October 12, 2010

To the US anti-war and socialist activists raided by the FBI

Stop the War Coalition sends its support and solidarity to those anti-war activists in Chicago, in Minneapolis, Chicago, Michigan and North Carolina whose homes were raided by the FBI in the early hours of September 24.

We condemn the FBI’s confiscation of the activists’ personal belongings – including their computers, maps, dairies, mobiles and other personal material – and demand that they be returned. We also note that no arrests were made.

We understand that the FBI acted under a 1996 ruling which makes it crime for US citizens to provide “material assistance” to any organisation designated by the government as “terrorist”.

The FBI claimed that the raids were aimed at people “providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support” to terrorist organisations, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

But there is no evidence tying any of those targeted in the raids to terrorism. We also note that no arrests were made.

Sydney Stop the War Coalition calls for the trumped up anti-democratic charges against you be dropped.

We salute your courage to refuse to testify at the undemocratic grand jury (on October 5) where the jurors are handpicked prosecutors, all evidence is presented in a cloak of secrecy and witnesses have no right to have a lawyer in the room.

We also condemn the use of such “anti-terror” laws which are primarily used to suppress people’s civil rights and liberties.

We wonder about the timing of these raids coming just a few days after a leaked internal US Justice Department report admitted that the FBI improperly opened “terrorism” investigations into peace and social justice groups including Quakers, Catholic Worker, Greenpeace and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

For the last decade, there has been a systematic build up of police-state powers across the West.

In Australia, bipartisan support for the so-called “anti-terror” laws, enacted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, have been used to unjustly imprison Indian doctor Dr Mohamed Haneef, as well as to target members of the Muslim, Sri Lankan Tamil and Kurdish communities.

In 2005, US activist Scott Parkin was deported on “security” grounds. Australians David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, former Guantanamo detainees – and in the case of Mamdouh Habib a victim of US torture rendition – continue to be harassed and restricted by the post-11/9 “anti-terrorism” regime in Australia.

Despite all the promises, neither the Obama administration nor the Gillard government are prepared to change the anti-democratic direction set down by their hated predecessors – George Bush and John Howard. In 2007, the state of NSW attempted to ban us from protesting these two war mongers at the APEC conference. But we defied that attempt to silence and intimidate us, and we will be continue to defy all attempts to silence us from agitating against unjust and inhumane war policies that we – and 61% of Australians – know to be wrong.

Sydney anti-war activists salute your courage and determination to fight this latest attack on civil rights. Your struggle is our struggle. For peace, justice and the Earth.

Sydney Stop the War Coalition PO Box 458, BROADWAY NSW 2007 www.stopwarcoalition.org