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FBI cites terror link in raids of local activists
The FBI raided the Minneapolis homes of five antiwar activists, including three leaders of the Twin Cities peace movement, Friday morning as part of what it called a probe of “activities concerning the material support of terrorism.”
The Minneapolis office of an antiwar organization was also raided, protest leaders said. No one was arrested in any of the raids.
FBI spokesman Steve Warfield said the searches were conducted at about 7 a.m. Lawyers said the agents seized computers, cell phones and documents in the protesters’ homes.
The federal search warrants in Minneapolis were related to an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force, Warfield said. He offered no details.
Protest leaders said the raids surprised them. Mick Kelly, whose home was searched, played a central role in the 2008 demonstrations at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Asked if he was involved in illegal activities, he replied, “Absolutely not.”
Ted Dooley, Kelly’s attorney, called the raids “a probe into the political beliefs of American citizens and any organization anywhere that opposes the American imperial design.” He said the warrants cited a federal law making it a violation to provide or conspire to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations.
The warrant for the raid on Kelly’s apartment, in the 1800 block of Riverside Avenue, sought notebooks, address books, photos and maps of Kelly’s travels to the Palestinian territories, Colombia and in the United States on behalf of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. It also sought materials on his personal finances and those of the group, on Kelly’s “potential co-conspirators” and recruitment efforts for the group.
The warrant also sought any information about efforts to support FARC, a guerrilla organization in Colombia, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Hezbollah, the political and paramilitary organization based in Lebanon.
Activists rally after FBI conducts terrorism searches
September 25, 2010 — Activist groups came together Saturday to denounce a series of FBI raids.
Homes in Chicago and Minneapolis were searched in what is being described as a terrorism investigation.
No arrests were made, but some of the people whose homes were searched have been subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury.
The activists who were targeted say they have done nothing wrong. Supporters say the raids will have a chilling effect on civil liberties.
Joe Iosbaker and his wife say they’ve marched, protested, and organized on behalf of several causes. But because they’re scheduled to appear before a grand jury next month, they couldn’t say what specifically about their work has drawn the FBI’s attention.
“We have done nothing wrong,” Joe Iosbaker said to a crowd gathered Saturday.
Joined by dozens of supporters and activists, Joe Iosbaker and Stephanie Weiner denounced the FBI search of their home.
“These raids, searches, and grand jury investigations are nothing more than an attempt to intimidate us and to intimidate the anti-war movement,” said Iosbaker.
The couple’s Northwest Side house was one of two in Chicago raided by the FBI Friday. Agents also searched five homes and an office in Minneapolis as part of a grand jury investigation into “activities concerning the material support of terrorism,” an FBI spokesperson said.
The FBI hasn’t said what their raids turned up, but Iosbaker and Weiner say agents took more than 30 boxes of papers and personal items.
“They took documents showing their political involvement in the 70s, the 80s, and the 90s. They took baby cards. They took postcards from old girlfriends,” said Melinda Power, attorney for Iosbaker and Weiner.
Iosbaker is a union steward for the SEIU, and he and his wife have been outspoken critics of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as of the United States’ support for Israel and Colombia.
“All we ever did was work against U.S. military aid to the governments of Colombia and Israel and to support the peoples of Colombia and Israel in their struggle for justice,” said Iosbaker.
“It’s really about silencing a strong movement and intimidating a strong movement,” Weiner said.
But other than marching and organizing, the couple and their attorney declined to offer specifics about their work, including where they’ve traveled.
“You can’t confirm whether or not you’ve been overseas?” asked ABC7 Chicago’s Eric Horng.
“I’ve just said we will not be answering those questions because there’s a pending grand jury,” answered Attorney. Power.
The Chicago office of the FBI also said it couldn’t comment on the details of the affidavit that led to the search warrants and subpoenas.
Activists see an opportunity with these searches to raise awareness about their causes. They’ve already scheduled two demonstrations in Chicago: one on Monday and another next month.