Activists against FBI raids to rally in coming week

September 26, 2010 (CHICAGO) The protests follow several raids on homes in Chicago and Minneapolis where agents said they were looking for connections to terrorist groups in Colombia and the Middle East.

The activists held an emergency meeting Sunday to plan a series of rallies for Monday and Tuesday.

Organizers say the FBI is trying to silence the anti-war movement, but activists say last Friday's raids have only energized their causes. Many believe the FBI raids are just fishing expeditions in light a recent Supreme Court decision where the court rejected a free speech challenge from humanitarian groups.

Maureen Murphy is one of several activists who spent Sunday evening behind the computer organizing an emergency rally. Different anti-war groups are coming together as one to protest the FBI. It is a response to Fridays raids in Chicago and Minnesota.

"We view these raids as an attack on entire movement, and we believe that our rights and our civil liberties and our freedom of speech are at stake here," said Maureen Murphy of the Palestine Solidarity Group.

The FBI served six warrants in Minneapolis and two in Chicago, including the Northwest Side home of Joe Iosbaker and his wife, Stephanie Weiner. The couple are well-known, anti-war activists, as well as critics of U.S. support for Israel and Columbia. While more than 30 boxes of papers and personal items were taken from their house, Iosbaker and Weiner repeated in a news conference Saturday that they have done nothing illegal.

"All we ever did was work against U.S. military aid to the governments of Colombia and Israel and to support the peoples of Colombia and Israel in their struggle for justice," said Iosbaker.

Because they are scheduled to appear before a grand jury next month, Iosbaker and Weiner could not say why they think their work may have captured the FBI's attention.

In the meantime, the couple is getting a great deal of support from other activists.

"We know these people very well. They are looked as leaders in the anti-war movement and the solidarity movement, and we stand with them to say it is all of our rights at stake," said Murphy.

The FBI says Friday's raids are part of a grand jury investigation into "activivties concerning the material support of terrorism."

While federal authorities would not discuss the details of the investigation, an FBI spokesman said that judges reviewed the search warrants for the raids and found probable cause.

Monday's protest is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Chicago's FBI headquarters on Rooselvelt Road.

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