[Ppnews] Chicago - FBI raids anti-war activists' homes

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Sat Sep 25 11:10:47 EDT 2010

FBI raids anti-war activists' homes
Agents looking for links to terrorists, federal spokesman says

September 24, 2010|By Andy Grimm and Cynthia Dizikes, Tribune reporters

Federal agents searched homes of anti-war activists in Chicago and 
Minneapolis on Friday in an investigation of possible links with 
terrorist organizations in the Middle East and South America.

About 20 FBI agents spent most of the day searching the Logan Square 
residence of activists Stephanie Weiner and Joseph Iosbaker, Weiner said.

In Jefferson Park, neighbors saw FBI agents carrying boxes from the 
apartment of community activist Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director 
of the Arab American Action Network. In addition, Chicago activist 
Thomas Burke said he was served a grand jury subpoena that requested 
records of any payments to Abudayyeh or his group.

"The warrants are seeking evidence in support of an ongoing Joint 
Terrorism Task Force investigation into activities concerning the 
material support of terrorism," said Steve Warfield, spokesman for 
the FBI in Minneapolis, where six additional homes were searched Friday.

Warfield said no arrests had been made and that there was no 
"imminent danger" to the public.

Ross Rice, an FBI spokesman in Chicago, gave the two Chicago blocks 
where agents had searched homes Friday, but he declined to name the targets.

Melinda Power, an attorney for Weiner and Iosbaker and a longtime 
friend, said agents took about 30 boxes of papers dating to the 
1970s, including a postcard from an old girlfriend of Iosbaker's.

"They said they would determine what was evidence later," Power said.

Weiner, who said she and her husband for years have been active in 
labor causes and the anti-war movement, complained the search was an 
attempt to intimidate her and other activists.

"We aren't doing anything differently than we have in 20 years," said 
Weiner, a teacher at Wilbur Wright College. Iosbaker is a staff 
member at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a union steward 
for Service Employees International Union Local 73.

Burke said he received a grand jury subpoena requesting records of 
payments to Abudayyeh's organization as well as two groups among the 
State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations, the 
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Revolutionary 
Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

The subpoena also requested "items relating to trips to Colombia, 
Jordan, Syria, the Palestinian territories of Israel." Burke said he 
toured Colombia eight years ago with members of an oil workers union there.

Burke, a former school custodian-turned-stay-at-home father, belongs 
to the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, a group mentioned in 
subpoenas and search warrants issued Friday to activists in Minneapolis.

Burke said he knows Weiner, Iosbaker and Abudayyeh from years of 
involvement in demonstrations and activities in Chicago. Most of the 
people whose homes were searched or who were issued subpoenas 
attended anti-war rallies at the 2008 Republican National Convention 
in St. Paul, Minn., he said.

In a statement issued on behalf of the activists, Minneapolis 
activist Steff Yorek said the homes of a number of anti-war, 
socialist or pro-Palestinian groups had been searched by the FBI.

Yorek, whose home was also searched Friday, called the searches "an 
outrageous fishing expedition."

"Activists have the right not to speak with the FBI and are 
encouraged to politely refuse," she said.

Several of those targeted with warrants or subpoenas are also 
occasional contributors to Fight Back!, a socialist newsletter that 
is generally supportive of leftist groups and critical of U.S. "wars 
of occupation" in Iraq and Afghanistan, Burke said.

"We pretty much all know each other," Burke said. "We barely have 
money to publish our magazine. We might write about (revolutionary 
groups) favorably, but as for giving them material aid, nothing."

Weiner and Iosbaker were also subpoenaed to appear before a federal 
grand jury in Chicago on Oct. 5, Power said.

Not long after the FBI agents left, a group of about 20 demonstrators 
gathered outside the couple's home, carrying signs and singing "Give 
Peace a Chance."

Sarah Simmons, 51, held a piece of paper printed with a peace sign. 
She said she had known the couple for 15 years. "I think this is 
outrageous," she said.

agrimm at tribune.com

cdizikes at tribune.com

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