Antiwar activists raided by FBI could face prison

Tom Eley
Global Research

The antiwar activists issued grand jury subpoenas after last week’s FBI raids in Minneapolis and Chicago could face jail time for their political support for third world movements the US declares to be “terrorist,” an attorney familiar with the defense case told the World Socialist Web Site.

On Friday, September 24, at 7 a.m. in the morning, the FBI launched simultaneous raids on the homes of eight antiwar activists in Minneapolis and Chicago.

Brandishing search warrants asserting that those under investigation have offered “material support of terrorism,” FBI agents and local police ransacked the homes for between three and five hours, taking the residents’ computers and cellular phones as well as thousands of books, letters, documents, and other personal belongings. In the case of the Minneapolis apartment of Mike Kelly, a member of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), the FBI broke his door down and entered with guns drawn.

The FBI issued subpoenas demanding they appear before a grand jury in Chicago on October 12, and in the case of Minneapolis resident Tracy Molm, on October 5. It has been reported that subpoenas were also issued in Michigan and North Carolina, but homes there were evidently not raided.

The FBI’s intentions at the grand jury hearing are not entirely clear, but it is possible that the Obama administration seeks criminal indictments under the “Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996,” which essentially proscribes political speech in support of organizations the US president defines as “terrorist.”

The law, which prohibits “knowingly provid[ing] material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization,” even if the “support” consists only of “expert advice or assistance” for “lawful, non-violent purposes,” was upheld in June by the Supreme Court in the case Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder.

The FBI does not claim that those targeted pose any danger. “These were search warrants only,” said FBI agent Steve Warfield in Minneapolis the day of the raids. “There’s no imminent threat to the community.”

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