cleaning out a file cabinet (during the FBI raid, agents went through large numbers of Kelly's files, and they likely got their file mixed up in the shuffle of so many papers). The FBI documents reveal the operations plan for the raid, their military hardware and preparations for the raid, the questions they intended to ask the anti-war activists about their political ideas and activities, and more. CSFR statement on the FBI documents.
May 26: Rep. Michael Capuano (8th District, Massachusetts) writes letter to Attorney General Eric Holder about the FBI investigation of anti-war activists.
May 27: During a speaking event in Minneapolis, MN, Attorney General Eric Holder was repeatedly questioned by protesters about the case of FBI repression against anti-war activists, generating national publicity for the case.
June 13: The Washington Post runs a cover story about the case of FBI repression against anti-war activists.
June 16: Carlos Montes has his first court date stemming from the May 17 raid on his home. The Committee to Stop FBI Repression calls a national day of protests coinciding with the court date.
July 6: Carlos Montes appears in Alhambra Court, where he declared himself not guilty of six felonies relating to California’s firearm laws.
July 25: Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) writes strong letter to Attorney General Eric Holder about the FBI investigation of anti-war activists.
August 12: Carlos Montes case moved to Los Angeles courthouse. Supporters, family and friends of Carlos pack the court room and picket outside the building. A national call-in day is also mobilized to demand that the charges against Montes be dropped and that repression of anti-war activists be stopped. The first judge assigned to the case was Marylou Villar Longoria. The prosecutor exercised his right to get a different judge, so Judge Rehm will now be presiding. The prosecution agreed to return property seized in the May 17 raid on Montes’ home, including Montes’ computer, cell phone and files documenting current political activism and decades of political activism. The prosecution refused a request from Montes’ attorney Jorge Gonzales for information about communications between the FBI and Sheriff’s Department.
November 1: FBI confirms that they copied tens of thousands of documents seized from the homes of local anti-war activists; originals returned, indictments still looming
November 5: Over 150 people gathered in Chicago on November 5 for the first national conference of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.
January 24: There was an extremely serious development in Carlos Montes case concerning six felony charges. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lomeli denied the motion to dismiss, setting the stage for trial later this year.
January 24: The Northern Illinois Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas stated that the “investigation is continuing” into the case of the anti-war and international solidarity activists hit with FBI raids and grand jury repression. Barry Jonas is known for his leading role in prosecuting the leaders of the Holy Land Foundation while he was trial attorney for the Department of Justice Counter-terrorism Section.
March 27: In the first significant victory in the case of veteran Chicano leader Carlos Montes, Superior Court Judge George Lomeli handed down a ruling dismissing two of the six felony charges that are pending against Montes.
May 15: Carlos Montes' trial was moved to Wednesday, June 20, 2012. The new development deals with obtaining information needed to clarify the legal record.