Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Patriot Act in action

Barkley Rosser posts this on Max Sawicky's blog:


The following is something that has not hit the media at all, other than a story in the Harrisonburg Daily News-Record that simply repeated FBI propaganda about this awful case. Harrisonburg, Virginia happens to have one of the largest enclaves of Iraqi Kurdish population in the US. They all came in the late 1990s to flee from Saddam Hussein's regime after working for pro-US NGOs and having their lives threatened. They applauded at the fall of Saddam.

However, four of them have been arrested for transferring funds to their families and charitable organizations in Iraqi Kurdistan without a license, a felony offense under the Patriot Act and the act to keep Cubans from sending money to their relatives in Cuba. One has been convicted in a trial in which most of the evidence was not allowed and in which the FBI suggested that the defendant was a terrorist. These people were cowed into not talking to the media, and now they are all in deep trouble. Their homes have been raided, their money seized, even things like medical insurance cards (with one wife pregnant), applications for citizenship are off, they are facing deportation, and so on. They were assigned a Croatian translator for the court. There is a serious string of outrages associated with this with no coverage by any serious media. The FBI agent in charge even told them, "I know you are not the bad guys, but too much paperwork has gone forward on this."

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This is obscene.
There are contact people at the link with email addresses and phone numbers to contact for anyone wanting to help.
Stuff like this makes me want to be either young, free and foolish again or independently wealthy so I could really raise a stink. The best I can do at the moment is spread the word by blogging. It's almost like sports. One good hit is all I need to hit one out of the park. The closing lines of the piece are sad but true.

Unfortunately this is what we are coming to in America right now, the FBI trying to prove it is fighting terrorism after all the revelations of its incompetence, and violating peoples' human rights.


Finally, a column reporting from a sympathetic perspective on the plight of the Kurds of Harrisonburg appeared in yesterday's (April 12, 2006) Harrisonburg Daily News-Record, our main local newspaper. It was written by Ruth Stoltzfus Jost (her name is misspelled at the head of the column), a Mennonite lawyer here in Harrisonburg, and is entitled, "We Know You're Not The Bad Guys." It provides many useful details regarding their situation.

More at the link.

Eugene Volokh also noticed and made a few comments.

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