Minneapolis, MN – About 200 people rallied at the Federal Building here, Sept. 24, to demand an end to the ongoing Justice Department investigation into anti-war and international solidarity activists.
It has been two years since the Sept. 24, 2010 FBI raids on homes and offices of anti-war and international solidarity activists in Minneapolis, Chicago and Michigan. All told, 23 people were served subpoenas to appear at a grand jury investigating “material support for designated terrorist organizations.” None of the 23 has testified and there have been no indictments. But less than two months ago, Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas declared that the investigation is ongoing and refused to return much of the original materials seized from the Chicago Palestinian American community leader Hatem Abudayyeh and his family.
The Minneapolis protest was a part of a national week of actions organized by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression and the United States Palestinian Community Network (uspcn.org) to call for an end to this outrageous violation of civil rights and liberties.
Speakers at the protest included leaders from the Somali community and the labor, Palestine solidarity and anti-war movements.
Jess Sundin, of the Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression and Freedom Road Socialist Organization told the crowd:
“Our strength in the face of government repression has already made a difference: First, we stopped Barry Jonas from locking up any one of the 23 people who refused to testify for his grand jury in Chicago. Then we helped our friend Carlos Montes beat back the FBI attempt to frame him up. Thanks to our work, Carlos is a free man today, who won’t spend one day wrongfully imprisoned for his anti-war and international solidarity work.
These victories were important, but I’m sorry to say, I think they were the warm up act. Two years ago, most of us thought all of this would move a lot faster. We thought formal charges would come quickly, and that by now, we’d have had our day in court. Some people might even believe that we’re free today, because Barry Jonas has given up. I wish that were the case, but if we take him at his word, he’s still coming after us.
They’ve invested a huge amount of resources to build a case against us: The undercover agent spied on us for more than two years, starting with the anti-war march on the RNC. Two years ago today, more than 70 FBI agents from 6 different districts carried out the coordinated raids, delivered subpoenas, and questioned our friends from California to North Carolina; and now, for more than three years, a secret grand jury in Chicago has been meeting with only the prosecutor and his witnesses. Federal prosecutors have a 90+% success rate in the grand jury process. And so, when the prosecutors say they are planning to bring multiple indictments against multiple people, it is almost certain that they will be successful.
You are the key to our defense. Together, we have to put enough pressure on the prosecutor, Barry Jonas, that he is compelled to end this witch hunt against activists. And that is why we are here today. And that is why we will come out again and again. We will stand together against this injustice, just as we continue to stand up against the inhumanity of U.S. wars.”
The protest in Minneapolis was organized by the Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression, and endorsed by two dozen community, student and labor organizations.