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Green Party of Texas urge dismissal of Holy Land Fdtn. charges

The Green Party of Texas joins the Hungry for Justice Coalition to support the Holy Land Foundation defendants in demanding dismissal of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLFRD) retrial

Under the Bush administration, basic human rights protections guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution have been attacked in the case against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLFRD).

“This case, targeting a Muslim Charity, represents the most shameful example of civil liberties violations in post-modern times for America,” said Diane Woods, Tarrant County Green leader who will be attending the upcoming trials.

“For us to ignore these religiously- & racially-targeted crimes against American citizens, would further the erosion of our constitutional rights and freedoms that our military service men and women are told they are protecting,” continued Ms. Woods.

The right of Habeas Corpus, Fifth Amendment freedom from loss of life, liberty and property without due process of law, Eighth Amendment freedom from cruel and unusual punishment and Fourth Amendment freedom from unreasonable search and seizure have been dismembered from our Constitution.

The Green Party of Texas strongly urges the dismissal of the HLFRD retrial currently scheduled to begin Monday, September 15th, 2008 in Dallas, Texas, in keeping with protections afforded by our Constitution.See Background Information below for further details.

MORE INFORMATION

Green Party of Texas http://txgreens.org
(214) 460-7672

Hungry for Justice Coalition  http://hungryforjustice.org
Khalil Meek, Spokesperson, 972-849-9188

-END-

Background Information

A. Regarding government actions against our Constitutional rights:

The Bush Administration and other administration officials:

1. have specifically targeted The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLFRD) in North Texas with allegations of criminal activities and persecution of members of this organization for activities protected by the U.S. Constitution.

2. have singled out, in the name of “paradigm of prevention,” thousands of Arab and Muslim immigrants, essentially on the basis of their ethnicity or religion, for special treatment, including mandatory registration, FBI interviews, and preventive detention. Businesses have been served with more than 100,000 “national Security letters”, which permit the FBI to demand records on customers without a court order or individualized basis for suspicion. They have been subjected to unprecedented secrecy about what elected officials are doing in their name while simultaneously suffering unprecedented official intrusion into their private lives by increased video surveillance, warrantless wiretapping, and data-mining. The government’s “preventive” immigration initiatives have come up even more empty-handed. After 9/11 the Bush Administration called in 80,000 foreign nationals for fingerprinting, photographing, and “special registration” simply because they came from predominantly Arab or Muslim countries; sought out another 8,000 young men from the same countries for FBI interviews; and placed more than 5,000 foreign nationals here in preventive detention. Yet as of September 2007, not one of these people stands convicted of a terrorist crime. The government’s record, in what is surely the largest campaign of ethnic profiling since the Japanese internment of World War II, is 0 for 93,000.

3. have collected a list of over three hundred individuals and organizations that the government alleges co-conspired to support terrorism, including the HLFRD. This list was publicly filed in apparent violation of the Department of Justice’s own policies. The list of over three hundred alleged co-conspirators is so overly broad that it targets people and entities without any allegations of specific intent to engage in terrorism as defined in 18 U.S.C. & 92 (2w2) or 18 U.S.C. && 2339A & DB, effectively creating a public smear of these individuals and organizations.

4. approved at least two different illegal electronic surveillance programs of American citizens without a warrant in violation of the fourth amendment and in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, and the American people were repeatedly lied to by U.S. government statements that no surveillance was taking place without a court order. The first program includes intercepting phone and email conversations without warrants and was exposed by the NY Times on December 15, 2005: http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/CPC/NYT_15cnd-program.html. After that program was exposed, Bush said the program was carefully targeted to international calls only and suspected members of Al Qaeda. Then, USA Today exposed the second program on May 11, 2006, which provides a wholesale attack on the fourth amendment by recording call identification information of tens of millions of domestic calls as well as international calls:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2006-05-10-nsa_x.htm.

5. attacked basic human rights protections in the constitution, including Habeas Corpus, Fifth Amendment freedom from loss of life, liberty and property without due process of law, Eighth Amendment freedom from cruel and unusual punishment and Fourth Amendment freedom from unreasonable search and seizure through processes as described above and exemplified in the HLFD case.

B. Regarding case against HLFD:

U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis, the new judge in the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLFRD) case, has set the re-trial for September 15th, 2008, after the first trial ended in a hung jury. This is a landmark case in which the government asserts that the Muslim charity organization HLFRD gave money to charities controlled by Hamas.  After 19 days of deliberations, jurors in 2007 were unable to come to a definitive conclusion and the case ended in a mistrial. Now, the government wants to try the case yet again. Not one of the defendants is accused of committing, or directly sponsoring, any violent acts. There were no accusations that HLFRD was causing any harm in any way (violent or non-violent) to anyone on American soil. The government has already spent over hundreds of millions of dollars on the prosecution of this case. “The whole case was based on assumptions that were based on suspicions,” said juror Scroggins, who added: “If they
had been a Christian or Jewish group, I don’t think [prosecutors] would have brought charges against them.” Experts found the jury’s inability to come to a definitive conclusion evidence of weakness in the government’s ability to provide clear enough evidence against the charity.

On December 1, 2001, Hamas orchestrated two suicide bombings in Israel that left 25 people dead. The following day, Prime Minister Sharon asked President Bush to act against Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLFRD), a California corporation headquartered in Texas which, according to its annual report, distributed approximately $6 million per year to refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel. (It also raised money for non-Islamic causes, such as the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing and, in 2001, the attacks on the World Trade Center.) By December 4, 2001, the United States had frozen the organization’s assets and raided its offices in Texas, California, New Jersey, and Illinois. President Bush said the money went to Hamas to “support schools and indoctrinate children to grow up into suicide bombers. (Ironically, one supposedly Hamas-controlled institution financed by HLFRD, the al Razi hospital in the West Bank, also received support from
the U.S. Agency for International Development and the UAE Red Crescent.)

On March 7, 2002, The HLFRD sued the Department of Defense, the Department of State, and the Department of the Treasury. The organization claimed a violation of its First Amendment right to religious freedom, Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, and Fifth Amendment right to due process. Court documents revealed that the decision to freeze the organization’s assets came from a November 5, 2001, 49-page memo written by Dale L. Watson, assistant director of the counterterrorist division of the FBI, claiming that HLFRD was the “primary fund-raising entity for Hamas.” The complaint noted that the group conducted extensive charitable and humanitarian work with the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent, NATO, the UNHCR, Turkey, the UN World Food Program, UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, and the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund.

The state never brought criminal charges against HLFRD. Nor did it manage to prosecute Benevolence International Foundation (BIF), or a host of other charities whose assets it froze for terrorist contributions. The United States’ failure to substantiate such claims, the introduction of measures that allowed for freezing assets on the basis of mere association, and the state’s disproportionate focus on Muslim charities created an environment hostile to legitimate Islamic businesses and charities. Admittedly, the alienation of Arabs and Muslims is also the product of other official policies, such as indefinite detention, and informal practices, such as planning commissions’ reluctance to approve the building of mosques in the aftermath of September 11. But the cumulative impact is borne in the economic affect on families, as well as a larger strain on social services. At a broader level, minority groups may develop a lack of confidence in the political
process, preventing social cohesion and political participation.

This treatment of the HLFRD and similar organizations raises troubling questions for all charities. Will any organization be subject to the same treatment if the government claims links to terrorism? How broadly will terrorism be defined, and what level of proof or connection will result in an organization being shut down? What about domestic disruptions such as the protests organized against global trade and financial institutions? If a major U.S. philanthropic institution is discovered to have made a grant to an organization that the government claims is linked to terrorism, will it be subject to the same seize and shut-down treatment? The implications for Muslim charities are already being felt and are disturbing. No list of ‘clean’ organizations-those organizations not under government investigation-exists, creating a chilling effect on donations to all Muslim organizations, especially those that work overseas. Millions of dollars in contributions
intended for legitimate charitable purposes have been frozen by the Treasury Department, and the work for which the funds were intended remains undone.

References:

Chronicle of Philanthropy 10/17/2002, Vol. 15 Issue 1
“A Shocking Silence on Muslim Charities.”
Richard L. Moyers, executive director of the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations.

OMB Watch: http://www.ombwatch.org/article/blogs/entry/2586/36

The Challenge of Being a Muslim Charity: http://www.ombwatch.org/npa/TheChallengeofbeingaMuslimCharity

The USA Patriot Act and its Impact on Non-Profit Organizations: http://www.ombwatch.org/article/articleview/1803

William & Mary Law Review (March 2004) 45 Wm and Mary L. Rev.

“High Alert: The Government’s War on the Financing of Terrorism and its Implications for Donors, Domestic Charitable Organizations, and Global Philanthropy.” by Nina J. Crimm – Professor of Law, St. John’s University School of Law; LL.M. in Taxation, Georgetown University (1982); J.D. and M.B.A., Tulane University (1979); A.B., Washington University (1972).

Michigan Journal of International Law vol. 27, 4 (2006) “Anti-Terrorist Finance In The United Kingdom And United States” by Laura K. Donohue – Fellow at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation

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