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Dawn FBI Raids in Chicago and Elsewhere-

A Serious Escalation in the Ongoing Attack on Civil Liberties

GLN permalink 10-2-2010

Early last Friday morning, September 24th, FBI raids swooped down on the homes of three Chicago anti-war activists and several more in Minneapolis, California and North Carolina. Agents took the activists' computer equipment, cell phones, papers, and many personal items.

The FBI says that there are no charges pending against the activists, so if they are to be believed, the charges are a fishing expedition. The FBI says it is trying to gather information regarding "material support of terrorism," a charge whose constitutionality was upheld by a recent 6-3 Supreme Court decision supported by the Obama administration and is so broad it can be construed to include anyone who merely talks with whomever the administration deems a "terrorist" or "member of a terrorist group."

Under such criteria, someone who participated in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and happened to talk with a member of the anti-apartheid African National Congress could have been found guilty of a serious felony.

The FBI does not operate independently. It is an agency of the Justice Deptartment, and it is unlikely that the stepped up attack on civil liberties represented by the raids would have been undertaken without the authorization of President Barack Obama. In any event, Obama must be held accountable for the escalated attack on the rights of the American people.

With that in mind, GLN's Andy Thayer wrote the following letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, cc'ing the Tribune. Please write your own letters of protest to Mr. Holder at the following email address:

A protest against your recent raids

Dear Mr. Holder:

Even before the FBI's raids on anti-war activists Friday morning, I characterized the Obama administration as "a civil rights disaster" to a reporter who asked for my scorecard on that aspect of this presidency. President Obama, using you as his vehicle, has entrenched all of the worst Executive Branch abuses of the previous administration and worse, given them a "progressive" gloss. Targeted assassinations, no prosecutions of war criminals who authorized torture, no end to Guantanamo, the huge expansion of Guantanamo-like facilities in Afghanistan, no repeal of the PATRIOT Act, the list is seemingly endless.

Having previously done solidarity work with Muslim charities after George W. Bush took similar actions against them following 9-11, I can say that I have seen first-hand the treacherous attacks that these raids are on civil liberties. By destroying organizations through confiscating their equipment, they destroy the concept of free association supposedly enshrined in our 1st Amendment.

It really is no wonder that so many former Obama supporters really don't give a damn who wins in November.

Andy Thayer


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