The Tampa 5 - Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro, Laura Rodriguez, Jeanie K, and Chrisley Carpio
On Friday, September 24, FBI agents raided four homes of anti-war and social justice activists in Minneapolis, the offices of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee (AWC), two homes in Chicago, and others in Michigan and North Carolina. All of the activists targeted have been involved in legal, open political work against U.S. wars and for solidarity with the people of Palestine and Latin America. None have yet been charged with any crime. Reports indicate that this raid was more than a year in the making, and it follows on the heels of a U.S. Justice Department investigation revealing that the FBI has been illegally spying on activists in the peace and social justice movements for several years. Activists had their computers, cell phones, other personal effects, and even their children’s artwork carted away for probing by the Feds.
These raids appear to target activists for their political affiliations and ideas. The fact that an organization very similar to the Northland Anti-War Coalition, in the same state, had its offices raided should give all Northland activists pause. Whether or not we personally agree with the politics of those under investigation, all activists are potential targets, and we must stand in solidarity with those who are victimized, lest we be next.
The FBI says it is looking for ties between the targeted activists and so-called Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). Many local residents in various organizations, secular and religious, have visited the Middle East and Latin America and met with groups that have perspectives at odds with U.S. authorities’. Equating peace and justice solidarity with support for terrorism is false and sets a chilling precedent, betraying the democratic principles enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.
The Northland Anti-War Coalition rejects the criminalization of solidarity, anti-war and social justice activism.
We reject the notion that the United States Government has a right to arbitrarily label foreign organizations “Terrorist” based not on their tactics, but on whether or not their aims conform to U.S. foreign policy.
We demand that the FBI return everything taken from the raided homes and office and that the Obama Administration issue an apology to the targeted activists.
We refuse to be intimidated by the FBI’s actions. We call on all people of conscience in the Twin Ports area to join us in a protest for money for jobs and schools, not for war on October 11, 5 p.m. in front of the Historic Old Central High School and 6:15 p.m. in front of City Hall.
For more information, please see www.northlandantiwar.blogspot.com, or contact 715-919-0214.