Kevin Gosztola of Firedoglake reports today on the case of Hatem Abudayyeh, a Palestinian American activist living in Chicago, who has been subpoenaed to a Federal Grand Jury. Abudayyeh’s bank account was frozen on Friday, May 6, by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assett Control.
But it appears that Abudayyeh’s bank account is a domestic one, in his own name. His wife’s bank account was also frozen, although according to Joe Iosbaker, another of the subpoenaed individuals, she is not a target of the investigation. A portion of Gosztola’s interview with Isobaker appears below:
What happened last Friday, Hatem Abudayyeh is one of the 23, Hatem Abudayyeh, whose home was raided. He’s one of the main community leaders among Palestinians in Chicago. His bank accounts were frozen. So, apparently Hatem had gone to the bank on Friday and the ATM didn’t work. He went to the bank on Saturday morning and he learned that not only is his joint account with his wife, their checking account and saving account, not only had they been frozen but his wife has a bank account that is separate from his and her bank account has been frozen by them. I have to tell you I don’t know under what law they could be doing that because she is not a target of this investigation.
…On September 24th, seven homes in Chicago and Minneapolis and one office of an antiwar committee in Minneapolis were raided by the FBI. The warrants and the subpoenas all indicated that they were looking for evidence of “material support for foreign terrorist organizations.” The fourteen people that were subpoenaed in that group really has one thing in common: all fourteen of them, including my wife and I (our home was raided by the FBI), all fourteen of them had been key organizers in the protest at the Republican National Convention September 1, 2008. The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, what it was called. Marches that were held were permitted marches.
We didn’t know this on the morning of the raid and it took some time to learn this fact. In fact, we learned it from the office in Chicago, the office of the US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, that the antiwar committee in the Twin Cities had been infiltrated by a law enforcement agent, had been infiltrated the FBI starting in April 2008 in the months organizing for the protest for the RNC. That protest was the largest antiwar protest in the history of the Midwest of the United States. Thirty thousand marched on the RNC on September 1st.
Apparently, that police agent and professional liar didn’t find anything that was indictable. But then, she stuck around for two more years as an undercover cop spying on the antiwar movement. And we believe that it is her lies about us that were the basis for the raids in September and the subpoenas for a Grand Jury.
The second thing to tell you is that the Grand Jury — all twenty-three of us, there were fourteen subpoenaed in September — All fourteen of us refused to appear at the Grand Jury. The US Attorney then subpoenaed nine more people, mostly Palestinian Americans, in December. And those nine all refused to appear at a Grand Jury because we learned that the Grand Jury can indict a ham sandwich. It is not an unbiased process. It is a prosecutor’s dream. You have no right to have your lawyer present. You have no right to see the evidence being presented against you. You have no right to cross-examination of the witnesses. In fact, you have no right to see the witnesses.
We all realized it was just a witch-hunt and refused to participate in it. And there are consequences for that. All twenty-three of us for refusing could actually be imprisoned on contempt of court for refusing to participate in that grand jury.
The Committee to Stop FBI Repression has an action alert:
Call today and Tuesday to demand un-freezing of accounts, end to repression
Call the Office of Foreign Assets Control at 202-622-1649 or 202-622-2420.
* Unfreeze the bank accounts of the Abudayyeh family
* Stop repression against Palestinian, anti-war and international solidarity activists.