Tag Archives: FBI

WE WON! BANK RELEASES ABUDAYYEH’S MONEY

Thank you to all who called U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and/or the US Treasury to demand the government unfreeze bank accounts belonging to Chicago activist Hatem Abudayyeh and his wife.

We just received word the bank admitted to closing the accounts and issued him a check for his funds, telling him they no longer want to provide services to him and his family.

While this is egregious and should not be tolerated at all – at least Hatem has his funds and he can breathe easier knowing the U.S. government did not freeze his accounts.

Below is the article sent out by the Stop FBI Committee.

Again THANK YOU TO ALL WHO CALLED!!!

Palestinian Community Leader Hatem Abudayyeh and Supporters Claim Victory
Bank Returns Money, Government Involvement Alleged

On Friday, May 6th, the bank accounts of Hatem and Naima Abudayyeh of Chicago were frozen.  The bank manager at the TCF (Twin Cities Federal) branch could not explain what had happened but stated that the Bank Security Act prevented him from releasing any assets.

In a strange turn of events, the bank admitted announced today that they shut down the accounts, stating they no longer want to provide banking services to the Abudayyeh family.  Simultaneously, TCF management informed the Abudayyehs today that they were issuing them a check for the value of their accounts.

Hatem Abudayyeh is one of 23 anti-war, Palestinian and international solidarity activists who have been subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in Chicago. Many supporters of the Abudayyehs and the 23 activists suspected that the FBI and grand jury investigation against these activists was the cause of the seizure of the couple’s accounts.

Michael Deutsch, attorney for the family, said, “In my opinion, the bank did not act out of the blue. I suspect that the FBI and U.S Attorney investigation caused the bank to overreact and illegally freeze the Abudayyehs’ banking accounts that had been there for over a decade.”

In response to the seizing of the couple’s accounts, people across the country called the offices of US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago, and those of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) demanding the return of their money and an end to the repression.

A Code Pink activist from Washington, D.C., called Fitzgerald’s office and was told, “We’ve received 100s of calls.” The OFAC office was bombarded as well, and journalists from a National Public Radio affiliate, Al Jazeera and other agencies contacted them for an explanation.

TCF is well known for having links to the right wing think tank the Center for the American Experiment.

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression and the Coalition to Protect People’s Rights see the return of the money to the Abudayyeh family and the admission by the bank of their action as a victory for their efforts and an affirmation of the constitutional right of Americans not to be deprived of property without due process of law.  However, they are concerned that the actions of TCF management may violate state and federal public accommodations laws by denying the Abudayyehs banking services on a discriminatory basis.

Hatem Abudayyeh expressed his thanks to the many people who called in over the past two days. “Thank you all for your work. The pressure put on the US Attorney and OFAC no doubt caused them to contact TCF, who subsequently broke their silence and ended this frightening incident.”

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TODAY: Demand U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald unfreeze the bank accounts of the Abudayyeh family

Take action Monday: Call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300. Then dial 0 (zero) for the operator and ask to leave a message with the Duty Clerk. Demand Fitzgerald unfreeze the bank accounts of the Abudayyeh family and stop repression against Palestinian, anti-war and international solidarity activists.

On Friday, May 6, the U.S. government froze the bank accounts of Hatem Abudayyeh and his wife, Naima.
This unwarranted attack on a leading member of the Palestinian community in Chicago is the latest escalation of the repression of anti-war and Palestinian community organizers by the FBI, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Hatem Abudayyeh is one of 23 activists from Minnesota, Michigan, and Illinois subpoenaed to a federal grand jury in Chicago, and his home was raided by the FBI in September of last year. Neither Hatem Abudayyeh nor Naima Abudayyeh have been charged with any crime.

One of the bank accounts frozen was exclusively in Naima Abudayyeh’s name. Leaders of the national Committee to Stop FBI Repression, as well as Chicago’s Coalition to Protect People’s Rights, are appalled at the government’s attempt to restrict the family’s access to its finances, especially so soon before Mothers’ Day. Not only does the government’s action seriously disrupt the lives of the Abudayyehs and their five-year-old daughter, but it represents an attack on Chicago’s Arab community and activist community and the fundamental rights of Americans to freedom of speech.

The persecution of the Abudayyeh family is another example of the criminalization of Palestinians, their supporters, and their movement for justice and liberation. There has been widespread criticism of the FBI and local law enforcement for their racial profiling and scapegoating of Arab and Muslim Americans. These repressive tactics include infiltration of community centers and mosques, entrapment of young men, and the prominent case of 11 students from the University of California campuses at Irvine and Riverside who have been subpoenaed to a grand jury and persecuted for disrupting a speech by Michael Oren, Israeli Ambassador to the US. The government’s attempt to conflate the anti-war and human rights movements with terrorism is a cynical attempt to capitalize on the current political climate in order to silence Palestinians and other people of conscience who exercise their First Amendment rights in a manner which does not conform to the administration’s foreign policy agenda in the Middle East.

The issuance of subpoenas against the 23 activists has been met with widespread opposition and criticism across the country. Six members of the U.S. Congress, including five in the past month, have sent letters to either Holder or President Obama, expressing grave concern for the violations of the civil liberties and rights of the 23 activists whose freedom is on the line. Three additional U.S. representatives have also promised letters, as thousands of constituents and other people of conscience across the U.S. have demanded an end to this assault on legitimate political activism and dissent. Over 60 Minnesota state legislators also issued a resolution condemning the subpoenas.

The Midwest activists have been expecting indictments for some time. The freezing of the Abudayyeh family’s bank accounts suggests that the danger of indictments is imminent.

Take action Monday: Call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300. Then dial 0 (zero) for the operator and ask to leave a message with the Duty Clerk. Demand Fitzgerald unfreeze the bank accounts of the Abudayyeh family and stop repression against Palestinian, anti-war and international solidarity activists.

In Solidarity,

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression and
The Coalition to Protect People’

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50 protests scheduled for today across United States

Today, 50 protests organized by the Committee to Stop FBI Repression are scheduled across the United States. Today, several pro-Palestinian activists have been ordered to appear before the federal grand jury in Chicago. They all will refuse to testify.

We feel this action by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is part of an effort to stifle activism and debate about Israel’s occupation of Palestine. If you care for Palestine, if you want to fight to protect our First Amendment rights of free speech and free assembly, then please attend one of these protests!

Rallies are planned across the country. To see if your city is having one, click here.

Below is a note from national organizer Tom Burke:

January 25, 2011

Dear Friends and Fellow Activists,

1.  Today is the Committee to Stop FBI Repression National Day of Action against U.S. Attorney Fitzgerald’s Grand Jury in Chicago. There will be more than 50 protests.  We ask that you report on your local rallies and send photos to January 25th Protest Reports

2.  We are also asking that you consider reading this Lynne Stewart Solidarity Statement, from the imprisoned political activist and lawyer, at your rallies.

3.  Also, we ask that you promote the CSFR Regional Conferences and distribute the flyer for it.  At the four regional conferences we will discuss the latest developments in the U.S. government’s repression and our united struggle to overcome it.

4.  Finally, we are planning a National Call In Day to follow up on today’s protests.  So keep your eyes on the prize and expect Call In information, so you can take part in the next step of our campaign, leading up to the regional conferences.

Adelante!  Tom Burke, for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, 773-844-3612

 

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Chicago students attempt to subpoena US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald

Students speak at a rally in front of the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago on Jan. 14. Photo/Maureen Murphy

On Friday, Jan. 14,  student activists protesting the FBI raids and harassment of anti-war and pro-Palestinian activists, attempted to deliver their own subpoena to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago.

Federal agents prohibit students from delivering their "People Subpoena" to U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald on Jan. 14, 2001, at the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago. Photo/Maureen Murphy

Below is an excerpt from the comments of Stansfield Smith, whose daughter supposedly has been subpoenaed.  I say supposedly because, according to Stanfield’s comments, the FBI alerted his daughter she’d be issued a summons to appear before the Grand Jury, but as of Friday agents still had not delivered it.

Several college students are among those who must appear before the Grand Jury, which is looking into material support of terrorism, 4:30 p.m., Jan. 25 at the Dirksen Federal Building, 219 S. Dearborn, Chicago. There are 30 such actions planned for that date across the country. To date, more than 20 activists, mainly from the Midwest, have been subpoenaed. In the case of those from Minnesota, the FBI had infiltrated its group for 2.5 years.

To learn more about the situation or to see how you can stage a rally in your area, go to www.stopfbi.net.

Excerpt from Stanfield’s comments made Friday:

My daughter Sarah is one of those being subpoenaed in this case. The FBI said on December 3  she was being subpoenaed. Now it’s January 14 and they still haven’t delivered it. They scheduled to deliver it last Tuesday, but called to cancel because a few inches of snow fell. They have not rescheduled.

This, they assert,  is a grand jury investigation into some type of support to terrorism. But I guess they find a few inches of snow to be a greater threat. I think their attitude last Tuesday shows their real reason is not keeping us safe from terrorism, but harassing and intimidating those opposed to US wars.

You here today  recognize what Fitzgerald and the FBI are doing  in this Grand Jury case is unconstitutional and illegal, and he should be subpoenaed for it.

Why is my daughter being subpoenaed? She’s Jewish, on her mother’s side, and wanted to explore her roots. She didn’t want to go on a free “Birth Right” trip to Israel because she would only see one side. So she went with some Palestinian-American friends – who, unlike my daughter, really do have a birth right –  to see both Israel and Israeli occupied Palestinian lands.

As Sarah had said before, you would think if the US government encourages peace between Israel and Palestine, it would encourage American Jews and American Palestinians to go together and visit both lands together in an effort to make peace.

If every Jew or Palestinian in the US traveled together there like my daughter and her friends did, that itself  would go a long ways towards ending that Mideast conflict.

If Fitzgerald were doing his job, he would be defending her actions, not subpoenaing her for peace-making. For that abuse of office, he himself should be subpoenaed.

The police and FBI had infiltrated the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and the Minnesota anti-war committee over the past  2 and a half years.

As the Minnesota press conference pointed out Wednesday, the FBI had access to all the Anti-War committee’s records, and knew what Freedom Road and the Anti-War Committee were doing. For these two and half years they never had reason to arrest or indict anyone.

I can only assume the materials they stole from of the subpoenaed peoples’ homes on September 24 contains information the FBI already knows. I can only assume any information they expect to get in the Grand Jury investigations is information they had already collected in the past 2 1/2 years.

Since Fitzgerald’s Grand Jury is not going to find anything new, then it is pretty clear it’s whole purpose is harassment of peace activists. For that, Fitzgerald should be subpoenaed himself.

And  I can only assume the FBI has made no arrests, nor have there been indictments for terrorism because they know no evidence exists.


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Breaking: Feds subpoena two more Chicago activists – National Call-In Day today!

Take time out from your busy day to call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and demand he call off the grand jury and stop political repression that is inhibited the rights of free speech and assembly for anti-war and other social justice activists, including those working for Palestine.

UPDATE: Two more people were subpoenaed on Thursday Dec. 8. That brings to total number of subpoenas to 19. Look for an update later today or tomorrow.

Below is the appeal from that National Committee to Stop FBI Repression, taken from the blog Sherry Talks Back.

Stop FBI Repression! Call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald
312-353-5300, on Thursday, December 9
1. Call off the Grand Jury!
2. Stop FBI repression of the anti-war and solidarity movements
 

Fitzgerald Expands Repression with 3 New Subpoenas in Chicago
Under the direction of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald’s office, the FBI is expanding their repression of anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists in Chicago.  On Friday, December 3, 2010, the FBI targeted three young women who traveled together to Palestine last summer.  After the FBI called to question a young Jewish-American woman, Sarah Smith, FBI agents knocked on the door of two young Palestinian-American sisters.  One sister was already on the phone with lawyer Jim Fennerty and handed the phone to the FBI, causing the FBI to leave.  The FBI agents soon returned with subpoenas to the Grand Jury targeting anti-war and solidarity activists, dated for January 25, 2011.  The three are standing strong with the other 14 subpoenaed activists from Illinois, Minneapolis and Michigan.  Over 100 people protested in Chicago on Monday against the expanding repression.

Help Keep 3 Minneapolis Women Out of Jail
Fitzgerald’s new wave of repression comes a week after the re-activation of subpoenas for three Palestine solidarity activist women in Minneapolis.  Tracy Molm, Anh Pham and Sarah Martin are being asked to appear before the Grand Jury again, despite refusing to speak in October.  In Minneapolis and other cities a week of actions demanded “Protest to keep Anh, Tracy, and Sarah, out of jail!” Lawyers for each of the three are meeting with Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Fox this week.  However, on orders from Fitzgerald’s office, the FBI shenanigans continue with visits to anti-war activist’s homes.

So please stand with the 17 subpoenaed anti-war and solidarity activists and make a phone call to Fitzgerald at 312-353-5300.

Also, please sign and circulate our petition at http://www.iacenter.org/stopfbi/
For more information visit www.StopFBI.net or write to StopFBI@gmail.com or call 612-379-3585.

Thank you,
Tom Burke, for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

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Chicago activists protest latest round of FBI subpoenas – CNN iReport

Vodpod videos no longer available.

A  group of about 100 activists braved frigid temperatures to protest the latest round of FBI subpoenas in front of the Dirksen Federal Building in Chicago Monday night.
The FBI issues summons to appear before a federal grand jury to three college students Friday. They are scheduled to appear on Jan. 25, said their attorney Jim Fennerty of the National Lawyers Guild. The women are being targeted because they traveled to the Palestinian occupied territory of the West Bank, he added.
The new subpoenas bring to 17 the number of activists throughout the Midwest that have been targeted by the FBI for their Palestinian and Colombian solidarity work. On Sept. 24, the FBI raided several homes in Minnesota, Chicago and Michigan and issued to subpoenas to 14 people.
To date, all 14 have refused to testify, causing Patrick Fitzgerald, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, to withdraw the summons. However, he has since reissued subpoenas to three Minnesota women, who are facing “indeterminate imprisonment” if they refuse to testify again, said Maureen Murphy of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression.
The national committee was formed in response to the Sept. 24 FBI raids.
Grand juries are used to determine whether to charge a person with a crime. They differ from juries in criminal trials in that they are not screened for bias, according to the website Grand Jury Resistance Project. In addition, grand juries are conducted in secret without a judge and defense lawyers are not allowed into the room with their clients. However, they may confer with their clients outside the courtroom.
Many people claim that grand juries are misused to silence political opposition.
“Because of their broad subpoena powers and secretive nature, grand juries have been used by the government to gather information on political movements and to disrupt those movements by causing fear and mistrust,” the Grand Jury Resistance Project website states.
That’s a stance the National Lawyers Guild takes. According to its website, the Guild denounces the recent FBI actions.
“The Guild denounces the attacks on free speech, freedom of association, and the right to dissent that these actions represent,” the website states. “The raids and summonses reflect escalating hostility toward individuals and groups working in solidarity with the Palestinian and Colombian people and are blatantly political attacks on peaceful activists.”
The NLG has established a hotline for activists contacted by the FBI and has issued a Know Your Rights brochure and other information.
Murphy was upbeat about the event. The “push back” against the government has show results. Rallies and demonstrations have taken place in at least 60 cities nationwide, she said.
For more information on this issue:
Committee to Stop FBI Repression,
http://www.stopfbi.net
National Lawyers Guild,
http://www.nlgchicago.org
Grand Jury Resistance Project,
http://www.grandjuryresistance.org
For action items:
American Muslims for Palestine,
http://www.ampalestine.org.
Full Disclosure: I am the director of media and communications for the American Muslims for Palestine, which endorsed Monday’s rally.

Published first on CNN iReport http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-526337

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Protest latest FBI tactics at rally Monday in Chicago

ACTION ALERT

Federal agents subpoena three more Chicago pro-Palestinian activists

(CHICAGO 12/04/2010) – Federal agents issued subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to three more Chicago pro-Palestinian activists on Friday. Two of those served are college students active in campus pro-Palestinian events.

The federal government is targeting peaceful anti-war and pro-Palestinian activists and the newest subpoenas signal that probe is expanding.

National Lawyers Guild attorney Jim Fennerty, who is representing some of those affected, said at least two of the three are Chicago-area women who visited the West Bank last summer. One of them has been requested to appear before the grand jury on Jan. 25.

“They’re widening the scope of this investigation,” Fennerty was quoted as saying in a WBEZ report. “They’re trying to squeeze anybody they can. This is an attack about people who do solidarity work around Palestine.”

This action comes on the heels of the Sept. 24 FBI raids on several homes throughout the Midwest, including in Chicago. At that time, 14 people active in anti-war and pro-Palestinian efforts, were issued subpoenas to testify before a grand jury in Chicago. To date, all have refused to testify. Subpoenas were re-issued to three activists from Minnesota in attempts to force them to answer questions about those in the anti-war movement, in contravention of the Fifth Amendment. If the refuse to testify again, they face imprisonment for the life of the grand jury.

TAKE ACTION

The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) stands in solidarity with the activists being targeted by the FBI. AMP strongly condemns the actions by the FBI and the Department of Justice in targeting people who are practicing their constitutionally guaranteed rights of dissent, assembly and freedom of speech.

Protest FBI repression against Chicago Palestinian solidarity activists at 4:30 p.m. Monday in front of the Dirksen Federal Building, 203 S. Dearborn (on Jackson and Dearborn), Chicago.

Further action

AMP calls on our supporters and all people of conscience to call U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, write to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, or sign a petition by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.

CONTACTS

U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald: 312.353.5300

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder .

To sign the petition, click here.

TALKING POINTS

  • I demand justice and an end to the FBI’s continued harassment of antiwar and international solidarity activists, activists who are guilty of no crime but opposition to U.S. foreign policy.
  • This is a dangerous attack on the constitutional rights of free speech of every social justice, antiwar and human rights activist and organization in the U.S. today.
  • The right to speak, meet and write opinions is guaranteed under the constitution.
  • Grand Jury subpoenas investigating material support of terrorism are being used to silence highly respected and well known human rights activists. This is a dangerous national effort to shut down growing opposition to U.S. wars. It cannot be allowed.

 

 

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