Muslim Legal Defense Fund of America (MLFA) Guantanamo North: Muslim Prisoners in America

By Geoffrey Cook, TMO

II. Ahmed Ghappour, Liberty and Security:  Post-9/11 Initiatives

Silicon Valley—The second speaker at the Muslim Legal Fund of America (MLFA) fund-raising dinner here last spring which your scribe is examining in micro-detail (i.e., each individual presentation per article) is Ahmed Ghappour.

Ahmed is a clinical (law) instructor (J.D.) in the Law School at the University of Texas at Austin.  According to that University’s law web site, his research specializes in civil rights, criminal, International and National Security law.  Curiously, before becoming a lawyer, Professor Ghappour was a diagnostics engineer dedicated to the study of distributed systems of high performance computing.

He, now, after completing his law doctorate, holds a position as a Clinical Instructor with the National Security Clinic at Austin’s Law School.

Further, Dr. Ghappour, also, directs the National Security Defense Project (the NSDP), which the University describes as an access to justice initiative addressing Constitutional issues in national-security and cyber-security prosecutions — particularly those related to electronic surveillance and foreign  intelligence gathering.

Ahmed’s research is primarily concerned with the interplay between emerging technologies and national security—particularly as demonstrated by the modern surveillance State and the evolution of cyberspace as a theater of war.

For the past few years, Ahmed has worked on human rights issues relating to cyber-security and national security.

Ahmed Ghappour began his comments with “Since 9/11 law enforcement has been used as the primary tool to prevent terrorism.”  This has impacted the American Islamic community unfairly.  It has employed to rendition — too often sending American Islamic citizens to allied third States for the purpose of torture.  (The legal memo that was used to “permit” the Bush Administration to do so was written by a Law Professor, John Yoo, presently back here at the Boalt Hall, the “Law” School at the University of California in my home city of Berkeley when he was a Deputy Attorney-General in the District of Columbia during the first decade of this millennium [CE]!)  Prosecutors (who, also, went as far as to deny many American Muslims, which were under suspicion, of their Constitutional right for their day in court) often, as well, pushed for indictments based on confessions or other information gained under excruciating duress.

The Holy Land Foundation, the largest Islamic charity based in America, before the G.W.OT. (the Global War on Terrorism), is an infamous case in point.  Three months after Al Qaeda’s attack upon the U.S.’ Northeast the Bush Administration labeled the HLF (the Holy Land Foundation) a terrorist organization, seizing its assets, and closed the charity accusing them of laundering money for Hamas even though the Holy Land Foundation states on its website that “Our mission is to find and implement practical solutions for human suffering through humanitarian programs…for the disadvantaged, disinherited, and displaced peoples suffering from man-made and natural disasters,” and had been operating to the  highest standards of service for the last sixty-five years of the previous century.

Furthermore, the first trial ended in a mistrial.  Curiously, their board of trustees was for the most part American citizens of Islamic belief involved in raising money and dispensing relief to Palestine.  Fringe Jewish hate-mongers were involved in the trial, too, which supported the Israeli army’s repression of the ancient Arab land of Palestine, and the accusations came at the height of the irrational jingoism against Muslims – especially Arabs and particularly opposed to Palestinians – that was in the air during the first year of this new century.

Further still, any consortium that is doing relief in Gaza has to deal with Hamas, and in a speech in California, of which your writer was present, (former U.S.) President James (Jimmy) Carter stated that the election in which Hamas came to power in Gaza City was the freest and fairest he had ever observed.  Hamas as with their mentor the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt take part in the democratic political process, and accept the results without question unlike the Nile nation’s SCARF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces).  Hamas and the Brotherhood are democrats – not terrorists.  The charge comes from Tel Aviv, and is accepted hook, line and sinker by Washington.

(Recently your composer received an e–mail from the Holy Land Foundation that they were back in business, but I could not find anything to that effect on the Internet.)
The Holy Land Foundation is an example of the counter-insurgent victimizing a respected association’s ideology to the detriment of those repressed it serves, and whose Board have been imprisoned for over a decade  for the selfless work they have committed themselves to do. 

In these cases, defendants cannot access “classified” information.  Those “expert” witnesses remain anonymous.  This has led to (our) community’s alienation from mainstream authority which is “…cutting down the whole forest fearful of a bad tree.”

A positive Islamic(-American) community is moving into shape, though. Civil rights attorneys are making changes in the law.  We must provide pro-bono defense lawyers from our own ranks because of the cultural chasm between mainstream Western and Islamic societies. 

“Stings” are being set up against us where otherwise innocent and moral people are forced to commit a crime.

(Finally, there will be one more article in this serial-extended article – hopefully — next week depending on the flow of news.)


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