Holy Land Foundation: Guilty, guilty, guilty

The jury returned with verdict against the Holy Land Foundation and its principals today in the retrial of the government’s case that ended the first time around in a mistrial. We have written frequently and at length about the case here. I also took a look at the case for NRO during the first trial in “Coming clean about CAIR.” Here is how I described the case in that column:

One of the most significant terrorism prosecutions brought by the government since 9/11 commenced trial last month in federal district court in Dallas. The government’s 42-count indictment charges seven individuals and the Holy Land Foundation — the biggest Islamic charity in the United States — with offenses including conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization, namely, Hamas. Two of the seven individual defendants have not been arrested and are fugitives.

The charges are dramatic. According to the indictment, U.S. based members of the Muslim Brotherhood established a Palestine Committee that was ultimately charged with the task of raising funds supporting Hamas’s efforts to eliminate the state of Israel. After the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the Palestine Committee swung into high gear. At a secret three-day meeting in Philadelphia in October, 1993 (monitored by the FBI), those in attendance discussed how best to continue to support Hamas without being viewed as terrorists.

The Holy Land Foundation appears to have been the answer. Between 1995 and 2001, the foundation delivered millions of dollars to support Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza. The government charges that the foundation was a vital member of an international network of organizations that finances Hamas activities. Furthermore, the government charges that the Foundation and the individual defendants provided financial support to the families of Hamas terrorists, detainees, and activists knowing that the assistance would support Hamas ultimately contending that the story of the Holy Land Foundation is part of “the story of Hamas in the United States.”

The government named CAIR an unindicted co-conspirator of the Holy Land Foundation. CAIR executive director Nihad Awad attended the 1993 Philadelphia meeting of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee that laid the groundwork for the establishment of the Holy Land Foundation. After 9/11, CAIR solcited donations to the Holy Land Foundation under the guise of “the NY/DC Emergency Relief Fund.” CAIR is part of the American terror support network that survives the conviction of the Holy Land Foundation and its principals. It is at least worth noting in this context that Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison was the featured speaker at CAIR’s annual dinner in Washington this past weekend.

The government overcame several difficult challenges in seeing the prosecution through to the convictions rendered by the jury today. I know it had the benefit of some good advice from Andrew McCarthy the second time around.

The Dallas Morning News account of the verdict is full of quoted apologetics from HLF supporters and the customary useful idiots, but it states at the top:

The unanimous verdicts are a complete victory for the government, which streamlined its case and worked hard to carefully educate jurors on the complex, massive evidence presented in the trial. Guilty verdicts were read on 108 separate charges.

The prosecution victory is also a major one for the lame duck administration of President George Bush, whose efforts at fighting terrorism financing in court have been troubled, even though the flow of funds seems to be effectively shut down

Congratulations and thanks are in order to the dogged prosecutors who worked on the case in the office of the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.

Via Carl in Jerusalem.

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