FBI Steps Up Raids on Activists’ Homes
Posted on Jul 10, 2011
In May, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department SWAT officers broke into the home of 63-year-old Carlos Montes, a prominent anti-war activist and organizer for working class causes, and arrested him on suspicion of illegal possession of a firearm. The occurrence of similar arrests suggests the FBI is staging a low-profile witch hunt.
The raid on Montes’ home is one of many that has taken place in the last year, in which suspects seem to be targeted for their political associations. The nearly two dozen individuals mentioned in the article below whose homes have been raided since September were involved in an anti-war protest at the 2008 Republican National Convention. —ARK
Authorities searched Montes’ home, confiscating his cell phone and computer. Montes says the authorities also sorted through, stacked and organized a large number of personal documents and photos, many of them relating to his activist activities and trips he took to Colombia and Cuba (Montes founded the Brown Beret Chicano youth group in the 1960s and has been involved in anti-war efforts for four decades).
When authorities discovered an illegally purchased firearm in his home, Montes was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm by a felon (Montes was convicted in 1969 of assaulting a police officer), possession of ammunition, and four counts of perjury for lying on his gun registration.
Montes already felt the raid had less to do with firearms than with his political activism, but what happened next solidified that feeling. While sitting in the back of a patrol car, Montes was approached by a plainclothes FBI agent who questioned Montes about his involvement with the Chicago-based Freedom Road Socialist Organization.
Flickr / nobleblood
Protesters demonstrate against the Iraq War in New York’s Times Square in April.