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Chicago Protests at FBI Headquarters in the Wake of FBI Raids on Anti-War Activists

By Chapin Gray

Over 500 people in Chicago protested the FBI raids on anti-war activists.

Chicago, IL – 500 people picketed and chanted outside Chicago FBI Headquarters to protest the FBI raids, harassment, and intimidation of anti-war and solidarity activists, and to show support for the three Chicago activists targeted by the September 24 raids. Among the crowd were trade unionists, students, anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists, all outraged by the FBI raids. Stephanie Weiner and Joe Iosbaker, whose home was raided last Friday morning and are two of the twelve people handed subpoenas, were at the protest, joined by their son Tre.

This was one protest out of over 35 happening this week across the country in response to the raids, and was organized by the newly-formed Committee Against Political Repression (CAPR), which calls the raids as a “larger federal assault on anti-war activists, solidarity workers and people committed to peace with justice in the U.S. and abroad.”

“For twelve hours, up to 25 agents searched our home from top to bottom, pouring through every piece of paper, gathered through our long years of political activity,” said Joe Iosbaker. “They searched our music collection. Three agents spent an hour or more in the rooms of our two teenage sons, looking at their notebooks from school, the poetry written in high school.”

Stephanie Weiner stressed that the raids were designed to “intimidate, silence, and divide” the anti-war and solidarity movements. “What the people here understand is that this is a serious situation. And we also understand that it has been an honor for all of us to dedicate our lives to peace and justice, and to speak out and organize others to speak out against the U.S. wars and occupations around the world.”

There were close to a dozen other speakers at the rally, including Stan Willis of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, Jim Fennerty of the National Lawyers Guild, Ahmed Rehab from CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations), Dr. Hatem Galal from the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, and Dan Dale from Wellington United Church of Christ.

Doug Michel, a member of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) at the University of Chicago-Illinois, also spoke. Michel was at the home of SDS member Tracy Molm in the Twin Cities, whose apartment was raided on Sept. 24 by the FBI.

“SDS denounces the FBI raids, calls for an end to repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists, to immediately return all confiscated materials, and end the grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists,” said Michel. “These raids will not stop our work. We will continue to organize for the National Day of Action to Defend Education on Oct. 7th, and for the Midwest regional anti-war demonstration on Oct. 16th.”

Protesters say they will continue to stand behind those targeted by the raids, and to continue voicing their opposition to U.S. wars, occupations, and interventions in Palestine, Colombia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Coming from a Muslim and Palestinian background, I wasn’t shocked by news of the raids. I hear about the murders and repression of my people every day,” said Alaa Saleh, a member of the Wright College chapter of SDS, who says she refuses to be intimidated by the raids and will continue organizing for peace and justice. “I’m not gonna shut up. Standing up is always better than sitting down.”

Checks to support the legal defense for the Chicago victims of the raids can be made out to Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ (WAUCC) with Committee Against Political Repression identified in the memo line (CAPR). Checks can be mailed to Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago, IL 60657.

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