Thursday, July 31, 2014

Feds to Revoke Charity Head’s Citizenship


friedemann-enaamOn the night of July 23, 2014 Enaam Arnaout, 51, CEO of the former Islamic charity, Benevolence International Foundation (BIF), learned from the TV news that the US government had filed legal documents to strip him of his citizenship.
Arnaout told TMO that the next day, July 24, a SWAT team driving dark SUVs showed up where he works and behaved in an intimidating manner as US Marshalls served Arnaout his “Complaint to Revoke Citizenship” papers.
Naturally, his employers were not too happy.
One of the Marshalls spoke to Arnaout smiling as if he knew him. “When did you get out?” he asked.
Arnaout answered him, “I got out four years ago and finished my probation.”
“OK, this is something new,” the US Marshall replied.
This draconian tactic of denaturalization has generally only been applied against accused war criminals, usually World War II era Nazis, although in 2007, Rasmi Khader Almallah was stripped of his US citizenship due to his connection with another persecuted Islamic charity, the Holy Land Foundation. He currently resides in Jordan.
In 2013, a Rwandan was sentenced to ten years in prison for naturalization fraud in addition to losing his citizenship based on war crimes allegations.
Arnaout received US citizenship in 1994 through marriage to his former wife, Nancy Catherine Noyes, a Florida nurse whom he met traveling in Pakistan.
“Denaturalization is required when an alien has concealed material facts or made willful misrepresentations which aided in the receipt of naturalization… Accordingly, Defendant’s naturalization must be revoked,” the government is now demanding.
Arnaout is accused of naturalization fraud on two issues: First, he claimed not to have worked for any organization other than BIF, designated by the US Department of Treasury as financiers of terrorism in 2002, and a telemarketing company.
“Defendant provided mujahedeen fighters in Afghanistan with supplies and logistical support. By providing the mujahedeen with support and or money, Defendant knowingly affiliated himself with various organizations and associations that claimed to repel the Soviet Union from Afghanistan,” reads the complaint, which makes sweeping claims about connections and links to numerous terrorist organizations including Al-Qaeda, no doubt supplied by the “intelligence” fraud Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project.
Secondly, the complaint states that in his naturalization application, Arnaout claimed not to have committed any crime for which he had not been arrested. In 2003, believing that he would not be able to get a fair trial in post-9/11 America, the charity head accepted a plea bargain. Government prosecutors are saying that he pled guilty, therefore he committed a crime and thus lied in his citizenship application.
Arnaout entered into the plea agreement in 2003, in which he pled guilty to a single count of racketeering. In that agreement, the prosecution acknowledged that neither Arnaout nor BIF had acted contrary to the interests of the United States, or had any ties to Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda. Arnaout’s statement of guilt acknowledges subverting on the order of $300,000 to $400,000 of charitable funds (out of a total of about $20,000,000) to buy boots, uniforms, tents, and an ambulance for Bosnian fighters, without the knowledge of the charitable donors. Arnaout also acknowledged that he used BIF funds to provide, in the fall of 1995, hunting boots to civilians and fighters in Chechnya who faced a winter of war against the Russian army, which had invaded Chechnya in 1994. Subsequently, Mr. Arnaout provided uniforms to the justice department of the Chechen government which was being formed in 1997.
Judge Conlon sentenced Arnaout to 136 months in prison. Upon appeal in February 2006, Conlon resentenced Arnaout to 120 months (10 years) in prison.
During the sentencing hearing in August 2003, US District Judge Suzanne Conlon told prosecutors they had “failed to connect the dots” and said there was no evidence that Arnaout “identified with or supported” terrorism. Arnaout will go in front of a different judge regarding his US citizenship.
How ironic, that this deeply religious man, who dedicated his life to providing emergency relief to war torn areas, who funded refugee camps, orphanages, hospitals, and schools for the poor and oppressed from Bosnia to China, is now being accused by the US government of “moral turpitude!”
“There’s an administrative, bureaucratic evil that is going on with respect to this War on Terror that is just unconscionable, it’s just stupid. There doesn’t seem to be any way for whoever’s running this country, primarily the intelligence agencies, to distinguish between people who are real threats and people who aren’t,” Arnaout’s attorney, Thomas A. Durkin told
“I am very disappointed that my government would be taking such a draconian position under all the circumstances of this case – particularly after all the tremendous hardships this criminal conviction has already visited upon Mr. Arnaout and his entire family,” wrote Durkin to US attorney Christopher Dempsey.
“Mr. Arnaout did not unlawfully engage in a RICO conspiracy during the naturalization period; nor did he provide false testimony or willfully misrepresent or conceal a material fact during his naturalization proceedings… Any attempt to strip Mr. Arnaout of his citizenship based upon the plea agreement he entered before Judge Conlon in the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois on February 10, 2003, would violate that agreement which was directly and personally negotiated by US Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald. Proceeding in such a fashion as you describe at this late date would, I submit, also violate a number of other constitutional rights of Mr. Arnaout and two of his children who have obtained naturalization through his citizenship status.”
The Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) has taken on the task of fundraising for Arnaout’s legal expenses.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Azamat Tazhayakov found guilty of tossing backpack

Muslims are Poorly Defended & Easily Proven Guilty by Association.

Even though Azamat's lawyers argued that it was his friend, Dias Kadyrbayev, who removed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's backpack containing fireworks from his University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth dorm room, jurors on Monday, July 21, 2014 found Azamat Tazhayakov guilty of conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Azamat was however found not guilty regarding the laptop, which was also removed from Dzhokhar's dorm room and kept at Azamat and Dias' New Bedford home until it was handed over to the FBI. The jury agreed with prosecutors that both men shared in the decision to remove the items and get rid of them to hide evidence. Dias' trial will begin in early September. A third friend, Robel Phillipos, charged with lying to investigators, will be tried in late September. The seven men and five women on the jury deliberated for three days.

"My fellow jurors were 100 percent dedicated to doing our job," a juror told legal commentator David Frank, "and that was taking everything else out of consideration and focusing on just the law." The juror also mentioned that the jurors were at 11-1 in favor of guilt that morning before the lone holdout had a change of heart.

Azamat's defense, like most lawyers representing Muslim clients in the US, did not defend the innocence of their client as strenuously as they could have, because they relied on the Constitutional burden of proof being upon the government prosecutors. Traditionally, it is enough to show that the prosecution has a flimsy case.

However, when the defendant is a Muslim tied into a terror case, his innocence needs to be demonstrated to the jury, and sometimes social studies lessons by testifying experts for cultural context are even needed. None of this happened in Azamat's trial. Perhaps it didn't seem necessary because the government witnesses all made Azamat sound like the nicest guy in the world. Still, the defense relied too much on this intellectual subtlety.

"We were all shocked when the prosecution rested and the defense immediately rested," the juror said. "We were like, 'You're not going to put a defense on?' They didn't call a single character witness. Someone said, 'Who could they have called?' How about a professor? How about a neighbor? They called no one."

As the jury announced the verdicts, Azamat put his hands over his face and shook his head. His father, Ismagoulov remained stoic while his mother, Tuyrsynai sobbed loudly, rocking his little sister Almira. Azamat's parents fought hard for him to get a fair and speedy trial. They were in the courtroom at every hearing. His mother often nursed Almira under a shawl to keep her quiet.

According to reporter Kevin Cullen, "She grabbed their 2-year-old daughter, Almira, put her on her lap, then covered Almira with a brightly covered scarf, as if to shield her from what was about to happen... In that moment before the verdict was read, in that brief slice of silence, the tinny voice of Almira leaked from beneath the scarf: she was singing."

"Azamat's mother speaks no English, and her reaction was delayed, as she listened to the translation. The translator's words spilled from her headset and she bent forward, as if she'd been punched. She dropped the scarf, and Almira stared up, uncomprehending.

Tuyrsynai rocked back and forth, keening. Almira climbed down and grabbed the headset her mother had dropped. She put the headset on, as if it would help her understand what was making her mother cry. No longer a cloak, the scarf became a handkerchief, and Tuyrsynai daubed her eyes. 'Mama,' Almira said, looking up, smiling. Her innocence stood in stark, striking contrast to what the jury just decided her brother had done."

Tazhayakov faces a possible 20-year prison sentence for obstruction of justice and a five-year maximum for conspiracy but the defense will ask for time served, which would be 1 1/2 years by the time of sentencing, which is scheduled for October 16, 2014.

The jury may have been influenced by a surveillance video taken the day after the Boston Marathon bombings, which shows Azamat walking with Dzhokhar into the student gym and exiting later. They both appear relaxed and acting normal. However, the video when released to the public received harsh reviews from outraged people assuming the guilt of the bombing suspect, accusing Dzhokhar of having a "smirk" on his face. The intent of the video was to demonstrate his friendship with Azamat.

"Aza is a good kid and he has no priors. I expect the friends will all have to serve some time. They all committed crimes and there is no way around that. Even if they are only found guilty of lesser charges, they are legit charges. So pray for his family. Send him kind, comforting words. And be patient," urged an anonymous friend.

One of Azamat's lawyers, Nicholas Wooldridge, said he will ask the judge to sentence his client to time served. He suggested to the media that the jurors were under pressure to render a verdict against Azamat.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Trial Begins for Azamat Tazhayakov

Boston, Massachusetts: USA

Innocents be dragged in: Young People's Guilt by Association
by Sis. Karin Friedemann 

A foreign student from Kazakhstan, Azamat Tazhayakov, age 20, is facing 25 years in prison for "obstruction of justice" and lying to the FBI. Dzhokhar (Jahar) Tsarnaev texted a mutual friend, Dias Kadyrbayev around the same time as his photo was released to the public as a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, saying "If you want, you can go to my room and take what's there," followed by a blushing smiley face, which defense attorney Wooldridge said was a symbol that meant marijuana to the friends.

The UMass Dartmouth students are accused of going into Jahar's dorm room along with a third friend, Robel Philipos, taking Tsarnaev's laptop and disposing of Tsarnaev's backpack, which contained fireworks. The three friends are to be tried separately. Azamat's father, a wealthy oil man and local Khazak politician, insisted on a speedy trial even though the attorneys wanted more time to prepare, so Azamat's trial comes first.

"The government will prove to you that the defendant and his co-conspirator removed the backpack for one reason, and that reason was to protect their friend who they had just learned was one of the two suspected Marathon bombers," said US assistant attorney Stephanie Siegmann in her opening statement.

The first witness was Andrew Dwinells, Jahar's roommate, who testified that Dias showed him a text that said something about Jahar leaving the country and he won't be back so Dias can go ahead and take what he wants.

Andrew testified that he saw Dias go into a drawer and take a bag of pot while the other two watched TV. He testified that he did not see any of the friends take the backpack or the computer. He never saw Jahar with any pressure cooker, BBs, or bomb making material. He also said Jahar acted normally after the marathon. Andrew says he didn't think Jahar was a terrorist. Andrew testified that he and Jahar once discussed the theory that 9/11 was a government conspiracy.

The next witness was Alexa Guevara, another UMass Dartmouth student. She said her girlfriends called Azamat "Mama's Boy" because he was always the good one among the friends. She also testified that Jahar never said anything anti-American to her. Alexa's eyes teared up when testifying that she never thought Jahar could do anything like that. Even after the FBI released Jahar's picture she did not believe it.

FBI Agent Sara Wood next testified that Azamat had told her that Dias showed him a text from Jahar on the evening of April 18, 2013 saying that he did the bombing. However, the FBI has not been able to produce this text, despite their thorough investigation of the boys' cell phones and computers.

Defense attorney Myers aggressively questioned Wood as to why she looked at the prosecutor when answering whether Azamat said he or Dias took the backpack.

The defense also suggested that FBI agents did not allow Azamat to use the bathroom until he signed a waiver of his rights.

Dias' partner, Bayan Kumiskali gave testimony on video as a cooperating witness. "The black-haired beauty from Kazakhstan attended Babson College while Dias was at UMass with Tsarnaev," tweeted journalist Laurel J. Sweet.

Bayan said she didn't want any of that stuff that was taken from Jahar's dorm room. On 4/18, she was in the New Bedford apartment and Dias left for about 1.5 hours starting around 9:30pm. Dias told her he had Jahar's backpack in the privacy of the bedroom later that night. She was "mad" when she heard this and told him to "get it out of here."

"He hadn't thought this might be something." she said.

The most clear proof that the boys did not intend to obstruct justice is the fact that inside the backpack was Jahar's homework assignment. They were clearly not hiding evidence. As an engineering major, Jahar's roommate Andrew owned a lab kit, which contained wire, wire cutters, and other items. The kit was in plain sight on his bookcase on the 18th, but Dzhokhar's three friends did not take it.

Most likely, they literally took what they wanted from Jahar's room because they knew he wasn't coming back: a laptop, marijuana, fireworks, a thumb drive, a spiral notebook and a jar of Vaseline. Most likely they took the fireworks because they wanted them.

However, they didn't take all the fireworks. The FBI also admitted in testimony last week that more fireworks were found in the dorm room. FBI agent David McCollan testified that the fireworks were torn but some explosive powder remained. Even though fireworks are not an efficient source of bomb making material, one would think that if the fireworks were used to make a bomb they would be cut cleanly at the top and completely emptied out.

Neither Aza nor Dias threw away the computer. The thumb drive was found in the trash but if there was any incriminating evidence on it I'm sure we would have learned of it.

The most incriminating thing Azamat could come up with to say to the FBI about his friend was, "that Jahar had a 'little black gun' that shot pellets, and he once witnessed him shoot at a plastic bottle.

Spy for us: Offer Refused!

Our America: Boston

Spy for us: Offer Refused! Family says Help the hungry in Syria. 
by Sis. Karin Friedemann

On Friday, July 18, a brief hearing took place in front of Judge William Young at the federal courthouse in Boston for Khairullozhon Matanov, the cab driver from Kyrgyzstan who had dinner with the Tsarnaev brothers the day after the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013. He is accused of lying to the FBI about whether he happened to run into them at the restaurant or if he drove them there. He is also accused of deleting google searches from his computer knowing that the FBI would be visiting, even though everything he deleted was public information that provided no clues to the bombing investigation whatsoever.

Matanov's situation is an unusual case because the FBI used a drone to circle around his apartment building on numerous occasions and employed 3-4 FBI agents to follow him around wherever he went, 24 hours a day for one year. This incredible taxpayer expense resulted in not one single alarming activity being detected other than charitable wire transfers to his family overseas.

In a new development, the government seems to now be asking for 15 years under sentencing guidelines with terrorism enhancements for "destroying evidence," when in the previous hearing they were talking about 44 years.

In prison, Matanov was asked by the FBI to spy on "terrorists." He was also told that if he were to plead guilty, his sentence would be reduced to under 7 years.

A tentative trial date was set on June 8, 2015 for the young man, who is being held under 24 hour solitary confinement. The government offered this date, saying they wanted to give defense attorney Edward Hayden plenty of time to review the discovery, which Hayden said was a stack of paper about a foot high. Hayden agreed to this date "in good faith that I will need this time," while reserving the right to move the trial sooner.

This approach is polar opposite to all the other BMB related cases, where the prosecution has dumped millions of pages worth of unsearchable digital evidence upon the defense, and then insisted upon plowing forward with the proceedings despite defense cries for more time to not only review the evidence, but to figure out where the government is going with the case.

The US prosecuting attorney against Matanov is Scott Garland. Reporters asked Hayden if he thought Garland was playing games and Hayden replied he did not think so, as Garland had never played games in the past.

The defense is planning on filing another motion for release on bail, so another bail hearing is expected within a couple weeks. Hayden argued that Matanov is "in a stressful situation." Court filings which state Matanov, "whose ability to respond lucidly to questions has deteriorated because of his solitary confinement," ask the court to employ his previous attorney, Paul Glickman.

"Because Mr. Matanov is a very scared young man, thousands of miles away from his family members and facing serious criminal charges that may result in his exclusion from the United States, I believe that the trusting attorney-client relationship I have built with Mr. Matanov is critical to an adequate defense of this case," Glickman said in an affidavit filed in court. The judge refused to appoint Glickman but agreed to pay him a $2,500 consulting fee to assist Hayden.

While this is a small but pleasing improvement, two letters from Matanov received by this author have found him to be in a state of iman. His main concern is for his family. He may be a bit cranky due to fasting for Ramadan under prison constrictions. He has been feeling frustrated by inability to add people to his phone list or visitor list. He talks to his attorney and his mother overseas.

The young lady on the defense team told me he has a window looking outside. His cell is like a small room (no bars). However the prisoners are able to shout to one another through the walls.

July 22 Birthday Campaign for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

In order to help in the SAMs case against Dzhokhar (Jahar) Tsarnaev's solitary confinement, Jahar supporters have suggested Ramadan charity actions in his name to demonstrate that the only thing Jahar "inspires" is good deeds and acts of kindness.

Jahar reportedly "had a big smile on his face" when he heard that people were doing this, but he asked that his deceased brother Tamerlan receive the award in heaven for these kind acts. Tsarnaev family members suggested donating to the hungry in Syria.

"Your kindness to others is the only gift he can receive. And the only gift he wants," writes Amber Bishop, who is spearheading the campaign.

Documentation of the beautiful deeds will be put into a humble scrapbook and given to the Tsarnaev family. If you would like to contribute to this effort please contact Amber Bishop on facebook or send an email to

"Get creative and get out there and do amazing things for people, animals, the environment, the sick, the needy, the voiceless. Make suggestions, post ideas, work in teams. Be unique so your act stands out. And feel good about what you are doing. A small act of kindness can go a long way in this world. It can start a chain reaction of good deeds. I can't wait to see what you send!" writes Amber.

Pakistan Bombing Linked to US Pressure

July 10, 2014 by  

A man along with a woman clad in burqa, both fleeing from the military offensive against Pakistani militants in North Waziristan, walk away with a wheelbarrow of relief handouts after receiving from a storage tent of the World Food Programme (WFP) at a distribution point for internally displaced persons (IDP) in Bannu, located in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province July 6, 2014. Picture taken July 6, 2014. REUTERS/Khuram Parvez
On Wednesday, July 2, the Pakistani lawmakers amended Pakistan’s anti-terrorism law, doubling the maximum prison sentence for those convicted of “terror offenses” and allowing security forces to detain suspects for up to 60 days. Zohra Yusuf, chairwoman of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, voiced concern that it could provide legal cover for disappearances. Rights groups accuse the government of holding people in secret and failing to put them on trial. Meanwhile, the Pakistani government forced the evacuation of North Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan, then bombed the region, also in the name of rooting out “terrorism.”
The half a million who fled North Waziristan, mostly on foot, are facing severe food shortages. Pakistan’s cruel decision to launch this military offensive during the month of Ramadan has reportedly sharpened anger towards the government. Beginning on June 15, the carpet bombing destroyed even mosques. Civilians who were injured described the bombing as “indiscriminate.” 

Millions of livestock and countless children have died or are dying. 74% of the displaced are women and children. People were given very little time to prepare. Farmers had to leave their animals behind. People have lost everything they could not carry.
Muhammad Aziz, a 31-year-old laborer, reportedly lost four of his nine children on the two-day trek undertaken by thousands who fled his village to a camp in Bannu. 
“It was a dark day for me and my wife would not stop crying for four days,“ said Aziz.
But on the fifth day, his children were found by a relative. His family’s joy increased when his wife gave birth to a healthy baby boy — whom they named Azb Khan, which is also the name of the military offensive.
Of the over half a million people the Pakistani government has displaced, only about 340 have chosen to take the government’s offer to house them at the Bakkakhel camp, the only such camp that has been set up.
Instead, most have gone to the adjacent town of Bannu, where they are either renting at twice or three times the regular rate, or staying with relatives, reports Al Jazeera. The World Food Program is running six food distribution centers but their budget is too small to meet the need. Sanitation and clean drinking water are severely lacking.
Inayatullah, 44, a native of Miranshah fled along with his family of 13 when bombs dropped near his home. “I have been standing in line all day yesterday, and have been in line for six hours again today. They are treating humans worse than animals.”
In the town of Bannu, Niaz Wali Khan, a 55-year-old pharmacy owner, told AFP he had been queuing for four days but was turned away without rations each time. “We are depressed,” said Khan.
“Most of the patients here are suffering from dehydration and acute respiratory infections,” says Dr Faqir Abdullah, 28, who treated many of those who arrived at the Saidgi checkpoint, on the border with North Waziristan.
“Most of them are confused and anxious, because many of them have travelled on foot. These people had left their homes, and we saw they were in a state of shock.”
With most of the population now “cleared,” curfews have been reimposed, and no movement is allowed on the roads leading to and from the tribal district. The BBC reported that when families of IDPs reach the margins of a town, they often have to wait long hours in the intense heat, before they can obtain the security clearance to enter the area.
Most of the families have sought refuge in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. There are also reports of families now arriving in Punjab and Balochistan. Almost all the internally displaced people are being hosted by local communities.
“The U.S. and its allies have urged Pakistan for years to clear out North Waziristan, a sanctuary and training center for Pakistani Taliban, al Qaeda and Afghan insurgents,” reports the Wall Street Journal. The terrible way this was done demonstrates total contempt for people living in the tribal area.
On June 30, the military started a ground invasion to “eliminate Taliban fighters.” The Pakistani military claims to have killed hundreds of terrorists but not a single civilian.
Mansur Mahsud, from the FATA research centre said the operation could take three to four months. “Once this area is cleared the militants are forced to shift to Afghanistan or the mountains.”
Jamaat-Islami Information Secretary, Ameerul Azeem, issued a statement after visiting the IDPs camps, appealing to the entire nation to step forward for the help and assistance of the operation affected people. He said the provision of basic necessities including the Sehr and Iftar of the displaced persons should be the foremost concern of all.
The operation, dubbed Zarb-i-Azb, began on June 15 following the breakdown in peace negotiations between the government and the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) in response to an attack on the Karachi airport by the TTP and Uzbek militants. However, Ismail Khan writes in the NYT that “A military campaign was anticipated before the Karachi attack.”
During the current ground offensive, land forces are “combing through” North Waziristan’s valleys and taking over villages and buildings. Air raids have continued daily.
An operation of this scale is impossible without the involvement of the United States, whose forces in neighboring Afghanistan have “crucial intelligence” on the location of militant bases and training camps around the region, reports Reuters.

1st BMB Trial Commences as Jahar’s Birthday Approaches

July 17, 2014 by  

The trial of Azamat Tazhayakov began July 7 and is expected to conclude next week. Azamat along with two other friends, Dias Kadyrbayev and Robel Philipos are accused of concealing evidence from the FBI in relation to their pursuit of his friend, Dzhokhar (Jahar) Tsarnaev, who is accused of bombing the Boston Marathon in April 2013. Dias and Robel will be tried separately. Azamat’s father, a wealthy oil man and local Khazak politician, insisted on a speedy trial even though the attorneys wanted more time to prepare, so Azamat’s trial comes first.
“The government will prove to you that the defendant and his co-conspirator removed the backpack for one reason, and that reason was to protect their friend who they had just learned was one of the two suspected Marathon bombers,” said US assistant attorney Stephanie Siegmann in her opening statement.
A number of mutual friends were subpoenaed as witnesses. Without exception they testified that Jahar was not acting strangely after the bombings, that he had never said anything anti-American, he had never been seen with a pressure cooker, BBs or bomb making material, that they could not believe he was a terrorist, and that his friends had gone into Jahar’s dorm room to take marijuana after receiving a message from Jahar saying “take whatever you want.” They were all under the impression that Jahar was leaving the country. Dias Kadyrbayev removed some fireworks from the room, but not all of the fireworks. He also took a laptop, a spiral notebook, a thumb drive, and a jar of Vaseline and took them home to the New Bedford, Massachusetts apartment he shared with Azamat. FBI testimony revealed that there were still other fireworks found in the apartment.
Only after Dias’ girlfriend Bayan Kumiskali told him to “get rid of it” did Dias throw away the bag with fireworks, but he kept the laptop. It had not occurred to him that these items could be evidence of anything. It does not appear that he was trying to conceal evidence, since he threw away Jahar’s homework assignment in the same bag. Azamat’s defense also argued that Azamat never threw away the bag, it was Dias who did.
As an engineering major, Jahar’s roommate Andrew Dwinells owned a lab kit, which contained wire, wire cutters, and other items. The kit was in plain sight on his bookcase on the 18th, but Dzhokhar’s three friends did not take it.
A number of FBI agents gave testimony that was often contradictory. The “white hat” that they had removed from the apartment as evidence had a different number on it than the hat in the surveillance photo. Agent Walker gave testimony that contradicted his previous testimony. He now “doesn’t recall” many things he said it pretrial testimony. Agent Walker says he could have arrested the men on 4/19/13 but then admitted he testified previously he had no basis to arrest them. The FBI admitted there’s no evidence Azamat knew about the bombing, though earlier Agent Walker testified that Azamat had done web searches for Tsarnaev before he had been identified as a suspect. Defense attorney Wooldridge asks Agent Walker if he realized the media had previously misidentified suspects in bombing. Walker says he was “not aware of this.”
On Monday, July 14 the defense and prosecution rested their cases. Judge Woodlock told the jury the burden of proof is on the government, and that they should not hold Azamat’s decision not to testify against him. The judge referred to the possible defense view that Azamat’s actions on 4/18/13 were related to hiding drug activity, not terrorism. Closing arguments are to take place Wednesday July 16.
Jahar Supporters Initiate Birthday Campaign 2014
This July 22 will be Dzokhar (Jahar) Tsarnaev’s second birthday in prison held in solitary confinement. He will be 21 years old. Since he cannot receive cards, letters, gifts or any other kind of birthday wishes, Amber Bishop from the Free Jahar movement has come up with the perfect way to let him know how much people care about him.
The group is asking people to do magnificent works of charity in Jahar’s name. ”This could mean donating to a charity, taking snacks to your local fire department, handing out balloons to children in the hospital, giving a flower to random passersby, helping someone to their car or carrying their groceries. Mow someone’s lawn for free. Take food to the food pantry. If all you have to offer is prayers, then pray for someone. The sky is the limit when it comes to being kind.”
Amber is creating a scrapbook of everyone’s “amazing deeds” that will be given to his sister, who promised to tell him all about it when she visits him in prison.
“The prosecution contends that Jahar inspires people. Let’s show them how right they are,” writes Amber. “You may be wondering how this campaign “helps” him. Just imagine if when arguing his character at the SAMs hearing and how he could potentially inspire others to continue his work, the defense can produce a book full of heart-felt, charitable deeds that our sweet boy has inspired us to do… He can only do these things through us, so don’t let him down.”
The Tsarnaev family likes charities that feed the hungry. They suggested sending money to the needy in Syria, but they also mentioned that they care deeply about Africa, Palestine, and Pakistan.
“A small act of kindness can go a long way in this world. It can start a chain reaction of good deeds. “I can’t wait to see what you send!” writes Amber. She suggests sending donations in his name, when possible, or letting people know you are doing this deed for Jahar in some way.
If you would like to contribute to this effort, message Amber Bishop on facebook or send an email to

Trial Set for Khairullozhon Matanov

July 24, 2014 by  

On Friday, July 18 at the federal courthouse in Boston, the initial status conference hearing took place for Khairullozhon Matanov, the cab driver from Kyrgyzstan who had dinner with the Tsarnaev brothers the evening after the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013. He is accused of lying to the FBI and deleting google searches from his computer in order to downplay his friendship with the brothers, after he went to the police to identify them. He is not accused of having any information about the bombing.

Matanov is represented by Attorney Edward Hayden while the government prosecutor is Scott Garland, the attorney whose overzealous tactics are believed to have caused MIT hacker Aaron Schwartz to commit suicide. Judge William Young is now presiding over the court. The previous judge, Marianne Bowler, for some reason does not want the case. Matanov, who is being kept in solitary confinement, is still waiting for Bowler to make a decision regarding his release on bail.
The hearing was very brief and there were few people in the courtroom.
When the judge asked Garland about sentencing guidelines, the prosecutor replied that with terrorism enhancements, Matanov would be facing up to 15 years if convicted. In the previous hearing, the government had asked for a sentence of 44 years; so possibly the public concern over prosecutorial overreach made a difference.
Garland proposed a tentative trial date on June 8, 2015, saying that he wanted to make sure Hayden had plenty of time to review the discovery material. Hayden said that this seemed “reasonable” and accepted Garland’s word “on good faith” that he would need nearly a year to prepare for this case. Judge Young intervened to suggest that the trial date could be moved closer at Hayden’s request.
Hayden had asked the court to employ Matanov’s previous attorney, Paul Glickman, as co-counsel, arguing that Matanov is “in a stressful situation.”
“Because Mr. Matanov is a very scared young man, thousands of miles away from his family members and facing serious criminal charges that may result in his exclusion from the United States, I believe that the trusting attorney-client relationship I have built with Mr. Matanov is critical to an adequate defense of this case,” Glickman said in an affidavit filed in court. The judge refused to appoint Glickman but ruled that he is to be paid a $2,500 consulting fee to assist Hayden.
It is easy to understand why Matanov might be frustrated with Hayden, who is an overworked public defender without much understanding about Islam, or possibly even the recent history of treacherousness government prosecutions of Muslims. He is definitely hopelessly naive about talking to the press, something he had already been warned about by Judge Bowler.
After the 20 minute hearing, Hayden stood outside the courtroom chatting with reporters, one of whom, Michelle McPhee, encouraged him to leak some information about what was in the pile of prosecution documents. He replied that he did not yet have time to review the discovery and could not say anything, but in order to make McPhee happy he mentioned that he looked at a random page of the foot high pile of paper and saw the photograph “with the flag.”
There have already been media leaks regarding a photo of Matanov and Tamerlan Tsarnaev taken at a mosque, in front of a black flag with Shahada written on it. McPhee quipped to Hayden that this was like posing in front of a swastika, and Hayden just smiled at her. Luckily, this author was present to straighten them out regarding the meaning of the flag, explaining that it was far more like going to a church and posing in front of a cross.
Matanov’s situation is an unusual case because the FBI used a drone to circle around his apartment building on numerous occasions and employed 3 to 4 FBI agents to follow him around in unmarked vehicles wherever he went, 24 hours a day for one year. This incredible taxpayer expense resulted in not one single alarming activity being detected other than charitable wire transfers to his family overseas.
A former client of Matanov told TMO that the young man “is a kind, considerate, wonderful young man who expressed that he loved it here and wanted to earn enough money to ‘bring his parents over.’ He expressed his love of little babies and hugging them and that they were ‘a blessing’ … not the sentiments of a dangerous person. My impression was that he would be a fabulous husband and father.”
While in prison, Matanov was asked by the FBI to spy on “terrorists.” He was also told that if he were to plead guilty, his sentence could be reduced to under 7 years.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Assets Frozen of UK Human Rights NGO

June 2, 2014 by  

Due to its association with Moazzam Begg, the former Guantanamo prisoner who was re-arrested in March on dubious charges of aiding terrorists in Syria, the UK organization, CAGE, formerly known as Cageprisoners, is paralyzed because their bank account has been frozen. The effects of this political targeting have been severe, including: loss of all of standing order donations, denial of access to funds, and inability to open a bank account elsewhere. What is very curious is that CAGE received a letter from Her Majesty’s Treasury denying government involvement.
“We are sorry to hear that Barclays has frozen the accounts of CAGE and understand the difficulties this presents.” The letter also confirmed that “CAGE is not and has never been subject to financial restriction imposed by the Treasury” and that CAGE should share the letter with Barclays.
CAGE then received a letter from Barclays saying it had received a letter from HM Treasury informing it that Moazzam had been made a Designated Person, and therefore had transferred the CAGE account to a specially designated sanctioned/blocked branch. Barclays stated that this was because Moazzam was an authorized signatory on the account. Barclays confirmed that it had closed the CAGE account.
Simultaneous to the freezing of organizational funds, members of its governing board have also been dealing with personal attacks on their professional integrity. For the first time in their long careers, two of CAGE’s board members are being investigated for fraud and tax evasion. Shortly after the CAGE account was closed, Barclays also closed the personal accounts of CAGE’s Treasurer and a senior CAGE volunteer. CAGE’s Treasurer had been banking with Barclays for over 18 years. No explanation has been provided for the closure of any of those accounts.
“When the timing of these investigations coincides with the treatment of CAGE by HM Treasury, the banks and the Charity Commission, it is evident that there is a more sinister agenda at play,” states a CAGE press release dated May 7, 2014.
“CAGE is compelled to take the view that a concerted effort has been launched to shut the organization down or to severely disrupt its activities to render it operationally ineffective.”
Muslims in American know all too well how charity founders have been accused of fraud  by the neocons behind the government and imprisoned, in order to seize the charity’s assets and prevent the victims of US or Israeli military campaigns from receiving help. CAGE is now being treated as a “designated entity” by the UK despite no wrongdoing.
CAGE is a not-for-profit group which includes seasoned activists, lawyers, doctors and former detainees that “advocates for Muslim political prisoners, specifically those interned as a result of the War on Terror and its peripheral campaigns, by raising awareness of the illegality and the global consequences of their detention. By promoting due process, the vision of the organization is to see a return to the respect of those fundamental norms which transcend religion, societies and political theories.”
It is believed that the main reason CAGE has been targeted by the UK government is because they have been educating people about the UK involvement in kidnapping and torture, known as “rendition,” and documenting abuses of due process. Begg, while imprisoned in Guantanamo, was threatened by the US that if he did not confess to things he never did, he might be sent to Syria for torture. This made him interested in researching how western governments send people to Syria to be tortured. He traveled twice to Syria and interviewed people who had been imprisoned by the Assad regime and wrote several very interesting reports on the current situation there.
Moazzam has not even faced trial yet, so he is innocent until proven guilty. Despite not being convicted of any crime, he is being penalized in a manner in which prospective jurors are likely to perceive his designation as evidence of his guilt. CAGE has written to HM Treasury and the Home Affairs Select Committee. It will be complaining to The Investigatory Powers Tribunal for disruption to its work and also seek assurances from Head of Scotland Yard that it is not being targeted by the Disruption Unit.
CAGE has never solicited personal funds for Moazzam on its website or provided assistance to other designated persons. Had CAGE done so, it would have committed a criminal offense and presumably its directors would have been arrested. The decisions of the banks are even more difficult to fathom as CAGE has been provided with oral and written confirmation from HM Treasury that “CAGE is not and has never been subject to financial restriction imposed by the Treasury” which therefore confirms that we are not a suspect organization. So either the banks are making arbitrary decisions separate from the government, or the government, knowing that its actions are extra-legal, is blaming the banks as a convenience so that it doesn’t have to back up its actions with some kind of explanation.
With a limited pool of money rapidly diminishing with the expected outgoings of rates, bills, salaries and expenses, CAGE is currently surviving largely on the goodwill of staff and supporters, but has been unable to actively engage in its investigative work with most of its resources being invested in dealing with the wave of attacks on its name and reputation. CAGE states that “the irony of an organization, that has for over ten years documented the abuse of due process and the rule of law in the War on Terror, having its bank accounts arbitrarily closed is not lost on us our supporters and will only increase its members motivation to continue its work to hold governments to account for their crimes.”

Saturday, July 5, 2014

UN Exploits North Waziristan Genocide

650,000 Civilians Ousted from their homes by Pakistani army

On June 10, 2014 ten members of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan joined by Uzbek fighters took over the Karachi airport and engaged in a shootout which left 30 people including all of them dead. According to CNN, the TPP posted on their Facebook page:

"The biggest reason for attacking Karachi airport is because it serves as the biggest air logistics center supplying goods for the Crusaders' war in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

According to Rolling Stone magazine, the CIA got permission to use Pakistani airspace and airports in exchange for doing Pakistan the favor of assassinating a local chief with a Predator drone, even though he posed no threat to the US. “The CIA wanted access to airspace to conduct drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal regions, which that country had previously considered a breach of sovereignty. The two countries made a deal.”

In response to the airport attack, the Pakistani government launched “Operation Zarb-i-Azb” against North Waziristan five days later. The military warned the population via pamphlets distributed at local mosques. People had very little advance notice.

Hundreds of thousands of people and their animals marched from their homes in the blazing heat with few provisions. Children are dying of heat exhaustion on the side of the street.

"Poor people were walking on foot. They looked like a human sea, of youngsters and adults. Some people fainted, so people poured water on them to revive them."

“They have launched this operation just before the Holy Month, but these militants were living here for years. Why now?” a man named Khan lamented to a reporter.

Given the advance notice, the Taliban and Uzbek foreign fighters disappeared. The Pakistani government has been shelling North Waziristan with helicopters without actually fighting anyone. The families are the ones facing the hardship of travel.

"We could only manage to get ourselves out of Miranshah," one man told UNHCR staff, referring to the capital of the mountainous North Waziristan region. "We left all our belongings. The Pakistani government was bombing our villages."

The death toll of cattle is a crime in itself - 1.5 million cows have died because farmers were forced to leave them behind, or if they tried to bring them out of the war zone, the cows died of broken limbs or exhaustion along the way.

“I let all my 10 cows loose after they refused to come along,” said Gul Wazir with tearful eyes while remembering his animals he “loved like my children.”

Why would a government decide to evacuate an area but provide no food or water or transportation along the way? Why do they want the area “cleared out?” For what?

Many have sought safety in the Khyber-Pakhtunkwa province. A former refugee in Pakistan, Wali said: "We were assisted by Waziristanis during the 1980s, when we fled Khost [during the Soviet occupation]. They welcomed us and extended their generous support. It is now our moral duty and obligation to assist and help these needy families."

That is wonderful, but whose idea was it for Pakistan’s government to uproot an entire region of the country and then decide that it would be the UN’s duty to make sure the people don’t die? The US is said to have encouraged these bombings. Why?

According to CNN, talks between TTP and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif led nowhere. The government and the security forces found it impossible to accept TTP demands like enforcement of Sharia, withdrawal of the army from the tribal regions and a peace zone for itself. In retaliation for breakdown of government talks with the Taliban, the army began pounding Chinese Uyghur hideouts in the Waziristan mountains. Why not just give them states rights? Why punish the Uyghurs? It gets crazier.

So far this year, 54 of Pakistan's 83 confirmed polio cases have been in North Waziristan. Taliban militants banned vaccinations in the summer of 2012, denying UN access. Frustrated, the WHO made plans as early as February to be prepared “if anything happened.” They were immediately ready for action, despite official claims that they had no advance notice of Pakistan’s ethnic cleansing campaign.
The UN is using this upheaval as their glorious opportunity to circumvent local government. Dozens of checkpoints are set up along the roads where refugees are registered and then given drops of the oral polio vaccine. As of June 30, 468,000 individuals had been registered. Reportedly very few are refusing the vaccine. UN officials have already admitted the vaccination campaign is useless since multiple doses are required for immunity to take place. There is no central place in which to give vaccinations. Almost all the refugees have refused to reside in the government-run camp. However, UN officials are now using vaccination as an excuse to do door-to-door registration of all residents of areas where refugees are settling.

This is a very bizarre campaign considering the main way to stop the spread of disease has to be via basic water and sanitation. Huge numbers of people are living in close, dirty conditions creating perfect conditions for every kind of illness, the most commonly reported being upper respiratory infections and heat exhaustion.

Is the UN using Pakistan to unload outdated vaccines? Islamic organizations need to inquire whether these polio vaccines are the “killed virus” used in the West or if they are “live viruses” probably expired since the US stopped using them a decade ago.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Former Hunger Striker Samer Issawi Re-Arrested


On June 23, 2014 occupation soldiers raided the Jerusalem home of Samer Issawi, one of the Palestinian prisoners swapped in August 2011 in exchange for the release of “kidnapped” Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Issawi had been originally detained in 2002 by the Israeli army in Ramallah as part of Operation Defensive Shield during the Second Intifada. The now free man Issawi was then detained in July 2012 for trying to catch a bus in a Jewish suburb of Jesrusalem. He was held in prison for 17 months but was released with huge celebration last December after his 266 day hunger strike caused global outcry.
His sister Shireen was arrested with their brothers Medhat and Shadi on March 6, 2014. Shireen, an attorney, was accused of “passing messages” from prisoners. Her detention has been extended by an Israeli Court three times. In January 2013 another brother, Ahmad Issawi’s home was bulldozed.
Last Monday his mother, Layla Issawi, posted on Facebook, “Tens of Israeli army officers are in front of our house passing out tickets to everyone passing by. They must be bored.”
A few minutes later, around 7pm, she again posted: “World, they arrested Samer. The military in big numbers raided the house.”
Electronic Intifada reports that Israeli authorities interrogated his younger brother Shadi earlier in the day. He was to tell Samer to come in for interrogation.
Over 500 Palestinians have been detained in a punitive crackdown after three Israelis went missing on June 12, 2014 while hitchhiking between Jewish settlements in Hebron. In addition to Samer Issawi, 52 other former prisoners released during the October 2011 Gilad Shalit prisoner swap agreement have been rearrested, according to Gavan Kelly, an advocacy officer for Addameer Prisoner Support Network. Another of the men, Nael Barghouti, has already served 33 years in prison before he was released the exchange, Ma’an News Agency reported.
“Seven of these detainees already went before an Israeli court in Haifa and are being tried on previous charges [from before their 2011 release,” Kelly told The Electronic Intifada, referring to a mandate that allows former Palestinian prisoners to be retried on the same charges after being released from prison. “It is very important to note that the evidence used against [Palestinians] in these military courts is ‘secret.’ And most of them risk being reissued prison sentences that are very long.”
In the past few days, several Palestinians have been shot and killed by Israeli soldiers and Gaza has been repeatedly targeted by aerial bombing causing huge fires.
Many Palestinian institutions have been raided and ransacked in the past few days by the Israeli military: Birzeit University, Al-Quds University and the American Arab University in Jenin, the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Bethlehem-area Dheisheh refugee camp, and even the media offices of Russian Times. The Palestinian Authority accompanied Israeli soldiers in their raid of the Russian TV station.
Israeli authorities repeatedly referred to the US in justifying their actions.
Former chief military rabbi Avihai Ronsky defended Israel’s collective punishment measures: “Only with a sharp blow will we make it clear that Jewish blood is not cheap. The same goes today: only by dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which caused millions of deaths, did the US bring an end to World War II.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, justified a bill introduced in the Knesset which would allow force-feeding of hunger striking Palestinian political prisoners by saying: “in Guantanamo the Americans are using the method of force-feeding too.”
An Israeli court on June 26 officially extended Issawi’s indefinite detention. Issawi risks having the remaining twenty years of a thirty-year sentence reinstated. 
Attorney Farah Baydadsy told the Electronic Intifada that Issawi “appeared very tired during the hearing on Thursday.”
Issawi’s lawyer told his family that Israel’s intelligence services, the Shabak, have interrogated him nearly non-stop since Monday.
“He could barely lift his head,” Bayadsy said. “He looked like he hasn’t slept at all … and the security was very restrictive, more than usual.”
“The first part of the hearing lasted only fifteen minutes,” she explained. “The judge took a ten-minute break, came back and ended after another ten minutes, rejecting the appeal.”
Issawi siblings Shireen and Medhat also had hearings on the same Thursday in the Israeli district court in Jerusalem that ended in postponement until Sunday, reports Electronic Intifada. Shireen’s family has so far been denied requests to visit her in prison. Mariam Barghouti, 20, a solidarity activist who shared a cell with Shireen, reported that Shireen had become very thin, weighing about 86 pounds. “She said she is experiencing a lot of back pain from the positions she is handcuffed [in].”
“Their mother was crying,” Bayadsy added. “It is the first day of Ramadan, the holy month, and she had to go through this.”
“Because her family has been repeatedly targeted for arrest and imprisonment since Israeli forces occupied their village in 1967, Layla Issawi, better known as Um Rafaat, has not shared a meal with all seven of her living children at the same time in more than a decade, writes Patrick Strickland.
“It’s clear that they are targeting Shireen because of how active she was in raising support for Samer during his hunger strike.” said their mother.
“This is not just my life,” she said. “This is the life of all Palestinian mothers. There are families in Gaza with three or four martyrs each … and Israel has killed some entire families there.”
The number of Palestinian minors held in Israeli jails has risen to 250 detained children following the Israeli military sweep of occupied West Bank waged during the past two weeks.