December 17, 2010

OPCTJ Resolution in support of Midwest anti-war activists

Whereas on September 24, 2010, the FBI carried out coordinated raids on the homes and offices of anti-war and trade union activists in Minnesota, Illinois and Michigan, during which agents confiscated computers, mailing lists, cell phones, passports, political literature, correspondence and even children’s drawings; and served subpoenas to 14 people to testify before a federal grand jury about alleged material support for foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs); and

Whereas on December 3, 2010, the FBI questioned, and served subpoenas to, three women in the Chicago area, all of whom had visited Palestine the previous summer, and, on December 8, 2010, served two additional subpoenas to activists, bringing the total of people called before a federal grand jury about alleged material support for FTOs to 19; and

Whereas from the Palmer Raids to J Edgar Hoover’s COINTELPRO, the FBI and Department of Justice have long histories of exploiting public fears in order to disrupt trade union, civil rights and anti-war organizing; and

Whereas four days prior to the September 24 raids, the Office of the Inspector General of the United States revealed that the FBI has systematically and illegally spied on political activists; that FBI director Robert Mueller lied to Congress about details of the surveillance; and that agents frequently confuse civil disobedience with “domestic terrorism”; and

Whereas on June 20, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in Holder v Humanitarian Law Project to uphold a provision of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 that defines material support for FTOs so broadly as to include legitimate humanitarian work, journalism and international solidarity; and

Whereas President Jimmy Carter has voiced concern that the Supreme Court’s June 20 ruling on material support to terrorist groups may criminalize his work to promote peace and freedom; and

Whereas every American has the constitutional right to advocate and organize for change of the foreign policy of the United States;

Therefore be it resolved that the Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice (OPCTJ) denounces the September 24, and December 5, FBI raids and grand jury investigation of Midwest anti-war activists as a dangerous assault on free speech and association; and

Be it further resolved that OPCTJ goes on record to defend the rights of  trade unionists, anti-war activists, and others to educate, mobilize and organize for the legitimate goals of peace, justice and solidarity with all working people; and

Be it further resolved that the FBI immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, paper, documents, etc.; and

Be it further resolved that OPCTJ calls on Attorney General Eric Holder to call for an end to the grand jury investigation of anti-war activists; and

Be it finally resolved that OPCTJ calls on US Senators Richard Durbin and Mark Kirk and Illinois Members of Congress to request a full and transparent Congressional investigation of post-9/11 FBI surveillance of social movements and the use of expansive anti-terror laws to criminalize dissent.