Tuesday, October 23, 2007


There's a case here in Dallas that y'all might not have heard about where apparently the government railroaded a local charity group to trial on charges of funding terrorists. Yesterday, a mistrial was declared and one of the jurors subsequently spoke out about the case.

The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development collects donations to help feed and clothe Palestinian refugees, but it has also provided help to refugees in Bosnia, Kosovo, Turkey, and even the United States after floods, tornadoes, and Oklahoma City bombing disasters. Several years ago the government shut it down, freezing its assets and claiming that the Foundation was funding the terrorist group Hamas. But records showed that funds given to Hamas were donated before Hamas was declared a terrorist organization.

The whole thing just didn't pass the smell test, in my opinion. The Foundation seems to be made up of good and caring people who were trying to do the right thing - relieving human suffering. Well, now it turns out, at least according to the juror who was interviewed yesterday, that the government's case was flimsy at best.

Holy Land juror: 'Too many holes' in case
12:30 AM CDT on Tuesday, October 23, 2007

[article excerpt:]

Neal [the juror] said the government tried to scare them into a guilty verdict by showing them bombings in the Middle East.

"Some jurors were talking about 9/11, the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden and I was going, 'What?'" he said.

The defendants, and the foundation itself, were accused of funneling money to Hamas, a known terrorist group. But Neal said in the end, the jurors couldn't reach guilty verdicts based on the facts and evidence presented.

"[There were] too many holes," he said. "They needed to patch those holes."

While he said he couldn't speak for the entire jury, he said on a personal level, he thought the case was politically motivated.

Typically, the government plans to retry the case.

Certainly I am not supportive of anyone or any group that wants to fund terrorists. But looking at this group's record it really seemed to me from the beginning that this was another case of government grandstanding amid post 9/11 hysteria. These are good people, and I believe they were railroaded. I hope nothing happens to the juror who had the courage to speak out.