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18 novembre 2013 1 18 /11 /novembre /2013 14:27
  • Mouvement de solidarité avec la Syrie - Tournée nord-américaine de mère Agnès-Mariam de la Croix, agent de vérité et de paix - Conférence à Montréal mardi le 3 décembre

  • Syria Solidarity Movement - The North-American Tour of Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix, an agent of truth and peace‏ - Conference in Montreal, on Tuesday December 3

Syria Solidarity Movement:

 http://www.syriasolidaritymovement.org/


 

Voici quelques informations sur la tournée nord-américaine de mère Agnès Mariam, sur le Syria Solidarity Movement, qui organise cette tournée, ainsi que sur sa visite à Montréal, le 3 décembre prochain.
Je vous encourage fortement à visiter directement le site du Syria Solidarity Movement au: http://www.syriasolidaritymovement.org/
C'est une mine d'or d'informations inédites sur la Syrie, sur cette tournée et sur de nombreuses autres faits liés à la question syrienne.

J’aimerais que vous en parliez dans vos réseaux et que lorsque les affiches et les tracts sont prêts, vous nous aide à informer et à inviter le plus grand nombre de médias et d'auditoires possible. Je pourrai aussi éventuellement avoir besoin de votre précieuse aide et contribution pour diffuser notre Communiqué de presse et notre affiche.

Salutations,

Amir M. Maasoumi
Membre de SSM, membre de Comité de coordination de la tournée, membre québécois de la Délégation en Syrie de mai 2013
 
==========

Voici une lettre type parmi d'autres, envoyée au journalistes:

Bonjour madame ....
 
Suite à notre conversation téléphonique de ce matin, voici certaines informations promises au sujet de la venue à Montréal, mardi le 3 décembre, de Mère Agnès Mariam qui pourrait, j'en suis convaincu, être une invitée très intéressante pour une émission de Second Regard (et sans doute encore davantage à la suite de l'émission que vous préparez pour le 1er décembre sur l'urgence humanitaire). J'envoie des copies conformes aux personnes à qui j'avais laissé des messages téléphoniques, et à Linda Dion à qui vous m'avez suggéré de m'adresser comme recherchiste.
 
L'événement exceptionnel dont je vous parlais (surtout dans le contexte syrien depuis 2 ans) dont Mère Agnès Mariam a été l'artisane les 28 et 29 octobre derniers est la libération négociée avec toutes les parties en présence de plus de 5000 personnes coincées depuis des mois entre les forces belligérantes: on peut lire et voir (photos et vidéo) les péripéties de l'opération réussie à http://www.syriasolidaritymovement.org/2013/11/07/1881/.
 
Pour un peu plus de "background":
 
Mère Agnès Mariam de la Croix (MAM) est la supérieure d'un monastère restauré en Syrie et surtout l'une des initiatrices du mouvement MUSSALAHA pour la réconciliation et la paix en Syrie. Elle est Palestienne Libanaise d'origine, a fait ses études en France et est citoyenne française (et parle donc parfaitement le français), mais elle vit en Syrie depuis longtemps.
 
Ce mouvement MUSSALAHA est à l'origine de la visite en Syrie, en mai 2013, d'une Délégation de 16 personnes dirigée par la Prix Nobel de la Paix 1976, l'Irlandaise Mairead Maguire, venue rencontrer sur place des représentants de TOUTES les factions en présence (pro-gouvernementales et rebelles) de même que la population elle-même, y compris les centaines de milliers de réfugiéEs (on peut lire une version française du Rapport de la Délégation à http://www.echecalaguerre.org/index.php?id=246).
 
MAM s'était fait remarquer, en septembre 2013, en adressant un rapport aux Nations Unies dans lequel elle démontrait qu'au moins une partie des vidéos diffusés en Occident à l'appui de l'attaque aux armes chimiques attribuée au régime syrien du président Assad avaient été fabriqués dans un but de propagande. Elle ne niait pas l'existence des attaques chimiques et ne désignait aucun coupable; elle montrait seulement, preuves à l'appui, que bien des preuves utilisées dans le but de justifier une intervention militaire de l'Occident contre le régime du président Assad étaient des faux.
 
La Délégation pour la paix et la réconciliation de Mme Maguire avait conclu, de son séjour en Syrie, que la réalité sur le terrain était très différente de ce que la plupart des grands médias occidentaux rapportaient sur la guerre en Syrie. Et c'est dans le but de mieux faire connaître la vraie réalité quotidienne dans ce pays que Mère Agnès Mariam a entrepris, le 1er novembre dernier, une tournée nord-américaine qui la conduira un peu partout aux États-Unis et au Canada.
 
Juste avant son départ pour l'Amérique du Nord, MAM et MUSSALAHA ont réussi une opération négociée qui démontre de manière concrète comment la paix et la réconciliation sont POSSIBLES, même si elles sont et seront évidemment très difficiles: l'évacuation humanitaire de plus de 5000 personnes qui étaient assiégées par les forces en présence depuis plusieurs mois et la reddition pacifique de 550 membres de factions armées. Pour un compte rendu détaillé (en photos, textes et vidéo) de cette opération qui constitue une PREMIÈRE en plus de deux ans et demi de guerre civile, voir: http://www.syriasolidaritymovement.org/2013/11/07/1881/.
 
Le site Internet du Syria Solidarity Movement (www.syriasolidaritymovement.org) fait connaître le conflit syrien du point de vue trop peu connu des forces (syriennes) de paix et de réconciliation. Ce site a été mis sur pied aux États-Unis par des membres américains de cette Délégation de 16 personnes qui a visité la Syrie en mai dernier. C'est également cette équipe (de même que les quelques membres canadiens et québécois de la Délégation) qui organise la tournée nord-américaine de MAM.
 
Pour plus de détails, n'hésitez pas à communiquer avec nous.
 
Dominique Boisvert (comité médias)
514-376-8047
 
et
 
Amir M. Maasoumi ( Membre de SSM, Membre de Comité de la coordination de la tournée, membre québécois de la Délégation en Syrie de mai 2013) 
514-677-1045 ou 514-737-1045
 
 
P.S.: J'ajoute aussi (ci-dessous) une excellente lettre ouverte de la présidente de la Délégation, le Prix Nobel de la paix Mairead Maguire, adressée aux (nord)Américains à l'occasion de la Tournée de MAM. Elle dit bien pourquoi (et dans quel esprit) une telle tournée est nécessaire. (Pour plus de détails sur la Tournée, son déroulement et son contenu depuis le début de novembre, voir www.syriasolidaritymovement.org.)
 

Syria: An Open Letter to the American People

By Mairead Maguire
Nobel Peace Laureate

My dear friends,

As a teenager living in Belfast, I admired the American Peace Movement and many prominent figures within it. Fifty years later, two of the most inspiring people still remembered across the world are Americans: Martin Luther King and Dorothy Day.

American peace activists and civil rights workers were imprisoned, some killed. But a generation spoke and sang about love.

Like Mahatma Gandhi in India, the Berrigan Brothers in the Peace Movement and the American Civil Rights Movement show us that the path to freedom and equality is a peaceful one. This journey of transformation in the pursuit of peace and justice is a constant challenge to the entrenched powers which thrive on hatred and war; acting as a constant challenge to blind prejudice and the lies that are necessary for war.

In making this journey of love we must always acknowledge that those we regard as enemies are fellow human beings and we are called to love them . If we don’t, when do the killing fields stop?

I first came to you from Northern Ireland to speak to you about what was happening in my country. I was met with great kindness in America. Now I write to you to about Syria.

We must not allow a war to go on for decades, as many did in regards to Ireland. We must have the foresight to stand up for peace, nonviolence and reconciliation now, before the suffering is entrenched and before prejudices and lies seep deeply into the consciousness of a new generation, acting as seeds for more yet more war.

I write to you to ask your help for the people of Syria. All the people of Syria deserve your attention. Like you, they want the opportunity to live, love and labour in support of their children’s dreams. With your efforts we can make it a bright future in a peaceful and prosperous country where love will conquer all.

The people of Syria are a diverse people, a courageous and generous people with a proud history of tolerance. Over many centuries, their country has welcomed millions of disparate people seeking refuge just as the United States has done.

I visited Syria in May 2013. Despite the on-going violence, I found it to be a land of hope. I met tribal and religious leaders, political dissidents and grieving parents and widows. In Syria, there are millions of ordinary folk risking their lives for a peaceful, reconciled and united Syria they can all love.

Mother Agnes Mariam, one of the leaders of the Mussalaha (reconciliation) Movement in Syria, is on a speaking tour of America this November. Mother Agnes Mariam has sat at a table with the prime minister of Syria has and has eaten olives with a rebel leader. And recently she risked her life to negotiate the safe passage of thousands of civilians and of many fighters from a conflict zone.

Your heroes, the heroes we all uphold, show us bridges of nonviolence and peace must be built between people. War stems from hatred and lies. Peace requires courage, wisdom, and love. And foresight.

Mother Agnes is bringing to America a universal message your country knows well. She presents it through the story of Syria. I encourage you to hear the story of Syria.

Peace,

Mairead Maguire

 

==========

 

Complément d'informations sur Mère Agnès Mariam pour Second Regard

 

Tel qu'entendu hier lors de notre conversation téléphonique, je vous fais parvenir un article du National Catholic Reporter qui donne plus d'informations sur Mère Agnès Mariam (surtout sur sa biographie et son parcours atypique), de même que sur son message lors des rencontres publiques tenues en Californie depuis son arrivée et sur les oppositions que son passage a suscitées: http://ncronline.org/news/global/controversial-nun-speaks-out-war-syria 

 

J'en profite pour ajouter (ci-dessous) une déclaration en 7 points de MAM qui répond très clairement aux principaux reproches qu'on lui fait quant à sa position politique en Syrie. 

 

Dominique Boisvert (Comité de Média) 

514-376-8047

Amir M. Maasoumi ( Organisateur et responsable de la tournée)
  

 

Statements of Mother Agnes: 

1) I have no political statement to declare, I am not a politician; I am a mediator for Reconciliation. 

2) My convent is under Free Syrian Army control, and I have a very good relationship with them; they protect us. 

3) I meet with all kinds of people from the loyalist and the opposition sides: with ministers, security officers, armed opposition leaders or popular committees militias). I have go from one place to another, many times under threat or danger, to negotiate with all of them for humanitarian issues to spare the bloodshed and to alleviate the conditions of besieged areas. 

4) I mediate for the liberation of abductees and detainees. We try to help the different Syrian populations: Sunni, Shia, Christian, Alawite, Druze, etc. “I tell you that reconciliation is happening between the different factions of the Syrian people. Many armed leaders are meeting through the good offices of Mussalaha”. 

5) The different factions (the Syrian administration and different opposition groups who are many times fighting against each other) want me to take side with them and denounce the others. I cannot take any side. I am not a politician, I am a cleric. I work for humanitarian needs and stand with the civilians. I am with the Syrian people. “It is so difficult to be in the middle. You are accused by all parties.” I denounce al kinds of genocide and killing from any party. I cannot accept the killing of any human being. Killing should stop and foreign fighters should leave Syria back to their country and supply of weapons should stop. 

6) The Media mainly outside of Syria is against me. They accuse me of many things that I did not do or say. They pick some words from here and there and fabricate things. They put my humanitarian work in danger because the fighters read these words and become angry for things I did not say and positions I did not take.

7) I am compelled and invited to explain myself outside of Syria and I met with many different people of different views and persuaded them with evidence and with kindness and they changed their positions and joined us in supporting Mussalaha.. 

 

 



Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2013 05:03:42 +0000
To: irabec@hotmail.com
From: donotreply@wordpress.com
Subject: [New post] Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix-an agent of truth and peace

admin posted: " Nov 8, 2013, Archbishop Cranmer Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix, spokesperson for the Catholic Media Centre of the Diocese of Homs, Hama and Yabroud in Syria, is one of the main representatives of the 'Mussalaha' Reconciliation inter-faith Initiative, "

Nov 8, 2013, Archbishop Cranmer Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix, spokesperson for the Catholic Media Centre of the Diocese of Homs, Hama and Yabroud in Syria, is one of the main representatives of the 'Mussalaha' Reconciliation inter-faith Initiative, which has the support of all Syria’s religious communities. She has been a fearless and indefatigable proponent […]

Read more of this post

admin | November 18, 2013 at 12:03 am | URL: http://wp.me/p3RDnp-A8

 


New post on Syria Solidarity Movement

Mother Agnès-Mariam de la Croix-an agent of truth and peace

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Envoyé : 18 novembre 2013 00:49:47
À : ANTONIO ARTUSO (pueblo@sympatico.ca)
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Blog : antonio.artuso.over-blog.com - 12-11-2013 - Courriel : pueblo@sympatico.ca
 


From: democrite@neuf.fr
To: democrite@neuf.fr
Subject: Philippines call by the ILPS - Jose Maria Sison
Date: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 18:16:00 +0100

 

 

APPEAL FOR  AID TO VICTIMS OF SUPER TYPHOON YOLANDA (HAIYAN)

 

Issued by the Office of the Chairperson

International League of Peoples' Struggle

November 10,  2013

 

We, the International League of Peoples' Struggle, appeal to all our global region committees, national chapters, member-organizations, our friends and  all the people of the world to carry out a campaign of raising resources and delivering them to  the millions of people afflicted by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 35 provinces in the central part of the Philippines.

 

The aid  is  for immediate relief and rescue  and long term rehabilitation of  the devastated communities and families , especially of the impoverished workers, peasants, fishermen and the middle social strata who have suffered death and injury and whose  homes, personal belongings and livelihoods have been either blown away by the overly strong winds or swept away by storm surges from the sea.

 

Due to the destruction of energy and communication lines,  the full extent of the destruction of lives and property is still being assessed.  But there are already images of the wide  scale of destruction taken from air planes and satellites.  Entire communities are flattened. Thousands of lives have been lost.  Millions of people are in need of food,  clean water, clothing, shelter, medical services  and proper burial of the dead. 

 

The most reliable private relief-and-rehabilitation organization in the Philippines  is BALSA, which includes BAYAN and other ILPS member-organizations as well as civic and religious organizations that have an excellent record of undertaking humanitarian efforts in previous disasters.  Within the Philippines, BALSA is taking initiative in assessing the destruction to life, property and livelihood and in collecting and  delivering the aid to  the victims.  The ILPS advise Filipino organizations and their friends abroad to forward to BALSA the aid that they  can collect.

 

It is necessary for the people's organizations to raise the money and goods for the immediate relief and  rescue and for long-term rehabilitation of the communities and families, especially because the so-called calamity funds of the Benigno Aquino government have been misused and continue to be misused as pork barrel for purposes of corruption and political  patronage from the level of the chief bureaucrat Aquino downwards. 

 

Both civil bureaucracy and military forces of the Aquino regime  did not give timely and adequate  warning to  the people about  the grave dangers of the overly strong winds of the super typhoon and the  storm surges from the sea.  They did not prepare evacuation centers. And they did not guide the people to move to relatively safer areas before the super typhoon struck.

 

We appreciate highly the efforts of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People's Army and  the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to mobilize the local revolutionary organs of political power, the mass organizations and the broad masses of the people to prepare themselves against the onslaught of the super typhoon and for collective action  in undertaking rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations.

 

We also admire the revolutionary forces for unilaterally  declaring ceasefire in all the areas devastated by the super typhoon.  They stand on a high moral ground as they serve the people in need. In sharp contrast, the bureaucrats and military officers of the reactionary armed forces  loot a big part of the relief goods  from government warehouses and use another part for counterrevolutionary propaganda and psywar.  They shamelessly coordinate with US planes and ships in interventions under the pretext of humanitarian aid. ###

 

For the International Coordinating Committee

of the International League of Peoples' Struggle

 

Prof. Jose Maria Sison

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  • ReThink911 to meet controversy head on in Canada this December!‏

ReThink911 (actionalert@ae911truth.org)
2013-11-09
Bulletins
À : pueblo@sympatico.ca
Image de ReThink911
De : actionalert=ae911truth.org@mail.salsalabs.net au nom de ReThink911 (actionalert@ae911truth.org) Envoyé : 9 novembre 2013 15:10:52 À : pueblo@sympatico.ca

 

Visit ReThink911.org | Official ReThink911 Video Rethink911 on Facebook Rethink911 on Twitter Rethink911.org logo NOVEMBER 9, 2013

Some on the Ottawa Transit Commission Thinks It’s Time to Curb Free Speech;
We Think It’s Time to Take the Message to the Next Level
Donate Now to Launch Massive Ad Campaign in Toronto & Ottawa December 2!

Photo: The ReThink911 billboard across the street from NY Times Building and Port Authority.

 December ReThink911 bus back ads in Ottawa well timed to fuel free speech debate.

Amid the ongoing public debate and unprecedented media coverage sparked by our ads in Canada’s capital city of Ottawa this past September, the ReThink911 campaign is launching a major $75,000 ad campaign in Toronto and Ottawa to capitalize on the progress we’ve made, and put 9/11 Truth firmly in the Canadian mainstream.

Already we’ve raised $25,000 toward making this campaign a reality starting December 2. With the generous support of the thousands reading this email, we can reach our goal by Wednesday, November 20 – the day the Ottawa Transit Commission votes on initiating a review of its advertising policy – and send a powerful message that those who support having an open public discussion about 9/11 far outnumber those who are against it.

“Have you seen the video of World Trade Center 7’s collapse?”

With your help, that’s the question 70% of Ottawa residents will see on the backs of buses and 40% of Toronto residents will see on the insides of subway cars and buses throughout the month of December. This question, sure to intrigue anyone who sees it, is followed by two statements showing just how compelling the argument for Building 7’s controlled demolition is:

51% of Canadians who see it suspect it was a controlled demolition.
2,000 experts cite clear evidence for controlled demolition.

Photo: The ReThink911 billboard across the street from NY Times Building and Port Authority.

With this new ad copy, ReThink911 is taking the message to the next level, inviting the open minded and skeptics alike to watch the video and find out why only 18% of Canadians who see the video of Building 7’s collapse think it was caused by fires. In a matter of weeks, millions of Canadians will see and hear about the ads, and hundreds of thousands will be curious enough to go to ReThink911.org and watch the video footage.

But we can only create this massive surge in awareness with your help. Donate today and we will make “Building 7” a household word in Canada by the end of December.

Tuesday, November 12th: Ottawa Fundraiser and Screening of “9/11 in the Academic Community”

For those of you in and around Ottawa, 911JusticeCanada will be hosting a fundraiser and screening of Adnan Zuberi’s award winning documentary, “9/11 in the Academic Community,” on Tuesday, November 12 from 6pm to 9pm at the Ottawa Public Library Main Branch. 911JusticeCanada is dedicated to raising $10,000 of the $75,000 needed for the December 2013 Canada campaign. RSVP if you plan to join them this coming Tuesday! Learn more at 911justicecanada.ca

Thank you for your generous support!

      About ReThink911

ReThink911 is sponsored by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, and Remember Building 7, a campaign by 9/11 family members to raise awareness of Building 7.

Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by codes and restrictions.

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  • CSFR Updates and News - Solidarity with Rasmea Odeh, November 2013‏

À : pueblo@sympatico.ca
Image de stop repression FBI
Nov 13 Actions & petition to support Rasmea Odeh
U.S. Court: Investigation is ongoing against Anti-War 23
New evidence to support the Holy Land 5
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Committee to Stop FBI Repression (stopfbi.net)


1. Call To Organize Rallies in Solidarity with Rasmea Odeh

The Committee to Stop FBI Repression (CSFR) is calling for solidarity rallies with Rasmea Odeh as she goes to court in Detroit Michigan on Wednesday afternoon, November 13, 2013.

We are asking you to rally at Federal Buildings or on college campuses to protest this outrageous act of political repression. Antiwar and Palestine solidarity activists from Chicago and across Michigan will be arriving in buses and cars to protest with people from Detroit outside and to pack the courtroom. Minneapolis and Milwaukee are already planning solidarity rallies. We are asking others to join in and send your local information to www.StopFBI.net so we can add you to the list of solidarity rallies.

Detroit Rally:

Palestinian-American community activist and beloved women’s’ rights advocate Rasmea Yousef Odeh will be arraigned in the U.S. District Court, 231 W Lafayette Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan on Wednesday, November 13th. She’s battling an immigration charge that carries a possible 10 year prison sentence, and we’re urging supporters from across the Midwest to pack the courtroom in her support.
We’ll gather in front of the court building in Detroit at 12:30 on Wednesday, November 13 -- join us!

Chicagoans driving to Detroit Nov. 13: See: https://www.facebook.com/events/643177832392079/

2. Sign the solidarity petition with Rasmea Odeh

 Sign the Rasmea Odeh petition here!
We, the undersigned, demand that U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade stop the indictment of Rasmea Yousef Odeh and drop all federal charges.

Sixty-six year old Rasmea Odeh is a Palestinian-American feminist, activist, educator and community leader. She has served as the associate director of the Arab American Action Network (AAAN) in Chicago since 2004. For the past 10 years, Rasmea has built unprecedented community support for close to 600 Arab immigrant women on issues related to English literacy, gender violence, inter-generational cultural conflicts, racial profiling, immigrant rights, and access to social and economic resources. She has established community-wide education projects related to civil and human rights, social justice, and community economic development and workshops that allow Arab immigrant women to tell, write, and perform their immigration stories while improving their writing skills. In 2013, Rasmea received the "Outstanding Community Leader Award" from the Chicago Cultural Alliance, which described her as a woman who has "dedicated over 40 years of her life to the empowerment of Arab women, first in her homes of Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon, where she was an activist, and then the past 10 years in Chicago."

On October 22, the Department of Homeland Security arrested Rasmea in her home for alleged immigration fraud as part of an ongoing witch-hunt that targets Arabs and Muslims who criticize U.S. and Israeli policy and labels them “terrorists.”

Rasmea has been demanding justice for Palestinians for most of her life. Like the experience of approximately 20% of the total Palestinian population of the West Bank and Gaza, she spent time as a political prisoner in Israeli jails in the 1970’s. There, she was violently tortured and humiliated-- despite the international legal prohibition on torture and ill treatment.

Like their Israeli ally, the U.S. federal government has a history of targeting individuals who express public support for Palestine and over and over, Palestinian and Arab American activists are disproportionately targeted in such cases. According to the Palestine Solidarity Legal Support, their organization, in partnership with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Palestine Solidarity Legal Support (PSLC) in collaboration with the National Lawyers Guild and other organizations, “has documented over 75 cases of intimidation and legal bullying in 2013 alone. These include perceived surveillance, FBI contacts, and discriminatory enforcement of laws against advocates for Palestinian rights.” Now decades in the making, this U.S. government strategy targets Palestinian immigrants, Palestinian Americans, and their supporters in order to quell any and all support for Palestinian rights in the U.S. and globally. According to CCR and PSLC, it is no coincidence that federal prosecutors are now targeting Rasmea, who is a pillar in the same community where 23 anti-war and Palestinian rights activists, many who’s homes were raided by the FBI, were subpoenaed to testify before a Grand Jury in 2010. There have been no indictments against the 23 activists subpoenaed presumably because of a lack of evidence.

The U.S. government's portrayal of Palestinians as violent and inhuman fuels the case against Rasmea and as a result, the U.S. mainstream betrays Palestinians like Rasmea, leaving them with little support. The corporate media makes matters worse. By telling the story of Rasmea’s past as though she was a possible terrorist legitimately and legally arrested by the Israeli government, the media covers up that Israel occupies Palestinian land and arrests and tortures Palestinians systematically and illegally. The sensationalized media portrayal of Rasmea’s “terrorist past” dehumanizes Rasmea and justifies the ongoing state violence committed against her and the larger Arab American and Arab immigrant communities.

We stand in solidarity with Rasmea Yousef Odeh!
We demand the charges placed on Rasmea Yousef Odeh to be dropped immediately!

Sign the Rasmea Odeh petition here!

3. Anti-war 23 go to court, US Attorney says “Investigation ongoing”

Read the article on Fight Back!

Anti-war activists fight government secrecy in push to unseal documents on FBI raids
--U.S. attorney office cites ‘ongoing investigation’


By staff | November 1, 2013

St. Paul, MN - Two prominent anti-war and international solidarity activists, Jess Sundin and Mick Kelly, were in federal court here, Nov. 1, in a bid to pull back the curtain of government secrecy that surrounds the FBI raids on their homes on Sept. 24, 2010. In the hearing presided over by Judge Steven E. Rau; Bruce Nestor, the attorney for the plaintiffs, made a passionate argument for a motion to unseal the affidavits used to obtain the search warrants for the FBI raids.

Nestor told the court that the government cannot raid the homes of political activists without providing an explanation. He also spoke of the chilling effect the raids had on those exercising their First Amendment rights.

The Sept. 24, 2010 FBI raids struck seven homes in Minneapolis and Chicago and the office of the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee. A total of 23 activists were summoned to a Chicago grand jury investigating “material support for terrorism.” No one testified.

At the Nov. 1 hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Winter cited the ongoing investigation into the anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists as the “compelling government interest” in continuing to keep the documents under seal. Judge Rau stated that he will hold a closed ‘in camera’ hearing with Assistant U.S. Attorney Winter in 120 days, where Winter will report on the status and scope of the investigation. After that the judge will make periodic reviews (possibly every 90 days) of the order to keep the documents sealed.

Commenting on the Nov. 1 proceedings, Jess Sundin stated, “I came to court today hoping to hear that the investigation of myself and fellow activists was coming to a close and that the veil of secrecy and suspicion around us would be lifted. Instead, the government said the investigation is ongoing. While Assistant U.S. Attorney Winter didn't openly threaten indictments, he expressed that things could develop in our case any day. Given that the government is fighting to keep its secrets hidden, I think he was saying that one or more indictments may still be coming. Or perhaps he expects the investigation will widen, and other activists will be caught up in this shameful witch hunt.”

Sundin continued, “I left the courtroom with a sense of foreboding. We need to be prepared, in the event of indictments, possibly within the next few months. We need to defend others who are persecuted for their political ideas or who they are - such as Chicago’s Palestinian community leader Rasmea Odeh. Three years ago, many of us made arrangements for family members to put up their homes, in the event that we would need to make bail. It was a sobering moment after court today, when we were reminded that all of these preparations should be reviewed again today.”

Sundin and Kelly have long spoken out against U.S. wars and in support of oppressed people. Mick Kelly said, “This case is all about criminalizing those of us who stand with the struggles in Palestine and Colombia, those of us who work against U.S. wars. There is no doubt that the affidavits used to obtain the search warrants on our homes are full of lies and are an attack on protected political activity. We want to drag them into the light of day.


4. Free the Holy Land Five - Motion for exoneration, new evidence

New evidence hoped to free Holy Land Five
Submitted by Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada


A motion citing new evidence has been filed to exonerate five humanitarians who are imprisoned in the United States for providing aid to Islamic charities in Palestine, the Muslim Legal Fund of America announced yesterday.

The five defendants were prosecuted for their work with the Holy Land Foundation, which was the largest Islamic charity in the US before it was shut down without due process by an executive order issued by President George W. Bush in late 2001.

US attorneys argued that the men had provided material support for foreign terrorist organizations by funding charitable committees in the occupied West Bank which the government says are controlled by Hamas, a Palestinian political party and armed resistance organization which the US designated as a foreign terrorist organization in 1995.

The Muslim Legal Fund of America, a civil liberties group which has funded the defense of the Holy Land Five since 2007, summarized the lengthy court saga faced by the men after the Supreme Court declined to hear their case last year:

“The defendants faced two trials. The first ended in no convictions, but the judge ruled it a mistrial and granted prosecutors another opportunity to put the five men on trial. The second trial ended in convictions, with the key witness for the prosecution being an anonymous expert who defense attorneys were unable to adequately cross-examine – a fact at odds with the Sixth Amendment. 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.”

The defendants are serving prison sentences ranging between 15 to 65 years and some are being detained in Communications Management Units. These are incarceration facilities opened in secret in 2006 and 2008 and which are mainly populated by Muslim prisoners who are closely monitored and severely restricted from communicating with the outside world.

Motion for exoneration
The motion filed in federal district court in Texas last month argues that the Holy Land Foundation defendants should be exonerated of all charges on the basis of new evidence as well as the evidence presented at trial.

The motion argues that there was no factual basis to the government’s claims that Hamas controlled the Zakat Committees listed in the indictment and that the testimony of the government’s witnesses relied on “pure speculation.”

“Neither the government or the defense presented any testimony from any person with actual personal knowledge as to how the committees operated that would have addressed the question of whether Hamas controlled the committees,” the motion states.

Newly submitted affidavits from Palestinians who were members of the Zakat Committees named in the indictment during the time that they were supported by the Holy Land Foundation establish that Hamas did not control the committees, according to the motion.

Suppressed evidence
The motion refers to expert testimony by George Washington University political science professor Nathan Brown who was called by the defense for the first trial but not the second trial and whose “testimony refuted the government’s argument that Hamas controlled the Zakat Committees.”

The motion further states that defense attorneys provided inadequate counsel by failing to pursue a motion to suppress evidence obtained from the Holy Land Foundation’s offices without a warrant.

Further evidence suppressed by the prosecution, including materials seized from the Zakat Committees’ offices in Palestine currently housed in an Israeli military warehouse, could have proved the defendants’ innocence during the trial, the motion argues.

According to the motion, evidence suppressed by the prosecution demonstrates that the government entrapped the defendants. This includes comments made by the defendants during secretly recorded phone conversations which “indicate a desire to follow the law and a belief that they [were] following the law. The government, through their classification of these calls, denied the defendants’ access to the calls in order that all of these exculpatory conversations could be located for use at trial.”

Entrapment
The motion further argues that the defendants’ counsel was ineffective “for not requesting an entrapment defense instruction or pursuing an entrapment defense.”

Defendant Ghassan Elashi, on behalf of the Holy Land Foundation, along with representatives of other American Muslim organizations, met with the US Department of Treasury to seek guidance shortly after Hamas was designated a terror group in January 1995. The US government declined to provide the Holy Land Foundation and the other organizations with a “white list” of acceptable charities, the motion notes.

“These facts establish that the HLF defendants were attempting to comply with the law and that the government deliberately misled them into thinking they were doing so. This demonstrates no offense would have been committed but for the government’s conduct,” the motion states.

The motion also calls for vacating the sentences of the Holy Land Foundation defendants because of the constitutional vagueness of the application of the laws prohibiting material support to foreign terrorist organizations, given that the Zakat Committees named in the indictment were never designated as such.

Prosecuted for being Muslim
“An examination of the evidence, with a proper application of the law, will show that Hamas did not control these committees any more than the fact that a person is a member of the Republican party, and is an officer of Wal-Mart, means that the Republican party controlled Wal-Mart. The evidence simply shows that Zakat Committees were composed of community leaders, some of whom were Hamas sympathizers and some of whom were not,” the motion states.

The motion also claims that “The defendants in the Holy Land Foundation case were prosecuted for one reason, and one reason only: that they are Muslim” and that virtually all of the prosecutions under the statute barring material support to foreign terrorist organizations have targeted Muslims.

The attached exhibits supporting motion’s selective prosecution argument include “Various news articles showing non-Muslims alleged to have committed similar acts that were not prosecuted.”

The motion states regarding the selective protection of Muslims:

“A hearing should be held, and discovery ordered on this issue. If allowed this discovery and a hearing, the ugly underbelly of this prosecution will be revealed. These defendants and the Holy Land Foundation were targeted, prosecuted, and imprisoned based on their religion. The United States government has made policy decisions to ignore and not prosecute similar conduct by non-Muslims. The prosecution in this case was motivated by a discriminatory purpose and had a discriminating effect.”

See http://freedomtogive.com/ for background information.
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