CSFR Report: May 13 - 22: New revelations about FBI repression, escalation of government attacks on activists

In this report:

  • Secret FBI documents reveal attack on democratic rights of anti-war and international solidarity activists
  • New government repression of activists with raid of Carlos Montes' house
  • More solidarity statements with the CSFR
  • Website updates, Pledge of Resistance and Petition signers
  • Upcoming events in LA and Minneapolis
  • Conference call and legislative working group meeting for the CSFR
  • Congresswoman Sheila Jackson points to CSFR case as example of PATRIOT Act abuses
  • Organization of American States Inter-American Court on Human Rights takes note of FBI raids

Secret FBI documents reveal attack on democratic rights of anti-war and international solidarity activists

FBI agents, who raided the home of Mick Kelly and Linden Gawboy, took with them thousands of pages of documents and books, along with computers, cell phones and a passport. By mistake, they also left something behind; the operation plans for the raid, “Interview questions” for anti-war and international solidarity activists, duplicate evidence collection forms, etc. The file of secret FBI documents was accidentally mixed in with Gawboy’s files, and was found in a filing cabinet on April 30. On May 18 they were released to the public.

Taken as a whole, the secret FBI file shows the willful disregard for the rights of anti-war and international solidarity activists – particularly the first amendment rights to freedom of speech and association. The documents make it clear that legal activity in solidarity with the peoples of Colombia and Palestine is being targeted. The documents use McCarthy-era language, which gives one the feel that the 1950s red scare has returned. And finally, the documents show the chilling plans for the armed raid that took place at the home of Kelly and Gawboy on September 24, 2010.

The release of the documents gained national attention from the media. The CSFR estimates that hundreds of thousands of people learned about the government repression of antiwar and international solidarity activists from this story, which was reported nationally and internationally in the Washington Post, Associated Press, Democracy Now!, Electronic Intifada, Firedoglake, WikiLeaks Central, The UpTake, Twin Cities Indymedia, Fight Back! News and many other news outlets.

The FBI documents and the full explanation of their contents can be viewed at StopFBI.net.

New attacks on activists with raid of Carlos Montes' house

On May 17, 2011 at 5:00 AM the SWAT Team of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and members of the FBI raided the home of Carlos Montes, a long time Chicano activist and active member of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. The SWAT Team smashed the front door and rushed in with automatic weapons as Carlos slept. The team of Sheriffs and FBI proceeded to ransack his house, taking his computer, cell phones and hundreds of documents, photos, diskettes and mementos of his current political activities in the pro-immigrant rights and Chicano civil rights movement. Also taken were hundreds of historical documents related to Carlos Montes’ involvement in the Chicano movement for the past 44 years.

Carlos was arrested on one charge dealing with a firearm code and released on bail the following morning. His first court appearance is set for June 16, 2011.

This attack on Carlos Montes is part of the campaign of FBI harassment taking place against the 23 peace and justice activists which has until now been centered in the Midwest. Carlos Montes’ name was listed on the subpoena left in the office of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee last September 24. When Carlos Montes was placed in the LA County Sheriff's car, an FBI agent approached and asked him questions about the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

The CSFR organized national call-in days to Attorney General Holder on May 19 and May 20, and the LA Committee to Stop FBI Repression held a press conference and rally in support of Montes on May 20. The LA Committee to Stop FBI Repression will hold a public meeting about the raid on May 24.

Read the full story here

New solidarity statements with the CSFR

On May 19, Henry Bayer, the director of AFSCME Council 31, wrote a letter to Attorney General Holder denouncing the FBI raids on activists, including one of AFSCME Council 31's members, Stephanie Weiner. Bayer's letter says in part, "As a trade unionist whose movement has a rich history of protest, I am very concerned when an activist's home is invaded and is made subject to investigation. Some of the sorriest chapters in our nation's history have involved the suppression of dissent. I would hope that as the nation's chief law enforcement officer, you would make it clear to everyone in the Department of JUstice, and to the entire law enforcement community that the suppression of dissent will not be tolerated on your watch."

With AFSCME Council 31's solidarity, there are now unions and labor organizations representing over 700,000 workers who stand with the antiwar and solidarity activists being targeted by the FBI.

The CSFR also received solidarity statements from the Memphis International Solidarity Committee
and the Third Unitarian Church of Chicago Social Action Committee.

Over 400 organizations have issued statements of solidarity with the CSFR.

Website updates, Pledge of Resistance and Petition signers now visible

We have made some updates to the website. The Pledge to Resist FBI and Grand Jury Repression now shows all 3,070 people who have signed the pledge and wished to make their name public. Similarly, the National Petition hosted by the International Action Center now shows the 3,445 people who have publicly signed the petition. We encourage our supporters to continue gathering signatures for the Pledge to Resist FBI Repression.

Upcoming events in LA and Minneapolis

We urge our supporters in Minneapolis and Los Angeles to attend two important events:

5/24/2011 Los Angeles: Stop the Repression: Public meeting about the FBI raid on activist Carlos Montes
5/27/2011 Minneapolis: Solidarity is NOT a Crime! Protest U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder!

If you would like to organize an event or host a speaker from the CSFR, please contact us at info@stopfbi.net.

Conference call and legislative working group meeting for the CSFR

There will be a national conference call of the CSFR on Tuesday May 24 at 9:00pm EST. The dial-in number is 1-270-696-2525 and the access code is 179488. The meeting will discuss updates on the government's repression of antiwar and solidarity activists, followed by updates on the legislative working group's efforts to obtain more statements from legislators. To date, seven congressional representatives have written letters](http://www.stopfbi.net/statements-legislators-about-case) expressing concern about the case.

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson points to CSFR case as example of PATRIOT Act abuses

On Thursday, May 12, the 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.

Organization of American States Inter-American Court on Human Rights takes note of FBI raids

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 (full report is attached below). The IACHR discusses the FBI raids in a section called "Evaluation of the state of freedom of expression in the hemisphere."

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression welcomes the fact that the government repression against antiwar and solidarity activists within the United States is gaining the attention of international observers concerned about human rights. The CSFR urges other international human rights observers to assist with the defense of the activists being unjustly targeted by the FBI for their freedom of expression.

Read the full story here

Donate

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression is an all volunteer, grassroots effort. Your donations are urgently needed to raise the funds and resources necessary to continue to build the fightback against FBI repression and to contribute towards the legal defense fund for those targeted in the September 24th FBI raids. We depend on our supporters to contribute generously so as to help cover legal expenses, pay for expenses with speaking tours, and help provide the resources to broaden the movement.

Please visit our donate page and consider making a contribution today.