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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Holy Land Foundation’

US Supreme Court Affirms Conviction of White Collar Terrorists

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Lingering doubts that remained about the criminality of the organization frequently called the United States’ “largest Islamic charity” [NY Times] ended on Monday. That’s when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that it would not overturn an earlier appeal that went against five officials from Holy Land Foundation convicted of illegally funneling millions of dollars to Hamas. That appears to be the final legal avenue open to the convicted men and concludes the case.

For years, in a pattern which to some of us is already familiar, the supporters of the convicts and their lawyers cast the Holy Land Foundation as being, at minimum, the victim of the extreme angst that afflicted the US after the events of September 11, 2001, as well as “an important case for religious freedom, and for civil rights” [The American Muslim]. The group “merely raised money for needy Palestinians”, it has been argued, and was never connected to any violence.

America’s tribunals of law and fact, one after another, came to a different conclusion. As a result, Ghassan Elashi, Shukri Abu-Baker, Mohammad El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh were convicted on 108 counts in 2008 and will remain in prison serving sentences ranging from 15 to 65 years. Just in passing, a reminder that Mufid Abdulqader is the brother of arch-terrorist Khaled Mashal, “the main leader” [Wikipedia] of Hamas’ terrorist operations since 2004.

The fragrantly-named Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development started life as the Occupied Land Fund [US Treasury, Office of Foreign Assets Control, "Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List", updated to October 18, 2012], from offices in Richardson, Texas. In 2007, US federal prosecutors charged the organization and its key leaders with funding Hamas and what it termed other “Islamic terrorist organizations”. Soon afterwards, the assets of the “charity” were frozen by the EU and the US, and it was forced to shut down. AFP’s November 2008 report of the criminal trial [AFP] said the group and its leaders were found to be “acting as a front for Palestinian militants” and called the trial “largest terrorism financing prosecution in American history”.

Far from being an innocent conduit for relieving the poverty of starving children in Gaza, U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis who presided over the criminal trial said it plainly: “The purpose of creating the Holy Land Foundation was as a fundraising arm for Hamas”. The men charged and convicted were no mere givers of charity but knowing organizers of a conduit whose end-point was deliberate and well-chosen. The indictment said HLF and its promotors took steps to hide its terrorist-financing purpose from law-enforcement agencies by making a few token donations to harmless, non-Palestinian Arab entities. The bulk of it went to terror. A quote from one of the convicted men, Shukri Abu Baker: “We can give $100,000 to the Islamists and $5,000 to the others.”

Parts of the media in the US and outside it continue to frame this shabby tale in ways that seem calculated to sow doubt about the motivations of the convicted men and to hint at hidden agendas. In a Salon article this past Thursday, the popular website’s “assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing” writes ["SCOTUS to consider fate of jailed Muslim charity leaders"] what was done to the group formerly known as Occupied Land Fund:

“The Bush administration shut it down following reports that the group had donated a portion of their foundation funds to schools and hospitals in Gaza through a “Zakat” (charity-giving) Committee that allegedly had connections to Hamas.”

Their case has made it all the way up the almost endless legal chain for which the US is rightly famous. Yet she and her editors see no problem in insinuating that this was about “alleged” connections to Hamas; that “portion” of the money was channeled to Hamas; that the US government acted on “reports“. This is shamefully inadequate reporting from a source that describes itself as a “pioneering, award-winning news site… with an audience of 10 million monthly unique visitors“.

We’re less offended by the coverage given to the decision by one of the Iranian government’s most prominent mouthpieces, PressTV. Its report ["US Supreme Court spurns justice"] describes the convicted men as

“Five extraordinary human beings… wrongfully convicted and sentenced to long prison terms. They’re doing hard time in America’s gulag. They learned the hard way about being Muslims in America at the wrong time.

As Wikipedia describes, a large number of other parties – are they also “extraordinary”? – are caught up in the Hamas financing net, including prominent American Islamist groups:

In May 2007, the U.S. filed an action against the Holy Land Foundation (the largest Muslim charity in the United States at the time for providing funds to Hamas, and federal prosecutors filed pleadings. Along with 300 other organizations, they listed CAIR (and its chairman emeritus, Omar Ahmad), Islamic Society of North America (largest Muslim umbrella organization in the United States), Muslim American Society and North American Islamic Trust as unindicted co-conspirators, a legal designation that can be employed for a variety of reasons including grants of immunity, pragmatic considerations, and evidentiary concerns. While being listed as co-conspirator does not mean that CAIR has been charged with anything…

From here, the evidence appears to show the existence of an active and thriving Moslem Brotherhood hinterland in the United States delivering political and financial support to the terrorists.

A Long Festering Problem

Friday, January 11th, 2002

After September 11, many expressed amazement at the relative ease with which illegal aliens from Arab countries were apparently able to lose themselves in American society. This in no small measure contributed to the horrific events of that day. But a startling story in this past Monday's New York Times documents that there was doubtless another related dimension as well. According to a The Times piece entitled, “After A Long, Slow Climb to Respectability, a Muslim Charity Experiences a Rapid Fall,” the US was not only duped into providing a home for terrorists, it also served as a cash cow for terrorists.

On December 3rd, President Bush froze the assets of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, the nation's largest Muslim charity. According to The Times, over the years, the Foundation did everything it could to portray itself as a mainstream, benign, philanthropic machine seeking only to promote the well-being of the needy. But government documents, Arabic publications and some of the Foundation's literature directed at Arab audiences tell a far different story about what the Holy Land Foundation was really about. In documents filed in court by the FBI, the Bureau charges that the Holy land Foundation conspired with Hamas to use its money to support terrorism against Israel. Citing surveillance records and statements from informants, the Bureau claims that the Foundation provided an incentive for terrorists to attack Israel by sending money to families of suicide bombers and other terrorists.

The Times reports that in its early days, the Foundation, then known as the Occupied Land Fund, openly stated in its advertisements that its funds were available not only for educational purposes. One such advertisement appeared in the Arabic-language Ila Filastin and said:

“We call you to Jihad for the sake of Allah by donating any amount you can in support of the Intifada's families in Palestine. You can send your contributions in the name of Occupied Land Fund, P.O. Box 928, L.A., CA.”

The FBI also maintains that it has linked the Foundation's chairman, Ghassan Elashi, directly to Hamas. The agency said it bugged a meeting held in a Philadelphia hotel in 1993, “at which Mr. Elashi and two other Holy Land officials met with five leaders of Hamas. Those at the meeting, according to the Bureau, discussed how they could violently defeat the peace process and supplant the Palestinian Authority with Hamas….”

“It was mentioned that the United States provided them with a secure, legal base from which to operate,” and FBI memo on the meeting said. “The democratic environment in the United States allowed them to perform activities extremely important to their cause. In discussing financial matters, the participants stated a belief that continuation of the Holy War was inevitable.”

Although Elashi and other foundation leaders have denied all this, the FBI has said it observed all the participants entering the hotel at the time of the meeting and also confirmed their presence through American Express charge records.

The FBI says in a memo that it also overheard a meeting in Oxford, Mississippi in 1994 in which Hamas officials said that the Holy Land Foundation had been designated its primary fund-raising entity in the United States. Also, the memo recites that the FBI used American Express records to show that the Foundation paid for 11 fund-raising trips around the United States by two prominent Hamas activists in the West Bank. One informant quoted in the memo said that one of the two men was the head of the Hamas military wing in Gaza. He reportedly told guests at a fund-raising dinner in Los Angeles in 1994: “Finish off the Israelis! Kill them all! Exterminate them! No peace ever!”

Plainly, there was clear evidence in FBI files of the Holy Land Foundation's ties to Hamas since the early 1990's. Yet, until President Bush's bold step last week freezing their assets, they appear to have taken advantage of our democratic society and done their thing with impunity throughout the eight years of the Clinton administration! Yet, on the other hand, Mr. Clinton, who touted himself as the “best friend Israel ever had in the White House,” mounted a full court press on Israel “to take risks for peace.”

President Bush And The Holy Land Foundation

Friday, January 4th, 2002

When President Bush, in the company of Treasury Secretary O'Neill and Attorney General Ashcroft, announced publicly on December 4 that the United States would be seizing the assets of the Holy Land Foundation of Richardson, Texas, because its money was being used to support the Hamas terror organization, the President was endorsing the lawsuit brought in May 2000 against the Holy Land Foundation by the parents of David Boim, a 17-year-old yeshiva student who was killed in a drive-by shooting by Hamas terrorists in May 1996. The Boims' lawyers are Nathan Lewin and his daughter Alyza Lewin, and their lawsuit against the Moslem charity that collects over $13 million a year in mosques around the country is the first one brought under a 1992 anti-terrorist law that gives American citizens who are victims of international terrorism the right to sue in American courts.

The Holy Land Foundation claims that it is only sending money to widows and orphans ? who happen to be the widows and orphans of Hamas' suicide bombers. When he argued the case on September 24 before a federal court of appeals, Mr. Lewin, an internationally renowned litigator, reminded the court that terrorism comes in many unexpected forms. Who would have thought, before September 11, that flight training could be used to perform murderous terrorist acts? And he observed that Hamas boasts that it begins to indoctrinate its suicide bombers when they are in kindergarten. Educating these children in this manner is breeding terrorism.

The Holy Land Foundation argued in the Court of Appeals that only the individuals who personally shot David Boim should be suable in an American court and not those who finance the organization that trained and equipped them. The court asked the United States to file a friend-of-the-court brief, and the Department of Justice submitted a ringing support of the Boim's claim that anyone financing Hamas is an ''aider and abettor'' to David Boim's murder who should be forced to pay damages.

The President's recent action goes well beyond that brief. It puts any charitably-minded Moslem on notice that his contribution will be seized by the United States if the organization to which he gives supports terror. And the Boims' lawsuit ? which will hopefully succeed in bankrupting the Hamas-front ''charities'' in the United States ? will also be a warning to individual contributors that they may be sued by the victims of terror.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/president-bush-and-the-holy-land-foundation/2002/01/04/

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