Last year, the Dept. of Justice shut down numerous pending prosecutions against faith-based groups and individuals that were suspected of aiding foreign terrorist organizations. By doing so, did those responsible for the decision commit a felony?
In 2007 the federal government brought charges against the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), formerly the largest Muslim charity group in the U.S., and several of its leaders for allegedly engaging in a criminal conspiracy to support the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. The organization allegedly sent over 12 million dollars to the terrorist group, and in 2008, a federal jury convicted HLF and the defendants on all 108 counts of financing terrorism.
However, HLF was not acting alone. “Although the indictment in this case charges the [HLF and defendants],” reads an opinion from the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, “it will be obvious that the defendants were not acting alone. As noted in the case summary, the defendants were operating in concert with a host of individuals and organizations dedicated to sustaining and furthering the Hamas movement. Several of the individuals who hold leading roles in the operation of Hamas are referenced by name in the indictment.”
The “host of individuals and organizations” the opinion refers to is a list of unindicted co-conspirators that is eleven pages long and contains hundreds of people and organizations associated with Hamas. Investigators had been building a case on the U.S. terrorism finance network for more than ten years, and prosecutors reportedly planned on charging many of the organizations and individuals listed in the document. However in 2010, the Dept. of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would not prosecute any of the unindicted co-conspirators.
Patrick Poole wrote at Pajamas Media that the prosecutions “were scuttled last year at the direction of top-level political appointees within the Department of Justice (DOJ) – and possibly even the White House.”
Poole wrote that his DOJ source said, “There’s a mountain of evidence against all of these groups that was never introduced during the Holy Land trial and it is damning. We’ve got them on wiretaps. That’s exactly why many of these leaders and groups were named unindicted co-conspirators in the first round of prosecutions.”
Were political reasons behind the decision? Numerous co-conspirators, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations are “interfaith partners” with the Obama administration. Exposing them as conspiring with Islamic terrorists could have a disastrous effect on the administration and its Muslim engagement efforts.
Frank Gaffney at Big Peace went so far as to say that the DOJ's decision could in fact be an act of treason. “It is a felony offense,” Gaffney wrote, “to know or have reason to know that seditious activity is underway and do nothing about it.”
Title 18, Part I, Chapter 115, § 2381 of the US Code defines treason as levying war against the United States or adhering “to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere.” Sending a terrorist organization money falls under “giving them aid.”
Section 2382 of the US Code states that anyone “having knowledge of the commission of any treason” and conceals or does not disclose said treason “is guilty of misprision of treason.” Simply put, if you know of a treasonous act and didn't inform the authorities, you are guilty as well.
Although the U.S. is not at war with Hamas, the State Department has designated Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization. One of the requirements for designation is that the organization’s terrorist activity “must threaten the security of US nationals or the national security (national defense, foreign relations, or the economic interests) of the United States.” A terrorist organization that threatens US national security clearly puts Hamas in the “enemy” ballpark. Otherwise, we wouldn't prosecute individuals for sending them money.
Legal definitions aside, how can a government agency whose mission statement purports to “ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans” simply dismiss prosecutions of high crimes for political reasons?
(Analysis by Chris Carter/April 16, 2011)
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