Minneapolis, MN - On June 2 more than 50 people gathered at the American Indian OIC center for a town hall meeting on civil liberties under the theme of Fight for your Right to Dissent. The event was co-sponsored by the Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression and the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF).
The event featured three out of town speakers. Mel Underbakke spoke for the NCPCF and Kathleen Manley spoke for Project Salam (Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims). Veteran Chicano activist Carlos Montes, who is facing trial in Los Angeles on June 20, also spoke from Los Angeles via Skype.
Jess Sundin spoke for the Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression. Sundin is one of the Anti-War 23 whose home was raided and was subpoenaed before a grand jury on September 24, 2010, supposedly as part of an investigation of ‘material support for foreign terrorism.’
Colleen Rowley of Women Against Military Madness spoke about her history as an FBI whistleblower and about the massive scope of the U.S. government’s top secret national security apparatus.
Clyde Bellecourt of the American Indian Movement welcomed people to the American Indian OIC and also was a featured speaker on the history of repression against the American Indian Movement and continued repression, such as the 36-year imprisonment of Leonard Peltier.
In speaking about the FBI raid on her home as well as continued FBI visits to anti-war, anti-NATO and other activists, Jess Sundin said, “If an FBI agent knocks on your door, the most important thing you can do is not talk to them. Don’t be polite, don’t try to figure out what they want, just get rid of them. Nothing you can say will save yourself or your friends in court. They can lie about what you tell them, but if you lie to them, that is its own crime. No good can come of talking to them, so just don’t do it.”
In addition to the speakers, the Town Hall also passed several resolutions, including a resolution against indefinite detention of Palestinian prisoners, a resolution calling to free the nine people still imprisoned from May’s anti-NATO protests in Chicago and a resolution defending the civil liberties of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.