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Minneapolis City Council members condemn FBI, grand jury repression

By staff

Minneapolis, MN – City Council members here signed a letter to Senators Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken and Representative Keith Ellison affirming constitutional rights of anti-war activists subpoenaed and raided by the FBI last year. The Committee to Stop FBI Repression published the letter on its website Nov. 15.

The letter states, “We are writing to share our concerns regarding reports about a Justice Department investigation of local Minneapolis peace and justice organizations and individual anti-war activists.”

The letter goes on to note, “This first came to our attention on September 24, 2010, when the homes of several Minneapolis residents were raided by FBI agents who confiscated computers, mailing lists, cell phones, passports, political literature, correspondence, and children’s drawings. That day the FBI also raided the office of the Anti-War Committee, an organization that the Minneapolis City Council, in 2007, publicly recognized as an important voice of nonviolence and political dissent. In connection with these raids, it appears that several Minneapolis residents have been investigated and served with subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury to testify regarding alleged material support for foreign terrorist organizations.

As elected officials we are committed to serving our constituents and our community. In that capacity we are formally sharing our concerns about the expansion of government surveillance of social justice organizations and anti-war activists in Minnesota as evidenced by this event. We are deeply concerned about the chilling effects these activities might have on completely nonviolent and legal activism as well as the threat it poses to the freedoms of speech and association and health of our democracy in general.”

The letter was signed by 12 of the 13 members of the Minneapolis City Council.

The letter is one of the many of statements that have been made by public officials, labor and community leaders opposing repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists.

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