The Socialist Party of Michigan expresses its strongest condemnation of the outrageous charges presently being pressed against Michigan human rights activists Max Kantar and Ahlam Mohsen, in response to their anti-imperialist solidarity display at an August 16th Democratic Party-sponsored public meeting with U.S. Senator Carl Levin at the Pepper’s Café and Deli in Big Rapids.
During a question-and-answer session of the meeting, Kantar, a 23 year old independent freelance political writer and frequent contributor to the SPMI’s intermittently published Michigan Socialist political magazine, read a scathingly veracious denunciation of Sen. Levin’s long history of enabling support for U.S. war crimes around the globe, coupled with the Senator’s corresponding record of complicity and substantive indifference to the escalating economic devastation, racist police repression, and systematic mass imprisonment of tens of thousands of his own constituents in the interests of the rich and powerful. At the conclusion of Kantar’s speech, Mohsen, a 23 year old Palestinian-solidarity activist and anthropology student at Michigan State University, performed the symbolic action of placing a de-crusted apple pie in the senator’s face…
Citing an earlier arrest of both Kantar and Mohsen in January 2010, resulting from their participation in an anti-war protest held at Sen. Levin’s Detroit office while the Senator was away in D.C., both were subsequently charged with felony aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit aggravated assault, and later released on bonds of $10,000 and $25,000 respectively, after being initially set for each at $250,000. In further seizing upon the opportunity to make an example out of two more activists, amid the FBI’s recently accelerated multi-state crackdown on the anti-war activist left in the U.S., the Mecosta County charges filed against Kantar and Mohsen were temporarily “suspended” two weeks later in order to facilitate an FBI investigation into whether the two had committed federal crimes against a member of Congress.
Following the FBI’s investigation of the Big Rapids restaurant protest incident, both Mohsen and Kantar were arraigned on combined misdemeanor and felony charges of aiding and abetting the assault of a federal officer. In addition to citing 18 U.S.C. § 111, which establishes a maximum sentence of eight years in federal prison for conviction of such a crime, the federal indictment of Mohsen and Kantar, underlying such charges, additionally cites 18 U.S.C. § 1114, which establishes additional criminal penalties for “Whoever kills or attempts to kill any officer or employee of the United States…” (Emphasis ours).
Both the baseless FBI investigation into Mohsen’s and Kantar’s solidarity action against Senator Levin last August, and the draconian federal charges currently being pressed against the two activists, come amid a recent waive of FBI repression against left-wing, anti-imperialist solidarity activists throughout the Midwest beginning with coordinated FBI raids and grand jury subpoenas last September and December against numerous individuals representing such organizations as the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Colombian Action Network, Students for a Democratic Society, and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. During the course of such raids, FBI agents confiscated virtually all of such individuals and organizations’ files, passports, membership and phone lists, financial records, and computers and other electronic equipment at the homes and offices where the raids were conducted.
The Bush regime’s concerted efforts to expand the apparatus of executive surveillance and intrusion are now widely recognized by the American populace to have been among the cornerstones of its domestic policy agenda throughout its two terms. The presently accelerated crackdown on anti-war/anti-imperialist activists around the U.S. should serve to unequivocally demonstrate that the present Obama administration’s Democratic Party-directed Justice Department stands equally committed to the employment of police state-style suppression and intimidation methods to quell the growth of popular opposition to U.S. imperialist crimes abroad.
Similarly demonstrative of the Democratic Party’s true principles has been Senator Levin’s unflinching refusal to exercise his overwhelmingly influential and contextually relevant position to request that the outrageous charges currently being pressed against Kantar and Mohsen be dropped – a subsequent standpoint that even such figures as Pat Buchanan, William Kristol, and Pat Robertson conceded to be too drastically unbalanced when given the choice of having assault charges pressed after their respective encounters with similar protest actions involving the symbolic “pie-ing” of prominent politicians and pundits.
The Socialist Party of Michigan demands that all charges pending against Max Kantar and Ahlam Mohsen be immediately and unconditionally dropped and call upon all SPMI members and supporters to contact the office of Asst. U.S. Attorney Hagan Frank to give additional voice to this demand. We additionally affirm our full solidarity with the content of Kantar and Ahlam’s speech, along with our corresponding recognition that the only true criminal at the August 16 Big Rapids restaurant meeting, known to hold any real culpability for acts of aiding and abetting assault, was U.S. senator Carl Levin himself.
Letters, faxes, and phone calls to demand the government’s dropping of all charges against Kantar and Mohsem can be sent/made to:
ASSISTANT U.S. ATTORNEY, HAGEN FRANK
330 Ionia Avenue, N.W. Suite 501,
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 456-2404