Midwestern Antiwar groups are continuing to struggle to make sense of a series of high profile Friday raids by the FBI, which officials said were part of a “Joint Terrorism Task Force” investigation but which many are seeing as a direct attempt to intimidate them.
“The government is trying to quiet activists,” insisted lawyer Jim Fennerty, whose client Hatem Abudayyeh’s home was among the eight raided on Friday. “This case is really scary.”
The raids were launched exclusively against the homes of antiwar activists, a number of whom are involved in organizing protests against the upcoming Democratic National Convention in 2012. No arrests were made and the FBI insisted that no arrests are forthcoming.
Yet despite downplaying the importance of the incident, the FBI had SWAT teams kicking down doors in Minneapolis and Chicago, and Fennerty insists those raiding his client’s home took “any documents containing the word Palestine.” The combination of heavy handed, guns drawn raids and mass confiscation of documents seems to support the belief that this was about intimidation, rather than investigation.
Beyond that a number of the activists raided were served with subpoenas demanding that they appear in Chicago before a Grand Jury and provide them with any evidence of any contact they had with anybody in a number of countries, including Israel and the Palestinian territories.
Officials seem to be fishing for evidence that they can somehow used to tie the domestic antiwar movement to some foreign terrorist group and charge its members with providing “material aid to terrorism.” Yet whether they can manufacture this evidence or not, the tactics used in the search seem certain to have a deleterious effect on the ablity to speak out against the administration going forward.