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War on Charities

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posted on Oct, 12 2009 @ 12:35 PM
Shortly after 9/11, president Bush signed an executive order (International Emergency Economic Powers Act) declaring a national emergency. In this executive order, the President also delegated authority to the Secretary of Treasury to designate other foreign groups or individuals who have committed or pose a risk of committing acts of Terrorism.

Besides the panic in the wake of 9/11, what brought this War on Terror to my quiet little idyllic town was when the Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism (FUBT) made the allegation in their lawsuit filed on August 15, 2002, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, claiming the Saudi-backed Islamic Charity Al Haramain to have had direct ties with Al Qaeda and thereby with Osama Bin Laden. Based entirely upon the unsubstantiated allegations of FUBT, the Secretary of the Treasury listed the Islamic Charity Al Haramain as "aiding and abetting acts of Terrorism".

It was not long afterward that I awoke one day to DHS and the FBI breaking in my neighbor's front-door and arresting him. My neighbor was an Iranian Arborist that immigrated to the US and ran the Saudi-backed Islamic Peace Charity, Al Haramain, along with a place called "Peace House" that was interfaith (not specifically Islamic) and one of the only local Charities that provided meals to the homeless. He also ran the Quran Foundation, and educational Charity. I was incensed at the time, because my neighbor had been your usual garden variety Peacenik Hippie, Eco-Activist, Cat Stevensesque Muslim who contented himself to writing Sufi Poetry one moment while lobbying to stop Old-Growth Timber Logging the next. To consider the possibility that he, or his Charity, was affiliated with Terrorism, seemed ludicrous. The allegations that they ran a "Terrorist Training Facility" next door was even more ludicrous.

Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a Reform Jew from my town that converted to Islam, and later converted to Christianity, testified against my neighbor and Al Haramein to Congress. He got a book deal out of it, and now works for as a Counterterrorism Consultant to the Federal Government. He has become a regular commentator on Islamic and security affairs in conservative U.S. media, notably the Weekly Standard. In his testimony to Congress, he declared my entire idyllic, peaceful town, dedicated to the works of Shakespeare and the performing Arts, as a "liberal breeding ground for Radical Terrorist Cells".

Senator Lieberman told the Congressional panel that Al Haramain had been closed "in large part due to Mr. Gartenstein-Ross's cooperation with the FBI."

Not only was my neighbor's arrest based on unsubstantiated allegations, but the entire arrest was considered "secret" and all reporting agencies were given "Gag Orders" to initially not report on it, as it was "a potential threat to National Security", but he was never charged while he was secretly held for weeks without access to his wife or attorney. It took almost 4 years before he was ever charged with any wrong doing, and then was charged with no Terrorist related offenses whatsoever. The only wrong doing he has thus far been charged with, in his long-standing Court battle, has been Money-laundering and Tax Fraud charges, stemming from government allegations that in February 2000, Soliman Al-Buthe, one of the other three directors of Al Haramein, deposited a $150,000 check from a Saudi donor to Al Haramein’s Bank Account, and used $130,000 of that money to buy a hundred and thirty $1,000 Traveler’s Cheques that he then took out of the country without properly reporting the disposition of the money on IRS Form 4790. My neighbor had co-signed the Withdraw Authorization.

When this finally hit the news, my neighbor was slandered beyond belief, his two bedroom townhouse was described as a "Terrorist Compound". It was made to sound like it was a training facility for Terrorists even though the only things the FBI and DHS carted out of his apartment that day were File Boxes and Computers. The other thing that was not mentioned in the media was that the day prior to the Raid, the FBI had approached my neighbor who voluntarily handed over eight feet of File Boxes, comprising the entirety of the Financial Records relating to the Saudi-backed Charity. His voluntarily cooperation with Federal Authorities apparently was not enough.

They did not stop with just my neighbor either. The FBI and DHS conducted dozens of secret "Sneak and Peek" searches throughout my town. All without warrant or reasonable cause.

Another friend of mine in the same town, a High School Art Teacher who was born in Iraq as a child but became a US citizen at the age of 3, who wasn't even Muslim, but was raised Zoroastrian, and later chose Paganism, was asked to resign her teaching position because of her ethnicity, and after the raid on my Iranian neighbor she lived in fear that DHS would come for her too based solely on her ethnicity, even though she had no ties to anyone Muslim. She has had to live in fear of the FBI and DHS ever since.

And her fears weren't unrealistic either. It was not long thereafter that a new neighbor came to town and started hanging out with the more "fringe" social groups. His name was "John Freedom". He told everyone he was a retired Secret Service agent, and father to a Federal Court Judge. Although we were able to verify his claims, we were suspicious of his motivations when he would excuse himself to make a phone call immediately after any of us said anything controversial to him. The purpose for his appearance in our town was made clear years later when we saw him on C-Span testifying to a Senate Sub-Committee about the "Radical Liberal Threat of Ashland Oregon."

The case against Al Haramain has brought out several suits against our Government. From finding unwarranted Wiretaps, even during a "national emergency" inadmissible and unlawful, to questioning the practice of "Sneak and Peek" raids, to the misuse of "national security" to impeded judicial process, to the abuses of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

The Treasury Department list of specially designated organizations or individuals has still grown to more than 400 pages compared to the two dozen Bush identified to Congress when he declared a national emergency in 2001.

In the United States, our Government should not be allowed to unilaterally seize an organization's assets without providing evidence to support its action or a meaningful opportunity to respond. If you are unknowingly dealing with Terrorists, your Government should at least alert you and allow you to cease your unwitting dealings before taking action against you.

Yet, there has not been a single hearing wherein the Oregon foundation could have been presented with the evidence that led to the Al Haramain raid, the freezing of its assets, and its designation as a supporter of Terrorism. For all these years, the Treasury Department, by freezing the Charity's assets, have blocked it from using its own funds to pay for its legal defense.

"You can be designated without an evidentiary finding that you ever actively engaged in or supported terrorism," says Cole. "This is a guilt-by-association process."

U.S. District Judge Garr King said the Treasury Department violated the Fourth Amendment rights of the Oregon defunct Islamic charity Al Haramain. King also ruled the law on the provision of "material support" to any group given the designation was unconstitutionally vague.

The U.S. Justice Department has fought repeatedly, each time unsuccessfully, to have my neighbor's case tossed out of Court because it would reveal "national secrets".

Lacking any proof of Terrorist affiliation, Federal prosecutors traveled from Oregon to Russia last year seeking proof that Al Haramain Islamic Foundation had been involved in Terrorism, and in a quid pro quo arrangement with Russia's Federal Security Service, handed over all "evidence" they had seized from this Charity, including the contents of their computer hard-drives. Apparently, a friend of my neighbor used the Charity's computers to translate texts from Arabic into Russian. One of her translations appeared in 2000 on, a Web site supporting jihad in Chechnya purporting to advise Muslims how to help the Chechen cause. "If you are not trained, then the mujahedeen in Chechnya advise you to go and get some training first in countries like Afghanistan," the document said. It urged discretion: "You should only speak in confidence to those whom you trust, rather than speaking to everyone." The legal defense for Al Haramain did not find out about this secret exchange of information between the Russians and Federal Prosecutors until just yesterday.

So, the moral of this story...

Since it is wrong to arrest you, seize your assets, and violate your Constitutional Rights based solely on your Ethnicity, instead our Government will only do so when another organization makes the unsubstantiated claim for the purpose of monetary gain that you have ties to Terrorism. Once accused, the Government will go to such extremes as to give monetary perks and jobs to those who are willing to turn on you and provide testimony, most likely fabricated, dramatized and sensationalized to ensure further financial gain. They will ensure that you have no means to defend yourself, having seized all of your assets under law, and if you do find someone to legally represent you pro bono, they will claim "National Security" as the reason why they cannot present evidence to the charges that they claim. They will then violate your Fourth Amendment Rights and the Fourth Amendment Rights of everyone you have ever spoken to. When they still can't find anything to substantiate their claims they will seek others with political motivations to fabricate it. If all else fails, they will smear you with a propaganda campaign.

[edit on 12-10-2009 by fraterormus]

posted on Oct, 12 2009 @ 12:52 PM
I never thought the day would come that I would have to write a post defending an Islamic Charity, however, in light of how out of proportion this has gotten I could not sit idly by and allow it to continue without saying what I know.

Understand that despite what your personal views on Islam may be, the ends to which our government will go to defame a peaceful Charity are repugnant and a threat to us all. They justify their means with an imaginary end, yet all of us with a conscience understand that the end never justifies the means.

Most importantly, you need to understand that what you might read about Al Haramain in the media, may not be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. There seems to be far more propaganda to cover up political Tom-Foolery than there is anything of merit. For the fact that our Justice Department will go through such extremes to prevent the Islamic Charity Al Haramain a chance to defend itself in Court shows that what we are being told isn't the truth, otherwise they wouldn't be trying so hard to prevent the Case from being heard in a Court of Law.

When the Justice Department disallows a Case to be heard in Court, there is no Justice being served. Plain and simple.

This has dragged on for too many years, and the Case deserves to be heard once and for all.

posted on Oct, 12 2009 @ 01:57 PM
reply to post by fraterormus

this is something I am missing. I can see how "a matter of national security" would need to be hidden from public view. For the time frame that it may have impacted the security of our country. But after that time has passed, why is it still deemed a secret? Like the illustrious pentagon footage of a "plane" hitting the building. No more frames can be released due to ...wait for it.... national security. Yet all the persons involved have been prosecuted to my knowledge. Please let us know if this ever sees the light of day.

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