Friday, August 31, 2007

Prosecution Rests in Holy Land Case

Counterterrorism Blog:

DALLAS— After six weeks of testimony, prosecutors finishing presenting evidence Thursday in the terror-support trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) and five of its top officials. Jurors heard testimony from 10 expert witnesses, saw hundreds of exhibits including videos and documents taken from HLF and their associates and heard secretly recorded conversations involving various defendants.

The defense spent Wednesday and Thursday cross examining FBI Agent Lara Burns, the government’s final witness. Defense attorney Nancy Hollander, who represents former HLF chief executive Shukri Abu Baker, repeatedly pointed to portions of exhibits Burns did not highlight in her testimony. For example, Burns had testified about HLF-funded zakat, or charity, committees earlier this week. Hollander pointed to a fax taken from her client’s home which illustrated the relationship between HLF and The Islamic Charitable Society of Hebron. The government describes the Hebron group as “part of the Hamas social infrastructure.” It also was featured in "Faith, Hate and Charity,” a 2006 documentary on Hamas-linked charities produced by the BBC program Panorama.

The fax described the celebratory opening in 1999 of a children’s library that was a joint project of the HLF and the Islamic Charitable Society. Baker delivered a speech over the phone. Hollander asked Agent Burns to read a line from that fax. Burns: “Under the auspices of Chairman Arafat who was represented by Ahmad Saeid Al-Tamimi…” Hollander stopped Burns and asked ‘Who was Arafat?” Burns said that he was the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority at that time, and agreed with Hollander that the Tamimi who represented him was Palestinian Authority official. By establishing the PA’s endorsement, Hollander seemed to be implying the charity wasn’t connected to Hamas.

By far, Counterterrorism Blog has provided the most in depth coverage of this case. The MSM has essentially ignored it, despite the impacts the case could have on whether "co-conspirators" might be charged in future cases. Of particular note in this case is that one of the unindicted co-conspirators is the Council on American and Islamic Relations, or CAIR.

Needless to say, they and other soft Jihad groups are watching this case carefully.