This week in a departure that swapped the street theater for the courtroom, Zombie scooped me and a number of others with coverage of an amazing trial being held in front of the infamous Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco that is totally under the radar as far as the media is concerned, but will have far reaching effects in the War on Jihad as it's waged here on the home front:
"Not many people have heard of a court case that goes by the name Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. George W. Bush. But it’s at the center of an epochal struggle over terrorism, surveillance, and the United States Constitution that’s currently being played out in the courts.
On August 15, 2007, the Al-Haramain case made its way to San Francisco, where the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments prior to making a ruling — a ruling that (no matter which way it goes) will inevitably be appealed to the Supreme Court, where it will be settled once and for all.
I was there to witness the action that day. Yet in the preparation of this photo essay I learned more about the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation than I ever expected. So:
This page will serve as both a first-person account of what happened on August 15 at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and as a research archive for anyone interested in the Al-Haramain case.
Summary of the Case
What’s it all about? In one sentence, it comes down to this:
Does the United States Government have the right to conduct secret surveillance of terrorism suspects on American soil?
But the case has become rather more complicated than that. Before we get to the action of August 15, here’s the gist of the case in a few short paragraphs, cutting through everyone’s double-talk on both sides, and granting everyone’s allegations to be true:
A Saudi charity known to finance terrorist activities opened a branch in Oregon. The US government tapped the phones of the Oregon branch and heard evidence that they were helping to finance terrorist activities as well. With this info in hand, the government designated the Oregon branch as terrorists, and froze their assets. The Oregon branch, unaware that they had been sureveilled and that the government had solid evidence against them, challenged this, and during legal proceedings, a government employee accidentally gave logs of the tapped phone conversations to the charity’s lawyers.
At that point, the case changed gears: the charity hooked up with liberal lawyers to challenge the very legality of the surveillance, and by extension the legality of all secret surveillance. The decision was made to make the trial into a test case designed to weaken and embarrass the Bush administration. The government sought to circumvent this strategy by suppressing the evidence of the leaked document on grounds that its exposure would endanger national security. The governement requested back and eventually obtained all U.S. copies of the surveillance logs — but not before an unknown number of copies made their way overseas, presumably into hostile hands. Aside from revealing the fact that the charity was surveilled, it is not clear what “operational details” the document reveals. The government refuses to admit to the wiretapping or to say whether or not a warrant was obtained.
The entire case, as it is now being litigated, hinges on the question: do the plaintiffs even have the legal right to sue the government? In order to prove they have “standing,” they must prove they were surveilled; and so must refer to the only evidence which proves this, the mysterious document. The government claims the document is Top Secret, and thus not admissable evidence. It is this question that was being argued to the Ninth Circuit Court on August 15."
I'm actually familiar with Al-Haramain as one of the chief Saudi weapons used in jihad here in America, but I was not completely aware of their global reach.
Al-Haramain is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, has branches worldwide and has essentially been a `charity front' used to funnel money to fund jihad worldwide.
As Zombie shows, as far back as 2004 CBS news had revealed that western governments were aware that funds donated to Al-Haramain found their way to Al Qaeda, and had been used to finance terrorist operations, among them the 1998 US embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya.
Al-Haramain and its various international branches actually appear prominantly on the United Nations list of organizations that are associated with and/or provide support for Al Qaeda and is now globally banned by the U.N.
They've also been named as financing the Bali bombing.
The Albanian and Bosnian branches of Al-Haramain have been shown to have direct connections with al-Qaeda, and have been designated terrorist entities by the US government, and as long ago as 2003 the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony that Al-Haramain was the main mechanism for Saudi Arabia to spread Wahhabi doctrine across the world.(And the Senate subsequently did nothing to curtail their activities inthis country,I might add).
Both al-Qaeda in Iraq and Osama bin-Laden have referred to Saudi Arabia "Al-Haramain Country."
Zombie has a number of other useful links providing information on Al-Haramain as a weapon of jihad against the West,including articles by ex-terrorist Daveed Gartenstein-Ross that includes an insider's account of his time working at the `charity'.
As far as the trial itself goes, Zombie is entirely correct that it will end up in the Supreme Court. That's actually a good thing, since the three judges hearing the case include two Clinton appointees and one Carter appointee. It's no accident that the Ninth Circuit court of Appeals has the distinction of being the appelate court withthe highest number of decisions reversed or revoked in the entire US, by a very wide margin.
This trial will end up being a `threshhold moment' in the War Against Jihad. A major high five to Zombie for his sterling work in alerting us to it.