Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Terrorism Charges Don't Hold Up But DOJ Won't Let Go

The mind-numbingly confused episode in District Judge Fish's courtroom that he declared a mistrial was worse than simply incoherence. In declaring a mistrial, the judge allows the charges to be brought again, and tried again, at huge public expense.

Charges brought are that the Holy Land Foundation was channeling money to Hamas. The proof included unnamed Israeli secret agents (the accused has the right to know who his accuser is in U.S. courts), bumperstickers and keychains with Hamas symbols found in offices where the Holy Land Foundation funds were directed, pre-1995 (when Hamas was declared a terrorist organization) donations to charitable Middle Eastern organizations (that fed the hungry and helped with living expenses and other such monstrous acts in addition to Hamas activities) - which did not convince the jury.

Hate acts similar to Anne Coulter's saying Jews need to be "perfected" seems to be the criminal standard in this trial. In its editorial deploring this acquital, the Dallas Morning News cites a video of one of the accused appearing in a skit that featured chanting "Death to Jews is precious". Not very nice, true enough. I don't like being told I'm a honky who persecutes non-white Americans, either, but when I hear "death to honkies" I guess I just don't see it as plotting a serious terrorist activity.

Going overboard is something I grew up with in a redneck home, and I've heard 'the only good nigger is a dead nigger' from people I owed respect. There are boundaries we all should stay within but don't always. Should I now be tried as a terrorist sympathizer for saying the charges brought by our government were overblown and simply wrong, and the prosecution should do something productive rather than blow them all up again?

The government is declaring it will bring those charges again, and try the case again, which is almost as much of a waste of time and money as the first few trials, all of them unsuccessful, in which our rightwing Justice Department now claims it has a victory in that it froze funds that otherwise would have freed up Hamas funds from its charitable works. Sorry, I'm not seeing the dancing in the streets because banks collected some extra interest on Holy Land Foundation Funds while Hamas used other funds to do its good works.

Dennis Lormel, who created the FBI's Terrorist Financing Operations Section and is now a terrorism consultant, said the collapse of the trial is a blow, but far from a death knell for similar cases.

"Obviously, it's a disappointment," he said. "But this should have no effect on the overall war on terror or terrorism financing. Regardless of the guilt or innocence, that charity was used to provide Hamas with funding. The government already won in this case, in that this charity's assets were frozen and that kept them from sending more money. At trial, your standard is different, and they didn't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt."

Before retrying the case, prosecutors "need to ask jurors why they reached the decisions they did, and assess their performance," he said.

Counterterrorism expert Fred Burton, vice president for counterterrorism and corporate security at Austin-based Stratfor, a private intelligence firm, said it's best to view the prosecution as part of a disruption strategy. The verdict didn't come out as hoped, but "you have in essence tied this organization up in knots for a long time."

"Even though it may not be viewed as a success on the front page of the paper, behind the doors in Washington it will be," he said.

The failure to secure convictions on the most serious terrorism support charges comes on the heels of two high-stakes losses in other similar terrorism financing cases.

Earlier this year, an Illinois jury acquitted a Chicago-area businessman on charges that he and a co-defendant aided Palestinian terrorists. Two years earlier, a Florida professor also was found not guilty on similar terrorism-support charges, and the jury deadlocked on other charges. [Emphasis added.]

When this bunch of winger activist at "Justice" uses all the public funds it wants to to pursue an organization that has not been involved in direct terrorism, and probably not even indirect, but cuts off funds to actual homeland security activities like local police and community help, we need to be putting them on trial, not non-white charities. New Orleans is being left to rot, the law is broken so that fences can be thrown up in Arizona ((see Diane's post), but our funds are being thrown at ludicrous charges against the Holy Land Foundation.

Some 'perfecting' seems to be the least we can do about this wastrel bunch that chooses laws to ignore and tries to persuade the public it's got the goods on us terroristic sympathiser types.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Regardless of the guilt or innocence"??? "Regardless of the guilt or innocence"? Is this person actually saying that it's okay to freeze someone's assets whether or not that person did something wrong? Because by God that's what it sounds like. What country are we living in anymore?

5:01 AM  

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