Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Support for Muslim Prisoners in MARION

The following prisoners are being held at the U.S. penitentiary at Marion, IL.

You can write to any of them with this address format:
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 1000
Marion IL, 62959
Where a coordinator is indicated, you may wish to be in touch with the outreach coordinator to learn about the prisoner's preferences with respect to mail.

In general, letters should not refer to the prisoner's cases, other prisoners, and avoid politically sensitive topics. (See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.)

Please obtain the prisoner's permission to share the contents of their letters, if you will be making them available to SALAM Illinois. (You might include in your letter, "If you send me a letter, please indicate if it is okay to share the letter with other members of the SALAM Illinois group, and/or to publish the letter on the SALAM Illinois website.")

PRISONER Number Case SALAM Illinois
Outreach Coordinator
Clement Rodney Hampton-El 34854-054 NYC Landmarks TBA
El Sayyid Nosair 35074-054 NYC Landmarks TBA
Fares Khallafalla 34856-054 NYC Landmarks TBA
Ghassan Elashi 29687-177 Holy Land Foundation Joe Scarry
Ibrahim A. Elgabrowny 28054-054 NYC Landmarks TBA
Jeffrey Leon Battle 96638-011 Portland 7 Joe Scarry
Kifah Wael Jayyousi 39551-039 Jose Padilla Reem Jayyousi
Mohammad Zaki Amawi 30547-160 Toledo Terror Plot TBA
Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer 61283-066 Fort Dix TBA
Mohammed Saleh 34853-054 NYC Landmarks TBA
Viktor Bout 91641-054 TBA
Zachary Adam Chesser 76715-083 TBA

[NOTE: Table updated November 21, 2012]

Support for Muslim Prisoners in TERRE HAUTE

The following prisoners are being held at the U.S. penitentiary at Terre Haute, IN.

You can write to any of them with this address format:
P.O. BOX 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808
Where a coordinator is indicated, you may wish to be in touch with the outreach coordinator to learn about the prisoner's preferences with respect to mail.

In general, letters should not refer to the prisoner's cases, other prisoners, and avoid politically sensitive topics. (See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.)

Please obtain the prisoner's permission to share the contents of their letters, if you will be making them available to SALAM Illinois. (You might include in your letter, "If you send me a letter, please indicate if it is okay to share the letter with other members of the SALAM Illinois group, and/or to publish the letter on the SALAM Illinois website.")

PRISONER Number Case SALAM Illinois
Outreach Coordinator
Antonio Martinez 52856-037 TBA
Artur Tchibassa 25340-069 TBA
Christopher Paul 67216-061 TBA
Ehsanul Islam Sadequee 15240-006 Toronto 18 (related) Sharmin Sadequee
Eljvir Duka 61282-066 Fort Dix Joe Scarry
Farooque Ahmed 77315-083 TBA
Hosam Maher Husein Smadi 39482-177 TBA
Imran Mandhai 56175-004 South Florida
Jihad Mission
John Walker Lindh 45426-083 TBA
Kevin James 29214-112 CA Prison Plot TBA
Levar Haney Washington 29205-112 TBA
Marwan Othman El-Hindi 43530-060 TBA
Mohamed Rashed 22178-016 TBA
Mohammad El-Mezain TBA Holy Land Foundation TBA
Mokhtar Haouari 44949-054 TBA
Monzer Al Kassar 61111-054 TBA
Mufid Abdel Abdulqader 32590-177 Holy Land Foundation TBA
Russell Defreitas 64347-053 JFK Plot TBA
Shukri Abu-Baker 32589-177 Holy Land Foundation TBA
Tarek Mehanna 05315-748 TBA
Uzair Paracha 54896-054 TBA

[NOTE: Table updated December 8, 2012]

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

SALAM Illinois Outreach Coordinators

SALAM Illinois "outreach coordinators" are people who write regularly to a given prisoner, and who are in a position to accept and respond to queries from others who wish to correspond with that prisoner.

Contact Joe Scarry, the general coordinator for SALAM Illinois, at if you or your organization wants to be an outreach coordinator for a prisoner.

Outreach Coordinators for individual prisoners are introduced below.

Reem Jayyousi is a student at Wayne State University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. She is a twenty-one year old Arab American, who was born in California and has lived in America for most of her life. Her father is Palestinian and her mother is Egyptian. She is the daughter of Kifah Jayyousi, a political prisoner who is currently being held in one of America’s “little Gitmo’s”. She is one of Kifah’s five children, together with her two sisters (ages fifteen and sixteen) and twin brothers (age twenty-six).   Coordinator for: Kifah Jayyousi.

Joe Scarry is an IT consultant and antiwar activist based in Chicago. He is a member of St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square, and a participant in Chicago World Can't Wait, Midwest Antiwar Mobilization, and local other activist groups. He is currently working to spur the development of a nationwide network of grassroots anti-drones group. His blog is Scarry Thoughts. Email:  Coordinator for: Ghassan Elashi, Jeffrey Leon Battle, Eljvir Duka.

Joe Scarry is also the general coordinator for SALAM Illinois. Contact him at if you or your organization wants to be a supporter of SALAM Illinois.

SALAM Illinois - Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners

The following important guidelines are provided for letters written to prisoners:
  • do not discuss the prisoner's case
  • do not refer to other prisoners
  • do not write about politically sensitive topics
Here are some additional suggestions:
  • Write your letters in English and preferably by hand.
  • Keep it short. A one paragraph to one-page letter of moral support is enough.
  • If you want a reply or be pen pal with a prisoner, write your address inside the letter.
  • Do NOT discuss his/her legal case, politics, the legal system or other issues that may be hurtful or emotionally distressing for the prisoner.
  • Do NOT send other items, such as money, stamps, envelopes or paperclips and do NOT tape the envelope shut.
  • Write your letter from the heart.
  • You can send artworks, post cards, greetings cards etc as well.
For additional guidance and suggestions, please be in touch with the SALAM Illinois Outreach Coordinator indicated for the prisoner.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What is a CMU?

Many of the Muslim prisoners who have been preemptively prosecuted are held in "Communication Management Units (CMUs)." There are two CMUs in the United States: at Marion, IL, and Terre Haute, IN.

What is a CMU?

"CMUs, alone out of all general population units within the federal system, impose a categorical ban on any physical contact with visiting friends and family, including babies, infants, and minor children. To further social isolation, the BOP has placed severe restrictions on CMU prisoners’ access to phone calls and prison programming." (See: CCR Complaint - Aref v. BOP, section 2)

In other words, a "Communication Management Unit (CMU)" is modified form of solitary confinement characterized by:
  • no physical contact with family and friends;
  • extremely limited opportunity for non-contact visitation and other communication;
  • denial of programming; and
  • complete segregation from the rest of the prison population.
Each of these characteristics of the CMU is described below.

No physical contact with family and friends

"As a general matter, the BOP encourages contact visitation by family, friends, and community groups to maintain the morale of the inmate and to aid rehabilitation. ... The BOP has established procedures to prevent the passage of contraband and to ensure the security and good order of the institution. In that context, the BOP permits limited physical contact, such as handshaking, embracing, and kissing, between an inmate and a visitor, unless there is clear and convincing evidence that such contact would jeopardize the safety or security of the institution. The CMU ban on contact visits directly contradicts this explicit BOP policy. ... prolonged and indefinite ban on physical contact is extremely deleterious to Plaintiffs’ emotional and mental health and rehabilitation, and to maintenance of family integrity." (See: CCR Complaint - Aref v. BOP, section 37 ff. )

Extremely limited opportunity for non-contact visitation and other communication

(a) Limitations on non-contact visits

"As of January 3, 2010, CMU prisoners are now allowed eight hours of visiting time per month. No single visit can be scheduled for a period longer than four hours. Visits are permitted Sunday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. No visiting is allowed on Saturdays." This is distinctly more limited than visitation for prisoners in the general population. (See: CCR Complaint - Aref v. BOP, section 57 )

(b) Limitations on telephone calls

Generally, "BOP prisoners in general population are allowed 300 minutes of outgoing telephone calls per month. ... CMU prisoners are limited to 120 minutes of telephone calls a month. In addition: "CMU prisoners may only make a call if they sign up and designate the call recipient and the exact timing of the call one week in advance. If the recipient does not pick up the phone, or the call is cut off for some reason, CMU prisoners may not try the number again, nor are they allowed to call someone else instead." (See: CCR Complaint - Aref v. BOP, section 63 ff )

Denial of programming

BOP regulations provide for Release Preparation Program (“RPP”), and such programming is a mandatory requirement for prisoners within 30 months of release. There is a complete lack of such programming at the CMUs. (See: CCR Complaint - Aref v. BOP, section 71 )

Complete segregation from the rest of the prison population

"Although described as a 'general population housing unit,' prisoners in the CMU are segregated from other prisoners at both FCI Terre Haute and USP Marion and not allowed to have contact with non-CMU prisoners. The units are known and referred to throughout both prisons (and the BOP as a whole) as 'terrorist units.'" (See: CCR Complaint - Aref v. BOP, section 69 )

NOTE 1 re: solitary confinement equals torture: It is now widely recognized that CMUs and other forms of solitary confinement, because they constitute forms of severe sensory deprivation, are a form of torture. Sensory deprivation as a form of punishment (i.e. solitary confinement) is eschewed by most countries, and is now the subject of an abolition campaign in the United States. (See: New Amnesty International Report Exposes Severe, Inhumane Solitary Confinement Conditions for 3,000 California Prisoners)

NOTE 2 re: lack of due process in solitary confinement: Solitary confinement, including CMUs, constitute a penal-system-beyond-the-law, i.e. prisoners are subject to this treatment at the discretion of prison management, without procedural protections. FURTHERMORE, CMU assignment is at the discretion of managers at a level above site management; i.e. wardens, themselves, at Marion and Terre Haute have minimal opportunity for input and no decision authority. Duration of confinement in CMUs are of indefinite duration. (See CCR Complaint - Aref v. BOP, throughout )

NOTE 3: re: stigma of CMU solitary confinement: Pretexts for solitary confinement treatment generally fall into two categories: infractions (something the prisoner is accused of having done while in prison) or profiling (i.e. who the prisoner is). The CMU designation of Muslim prisoners has not been related to any legitimate penological purpose or substantiated information. Instead, their designation was based on their religion and/or perceived political beliefs, or in retaliation for other protected First Amendment activity. (See CCR Complaint - Aref v. BOP, section 69 )

For additional information, see: CCR Complaint - Aref v. BOP

Sunday, November 18, 2012

CAIR Chicago's Prison Project: Looking to Fair Treatment for Muslim Prisoners in Illinois

Locations of prisons throughout Illinois
"Inmates at Stateville Correctional Center always noticed how their Jewish and Christian counterparts were able to celebrate Passover and Christmas every year. Members of the Jewish community collaborated and collected food donations to distribute during Passover. The same was done by the Christian community for Christmas." CAIR Chicago worked with volunteers from the Bridgeview and Chicago Muslim communities to bring a Eid ul Fitr celebration to the inmates after fasting during the month of Ramadan.

This is just one example of the work that CAIR Chicago is doing to assure that fair treatment is provided to Muslim prisoners in Illinois and elsewhere. Assuring proper accomodations for Muslim prisoners includes things like: access for Friday prayers, meal/dietary needs, Korans and other literature, and observance of the major Muslim holidays.

Some of the groups that CAIR Chicago works with in these efforts include:
The Prison Project is seeking additional volunteers, including from the Southern Illinois Muslim community, to partner in providing a meal for the next Eid.

“There is a great need for volunteers to lead Jum’mah at prisons, to provide educational seminars, as well as donations for Qur’ans, prayer rugs, tasbeehs, and Islamic literature. We want this to be a regular occurrence for Muslim inmates across Illinois and the Chicagoland area,” said Staff Attorney Rabya Khan. (If you’d like to contribute your services, donate goods, or find out more on how to help, please contact Rabya Khan at

More information at: "The Prison Project: Long overdue Eid ul Fitr celebration for Muslim inmates" on the CAIR Chicago website.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Agent Provacateur Par Excellence: The NYC Landmarks Case

By now, most people have heard of the infamous "Blind Sheik," and have a vague impression about a plot to blow up New York City landmarks. Many think the case is connected to an attack on the World Trade Center. (The only connection is that the WTC bombing shares the same agent provacateur.)

In fact, five Muslim men who were swept up in the case of the "Blind Sheik" are currently incarcerated in the CMU in Marion.

As explained in "Victims of America's Dirty Wars":
[T]he government paid a million dollars to a former associate of Abdel Rahman’s essentially to frame the Sheikh and his associates. As in other cases of entrapment, the agent provocateur worked diligently to create a conspiracy, which involved a truck bomb directed at the UN, so that there would be a real crime to prosecute. Other defendants were swept up in the conspiracy . . . . (p. 45)
The agent provacateur in the case was F.B.I.'s chief informer in the case, Emad Salem, a former Egyptian Army officer. Salem was also a key witness in the trial of Ramzi Yousef, Abdul Hakim Murad, and Wali Khan Amin Shah, convicted in the World Trade Center Bombing of February 26, 1993.

As the New York Times reported at the conclusion of the trial in 1995, "Mr. Abdel Rahman has long considered Mr. Mubarak an archenemy and urged that his Government be overthrown -- an exhortation that Mr. Abdel Rahman continued after leaving his native Egypt in 1990 and arriving in the United States later that year." (This is an "accusation" that takes on a different meaning in light of the Arab Spring and the euphoria over the popular Tahrir Square movement in Egypt that ended in the ouster of Mubarak.)

The trial was also notable for the bias shown by Federal Judge Michael B. Mukasey. "This country has experienced militant fascism that failed and militant communism that failed," Judge Mukasey said, adding that "you and the others sentenced today will never be in a position to commit such crimes again."


The broad outlines of the case are provided in "Victims of America's Dirty Wars":
In 1993, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman (the “Blind Sheikh”) and ten other co-defendants were charged with conspiracy to bomb New York City landmarks, including two tunnels, the UN, and FBI headquarters (ironically, the landmarks did not include the World Trade Center, although the public often erroneously believes that Abdel Rahman was convicted of plotting to bomb the World Trade Center). There was no doubt that Abdel Rahman was an outspoken critic of the corrupt secular government of Egypt and urged that it be overthrown. But he denied that he inspired terrorism or that he was leading any conspiracy in this country, and there was little evidence involving him in the landmarks case.
As described above, "the government paid a million dollars to a former associate of Abdel Rahman’s essentially to frame the Sheikh and his associates."


Currently, five men convicted in this case in 1995 are held at Marion. Three were convicted of seditious conspiracy, bombing conspiracy and attempted bombing:

Mohammed Saleh (b. 1956)
A Jordanian immigrant who came to the United States around 1977. Sentence: 35 years.

Clement Rodney Hampton-El (b. 1938)
An American-born Muslim, who was injured when he was a fighter in Afghanistan during the U.S.-backed resistance to the Russian invasion. Sentence: 35 years.

Fares Khallafalla (b. 1962)
From Jersey City. Sentence: 30 years.

In addition, two men incarcerated at Marion were convicted on a different combination of charges:

El Sayyid Nosair (b. 1955)
Convicted of conspiracy; of the murder of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the Zionist militant; of assault on two others at the Kahane shooting site. Sentence: life in prison.

Ibrahim A. Elgabrowny (b. 1950)
Convicted of seditious conspiracy; assault of a Federal agent and city police detective seeking to search his home after the World Trade Center bombing; possession of false identification documents and false passports. An Egyptian immigrant and cousin of Mr. Nosair, he was accused of being Mr. Nosair's "eyes and ears on the outside" after he was imprisoned in the Kahane case. Sentence: 57 years.

The others convicted in the same case are: Victor Alvarez, Tarig Elhassan, Fadil Abdelghani, and Amir Abdelgani, as well as Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, himself. [Source: Sheik Sentenced to Life in Prison in Bombing Plot.]


Write to the five men in the NYC Landmarks case being held at Marion:

Mohammed Saleh
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 1000
Marion IL, 62959

See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

Clement Rodney Hampton-El
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 1000
Marion IL, 62959

See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

Fares Khallafalla
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 1000
Marion IL, 62959

See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

El Sayyid Nosair
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 1000
Marion IL, 62959

See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

Ibrahim A. Elgabrowny
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 1000
Marion IL, 62959

See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

Friday, November 16, 2012

"Charlie Wilson's War" and Kifah Jayyousi

Kifah Jayyousi is one of the numerous U.S. citizens who have been prosecuted for supporting Muslim freedom fighters in the period prior to 1995 when the U.S. government, itself, was funneling enormous sums of money to such Muslim fighters in the former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. Jayyoussi was given a twelve year prison term and is currently in Terre Haute.


The Jayyousi case is profiled in "Victims of America's Dirty Wars":
Kifah Jayyousi was tried, along with Adham Hassoun and Jose Padilla, on material support for terrorism charges in Florida in 2007. Jayyousi was convicted of only three counts. He was a well-respected engineer who had, like Enaam Arnaout, provided aid to Muslim fighters prior to 1995, when they were not opposed to the U.S. Everything Jayyousi was convicted of doing took place during the time period before 9/11 and was not directed against the U.S. Nevertheless, Jayyousi was sentenced to twelve years, and is at the Terre Haute CMU.

Jayyousi was convicted for supporting Muslim fighters in places and at times when the U.S. was supporting those same Muslim fighters. It is well known that the U.S. provided military aid and training in the 1980s to the mujahideen in Afghanistan, including Osama bin Laden, because they were fighting the Soviets. (See the book and movie, Charlie Wilson’s War, about how the U.S. secretly involved itself in the Afghanistan conflict against the Soviets.) Then in the 1990s, the U.S., as part of a UN force, joined the war in the former Yugoslavia on the side of the Bosnian Muslims, who were the victims of a genocidal campaign by Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. So even though Jayyousi financially supported the same people that the United States supported militarily, he was later targeted and prosecuted for these previously applauded actions. (p. 46)
As explained by his daughter, "The charges against him were the result of charitable contributions he made to an organization in Bosnia in the 1990s. Prior to his arrest, Kifah had been chief facilities director for the Washington, D.C., public school system, and then an adjunct professor at Wayne State University. He had also served in the U.S. Navy. When he was convicted in 2007, the judge noted for the record that there was no evidence linking [him] to specific acts of violence anywhere. The judge also said that he was 'the kind of neighbor that people would want in a community.' In June 2008, Kifah was transferred to the federal Communications Management Unit (CMU) in Terre Haute, Ind." (See “Isn’t that a terrorist?” No, it's a young girl. And with her father jailed on questionable terror-related charges, she's growing up alone at


Kifah Jayyousi is currently held at Marion. Write to him at this address:

Kifah Jayyousi
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 1000
Marion IL, 62959

See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

SALAM Illinois Outreach Coordinator: Reem Jayyousi

More information at:

[UPDATE: Below are excerpts from a letter Reem Jayoussi received from her father in November, 2012. "My father served in the Navy, and this past Veterans Day he wrote this," she said.]

"Monday will be Veterans' Day, and I read that most famous restaurants are giving a free meal to vets, including Chili's, Fridays, Apple Bee's, and Olive garden, so maybe you can take my Navy uniform with all the commendation medals that I received and go to Olive garden :=)) If they ask you where am I? Please don't tell them that the country I served convicted me of being an "enemy terrorist" and threw me in a CMU for 5 years to make sure I don't hug my wife and kids. These evil people can lie about so many things, but they can't deny that I served in Reagan's Navy that won the cold war against its arch enemy, the USSR. There is so much history that will be written with hard evidence and court transcripts that shows the oppression we have experienced for just being Arab American Muslims. Allah will indeed defend us." -Kifah Jayyousi"

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Dangerous Chat": The Case of Shifa Sadequee

In April, 2006, a young American man named Ehsanul Islam “Shifa” Sadequee was about to return from his wedding in Bengaldesh when he was kidnapped by agents of the U.S. government. Thus began the long odyssey of Shifa Sadequee, now in Terre Haute.

Sadequee was subjected to extraordinary rendition, torture in solitary confinement, and illegitimate compulsion using the tools of government "plea bargain" demands. As far as anyone can tell, this was all based on chat room conversations -- though even that's unclear because of government refusal to present evidence about the alleged chats. "Victims of America's Dirty Wars" explains this phenomenon further:
About this case, the U.S. Attorney stated, “We can’t wait until something happens, or until things get very close to happening. I think we all learned on September 11, 2001 that we don’t wait anymore.” But surely we still have to wait for a crime to be committed before we convict someone of it. Like the other cases described in this section, no crime was committed; the government simply created one based on guilt by association.


As further explained in "Victims of America's Dirty Wars":
In the Toronto 18 case . . . a group of young Muslim men in Canada attended several training camps and also engaged in considerable general online discussions about jihad and their obligations as Muslim men. Consquently, the U.S. government looked for U.S. “associates” of the Toronto 18 and focused on Ehsanul Islam “Shifa” Sadequee, 20, and Syed Haris Ahmed, 22, both from Atlanta, Georgia, who were involved in these online discussions, although no plans had been formed to do anything illegal. Based on evidence from 2004 and 2005, Sadequee was charged with supporting a foreign terrorist organization, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LET), a group struggling to liberate Muslim-dominated Kashmir from India––although LET was not designated as a terrorist organization in the U.S. in 2005 and did not even exist as an organization then. The evidence against Sadequee included online chats between teenagers and religious literature that he had translated from Arabic to English and published online. He was also accused of sending videos of tourist sites in Washington, D.C. to his online friends, who supposedly were in contact with LET. However, the government could not demonstrate a single conversation or sentence from the online chats about plans or plots for attacking these sites.

Sadequee, a U.S. citizen, had gone to Bangladesh to get married. On April 17, 2006, he and his wife were returning home when he was kidnapped by Bangladesh authorities at the request of the U.S. government. No one knew where he was for four days. His father requested the help of journalists and the public in finding his son, but the Bangladesh government kept silent. What had actually happened was that the FBI had kidnapped Sadequee and flown him via Alaska to New York aboard a “secret” CIA plane, stripping off his clothes and wrapping him in a plasticlike material during the flight. The High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh later declared Sadequee’s detention, deportation, and handover to U.S. authorities illegal because it violated international laws.

In New York, Sadequee was charged with making a false statement to the FBI. However, in pretrial hearings, the FBI revealed Sadequee had never lied to them; rather, it was the FBI who had lied in the initial indictment to capture him: while he was in Bangladesh, FBI agents had communicated with him via e-mail and chat forums, pretending to be his teenaged friends. In addition, the government had searched his luggage and found a map of Washington, D.C. This, coupled with his sending videos of tourist sites in Washington, D.C. to his online friends, apparently caused the government to reinterpret these normal activities as something sinister, although prosecutors conceded that Sadequee was not discussing a terrorist plot; at best, they claimed that he was trying to get in contact with terrorists abroad, and that he was in some way “associated” with the Toronto 18, since he and Syed Haris Ahmad had met with some of those young men.

Sadequee was jailed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) for three and half months before the government transferred him to the Atlanta Penitentiary in August 2006. Prosecutors offered him a plea bargain: in exchange for dropping three charges, he would plead guilty to one count of material support for terrorism, agree to identify other teenagers from the chats, and testify against Syed Haris Ahmed and other Muslims who were also facing similar charges. Sadequee refused. In Atlanta, he was placed in solitary confinement for over 1,300 days. He was kept in a room that was approximately 12 feet by 8 feet with no windows or proper ventilation. During this time, his health declined significantly.

The evidence at trial demonstrated that Sadequee did not send videos to LET; that he did not send his co-defendant, Ahmed, to Pakistan to join LET; and that Ahmed never joined LET despite multiple opportunities to do so. Information related to Sadequee’s kidnapping in Bangladesh was not presented to the jury. The majority of government witnesses were FBI agents who had not participated in the online chats but were allowed to interpret this evidence; no actual participants from the chats testified to interpret them. No act of violence had been committed by Sadequee or anyone else, but the connections to other teenagers (particularly the Toronto 18) were used as evidence only because they too were Muslims. The word “jihad” and quotations from the Qur’an with mistranslated interpretations were also used as evidence. Religious expression and the debates of teenagers were taken out of context by the government to paint them all as terrorists and to preemptively prosecute them. All the actual chats, where the teenagers discussed and criticized Freemasonry and their Global New World Order agenda, remained classified and were not presented to the jury. Sadequee was convicted and sentenced to seventeen years.

The case against Syed Haris Ahmed was similar to the one against Sadequee. In March 2006, the FBI visited Ahmed in downtown Atlanta, asked about a recent trip to Washington D.C., and indicated that they knew all about his chat room activities and another recent trip to Canada. They also said that if he would testify against Sadequee, they would leave him alone; otherwise, he might be arrested. Later they interviewed him for more than eighteen hours stretched over a week without an attorney present, and also threatened to involve his family if he did not say or admit what they wanted. Ahmed refused to testify against Sadequee, and on March 23, 2006 he was arrested and charged with four counts of material support for a foreign terrorist organization (LET), supposedly for sending them a video of tourist sites in Washington, D.C. and for trying to join them to get military training so he could perform “violent jihad.”

As with Sadequee, the district attorney offered a plea bargain: three charges would be dropped if Ahmed would plead guilty to one count of material support for LET and agree to testify against Sadequee and some other Muslims who were also facing such charges. Ahmed refused, and instead chose a bench trial (only a judge would hear the evidence and decide on a verdict, not a jury) in June 2009, thinking it would be fairer than a jury trial. Although the prosecution could not prove that Ahmed made any attempt to join LET, the judge found Ahmed guilty of the one count of material support, but reduced the prosecutor’s demand for a sentence of fifteen years to thirteen, followed by thirty years of supervised release.
More information can be found on the website: Free Shifa.


Shifa Sadequee is currently being held at Terre Haute. Write to him at this address:

Ehsanul Islam Sadequee
P.O. BOX 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808

See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

More information at:
Free Shifa

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Dhafir Case and the Danger of Exposing U.S. War Crimes

Dr. Rafil Dhafir responded with humanitarian aid to the humanitarian crisis caused by the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 1990. In the course of that work, he exposed U.S. government actions that many consider war crimes. For his efforts, Dr. Dhafir was prosecuted by the U.S. government and is now incarcerated at Terre Haute.

As "Victims of America's Dirty Wars" explains, the Dhafir case epitomizes the government abuses that Project SALAM and SALAM Illinois were established to counter: the U.S. government "simply framed him for Medicare fraud and then called it terrorism. This is precisely what preemptive prosecution is all about: convicting people of contrived crimes for ideological reasons." (p. 23)


The case is profiled at length in "Victims of America's Dirty Wars", and it bears repeating in detail:
Dr. Rafil Dhafir, born in Iraq and naturalized as an American citizen, is a highly regarded oncologist from Syracuse, New York, who became concerned about the humanitarian catastrophe created by the Gulf War and the UN sanctions imposed on Iraq. After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait on August 1, 1990, more bombs were dropped on Iraq in a six-week period than were dropped by all parties during World War II. In total, these were at least six times more powerful than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan. Some bombs contained depleted uranium, which was spread across the country. All major bridges, communication systems, and water purification systems were bombed, and the UN never allowed them to be repaired. Nor were hospitals and schools spared. As a result of the bombing and the sanctions, the health and education systems in Iraq went from being the best in the region to being the worst.

After the war, according to the UN’s own statistics, throughout the 1990s 6,000 children under the age of five in Iraq died every month from lack of food and access to simple medicines as a result of the U.S.-led sanctions. Three senior UN officials resigned because of what they considered a “genocidal” policy against Iraq. The number of civilians killed as a direct result of the sanctions rose to between 1.5 and 2 million.

It was in direct response to this humanitarian catastrophe that Dr. Dhafir founded the Help the Needy charity in 1990, and for thirteen years he worked tirelessly to help publicize the plight of the Iraqi people and to raise funds to help them. According to the U.S. government, Dr. Dhafir donated $1.4 million of his own money over the years. As an oncologist, he was particularly concerned about the effects of depleted uranium on the Iraqi population, which was experiencing skyrocketing cancer rates.

In 2003 (just weeks before the U.S. invasion of Iraq), Dr. Dhafir was arrested, and Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that “funders of terrorism” had been apprehended. On that same day, 150 local Muslim families were interrogated because they had donated to his charity. However, no charges of terrorism were ever brought against Dr. Dhafir. Instead, he was charged with violating the Iraqi embargo and was held without bail for nineteen months until his trial in October 2004.

When Dr. Dhafir refused to accept a plea agreement, twenty-five additional charges of Medicare fraud were added. Medicare fraud usually involves fictitious patients and non-existent treatments; Dr. Dhafir’s case had none of this. The government never denied that his patients received appropriate care, treatment, and medicines; rather, it claimed that because Dr. Dhafir was sometimes not present in his office when patients were treated, Medicare forms were improperly rendered and did not reflect treatment by someone else other than Dr. Dhafir. Illogically, the government argued that if Dr. Dhafir’s forms were not correctly filled out, he was not entitled to any reimbursement for treatments actually given or for the expensive chemotherapy his office had actually administered, and so he was guilty of Medicare fraud. (In fact, Dr. Dhafir, a very compassionate man, treated people without health insurance and paid for medicine for those who could not afford it out of his own pocket.)

Other companies violated the Iraq embargo and were merely told by the U.S. government to stop. Other doctors ran into trouble trying to bill under the confusing Medicare formula and were merely told to straighten out their billing. But Dr. Dhafir was prosecuted as though he were a career criminal. After he was convicted, the government switched theories again and claimed at sentencing––without proof––that Dr. Dhafir was engaged in financing terrorism. He was sentenced to twenty-two years in the notorious Muslim CMU in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Priscilla Dhafir, Dr. Dhafir’s wife and also his bookkeeper, was also charged and eventually pleaded guilty to one count of lying to a government agent: she had told a government agent that her husband was present in his medical office on a day that he had not been. At the trial, while she testified about the intricacies of Medicare reimbursement, a large screen opposite the jury featured an excerpt from the Medicare Handbook, which said that in the event of a billing error “a refund would be requested” by the government. This was the backdrop as Mrs. Dhafir described the mayhem at her house on the day of her husband’s arrest. After her husband left for work at 6:30 a.m., the doorbell rang, and before she could answer it, five FBI agents battered down the door. Finding Mrs. Dhafir in her nightclothes, they held guns to her head. Helicopters and local media hovered over the house as eighty-five government agents rummaged through the house all day. Mrs. Dhafir spent the day in her nightclothes and was not even allowed to shut the door when she went to the bathroom.

Although at trial the government claimed that Dr. Dhafir’s prosecution was not related to terrorism, the government now includes him, Mrs. Dhafir, and their accountant on their lists of convicted terrorists. Unlike the Holy Land defendants, the government could not charge Dr. Dhafir with supporting a terrorist organization like Hamas. No listed terrorist organizations existed in Iraq because Saddam Hussein would not permit it. (p. 22-23)
More information on the Dhafir case can be found on the website: Dhafir Trial: Information about Dr. Rafil Dhafir.


Currently, Dr. Dhafir was recently transferred from Terre Haute. Write to him here:

Dr. Rafil A. Dhafir
P.O. BOX 879
AYER, MA 01432

See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

Dr. Dhafir has a large support committee based in his home community of Syracuse, NY. There is extensive detail at: Dhafir Trial: Information about Dr. Rafil Dhafir

Saturday, November 10, 2012

When Thinking About Liberation Struggles is Turned into a Crime: "Training Camp" Cases and The Portland 7

Preemptive prosecution in the case of
Government charging strategies:
"Material support"
"Conspiracy" YES
Old charges
False statements/perjury
Other government coercion strategies:
Solitary confinement
Other abusive government practices:
T A R G E T E D  A C T I V I T I E S
Acquiescing to informant suggestions
Protected speech
Associating with others
Handling information
Liberation movement membership
Charity financing
Attending a training camp
Read more about preemptive prosecution
update: 12/5/12
The U.S. Constitution protects freedom of thought, freedom of expression, and includes a prohibition on the infringement of the right to bear arms. A large number of U.S. citizens engage in activities that exemplify these protections -- individually and in combination. Since 9/11, however, an exception seems to have been made for Muslims. Constitutional freedoms are disregarded in order to enable law enforcement to mount highly-publicized prosecutions of Muslims who engage in "training camp" activity.


"Victims of America's Dirty Wars" explains this phenomenon further:
Many Muslims have been given long prison sentences for attending training camps, and even for attempting (unsuccessfully) to join a training camp abroad to fight abroad. There is, of course, nothing illegal about attending training camps. Paramilitary groups in the U.S. with extreme ideological agendas, ranging from white supremacists to anti-government ideologues to religious fanatics to hate groups, regularly hold training camps in the woods to practice weapons training and ideological indoctrination. The KKK has a training camp near Washington; nobody bothers them because indoctrination and weapons training is constitutionally protected free speech and exercise of the Second Amendment right to bear arms. The criminal line is crossed only when such groups conspire to commit a specific crime. However, preemptive prosecution makes an exception for Muslims. Muslims are regularly targeted and convicted for attending training camps inside or outside the U.S., even if no specific crime is ever discussed.

There is a long tradition of U.S. citizens going to fight in foreign conflicts. Americans fought in the Spanish Civil War, the Irish “troubles,” the Israeli conflicts, the Russian Revolution, and many other conflicts in which the U.S. was officially neutral. Merely going abroad to training camps––or even fighting––is not illegal, as long as the Americans do not support America’s official enemies. Representative Peter King (R–NY), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and instigator of the recent “King hearings” on the radicalization of Muslims, is a good example, having traveled to northern Ireland and supported the IRA when it killed civilians. But material support laws make an exception for Muslims, who are convicted merely for trying to join a training camp abroad, even when the training camp is directed at the liberation of Chechnya or Kashmir or Palestine or some other area where America is formally neutral.

It is natural for American Muslims to feel strongly about the conflicts abroad that involve their ancestral homelands, where they have family and cultural ties. When they see their ancestral families and culture threatened in places like Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine, Bosnia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran, they naturally want to defend the people and culture they love, and believe that defending these people and culture will not in any way hurt the U.S. Romantic, idealistic, and self-sacrificing young men (and women) are often those most attracted to defend such foreign homelands. (See For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway.) Thus it seems particularly harsh that even unsuccessful attempts to attend training camps abroad by Muslims should be punished by long prison terms.

It is also difficult to know how seriously the young men will react to the training camps. Is it just romantic talk that will quickly be forgotten, or might it lead to something else? Each person reacts differently. Yet preemptive prosecution assumes that each Muslim who attends a training camp will emerge a committed warrior against the U.S. The result is that young Muslim men who may not have any interest in violence may nonetheless be convicted of terrorism and incarcerated for long periods of time after attending a camp.


As further explained in "Victims of America's Dirty Wars":
On September 29, 2001, Jeffrey Leon Battle, Patrice Lumumba Ford, and Habis Abdulla Al Saoub were discovered by a law enforcement officer target-shooting in a gravel pit. A few weeks later, they left on a journey to Afghanistan, China, and Bangladesh and returned separately to the U.S. in late 2001 and early 2002. In 2002, the group traveled to China, supposedly for the purpose of entering Afghanistan and joining the Taliban. However, they were turned back at the border, and all but Al Saoub returned to the U.S. On October 3, 2002, the group was indicted for trying (unsuccessfully) to join a terrorist organization. All of the defendants eventually pleaded guilty, except for Al Saoub, who was never caught and was killed in Afghanistan in October 2003.


Currently, Jeffrey Leon Battle is held in the CMU at Marion. His release date is set for March 26, 2019.

None of the Portland 7 is held at Terre Haute.

Information on other members of the Portland 7:
  • Patrice Lumumba Ford is serving an eighteen-year sentence (i.e. same as Jeffrey Leon Battle).
  • October Martinique Lewis was sentenced to three years in a work camp.
  • Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal received a ten year sentence, but is believed to have been released.
  • Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal received an eight [ten?] year sentence, but is believed to have been released.
  • As indicated above, Habis Abdulla Al Saoub died after going to Afghanistan.
  • Maher “Mike” Hawash - sentenced to seven years and was released in 2009.


Write to Jeffrey Leon Battle in Marion:

Jeffrey Leon Battle
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 1000
Marion IL, 62959

See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

SALAM Illinois Outreach Coordinator: Joe Scarry

[UPDATE: Below are excerpts from a letter received on November 30 from Jeffrey Leon Battle.]

NOVEMBER 20, 2012

Dear Joe Scarry,

How are you? Fine, I sincerely hope. I must say that I am very pleased to have received your letter that you wrote me.

By your letter I can tell that you are a very kind, and genuinely concerned with the plight of those of us in the world who have been victims of oppression. You might not as of yet overstand the statement that I am about to make, but I assure you that it is coming from a sincere and honest place.

* * *

We all are a part of the human family, we are all creature who are sustained by God Almighty. We all have a purpose for our very existence, and we strive and struggle to meet and live up to that proper and correct way of life, that could bring all of humanity in harmony with the will and way of God Almighty's righteous path.

Joe, you are about 10 years wise than me, I'll be 43 years young next month on the 29th day. We both are babies according to the recorded life span of man in the Bible. I'm sorry to hear about your 2 divorces; I know that going through that took an emotional tool on you as well as your children. I have one son and I love him tremendously infinite. The last time I saw him or spoke to him he was 6 years old. And as of last month he is now 17 years of age.

What most people do not overstand about prison, is that it is much like being dead and buried in a grave. For the most part it is like, out of sight out of mind. How people walk away from the grave yard and hardly ever return again except to leave some flowers every once in a while . . . .

* * *

Here is a little bit more about me. I too also like to travel. I've been to Mexico, Canada, South Korea, Hong Kong, and mainland China. I've also been to Bangladesh. I have a fascination with languages. I can read and write Hebrew, Arabic, and I can speak a little Spanish, Swahili, Bengali, and just a little bit of English :-). I enjoy doing yoga. I meditate and of course pray at least 5 times a day. When I'm motivated I also enjoy jogging for about 1 hour every other day, but it's been some time since I've done that. I also enjoy writing poetry and songs. I like to sing and I would like to learn how to play guitar. I've been known to paint as well as crochet. When I was out in the so called free world I was a Certified Nurses Assistant. I worked in hospitals, in rehabilitation clinics, and elderly homes. I also started my own security company. I have the desire to become a chef. I would like to live on one of the islands and open up a vegan restaurant and teach yoga and run every morning for 1 hour on the sandy beaches. Although it is a priority for me to make it to Paradise in the hereafter, I do intend to show Allah's Creation that he has blessed us with its proper due appreciation. I refused to look past the detailed beauty of it all, especially when I can see that it all is pointing us towards our heavenly God. I am concerned with the Earth as well as with animals being treated and cared for with love and proper respect as the Creation of God, gift for all of humanity.

* * *

I've always been a kind hearted, generous, and loving, and affectionate person. I'm also gullible because I take people at face value, for me to be otherwise would drive me crazy from always being suspicious of people motivation. In the prison environment everybody is unhappy for the most part. It is rare to see anybody smile, except for those of us who are believers and spiritually inclined. Everything is harsh, there are no smiles from staff or officer or inmates. It's all about speaking to each other in a rude manner, display of anger, violence or threats of some sort of punishment. And I feel sorry for them all, because they are all God's creatures, and life is meant to be enjoyed. They all seem miserable. Hatred, anger, negativity in general is the prevalent evil spirit of the prison institution. But I strive to stay clear, and disassociate myself from negativity as much as I can control. I strive to stay positive and in the spirit of loving kindness as best as I can in this environment.

* * *

I appreciate your letter that you wrote me, and I hope pray that Allah almighty God continue to guide you towards his pure light and path of truth. Ma Salaam. One Love One Heart One Aim One Destiny. Freedom, Peace, and Justice for all.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Finding Plots Where No Plots Exist: The Fort Dix 5

After 9/11, U.S. government authorities recognized the public relations importance of being able to show the public that they had their hands on "terrorists" who had an intention to commit illegal acts -- before those acts actually occurred. As a result, they have employed agents provocateur to try to convince Muslim men to do or say things that can be characterized as part of a "plot" to engage in terrorism.

A quintessential example of this type of case is the Fort Dix 5. Today, two of the defendants in that case are in Marion or Terre Haute.

"Victims of America's Dirty Wars" explains this phenomenon further:
The government has made extensive use of agents provocateur to create contrived crimes with which to entrap innocent or unaware Muslims who have no interest in terrorism. Sometimes these agents provocateur have targeted certain individuals for preemptive prosecution because of information obtained by the government on a tip or through secret surveillance. On other occasions, these agents have simply hung around mosques, offering money and friendship to anyone who would join them in jihad. The cases below illustrate both kinds of tactics.

Agents provocateur are trained to manipulate people, find their weak spots, and offer large sums of money to manufacture crimes. They pursue their targets for years, sometimes posing as friends––sometimes even moving into their homes––in order to secretly tape-record enough information to manufacture cases of material support for terrorism. Hundreds of people, mostly Muslims, who had no interest or involvement in terrorism have been convicted of thought crimes or contrived charges manufactured by the FBI and given sentences of many decades or life in prison.8 Significantly, in none of these cases was anyone killed or injured, nor was any property damaged or money stolen. The FBI claims it anticipated and prevented these crimes before they happened, but it is unlikely that most of the crimes would have occurred, and in any event anticipation of criminal activity is not a valid basis to prosecute someone. Many defendants are now serving long prison terms essentially for exercising rights guaranteed to other Americans under the Constitution.
More more information on this type of case, see Targeted and Entrapped: Manufacturing the “Homegrown Threat” in the U.S., a May 2011 report of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice of New York University School of Law, which focuses on three agent provocateur cases: the Newburgh 4, the Fort Dix 5, and the case of Matin Siraj.


As further explained in "Victims of America's Dirty Wars":
In January 2006, a store clerk in South Jersey, New Jersey gave the FBI a videotape of some young men riding horseback, having a pillow fight, shooting guns at a firing range, and shouting Islamic phrases. The men––brothers Eljvir, Dritan, and Shain Duka, along with Mohammed Shnewer and Serdar Tatar––had given the videotape of their family vacation together in the Pocono Mountains to the clerk to duplicate.

The FBI decided that the group looked suspicious and sent in two agents provocateur to try to entrap the young men in criminal activity. The agents showered attention on the young men and used money and manipulation to try to create an interest in jihad. They asked the young men to download jihadist videos, taunted them for their lack of resolve to take action, and followed them around with hidden tape recorders to record every word spoken. When the other youths were not present, one agent talked in general terms with one of the targets, Mohammed Shnewer, about how someone could theoretically attack the Fort Dix army base. In response to the agent’s repeated demands, another defendant, Serdar Tatar, gave the agent a map of the Fort Dix base, which his father used to deliver pizza there. (Tatar thought that the agent was suspicious and reported him to the local police, who told him not to worry about it.) The other agent then persuaded the Duka brothers to buy some guns, supposedly for target shooting in the Poconos.

At this point, the whole group was arrested and charged with conspiracy to attack Fort Dix, even though no plans had been made to attack anything and most of the defendants had never had any conversation about any plan to attack Fort Dix. The government claimed that the men had formed a conspiracy to commit jihad, and so under the law each member of the conspiracy was responsible for the acts of every other member, even if he knew nothing about the acts. The Dukas were responsible for Shnewer’s conversations with the agent about how to theoretically attack Fort Dix, although they knew nothing about it; Shnewer was responsible for the Dukas buying guns, even though he knew nothing about it. And both the Dukas and Shnewers were responsible for the map of Fort Dix that Tatar had obtained from his father. This illustrates a typical government strategy, which is to try and divide defendants by using them differently, in the hope they will attack each other at trial. Since no one person knows the whole “plot,” anything bad becomes “foreseeable” and is therefore attributable to all members. Thus the “plot” becomes a “conspiracy” and ramps up the charges against all of them. The five men were eventually convicted and sentenced to life plus thirty years (i.e., their sentences will expire thirty years after they have died.)

The young men who became the Fort Dix 5 were foreign-born, but they had grown up American. Three of them ran a roofing business together. All of the defendants are vouched for by a community of supporters who know the character of the defendants, know that they are not terrorists, and know that they had no intention of hurting anyone. They are men with families, people who love America, people who support their communities. They had everything to lose and little, if anything, to gain by becoming involved in the FBI plot.
More information on the Fort Dix 5 can be found on the Project SALAM website: Fort Dix 5 - Five Innocent Men May be Sentenced to Life+ in Prison for the "Crime" of Being Muslim Men.


Currently, two of the Fort Dix 5 prisoners are held at either Marion and Terre Haute.


Mohammed Ibrahim Shnewer was sentenced to life in prison and is being held in the CMU at Marion.

Terre Haute

Eljvir Duka was sentenced to life in prison and is being held at the Terre Haute FCI.

(The three other defendants in the case are being held elsewhere: Florence, CO, Admax USP (Dritan Duka - life sentence, Shain Duka - life plus) and Tuscon USP (Serdar Tatar - 33 yrs).


Write to the two Fort Dix 5 prisoners being held at Marion and Terre Haute:

Mohammed Ibrahim Shnewer
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 1000
Marion IL, 62959

See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

Eljvir Duka
P.O. BOX 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808

See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

SALAM Illinois Outreach Coordinator: Joe Scarry

More information at:
Read letters written by members of the Duka family about their sons and the others in the Fort Dix 5 on the Project SALAM website.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Case in Point: The Holy Land Foundation Case

The post-9/11 persecution of Muslims is exemplified by the Holy Land Foundation Case, and today four of the defendants in that case are in Marion or Terre Haute.

The Holy Land Foundation Case belongs to a category of charity financing cases. As explained in "Victims of America's Dirty Wars":
Immediately after 9/11, the U.S. government moved to close down virtually all Muslim charities and both freeze and seize their assets, supposedly to prevent money raised in the U.S. from being used to finance terrorism abroad. The U.S. also preemptively charged the directors of several charities with financing terrorism, even when no money actually went to finance terror.

When charities tried to challenge the claim that they were financing terror, they were often met with a claim by the government that the information upon which the seizure was based was classified. According to the government, the charities were entitled to a due process hearing about the basis of the evidence for the seizure, but since the evidence was classified and the charity was not allow to see it, there would be no point in actually holding such a hearing.


As further explained in "Victims of America's Dirty Wars":
The Holy Land Foundation, formed in 1989 to provide relief to the Palestinian people impoverished by the repression of the Israeli government, eventually became the largest Muslim charity in the U.S. In 2007, the Bush Administration brought criminal charges against six of the directors of the Holy Land Foundation for essentially sending money (between 1995 and 2001) to zakat (charitable) committees in Palestine that were supposedly controlled by Hamas, after Hamas was declared to be a terrorist organization. The first trial resulted in one defendant being acquitted and a hung jury for the remaining five defendants. A second trial resulted in those five defendants being convicted of providing material support for Hamas.

The five defendants were given very harsh sentences. Shukri Abu-Baker and Ghassan Elashi each received sixty-five years in prison; [Mohammad] El-Mazain received fifteen years. Two brothers, Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh, received twenty and fifteen years respectively. All have families who are devastated by this criminalization of men who devoted their lives to relieving the suffering of the Palestinians.

During the trial, it was conceded by the government that the defendants had not encouraged or engaged in any violence, and that the money sent by the Holy Land Foundation had been used only to provide basic needs and services, such as building schools and hospitals for truly impoverished people. None of the money went to finance terrorism directly. But the government argued that since some Holy Land money went to zakat committees controlled by Hamas, the charity’s money had helped enhance the prestige of Hamas and allowed it to divert money from its charitable and social activities into promoting terrorism.

The defendants argued that the zakat committees were the only practical way to get money to people who needed it. Other organizations, including UN agencies and USAID, used the same zakat committees for the same reasons. If Hamas controlled some of the zakat committees, it was because Hamas was, in effect, the government of Palestine at that time, as shown by Hamas’s victory in the elections of 2006. The government’s successful prosecution of the Holy Land defendants meant that in effect, almost any support for the Palestinian people, no matter how compassionate the motive, could be prosecuted as support for terrorism as long as Hamas was the government.
More information on the Holy Land Foundation Case can be found on the website: Free the Holy Land Five: Restore Our Freedom to Give.

Ghassan Elashi wrote from prison about the case:
The Foundation was the largest Muslim charity in the U.S.  Just prior to its closing on December 4, 2001, by President Bush it had an annual budget of $13,000,000.  Meanwhile there are tens of charities in the U.S. providing support to illegal Israeli settlement built on stolen Palestinian lands. The closure and prosecution of the HLF and its offices, including me, is a reflection of the biased U.S. policy against the Palestinians and the unconditional support for Israel.


Currently, four of the five Holy Land Foundation Case prisoners are held at either Marion and Terre Haute.

Ghassan Elashi is currently held in the CMU at Marion. His release date is 10/28/2069.

Terre Haute

Mufid Abdel Abdulqader is held in the Terre Haute CMU; he received a twenty year sentence, and his release date is set for 4/29/2026.

Mohammad El-Mezain and Shukri Abu-Baker are brothers, and are also in Terre Haute, though they are no longer in the CMU. (See "Brothers Mohammed Elmezain & Shukri Abubaker to Leave CMU for General Population".)
> Mohammad El-Mezain received a fifteen year sentence.

> Shukri Abu-Baker had the same sentence as Ghassan Elashi, hence release date is also 2069.
(One other defendant in the case was Abdulrahman Odeh, who also received a fifteen year sentence. He is held at Victorville MED II FCI.)


Write to the Holy Land Foundation Case prisoners:

Ghassan Elashi
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 1000
Marion IL, 62959

See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

SALAM Illinois Outreach Coordinator: Joe Scarry

Mohammad El-Mezain
(number TBA)
P.O. BOX 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808
See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

More information at:
Mohammad El-Mezain on the Freedom to Give website
Read the extensive statement by Mohammad El-Mezain at his sentencing, which provides a window into his charitable activities.

Shukri Abu-Baker
P.O. BOX 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808

Mufid Abdel Abdulqader
P.O. BOX 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808

Drawings: Details of artwork by Shukri Abu-Baker

Friday, October 19, 2012

John Walker Lindh and the Fog of War

John Walker Lindh was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and now he's a prisoner in Terre Haute.

Most of us can remember where we were when the news networks started to report the sensational news that U.S. forces, in the course of their sweep into Afghanistan shortly after the 9/11 attacks, had caught up an American in the fog of war.

John Walker Lindh went to Afghanistan at a time when the United States was not at war with Afghanistan, and he went to help forces that the United States was helping at the time. However, during the post-9/11 hysteria, it was far more important to the U.S. government to have someone that they could make an example out of, than to act with integrity.

As the Free John Walker Lindh website points out,
Lindh was given 20 years in federal prison simply for participating in another country's civil war. Ironically, Americans have a long history of doing just that. Thousands joined the Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish civil war. Thousands have fought in Israel's army and continue to do so. Others fought for Bosnia's Muslim-led government against Serb forces. Some fought with the Contras in Nicaragua. Others have joined the French Foreign Legion.


Lindh was caught up in the fighting when the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance fought the Taliban unit he of which he was a member in November, 2001, and then again during a prisoner-of-war camp uprising shortly thereafter.

Based on the description provided in the Wikipedia article on Lindh, it is clear that the body of John Walker Lindh made a perfect object upon which the U.S. state could demonstrate its dominance at a moment when it was desperately searching for the means to rebuild its image after 9/11:
Sometime during the initial uprising Lindh was shot in the right upper thigh and found refuge in a basement, hiding with a group of Saudi, Uzbek, and Pakistani detainees. On the second day, the Red Cross sent in workers to collect the bodies. As soon as they entered they were shot by those inside, one died. The basement was bombarded with repeated RPG and grenade attacks, as well as fuel being poured into the basement and set alight. Lindh was found seven days later on December 2, 2001, when Northern Alliance forces diverted an irrigation stream into the middle of the camp in an attempt to flush the remaining prisoners out of their underground shelters, drowning many in the process. Lindh and about 80 survivors from the original 300 were forced out of hiding and recaptured, with the Northern Alliance captors then tightly binding Lindh's elbows behind his back.

Shortly after his recapture, Lindh was noticed and interviewed by [Embedded CNN reporter Robert Young] Pelton. . . . Pelton knew Lindh was receiving his first medical treatment since being shot in the leg more than a week prior and had been given morphine by a medic prior to Pelton's interview. Lindh's parents maintain that Pelton acquired footage that was prejudicial and manipulative, and that Pelton contributed to the poor image of their son by sharing the footage with the world community without context.

Upon his capture, Lindh was given basic first aid and then questioned for a week at Mazār-e Sharīf, before being taken to Camp Rhino on December 7, 2001, the bullet still within his thigh. When Lindh arrived at Camp Rhino he was stripped and he was restrained to a stretcher, blindfolded and placed in a metal shipping container, which was procedure for dealing with a potentially dangerous detainee associated with a terrorist organization. While bound to the stretcher his picture was taken by American military personnel. At Camp Rhino he was given oxycodone/paracetamol for pain and Valium.

. . . [O]n December 14, 2001 with other wounded detainees, where his wound was operated on and he received further care.[30]
Readers are encouraged to read the extensive profile of John Walker Lindh published in Esquire magazine, the title of which says it all: 'Innocent".


Write to John Walker Lindh at Terre Haute:

John Walker Lindh
P.O. BOX 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808

See SALAM Illinois Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners.

More information at:
Free John Walker Lindh