Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Latest From The Holy Land Foundation Trial

You'll remember the Holy Land Foundation case,which highlighted how money was collected here in America for 'Islamic charities' and actually used to fund jihad and terrorism with the full knowledge of the charity's organizers.

The Holy Land Foundation was essentially a fund raising and money laundering outfit for the Salafist Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organization of Hamas and the inspiration and mentor of al-Qaeda. Last year, an attempt by the Bush Justice Department to bring these people to justice ended in a hung jury, largely because the prosecution's case was poorly prepared and the lines between the HLF and Hamas were insufficiently drawn for a jury with no prior knowledge of how Islamist terrorist funding works...and because of blatant jury tampering during deliberations.

The Feds are retrying the case, and this time things are very different:

Prosecutors last week unveiled a series of detailed charts that point jurors to the exact page of documents already in evidence allegedly showing the Hamas affiliations of the zakat committee leaders.

This roadmap to the nearly 500 documents, videos, wiretap transcripts and bank records – some with hundreds of pages – is a marked departure from last year's trial, which collapsed in a hung jury.

Last year's jurors had scant context to help them navigate the mind-numbing array of evidence and keep track of hundreds of Arabic names, leaving the defense team ample room to assert reasonable doubt.

The defense has long acknowledged that their clients sent more than $12 million to the zakat committees. But they say the money did not benefit Hamas. {...}

To counter that, the government last week called Georgetown University professor and terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman, who did not testify last year. He told jurors that "almost without exception," successful terrorist groups throughout history have relied on charitable front groups to raise money and build good will among those they seek to control.

"They don't have the same name as the terrorist group," he said of these front groups. "But the communities know there is this connection."

Prosecutors last week told jurors that Holy Land supported more than 400 Hamas members that Israel deported to southern Lebanon in 1992. Jurors saw a video of several known Hamas deportees huddled in a tent, thanking the Richardson foundation for its support. Some said on tape they worked with the zakat committees to which Holy Land gave money.


Prosecutors say documents and wiretaps show that some of the defendants and their Islamist cohorts worked to put Hamas members on the zakat committee boards.

A 1991 roster seized from a co-conspirator's home referred to some committees as "ours," which the FBI says is a reference to Hamas. Defense attorneys pointed out that Hamas is never mentioned in the roster, whose author is unknown.

A key defense argument is that none of the committees Holy Land supported are on U.S. lists of banned terrorist entities, even today.

They do not have to be, as long as Hamas is banned, testified Robert McBrien, with the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which oversees the lists. He also did not testify last year.

It looks like things may turn out a little differently this time. Let's hope so. This is a landmark case that goes to the very heart of the Islamist penetration into America.

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