Thursday, April 10, 2008

Look who’s back!

My old sparring partner Mark Harden has resurfaced in the Letters to the Editor section of the San Antonio Express-News.

Mark is in a tizzy because in a news story on Saturday about a local woman being appointed to the board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) the E-N failed to denounce the group as an Islamofascist terrorist organization! Such shoddy journalism!!!

Mark claims that CAIR “was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation for providing material support to Hamas, an officially designated terrorist group. But Mark neglects to mention that case ended in a mistrial.

After 19 days of deliberations, a jury in 2007 were unable to come to a definitive conclusion and the case ended in a mistrial. On Nov. 4, 2007 the LA Times reported: "The nation's biggest terrorism finance case ended so badly for the government that it has thrown into question the Bush administration's original order to shut down the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development six years ago."
Experts found the jury's inability to come to a definitive conclusion evidence of weakness in the government's ability to provide clear enough evidence against the charity.
The LA Times reported: "If the government can shut them down and then not convince a jury the group is guilty of any wrongdoing, then there is something wrong with the process," Georgetown University law professor David Cole said. [9]
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said the criminal trial derailed the government's long-publicized assertions about Holy Land. "From the beginning, the allegations were highly suspect and only got worse," said Turley, who has handled a number of national security cases.
"Indeed, Turley said, if the government had begun with the troubled criminal case, it might never have succeeded in closing down the foundation administratively because its disputed evidence would have come to light years ago."
Some jurors were skeptical of the government's case. The LA Times reported: "The government's allegations not only proved unpersuasive but engendered skepticism among some jurors.
"The whole case was based on assumptions that were based on suspicions," said juror Scroggins, who added: "If they had been a Christian or Jewish group, I don't think [prosecutors] would have brought charges against them."

Mark also references American Islamic Forum for Democracy , a rightwing lobby group with little support outside of rightwing circles, in a further attempt to tarnish CAIR.
It seems little wonder then that CAIR feels compelled to keep an Urban Legends section on its website to try and combat the wild accusations that get thrown at it (and then published in newspapers) on a regular basis.

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