New York City: Rebel Diaz Arts Collective space raided, evicted by Federal Marshalls and NYPD

rebeldiazFrom Rebel Diaz:

South Bronx community center Rebel Diaz Arts Collective (RDACBX) shut down by Federal marshals and NYPD. Rally to be held denouncing lockout and forced eviction.

March 1, 2013- After a violent daytime raid yesterday, Thursday, February 28, 2013, on the warehouse turned arts space at 478 Austin Place in the Bronx, members of Hip-Hop community center RDACBX are denouncing their forced eviction at a rally to be held at 6pm today in front of their locked out building.

The building landowner, local commercial developer Marc Pogostin of Austin Property Corp., had for months stalled negotiations on a new agreement with the RDACBX after the group’s original lease expired this past November. Despite diverse support for RDACBX from local politicians, churches, and community organizations in the area, Austin Property Corp. eventually refused to renew the lease, citing concerns about the group’s political murals, and prompting the surprise eviction yesterday.

“The violent actions taken yesterday are an attack on young people, artists, and Hip Hop culture,” says RDACBX co-founder RodStarz. “In a time where budget cuts, stop and frisk, and gentrification are affecting our communities, it’s a shame we are being treated like criminals. There is no justification for this eviction.”

Karen Louviere, 19, a past participant in RDACBX youth programs, expressed her disappointment at the violent shutdown of the space. “They came in with armed officers into what is supposed to be a safe space for the community. A space that has served as an alternative for young people in the area, helping develop their talents in a positive way.”

The internationally renowned RDACBX, host to weekly cultural performances and educational workshops, had recently announced plans for the creation of the Richie Perez Radical Library, as well as the continuation of their widely recognized Boogie Mics open mic series, and the SxSBX Hip-Hop Festival.

“Despite the violent removal of RDACBX from its space, RDACBX will continue to work on its development, as it strives to be a resource for the community. There is a need for this organization to exist in The South Bronx,” says Claudia De La Cruz, a member of the collective.

What: Press Conference/ Rally to Defend RDACBX
When: Friday, March 1st, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
Where: 478 Austin Place, Bronx NY 10455

Oakland: First Person account of the recent FBI/OPD/CH Raid of the Music Box

From Indybay, Via Anarchist News:

On February 13th, a punk house known as the Music Box, was raided by the FBI, OPD, and at least one Citrus Heights officer in West Oakland, Ca. This is a first person account of what took place. It was submitted anonymously to Indybay.org on February 16th, 2013.

3 days ago on Feb 13th 2013, my home , The Music Box, located on 3404 Market St in Oakland was raided by the FBI, OPD and various officers leading the investigation from Citrus Heights, CA.

The police officers at first vocalized that the intended purpose of the raid was to look for a murder suspect. Latter, they vocalized that they were there only to search for his personal belongings that could be connected with the case. The warrant stated that they were there to search for a myriad of different objects, mostly pertaining to electronic devices, digital media storing devices, clothing, and objects connected with illegal cannabis production. The warrant also stated that they could come back within 10 days of the raid to confiscate other electronic devises, specifically cell phones.

The person whose homicide case they were conducting the raid in conjunction to was in prison for other charges during the time of the raid and had been behind bars for at least a month.

The raid started at approx. 7 am, with one of the residents spotting armed police officers and federal agents approaching the house across the street, the officers then approached the front door, coming through the gate and busted in, flashing a search warrant at the resident who answered the door. They busted all of the residents o of the Music Box out of their bedrooms and forced us all to wait outside in the front of our house, forced to pee in front of them, all of us in our underwear and pajamas for approximately 2 hours while they searched through our home, taking and breaking things leaving with what we saw to be 3 or 4 bags of things. No known electronic devices were taken. They originally told us we were detained but then that too was verbally retractted. They let us all take a look at a copy of the warrant that they left for us. They attempted to interrogate some of the residents about the suspects character, his whereabouts and asking if he had ever attempted to get them to do illegal things with them. One of the residents was put into handcuffs after they went to get a pack of cigarettes.
Continue reading

Interview and Documents from FBI Raid Show Feds are Targeting Anarchists

From Portland Mercury blog, via Anarchist News:

The first interview with any of the Portlanders who were served grand jury subpoenas as FBI agents searched their homes on Wednesday, July 25, shines some light on what authorities may be hoping to achieve with the raids.

Dennison Williams was in bed at his house on NE 8th Avenue on Wednesday morning when he heard a bang and someone shout, “FBI!” Then came a loud crash, which turned out to be agents breaking down his front door, and Williams heard a bang and a saw a flash of light—the agents throwing flash grenades. Williams started yelling from his bed that he was upstairs and unarmed.

“I was scared,” he said. “The police in this town have a history of shooting people, I was worried they would accidentally shoot me.”

According to Williams, FBI officers entered his room with assault rifles and kept them aimed at him while they handcuffed him. They put him in a chair for about 30 minutes while they searched his house. Williams says there were about 15 FBI officers in the house, plus one Portland police officer on the street outside. According to the property receipt Williams received from the officers, the feds seized several items, including his computer, phone, hard-drive, two thumb drives, and various clothes (including black jeans, black t-shirt, and a black bandana). They then served him a subpoena to appear at a grand jury in Seattle next Thursday, August 2nd.

Williams is not sure exactly what the grand jury is meeting about, but that likely they want to ask him about other people. The FBI has said only that the raids are part of an ongoing “violent crime” investigation.

“It’s related to political opposition, it’s related to political dissent,” says Williams. “They’re trying to create a wedge within people who are resistors… They’re specifically pursuing anarchists.”

The FBI search warrant states that they are looking to seize items which may be evidence regarding the crimes of conspiracy to destroy government property, interstate travel with intent to riot, and conspiracy to travel interstate with intent to riot. Those items include: Clothing and related items work during commission of offenses; paint; sticks and flags similar to those used or carried during the commission of the offenses, and material for making flags; anti-government or anarchist literature, documentation or communications related to the offenses, flares, computers or electronic storage media of any kind.

On July 10th, Seattle police officers staged a similar raid on the house of some Occupy Mayday protesters in Seattle. On the day Williams’ house and two other houses in Portland were searched, the FBI served grand jury subpoenas to people in Olympia and Seattle, as well. Williams was not sure how many people were served subpoenas, but thinks it is somewhere around seven people, and says he “will not cooperate” with the grand jury. Anyone who refuses to testify when subpoenaed can potentially face jail time.

Political supporters calling themselves the “Committee Against Political Repression” have already set up a website to post information about the case and take donations to the legal fund: NoPoliticalRepression.wordpress.com. There, they’ve posted a “solidarity statement” from numerous activist groups condemning the “series of coordinated raids.”

Stop the persecution: Solidarity is not a crime

The following talk was given, Nov. 5, at the first national conference of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, in Chicago. Sundin is a leader in the anti-war movement. Her home was among those raided by the FBI, on Sept. 24, 2010.

by Jess Sundin

Sisters and brothers, I’m so glad to be here with you today. I’m honored to speak on the same platform with so many people I respect, whose examples I strive to follow. Not only my friend, Carlos Montes, but also the speakers you will hear later – the families of political prisoners from the Palestinian struggle – Sami Al Arian, Ghassan Elashi and Abdelhaleem Ashqar. These men, like Carlos, have dedicated their lives to the liberation of their peoples and making this world a more just one for all of us.

We are here today because the powers that be will do anything to silence voices for justice. U.S. imperialists have bombed out whole cities, killed, tortured and starved millions of people – all in the pursuit of power and profit. We are here today as those who have raised our voices to oppose imperialist wars. We have organized our communities to stand in solidarity with the oppressed, those directly in the crosshairs of the imperialist war machine.

And yet, they dare to call us the terrorists, to treat us as the criminals. But turning reality on its head cannot save them as their grip on the world slips every day. From the Arab uprisings to Occupy Wall Street, and all points in between, the war criminals are losing ground. They cannot control the will of the peoples of the Middle East or South America, so they make criminals of those here in the U.S. who support self-determination for the world’s peoples. Continue reading

Really? A Raid on Father’s Day? ICE proves they can sink even lower

The strawberry festival was all but empty after a raid on dads at a family festival on Father's Day took place.

As if colluding with private prison companies to profit off of destroying families wasn’t enough, ICE upped their cold-heartedness (pardon the pun) with a sting on Dads during Father’s Day.  Not only did ICE rip apart families in Glenwood Springs, Colorado on Father’s Day, they did it at a family festival!

The agency’s disdain for immigrants and basic human rights is to the point where they aren’t even following their own protocol which states that  they must “refrain from conducting enforcement actions or investigative activities at or near sensitive community locations, such as schools, places of worship… and venues generally where children and their families may be present.”

According to Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, ICE agents detained two brothers who were watching their kids play in a bouncy castle.

“Brothers Cesar and Julio Alvarez were then taken to an ICE van in the back of the fair, while their 4 children waited with their aunt and mother.”

The ICE agents went on to be jerks to the rest of the Alvarez family, putting Julio’s 7-month pregnant wife through so much stress she had to be sent to Emergency Care.

FBI and LA County Sheriff raid veteran Chicano activist Carlos Montes

On May 17, 2011 at 5:00 AM the SWAT Team of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and members of the FBI raided the home of Carlos Montes, a long time Chicano activist and active member of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. The SWAT Team smashed the front door and rushed in with automatic weapons as Carlos slept. The team of Sheriffs and FBI proceeded to ransack his house, taking his computer, cell phones and hundreds of documents, photos, diskettes and mementos of his current political activities in the pro-immigrant rights and Chicano civil rights movement. Also taken were hundreds of historical documents related to Carlos Montes’ involvement in the Chicano movement for the past 44 years.

Carlos was arrested on one charge dealing with a firearm code and released on bail the following morning. His first court appearance is set for June 16, 2011.

Read the rest as well as get updates and action alerts here.

Florida: Police raid SWAMP Collective House

In the recent five months, tensions between the Fort Lauderdale Police Department and Food Not Bombs activists have escalated. Within this time, The FLPD has not only prevented multiple groups from sharing in Stranahan Park, but has installed a police surveillance tower in the park amidst repeated verbal assault against Food Not Bombs activists.

On Thursday, February 17th, an FPL electricity inspection led to the power being turned off at the home of activists frequently the target of police harassment. The electricity bill had been paid prior to this. Several hours later, all tenants had left the house while a few guests remained. During this time, an unwarranted police raid took place under the premise of ‘uninhabitable’ living conditions. The house was deemed ‘uninhabitable’ due to the lack of electricity, which had been turned off that morning. House guests were pulled from the house and searched by over a dozen officers, who kicked in unlocked doors and, with a K-9 unit, searched the house with no specific intent. One female guest was frisked and inappropriately touched by a male officer. More troubling still, officers were questioning the political orientation of the house guests. They asked if the house was a ‘militant training camp’, and whether or not the guests were “terrorists” or affiliated with “black bloc”. Before the FLPD left the house, they threatened to repeat raids weekly.
[Stop. Lawyer time.]

The Food Not Bombs activists in Fort Lauderdale are not involved in any of the activities suggested by the police. Rather, activities organized out of the house include free bike repair, FNB gatherings and sharing of food with the homeless, animal rights activities, candle making workshops, foreclosure & civil rights activism, etc. We, Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs, strongly condemn the intimidation tactics which include the police surveillance tower in Stranahan Park, unwarranted police raids, and the criminalization of community activism. Broward County officials have already targeted the poor and disenfranchised. Now the range has been expanded to include those who dare to help them. We call on South Florida activists to stand with us in solidarity as we struggle against the city’s efforts to repress the homeless and community-based activism.

In solidarity,
Fort Lauderdale Food Not Bombs

For more information, send an email to WDirect08@aol.com or SWAMPZine@gmail.com.

UPDATE: Fort Lauderdale Police returned to the activists home on Saturday, February 19th at around 9:00PM. The two officers did not attempt a repeat of Thursday’s raid, but rather briefly insulted and intimidated one of the tenants and their guests. The police entered the house, with permission from the tenant but then left shortly afterward.