October 4, 2010

Solidarity Statement from the Defending Dissent Foundation

The Defending Dissent Foundation stands in solidarity with the anti-war and international solidarity activists whose homes were raided by the FBI on Friday, September 24. Homes in Chicago and Mineapolis were raided. Doors were kicked in during the early morning raids and personal belongings including children’s artwork, posters of Martin Luther King, Jr, were taken, as well as cell phones, computers and boxes of paper records. About a dozen activists from Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan have been subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury.

The FBI emphasized that no arrests were made, but that evidence was being collected regarding the possible ‘material support’ of terrorism. The ‘material support’ statute is so broadly written that it can, and does, criminalize international peace-building activities whose only connection to terrorism is to reduce it.

Only one week ago, the Justice Department’s own Inspector General released a report documenting political surveillance by the FBI. Friday’s raids are the latest violations by a recidivist agency whose abuses have unfortunately recurred throughout its history.

We urge Congress to step up and protect our First Amendment Rights!

Congress must close the ‘material support’ loopholes that give the FBI room to target peaceful domestic advocacy.

Congress should hold hearings on the violations identified in the Inspector General’s recent report and conduct a full investigation to uncover the full extent of the FBI’s misuse of counter-terror laws and watchlist practices.