July 4, 2009
The Wisdom Fund
Reflections on Independence Day:
Justice in America
Five founders of the Holy Land Foundation, once the nation’s largest Muslim charity, have received prison terms of up to sixty-five years on charges of supporting the Palestinian group Hamas. The five were never accused of supporting violence and were convicted for funding charities that aided needy Palestinians. The government’s case relied on Israeli intelligence as well as disputed documents and electronic surveillance gathered by the FBI over a span of fifteen years.
. . . the United States government, through USAID, continued to give money to the same charities for years after Holy Land was closed.
European Nations May Investigate Bush Officials
European prosecutors are likely to investigate CIA and Bush administration officials on suspicion of violating an international ban on torture if they are not held legally accountable at home.
Guantanamo at Home
The Justice Department claims that the “centerpiece” of its case against Hashmi is the testimony of Junaid Babar. According to the government, in the beginning of 2004, Babar, also a United States citizen, stayed with Hashmi at his London apartment for two weeks. In his luggage, the government alleges, Babar had raincoats, ponchos and waterproof socks, which Babar later delivered to the third-ranking member of Al Qaeda in South Waziristan, Pakistan. It was alleged that Hashmi allowed Babar to call other conspirators in terror plots, using his cellphone. Babar, who was arrested in 2004 and has pleaded guilty to five counts of material support for Al Qaeda, faces up to seventy years in prison. While awaiting sentence, he has agreed to serve as a government witness in terror trials in Britain and Canada, as well as in Hashmi’s trial. For his cooperation, Babar will be rewarded with a reduced sentence.
The Persecution of Dr. Sami Al-Arian
Arrested in 2003, Al-Arian went on trial in late 2005 on charges that he used an Islamic think tank and a Muslim school and charity as a cover for raising funds to finance “terrorism.” In 2006, after a six-month trial costing taxpayers a reported $50 million, a Florida jury refused to find Al-Arian guilty on a single one of the 17 counts he was charged with. The jury acquitted Al-Arian of eight charges, including the most serious, and deadlocked on nine others; 10 of 12 jurors reportedly favored acquittal on all counts. . . .
But the nightmare was only beginning. Against even government prosecutors’ recommendations, Judge James Moody sentenced Al-Arian to the maximum allowable sentence.
Bush Administration Exploited Terror Plots For Political Gain
On Thursday night’s “Countdown” Keith Olbermann presented an impressively detailed timeline he called “The Nexus of Politics and Terror,” in which he chronicled the Bush administration’s exploitation of terror threats for political gain. Olbermann’s exhaustive account weaves from each revelation of an intelligence failure or a Democratic political victory to an almost immediate orange alert or “new threat” from al Qaeda.
Court Decision Strips Foreigners’ Rights
. . . a decision by a federal judge in New York, I’m no longer confident that I can be so reassuring. Dismissing a case challenging the detention of Arab and Muslim foreign nationals in the weeks after Sept. 11, U.S. District Judge John Gleeson ruled that it is constitutionally permissible to round up foreign nationals on immigration charges based solely on their race, religion or country of origin. What’s more, he said they can be detained indefinitely, even after they have agreed to be removed to their home countries.
In essence, he authorized a repeat of the Japanese internment — as long as the internment is limited to foreign nationals charged with visa violations (a group that at last count numbered about 11 million people).
Government by Star Chamber
The Orwellian named Patriot Act has destroyed habeas corpus. The executive branch has gained the unaccountable power to detain American citizens on mere suspicion or accusation, without evidence, and to hold Americans indefinitely without a trial.
Tough Patriot Act Followed by 40 Nations
According to Amnesty International, about 40 nations in all had either passed or drafted similar legislation by mid-2002. . . .
The example of the Patriot Act also seems to have given foreign governments a fresh pretext for strengthening their hand against domestic critics. Authoritarian countries, in particular, leapt at the chance to align their own repression of political opponents or minorities with the global war on terror — either expanding penalties for “terrorism” or simply applying the concept without bothering about law. . . .
Enver Masud, “A Clash Between Justice and Greed,” The Wisdom Fund, September 2, 2002
Enver Masud, “The War on Islam,” India Research Press; 4th edition (July 1, 2008)
Enver Masud, “9/11 Unveiled,” The Wisdom Fund (September 11, 2008)
[Then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft violated the rights of U.S. citizens in the fevered wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by ordering arrests on material witness warrants when the government lacked probable cause, a federal appeals court said in a scathing opinion Friday.–Carol J. Williams, “Ashcroft can be sued over arrests, appeals court rules,” Los Angles Times, September 5, 2009]
Shamshad Admad, “Rounded Up: Artificial Terrorists and Muslim Entrapment After 9/11,” The Troy Book Makers (2009)
[ . . . in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 the US government undertook the “preventative detention” of about 5,000 men on the basis of their birthplace and later sought a further 19,000 “voluntary interviews”. Over the next year, more than 170,000 men from 24 predominantly Muslim countries and North Korea were fingerprinted and interviewed in a programme of “special registration”. None of these produced a single terrorism conviction.–Gary Younge, “The war on terror has been about scaring people, not protecting them,” Guardian, January 3, 2010]