When the FBI raided the homes of antiwar activists in Minneapolis and Chicago last week, the ensuing public reaction was notable for its stereophonic quality: The loudest cries of skepticism and outrage came from both left and right. Apparently, coffeehouse radicals and Tea Party supporters can agree that government agents breaking down doors at 7 a.m. to seize notes, computers and other potential tools of “terrorism” from a bunch of peace and justice activists seems like a serious case of state overreach.
Of course, it’s impossible to shout “travesty of justice” with absolute righteousness until we find out exactly what the government’s case is, which will come after a grand jury assesses the evidence and decides whether to indict anyone. FBI officials have only said they’re seeking information related to support of “foreign terrorist organizations,” including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
But it’s worth noting that the FBI conducted similar raids on the eve on the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, only to downgrade the initial charges of “conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism” against the “RNC 8,” as they’ve become known, and to dismiss three cases entirely. (The remaining five go on trial October 25.) And earlier this week, the FBI’s Inspector General criticized the FBI for some of its conduct in raids and surveillance of peace groups after the September 11 attacks, points out Twin Cities Indymedia.
In this clip by the video muckrakers at Minnesota’s Uptake, watch alleged terrorist—and unapologetic antiwar activist—Mick Kelly explain why he thinks the FBI came after him: