FBI

FBI Raiding Antiwar Activists in Terror Investigation

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Details from the Minneapolis St. Paul Pioneer Press:

The FBI raided the homes of six political activists in Minneapolis this morning in connection to a terrorism investigation.

The warrants were "seeking evidence related to an ongoing Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism," said FBI Special Agent Steve Warfield, spokesman in the Minneapolis office. "There is no imminent threat to the community and we're not planning any arrests at this time."

One of the warrants was executed at the home of Mick Kelly, an anti-war organizer, according to his attorney Ted Dooley.

"I have no idea what all this is about," Dooley said. "Mr. Kelly is an activist, he's a socialist or perhaps a communist and has been forever. He never hides his political views. They're fishing. They're casting big nets into the sea of political activism."

Before agents confiscated his cell phone, Kelly told the Associated Press: "The FBI is harassing anti-war organizers and leaders, folks who opposed U.S. intervention in the Middle East and Latin America," Kelly said before agents confiscated his cell phone.

Warrants were also signed to search the homes of Jessica Sundin on Park Avenue and Meredith Aby in South Minneapolis, Dooley said.

Those three organized a demonstration during the 2008 GOP National convention in St. Paul, and had announced plans to do the same if the 2012 Demoocratic National Convention ends up in Minneapolis.

The warrant for Kelly's home said that the items to be seized were evidence concerning the violation of a federal law that prohibits "providing, attempting, conspiring to provide material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations," Dooley said.

It allowed for the following to be seized: "documents, files, books, photographs, videos, souvenirs, war relics, notebooks, address books, diaries, journals, maps, or other evidence, including evidence in electronic form relating to Kelly's travels to and from and presence and activities in Minnesota and other foreign countries, to which Kelly has traveled as part of his work for FRSO (Freedom Road Socialist Organization)," Dooley said.

Also, the warrant was seeking information about Kelly's "ability to pay for his own travel within the United States or to Palestine or Columbia from the year 2000 until today. And this has to do with any contact with FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and Hezbollah, all of which are FTOs (Foreign Terrorist Organizations)," Dooley said…the agents were also "looking for everything related to Kelly's potential co-conspirators, including Kelly's personal contacts in the United States and abroad, which means absolutely everybody that Kelly's ever been in contact with, anywhere. I'd say it's kind of unconstitutional and hideous, myself. It's very broad. It's disgusting."

The warrants were executed about 7 a.m., with six carried out in Minneapolis and two in Chicago, Warfield said.

A SWAT team, accompanied by the FBI, knocked on Kelly's door about 7 a.m. and Kelly's partner answered, Dooley said.

"They said they had a search warrant," he said. "She asked to see it, she couldn't read it through the peephole, so they busted down the door. The door flew across the room and broke a fish tank. There are now eight FBI agents in the apartment, going through every piece of paper in there, and all the books."

As an Antiwar.com roundup of links on the raids notes:

Officials said they were related to a Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation. The JTTF in Minneapolis has a long history of heavy-handed investigations against protest groups, including an attempt in 2008 to infiltrate a vegan potluck.

My latest Reason blogging on JTTF shenanigans, out of Chicago. From our May issue, Jacob Sullum on the dubious merits of the sort of "material support" laws behind these raids.