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Al Arian lawyer William Moffitt tells Israeli terror survivors to "go home" - co defendent Hammoudeh gets probation for fraud

FBI watched Al Arian for 10 years - 20,000 hours of tape and 100's of faxes to be shown at trial
June 6, 2005

MIM: The Al Arian indictment includes the murder of 100 people in Israel who were killed in suicide bombings ordered and orchestrated by Sami Al Arian and his co defendants. The people who survived and were maimed for life were called by the prosecution to testify. The family members of those murdered are going to speak for their loved ones. In addition to the victims, medical personal were called to describe the scenes they encountered in the aftermath of the bombings.

It is beyond obscene that Nahla Al Arian whose name is on the incorporation papers of WISE, which was used as a think tank front to fund the murders of a hundred people, stood in front of the news reporters proclaiming "we left Israel to escape their aggression now we are the victims of the Israeli backed government here ". Al Arian lawyer William Moffitt had this to say about the Israelis who are going to be the voices of those who were killed on his client's orders because they were Jews.

"If hundreds of Israelis are here to silence Dr. al-Arian, we say, go home," Moffitt added. "In the United States, we remain true to our heritage." He said that al-Arian "came to the U.S. to publicize the continued favoritism for Israel here in the Middle East conflict"

Moffitt's comments on the first day of the trial are are beyond obscene and his declaration of personal bias will hopefully prejudice the juror's into discrediting any arguments he puts forward trying to justify any aspect of Al Arian's 10 years of terrorism, on the grounds that he sounds as virulently anti semitic as the Islamic Jihad leader.

Jun. 03, 2005

Al-Arian co-defendant gets probation on unrelated charge

Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. - A Palestinian man who will stand trial next week with fired college professor Sami Al-Arian on charges of aiding terrorists was sentenced to probation Friday for filing a false tax return and other crimes.

Sameeh Taha Hammoudeh and his wife, Nadia Ibrahim Hammoudeh, each were sentenced to five years probation after pleading guilty in February to charges that they conspired to defraud the Internal Revenue Service, filed a false tax return in 1998 and also made false statements to immigration authorities.

The couple agreed to be deported and pay more than $8,000 restitution to the IRS, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. Neither is a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident.

But Sameeh Hammoudeh, 44, won't be leaving anytime soon. He'll stand trial in federal court beginning Monday with Al-Arian and two other defendants, charged with providing instrumental support to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

They jihad is blamed for more than 100 deaths in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is on a State Department list of terrorist organizations.

Hammoudeh could face life in prison if convicted of the charges in a trial expected to last at least six months.

He is a former instructor and student at the University of South Florida and administrator at an Islamic school founded by Al-Arian.

Prosecutors say Al-Arian, a former USF computer science professor, and the others used an Islamic academic think tank and a Palestinian charity as fundraising fronts for the PIJ.


Terror trial to put U.S. surveillance on display For 10 years, FBI monitored phone calls and faxes by Florida prof tied to Palestinian group.

By John Mintz The Washington Post June 5, 2005

WASHINGTON -- For a decade, FBI agents covertly monitored every telephone call and fax sent and received by Sami al-Arian, then a Florida university professor, as he communicated with alleged top leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group about its suicide bombings of Israelis, shaky finances and high-level turf struggles.

Starting Monday, many of those 20,000 hours of phone calls and hundreds of faxes will be revealed in a federal courtroom in Tampa, Fla., where al-Arian and three other alleged members of the terrorist group will be tried on charges of conspiracy to commit murder through suicide attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories.

The trial, expected to last at least six months, will provide a rare view of what the government contends are the clandestine operations of a terrorist group. It is the first case in which vast amounts of communications monitored under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) will make up the bulk of the evidence in a criminal prosecution of alleged terrorists -- demonstrating the enormous power the government wields under that counterterrorism law.

The wiretaps, approved from 1993 through 2003 on as many as 10 phones by a secret FISA court, originally were intended for use only by FBI agents conducting open-ended "intelligence" probes, not for use in criminal trials. But after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the enactment of the USA Patriot Act and a ruling by the super secret FISA court of appeals allowed much greater use of intelligence material in investigations such as this one.

Many civil liberties experts express grave concern about U.S. officials' introduction into criminal court of years of wiretaps approved by FISA judges under a lower standard of proof than that demanded by criminal-court judges. But U.S. District Judge James Moody has rejected defense attorneys' arguments that the information should not be heard in court.

Using FISA wiretaps in court is "a serious problem" that puts defendants at a disadvantage, said David Cole, a Georgetown University expert on the law related to terrorism. "Unlike with criminal wiretaps, FISA doesn't give defendants any meaningful chance to challenge the validity of the tap."

U.S. officials say al-Arian and three associates who worked with him at a cluster of institutes affiliated with the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa were secretly top leaders of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, sharing duties with other leaders in Syria.

Attorneys for al-Arian, a USF professor of computer engineering until he was fired in 2003, and the other defendants contend that their clients do not condone the terrorist group's violent tactics, and that U.S. prosecutors are criminalizing their opposition to Israeli policies. The U.S. government declared the Palestinian Islamic Jihad a terrorist organization in 1995, making any association with it illegal. Defense attorneys have said that any promotion of the organization by al-Arian and others before then was protected political speech.


Terror Trial Opens for Fired Ex-Professor in Fla.

By John Mintz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 7, 2005; A02

TAMPA, June 6 -- Sami al-Arian, the former Florida university professor whose trial on terrorism charges began here Monday, might hold controversial or even scary views in support of the Palestinian resistance against Israel, but it would be un-American if he were convicted for speaking his mind, his attorney told jurors.

"The language of resistance, of political discourse, is sometimes harsh," lawyer William Moffitt said in an opening statement in defense of his client, standing trial for conspiracy to murder Israelis in suicide attacks. "But a political speaker must be free to excite his audience."

Al-Arian and three co-defendants are charged with a years-long conspiracy through their alleged membership in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Their trial opened with the lead prosecutor recounting the group's 19 years of sneak attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories, including stabbings, shootings and suicide bombings.

Prosecutor Walter Furr outlined how al-Arian, co-defendants Sameeh Taha Hammoudeh, Ghassan Zayed Ballut and Hatem Naji Fariz, and five others who have not been arrested disseminated news of the group's attacks and other propaganda, raised money for it, and helped its leaders communicate by telephone and fax without, they thought, being detected. But a decade's worth of wiretaps to be used in the case show that al-Arian was an Islamic Jihad leader and "for a time maybe the organization's most powerful man in the world," Furr said.

Al-Arian attorney Moffitt noted that his client has not been charged with actually taking part in any violence. He neither denied nor confirmed that his client was affiliated with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a 26-year-old group designated as terrorist by the U.S. government in 1995. Instead, Moffitt urged jurors not to convict al-Arian if they conclude he has connections to the group.

"The government itself has said you are free to praise groups that engage in terrorism as a means of achieving their ends," Moffitt said. "This case concerns Dr. al-Arian's right to speak, our right to hear what he has to say and the attempt of the powerful to silence him."

Al-Arian's supporters rallied outside the federal courthouse here. "He knows he didn't do anything wrong," said his wife, Nahla. "We have been waiting for this moment to have the trial."

Noting that some of the U.S. intelligence about Palestinian Islamic Jihad dovetails with Israeli intelligence on the subject -- and referring to dozens of Israeli victims of Islamic Jihad attacks who have been called to testify by the government -- Moffitt said, "most of the evidence will come from Israel. Israelis are here to silence Dr. al-Arian."

"If hundreds of Israelis are here to silence Dr. al-Arian, we say, go home," Moffitt added. "In the United States, we remain true to our heritage." He said that al-Arian "came to the U.S. to publicize the continued favoritism for Israel here in the Middle East conflict" and that those political activities are what the government is trying to criminalize in the case.

Referring obliquely to U.S. District Judge James Moody's decision to allow only brief references in court to the opposing historical grievances of Palestinians and Israelis, Moffitt said, "There will be no truth about the Middle East conflict in this court."

Al-Arian, a professor of computer engineering at the University of South Florida until he was fired in 2003, was the leader of two Muslim institutes affiliated with the university that the government says were fronts for Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The secret probe of him began in 1991, with wiretaps starting in 1994, Furr said Monday. The recorded conversations -- Moffitt said there eventually were 472,000 of them -- were kept secret from the part of the FBI that handles criminal probes until about the past two years.

But while al-Arian and his colleagues were talkative about their activities at the start, after October 1995, when their offices were searched, they became extremely tight-lipped, the indictment shows.

Because that was the same year the U.S. government declared Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist -- meaning all dealings with it were illegal -- the government is using a conspiracy prosecution to build a case around the al-Arian group's pre-1995 statements and actions. The conspiracy charges allowed prosecutors to include in the pre- and post-1995 material as part of a wider pattern of alleged criminality.

Among the revelations in court Monday was prosecutor Furr's statement that Islamic Jihad had sent $1.8 million to al-Arian's university-based group in Tampa between 1990 and 1993

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