- Category: Repression
- Created on Sunday, 22 May 2011 20:46
- Written by Electronic Intifada
The following appeared in The Electronic Intifada.
FBI plans, interview questions discovered in raided activist’s home
Activists in the Twin Cities today announced at a press conference that they were releasing a recently-found document that was left behind by federal agents when they raided Mick Kelly and Linden Gawboy’s Minneapolis home on 24 September 2010.
The FBI confirmed to the Associated Press that the documents appear to be authentic and were accidentally left behind during the raid.
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression said in a statement: Taken as a whole, the secret FBI file shows the willful disregard for the rights of anti-war and international solidarity activists - particularly the first amendment rights to freedom of speech and association. The documents make it clear that legal activity in solidarity with the peoples of Colombia and Palestine is being targeted. The documents use McCarthy-era language, which gives one the feel that the 1950s red scare has returned. And finally, the documents show the chilling plans for the armed raid that took place at the home of Kelly and Gawboy on September 24, 2010.
The documents show that public advocacy for the people of Colombia was the genesis of the FBI investigation. The ‘Operations Order’ for the FBI SWAT Team states “The captioned case was initially predicated on the activities of Meredith Aby and Jessica Rae Sundin in support of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, a U.S. State Department designated foreign terrorist organization (FTO), to include their travel to FARC controlled territory.”
While we have no way of knowing if it was speaking tours or educational events on Colombia that got them so riled up, there is something we can state with certainty: There is nothing illegal about traveling to Colombia, or visiting the areas where the FARC is in charge. This is something that journalists, including U.S. journalists, do, and we have yet to hear of their doors being broken down. Upon returning from Colombia, Aby and Sundin spoke at many public events about their experiences.
The FBI interview questions for Meredith Aby ask “1) Have you ever met Lilia [sic] Obando? 2) Where? 3) When? 4) Why?” Liliana Obando is a well-known Colombian trade unionist who spoke in the Twin Cities at an event organized by the Anti-War Committee. She received a visa to travel in the U.S. from the U.S. government. In addition to focusing on associational information and travel to Palestine and Colombia, the interview questions focus on the Freedom Road Socialist Organization: “Have you, anyone from FRSO [Freedom Road Socialist Organization], or anyone you know, ever traveled to South America?”
“Have you, anyone else from FRSO, or anyone you know, ever traveled to the Middle East? Gaza? West Bank? Israel?” And some questions are just incredible, like:
“Have you ever taken steps to overthrow the United States government?”
“What is your husband’s immigration status?”
“What do you think of terrorist groups? Do you support them?”
“Have you ever recruited fighters to the FRSO?”
As the Committee to Stop FBI Repression concluded in its statement today:
The bottom line is this: there can be no justification for the raid in the first place, and still less for it to be done by agents smashing doors and wielding machine guns. This is a recipe for people getting hurt or killed.
The events of September 24 and the ongoing grand jury are not about “material support of terrorism,” as any normal person would understand it. What is happening is this: anti-war and international solidarity activists are being targeted for practicing our rights to speak out and organize. We have done nothing wrong. Our activism is making this world a better place.
The documents left behind by federal agents can be downloaded from stopfbi.net.