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USA vs Al-Arian
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Defense takes center stage (8/24)

Aug. 24, 2005
St. Petersburg Times

The cross-examination of an FBI agent could be a preview of Sami Al-Arian's defense strategy.
By Meg Laughlin
Link: Click here
TAMPA- William Moffitt looked from side to side, as if casing the joint, and set himself firmly before the FBI agent in the witness box.

This was the moment he had been waiting for, for a month. At last, the chance to cross-examine Kerry Myers, the FBI agent who has spent weeks laying out the prosecution's case against Moffitt's client, Sami Al-Arian, and three other men accused of abetting terrorism in Israel and the occupied territories.

"Can you see the Syrian border from Iran, as you said in your grand jury testimony?" boomed Moffitt, looming over the FBI agent, glaring at him.

"No, sir, I made a mistake," said Myers, explaining that Syria doesn't border Iran.

Moffitt sounded like an irate headmaster berating a misbehaving student. The courtroom was packed with spectators - many of them supporters of Al-Arian - who had come to see how the widely known Washington, D.C., lawyer would deliver a comeuppance to the FBI and prosecution.

The former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers then ordered Myers to count and write.

"Yes sir," said a dutiful Myers, taking the marker Moffitt handed him.

The assignment: to write numbers on a large display pad.

472,239 FBI-monitored phone calls over nine years, 323 overt acts linking defendants to alleged criminal action in the final indictment, Myers wrote.

Then Moffitt asked him to write time spans to show how Al-Arian's alleged associations with Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders compared to the 1995 U.S. designation of the PIJ as a terrorist organization.

Remaining calm and respectful, Myers wrote down a column of dates, then agreed with Moffitt that there were "zero" overt acts connecting Al-Arian directly to Palestinian Islamic Jihad after the Jan. 25, 1995, terrorist designation of the group by the U.S. Treasury Department.

Moffitt asked Myers if he'd ever heard any plans for terrorist acts mentioned in nine years of FBI-monitored calls.

"I did not see anything about planning future acts, sir," Myers replied.

The direction of Moffitt's questions signaled two key points in the upcoming defense: Nothing shows that Al-Arian plotted terrorist acts, and the vast majority of the wiretaps focus on the years before the U.S. government declared the Palestinian Islamic Jihad a terrorist organization.

As questioning continued, both men appeared to relax. Moffitt ditched the irate tone, calling Myers "sir." And Myers' voice grew louder. But the columns of numbers on the display pad got longer.

"When was Dr. Al-Arian's last conversation with Ramadan Shallah?" Moffitt asked Myers.

"April 28, 1994 - 11 years ago," said Myers, writing down the date, which was six months before Shallah became head of the PIJ.

Then, the veteran criminal defense attorney asked the FBI agent if the PIJ had ever been involved in violent acts outside Israel. Myers' response - that he had once seen a classified intelligence report about a PIJ plot to take violent action in the United States - appeared to surprise Moffitt, who asked the agent if he could get the report in the next few days.

Yes, Myers said, offering no information about its accuracy.

Earlier in the day, before the jury entered the courtroom, Moffitt and prosecutor Terry Furr argued over an obstruction of justice charge. The issue: whether Al-Arian's solicitation of an affidavit was designed to deceive the court. Moffitt and Furr debated for more than an hour about Al-Arian's solicitation of an affidavit in 2000 from Palestinian legislator Ziad Abu-Amr. Al-Arian sought the sworn statement to help his brother-in-law in a deportation case involving secret evidence and allegations of ties to terrorists.

Prosecutors have charged Al-Arian with obstruction of justice because, they say, he was probably aware that the affidavit included wrong information about the connection of several friends to the PIJ.

"A defendant is allowed to take advantage of ... evidence (that helps him)," Moffitt said. "If that's obstruction of justice, then it interferes with the fundamentals of justice in this country."

"A defendant can't commit fraud on the court," Furr said. "What he knew is the issue."

U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr. called the charge "a slippery slope" for the prosecution because it "had no evidence that Dr. Al-Arian solicited the particular words."

Moody didn't rule on whether he would throw out the obstruction of justice charge, giving Furr until Tuesday to research it.

But Moody's final comments on the subject suggested his leanings.

"I don't think it's obstruction of justice," the judge said. "Active encouragement is not supplying false information."

In the late afternoon, Moffitt gave FBI agent Myers homework: "Look tonight to see how many overt acts occurred before Oct. 8, 1997."

"Yes sir," said Myers, who wrote down his assignment.

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

SITE SEARCH

SPOTLIGHT

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
9/1/2002

Biography---

UFF Summary: Al-Arian and USF

Poetry

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
Women
Had a spirit
As dazzling as
The garden of
Eden
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
Injustice
An overwhelming feeling
Of bitterness
Emptiness
Hopelessness
Helplessness
Sadness
Madness
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