The FBI Comes After Activists

Imagine 25 FBI agents coming to your door at 7:00 in the morning and staying for ten hours and then leaving with 30 boxes of your belongings.

Well, Joe Iosbaker and Stephanie Weiner don’t have to imagine it.

Because, on Sept. 24, the FBI descended on their home.

The FBI agents at their home even went through their son’s T-shirt drawer and separated “those that were controversial from those that weren’t.”

At one point, the agent in charge was called in to evaluate one of the shirts because it said “Hell Boy” on it, Weiner recalls.

And they took “a gift our son had just given us from a trip to China he was on, which was paid for by the State Department,” she adds.

Iosbaker and Weiner were among 14 solidarity activists and socialists whose places the FBI raided in an astonishing assault on our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

The pretext was that activists were “providing material support” or “attempting to provide material support” or “conspiring to provide material support” to groups that are listed by the State Department as terrorists.

But the ones the FBI seemed concerned about had nothing to do with Al Qaeda. No, they had to do with groups in Colombia and Palestine, two places that Iosbaker and Weiner have never been.

Weiner says they haven’t been providing material support, either, unless “providing falafel” counts as that.

Now the FBI is trying to force three of the 14 activists to testify at a grand jury, accept immunity, or face jail, even though they’ve already taken the Fifth.

And the FBI appears to be expanding its dragnet.

“The FBI served subpoenas to at least two [more] Chicago-area women who visited the Israeli-occupied West Bank this summer,” Chip Mitchell of WBEZ reported on Friday.

These coercive tactics are straight out of the 1950s. They don’t belong in America, circa 2010.

To find out more about this FBI repression, go to stopfbi.net.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his other "McCarthyism Watch" pieces by clicking here.

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