July 3, 2014

Statement on recent FBI visits and questioning of political activists

July 2, 2014

Over the past few weeks, more than a dozen political activists in New York, Chicago, and the San Francisco Bay Area have been visited by FBI, US Marshals, and Joint Terrorist Task Force (JTTF) agents. In some cases the agents have shown a more than 30-year-old wanted poster of Donna Borup, who was arrested with others during a 1981 anti-Apartheid demonstration at JFK International Airport. Borup was charged with “riot” and “assault on a police officer,” but did not appear for a 1982 federal trial in New York.

Because the government considers her a fugitive, there is no statute of limitations on her indictment or pursuit. But the government is using these minor decades-old charges to once again equate political resistance with terrorism.

So far, none of the known targets of FBI questioning have cooperated with the investigation. One activist responded by saying: “I refused to talk to the FBI when they questioned me 30 years ago, why would I talk to them now?”  We believe these visits are an effort to intimidate political activists and stifle free speech and association. We strongly encourage anyone who is visited by the FBI or other agents, whether it concerns this case or any other politically motivated investigations, to insist on your right to remain silent. It doesn’t matter if you think you “have nothing to hide.”  Even the most seemingly innocuous information can help the government further repress our movements.  

Over the years, there have been numerous inflammatory and sensational mainstream media reports on people and organizations that the FBI claims are domestic terrorists.  We know that many of these people are social justice activists like ourselves, and we will not be intimidated or coerced.   

By refusing to cooperate with political fishing expeditions and by exposing the government’s harassment, we can build support and solidarity among our various communities.  

If you are ever visited by the FBI or other law enforcement agents:

  • Say only: “I have nothing to say to you.  Give me your card and my lawyer will contact you.”  
  • Contact your nearest National Lawyers Guild chapter to let them know about the encounter.
  • Let us know what happened by contacting the Bay Area Committee to Resist Political Repression at: [email protected].  
  • We encourage you to broadly spread the word of your experience, which will alert other activists. 

For more information on resisting political repression:

The Bay Area Committee to Resist Political Repression is a committee of long-time activists from the anti-imperialist, anarchist, animal rights, and environmental movements.