Minneapolis City Council Letter Affirms Rights of Peace Activists

Minneapolis City Council members have signed and sent a letter to Senators Klobuchar and Franken and to Rep. Ellison affirming  Constitutional rights of anti-war activists — especially those  subpoenaed and raided in Minneapolis — and questioning expanded  surveillance activity of the FBI and Justice Department. Download the PDF

October, 2011

Senator Amy Klobuchar
United States Senate
302 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Senator AI Franken
United States Senate
309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Representative Keith Ellison
United States House of Representatives
1027 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Senators Klobuchar and Franken, and Representative Ellison,

As a city, we have long enjoyed a good working relationship with our partners at the Justice Department. We have worked on issues of mortgage fraud, been a partner in outreach to our Somali Community, and participate in several joint task forces with the FBI, Secret Service, US Postal Inspections, DEA, and ICE. We view these partnerships as invaluable to our city. In that spirit, we are writing to share our concerns regarding reports about a Justice Department investigation of local Minneapolis peace and justice organizations and individual anti-war activists.

This first came to our attention on September 24, 2010, when the homes of several Minneapolis residents were raided by FBI agents who confiscated computers, mailing lists, cell phones, passports, political literature, correspondence, and children’s drawings. That day the FBI also raided the office of the Anti-War Committee, an organization that the Minneapolis City Council, in 2007, publicly recognized as an important voice of nonviolence and political dissent.  In connection with these raids, it appears that several Minneapolis residents have been investigated and served with subpoenas to appear before a federal grand jury to testify regarding alleged material support for foreign terrorist organizations.

As elected officials we are committed to serving our constituents and our community. In that capacity we are formally sharing our concerns about the expansion of government surveillance of social justice organizations and anti-war activists in Minnesota as evidenced by this event.  We are deeply concerned about the chilling effects these activities might have on completely nonviolent and legal activism as well as the threat it poses to the freedoms of speech and association and health of our democracy in general.

We are more specifically concerned about the strain and hardship that these ongoing investigations pose to these Minneapolis residents and their families. We are hoping that you can help get this matter concluded in a timely and just manner, so that the people involved can go on with their lives.

Sincerely,

  • Kevin Reich Minneapolis City Council, Ward 1
  • Cam Gordon Minneapolis City Council, Ward 2
  • Diane Hofstede Minneapolis City Council, Ward 3
  • Barbara Johnson, President Minneapolis City Council, Ward 4
  • Don Samuels Minneapolis City Council, Ward 5
  • Robert Lilligren, Vice President Minneapolis City Council, Ward 6
  • Lisa Goodman Minneapolis City Council, Ward 7
  • Elizabeth Glidden Minneapolis City Council, Ward 8
  • Gary Schiff Minneapolis City Council, Ward 9
  • Meg Tuthill Minneapolis City Council, Ward 10
  • John Quincy Minneapolis City Council, Ward 11
  • Sandy Colvin Roy Minneapolis City Council, Ward 12
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