May 14, 2013

CSFR Updates and News for May 2013


Carlos Montes, Two-Years Since FBI Raid

Two years ago on May 17, 2011, Chicano leader and immigrant rights activist Carlos Montes awoke to the FBI and LA Sheriffs breaking down his door, waving around automatic weapons, and ransacking his home.  They took Montes computer, phone, political documents, and notes for a book on the Chicano movement. After the LA Sheriffs arrested him, the FBI tried to question Montes about his political affiliations. 

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression sprang into action and organized a solidarity campaign to stop the imprisonment of Montes on felony charges. See article: Montes Faces 22 Years   

The CSFR organized protests at Montes court dates, and call-in days to President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and the LA District Attorney Steve Cooley. In a victory against political repression, Carlos Montes avoided prison and continues to organize for immigrant rights, and against war abroad and political repression at home.  See article: Carlos Montes Case Victory


Humanitarian worker Amina Ali faces life in prison

Come to the sentencing hearing Thursday, May 16, 10:00 a.m.
Minneapolis Federal Courthouse, 300 S 4th St, downtown Minneapolis

Amina Farah Ali, a Somali humanitarian worker and activist from Rochester, MN, was convicted of providing “material support for a foreign terrorist organization” last year. She will have a sentencing hearing May 15, 10:00 a.m., at the Minneapolis Federal Court.

Ali raised money to help destitute people in her homeland and stood accused of helping al-Shabab, an Islamist organization that fights to free Somalia from foreign domination. The case of Amina Farah Ali is one of the many examples of repression that have been directed at the Somali community.

Amina Ali did nothing wrong. She worked hard to help people in need and now faces life in prison for her efforts. She deserves the support of everyone who cares about justice.


Free the Cuban Five!
A solidarity statement by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression 

Many of the U.S. government’s recent campaigns of repression, including the September 2010 FBI raids, grand jury subpoenas, and ongoing investigation of anti-war and international solidarity activists known as the Anti-War 23, have been pursued under the guise of investigating “material support of terrorism.” The bankruptcy of this rationale is revealed when we look to another ongoing case of political repression by the U.S. government – this time attacking individuals who were actively working to prevent terrorist attacks – the Cuban 5. The FBI targeted these five men because they were monitoring terrorist groups that the U.S. government supports. They were working to defend the country of Cuba from terrorist attacks.

Since the victory of the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Cuba has been the target of more terrorist attacks than any other country in the world. 3,478 Cuban citizens have been killed in these attacks and 2,099 have been injured. The overwhelming majority of the attacks originated in southern Florida. The attacks were launched by groups who have been sheltered and in some cases financed by the U.S. government. Gerardo Hernandez, Ramón Labañino, Fernando Gonzalez, Antonio Guerrero and René Gonzalez, now collectively known as the Cuban Five, were working to monitor the groups who have led and threatened these terrorist attacks. Their work to prevent further acts of terror from being unleashed on the Cuban people led to their arrest by FBI agents in Miami in September 1998.

The U.S. government has kept the Cuban Five imprisoned since September 12, 1998, convicted of “conspiracy to commit espionage.” There is no evidence, nor is there even an accusation, that these men engaged in any actual acts of espionage. They did nothing wrong – they only worked to defend Cuban sovereignty and defend the Cuban people from attacks. Their case has garnered international attention, including from a United Nations working group, which found that the imprisonment of the Five was a case of arbitrary detention and is in violation of Article 14 of the International Convention on Civil and Political Liberties.

The real reason for the imprisonment of the Cuban Five has nothing to do with espionage, just as the more recent acts of repression against international solidarity activists have nothing to do with combating terrorism. These are acts of political repression, plain and simple. Whether for defending Cuban sovereignty and the Cuban people, or for supporting people resisting U.S. wars and occupations in other parts of the world, the Cuban Five and the Anti-War 23 were all targeted for their opposition to the foreign policy aims of the U.S. government.

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression stands in solidarity with the Cuban Five and condemns the ongoing repression against these heroes of the Cuban people. We call for the immediate release of the four of the Cuban Five who remain imprisoned. Defending the Cuban people is not a crime!

Take action for the Cuban 5! 

Join the week of action for the Cuban 5 in Washington D.C. from May 30 – June 5, 2013. There will be rally in front of the White House on Saturday, June 1st at 1:00 p.m. Info on the week of actions here:

* One of the five, René Gonzalez, was released from prison on October 7, 2011 but was forced to stay in Southern Florida on probation. He finally won the freedom to return home to Cuba earlier this month.


CSFR Visits US Congress, Demands End to Investigation

Four activists visited the US Congress on behalf of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) during the week of April 15, 2013.  Two members of Chicago’s Coalition to Protect People’s Rights and two friends of the Bay Area chapter of CSFR. 

The activists visited Congresspersons from Illinois, Michigan, and California, asking the legislators who already supported the Midwest 23, and others, to sign on to the letter below. The new letter demands that Acting U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of Illinois Gary Shapiro and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder end their investigation of the 23, and publicly exonerate them all. Scores of notable supporters signed the letter already and we are asking others to now: Signatories to Holder and Shapiro Letter.

This investigation is over two and a half years old, and the lead Assistant U.S. Attorney on the case, Barry Jonas, told one of the 23 at a speaking event shut down by CAPR that the statute of limitations is 8 years, an arrogant promise to continue harassing activists and making their lives difficult. CSFR is asking all our friends and supporters across the country to take this letter to your legislators and ask them to sign on as well.  It is time to end the investigation.  

From:  The Committee to Stop FBI Repression
PO Box 14183, Minneapolis, MN  55414

To: Eric Holder, Attorney General United States of America
Gary Shapiro, Acting U.S. Attorney Northern District of Illinois
Cc: Robert Mueller, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation 

September 20th, 2012 

Dear Sirs, 

We, the undersigned, are a group of elected officials, educators, and labor, community and religious activists. Each, in our own way, has been involved for many years in the fight for human rights and equality for people of the United States and throughout the world. 

We write to you to request that your continuing criminal investigation, now going on for over two years, into the First Amendment protected activities of anti-war and international solidarity activists be terminated and that your office make a formal announcement of this determination. 

As you are aware, the FBI raided the homes of nine activists in September of 2010, and their personal property was seized, including thousands of books, pamphlets, photographs and other materials, all protected by the First Amendment. The search warrants authorizing these raids falsely alleged that the families targeted were involved in providing material support for terrorism. 

Over the course of the next several months, twenty-three teachers, students and supporters of justice for the people of Palestine and Colombia, including the nine whose homes were raided, were subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury impaneled in the Northern District of Illinois. Each of the people subpoenaed refused to testify, asserting their constitutional rights and stating that they believed that the government was using the grand jury to chill the exercise of their political right to question U.S. foreign policy. 

Two years have passed, ample time for the government to fully investigate any allegations of criminal conduct by any of the people targeted, yet the investigation and chilling effect on political freedom continues. The people subpoenaed suffer under a cloud of unresolved government accusations and fear of criminal charges, which unjustly impairs their right to be politically active and criticize government policy. 

It’s well past time for this investigation to end. Several months ago, your office announced that Goldman Sachs would not be indicted as a result of your investigation into their conduct, and last month you also announced that no one would be indicted for the torture of captured Afghan militants. It would behoove you, under any standard of fairness, to now announce the end of your investigation of the people whose homes were raided two years ago and who were subpoenaed to your grand jury.