Thursday, June 28, 2012

America's Secret Police

Carlos Montes at the NATO
protests in Chicago.
Carlos was a co-founder of the
Brown Berets in 1967.
It was an honor talking with Carlos. He described the 5:00 am raid on his house last fall by an FBI led swat team that broke down his door and pointed guns at his head.

His crime? He had a conviction for supposedly throwing a can at a policeman during a Chicano rights march back in 1969. That meant that a registered firearm he kept in his house was actually illegal.

Break down someone's door and threaten his life over something that happened 40 years ago? There have been times when I have been ashamed of my country, and this was to be one of them.

Carlos was more sanguine. He told us about a book he was reading on the Palmer Raids, commenting that the FBI has been doing this for a long time. In fact he had expected it, especially when his name was found on FBI papers left at another activist's house that had been raided. The "can incident" was a frame up as well. He had never done it.

It is just difficult living in a country that preaches free speech while its secret police are running around trying to intimidate those who exercise their right to dissent. It goes against everything we have ever learned about America. The ugly truth at the bottom of a pile of lies.

Carlos has seen the beast up close, and it has never stopped him from speaking out about Chicano rights or about the plight of the Palestinians. We must give up our fantasies about the benevolence of our leaders and learn, like Carlos, to resist.

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