Members of a group who went to Greensburg, Kan., to assist in relief efforts after a May 5 tornado destroyed most of the town were forcibly ejected by police on the scene for being “federal security threats.”
Five members of the anarcho-communist group Kansas Mutual Aid, who traveled to Greensburg May 12 and discovered police keeping out relief workers and seizing firearms, returned to Greensburg on May 19 to provide further assistance to local residents who were attempting to salvage their possessions and clean up as best they could.
But before they could set up their operations, Olathe police officer Ty Moeder, one of the police officers from many jurisdictions across the state, who happened to know one of the group, detained the group “to see if you are affiliated with the anarchists.”
As it turns out, they were the anarchists the police wanted no help from.
Officer Moeder ordered me to step away from the rest of the relief workers and speak with him. “You’re being ordered to leave and not return. This is not negotiable, not appealable. You can’t change it. If you return you’ll be arrested on site [sic]. And believe me, you don’t want to push that right now. This system is pretty messed up, and you wouldn’t be issued bail. You’d disappear in the system.”
I asked repeatedly what we had done and why we were being ordered to leave the city. “You’re part of a dangerous anarchist group that will only drain our security resources,” he responded. “We’ve been monitoring your website and e-mails, we know what kind of agenda you have.”
“So this is about our political beliefs?” I asked.
“No,” he responded. “This is about you being federal security threats. Kansas Mutual Aid is not welcome in this city, end of story. I know you are going through legitimate means to work in the city, and you’re [sic] story seems picture perfect, but we know who you are, and you’re not allowed here.”
We were ordered back into our car and escorted out of the city by several police vehicles with their lights flashing, and left just outside the city. — Dave Strano, Kansas Mutual Aid
In 2005, some protesters affiliated with the group were arrested after chaining themselves to the door of a Lawrence military recruitment office. And in 2004, protesters were arrested for protesting a dinner in honor of Rudy Giuliani and Bob Dole; the charges were later dropped.
In 2004, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation questioned members of the group, family members and neighbors about a plot to detonate bombs at the Democratic National Convention in Boston, Mass., charges they vehemently denied. It later came out that the FBI had questioned, and in some cases raided, anarchist groups around the nation.
Strano described the group as entirely “nonviolent” in its protests against war and the encroaching police state.