Friday, March 21, 2008

For the Record: Any Question Whose Side They're On?

IPT News
March 20, 2008

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), in the past week has lobbied Congress about conditions in Hamas-controlled Gaza and urged support for convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative, Sami Al-Arian. CAIR was silent in the wake of the Yeshiva attack in Jerusalem in which a Palestinian gunman murdered 8 students in cold blood, and has never called on Hamas to stop its indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.

Talking to government officials about the humanitarian situation in Gaza is not, in and of itself, problematic. But CAIR's efforts must be viewed in the context of their recent actions, and, more importantly, CAIR's glaring omissions.On Al-Arian, who is engaged in yet another hunger strike while he again attempts to evade a subpoena to appear before a grand jury, CAIR writes:

His attorneys say an earlier plea agreement freed him from further cooperation with the government.

Yet the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in January that Al-Arian's plea agreement did no such thing – a development of which CAIR is very well aware.

And Al-Arian's defense attorney, Jonathan Turley, in a similar vein, is continuing his disinformation campaign on behalf of his client. Recently, on his blog, Turley wrote:

"Dr. Al-Arian began his hunger strike after the government called him before a third grand jury — prolonging his incarceration in violation of an agreement reached in Florida after the failed attempt to prosecute him for terrorist related charges." (emphasis added)

Several courts have now ruled that compelling Dr. Al-Arian to testify does not violate Al-Arian's plea, or any other, agreement. The January opinion from 11th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded Al-Arian could be compelled to testify before a grand jury, and further stated:

The exclusion of a standard plea agreement provision requiring a defendant to cooperate with the government, whether voluntarily or under subpoena, does not establish that the government immunized Al-Arian from future grand jury subpoenas. This contention is especially dubious where, as here, the plea agreement contains an integration clause stating that there are no other promises, agreements, or representations except those set forth in the agreement, and Al-Arian denied at his plea hearing that he pled guilty in reliance on any promises or inducements except for those found in the agreement.

That basically echoes a ruling by the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in March 2007. It should also be noted that, despite Turley's assertion of that the government failed in its attempt to prosecute Al-Arian on terrorist related charges that, Al-Arian, in fact, plead guilty to a terrorism related charge: "[c]onspiracy to make or receive contributions of funds, goods or services to or for the benefit of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specially Designated Terrorist, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371."

But a mere conviction on a terrorism charge will not stop CAIR from supporting Al-Arian, and from attempting to mislead others about the nature of his case. And so CAIR's alleged concern for the people of Gaza, and their purported championing of human rights, rings hollow in light of the fact that they refuse to condemn the Hamas terror gang or speak up on the deadly Yeshiva attack. It chooses to expend more energy on behalf of a convicted terrorist than on the people his organization has worked to slaughter.

Remember that CAIR has been linked to Hamas by federal prosecutors on three separate occasions in the past year. Evidence produced at the Hamas-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) last summer showed CAIR was part of a Muslim Brotherhood-led "Palestine Committee" in America, created to support Hamas.

There really has never been any doubt which side CAIR is on, but now, after the last few weeks, there definitely is none.

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