Thursday, June 16, 2011

Are Unions Connected to Terrorism?

At Washington Post, "Activists cry foul over FBI probe."

CHICAGO — FBI agents took box after box of address books, family calendars, artwork and personal letters in their 10-hour raid in September of the century-old house shared by Stephanie Weiner and her husband.

The agents seemed keenly interested in Weiner’s home-based business, the Revolutionary Lemonade Stand, which sells silkscreened baby outfits and other clothes with socialist slogans, phrases like “Help Wanted: Revolutionaries.”

The search was part of a mysterious, ongoing nationwide terrorism investigation with an unusual target: prominent peace activists and politically active labor organizers.

The probe — involving subpoenas to 23 people and raids of seven homes last fall — has triggered a high-powered protest against the Department of Justice and, in the process, could create some political discomfort for President Obama with his union supporters as he gears up for his reelection campaign.
More at that link above.

At the video, former FBI agent Brian Weidner suggests any funding U.S. "peace" groups provide to "humanitarian" organizations could be funneled to terrorism.

And here's this, from Red State:
All along, the activists have claimed they have no ties to terrorism, despite the appearance that the investigation is into possible ties to the communist Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), “a revolutionary socialist and Marxist-Leninist organization in the United States” that is seeking to end America’s free-enterprise system.

The Freedom Road Socialist Organization has links (literally) to both the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine [background here] and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) [background here], two groups on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.

Another of those being investigated is Hatem Abudayyeh who, according to his bio, is the Executive Director of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN), Vice President of the Board of Directors of the Coalition of African, Arab, Asian, European, and Latino Immigrants of Illinois (CAAAELII), is a founding Advisory Board member of the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC), and sits on the National Coordinating Committee of the United States Palestine Community Network (USPCN).

Now, with possible indictments looming, some of the individuals being investigated are attempting to strike back.
Several activists and their lawyers said they believe indictments could come anytime, so they have turned their organizing skills toward a counteroffensive, decrying the inquiry as a threat to their First Amendment rights. All 23 of the activists invoked their right not to testify before a grand jury, defying U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, whose office is spearheading the investigation. A spokesman for Fitzgerald declined to comment.

The activists have formed the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, organized phone banks to flood Attorney General Eric Holder’s office and the White House with protest calls, solicited letters from unions and faith-based groups and sent delegations to Capitol Hill.

“I am so disgusted when I see that so many union people have been targeted in this,” said Phyllis Walker, president of AFSCME Local 3800, which represents clerical workers at the University of Minnesota, including four members who are possible targets.
On May 17th, according to the Committee to Stop FBI Repression’s website, another activist’s home was raided in Los Angeles and the activist, Carlos Montes, was detained and questioned about the Midwest activists, as well as the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

On June 16th, the Committee is planning a “Day of Action in Solidarity with Carlos Montes.”

On the actvists’ website, there is a timeline of events that includes actions the activists have taken to counter the investigation into their activities, as well as the list of Democrat politicians the group has enlisted to support them.

By the looks of it, with indictments possibly being issued soon, there will likely be much more coming out in the coming weeks and months ahead.
Check Red State for all the links to the activist organizations. There's a protest scheduled today in Alhambra. Kinda early though, so I don't know if I'll make it.

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