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Ben Hecht & Sami Al-Arian: What's the Difference? (6/29)

Media Monitors Network

June 29, 2005
By William Hughes

Link: Click here
"The late Ben Hecht tried to save the Jews of Europe from the Nazi onslaught. Sami Al-Arian is struggling to lift the cruel Israeli occupation off the backs of the Palestinians. Hecht was praised for his First Amendment efforts, while Al-Arian faces trial in Florida "for supporting terrorism!" A devout Muslim, he has been a leader in the Tampa, Florida community. Al-Arian has also been fired from his tenured teaching position at the U. of South Florida."
In the early 1940s, in America, a talented man, Ben Hecht, did everything he could to save the Jews of Europe, then trapped under the heel of the Nazis. [1] Some of these victims would be remembered for their armed resistance at Warsaw, Poland. Hecht organized rallies, spoke out, raised money and conducted PR campaigns to raise the consciousness of the American people to the evil that was happening. Now, try to imagine an America, where Hecht's First Amendment activities are criminalized! Hecht, the humanitarian, becomes Hecht, the defendant, in a federal court case, charged with giving "support to terrorism!" That's what they are doing to Sami Al-Arian!

In Tampa, Florida, Sami Al-Arian is on trial in a federal court house, along with eight other defendants, as the result of a fifty-three count indictment, accusing them of various charges, including, "providing material support to a terrorist group." [2] Five of the defendants aren't even in the courtroom. They are wanted men, living overseas. The other three defendants, with Al-Arian, have been called "stage props" by one court house observer. "The government," he continued, "didn't have enough of the big guns here to give a visual showing of a conspiracy, so they sweep in the poor mopes at the bottom." [3] The terrorist group, according to federal prosecutors, is the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Getting back to Hecht. Let's suppose that the U.S. didn't get involved in WWII. Instead, it had stayed neutral. Let's suppose further that the federal government of that day had decided to make it a crime for any citizen to support resistance to the Nazi occupation and had enacted a dubious law to that effect. If it had, then Hecht's advocacy, no matter how noble, on behalf of the Jews of Europe, could have landed him in the slammer!

The case against Al-Arian relies heavily on thousands of hours of intercepted calls and faxes," which prosecutors insist show that the defendant "and others ran a criminal enterprise." [2] Al-Arian denies all these charges and says that he has had "no connections with any terrorist groups." His advocacy on behalf of Palestinians, he believes, has been only as a moral and legal issue and is "protected by the U.S. Constitution." He said that the indictment contains "old charges that have been refuted" and that his First Amendment-protected views have been "taken out of context." [4]

Governments, since the days of the "Star Chamber Proceedings" in England, have relished using the conspiracy charge against a defendant. [5] They like it because the statute of limitations didn't apply to it and also because the rules of evidence allow statements or admissions made by one of the codefendants to be be used against all of the parties. Governments are also guilty of being selective moralizers. Have you ever wondered why the Contra were called "freedom fighters" by the U.S. and Nelson Mandela's African National Congress was tagged as a "terrorist movement?" [6]

Al-Arian, the son of Palestinian refugee parents, was born in 1958, in the diaspora, in Kuwait. A devout Muslim, he made his way to America, in 1975, and to Tampa, Florida, in 1986. In many ways, before his arrest on Feb. 20, 2003, his life in the U.S. read like a chapter out of the "American Dream" come true. Married with five children, Al-Arian gained tenure as a Professor of Computer Science at the U. of South Florida. He was also a well know and a very popular speaker on the justice of the Palestinian cause, at the local, state and federal levels, as well as the Iman for the Islamic Society of Tampa.

A federal immigration judge in another case has affirmed the fact that two of the organizations that Al-Arian was most associated with, were "reputable" and "highly regarded." As a result of the hysteria over 9/11, however, and his arbitrary arrest, Al-Arian was fired from his job at the college, denied bail, and held under conditions so harsh, (it included a 23-hour lock down and solitary confinement), that Amnesty International, itself, had to intervene with prison authorities to demand some relief. [4]

As a champion of the Palestinian cause, Al-Arian made enemies in the camp of the Zionist Cartel. After that very "suspicious" 9/11 tragedy, five thousand Arab-Americans were rounded up and held on bogus charges, without access to lawyers. The man in charge of that sweep-up operation is, in my opinion, the most dangerous man living in America - Michael Chertoff! He was then head of the criminal division of the Justice Department. Today, he is the czar of the Homeland Security Agency, which has 180,000 employees. [7] I see Chertoff's fingerprints on Al-Arian's case! As for the power of the Zionist Cartel, consider this: Ex-AIPAC honcho, Steven Rosen, once bragged: "You see this napkin? In twenty-four hours, we could have the signatures of seventy senators on this napkin!" [8] As an historical reference, too, it has only been a few years ago, when shadowy Jewish groups in this country, resorted to the use of violence as a means to protest the treatment of Jews who wanted to emigrate to Israel from the then-Soviet Union. [9] I don't recall the federal government using conspiracy laws then and/or dragnet police tactics to round up those wrongdoers or any of their possible collaborators in the even more shadowy - Zionist Cartel!

Now, back to Al-Arian! It is beyond cavil that Israel's brutal treatment and occupation of the Palestinian peoples and their lands, dating back to 1948, and more particularly, since the 1967 War, is a massive crime against humanity. [10] It would be wrong, however, to attempt to morally equate, and I'm not attempting to do it here, the Jewish Holocaust with the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Nevertheless, I do make this argument: The laudable motivation of Hecht to save the Jews of Europe; and of al-Arian to lift the cruel Israeli occupation off the backs of the Palestinians, both spring from the same spiritual source! That source requires an individual to come to the assistance of another person who is being subjugated! It is a duty, that is older than any holy texts, and is written on the hearts of humankind.

The defendant, and his family, have endured ten years of mostly negative publicity, "particularly from the Tampa Tribune." One of Al-Arian's lawyers, William B. Moffitt, filed a motion for a change of venue, but it was denied by the court. The prosecutors have also filed a bizarre motion with the court to prohibit Al-Arian from "discussing the plight of the Palestinians." Moffitt replied that this would be like "trying to explain Nelson Mandela without an understanding of Apartheid. Without an appropriate historical foundation being laid even the Founding Fathers would seem like criminals and outlaws in their resort to armed revolt," he said. [4]

On reflection, I don't think there is any real difference between what Hecht was trying to do or Al-Arian. Hecht was praised for his efforts, while Al-Arian's life has become an Kafakaesque-like nightmare. The latter's indictment is a sham. He is being persecuted by the powers-to-be to put fear into the hearts of the Muslim-American community in the U.S. and to keep it from speaking out on issues.[11] That is all Al-Arian's case is really about.

In his opening statement to the jury, attorney Moffitt said, "The government has admitted there is no evidence that my client took part in any acts of violence or planned terrorist attacks in the United States. Instead he is being punished for espousing view some might find reprehensible. The evidence will show that this case is about Dr. Al-Arian's freedom of speech, your right to hear it, and the attempt by the powerful to silence it. Do not allow the silencing of Dr. Sami Al-Arian to serve some 'unknown policy goal' of of the United States," he said. [2]

Finally, the prosecution will try to make a big deal about some of Al-Arian's out-of-court statements, which he had made in the heat of the moment, in responding to the horrors being inflicted on innocent Palestinians by Israel's Death, War and Mayhem Machine. [4] If, however, you want to read a truly malevolent statement, then just check out what Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, said in 1948. Here's his exact quote: "We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting off of all social services to rid Galilee of the Arab population." If you have a strong stomach for it, there are plenty more like that to be found at's web site. [12] All of the quotes come out of the mouths of the supposed Israeli heroes. When you read them, and if you still have a soul, you will ask yourself this: "How could someone, like Al-Arian, not speak out on behalf of the Palestinians living under the grip of these Zionists?"

[1]. Hecht was the author of the sensational expose, "Perfidy," which was sharply criticized by the Zionist Cartel. It has been praised, however, by writers like, Lenni Brenner, the author of "51 Documents: Zionist Collaboration with the Nazis." See,
[2]. "Terrorism-related Trial of Four Opens in Florida," 06/07/05, Orlando Sentinel, by Pedro Ruz Gutierrez.
[3]. "Co-Defendants in Fla. Deny Ties to Conspiracy," by John Mintz, Washington Post, 06/08/05.
[6]. See, "The Terrorism Industry," by Edward Hermann and Gerry O'Sullivan; and, also, "Terrorist Group Profiles," (1988) U.S. Government.
[8]. "Real Insiders," by Jeffrey Goldberg, The New Yorker, 07/04/05.
[11]. There is an element of irony here. Just as al-Arian's trial got underway, it was reported that the Israelis had resumed the illegal practice of extra-judicial executions of suspected Palestinian militants, a/k/a, "Targeted Killings." See,

by courtesy & © 2005 William Hughes

Documents & Releases

Statement of Chairs of American Muslim Task-Force on Civil Rights and Elections  (AMT) and  Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)

Howard Zinn Statement on Professor Al-Arian



March 2000

December 2005alarian.jpg

January 2009

To be patriotic is to be able to question government policy in times of crisis.
To be patriotic is to stand up for the Bill of Rights and the Constitution in times of uncertainty and insecurity.
To be patriotic is to  speak up against the powerful in defense of the weak and the voiceless.
To be patriotic is to be willing to pay the price to preserve our freedoms, dignity, and rights.
To be patriotic is to
challenge the abuses of the PATRIOT Act.
From a speech by Dr. Al-Arian


UFF Summary: Al-Arian and USF


Announcement of Book: The Al-Arian Reader

A new compilation of all relevant articles to be released soon by the National Liberty Fund

Selected Poems
by Sami Al-Arian

We Shall Rise

To Maya Angelou
Like the dream of the slave
You rise
And with the scream of the brave
I shall rise
In honoring the memory of your ancestors
You rise
With my stateless brothers and sisters
I shall rise
Like dust in the sunlight
You rise
And as ashes in a fiery night
I shall rise
You offend
Because of your existence
And I
For my resistance
You upset them
Recalling their past
And I
By holding steadfast
They may trod you in dirt
May cause me all the hurt
Inflict upon you excruciating pain
While they shut me up and detain
By they won't see you broken
Neither would my faith be forsaken
As you've never bowed your head
And never lowered your eyes
I'll continue to raise my fist
And hide my mother's cries
They may shoot you with their words
Cut me up with their swords
They may insult you with their eyes
Denigrate me with their lies
Trying to kill you with their hate
Bury me alive to seal my fate
But they'd certainly
Be shamed and fail
As the free chant and sing
On their march to prevail
So keep your head held high
As I follow you and try
And keep your beautiful smile
As I walk my first mile
They'll pressure and blame
Throw us in prison to control and tame
They'll exile and defame
Lynch us all or shoot and maim
Burn crosses with no shame
Target our children in a dirty game
By why is that a surprise?
Despite their evil and terror
Their falsehood and lies
You shall rise
And I shall rise
You're the black ocean
Leaping and wide
I'm the Mediterranean
With a stormy tide
Staying together
Side by side
It's no surprise
We shall rise
Surely shall rise
We together shall rise
No Longer Afraid
For us to feel "secure"
What price is being paid?
If living in freedom
Why are we afraid?
Fear is everywhere
All around
Perhaps irrational
But without any bound
You can see it on our faces
Sense it in our eyes
You can hear it in our whispers
Feel it in our cries
More>>No Longer Afraid
The Bird and The Vulture
The bird was chirping
In a house on a tree
But the vulture was angry
Because it was free
When the bird is singing
The vulture ain't safe
More>>The Bird and The Vulture
The Smile of Freedom
He looked like
A body-builder
Tall, tough, and full
All muscles and no fat
His mind was simple
Suited to follow orders
No questions asked
Acting mean and mechanical
Like any bureaucrat
More>>The Smile ...
In the Name of Freedom
In the name of freedom
We shall rule the world
To spread democracy
And set you free
In the name of freedom
We’ll descend on you
To make you civilized
Modern and orderly
More>>In the Name ...
The Accused: Franz Kafka Meets George Orwell in 21st Century America
Act I: The Mother of all Evidence
Act II- Weapons of Mass Deception
Act III: Silencing of the Lambs
Act IV: Attacks of the Wolves
Act V: Occupied Territory
Act VI: Police State
Act VII: Official Obituary
Act VIII: A Close Encounter of the Scariest Kind
Act IX: The Inquisition
Act X- Conspiracy Theory
Act XI- Secret Trials
Act XII- Silent Pain and Teary Eyes
Act XIII- True Patriot Acts
Do Not Sign
Rights are not for sale
History is not kind
On those who sell their people out,
Betray their cause,
Surrender their land
To tow the line
Do not sign
More>>Do Not Sign
Rachel Corrie: Daughter of Palestine
The most gentle
Amongst all honorable
Had a spirit
As dazzling as
The garden of
More>>Daughter of Palestine
Ole Jerusalem
O Ole Jerusalem
I feel your pain
I hear your cries
The light thunder
In the darkness
And the heavy rain
I see the steady bleeding
Of your wound
With its mark and stain
More>>Ole Jerusalem
Patrick Henry
A revolutionary
At heart
A patriot
From the start
Loved by his country
To the core
Defended freedom
Even more
Hated arrogance
In shape and tone
Fought tyranny
With every bone
He was the conscience
Of his people
Striking fear in the enemy
And made it feeble
More>> Patrick Henry
An overwhelming feeling
Of bitterness
Of hatred and rage
Trapped in a cage
Disappointment and anger
Continuing to linger
Wounding of dignity
Violating your virginity
More>> Injustice
Political Riddles
He sees the world as black and white
His solution to every quandary is fight with might
The economy will not stimulate
Because he can’t articulate
While jobs are gone
He says, “bring ‘em on.”
Who is he?
He likes to be called the General
The head of an agency that’s federal
If you spit on the sidewalk
He’ll send the Incredible Hulk
He hates to cite truth or fact
Because he’s busy promoting his unpatriotic act
He frequents TV cameras with a smash
The first part of his last name sounds like trash
Who is he?
He is the ideal dutiful poodle they say
From an empire where the sun did not set one day
He adores his cowboy friend and considers him a fan
And insists: I’m nobody’s yes-man
When the cowboy says no, I say no
Who is he?
More>>Political Riddles