Last year, the FBI raided seven homes of activists in Minneapolis and Chicago on September 24. Fourteen activists were issued subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury. The FBI also raided the Minnesota Anti-War Committee’s office. Seventy agents mobilized and seized documents, cell phones, computers and other personal property. The activists are still under investigation and ten more activists have been targeted since the initial raids.
The Chicago Committee Against Political Repression, an ad-hoc group formed to defend the targeted activists, and the Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago held a demonstration that involved street theater to show Chicagoans the kind of repression activists have faced over the last year. The theater featured two people dressed up like FBI agents who threw a net on a Palestinian solidarity, an antiwar and a Colombian solidarity activist to show the type of activists the FBI has targeted.
Each activist targeted in the skit gives a short monologue on why the FBI had no right to go “fishing” in their homes for evidence to incriminate them for engaging in activism. The antiwar activist says the FBI should stop “fishing” in her children’s bedrooms and taking the art off her walls (which the FBI did). The Colombia solidarity activist condemns the FBI for raiding her home, “armed to the teeth,” when she was alone with her one-year-old daughter and the Palestinian solidarity activist calls out the US government for putting those who support for freedom for Palestine in jail.
In addition to reenacting what happened to the activists, the street theater also included a dramatization of the FBI trying to get back the operations manual for the raids and investigations, which it left behind when ruffling through one of the targeted activists’ home. The manual includes the questions FBI agents were to try to get the activists to answer and demonstrates how the activists are the targets of a domestic spying agency carrying out a neo-COINTELPRO operation.
Stephanie Weiner, a Palestine solidarity activist who was targeted in September, spoke about some of the specifics of the investigation. Most important, Weiner communicated to supporters and media present that nobody is in jail and the activists have been successful in pushing back against the FBI’s attempt to intimidate dissenting groups in the Midwest.
The targeted activists are holding events in Chicago on September 24. In Chicago, a gathering will be held at a church where targeted activists and supporters can reflect on the past year. In Minneapolis, a rally is being held at one of the targeted homes and then targeted activists and supporters will march to a church.
For more specific details on the FBI investigation go here. The Dissenter will be covering the anniversary over the next few days to remind US citizens of the significance of the FBI repression.