Thursday, October 23, 2008

Negative Party

Yesterday I spent many hours watching the Justice Department prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation. It comes at a time when the power of hate is waning visibly, and the coming election is giving everyone hope for empowerment of those middle class working citizens who have been subjected to discrimination, and outright robbery, for eight years. It seems like a blast from the past to sit in Dallas Federal Court listening to an FBI agent and a Treasury Department terrorism agent talk about charity to Muslims who live in the Middle East as if it constitutes a threat to our security.

Monday I listened to a prisoner seeking government leniency testify that Gaza residents were all sympathetic to suicide bombing, even while pointing out that he himself knew giving to Hamas means that the donations reach the needy but giving to Fatah means the casinos grow bigger. The court allowed the prisoner, under redirect, to testify to new thoughts regarding feelings and beliefs of those not on trial, despite court rules against new territory on redirect and against such 'hearsay' testimony. The courtroom was a little more orderly in procedures yesterday, as the witnesses and testimony seemed not quite so strained to produce.

I won't go on at great length in this post, as I want to make a larger observation at a later date. However, it was amusing during the lengthy questioning of FBI agent Laura Burns yesterday, that over and over she responded to defense questions about records of donations going to orphans that 'that's what it says'. When questioned about records of donations going to other entities, she usually answered 'correct' and 'yes'. The defense attorney even asked if it mattered to her, that donations from the Holy Land Foundation were given to orphans. She insisted that she only cared about relevance to HLF ties to Hamas. Her responses, sadly, belied that testimony over the course of the afternoon.

The government case against HLF forms a last ditch attempt to discourage Muslim charity. That is every bit as disreputable as it sounds.

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