Holy Land Foundation (Re)trial
- 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
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 oneleast of all the defendantswould 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, orin our President's wordsgood
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 beand are becoming againa
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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