[Ppnews] Secret government informer "Karen Sullivan" infiltrated Minnesota activist groups
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Wed Jan 12 17:33:43 EST 2011
Secret government informer "Karen Sullivan" infiltrated Minnesota
By Nick Pinto
published: Wed., Jan. 12 2011 @ 12:59PM
<http://www.stopfbi.net/>Committee to Stop FBI Repression
"Karen Sullivan," an undercover agent who spied on Twin Cities activists.
The Twin Cities activists who had their homes raided by the FBI last
September are starting to learn more about why they're being
investigated by a Chicago grand jury in relation to material support
Lawyers for the activists have learned from prosecutors that the feds
sent an undercover law enforcement agent to infiltrate the Twin
Cities Anti-War Committee in April 2008, just as the group was
planning its licensed protests at the Republican National Convention.
Going by the name "Karen Sullivan," the agent blended in with the
many new faces the Committee was seeing at meetings in the lead-up to
the RNC. But she stayed active afterward, attending virtually every meeting.
"She presented herself as a lesbian with a teenage daughter, and said
she had a difficult relationship with her daughter's father, which is
one of the reasons she gave us for not being more transparent about
her story," says Jess Sundin, a member of the Anti-War Committee and
one of the activists who has received a subpoena from the Chicago
grand jury. "It was a sympathetic story for a lot of us."
Sullivan told the group she was originally from Boston but that she
had had a rough childhood and was estranged from her family. She said
she had spent some time in Northern Ireland working with Republican
Sullivan at first said that she didn't have any permanent address in
the area, but she eventually got an apartment in the Seward
neighborhood. She claimed to be employed by a friend's small
business, checking out foreclosed properties that he might buy. The
cover story of a flexible job schedule let her attend all the
meetings she wanted to, and to have individual lunches with other activists.
"She really took an interest," Sundin said. "It raised some
suspicions among other members at first, but after the other
undercover agents from the RNC Welcoming Committee came out, and no
in our organization did, we figured we didn't have any. Besides, we
didn't think we had anything we needed to be secretive about."
Sullivan began to take on more responsibilities with the
organization, chairing meetings, handling the group's bookkeeping,
and networking with dozens of other organizations.
In the summer of 2009, Sullivan joined two other Twin Cities
activists in a trip to visit Palestine. Somehow, when they landed in
Tel Aviv, Israeli security forces knew they were coming, and that
they were headed to Palestine.
The three women were told they could get on the next plane back home
or they could face detention. Sullivan took the flight. The other two
women chose detention and were ultimately deported.
Attorneys for the activists have also learned that prosecutors are
especially interested in a small donation the women intended to give
to their host organization in Palestine, the
<http://www.upwc.org.ps/>Union of Palestinian Women's Committees. The
group is registered as an NGO with the Palestinian Authority and not
listed as a terrorist group by the United States.
Last fall, Sullivan disappeared from the Twin Cities, telling her
fellow activists that she had some family business to take care of.
She never came back. On September 24, the FBI launched a series
early morning raids on the homes of members of the Anti-War Committee
and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is relying on an undercover
informant in his investigation of Twin Cities activists.
The FBI would not confirm or deny Sullivan's identity as a government
agent or comment on this story by the time of publication. The U.S.
Attorney's office in Chicago has said it will not comment on anything
related to the grand jury investigation.
Last fall the Justice Department's Inspector General released a
<http://www.justice.gov/oig/special/s1009r.pdf>scathing report that
criticized the FBI for invoking anti-terrorist laws to justify their
investigations and harassment of groups including Greenpeace, People
for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the Catholic Worker.
"This is exactly what the Inspector General's report was talking
about," Sundin told City Pages this morning. "The FBI doesn't have
the right to spy on us. It's an abuse of our democratic rights. We're
supposed to have freedom of association, not "You can associate but
we're going to spy on you."
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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