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Anti-War Committee Searches Done By The Book?

Yesterday, the FBI searched through the homes of people associated with a group in Minnesota and Illinois called the Anti-War Committee. Initially, it appears that these searches were on the up and up. Search warrants were used.

There’s a possibility, however, that these searches were not as legitimate as they seemed. If I was a lawyer for the people targeted in searches yesterday, I’d like to know how any information used in yesterday’s search warrants was gathered. Was initial surveillance of the group, as with surveillance of peaceful progressive protesters in Pennsylvania, done without search warrants, with tracking of the Anti-War Committee merely on the basis of the group’s political beliefs?

No one was arrested in conjunction with the searches, but the warrants stated that the homes were searched for information concerning “activities concerning the material support of terrorism”. It sounds absurd, the idea that anti-war activists could provide material support of terrorism.

A closer look at the Anti-War Committee, however, reveals that the organization isn’t necessarily pacifist. The group asserts that “We believe in peace through justice, and we stand in solidarity with oppressed people here and abroad.”

Peace through justice is quite different than peace through peace. It’s an idea that has some merit, given that a peace that refuses to acknowledge underlying tensions cannot last. However, the concept of peace through justice can also be used to justify rather lopsided demands for peaceful behavior. In the past, the concept has led some activists to justify the violence by “the oppressed”. In fact, the Anti-War Committee has expressed its belief in the “right to resist”. Resistance can be nonviolent, but does not include any commitment to nonviolence in its mission statement.

The Anti-War Committee has a history of mixing other religious agendas into its anti-war activism. It takes sides in disputes that include violent conflicts, in Palestine and in Colombia. Has the group’s zeal to defend “the oppressed” led some members to give more-than-verbal support to violent groups in these places? I don’t know, but I could see how the matter might be worth a formal investigation.

3 comments to Anti-War Committee Searches Done By The Book?

  • ron

    The notion that these raids might have been justified because the people and organizations involved understand that without justice there is no peace is absurd. It is the role played by US imperialism and its military force that creates situations that lead the oppressed to use force. To pretend otherwise is either naive or ignorant. One of the primary roles these types of raids play is to create the idea in the public’s mind that there are good protesters and bad ones. Unfortunately, this type of nonsense takes place within the movement, too. Our job is to stand in solidarity with these folks and demand that the raids be stopped and the grand jury be canceled.

  • ron

    One more thing. It is the law itself that is wrong. If the raids were done “by the book” it’s only because the book was rewritten.

  • “It is the role played by US imperialism and its military force that creates situations that lead the oppressed to use force.” – That’s the kind of attitude that’s a problem, here, and I say it’s a problem because I consider myself to be an anti-war activist. Every war I’ve heard of was justified by the description of some kind of oppression, or danger to public safety. It’s rather nasty of people who claim to be for peace to apologize for people who wage war, just because they’re “oppressed”.

    Who made it my job to stand in solidarity with the Anti-War Committee? I didn’t apply for the job of being a PR agent for people who justify violence.

    If you’re against the “book” that allows law enforcement officers to get a search warrant from a judge by submitting evidence of probable cause that a crime was committed, then you’re against the Constitution of the United States of America.

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