Most days, not much happens in this sleepy farming community, population: 100. Yet for a few short, dramatic hours last week, Kinsman doubled in size as scores of armed and armoured federal agents swept in.
U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents – some carrying assault rifles – raided an Islamic slaughterhouse, which opened in the village four years ago. There, the FBI questioned a handful of immigrants, and has kept a conspicuous silence ever since.
The locals say the butchery, located on the outskirts of Chicago, was owned and managed by Pakistanis hailing from Canada – including its owner, who is now in jail under mysterious circumstances.
Faced with this paucity of information, the villagers complain that they are now left to fear a different kind of slaughter may have been in the works. “Our biggest concern is, ‘Is everybody safe?’” said Mark Harlow, a corn farmer who doubles as the village mayor. “Don’t you think the FBI would tell the community a little something, to relieve the pressure a little bit?”
The FBI has not said why dozens of its agents arrived in more than 40 dark cars and vans on Oct. 18, or why the raid involved a helicopter, surveillance plane and a mobile “command centre” trailer on the ground, complete with a satellite uplink. For a day, this scrutiny was brought to bear on the ramshackle slaughterhouse, from which the agents pulled records and computer files after getting a search warrant.
Strangely, save for FoxNews.com and the local press, this dragnet made barely a ripple in the news. Either it had to have been a pressing national-security investigation, or a raging paranoia that had gotten completely out of hand.
Tahawar Hussein Rana, a 48-year-old Chicago entrepreneur whom some locals describe as a Canadian, is the only person in custody. A federal U.S. database places him as a current inmate of a Chicago prison, yet there are no publicly filed charges against him. Nor, for that matter is there even mention of a “sealed” indictment. (More)