Brooklyn Center, MN – Protesters gathered outside the new headquarters of the FBI here, Feb. 17, to protest the agency’s targeting of anti-war and international solidarity activists. The protest coincided with the FBI’s announced move-in day to their new fortress-like building.
Participants in the protest included peace activists whose homes were raided by the FBI Sept. 24, 2010.
“The FBI is waging a war on civil liberties,” said Jess Sundin of the MN Committee to Stop FBI Repression. “We are here today to send a message: ‘Opposing U.S. wars is not a crime.’ We will not be silenced or intimidated by the FBI.”
The FBI, along with U.S. Attorneys in Chicago and Minneapolis, are trying to make a case for indicting the activists on ‘material support for terrorism’ charges. To that end, a grand jury is meeting in Chicago. Barry Jonas, Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago, recently stated that the investigation will continue.
As part of the same investigation, the FBI manufactured charges against longtime Chicano activist Carlos Montes in Los Angeles.
The new FBI Field office, located at 1501 Freeway Boulevard, cost about $64 million to build. About 300 agents and support staff will work in the building. The jurisdiction covered by the new headquarters extends to North and South Dakota.
The Minneapolis Field office has a long history of trampling on democratic rights. In the 1950s its agents hounded communists in the labor movement. In the early 70s, the office was pivotal in the federal government’s attempt to destroy the American Indian Movement. Over the past ten years the office has carried out a campaign against the Somali community which includes a massive spying program and arrests for material support for terrorism.
For many years the Minneapolis FBI office was the base of operations for Nicholas O'Hara, an infamous former FBI supervisor who has made it his life’s work to keep Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier in jail.
Speaking in front of the new FBI complex, Jess Sundin stated, “The people inside this building are targeting those of us who speak up for peace and justice. That’s what the FBI does. They raided our homes and offices of the Anti War Committee. The FBI thinks it’s a crime to stand in solidarity with people around the world, who are struggling to be free. It not a crime to stand in solidarity with the people of the Middle East or Latin America, or anywhere else. It’s the right thing to do.”