Defense lawyers for organizations on the U.S. government’s “terror list” are frustrated fighting the designation, and seizure of assets in many cases, because the government claims it is too tedious to give an explanation of the charges. “It would be extremely burdensome to give a list of charges,” said the government’s attorney, Douglas Letter, the Associated Press reported today:
Attorneys for the U.S. government told a federal appeals court Wednesday that informing each person and organization listed as a global terrorist of the reasons they are so designated would be too much work.
They made the argument in a case involving the government’s seizure of assets belonging to the U.S. chapter of Al Haramain Islamic Foundation Inc., a Saudi Arabia-based charity. The case is being heard by a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Al Haramain attorney David Cole said outside court that representatives of Al Haramain were left in the dark after the organization was put on the global terrorist list. They continued to fight the designation without knowing what was driving it.
Cole said he and other attorneys could have provided a much more effective defense for the organization if they knew the reasons for the charges.
Organizations that are arbitrarily placed on the terror list who have their assets frozen are finding the burden of proof to be on them. Yet, they don’t even know what they are supposed to prove given the lack of detailed charges.
In a previous case, U.S. Judge, Gary Karr, ruled that freezing the assets of organizations suspected of terrorist ties has been done without due process by the Treasury Department. However, he also ruled that the “Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control needed only a reasonable belief that the charity was a component of a larger organization that funds terrorism” to take action.
This erosion of due process and reversal of burden of proof, along with Obama’s recent Executive Order to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely, are troubling signs for the “Land of the Free.”