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Fighting repression 4 years after FBI raids on anti-war, international solidarity activists

By Fight Back! Editors |
September 23, 2014
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Regular readers of Fight Back! know that on Sept. 24, 2010, Midwest anti-war and international solidarity activists woke to loud banging on their front doors and were confronted with scores of FBI agents breaking things and rifling through children’s toys and books. At the end of the day, seven homes and the office of the Twin Cities-based Anti-War Committee were raided by the FBI, who took away boxes of books and papers on decades of political activity. At the raided homes, activists received subpoenas to a grand jury in Chicago investigating material support of terrorism.

Eventually, a total of 23 activists were subpoenaed, all of whom have refused to testify. No one was ever charged in this attack on the right to speak and organize, but exactly four years later, the investigation still has not been dropped and the 23 have not been publicly exonerated. Members of many organizations were targeted, including the Anti-War Committee in Minneapolis, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Colombia Action Network, Palestine Solidarity Group-Chicago and others.

One of the lead prosecutors on the case is Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas. Jonas is notorious for showing anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim bias. He is responsible for prosecuting the Holy Land Foundation for providing humanitarian assistance like school supplies to the children of Gaza. Jonas has been ever-present in anti-war, Palestinian community and Palestine solidarity activists’ persecution by the government.

Rasmea Odeh was not raided or subpoenaed on Sept. 24, 2010, but she was a target in the same investigation. She was arrested on allegations of immigration fraud on Oct. 22, 2013. We had reason to believe that there was a relationship between the case of the Anti-War 23 and Rasmea’s case when like a real life Slenderman, Assistant U.S. Attorney Barry Jonas was in the courtroom of an immigration case for which he does not have jurisdiction.

Recently Rasmea’s attorneys moved to dismiss the charges against her, because the charges stemmed from the illegal investigation into the Anti-War 23. Her attorneys confirmed in a court filing that in January of 2010, an associate of Jonas, Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox, “initiated a request through the office of International Affairs Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice from the State of Israel for records of the defendant.” Rasmea has been a target of this unconstitutional attack on Palestine solidarity activists and organizers within the Palestinian community all along.

Rasmea Odeh is a beloved woman in her late 60s who has dedicated her life to empowering women, for the last 10 years in Chicago. She is a survivor of torture who bravely gave testimony to the United Nations in 1979, giving public voice to the particular methods of torture Israel uses against women.

Four years ago, regular readers of Fight Back! joined with us to defend the right to organize. Please join us with the same energy in support of Rasmea Odeh. Come to Detroit for her hearing Oct. 2. Hold an educational event or protest in your own town. Make the calls to demand that the prosecution be dropped.

Solidarity is Not a Crime!

Drop the Anti-War 23 Investigation!

Stand With Palestine!

Stand With Rasmea Odeh!

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