Thursday, June 02, 2011

US Government Escalates Repression Against Anti-Imperialists

FBI steps up anti-communist witch-hunt

By Michael Martinez
Los Angeles
Published May 26, 2011 10:22 PM

The sun had not dawned yet on the cold, crisp morning of May 17 in Alhambra, a neighborhood east of Los Angeles. It was hard to believe spring had arrived that morning when at 5 a.m. the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department SWAT team assembled in front of Carlos Montes’ driveway and front yard. The silence was shattered along with Montes’ door as the officers rammed it down and then sprang into his home bearing automatic rifles.

Montes is a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization. He has been a long-time activist for immigrant rights and Chicano liberation in southern California. He was a founder of the Brown Berets and a fighter with Chicano Moratorium.

A leader in the Southern California Immigration Coalition, Montes has led the big May 1 immigrant marches in Los Angeles since 2006, along with many other fighters like BAYAN USA, Union del Barrio and the International Action Center.

Although the LASD claimed they raided Montes’ residence over an illegal weapon’s charge, the true nature of the raid was revealed when they ransacked his house and took historical political documents dealing with more than 40 years of his activism, photos, his computers and his cell phones.

Stop the witch-hunt

Montes is not the only activist who has been targeted by the FBI for his solidarity work. Last September the FBI raided 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists’ homes. Many of them belong to FRSO, the same organization to which Montes belongs. They were subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury.

After these subpoenas were issued, Montes became active, along with many other supporters, among them Workers World Party and Fight Imperialism, Stand Together, in opposing the government’s witch-hunt against FRSO members in the Midwest.

Montes was also named in the FBI’s subpoena which was left in the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee’s office on Sept. 24. Like many of the 23 activists called before the grand jury, he had helped to organize the mass march there on the opening day of the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Building the fightback

On May 20 a crowd of more than 100 activists gathered in front of the Federal Building in downtown Los Angeles. What was originally set up as a press conference became a raucous rally supporting Montes against the FBI charges.

This writer opened the rally, as the crowd chanted, “FBI: Hands off the movement.” Montes thanked everyone for being there for him and showing support.

John Parker, West Coast regional coordinator of the IAC, spoke in Montes’ defense. He denounced the FBI raids and called for solidarity, evoking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by stating, “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

Terrie Cervas of Gabriela USA compared the FBI raid against Montes to the treatment faced by political activists in the Philippines at the hands of the U.S.-backed and -trained government.

A truck displaying a large banner in solidarity with Montes stopped traffic in front of the rally. Soon, two Homeland Security SUVs showed up and the truck moved. The government agents chased down the truck and stopped it toward the end of the block. Half a block away, those at the rally could see the agents harassing the truck driver.

The demonstrators rushed over to the truck and pressured the agents to release the driver. The angry crowd chanted, “Let him go! Let him go.” Feet began to move off the sidewalk and into the street. The agents were being surrounded, and feeling the crowd’s pressure, let the truck driver go.

The demonstrators returned to the Federal Building to hear others speak who had been recently targeted by the state, like Alex Sanchez, leader of Homies Unidos, and Nativo Lopez, a long-time immigrant rights advocate.

More local actions will be announced. The FBI raids against Montes and others are unacceptable. The only thing that will stay the hand of the state from repeating another wave of fascist-like McCarthyist incarcerations and COINTELPRO-style repression will be the people’s fightback movement.
Articles copyright 1995-2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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NYC forum builds resistance to state repression

By Dolores Cox
New York
Published May 26, 2011 10:14 PM

Last September FBI raids took place in several Midwestern cities. Twenty-three activists had their residences searched. Their belongings, such as computers, personal documents, organizing materials and files, were confiscated.

These activists were served with subpoenas to appear before a Chicago grand jury. All have taken the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify against movements for peace and social justice.

As a result, some could be indicted, leading to extended jail time for not cooperating with the federal government. These indictments may be imminent.

The latest raid took place at the home of a Los Angeles veteran Chicano activist, Carlos Montes, by the FBI and the County Sheriff during the week of May 16, indicating the attacks haven’t ended.

The government says it’s investigating the activists’ “material support for foreign terrorist organizations.” In reality, the activists are being accused of speaking truth to power against U.S. wars and terrible regimes abroad that the U.S. supports. These activists have stood in solidarity with the struggles of peoples of the world, especially those in Palestine and Colombia.

In New York City on May 21 the New York Committee to Stop FBI Repression, Al-Awda NY, DRUM and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement sponsored an event to build the resistance and support network for the activists. The groups also stress the urgency of strengthening international solidarity.

Hatem Abudayyed, a Palestinian human rights activist whose home in Chicago was raided, was one of the speakers. He emphasized the importance of forming alliances with other organizations. He also spoke about the U.S. government’s repression and attacks against Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims.

On May 6 the bank accounts of Abudayyed and his spouse were frozen. Organizers responded with a “day of action” against the government and the bank, making phone calls demanding the freezes be lifted. Five days later they were lifted, but the Twin Cities Federal Bank stated it no longer wanted them as customers and closed their accounts. Abudayyed stated that they’ve received support from the teachers’ union, academic community and religious leaders in Chicago.

Through an interpreter, the mother of a member of Desis Rising Up and Moving talked about the impact of local and federal law enforcement misconduct on South Asian, Arab and Muslim communities, particularly on the youth.

At age 19 her son was targeted by the FBI and a New York police undercover agent in an entrapment scheme. He is now serving a 30-year prison sentence in a high-security Indiana prison built for Muslims, she stated.

Youth there are not allowed contact with friends or family; none had prior criminal history. She added that people must make this government transparent and fight to change laws and the system.

Brandon King from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement gave an historical overview of the FBI’s counterintelligence program — founded in the 1950s — and police repression in Black communities. Black activists have always been targets of violence and assassinations.

Statistically, there are more Black men in prison today than were enslaved in 1850. The establishment of COINTELPRO was to “neutralize” freedom fighters and groups during the Civil Rights and Black Liberation Movements. King stressed the need to have an elevated consciousness and to put an end to wars, terrorism and occupation here in the U.S.

Lamis Deek, an Al-Awda NY member and National Lawyers Guild attorney, spoke of increased post-9/11 threats and expansion of Homeland Security activities. Palestinians in New York continue to be victims of FBI entrapment by informants in “predisposition-to-commit-crimes” cases.

A Center for Constitutional Rights attorney, Shayana Kadidal, gave a legal update on the scope of the Material Support Statute in the wake of the June 2010 Supreme Court decision, Humanitarian Law Project vs. Holder. According to the U.S. Department of State, no material support is allowed to be given to “foreign terrorist organizations” anywhere in the world. Support is defined as giving skilled training, expert advice/assistance, personal help or services (including intangible services).

The government uses the term “agent” acting on behalf of a group, rather than the word “member” of a group. Activism is considered material support. But government interpretations are also ambiguous.

To support and build resistance to FBI repression, sign the online “Pledge to Resist FBI and Grand Jury Repression” at Important emergency responses are planned in the event that indictments are handed down.

In New York City the emergency action will take place in Times Square 5-7 p.m. outside the military recruiting station. For more information, contact or 917-397-0103.
Articles copyright 1995-2011 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

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