Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Activists cry foul over FBI probe

Activists cry foul over FBI probe
By Peter Wallsten
Washington Post
June 13, 2011
CHICAGO — FBI agents took box after box of address books, family calendars, artwork and personal letters in their 10-hour raid in September of the century-old house shared by Stephanie Weiner and her husband.

The agents seemed keenly interested in Weiner’s home-based business, the Revolutionary Lemonade Stand, which sells silkscreened infant bodysuits and other clothes with socialist slogans, phrases like “Help Wanted: Revolutionaries.”

Anti-war activist Tom Burke meets Barack Obama in 2004 at Burke's Chicago-area union hall as Obama was running for U.S. Senate. Burke is one of 23 prominent anti-war activists to be subpoenaed as part of an ongoing FBI terrorism probe.

The search was part of a mysterious, ongoing nationwide terrorism investigation with an unusual target: prominent peace activists and politically active labor organizers.

The probe — involving subpoenas to 23 people and raids of seven homes last fall — has triggered a high-powered protest against the Department of Justice and, in the process, could create some political discomfort for President Obama with his union supporters as he gears up for his reelection campaign.

The apparent targets are concentrated in the Midwest, including Chicagoans who crossed paths with Obama when he was a young state senator and some who have been active in labor unions that supported his political rise...

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