Published on August 24, 2011 by outfm.org
Listen here to this week’s show.
In the first half of the hour we run the third and final part of our FBI witch-hunts investigation, in which we interview lesbian activists Jessica Sundlin and Stephanie Yorek, who allege that the FBI has targeted them because of their peace activism. Listen here to Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 or click HERE to listen to the uninterrupted interview.(50min 40 sec).
Out-FM’s Chris and Trish then review some LGBT-themed entertainment, including Mozart’s Sister, Gun Hill Road, and the Fringe Festival’s The Motherfucking World According to Molly. Listen here to Chris’s roundup.
Finally, we interview Nick Krieger, author of the memoir Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender. Listen here to a 45-minute recording of Nick reading from his book and answering questions at Bluestockings bookstore.
We also gave away two tickets to the musical Play It Cool.
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The Committee to Stop FBI Repression is asking City Leaders to sign a gently-worded statement expressing general concern about broadening surveillance by the U.S. Department of Justice and specific notice of the nine Minneapolis anti-war and labor union activists whose homes were raided and/or who received subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury investigating “material support” to international organizations. To locate your Ward number and Council Member’s name, check this site: http://apps.ci.minneapolis.mn.
Mayor R. T. Rybak 612-673-2100 or via website http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.
Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression:
Support Carlos Montes as he goes to court Friday, August 12
Sample call: “My name is ________ and I am calling from [city, state]. I’m calling about Carlos Montes of Los Angeles. He is one of the anti-war activists being targeted by the FBI. I want you to tell Attorney General Holder [or President Obama]:
On Friday, August 12, Carlos Montes will appear in a Los Angeles court again, for a preliminary hearing. At his last court date on July 6, Carlos pled “Not guilty!” to six charges, including a felony charge each for a firearm and ammunition, and four related to the permits’ paperwork. Like millions of Americans, Carlos has for many years held legal permits. So why is it that all of a sudden the government is saying there is a problem? These charges are a pretext to attack Carlos for his years of activism.
Please join us in calling U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama, demanding a stop to the prosecution of Carlos Montes. We need to stop the persecution of political activists like Carlos, like the 23 Midwest anti-war and international solidarity activists, people like you and me.
Make no mistake; the U.S. government’s trial of Carlos Montes is an attack on the immigrants’ rights and anti-war movements. So please call today and let Holder and Obama know we are building a movement that will not bow down to dirty tricks and political repression.
In addition, the Los Angeles Committee to Stop FBI Repression is mobilizing to pack the courtroom 8:30 a.m. on Friday, August 12, in Department 100 at the Criminal Courts Building, 210 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, when Carlos Montes appears.
About Carlos Montes:
Carlos Montes is a veteran Chicano activist known for his leadership of the 1968 East Los Angeles education reform movement (see film Walkout), the historic Chicano Moratorium against the U.S. war in Vietnam, and the recent immigrants’ rights mega-marches of 2006. Carlos Montes was a co-founder of the Brown Berets, a Chicano youth organization that stood for justice, equality, and self-determination.
With the 2003 Bush administration war and occupation of Iraq, Montes helped form and lead L.A. Latinos Against War. In recent years, Carlos helped initiate and organize the Southern California Immigration Coalition, to fight against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and police repression.
About this case:
Now Montes himself is the target of government repression and the FBI’s dirty tricks. When the FBI raided several Midwest homes and served subpoenas on September 24, 2010, Carlos Montes’ name was listed on the FBI search warrant for the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis–the organizing center for the 2008 Republican National Convention protests, where Carlos participated.
Then on May 17, 2011, the LA Sheriffs broke down Carlos’ door, arrested him, and ransacked his home. They took political documents, a computer, cell phones and meeting notes having nothing to do with the charges. The FBI attempted to question Montes while he was handcuffed in a squad car, regarding the case of the 23 Midwest anti-war and solidarity activists.
On June 16, 2011, Carlos appeared in court and obtained the arrest documents showing the FBI initiated the raid. A reporter interviewing a Los Angeles Sheriff sergeant confirmed that the FBI was in charge. Carlos Montes is facing six felony charges with the possibility of 18 years in prison due to his political organizing. Carlos Montes case is part and parcel of the FBI raids and political repression centered in the Midwest. We need you to take action against this repression.
You can also invite Carlos Montes to speak using a live Internet video call. It is easy to do and works well. More details on the video calls coming next week.
Please sign the petition for Carlos Montes on the International Action Center website.
President Obama is coming to Minneapolis to speak to the American Legion Convention and we have the opportunity to take our message to him directly. Lets give him a loud and proud Minnesota protest! Join us in demanding he end political repression on anti-war and international solidarity activists, and that he end the wars and occupations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya! We have held many call in days to President Obama – but he has done nothing to stop harassment of our activists. Make plans to join us on Tuesday, August 30th!
Initiated by the MN Committee to Stop FBI Repression & endorsed by the Anti-War Committee, Alliant Action, Communities United Against Police Brutality, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, MN Peace Action Coalition, MN Military Families Speak Out, MN Immigrant Right Action Committee, MN Iraq Vets Against War, Socialist Action, Socialist Alternative, Tackling Torture at the Top, TC Avengers, Twin Cities Peace Campaign, U of M sds, Veterans for Peace Chapter 27, WAMM, Welfare Rights Committee and the Women’s Student Activist Collective (U of M).
Published on June 27, 2011 by The Electronic Intifada
By Maureen Clare Murphy
In an op-ed published by Al Jazeera English today, I write about the US government’s attempts to criminalize the Palestine solidarity activists — including the State Department’s threats to prosecute activists involved with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla. I also appeared on Al Jazeera English’s The Stream today to discuss FBI raids and subpoenas targeting activists.
As I write in the op-ed, “I am a Palestine solidarity activist in the US, and one of 23 UScitizens who have been issued with a subpoena to appear before a federal grand jury as part of what the government has said is an investigation into violations of the laws banning material support to foreign ‘terrorist organisations.’”
This investigation takes place in the context of a new Supreme Court decision that greatly expanded what constitutes material support and has been widely criticized. It also takes place in a situation of even more relaxed restrictions on the FBI’s investigative powers — the FBI is planning to issue a revised edition of its operations manual that will give agents “significant new powers” to go through people’s trash and infiltrate groups even if they are not suspected of any wrongdoing.
The New York Times recently commented in an editorial entitled “Backward at the FBI” that “Instead of tightening the relaxed rules for FBI investigations — not just of terrorism suspects but of pretty much anyone — that were put in place in the Bush years, President Obama’s Justice Department is getting ready to push the proper bounds of privacy even further.”
The use of counterterrorism tools against social justice acts is nothing new. But it poses a special threat to the growing Palestine solidarity movement in the US, which is increasingly challenging the US government’s military aid to Israel and its diplomatic cover for Israeli war crimes and apartheid.
In my op-ed for Al Jazeera English, I write that what happens to me and the two dozen other activists who have been targeted in this bogus investigation of prominent activists will have a significant impact and set a precedent for Palestine activists in theUS. The US State Department is already hinting at the prosecution of activists involved with the Gaza Freedom Flotilla for violating the material support laws:
The State Department also issued a statement on the second flotilla- which will include approximately fifty Americans – in which it warned that “delivering or attempting or conspiring to deliver material support or other resources to, or for the benefit of, a designated foreign terrorist organisation, such as Hamas, could violate US civil and criminal statutes and could lead to fines and incarceration”.
Hamas, which is the ruling party in the Gaza Strip and which won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in 2006, is on the US State Department’s unilateral foreign terrorist organisation list – along with every other major Palestinian political party besides Fatah (though its armed wing is on the list). This means that the US has essentially criminalized the entire Palestinian people and the parties which represent them – except for those that collude with the Israeli occupation.
And as I have reported on previously for The Electronic Intifada, with my colleague Nora Barrows-Friedman, the US government has long attempted to criminalize Palestinians in the country raising money for humanitarian aid to Palestinian charities and for advocating for a change in US policy towards Israel and the Palestinians. There are people serving out long prison sentences in the US for doing just that, such as the Holy Land 5 and Abdelhaleem Ashqar. Or they have been subjected to house arrest and are facing deportation, like Dr. Sami al-Arian.
And as the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement gains more and more ground in the US, the repression against it will sharpen. It is important that solidarity activists be aware of this but it should not stop us from doing our necessary work. It should compel us to get organized and and push back against political repression today.
As Al Jazeera’s The Stream reported today during their feature on FBI repression of activists, longtime Chicano and immigrant rights activist Carlos Montes’ home was raided by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department and he faces up to 18 years in prison for trumped-up charges related to firearms code violations for firearms he holds legal permits for. During the raid, political documents related to his decades of activism were seized and FBI agents questioned him about his political associations. Montes was named in the search warrant used to raid the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis last September.
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression has announced a call-in day to Attorney General Eric Holder for July 6, which is when Montes is called to court to enter a plea.
The committee’s announcement states:
Carlos is a longtime Chicano activist known for his leadership during the 1968L.A. high school reform walkouts (see HBO film “Walkout!”) and the immigrants’ rights mega-marches of 2006. More recently in September 2010, Carlos Montes’ name appeared on the FBI search warrant left in the Anti-War Committee office in Minneapolis, where the protests against the 2008 Republican National Convention were centered. The attack on Carlos Montes is part of a sweeping campaign tied to 23 Midwest activists whose homes the FBI raided or who were subpoenaed to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s Grand Jury in Chicago, as the Washington Post reported.
In addition, when the LA Sheriffs broke down Carlos’ door and ransacked his home, they took political documents, a computer, cell phones and meeting notes having nothing to do with the legal charges. Later, the FBI approached Carlos to ask him questions about the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the target of this new McCarthyism. Those who know the history of Martin Luther King Jr. and the American civil rights movement understand the repression Montes now faces.
When Carlos went to court on June 16, he demanded police and court documents. Not surprisingly, the District Attorney grew angry, at first refusing, and eventually relenting. There is the not-so-hidden hand of the FBI at work here and its goal is to disrupt and criminalize activists and movements for social justice.
Make no mistake: The US government trial of Carlos Montes is an attack on the immigrants’ rights and anti-war movements. So please call July 6 and let Attorney General Holder know we are building a movement that will not bow down to dirty tricks and political repression.
The committee adds:
Please call U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at (202) 514-2001
Suggested text: “My name is __________, I am from _______(city), in ______(state). I am calling to tell Attorney General Holder:
Drop the charges! Hands off Carlos Montes! Stop the FBI raids and Grand Jury repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists. Return all property to Carlos Montes and the other activists raided by
Published on July 10, 2011 by The Committee to Stop FBI Repression
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression stands in solidarity with the activists of the Gaza flotilla ships and the people of Palestine. As Americans, we denounce the U.S. government’s support for the Israeli blockade on Gaza and demand that Palestinians get access to the food, water, medical supplies and building materials they need for their daily lives. We denounce the U.S., Greek, and Israeli sabotage and blocking of the flotilla taking the much-needed humanitarian aid to Gaza.
We are particularly outraged by U.S. State Department statements that regard the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza as some sort of crime — equivalent to “conspiring to deliver material support” to Hamas. The expanding criminalization of humanitarian aid means the U.S. government is threatening arrests, trials, and lengthy prison sentences for Americans on board the solidarity boat named, “The Audacity of Hope”. The Gaza flotilla is an incredibly brave act of international solidarity, not a criminal act punishable by the United States. The real criminals are the elected and government officials working to keep badly needed supplies out of Gaza!
We oppose the U.S. government repression of humanitarian aid. The U.S. State Department and the U.S. Department of Justice cannot be allowed to silence solidarity with Palestine. We know of this repression firsthand. On September 24th last year, FBI agents raided the homes of anti-war and international solidarity activists in Minneapolis and Chicago as well as the Minnesota Anti-War Committee office. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald issued 14 subpoenas in Minneapolis, Illinois, and Michigan. Fitzgerald ordered the 14 activists to appear before a federal grand jury, claiming to investigate material support for terrorism. The number of activists subpoenaed to date has grown to 23, and one of the common threads is the activists’ solidarity work with Palestine.
The repression is intensifying too, as we see with the related case of anti-war and Chicano leader Carlos Montes in Los Angeles. Carlos, raided by the FBI political police on May 17, plead “Not Guilty” to charges this week. Carlos Montes was named in the Anti-War Committee subpoena in Minneapolis because of his role in protesting the 2008 Republican National Convention where Palestine was prominent. On July 6, Carlos Montes said outside court, “This attack on me is a pretext. They are using it to attack me because of my political activity — denouncing U.S. intervention in Colombia, in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in Palestine.”
We ask our supporters to salute the Gaza flotilla participants from 22 countries, including the 37 American passengers, and to support the next steps being organized by theUSTOGAZA. We ask our supporters to join with voices across the country to demand that humanitarian aid to Palestine not to be considered “material support for terrorism” and to continue to support efforts like the Gaza flotilla so that we can continue to express solidarity with the people of Palestine.
International solidarity is NOT a Crime!
Please take the following steps to the support Carlos and others facing FBI repression for their activism:
Published on July 10, 2011 by truthdig
By Chris Hedges
On May 17 at 5 in the morning the Chicano activist Carlos Montes got a wake-up call at his home in California from Barack Obama’s security state. The Los Angeles County sheriff’s SWAT team, armed with assault rifles and wearing bulletproof vests, as well as being accompanied by FBI agents, kicked down his door, burst into his house with their weapons drawn, handcuffed him in his pajamas and hauled him off to jail. Montes, one of tens of thousands of Americans who have experienced this terrifying form of military-style assault and arrest, was one of the organizers of the demonstrations outside the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., and he faces trial along with 23 other anti-war activists from Minnesota, as well as possible charges by a federal grand jury.
The widening use of militarized police units effectively nullifies the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which prohibits the use of the armed forces for civilian policing. City police forces have in the last few decades amassed small strike forces that employ high-powered assault rifles, armored personnel carriers, tanks, elaborate command and control centers and attack helicopters. Poor urban neighborhoods, which bear the brunt of the estimated 40,000 SWAT team assaults that take place every year, have already learned what is only dimly being understood by the rest of us—in the eyes of the state we are increasingly no longer citizens with constitutional rights but enemy combatants. And that is exactly how Montes was treated. There is little daylight now between raiding a home in the middle of the night in Iraq and raiding one in Alhambra, Calif.
Montes is a longtime activist. He helped lead the student high school walkouts in East Los Angeles and anti-war protests in the 1960s and later demonstrations against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was one of the founding members of the Brown Berets, a Chicano group that in the 1960s styled itself after the Black Panthers. In the 1970s he evaded authorities while he lived in Mexico and he went on to organize garment workers in El Paso, Texas. He and the subpoenaed activists are reminders that in Barack Obama’s America, being a dissident is a crime.
“It was an FBI action, as I recall,” Sgt. Jim Scully told reporters of the Pasadena Star-News. “We assisted them.”
Montes was arrested ostensibly because he bought a firearm although a felony conviction 42 years ago prohibited him from doing so. The 1969 felony conviction was for throwing a can of Coke at a police officer during a demonstration. The registered shotgun in his closet, bought last year at a sporting goods shop, became the excuse to ransack his home, charge him and schedule him for trial in August. It became the excuse to seize his computer, two cellphones and files and records of his activism on behalf of workers, immigrants, the Chicano community and opposition to wars. Prosecutors said Montes should have disclosed his four-decade-old felony charge when he bought the shotgun at Big 5 Sporting Goods. Because he neglected to do this he will face six felony charges. The case is to be tried in Los Angeles.
“The gun issue was clearly a pretext to investigate my political activities,” he said when I reached him at his Alhambra home. “It is about my anti-war activities and my links to the RNC demonstrations. It is also about my activism denouncing the U.S. policy of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, their support for Israel and the Colombian government. I have been to Colombia twice.”
“I thought someone is breaking in, somebody is trying to jack me up,” he said. “I was a victim of an armed robbery in December of 2009 in my home. I do have a gun in my bedroom for self-defense. I was startled. I jumped out of bed. I saw lights coming from the front-door area. They looked like flashlights. I saw men with helmets and rifles. I gravitated towards the front door. I didn’t take my gun. I could have done that. I have it there. It is a good thing I didn’t pick anything up and put it in my hand.”
“I yelled, ‘Who is it?’ ” he said. “They said, ‘The police. Carlos Montes, come out’ or ‘come forward,’ something like that. I approached the entryway. They rushed in. They grabbed my hands. They turned me around. There were two police officers on each arm. They brought me out holding my arms. I have a little patio. They handcuffed me and patted me down. I am on a little hill. I looked down the street and [it was] full of sheriff’s vehicles, patrol cars and two large green vans. They were bigger than vans. People could stand in there. They didn’t have any logos on them.… I thought it was an Army truck at first. Later on I found it was from the sheriff.”
“It was kind of misty,” he said. “The ground was wet. They put me in the back seat of the car. I was handcuffed. They closed the doors and the windows. I was sitting there looking around, in a state of shock, thinking is this a dream or the real thing? I tried to close my eyes for a little while to see if I could wake up from this nightmare. I always had it in the back of my mind, one day they will come and raid me. My name was on the anti-war committee FBI search warrant raid in Minnesota. People were saying ‘we all got raided and your name is there.’ The lawyers said, ‘Beware—it could happen to you sooner or later.’ They were raided on Sept. 24 last year.”
Those who were raided were all issued subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago. They have refused to testify. The March on the RNC organizing committee was infiltrated by an agent although the protest groups had obtained licenses to demonstrate at the Republican National Convention. The Justice Department’s inspector general later released a report that criticized the FBI for invoking anti-terrorist laws to justify its investigations and harassment of peace and solidarity groups, including Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the Catholic Worker.
While Montes was in the back of the police car a man in a windbreaker and a baseball cap approached the vehicle. The sheriff’s deputies rolled down the right rear window. The man in the baseball cap told Montes he was from the FBI and wanted to speak with him.
“I blurted out, ‘Do you have a card?’ ” Montes said. “He laughed and said, ‘I don’t have a card.’ He said, ‘I want to talk to you about Freedom Road Socialist Organization.’ I didn’t say anything. I kept quiet. And then he walked away.”
Montes has written articles for the newspaper Fight Back News about Chicano immigrants’ rights struggles in Los Angeles, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fight against the rise of charter schools. He said he was not a member of Freedom Road Socialist Organization. The organization, a Marxist group, is reportedly being investigated by the FBI because of connections with the Colombian rebel group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Palestinian group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, both of which have been labeled as terrorist organizations. The Sept. 24, 2010, search warrant for the anti-war committee offices in Minneapolis lists Montes’ name among the group’s affiliates.
Montes was taken to the Los Angeles County Jail, known as the Twin Towers, and held for 24 hours until he was able to post a $35,000 bail.
“They called my sister to secure [my] house,” he said. “She called the handyman and he put a piece of plywood over my door. I did not have my wallet with me. When I got out of the county jail I did not have any phone numbers or money or an ID. I was walking around in slippers—at least they gave me slippers—and my pajamas. I got back about 5:30 the next morning. I got the door off. There were files and papers on the floor along with photograph albums of the anti-war movement, Latinos Against the War, the ’92 Rebellion, my son’s wedding, my daughter’s birthday, scattered on my kitchen table and floor. It looked like they lined up a bunch of stuff on tables and went through it. It was the same thing with my living room table. They had a file out from 1994 when we did a campaign against police brutality when the sheriffs were going crazy killing people. In my closet I had Chicano archives going back to the 1960s and 1970s. Those were pulled out and on the floor. They went through all my political documents, including my work with the Southern California Immigration Coalition and the campaign to elect a school board member, which we won, to stop the privatization of the local high school and the charters coming in. They went through all those files. It took me a couple of weeks to clean things up. They took a bunch of stuff.”
“The government sees the Chicano people as a threat,” he said. “We were able to turn out millions of people in 2006. In 1994 we had hundreds of thousands. We are growing. There are millions in the Southwest. We are all over the country, but especially in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico and California. We are still unorganized, but if we get organized we could really demand changes. We had millions of people out in 2006 and then they came after us hard in 2007. There was a lot of police repression, especially in Los Angeles. They fear the Chicano people challenging the status quo.”
“Many of the activists that were raided by the police are anti-war and solidarity activists,” he went on. “And even though the anti-war movement is not massive right now, the potential is there because there is an economic crisis. There is mass disgust with this economic system. People are out of work. It is not yet like COINTELPRO [Counter Intelligence Program] started under Hoover and the FBI to carry out surveillance, infiltrate and disrupt domestic political organizations, but the situation is getting worse. That is why we have to have demonstrations to put a stop to it now.”
Minneapolis peace activists rallied on the Lake Street Bridge on July 6 in support of recently arrested friend and ally, Carlos Montes. He was in the Twin Cities for the Republican National Convention in 2008 and has been vocal in support of peace activists targeted by the FBI.
On May 17 at 5 a.m. the SWAT Team of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and members of the FBI raided Montes’ home. Montes is a longtime Chicano activist and member of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. The SWAT Team smashed his front door and rushed in with automatic weapons as Carlos slept. The team of sheriffs and FBI agents proceeded to ransack his house, taking his computer, cell phones and hundreds of documents, photos, diskettes and mementos of his current political activities in the pro-immigrant rights and Chicano civil rights movement. Also taken were hundreds of historical documents related to Carlos Montes’ involvement in the Chicano movement for the past 44 years. Carlos was arrested on one charge dealing with a firearm code and released on bail the following morning.
Former Congresswoman and 2008 Green Party Presidential Nominee Cynthia McKinney joined fellow peace activist and former senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern in voicing support for the Minneapolis activists targeted in last fall’s FBI raids. They were summoned to testify before aChicago Grand Jury.
McKinney and McGovern were attending the 2011 version of Peacestock at a farm near Hager City, Wis. McKinney was involved in the 2010 attempt to deliver relief supplies to the Gaza Strip, and McGovern just returned from Athens, were he was part of the attempted 2011 flotilla to Gaza. McKinney has an international reputation for her peace efforts including receiving The Munich American Peace Committee Peace Prize in 2010. As a senior CIA analyst, McGovern was in charge of preparing daily security briefs for President Reagan and later for President George H.W. Bush. After retiring, he has became a vocal peace advocate and has been arrested in Washington, D.C., for his demonstrating.
You are invited to a fundraiser for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. Members of the CSFR will cook dinner for you and serve you food and drinks in the backyard of one of our members. Come enjoy a relaxing and delicious evening of Italian food. The profits will go towards our legal expenses. There will be a 5:30 and a 7pm seating. There will be meat as well as vegetarian options for all courses.
We will be asking for $30 per person for our 4 course meal which includes wine.