It was during the first Holy Land Foundation trial last year that the Muslim Brotherhood memorandum about their “grand jihad in eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within” came to light. This verdict is a huge official recognition of the reality of that stealth jihad, and a huge setback for the likes of CAIR, which was named an unindicted co-conspirator in this case.
“Holy Land Foundation defendants guilty on all counts,” by Jason Trahan for the Dallas Morning News, November 24 (thanks to K.):
A jury on Monday determined that the Holy Land Foundation and five men who worked with the Muslim charity were guilty of three dozen counts related to the illegal funneling of at least $12 million to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
The unanimous verdicts are a complete victory for the government, which streamlined its case and worked hard to carefully educate jurors on the complex, massive evidence presented in the trial.
The prosecution’s victory is also a major one for the lame duck administration of President George W. Bush, whose efforts at fighting terrorism financing in court have been troubled, even though the flow of funds seems to be effectively shut down.
It was the second trial where the government attempted to convict the men and the now-defunct, Richardson-based Holy Land Foundation itself. It took the jury eight days of deliberations to reach its decisions — less than half the time it took jurors to deadlock end up with an almost complete mistrial last year on the first go-around.
“My dad is not a criminal!” sobbed one courtroom observer after the verdicts were read. “He’s a human!”
Huh? Criminals aren’t human now? Cut the victimology, “courtroom observer.” For one day, at least, your plots are exposed. But of course, we will see more and more of this as time goes by. Read on.
Opening statements at the Earle Cabell Federal Courthouse in downtown Dallas began Sept. 22. Over the past two months, prosecutors attempted to prove that five former charity organizers used Holy Land, once the largest Muslim charity in the U.S., to funnel an estimated $60 million to the militant group — most of it before 1995.
Hamas was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. in 1995, and the trial centered on the $12 million the government said Holy Land and supporters funneled to the group after that date.
Defense attorneys argued that the foundation was a legitimate, non-political charity that helped distressed Palestinians under Israeli occupation. They accused the government of bending to Israeli pressure to prosecute the charity, and of relying on old evidence predating the 1995 designation.
Holy Land was formed in the late 1980s, and was shut down by U.S. government regulators in December 2001. The case was indicted in 2004.
Last year’s trial of the same five defendants ended in a hung jury Oct. 22, 2007. Jurors deliberated for 19 days before they deadlocked.
Even before the verdicts were read, supporters on both side of the aisle were prepared to claim a moral victory.
Critics of the government case argued that even convictions would carry an asterisk noting that it took untold millions of taxpayer dollars, 15 years of investigation and two long, high-profile trials to finally convince a jury of the defendants’ guilt.
The strategy now, of course, will be to portray these jihadists as martyrs — a tried-and-true strategy that has been used for decades, going back to the fog of disinformation that for years surrounded that old Communist spy, Alger Hiss:
“I suspect that they will be viewed much the same way that Mandela was viewed by the black South African population — as freedom fighters who have dedicated their lives to the liberation of Palestine,” William Moffitt, the Virginia defense attorney who represented two former university professors, Abdelhaleem Ashqar and Sami Al-Arian, said before the Holy Land verdicts.
Mr. Ashqar and Mr. Al-Arian were acquitted in trials in Chicago and Florida on similar charges that they steered support to Palestinian terrorists.
Mr. Ashqar was sentenced to 11 years in prison last year for refusing to testify for a grand jury about his Hamas ties. Dr. Al-Arian pleaded guilty in 2006 to a charge of supporting Palestinian Islamic Jihad and is being held on contempt charges for refusing to co-operate in another terrorism support investigation. But both are viewed as folk heroes by some in the Muslim community.
Mr. Moffitt said Holy Land and the other cases are “show trials” where the government attempted to use “events that happened over 10 years ago” as evidence of crimes well before statutes specifically outlawing terrorism support were enacted.
“I think that the purpose of these trials was to further, in the minds of the public, the so-called “˜war on terrorism,'” he said. “There are legitimate terrorist organizations out there. But we’ve tried to make every group that doesn’t agree with us like al-Qaeda.”…
Hamas has gloried in the murders of civilians. That is not a simple matter of demonizing “every group that doesn’t agree with us.”