Posted on November 4, 2012 by FightBack! News
In July 2011 Joe Callahan was arrested at the Pigeon River border crossing into Canada. The crossing is at the northeastern tip of Minnesota. A backpack containing El Salvadoran passports and maps of the area were found in his trunk. At the same time, a couple from El Salvador seeking refugee status was picked up in the area. Callahan was arrested and spent the next 30 days in a Thunder Bay jail in deplorable conditions. The most serious charge was ‘human trafficking and smuggling,’ which carries a sentence of very large fines and years in jail. He was released on $75,000 bail and returned to Minneapolis while he awaited trial.
After many months, these serious charges were finally dropped. On Oct. 31, Callahan pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting under Canada’s Immigration and Protection Act. The charge of providing misleading information was dropped. However, the Crown continued to play hardball. The prosecutor asked for a three to six month prison sentence, arguing that bringing people in illegally put the country in danger. He also admitted he’d never seen such a level of support for a defendant in the courtroom.
Francis Thatcher, Callahan’s lawyer, made a powerful case that Joe is a humanitarian and that what he did was in keeping with his lifelong commitment to immigrant rights. In his statement to the court, Callahan said, “I lived in Arizona and saw how ‘coyotes’ exploited and endangered undocumented immigrants. I would never do this. I find it abhorrent.”
The judge sentenced Callahan with a $5000 fine and no prison time. She also referred to the number of Callahan’s supporters in the courtroom and the 23 letters written on his behalf.
Callahan has returned to his home. He will continue to organize against U.S.-led wars, for immigrant rights and against repression – including the 23 people under investigation by a federal grand jury in Chicago for their international solidarity work in Palestine and Colombia – for the Cuban 5, for the two Somali women from Rochester, Minnesota who have been convicted of material support and for many other political prisoners.
The favorable outcome for Callahan comes after the victory of Carlos Montes against political repression.
A victory party will be held Nov. 24 at 7:00 p.m. at 4200 Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis.
Posted on May 3, 2012 by FightBack! News
Minneapolis, MN – More than 1500 people marched on Lake Street for immigrant and workers rights here on May 1, International Workers Day. Organized by the May 1st Coalition and initiated by the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee (MIRAc), the march focused on legalization for undocumented immigrants, ending deportations and support for workers and their unions. The march had the support of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation (AFL-CIO), most immigrant rights groups in the city and many Latino student groups from nearby colleges and high schools.
The march started at 3:30 p.m. at Lake Street and Nicollet Avenue. Cleaning workers from the Center for Workers United in Struggle (CTUL) spoke across the street from the local K Mart to denounce the exploitation of immigrant workers that clean their stores. Rafael Morataya of SEIU Local 26 spoke when the march passed by Wells Fargo bank, to denounce the bank’s support for corporations that exploit immigrants, like Corrections Corporation of America, which builds private prisons and immigrant detention facilities while lobbying for harsher anti-immigrant laws to fill those jails.
A member of Mujeres en Liderazgo (Women in Leadership) spoke out for their campaign for a Minneapolis municipal ID that would be accessible for immigrants, as well as for their campaign for the right of immigrants to get a driver’s license.
Rap artist Maria Isa did two songs at the rally at Powderhorn Park at the end of the march, energizing the crowd and expressing her support for the immigrant rights and anti-racist struggle. Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria read a poem about the immigrant struggle. Emilia Avalos and other immigrant youth spoke about their struggle for access to education.
There were also speakers from other immigrant communities in Minnesota, like Sadik Warfa who spoke from the Somali immigrant community and Azannia Tripp of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. Christian Ucles of Minnesotans United for All Families spoke in support of marriage equality and of the importance to unite against the right-wing attacks against LGBTQ people and against immigrants.
Thistle Parker Hartog from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression spoke about Carlos Montes, whose trial starts May 15 in Los Angeles on trumped up charges and about the case of Joe Callahan, an anti-war and immigrant rights activist in Minnesota accused of ‘human trafficking’ for supposedly helping two Salvadoran immigrants cross into Canada to seek asylum.
Pangea World Theater did a brief performance and Carlos Lombi played music.
Mel Reeves of Occupy the Hood spoke, as did Alejandra Cruz, a well-known immigrant youth leader in Minnesota. She spoke about her struggle fighting against her home’s foreclosure. Her family is in danger of imminent eviction and they are seeking support to defend their home from the bank.
Javier Morillio, President of SEIU Local 26, spoke about current union struggles and representatives of the unions that endorsed the march took the stage together to be recognized by the crowd for supporting the International Workers Day march. Cecilia Martinez of CEED spoke about the struggle for climate justice.
Ana of MIRAc spoke about the need for immigrant workers and their supporters to continue the struggle for legalization for all, an end to deportations and an end to all racist anti-immigrant laws.
A speech given by Thistle Parker-Hartog representing the Minnesota Committee to Stop FBI Repression at the Immigrant Rights rally on May 1, 2012 at Powderhorn Park. Thistle, who is also a member of the Anti-War Committee, drew attention to the connections between the government attacks on activists like herself and the everyday repression of immigrant communities in the U.S. Her speech is below in English first and then in Spanish.
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression stands in solidarity with our immigrant sisters and brothers. One of our number, Carlos Montes, has been a leader in the Chicano movement for decades. And in retribution for his dedication to fighting for immigrant rights, he was raided and arrested on false charges at his home in L.A. one year ago. His trial starts May 15, and it is urgent that each one of us contact the prosecutor to demand he drop the charges against Carlos. You should also know about Joe Callahan, who for years has done solidarity work around Central America and Cuba. In a ludicrous turn of events he was arrested in Canada for trafficking immigrants. He also needs your support before his next court date in Canada. Fliers are being distributed about both Joe and Carlos’ case, along with the phone number for the prosecutor.
Those of us who have been subpoenaed and intimidated by the U.S. government were singled out because of our work in solidarity with people our government has oppressed in other countries and here in the United States. We understand how U.S. policies of war and free trade abroad create the need for immigrants to come here seeking a better life. And we understand the hypocrisy of the United States then criminalizing and rejecting those very people fleeing the devastation created by the US in their home countries. Those of us under investigation are receiving a small taste of the apprehension and foreboding immigrants live with every day, that the next knock on the door might be the police coming to take us away, that at any point a court order might descend to tear our families apart. But we will not lay down the struggle to defend our right to dissent. And we will continue to stand with our immigrant sisters and brothers in support of the struggle for immigrant justice.
La Comité para Parar la Represión del FBI está en solidaridad con nuestras hermanas y nuestros hermanos inmigrantes. Uno de nosotros, Carlos Montes, ha sido un líder en el movimiento Chicano por décadas. Como castigo por su dedicación a luchar por los derechos de inmigrantes y otros, hace un año se hizo una redada de su hogar en Los Ángeles y se le arrestó a Carlos, poniéndole cargos falsos. Su juicio empieza el 15 de mayo, y es urgente que cada uno comuniquemos con el fiscal para exigirle retirar los cargos. También deben saber de Joe Callahan, quien ha trabajado en solidaridad con los centroamericanos y cubanos por años. Por ridículo, se le arrestó a él en Canadá por traficar a inmigrantes. Él también necesita su apoyo antes de su próxima corte en Canadá. Se distribuyen hojas informativas sobre los casos de Joe y de Carlos, junto con el número telefónico del fiscal.
Los que hemos sido citados e intimidados por el gobierno de los Estados,– estamos señalados por el trabajo que hemos hecho en solidaridad con los pueblos oprimidos por nuestro gobierno en otros países, y aquí en los Estados. Entendemos como las políticas norteamericanas de guerra y de comercio libre crean la necesidad para que inmigrantes vengan a buscar una vida mejor. Y entendemos la hipocresía de los Estados en criminalizar y rechazar a las meras personas huyéndose del lio hecho por los Estados en sus países. Y los que estamos bajo investigación ahora vivimos una pequeña parte de la aprehensión y miedo con los cuales viven inmigrantes cada día, que la próxima persona que toque la puerta será la policía aquí para llevarnos, que en cualquier momento una orden judicial pueda aparecerse para destruir a nuestras familias. Pero no renunciamos a la lucha para defender a nuestros derechos a disensión. Y seguimos al lado de nuestras hermanas y nuestros hermanos inmigrantes en la lucha para la justica. La lucha sigue!
Joe Callahan is a long time Minnesota antiwar and union activist who is accused of helping bring 2 Salvadoran immigrants into Canada where they were seeking asylum. Joe now faces several serious charges and the Anti-War Committee asks you to support Joe and his legal defense.
On July 31, 2011, after two Salvadoran immigrants went to Canada to apply for asylum, long-time Twin Cities activist Joe Callahan was arrested by Canadian police at the Pigeon River border station. At the time Joe was alone in his car. The Canadian police used a backpack, maps and other items found in Joe s car as the grounds for his arrest.
Joe was charged with aiding and abetting an immigration without a visa, and providing false and misleading information. As a result of these charges, Joe was locked up in the Thunder Bay District Jail in cramped, crowded conditions where inmates are frequently forced to sleep on the floor, as Joe did for the first several days he was there. While Joe was in custody, the authorities added the charge of smuggling or human trafficking. This charge is much more serious and carries a maximum sentence of ten years.
After one month Joe was released on bail and was allowed to return to the Minneapolis area, pending trial. He is restricted to the Twin Cities area as a condition of his release. Meanwhile, the prosecuting attorney, or Crown Attorney, as they are called in Canada, informed Joe s defense attorneys that he is seeking a sentence of three or four years. The trial will be held in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The date has not yet been set. Joe is being represented by Mary Bird and Francis Thatcher, a prominent attorney in the Aboriginal rights struggle.
Over the last thirty years Joe has been active in solidarity work for Central America and Cuba. He has been an active defender of immigration rights. He was also active against an attempt to reinstate the death penalty in Minnesota. His record in the fight for justice goes back to his youth. As a student he was active in the anti-Vietnam war movement.
For four and a half years Joe worked for the Metro Transit System as a bus driver, and was a member of the Amalgamated Transit Union. He has spent his working life in blue collar, unionized jobs. Now, because of his legal difficulties, he has been forced to take a lower-paying position as a driver for a small bus company.
Joe Callahan is NOT a human trafficker! Joe is NOT a smuggler! These charges against him are unfounded and they should be dropped. Joe is a political activist concerned about the rights of immigrants. He needs the help of all supporters of democratic rights.
You can aid in Joe s defense:
§ Circulate this letter and urge others to sign. New signers can sign via email to: email@example.com
We’ll be demanding that the Mexican consul pressure the Mexican government to help stop the assassinations, kidnappings and torture of immigrants that cross through Mexico. We’ll also be delivering a letter, in which we ask the Mexican government to extend a Human Mobility permit to migrants.
Sponsored by MIRAc.
This speech was given at the National Day of Action in Solidarity with Carlos Montes protest at the FBI building in Minneapolis on 6/16/11
We are here today to say drop the charges and to strongly condemn the raid and arrest of Carlos Montes, a nationally known Chicano immigrant rights activist. When law enforcement, including the FBI, raided Carlos’ home they used the pretext of a weapons charge as an excuse to seize 44 years worth of political materials, his cell phone and his computer. Then when they got Carlos into the squad car their main interest was to ask him questions about the anti-war and international solidarity activists that have been subpoenaed to testify at a secret grand jury in Chicago. Just like the raid on my house, what they were after was information – information about who we do our organizing with, what people’s beliefs are, what protests and actions people have organized – information that should be LEGAL and protected under the 1st Amendment.
Carlos is a long-time activist in the Chicano movement, a leader in the Southern California Immigration Coalition and in Latinos Against War. Although he is best known as a leader in Chicano liberation and immigrant rights struggles, I also know Carlos for his commitment against imperialism and for his international solidarity work, in particular with the people of Colombia.
I believe I first met Carlos when I went to Los Angeles in 2000 to protest Gore’s support for U.S. military aid to Colombia and his connection to Occidental Oil at the DNC. People throughout the protest came up to Carlos and it was apparent that he had the respect and love of the activist community in LA for a lifetime working for peace and justice. Carlos became an important person to me that day when he took me under his wing and got me out of downtown LA safely when the LAPD started firing rubber bullets at protesters. I needed him and he stepped up to keep me safe.
The MN Anti-War Committee, which I’m a part of, considers Carlos a friend of our committee. Carlos played an important leadership role with us in the Coalition to March on the RNC. He participated in the organizing conference we had here in January 2008 and on national coordinating phone calls. He spoke on the stage at the protest on day 1 of the convention and was a powerful voice for ending US warfare and occupation in Iraq. He also spoke at the Anti-War Committee’s protest on day 4 of the RNC and even stepped up to help lead the protest on the ground after the majority of our committee was arrested in the police’s attempt to prevent our protest from disrupting McCain’s speech at the Excel Center. In 2008 over 30,000 people from across the country came together to say no to the Republican agenda of war. Unfortunately, the FBI investigated the impressive coalition that we pulled together locally and we are still feeling the affects of that surveillance. The investigation, harassment, grand jury subpoenas and now charges against Carlos all come out of law enforcement’s infiltration into the Anti-War Committee and the Coalition to March on the RNC. In the past 2 weeks our case has been used in the Senate Judiciary Committee, on the cover of the Washington Post, and in the Nation and Progressive magazines to demonstrate that the FBI and the federal government are abusing their power and trampling on the right to dissent in this country. Our movement is getting the attention of politicians and media outlets! Protests like this one are crucial in our battle to protect our movements and our activists!
It is imperative for us to denounce the FBI’s use of COINTELPRO tactics and demand an end to these attacks on activists! Today we join with activists, teachers, and community members from LA and around the country to stand in solidarity with Carlos! Carlos Montes has dedicated his life to struggling for immigrant rights, for education rights, and against war. He has done nothing wrong. This is an attack on him and an attack on the Chicano movement for equality and the immigrant rights movement as a whole. Thank you today for standing up for Carlos, for the 23 subpoenaed activists, and for your own right to protest!
(For more information on Carlos Montes’ case or the 23 anti-war and international solidarity activists who have been subpoenaed go to stopfbi.net.)
Published on May 26, 2011 by RT
Anti-terrorism resources are being used to target environmentalists, peace, animal and political activists who hold different views than the government.
It was recently revealed that a counter-terrorism firm spied on individuals who attended film screenings of the documentary Gasland. The film focuses on the practice of natural gas fracking and what impact it has on the environment and in the communities where it is used.
The FBI and other government agencies are cracking down on those who are not willing to say in line with the status quo.
In Pennsylvania, activists have faced terrorism charges for writing slogans in chalk on sidewalks. In California, 27 individuals are set to go on trial stemming for protest actions Elsewhere 23 anti-war, pro-labor and international solidarity activists may face a grand jury on trumped up charged. The FBI boasts 164,000 suspicious activity reports that are made up of activists who do not follow the governments view on matters.
The US government is using taxpayer money to squash the competition as opposed to protecting the American people from true terrorist threats, all while stomping on freedom of speech rights.
Carlos Montes, a co-founder of the Brown Berets Chicano Movement explained there is a marked rise of the US government using tools at their disposal designed to fight terrorism to impose oppression on political activists.
“The protest movements are directly exposing and challenging the lines that the US government puts out,” he said, yet law enforcement authorities continue to crack down without just cause. “It’s a war against dissent.”
The government is working to stop the movement which is merely seeking to exercise its right to free speech and the right to protest
“They’re trying to stop us but we’re not going to let them do it,” Montes added.
March in St. Paul
4:00 pm Gather at the Cathedral
then we’ll march toward the Capitol
1ro de Mayo: Dia Internacional del Trabajo
Marcha en San Pablo
Inicia frente a la Catedral a las 4:00 pm
Marcha hacia el Capitolio
Organized by MIRAc
MIRAc is the Minnesota Immigrant Rights Action Committee. It is an organization that organizes the immigrant community and their allies to try to win legalization for all and equality in all aspects of life. We struggle for legalization, for a moratorium on raids and deportations, and for drivers licenses for all regardless of immigration status. MIRAc was formed in Spring 2006 out of the huge immigrant rights marches. We’ve organized many protests, marches and other activities for immigrant rights in Minnesota since then.
Join us for a panel of Latino and immigrant leaders speaking out about FBI & grand jury repression against anti-war and international solidarity activists.
The speakers will make connections between the current case of repression against 23 anti-war activists (see www.stopfbi.net for more info) and the many kinds of repression faced by the Latino community—the repression against Latino political movements like the Chicano movement in the 1960s and the Puerto Rican nationalist movement, as well as the criminalization and targeting of millions of Latino immigrant workers.
We’ll explore how these things are connected and what we can do to build a movement to stop the criminalization of dissent and the criminalization of our communities.
Sponsored by Committee to Stop FBI Repression and Students United
Info: 612-379-3585 | StopFBI.net
We have decided to change the march route and end point for tomorrow, to march to the Republican State Convention at the convention center downtown, before ending in Loring Park for a united rally.
We hope you will join us for the May 1 march for immigrant and workers rights tomorrow starting at 2:00 pm at Martin Luther King Park, 41st and Nicollet Ave S.
Wednesday both Republican contenders for governor, Tom Emmer and Marty Seifert, announced their support for the new racist Arizona law, SB 1070. We will send them a strong message: Minnesota is not Arizona! We need a just reform with legalization and equal rights for all!
WHEN: Saturday, May 1, 2010
STARTING POINT: Martin Luther King Park (41st and Nicollet Ave. S)
UNITE WITH OTHER MARCHERS: 4:00pm Minneapolis Convention Center (1st and Grant)
RALLY: 4:30pm Loring Park (Not Stewart Field!)
Marches leaving from 3 starting points are expected to number in the thousands, and will converge as one in downtown Minneapolis on Saturday.
The marches will meet outside the Republican State Convention at the convention center downtown for a brief stop, before marching united to Loring Park.
Join our coalition of more than 40 groups to demand real legalization for all, workers rights, driver’s licenses, and equal rights for all, and an end to immigration raids, deportations, and discrimination!
SEE YOU IN THE STREETS!
SI SE PUEDE!
The May 1st Coalition