Holding In Action: FBI Raids Activist Apartments

FBI Raids Activist Homes in Minneapolis, Chicago

FBI agents raided the homes of six activists in Minneapolis and two in Chicago on September 24, seizing computers, cell phones, CDs, files and papers. They left behind subpoenas ordering at least some of the targeted individuals to appear before a federal grand jury in Chicago. The FBI agents were seeking evidence of ties to “FTOs,” or foreign terrorist organizations, including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

Steven Warfield, the FBI media coordinator, said that six warrants were issued in Minneapolis and two in Chicago as part of a terrorist investigation.  The FBI agents were searching for evidence of “material support to terrorists.”  When asked about any subpoenas that were issued today, Warfield said “I can’t tell you about any grand jury activities.”

William Mitchell Law Professor Peter Erlinder, who was arrested this summer near the Rwandan capital for representing Victoire Ingabire, attended a press conference at one of the homes that was raided on Park and 29th Street.  He said that the raids today were not simply a small issue that happened on the South Side of Minneapolis.  They were the result, he said, of a recent Supreme Court ruling, Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project, which upheld astatute that made it illegal to support any organization that the Secretary of State deems terrorist because it is opposed to U.S. policies.  The Supreme Court ruling makes providing “material support” to terrorist organizations a felony even if that support was peaceful.  Thus, a lawyer providing legal services or a doctor providing medical services to a terrorist organization would technically be committing a felony, Erlinder said.  “The individual doesn’t have to intend to be furthering the illegal activities,” Erlinder said.

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