July 4, 2009
(Updated 2010, 2011, 2012)
The Wisdom Fund
Reflecting Upon 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.
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.
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
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.
. . . 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
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).
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.
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. . . .
How the FBI's Network of Informants Actually Created Most of the Terrorist Plots 'Foiled' in the US Since 9/11
The bureau now maintains a roster of 15,000 spies, some paid as much as
$100,000 per case, many of them tasked with infiltrating Muslim communities
in the United States.
The informants could be doctors, clerks, imams. Some might not even consider
themselves informants. But the FBI regularly taps all of them as part of a
domestic intelligence apparatus whose only historical peer might be
COINTELPRO, the program the bureau ran from the '50s to the '70s to
discredit and marginalize organizations ranging from the Ku Klux Klan to
civil-rights and protest groups.
US Citizen Convicted of Providing 'Material Support' to Terrorists
During the trial, prosecutors said Mr. Mehanna considered himself part of Al
Qaeda's "media wing," translating and posting materials online that
glorified jihad. But the defense argued that Mr. Mehanna was well within his
First Amendment rights in posting such content and that he was expressing
his own views against American foreign policy, not working with Al Qaeda.
In a statement Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts
said the verdict "undermines" the First Amendment.
[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]
[ . . . 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]
Congressional staffer Susan Lindauer performed as a U.S. Intelligence Asset.
. . . This is the story of what happened when Lindauer tried to disclose the
true facts of Iraqi Pre-War Intelligence and the 9/11 warning to Congress
and the American people. It details the nightmare of her arrest on the
Patriot Act and her imprisonment without a trial at the notorious Carswell
Prison inside a Texas military base.--Susan Lindauer, "Extreme
Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11
and Iraq," CreateSpace (October 15, 2010)
[Under the NDAA, the suspicion of the president is sufficient to confine an
American citizen to military detention for life without accusation or
trial.--Bruce Fein, "An
execrable ancestor," dailycaller.com, December 28, 2011]
[Assassination of U.S. citizens... Indefinite detention... Warrantless
searches... Secret evidence... War crimes... Secret court... Continual
monitoring of citizens... Extraordinary renditions--Jonathan Turley, "10 reasons the U.S.
is no longer the land of the free," washingtonpost.com, January 13,
[Americans in 2012, although only a few are aware, live in a concentration
camp that is far better controlled than the one portrayed by George Orwell
in 1984. Orwell, writing in the late 1940s could not imagine the technology
that makes control of populations so thorough as it is today. Orwell's
protagonist could at least have hope. In 2012 with the erasure of privacy by
the US government, protagonists can be eliminated by hummingbird-sized
drones before they can initiate a protest, much less a rebellion.--Paul
Craig Roberts, "America's
Last Chance," counterpunch.org, January 16, 2012]