In announcing the indictment, U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said the eight supported numerous violent terrorist activities.
“Our message to them and to others like them is clear: We make no distinction between those who carry out terrorist attacks and those who knowingly finance, manage or supervise terrorist organizations,” he said.
"The indictment charges the eight men with operating a criminal racketeering enterprise since 1984 that supported Palestinian Islamic Jihad and with conspiracy to kill and maim people abroad, conspiracy to provide material support to the group, extortion, perjury and other charges.
"Each defendant faces up to life in prison if convicted.
The FBI investigated Al-Arian literally for years and years on end, going over all his affairs with a microscope. If they really had anything on him at all, he’d have been locked in a wire cage down in Guantanamo for a year and a half already.
As far as Ashcroft is concerned, Al-Arian is basically an embarassment to the War on Terror (and we are all still waiting for him to issue warrants on certain members of the Saudi royal family). The biggest winner here is Pres. Judy Genshaft of the University of South Florida, who at last has a good enough excuse to fire this fully tenured professor, which she has tried desperately to do for the aforementioned year and a half.
The biggest mistake that guy ever did was to go on The O’Reilly Factor a few weeks after 9/11.
Did anyone bother to read the actual indictment? He allegedly orchestrated a conspiracy to funnel money to Islamic Jihad, and other known terrorists. He supports the destruction of Israel from sea to sea, as well as attacking the “Great Satan” America.
And you’re going to bother with taking pot-shots at Judy Genshaft? Please tell me you’re kidding.
The maximum penalty for the crimes alleged in this 50-count indictment is life in prison. I hope they get it.
Eight people are arrested (I believe one was in Chicago) and as the accused leader is lead away he says “It is all about politics.” What did you expect him to say? [sup]“I want my mommy.”[/sup] He still has to be tried so who knows if he is guilty, but I see no reason to start accusing our government of anything.
The key word in your little rant here is “allegedly.” There has not, as yet, been any trial.
And i would like to think that when you say “I hope they get it,” you actually mean “I hope they get it if they are guilty.” At least, if you’re committed to the principles of due process and a fair trial, that’s what you should mean.
Good or bad, his appearance on O’Reilley made so much bad publicity for the university that firing this guy is a good thing for everyone involved (except him, of course.) For the sake of their students and faculty, I’m glad they can now rid themselves of that embarassment.
If he really did orchestrate a conspiracy to funnel money to a terrorist organization, I think anything from RICO to wire/mail fraud to violation of cash reporting statutes to money laundering could all be pretty viable theories. I would think that going about it that way might be better, leave the terrorism element out of it, as it removes much of the political element to the action and makes it a less emotionally-charged action. If we got Al Capone for tax evasion, I see no problem with shutting down terrorists’ fundraisers for money laundering or RICO.
Al-Arian, 45, was placed on forced leave and banned from campus shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and his subsequent appearance on Fox News Channel. During the interview, he was quizzed about links to known terrorists, and asked about tapes from the late 1980s and early 1990s in which he said ``Death to Israel’’ in Arabic.
Last I checked, it was not illegal to hold an unpopular opinion in the US. I’m not fond of El-Arian, but I don’t believe he has funded any terrorist groups.
If I’m wrong and they can show proof, well , I will eat my hat.
It is based on many things: interviews of acquaintances and colleagues , his appearance on The O’Reilly Factor last year, lack of proof of any illegal activities.
Right now, I don’t know any more than you do. If he is proven guilty he should receive the maximum punishment. Until then I will give him the benefit of the doubt.
And firing a tenured faculty member for stating an opinion on his own time is somehow not embarrassing to the university?
Let’s bear in mind, too, that USF President Genshaft has repeatedly changed her story about exactly why she wants this guy gone. Just after the O’Reilly fiasco, it was supposedly because he presented himself as representing the university. When it became apparent that wasn’t true, she then claimed that he should be fired because his presence made the university unsafe. Then it was because he had somehow violated his contract. Then, when we deported his brother-in-law Mazen al-Naijar, suddenly the reason had always been al-Arian’s so-called connections to terrorism. I may have left out an excuse or two.
Whether or not the feds actually have anything on al-Arian, let’s not let USF off the hook so easily. They haven’t exactly been a beacon of free expression through all of this.
—if it were Al Gore, he wold have been lynched already.—
I agree with that, but not with the rest of your post. I don’t think simply knowing someone who is allegedly secretly funding terrorists (and not telling anyone about it) makes the Bushes or anyone else guilty of anything, even marginally. Heck, for all we know, he could have campaigned for Bush for all sorts of reasons. Maybe he just wanted the lowest taxes possible so that he could send as much as possible to Palestine.
This is precisely the sort of thing academic freedom was designed to protect. The American Association of University Professors, an organization devoted to protecting academic freedom, put out a press release on the issue last year. The AAUP went to the unusual lengths of a formal investigation, in which the committee examined the relevant documents and visited the campus to speak with faculty and administrators. After all this:
Note that the accusations of terrorism etc. against Al-Arian are not even relevant to this issue. He has the same rights to freedom of speech and thought as any faculty member (or member of the public for that matter), and until found guilty of a crime he should not be fired.
There is no indication, in any of the reports and documents that i’ve read on the issue, that his university teaching performance was in any way below standard.
If he is involved with terrorists, and this is proven in a court of law, i’ll be the first to wave him goodbye as he’s trundled off to his cell. Until then, however, he’s just another guy against whom nothing has been proven.
You know, I’m not going to accept all this at face value until I see the Department for the Defense of the Fatherland go in and start closing up bars in Boston, New York, D.C., and Chicago where money has been openly raised for the IRA these last 20 years or more.
Of course, he is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. However, it appears the government has some clear evidence of this guy supporting and financing terror. From the indictment, which can be found here:
This is a 118 page document, so I am only quoting one paragraph, paragraph 129. BTW, in the quote, PIJ is Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a Specially Designated Terrorist, under Executive Order 12947.
Doesn’t sound like the case is about his political views, or his academic freedom, but rather about his material support for terrorists. So one can believe interviews with colleagues, or appearances on tv shows, but it definitely appears there is more to it than that.
And before the lawyer types jump all over me, I know that an indictment is not proof, however, the govt wouldn’t have included paragraph 129 if they didn’t have evidence of the letter described. They probably have a copy. It will be introduced into evidence, and we’ll all go from there. If Al-Arian is not a terrorist, I’ll eat Consuela’s hat.
Perhaps the guy sent money to Palestine thinking he was helping the poor but that money was diverted in Palestine.
The quoted part of the indictment contains spin such as use of the word “bragged.” We don’t have the letter itself only a interpretation of the letter.
A friend was served a search warrant with the term “sneeked out under cover of darkness” when actually they moved at night only because that was when they could borrow my truck.
Some of the people who gave him money may have thought they were giving money to the “poor”, but he was a leader of PIJ in North America. Read the whole damn indictment, not just one paragraph. He was allegedly raising money for, and diverting money to, murderous terrorist organizations like Islamic Jihad and Hamas. The records of his conversations/telephone calls/facsimiles/letters show that. It wasn’t a bake sale or a canned food drive to help poor people, he was raising tens of thousands of dollars to directly finance terror.
Of course, final judgement should be reserved until the outcome of the trial, but I’m not holding my breath thinking this guy was innocently helping the poor.