Outrage swept through Chicago's Islamist and radical peace movements this week when supporters of activist Hatem Abudayyeh announced that his bank accounts were frozen last Friday – just before Mother's Day.
Abudayyeh and nearly two dozen others are under federal investigation for possible support to terrorist groups including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Houses and offices were raided last September and most of the activists have defied grand jury subpoenas.
Supporters say the investigation is targeting anti-war activists for engaging in protected free speech.
When his ATM card wouldn't work last week, supporters leapt into action. It's the U.S. Attorney, they cried. Call Patrick Fitzgerald and tell him to back off!
Wait, it's the Treasury Department, they said a short time later. Call them and tell them to back off!
Now, it seems, it was a unilateral decision by Abudayyeh's bank, Twin Cities Federal (TCF). The bank returned Abudayyeh's money earlier this week and asked him to take his account elsewhere.
"Victory," a statement from two leftist groups supporting Abudayyeh proclaimed, adding that "TCF is well known for having links to the right-wing think tank the Center for the American Experiment."
Doesn't that explain everything?
Abudayyeh's attorney Michael Deutsch thinks the bank got spooked by a subpoena for the account records and speculated that the move might mean indictments may be near.
At least Deutsch acknowledged it was just a guess. All the statements from Abudayyeh supporters have insisted on facts that they could not establish which all seem to have been wrong. We have shown how this is nothing new.
Law enforcement actions are quickly denounced, despite a dearth of information. The groups targeted have roped members of Congress in to protest the investigation to Attorney General Eric Holder.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), joined in, too. "FBI, U.S. Attorney Attacking Civil Liberties of Anti-War, Palestinian Human Rights Activists," screamed a headline from a CAIR-Chicago Action Alert.
"This unwarranted attack on a leading member of the Palestinian community in Chicago is the latest escalation of civil rights violations of anti-war and Palestinian human rights activists by the FBI, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder."
It was none of those things. Will anyone who claimed otherwise admit it?