Stephen Lendman, Contributor
Several previous articles discussed the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) charity case. Five extraordinary human beings were wrongfully convicted and sentenced to long prison terms. They’re doing hard time in America’s gulag.
They learned the hard way about being Muslims in America at the wrong time. On Monday, the Supreme Court denied their final appeal for justice. More on that below.
The words “Equal Justice Under Law” adorn the Supreme Court Building’s west facade. Facing east is the motto “Justice, the Guardian of Liberty.”
Since the Court’s 1789 establishment, these words belie its decisions, arguments, and “supreme” allegiance to power. “We the people” never mattered and the phrase doesn’t matter now.
Men, not laws or high moral standards, rule America. Executive, congressional, and judicial officials systematically lie, connive, and pretty much do what they please for their own self-interest.
Democracy always was illusory. Most High Court justices are as unprincipled and venal as political rogues infesting Washington, state and city governments.
Federal courts are the worst. Many justices in them have Federalist Society connections. They advocate rolling back civil liberties and ending New Deal social policies. They support imperial wars, torture and corporatism.
They want reproductive choice, government regulations, labor rights, and environmental protections ended. They spurn justice in defense of privilege.
Five current Supreme Court justices are Federalist Society members: Chief Justice John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas.
Elena Kagan is ideologically sympathetic. As dean of Harvard Law School, she hired Bush’s outgoing Office of Legal Counsel director, Jack Goldsmith. Francis Boyle called him a war criminal.
Kagan bragged about putting him on staff. Boyle quoted her saying she “love(s) the Federalist Society.”
With these type justices on America’s High Court, ordinary people don’t stand a chance. On Monday, five HLF principles heard the bad news. Other articles discussed their notable work.
They helped people most in need. They fed hungry children. They provided financial aid to needy and impoverished families.
They sponsored orphaned children. They provided educational, medical, emergency, community development, and other vital social services.
They were wrongfully accused of providing aid to Hamas. Multiple charges included prohibited financial transactions, money laundering, conspiracy, and filing false tax returns.
Charges were false, outrageous and unconscionable. HLF had no connection to terrorism. Its activities were entirely legal. Islam’s third pillar mandates charity. Aiding those in need is considered a moral obligation.
Compassion became criminalized. Humanitarian giving to “unworthy” recipients risks long prison terms. US justice prohibits feeding the wrong hungry children, providing medical services, and helping them live normal lives.
Reversing the wrongful convictions of five extraordinary humanitarians should have been no-brainer justice. The Supreme Court spurned them without explanation. Dismissively it said:
Petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit denied.
HLF principals were denied their right to retrial. Legitimate courts would have granted it automatically.
Shukri Abubaker, Mohammad el-Mazain, Ghassan Elashi, Mufid Abdulqader, Abulrahman Odeh will stay imprisoned in America’s gulag.
Word came Monday morning. HLF announced it saying:
The US Supreme Court declines to hear the Holy Land Foundation case. Their decision marks the end of the judicial process and the beginning of a massive effort to free the Holy Land Five.
The Muslim Legal Fund of America headlined “MLFA Troubled by Court’s Decision to Not Hear Sixth Amendment Case,” saying:
Presidential diktat authority targeted HLF. Due process was denied. Federal agents stormed their offices like storm troopers. They took everything, including personal possessions.
Fundamental constitutional rights were spurned.
MLFA funded the defense, appeal and US Supreme Court petition due to the significance the case has on the future of civil liberties for everyone in America. Representatives from the legal fund are gravely concerned over the court’s decision to not hear the case.
Executive Director Khalik Meed said:
It is a dark day for America when our nation’s highest court refuses to hear a case that is affecting everyone’s ability to get a fair trial in America.
If judges are allowed to prevent defenders from challenging the credibility of expert witnesses, then our Sixth Amendment loses its teeth and our civil liberties suffer further erosion.
HLF attorney Nancy Hollander called the decision a
travesty of American criminal justice. I don’t think American citizens understand that this effects all of us and the world that believes in the American criminal justice system.
Anyone in any court in America now risks being convicted based on the opinion of someone who claims to be an expert without any opportunity to cross examine that person because everything about that so-called expert can remain secret.
The right to Confrontation, so long enshrined in our justice system, died today.
Technically they can file a petition for writ of habeas corpus, but they would have to go back to original court and I don’t think they will be successful. I fear this is the end of the road and far as the courts are concerned.
HLF principal Shukri Abubaker’s daughter Nida twittered:
The supreme court denied the case. they don’t even want to look at it. They don’t want to spill the truth (and reveal) US Govt….lies.
That’s it. They denied it….So what now? Are these men going to sit in prison, for something they didn’t do, while the world all over the poor is getting even poorer?
While the hungry is dying of starvation? While the sick is dying without medicine and blood? While the homeless is in desperate need of a home during The harsh winters?
This is outrageous. I am at loss of words….God has a plan for everything and everyone. We must not give up.
#FreeTheHolyLandFoundation #FreeMyBaba #FreeMyUncles.
Attorney Linda Moreno expressed outrage, saying:
We fought so hard for this case we believed in these men and we believed in the charity, their good will, their good works. I have always said they fed the wrong children.
They were Palestinian children and for some reason Palestinian children, Palestinian widows do not deserve humanitarian aid.
And I will tell you this. I don’t care what the government believes it has proved in this case, a decision that allows a man to be sentenced to 65 years in prison for feeding Palestinian children in my view is racist.
Ahead of the Supreme Court decision, Center for Constitutional Rights president emeritus, Michael Ratner, said:
We will look back on this period, not just the Holy Land Five, but the cases from the NYPD, down here with the Third Jihad, all the way to drone killings in Pakistan, we will look on this as probably one of the darkest, if not the darkest, periods of our history. And sadly, sadly, Noor’s father is paying the price of 65 years in jail.
A Final Comment
Activist/songwriter David Rovics commented his way in song and verse. He titled it simply the “Holy Land 5.”
Bulldozed houses, that was the situation
Refugee camps, Khan Yunus and Shatila
Children gunned down in the Intifada
Poverty and hunger, a place to slowly die
These five men decided at least they had to try
From their homes in Texas to the stateless nation
They started up the Holy Land Foundation.
They sent food and medicine, that’s all they ever did
Aside from sending toys for little kids
Feed the hungry, they say that’s a good deed
But apparently it all depends on who you want to feed
If they’re living in the ghettos under IDF command
If they think they don’t deserve to starve in their homeland
If Sharon says all that’s theirs is mine
If they’re from a place called Palestine.”
The Holy Land is crying out
Leaving little room for doubt
From ruined homes the kids ask you
What in the world will you do?
They sent money to the Zakat Committees
The same ones funded by USAID
But these were Arabs aiding Palestinians
They opposed the occupation and they were Muslims
Their phones were tapped for years but nothing could be found
So with an executive order Bush shut them down
Freezing all their funds, taking food from kids
That’s exactly what the US government did.
These men support Hamas, the government proclaimed
Although they couldn’t find a cent sent in their name
But they had evidence, for the first time in a court
An anonymous Israeli would submit his report
Behind a veil with no rights to cross-examination
He could smell Hamas, this was his explanation
First the jury hung, so they tried them again
And for feeding hungry people they were sent to prison.
Now five men are in cells, no one knows what for
Every Muslim an unindicted co-conspirator
Be careful what you say, be wary what you hear
Or end up in a CMU for 65 years
Cut off from the world, held in a little box
Back home kids are getting shot for throwing rocks
No one stops the charities sending money for tanks
For illegal settlements all over the West Bank.
This is justice in America, if you didn’t know it now you do
And a retrial was denied, I should mention that, too
A retrial was denied and who knows who’s next to go
To be tortured in a Little Guantanamo
The Constitution’s suspended, they just haven’t let us know
It’s easier that way, just say it isn’t so
The Holy Land Foundation, you know it’s true
They did what all of us should do.
Free the Holy Land 5!!
The final words of America’s Pledge of Allegiance should say “with liberty and justice” only for the privileged few. No one else.
Muslims and others wrongfully targeted learn about America’s dark side firsthand. Disgracefully, the nation’s Supreme Court supports it.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book is titled How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening. http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/