Weeks ago, news broke of a September 24 FBI raid on the homes of Minneapolis activists — part of an investigation related, as the Bureau told the Star-Tribune, to “the material support of terrorism.” But in the absence of further reporting by the mainstream media, Americans are left wondering just who these activists are, if they remember the story at all.
An ongoing PJM investigation reveals that the revolutionary American socialists targeted by the FBI are connected at multiple levels with groups uncomfortably close to designated terror organizations.
At the center of the Minneapolis raid is one Mick Kelly. As executive editor, Kelly runs Fight Back! News, a website offering “news and views from the People’s Struggle,” through the Freedom Road Socialist Organization — a self-styled “Marxist-Leninist” outfit born out of the New Communist movement of the 1970s.
Commanded to appear before a Chicago grand jury on October 19, Kelly faces a subpoena probing any travel to Colombia, Jordan, Syria, the Palestinian Territories, and Israel — and any correspondence, communications, or connections with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), or Hatem Abudayyeh, executive director of the Arab American Action Network.
The FBI raided Abudayyeh’s Chicago home in the same sweep that targeted Kelly. Even more remarkably, as Politico has reported, Abudayyeh attended a meeting “for Arab-American leaders” at the White House — on April 22 of this year. (In a forthcoming report, PJM will reveal the disturbing scope of Abudayyeh’s connections to terrorist organizations and individuals.)
Speaking to Minnesota Public Radio, Kelly insisted that he has not visited Colombia, the Palestinian Territories, or Israel. Rather, he “traveled to Lebanon for a political conference about two years ago” but “does not recall the names of the groups that organized it.” But Mick Kelly’s “exclusive interview” with PFLP leader Leila Khaled, conducted in Beirut on January 17, 2009, is still posted at Fight Back! News.
Kelly’s connection to PFLP is illustrative of a broader network of eyebrow-raising relationships among his associates. Conor McGrady, a contributor to Fight Back! News, is listed at the website of the Al-Awda International Right to Return Convention as “an artist and activist from the North of Ireland, currently based in New York,” who “organizes with Al-Awda New York.” McGrady’s resume, posted online, shows McGrady to be a prolific Irish Republican activist. His writing appeared, for instance, in Issue 93 of the Radical History Review published by Duke University Press. Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina, where FBI agents — as reported by Fight Back! News — also visited Kosta Harlan, a member of SDS and the Colombia Action Network, in the same September 24 raid.
McGrady’s coverage at Fight Back! News of the so-called “Colombia 3” trial, plus another exclusive Fight Back! interview with Colombia 3 lawyer Agustin Jimenez, suggests that the FBI is onto something in seeking more information about the relations between American communists, Islamic terror organizations, Colombia’s FARC, and Irish Republican groups.
As McGrady notes, the Colombia 3 are Jim Monaghan, Martin McCauley, and Niall Connelly — two reputed IRA weapons engineers, plus one translator — who traveled with false passports to rendezvous with FARC. Now at large in Ireland, the Colombia 3 escaped 17-year jail sentences with the help, as Monaghan told Ireland’s RTE broadcasters, of “a lot of people in a lot of countries.” As the Associated Press has reported, Irish and British media placed the Colombia 3 in Venezuela or Cuba en route to Ireland.
As for FARC itself, testimony before a June 23, 2009 hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reveals that the revolutionary Colombian organization “has a long history of reaching out to other terrorist groups, notably the Provisional Irish Republican Army,” for “training and exchanges.” The Provisional IRA spawned two radically violent splinter groups — Continuity IRA and the Real IRA, which the United States has designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization. (In a subsequent report, PJM will take a closer look at the connections between the Real IRA and Islamic terror.)
At that hearing, Douglas Farah, senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center, concluded that “Iran’s ties to Hezbollah and Venezuela, Venezuela’s ties [to] Iran and the FARC, the FARC’s history of building alliances with other armed groups, and the presence of Hezbollah and other armed Islamist groups in Latin America” make it “dangerous and imprudent to dismiss the possibility of an alliance of these actors.” But what of an alliance that includes not only the world’s most dangerous rogues, but American socialists and communists themselves? After all, as Farah observed: “the primary area of mutual interest is a hatred of the United States.”
Federal disinterest in Mick Kelly’s travel to Lebanon may be explained by the extent of terrorist links between the IRA and Palestinian groups, which reach back some thirty years. The details lurking beneath September’s nationwide FBI raid on American left-wing radicals suggest that Irish terror networks may be playing a largely hidden but pivotal role in supporting America’s foes, not only abroad but at home.