NYC forum builds resistance to state repression
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
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
www.StopFBI.net. 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 [email protected] or 917-397-0103.
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