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USA vs Al-Arian
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John Sugg: What Took So Long? (1/19)

Jan. 19, 2005
Why 20 years to build the Al-Arian case? Maybe the evidence wasn't there.
By John F. Sugg

Link: Click here

Sami Al-Arian must pose a very serious threat to the United States. After all, the government has spent tens of millions of your dollars over two decades trying to trap the wily former University of South Florida professor. And, shucks, the Tampa Tribune has been calling him a terrorist for a decade, so it must be true.

Well, maybe not.

The government has termed as irrelevant the government's own analysis that the group Al-Arian is accused of supporting has never targeted America. And despite lurid recounting of 14 terrorist actions in the Feb. 2003 indictment of Al-Arian, there is no proof offered - or even an allegation made - that the academic sponsored, funded, planned, participated in or had advance knowledge of the violent acts.

Strange doings, and as we'll see, the feds' case looks weaker at every hearing prior to the scheduled April trial of Al-Arian and three co-defendants.

Why has the government been sooooooo relentless in its persecution of Al-Arian? It's instructive to note whom the feds are not prosecuting. You get a hint of what the Al-Arian case is all about, and why the United States is perceived as anything but even-handed by much of the world.

For example, last May, two groups of Israelis -- both claiming to be "movers" or "deliverymen" - were apprehended by authorities in separate incidents in the South near highly sensitive defense establishments.

One group of "movers" was collared in Tennessee after a high-speed chase. They were observed tossing a toxic liquid from their moving van, and had fake identification and a flight school business card in their possession. About the only significant industry in Unicoi County, where the chase occurred, is the nation's primary supplier of nuclear fuel for naval ships.

Days later, two other Israelis were nabbed trying to sneak into Kings Bay Naval Base - home to much of the nuclear submarine fleet - near St. Marys, Ga.

Intelligence sources, including former CIA officials Vince Cannistraro and Philip Giraldi, have concluded that in the Tennessee incident, the Israelis had stolen byproducts of the submarine nuclear fuel.

In both cases last May, the Israelis were quickly and quietly deported for visa violations. More than 250 Israelis considered spies by our spooks have been deported, usually for "visa violations," since 9/11. (Israeli always denies spying on America - as it did for years in the Jonathan Pollard case. Giraldi calls such denials "fatuous.")

So, if people doing real damage to the United States merit only a polite deportation, what gives with Al-Arian?

Another example: Al-Arian's indictment focuses on what he and his co-defendants thought and said, statements such as: "Blood will flow until the complete liberation of our country Palestine."

Yet, we never hear about, say, recently deceased former Israeli army chief Rafael Eitan, who pronounced: "We declare openly that the Arabs have no right to settle on even one centimeter of Eretz Israel," which includes much of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. "When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches."

First, it should be a relief to know that Al-Arian has been knocked down a peg or two on the neo-con scale of really scary bad guys. When prosecutors first indicted Al-Arian, they had accused him being the financial mastermind of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as the boss of the group in the United States. Apparently it just ain't so.

"Now they've demoted my husband," quipped Nahla Al-Arian with a twist of sad humor.

In an update of the indictment last September, the reference to Sami Al-Arian as the U.S. head of the Islamic Jihad is missing, as well as his role as a sort of Meyer Lansky moneyman for the group. Call the earlier description a big "oops" by a prosecution team led by none other than the man who would be Homeland Security chief, former Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, who has headed or been a member of several GOP political lynch mobs, including the Whitewater jihad against Bill Clinton and botched anti-terrorism cases à la Al-Arian in Detroit and Boise.

You can learn a lot about prosecutors' motives from reading indictments. In the first Al-Arian indictment, for example, Palestinian lands are described as "occupied territories." Israel spin docs don't like that description - after all, it's the bedraggled Palestinians who are to blame for everything, not the brutal occupation - so by the second indictment, we only read about "territories."

To understand just how bad the G-men's case is, we need to time-travel back only to last week, to a hearing on whether the government had waited too long to indict Al-Arian.

Since Al-Arian first came under the lawmen's microscope - a full two decades ago - he has been bugged, scoped, snooped and searched. Despite the years of scrutiny, no charges were brought against him. At the hearing last week, Al-Arian's attorneys asked that the case be dismissed. American jurisprudence - an institution paid scant attention by the Bush regime - holds it unfair to wait years and years to indict someone. Evidence disappears, memories fail, witnesses die.

No problem, declared chief prosecutor Terry Zitek. It's not when the investigation began that counts, but when it ended - a few months before the indictment. Predictably, the somnambulant daily newspaper reporters didn't bother to peek at the indictment. Few of the "overt acts" alleged occurred in the months prior to the indictment, and very few of those involved Al-Arian.

Acts before 1996 - when the Islamic Jihad was declared a terrorist organization - wouldn't have been illegal. After 1996, most of the acts attributed to Al-Arian are hardly insidious or criminal. He sent faxes. He had what the government calls a "coded conversation." He discussed newspaper articles. He contemplated and prepared for an assault by the feds.

What's clear is that the bulk of Al-Arian's activities that interested prosecutors took place more than a decade ago. So the question remains: Why no indictment until the heart of the case was stone cold dead?

The answer: After Al-Arian's brother-in-law won exoneration before a federal immigration judge, Israel came forward claiming it has "secret evidence," and made it available through such trusted government allies as the Trib's Michael Fechter and the New York Times' Judith Miller. The government - our government, that is - has refused to disclose that evidence.

And another answer is that the government never had a case. That was the opinion of the FBI's then-counterterrorism chief Bob Blitzer six years ago, and of prosecutor Bob O'Neill, who previously headed the Al-Arian probe.

Final thought: The indictment is based on about 300,000 intercepted conversations. The defense attorneys are incensed that many of the conversations Al-Arian is known to have had - with members of Congress and other officials - are missing. (Previously, the government admitted it also had destroyed files in the case.)

Zitek responded that the missing conversations were "minimized" - destroyed because they weren't, um, relevant. The defense counters: Sez who? The much more likely explanation is that the purged evidence shows Al-Arian to be an educator, a advocate for his people, an activist - all protected by the U.S. Constitution.

The government - Israel's, that is - doesn't want you to know that Al-Arian.

Group Senior Editor John Sugg can be reached at 404-614-1241 or at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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