CSFR Report: April 24 - May 12

It's been a busy two weeks for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression! This letter contains a summary of our activities.

Palestinian Community Leader Hatem Abudayyeh and Supporters Claim Victory

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 May 10 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.

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.

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. 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.”

Legislative work

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression sent a delegation to visit congressional offices from May 2 - May 4. With the momentum of letters to Attorney General Holder and President Obama in the past month, we hoped we would get support from more legislators. CSFR had a great delegation, and met with 25 offices in two days. The delegation was very well received by the vast majority, and found the FBI and grand jury repression issue was timely given the Patriot Act provisions coming up for re-authorization and the coming nominations for head of the FBI. In total, there are now seven congressional representatives who have publicly expressed concern about the raids on peace activists, and more are expected to write letters in the coming days and weeks. In the past two weeks alone, we have obtained letters from Reps. Conyers, Gutiérrez, Schakowsky, and McDermott.

The support from congressional representatives is possible due to the hard work of organizers on the ground in the districts where these representatives are from, as well as the guidance and support from the CSFR's Legislative Working Group, which had its second meeting the evening of May 10. Please contact info@stopfbi.net if you would like to help with these efforts.

May Day Marches

The CSFR had a big presence at May Day marches across the country. In Minnesota, activists passed out more than 9000 flyers about the case and more than 150 people signed the pledge against FBI and grand jury repression, including Rep. Keith Ellison. Information about the CSFR was distributed in Dallas, Chicago, the Bay Area, and Milwaukee, among other places. The CSFR call for May Day 2011 said in part: “Our movements today take inspiration from the Chicago Haymarket Martyrs’ example - their sacrifice led to dramatic and powerful social change throughout the world. Today we face government repression similar to the working class and immigrant leaders who inspired International Workers’ Day back in the 1880s. U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in Chicago, with his FBI raids and Grand Jury inquisition, is attacking free speech and our right to organize in solidarity with working and oppressed people.”

Pledge to Resist

A key part of the CSFR's work is to increase the signatories to the Pledge to Resist FBI and Grand Jury Repression. Thus far thousands of people across the U.S. have signed the pledge. The pledge is a commitment to take action if activists are compelled to appear in front of the Chicago grand jury headed by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, or in the event of indictments.

Solidarity

  • On Tuesday night, May 10th, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 308 (ATU 308) which organizes the rail service of the Chicago Transportation Authority, CTA, passed a resolution in solidarity with those targeted by the raids.
  • The Minneapolis Area Synod issued a solidarity statement, calling "upon the Office of the Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the ELCA Church Council to call upon U.S. Senators and Representatives, U.S. Attorney General Holder, and President Obama to investigate these raids and subpoenas for constitutional legality in order to ensure that the legitimate right to dissent from the policies of our government remains guaranteed to all citizens."
  • The CSFR posted a video last week of comments made by Chris Hedges, an award-winning journalist. Hedges offered a view that the FBI is merely the "jackboot" extension of the ongoing attack on civil liberties.
  • We also published two letters of support and solidarity from former FBI agent Jack Ryan. Jack Ryan sacrificed and suffered for taking a principled position at a time when he could have taken the easy road. Jack's story is inspiring. Please take the time to read it and think about social change and our future.

The CSFR continues to build its network of supporting organizations, which numbers of 400. Unions representing over 600,000 workers have adopted resolutions in support of the anti-war and international solidarity activists and against the FBI and grand jury repression.

If your organization has issued a statement of solidarity with those targeted by the FBI raids, please e-mail it to us: info@stopfbi.net.

Upcoming Events

More information about these events is available on the stopFBI.net website:

  • 5/12/2011 New Hope: A Talk by Anh Pham: Where Have Our Civil Liberties Gone?
  • 5/14/2011 Atlanta: Law as a Weapon of War: A Peoples Assembly to Confront Preemptive Prosecution via the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, and Anti-Immigrant Legislation in the 21st Century
  • 5/14/2011 Madison: Dissent is Not a Crime: Two Subpoenaed Activists Speak Out
  • 5/21/2011 Minneapolis: Been to Palestine Lately? The FBI Might Come Knocking at Your Door

Donate

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression is an all volunteer, grassroots effort. Your donations are urgently needed to raise the funds and resources necessary to continue to build the fightback against FBI repression and to contribute towards the legal defense fund for those targeted in the September 24th FBI raids. We depend on our supporters to contribute generously so as to help cover legal expenses, pay for expenses with speaking tours, and help provide the resources to broaden the movement.

Please visit our donate page and consider making a contribution today.