FBI Abuses Kurds in U.S.

Max Sawicky points to what appears to be a pretty horrible abuse of power by the F.B.I.

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.”

That last line, if true, is just horrendous. And as Radley Balko points out, yet another example of the PATRIOT Act being abused. Max has the contact information on his post, so if you want to help out, click through and do what you can.

FILED UNDER: National Security, Terrorism, , , , , , , , , , ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.


  1. anjin-san says:

    Maybe we should spend more time worrying about the state of our own democracy and less telling people in Iraq how to live. Under Bush, we are doing a poor job of praticing what we preach.

  2. Roger Ridenour says:


  3. slickdpdx says:

    The last line, if true, could be a good way to get a confession.

  4. slickdpdx says:

    Allow me to clarify: if it was true it was said but not REALLY true, then it would merely invite an incriminating statement. If it IS really true, its criminal.

  5. Bob says:

    Bad IF true. A big IF, don’t you think. The Sawicky post is pretty vague, isn’t it? Conclusory too.

    For instance “most of the evidence was not allowed”. Whose evidence? Why was it kept out? Was it “evidence” in a legal sense?

    And the last quote about the paperwork. Any actual proof it was said?

    Did they have lawyers? A jury trial?

    Before I accept this version of events, I would like a bit of reliable info.