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Holy Land Foundation (Re)trial

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  • World View
    Holy Land Foundation (Re)trial The (absurd) re-trial of the Holy Land Foundation (former zakat charity to alleviate suffering in Palestine) began September 15.
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 4, 2008
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      Holy Land Foundation (Re)trial

      The (absurd) re-trial of the Holy Land Foundation (former zakat
      charity to alleviate suffering in Palestine) began September 15. I
      will comment on the events of and surrounding the trial. I will also
      provide links to other websites that provide truthful and useful
      commentary on issues relating to Palestine rather than the nonsense
      of mainstream coverage. Comments are welcome, but I will not post
      anonymous comments. "The enemy shall not outwit him, the wicked shall
      not humble him." (Psalm 89:22)

      A Decent Respect, Part III
      Harold Knight

      As a matter of law, Hamas will not be the defendant when the retrial
      of the Holy Land Foundation begins in two weeks. But the prosecutors
      will do everything they can to make the guilt of Hamas the central
      claim of their case.

      Unless they can demonstrate that Hamas belongs on the US list of
      Specially Designated Global Terrorists, the prosecutors will once
      again find conviction of the defendants impossible. This time around,
      they may well attempt to make the case that Hamas is somehow a part
      of an international network of "terrorists" headed by Al-Qaeda. The
      prosecutors must make the case that the wrong-headed designation of
      Hamas as a Global Terrorist organization by Presidents Clinton and
      Bush is both moral and strategically important to the United States.
      Otherwise, the case will once again turn on whether or not the State
      of Israel can dictate the guilt or innocence of American citizens.

      Of course, the prosecutors have had another year to listen to the
      family conversations of the American citizens on trial. They will
      know more of the intimate details of the appointments with doctors,
      the hopes of once again being with relatives spread around the world
      in the diaspora of the Palestinian people, and even the political
      views of five American families. Engaging in this bizarre kind of
      voyeurism (one might wonder how certain FBI agents will have a life
      when the trial ends, having spent their entire careers living
      vicariously through the lives of other American citizens), the
      government will have been able to cull through more badly translated
      statements, taken out of context, to "prove" that these American
      citizens have broken the law.

      No one—least of all the defendants—would claim that American citizens
      can pick and choose which laws do and which laws do not apply to
      them. The law of the land is the law of the land. However, the
      prosecutors must find a truthful answer to a two-fold question: what,
      exactly, IS the law (based on executive order, not on legislation)
      regarding material support of "terrorists," and did these American
      citizens intend to break it?

      There is no doubt that the prosecutors believe absolutely and with
      great fervor that they are upholding the law, and, in the process,
      saving all of us American citizens from some kind of horrible fate at
      the hand of Specially Designated Global Terrorists. Theirs is an
      absolute certainty based on a view of the world in which everything
      is black and white, right or wrong, or—in our President's words—good
      or "evil." The truth is, the prosecutors are simply in lock-step with
      a world view promulgated by individuals at the top of our nation's
      power structures, power structures that have become increasingly
      inverted as power has moved away from government "of the people, by
      the people, and for the people" toward a rigid governance by the few
      to further their own interests and ideology.

      We have come to be a people acquiescing to a government and political
      elite that proclaims to the world, "Every nation, in every region,
      now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with
      the terrorists" (1). No American citizen wishes to be terrorized.
      American citizens of all backgrounds want our government to protect
      us from attack. Even the most peace loving Americans understand that
      the defense of our homes might at some time be necessary. On the
      other hand, American citizens ought to be—and are becoming again—a
      people who reject government by individuals who, before they are
      elected, declare that "adversaries like Iran, Iraq and North Korea
      are rushing" to do our nation harm (2) and then, after they are
      elected, declare that these countries constitute an "axis of evil"
      and invasion of them is justified. In order to defeat this "evil"
      with "good," they then designate anyone in the world who disagrees
      with the "good" people as "terrorists," no matter what the cause and
      meaning of that disagreement or how it is expressed.

      This kind of thinking has led to a kind of "the-enemy-of-my-friend-is-
      my-enemy" world view. This thinking has ultimately ended in the
      inability (or unwillingness) to see the world with any nuance, with
      any understanding of the difference of situations, with anything
      other than a "shock and awe" mentality toward everyone.

      For example, Hamas is the enemy of My Friend Israel. Black and white.
      Good and evil. And anyone who, by the blessing of birth, comes from a
      people at odds with Israel is obviously My Enemy. Anyone, even an
      American citizen, who gives basic humanitarian aid (food) to people
      in the land of My Enemy, is somehow a pariah.

      In fact, Hamas will not be on trial in two weeks. Neither will the
      Holy Land Foundation. The real defendant is the stark vision of the
      world that the powerful in this country have adopted. The prosecutors
      will present more "experts" to explain the connections between My
      Enemy and the vast conspiracy of "terrorists" in the world. They will
      then attempt to explain how five American citizens are intimately
      involved with My Enemy and hope the jury will conclude that these
      American citizens are also, therefore, My Enemy.

      The prosecutors will again distort facts, rely on the word of My
      Friend to prove that My Friend's Enemy is My Enemy. The prosecutors
      will once again attempt to prove guilt by association. The
      prosecutors may even again allow My Friend to give anonymous evidence
      without vetting the information, without allowing five American
      citizens opportunity to defend themselves against this evidence
      gathered without care for our American rules of evidence.

      The tragedy of the entire debacle is that it is not necessary. The
      tragedy is the mentality that gives carte blanche to a foreign
      country to determine who is My Enemy. The tragedy is the inability of
      the powerful to understand that people struggling for independence
      and self governance, struggling to have a homeland as guaranteed by
      the United Nations and the International Declaration of Human Rights,
      are not My Enemy. The tragedy is the inability of the powerful to
      listen to those in our government who are in a position to know and
      appreciate the gray areas between the black and white, the not-so-
      certain good versus evil realities of the world.

      "I'm actually at the Strategic Studies Institute which belongs to the
      Army, so I have to say that I'm expressing my own views and not those
      of the Army or the Department of Defense. The movement of the Islamic
      resistance, Hamas, reflects the unique circumstances marking the
      Palestinian experience; namely, their lack of sovereignty, the
      occupied territories, Bantustans status, the deplorable condition of
      the Palestinian refugee communities throughout the Middle East, the
      factionalization of their leadership, and it is also one of the
      Palestinian responses to the Islamic awakening or revival that took
      place throughout the Muslim world. I will reflect on certain
      continuities in Hamas' history, but I will also point out that the
      movement has evolved and has been very flexible indeed" (3).

      Her views, and not those of the Department of Defense. An American

      (1) Bush, George W. Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the
      American People. September 20, 2001.
      (2) Donnelly, Thomas, Principal Author. "REBUILDING AMERICA'S
      DEFENSES: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century." A Report
      of The Project for the New American Century, September 2000 p.4.
      (3) Zuhur, Sherifa, Panelist. "Hamas and the Two-State Solution:
      Villain, Victim or Missing Ingredient?" Middle East Policy Council.
      Fifty-second in the Capitol Hill Conference Series on U.S. Middle
      East Policy. April 11, 2008. Dr. Zuhur is Research Professor of
      Islamic and Regional Studies, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army
      War College. Her books include, Precision in the Global War on
      Terror: Inciting Muslims through the War of Ideas.



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