Updated Info--At Least Four Minneapolis Houses Raided, Activists Subpoenaed in National FBI "Terror" Expedition Against Antiwar Activists
Press Conference: 4pm, 2911 Park Ave., Minneapolis
Community Meeting: 5:30pm, Walker Church, 3100 16th Ave S., Minneapolis
See also Fight Back News: Activists Denounce FBI Raids on Anti-War and Solidarity Activists' Homes
The social justice community in Minneapolis continued to respond Friday afternoon to the raids of several of its members homes, which started before 7am this morning. (See previous TCIMC article—Minneapolis Houses Raided)
Since then, a dozen activists have been served with grand jury subpoenas, including many in Minneapolis, according to Fight Back News. It is believed the federal grand jury is centered in Chicago, and is investigating alleged ties to "foreign terrorist organizations"—a charge which activists have immediately dismissed as illegitimate and unjustified.
The Star Tribune reported earlier today that according to an FBI spokesperson, a total of six homes were raided in Minneapolis and two in Chicago. This statement is unconfirmed by activists, who have identified at least four of the homes in Minneapolis—one above Hard Times Cafe in Cedar-Riverside, one north of Powderhorn Park, one on Park Avenue near Lake Street and one in Stevens Square. Antiwar leaders have said that other members of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization were targeted with raids, surveillance and subpoenas in Michigan, North Carolina and potentially California.
Grand juries are a mechanism historically used to repress and gather information on unpopular social movements; no attorney or judge is present in a grand jury interrogation. Activists who defy grand juries risking imprisonment on civil or criminal contempt.
Outside the raid above Hard Times Cafe, one person at the cafe as the raid began said that he saw about a dozen FBI agents, some with large guns, outside. Conflicting reports from the other raids indicate that agents attempted to keep their presence low-key, without large marked vehicles or heavily armed SWAT teams—although Jess Sundin told the AP that a SWAT team entered her house first, then left to be replaced by other agents. But outside Hard Times Cafe, a number of the unmarked vehicles included at least one with an "official business" sign from the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) in addition to the FBI.
The mood outside the cafe and apartment was one of defiance, with activists and supporters vowing solidarity in the face of repression. Early in the afternoon, agents began to remove boxes with unknown contents from the apartment, and eventually departed. The search warrant for 1823 Riverside called for search and seizure of such a laundry list of items, including electronic equipment, documents, financial records, literature, and more, that "it might have well just said 'everything'," someone remarked after seeing a copy.
The Uptake, in addition to almost every local corporate news outlet, was present at two of the raids in the morning and posted a short video report on their site. (Photo credit above)
No immediate information was available Friday afternoon about the raids in Chicago. The FBI spokesman, however, said that like in the Minneapolis raids, there were no arrests. He added to the AP in Chicago that there was no "imminent threat to the community" - raising the question of how anyone could be suspected of terrorist ties without an imminent danger.
The answer, of course, lies in the increasing trend of the state in using "terrorism" charges to justify repression against activists, lately in Minnesota through the Green Scare, the RNC 8, and as many have predicted might happen, now against antiwar activists as well.
Star Tribune coverage (with photos/video)
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