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FBI Investigating Minnesota High School Teacher for Supporting Terrorism

Morgen on September 24, 2010 at 8:48 pm

From the Star-Tribune (via Drudge):

The homes of five Twin Cities activists, including three prominent leaders of the Twin Cities antiwar movement, were raided Friday by the FBI in what an agency spokesman described as an “investigation into activities concerning the material support of terrorism.” The office of an antiwar organization also was reportedly raided…

Among the homes raided were the apartments of Jessica Sundin, who was a principal leader of the mass antiwar march of 10,000 on the opening day of the Republican National Convention two years ago, and Mick Kelly, who was prominent in that protest and among those who announced plans to march on the Democratic National Convention in Minneapolis, if the city is selected to host it in 2012. Neither has been arrested.

A raid was also conducted on the home of Meredith Aby, another local antiwar leader who was frequently the spokeswoman for the march on the GOP convention.

The raids were in support of a grand jury investigation based out of Chicago, and no arrests have been made nor have any charges yet been filed. From a video posted at the link, it appears that the investigation is focused on activities related to Palestine and Columbia on the part of those being investigated. There is no indication that this has anything to do with support of Al-Qaeda or Islamic terrorism targeted at the U.S.

I think two things are worth pointing out here. One is the obvious point, which is that once again in spite of all the overblown if not outright fabricated accusations hurled against the Tea Party this past year, here is a genuine case where leftist activists apparently – and at this stage only allegedly – have been engaged in illegal (and anti-government) activity. I’m sure Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann will be all over this one.

The other thing I wanted to point out, which is really the headline here, is that Meredith Aby, the activist named in the last paragraph above, is actually a public high school teacher in Bloomington, MN. Her official school web site is here (and another one here). Not surprisingly she is a social studies teacher.

Aby is apparently a long-time leader of the anti-war movement in Minnesota, with her activism centered around an organization called the Anti-War Committee. While I think most people would agree that this alone should not preclude her from teaching young people, I think it does raise legitimate concerns about her objectivity. Especially given that the courses she teaches include US Government, Civics, and World History.

More troubling, Aby is apparently also quite active in promoting her political beliefs, which lean about as far left as you can get. She is a frequent contributor on Fight Back! News, the media arm of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and has been a speaker at numerous events organized by other overtly socialist groups, including the new incarnation of the SDS (Bill Ayers’ old group).

In short, she’s a commie. And unless Minnesota is more “progressive” than I realize, I can’t imagine there are very many parents who would be comfortable with her teaching their children about world history and political philosophy. Case in point: here’s an excerpt from a blog site Aby used as a teaching aid for her students this past year:

Compare and contrast how Marx views the social contract and whether you can or should break it with Locke’s view of the social contract. With whom do you agree more? Why?

No propaganda or indoctrination taking place here, I’m sure.

But I suspect the type of behavior which got Aby and the others in her group in trouble is stuff like this:

Revolution & Socialism in Latin America

Wednesday, 10/4 @ 7pm @ May Day Bookstore, 301 Cedar Ave – 1 block west of the Carlson School of Mgmt, on the West Bank of the U of M, Mpls
Every week in the news the topics of revolution & socialism are raised in discussion of the Caribbean, Central & South America. Come hear from Meredith Aby, Jessica Sundin, & Erika Zurawski, who have recently returned from meeting with revolutionaries in Colombia, Ecuador, & Venezuela, on the prospects for revolutionary socialism in Latin America.

And then there’s this, written by Aby last November:

In August, a delegation of North American students, trade unionists, and anti-war activists traveled to Colombia to meet with leaders in the struggle for peace and justice. In meetings with Colombian campesinos, workers, and students, we discussed the role of the School of the Americas (SOA) in training dozens of Colombian Military officers who ordered the executions of 1300 poor workers and then dressed them in FARC uniforms to claim combat kills against the revolutionaries.  The US war in Colombia is a disaster! Our solidarity delegation made plans to build the movement to close the SOA, stop Plan Colombia, and oppose the seven new US Military bases being planned.  The panel discussion will lead to organizing against U.S. Military bases and the escalating U.S. intervention in Colombia.

You know if you are a U.S. citizen participating in trips to Latin America where you are meeting with socialist militants, and actively organizing against the U.S. military, I think you should count on getting a little scrutiny from the FBI. And incidentally, it’s probably not very advisable to post about such activity on the internet.

The mainstream left in America has a very important choice to make soon – I’ll have more to say on this later. But if there any readers from the Minneapolis area: were Aby’s political affiliations and activities already known? Has there been any previous effort to have her removed or suspended? While I think it’s generally assumed that a majority of teachers at the high school and collegiate levels lean at least a little to the left, this is just ridiculous.

Update: a copy of the subpoena issued to one of those being investigated – Mick Kelly – is available here. Apparently the FBI has targeted the activities and members of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization for their support of designated terrorist organizations in Palestine and Latin America (e.g. Hezbollah and FARC). The first amendment does not grant the right of anyone to provide material support to criminal organizations.

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