Aletho News


Hillary Clinton – Another great President for Israel

Hillary Clinton Another great President for Israel aae02

By Miko Peled | American Herald Tribune | March 11, 2016

The 2016 AIPAC convention looks like it’s going to be sad and lusterless. With President Obama conveniently in Cuba, Israeli PM Netanyahu doesn’t feel like making the trip to the US so he will speak to the attendees via satellite. Donald Trump apparently only goes to his own events, Bernie Sanders does not seem to be an AIPAC type of guy, he has no taste for PACs altogether making it unlikely that he will show up. So the list of speakers is pretty boring. But wait, breaking news! A ray of light is finally shining in on the lusterless AIPAC convention: Hillary Clinton, still a serious AIPAC pawn, and a politician that loves herself some PAC money, confirmed that she will be there in person! So for now at least, Hilary promises to be the main highlight of this year’s AIPAC event.

There will obviously be others there to speak for AIPAC: Questionable dignitaries like Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barakat, and war criminal Avi Dichter (former head of Israel’s secret police, the Shabak), are confirmed. Other lesser dignitaries from Israel include mayors of small cities, two bit politicians, journalists and other hangers-on who jumped at the opportunity to get a free all-expenses-paid trip to America. There are a few has-beens, drab ambassadors, greying senators and members of congress that are excited to speak in front of any crowd. That’s really all the attendees have to look forward to. Oh, and of course there are the symbolic Palestinians, willing to debase themselves and shame their families by standing with Israel and showing the world what a wonderful democracy she really is, (after all, they too deserve a free trip to America). This year these are Ali Abu Awad and Mohammad Darawshe.

Hilary Clinton who likes to call herself “Progressive” apparently did not get the memo telling her that during the AIPAC convention Progressives will be on the outside of the D.C. convention center. While the above-mentioned speakers will be groveling, explaining, excusing and justifying Israel’s genocidal policies, Progressives, and all other people of conscience will be outside demanding justice for Palestine. We will be demanding the right of return for all Palestinian refugees, freedom for Palestinian prisoners and calling in no uncertain terms for the end of Israel’s seven decade long strangulation of Palestine.

AIPAC has a lot of problems these days, and the following is a short list of these problems. BDS is gaining more victories every day, it is gaining more support and recognition worldwide, thanks in part to the attempts by Israel and its supporters to legislate against it; the presence of Students for Justice in Palestine on campuses is more pronounced than ever. Like wild flowers in spring they are spreading all over the US; there is a growing understanding in the US regarding the issue of Palestine, and the conclusion that more and more people are reaching is that Israel is an embarrassment. It has become more apparent to people in all walks of life that the plight of the Palestinians has to end, that the legitimacy that the world has bestowed upon the settler-colonial project in Palestine, also known as Israel, was premature if not all together wrong, and that it is time to remedy the situation.

But for Hillary none of this matters, so it is likely that her speech will begin with reminding the crowd of the unending love between her and Israel. She will reminisce on the wonderful relations that her husband Bill had with Israel – after all it was he who pushed and facilitated the peace process which acted as an enormous fig leaf and allowed Israel to steal more Palestinian land, erase the West Bank and destroy what little there was of the Palestinian economy, he made sure that life for Palestinians would become completely intolerable.

Hillary is not likely to mention this, but what is arguably the biggest gift President Bill Clinton gave Israel was to sign Executive Order 12947 on January 23, 1995. This order designated as “Specially Designated Terrorists,” or STD’s a list of people and organizations that Israel deemed to be “threatening disruption of the Middle East peace process.” It made opposition to the same process that brought disaster after disaster upon the Palestinian people, i.e. the “peace” process, a crime. This order legalized the persecution and prosecution of Muslims and Arabs in America, focusing particularly on those whom the Israeli government did not like.

The list of organizations that were designated as terrorists includes Hamas and Hezbollah, the PFLP, (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), and other Palestinian organizations that are dedicated to resistance against the Israeli occupation and who realized early on that the peace process was a sham. It lumped them in with Jewish underground terrorist groups, Al Qaeda and several other international terrorist organizations. This order made it possible for President George W. Bush to close the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) in December 2001, and order the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) to seize millions of dollars that were donated by American Muslims to feed the poor in Palestine. The Holy Land Foundation, which at the time was the largest Muslim charity in the United States, was accused of funding Hamas, which thanks to Bill Clinton was a designated terrorist organization. It was a false accusation based on lies, falsified evidence and unsubstantiated testimonies and it brought about the closure of the organization and the imprisonment of Shukri Abu-Baker, Ghassan Elashi, Mufid Abdulqader, Abdulrahman Odeh and Mohammad Elmezain, also known as the HLF-5.

Hilary will surely tell the AIPAC crowd that she will outdo Bill and she will do even more for Israel. She may rest assured that the AIPAC convention attendees will welcome her warmly, and they in turn can expect that if elected she too will be a good president for Israel. Sadly, there are still a handful of millionaires and politicians in the US who are not embarrassed to stand with Israel. But the list is obviously shrinking and pretty soon AIPAC will find itself with a very short list of speakers willing to come to its conventions. As for 2016, if they are very lucky maybe Marco Rubio or Ben Carson will have time to stop by.

Miko Peled is an Israeli writer and activist living in the US. He was born and raised in Jerusalem. His father was the late Israeli General Matti Peled. Driven by a personal family tragedy to explore Palestine, its people and their narrative. He has written a book about his journey from the sphere of the privileged Israeli to that of the oppressed Palestinians. His book is titled “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine.” Peled speaks nationally and internationally on the issue of Palestine. Peled supports the creation of a single democratic state in all of Palestine, he is also a firm supporter of BDS.

March 11, 2016 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Islamic charities, the domestic victims of the war on terror

By Dr. Sarah Marusek | MEMO | November 29, 2013

It has now been five years since the sentencing of the Holy Land Five: Muslim-American humanitarians who were falsely convicted of providing “material support for terrorism” because of their charitable work in Palestine. To mark the occasion, the daughters of the Holy Land Five have produced a powerful video message featuring the families of those imprisoned, as well as people around the world, expressing solidarity with the innocent men.

Alas the overtly politicised case against the Holy Land Five is only one among many. Since 11 September 2001, there have been numerous legal efforts to criminalise compassion in the US, ultimately denying Muslim-Americans of the right to freely practice their religion.

Founded in 1989, the Holy Land Foundation was once the largest Islamic charity in the US. The Texas-based foundation helped to raise funds for people misplaced by both natural and man-made disasters, focusing primarily on Palestinian refugees living in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as well as in the neighbouring countries, but also helping both American and international victims of tornadoes, earthquakes and floods. The Foundation even assisted the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.

However three months after the 11/9 attacks, the US government suddenly designated the Holy Land Foundation as a terrorist organisation, closing down the charity and seizing all its assets. Federal prosecutors accused the foundation and its members of providing financial assistance to individuals and organisations linked to Hamas, claiming that this constituted “material support for terrorism” as stipulated in the USA PATRIOT Act. The government based its case on the twisted logic that the money the foundation was sending to zakat associations in Gaza to build hospitals and feed the poor relieved the social organisations affiliated with Hamas of carrying out this responsibility.

None of the zakat associations were listed as “Specially Designated Nationals” (SDNs) at the time of the alleged offence. The US Treasury Department considers SDNs to be criminal actors and thus “their assets are blocked and US persons are generally prohibited from dealing with them.” But it did not matter because the government has consistently adopted a loose interpretation of the material support clause to target Muslim-Americans, often using ex post facto relationships to prove that suspects are, according to President George W. Bush’s Executive Order 13224 of September 24, 2001, “otherwise associated with” terrorists.

While the US government does indeed classify Hamas as an SDN, the Islamist movement is not at all connected to Al-Qaeda or the attacks on 11/9 which precipitated the closure of the Holy Land Foundation. After all, the Foundation had been operating since 1989, so why else would the government wait twelve years to target the charity except to conflate all Muslims with terrorism after 11/9, creating a climate of fear that would lead Americans to support the so-called war on terror and the US-led invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. President Bush even called the closure of the Foundation “another step in the war on terrorism”.

Leading up to the trial, the government amassed an amazing 197 counts against six members of the Holy Land Foundation, many of them trumped up criminal charges. However, in 2007 the case ended in mistrial for five of the defendants, with one defendant being found not guilty of all but one charge against him, for which the jury was deadlocked.

Nevertheless, the government refused to drop its case, and a retrial was ordered in late 2008 against the Holy Land Five: Ghassan Elashi, co-founder and chairman of the board; Shukri Abu-Baker, president and CEO; Mohammad El-Mezain, co-founder and the California office representative; Mufid Abdulqader, volunteer fundraiser and Abdulrahman Odeh, the New Jersey office representative.

For the 2008 retrial, the government dropped almost half of the original charges and called an anonymous Israeli intelligence expert as a witness, who according to Mondoweiss testified that he knew the defendants had ties to Hamas because he “could smell Hamas”. Several lawyers have noted that the use of an anonymous witness was a legal first, and clearly violates the defendants’ sixth amendment right to face their accusers in court.

Needless to say, in the second trial the Holy Land Five were found guilty of every criminal charge that was brought against them. They were given draconian sentences of between 15 and 65 years in prison, a devastating punishment for them and their families.

In addition to putting the Holy Land Five in jail for what could possibly be the rest of their lives, according to the New York Times the government also “publicly named more than 300 individuals and American Muslim organisations as ‘unindicted co-conspirators’, without allowing them to hear the evidence against them or defend themselves in court.”

So much for innocent until proven guilty.

The Holy Land Five tried to appeal their convictions, but the US Supreme Court declined their final appeal in 2012. They have now exhausted all their legal options. Four of the five men are currently imprisoned in a severely restricted facility for prisoners deemed to be “security threats” known as the Communications Management Unit (CMU). After 11/9 two CMUs were built, one in Indiana and the other in Illinois, and the vast majority of prisoners in both are Muslims. Most prisoners have extremely limited contact with the outside world, including their families. American public radio station NPR has called the CMUs “Guantanamo North” and the Nation magazine describes them as “Gitmo in the Heartland.”

To date, the US government still has not published a list of approved Islamic charities, probably because the current ambiguity allows federal officials to selectively pursue politically motivated cases. This has had a chilling effect on charitable giving.

The Holy Land Foundation case did inspire one Washington-based group called the American Task Force on Palestine to come up with a list of acceptable projects for individuals and charities to support in Palestine, which have all been vetted by the US Agency for International Development. Unsurprisingly, the American Task Force on Palestine has been described by one Palestinian-American writing for Al-Jazeera as “a Washington organisation designed to promote a particular line on Palestine. The group is tasked with feeding the State Department palatable fictions – like, ‘two states for two peoples’. In return, organisation heads are invited to dinners with important people.”

The overt politicisation of the American judiciary to deny Muslims in America of their rights is not exclusive to individuals and charities working in Palestine. Since 11/9, thousands of Muslim-Americans have been detained, deported or profiled, even though very few are ever prosecuted in the courts, and dozens of Islamic charities have been either closed down or financially disabled, creating a climate of fear that denies Muslim-Americans of the right to give to charity, rendering them unable to practice zakat, one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Similar to the Holy Land Foundation, many of the individuals and charities that have been targeted were singled out to justify foreign invasions. When President Bush addressed a joint session of Congress on 20 September 2001 to declare, “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” the “us” he was referring to was not the American people, but American empire. He was saying that you must support our foreign invasion and occupation, otherwise you will be criminalised. And in fact, Muslims in America were never even given a choice, because the government had already started to reproduce a particular typology of Muslims-as-terrorists. As scholar Mustafa Bayoumi has argued, immigrant males from targeted countries were obliged to “misidentify from the Muslim-as-terrorist figure” or else face the consequences, a typology repeatedly emphasized in the media.

For example, in February 2003, Dr Rafil Dhafir, a prominent Iraqi-American oncologist and respected imam living in Central New York, was arrested because his charity Help the Needy was sending humanitarian aid to Iraq, including money to build mosques, parcels of food and medical supplies, all of which allegedly violated the UN sanctions, measures which Dennis Halliday, the former UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq, says killed around one million Iraqis. Although the FBI had kept Dhafir under surveillance since at least 1997, Help the Needy was never prevented from delivering the supposedly illegal aid to Iraq. Instead, the charity openly carried out its operations until 85 agents went to Dhafir’s home to arrest him only weeks before the launch of the US-led invasion of Iraq. The same morning he was arrested, around 150 Muslim contributors to the charity living in Central New York were also questioned by various government agencies.

To dispel any doubts about this case being linked to the invasion of Iraq, former Attorney General John D. Ashcroft referred to Dhafir as a terrorist when he was apprehended, a charge repeated by former New York Governor George Pataki. The Washington Post called Dhafir a “high profile suspect” and reported that: “A federal prosecutor suggested that an Arab engineer who was a friend of Dhafir’s might be proficient in fashioning ‘dirty bombs’.”

However when Dhafir finally went to trial, he was only accused of white-collar crimes, with the most serious counts being related to money-laundering. He did not face any charges of terrorism. Nevertheless, by then the US had already invaded Iraq in the name of fighting the war on terror. The reason for Dhafir’s “high profile” arrest was already a moot point, and the alleged terrorist was only found guilty of criminal activity. However, we was given a harsh sentence of 22 years in prison and was initially placed in the CMU prison in Indiana. He has since been transferred to a lower security facility.

Although it was not mentioned at all during the trial because the information was sealed, during the sentencing the prosecution suggested that the government had evidence that while volunteering with Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan during the 1980s, Dhafir had met with a member of the mujahedin who later became a supporter of Al-Qaeda, leaving out the context of Washington’s financial and military support for the mujahedin at that time.

Indeed the National Security Division of the Department of Justice subsequently listed the case against Dhafir and his charity as a successful terrorist prosecution. He too has lost every judicial appeal, exhausting all his legal options for seeking justice.

Numerous other Islamic charities have also been targeted since 11/9. These include Benevolence International Foundation, Global Relief Foundation, Kind Hearts USA and Islamic American Relief Agency. The witch hunt even led the American Civil Liberties Union to release a report in 2009 entitled “Blocking Faith, Freezing Charity“.

In 2006 the FBI raided the Michigan offices of Life for Relief and Development, a large and highly regarded Islamic charity, on the eve of Ramadan, the holy month when Muslims fast and make considerable charitable contributions. The charity was reportedly under investigation in connection with its activities in Iraq. Despite having its property seized, the case against the charity was ultimately closed and it was allowed to remain open. Nevertheless, the timing of the raid had already achieved a wider purpose.

In another timely coincidence, on the first day of the 2007 trial against the Holy Land Foundation, federal agents raided the offices of the Michigan-based branch of the Al-Mabarrat Association, a charity affiliated with the late Ayatollah Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah in Lebanon, as well as the offices of the Goodwill Charitable Organization, also connected to Lebanon. The US Treasury Department accused the latter of having ties to Hizbullah’s Martyr’s Foundation, an organisation already on the SDN list. The same day, the FBI searched a number of local businesses and homes, again traumatising the community. Subsequently the Goodwill Charitable Organization was shut down and also listed as an SDN. However the FBI allowed Al-Mabarrat Association’s Michigan offices to remain open.

It is important to note that while each case is uniquely tragic, non are unusual. There have been many other domestic victims of the US war on terror, including many Islamic charities. Indeed these coordinated and well-publicised actions against both Muslims and Islamic charities have successfully created a climate of fear that makes it extremely difficult for Muslims in America to give or perform charity, thus criminalising compassion and denying Muslim-Americans of their constitutionally guaranteed right to freely practice their religion.

November 30, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Islamophobia, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Islamic charities, the domestic victims of the war on terror