The Tampa 5 - Gia Davila, Lauren Pineiro, Laura Rodriguez, Jeanie K, and Chrisley Carpio
Stop FBI raids and harassment of activists opposing U.S. intervention in Colombia and the Middle East
SOA Watch stands in solidarity with the anti-war and international activists whose homes were raided by the FBI. On Friday, September 24, 2010 the FBI raided seven houses and an office in Chicago and Minneapolis in an attempt to collect evidence of 'material support' of terrorism. The FBI also handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to eleven activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. These raids were aimed at those who dedicate their time and energy to supporting the struggles of the Palestinian and Colombian peoples against U.S. funded occupation and war.
The FBI emphasized that no arrests are expected. However, a spokesperson for the FBI added that "they were seeking evidence related to ongoing Joint Terrorism Task force investigation," according to the New York Times.
The systematic and simultaneous raids by FBI officials in multiple locations is alarming and is a clear indicator to our movements of the governments ever growing trend of targeting the left. These raids could stifle and silence minority voices through fear tactics. We must stand strong and united in preventing governmental intimidation to obstruct peace and justice.
About a week ago, the Justice Department's Inspector General released a report documenting political surveillance by the FBI. Friday's raids are the latest violation of this systematic oppression that has been happening though out history to those who speak against the unjust governmental policies.
See Democracy Now for more information.
In fact, the SOA Watch had also been under surveillance for years since the vigil at Fort Benning, Georgia every November began to increase substantially in size. Being the most immediate threat to the existence of the School of Americas, it comes as no surprise that FBI documents trace back to 2001 when SOA Watch became at target of the FBI "counterterrorism" surveillance. The FBI documents recovered by American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in 2006, as a result of its campaign to expose domestic spying by the FBI, reveal that "The leaders of the SOA Watch have taken strides to impart upon the protest participants that the protest should be a peaceful event." (Pg 78) Even so, these peaceful protests and acts of civil disobedience were upgraded from "routine" to "priority" surveillance in 2001.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation raids threaten the First Amendment and suppress civil liberties. We denounce the fact that the FBI is spying on humanitarian advocates and harassing anti-war and solidarity activists. We call on the Department of Justice and the FBI to stop this grand jury investigation.
We ask people of conscience to join us in fighting this political repression as we continue working to build the movements against US war and occupation. As Father Roy said, "the spying is an abuse of power and a clear attempt to stifle political opposition to instill fear. But we aren't going away."
Circulate statements of solidarity to your friends, neighbors and communities and ask them to sign on and do the same.
Join a demonstration today or tomorrow in front of your local FBI office.
Demand an end to the repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists; an immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc.; and a grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists.
Targeted were a few, but the FBI raids were directed at all of us. The best way to counter the repression is to continue the resistance! We won't be intimidated. Join thousands at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia to speak out against U.S. intervention in the Americas.