Dec 6 2010
Federal Judge Agrees: CAIR Tied to Hamas [Excerpts]
By Steven Emerson
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has been connected to the terrorist organization Hamas, a federal judge said in a July 2009 ruling just unsealed.
"The government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA, NAIT, with NAIT, the Islamic Association for Palestine, and with Hamas," U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Solis said in the July 1, 2009, ruling.
CAIR, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) had protested to Solis that they were incorrectly named as unindicted co-conspirators in the 2008 trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. Among the allegations, HLF was accused of having provided more than $12 million to Hamas. After a 2007 mistrial, five former HLF officials convictedon 108 counts, ranging from money laundering to conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.
Following the trial, CAIR, ISNA, and NAIT have argued that their inclusion on the list injured their standing in the community, and their image. They wanted their ties to Hamas removed from the trial records and the list sealed.
Solis agreed the list should not have been made public, saying that doing so violated the Fifth Amendment rights of the listed individuals and organizations. Criticizing the decision to publish the list, the judge explained that CAIR has been subjected to "annoyance, ridicule, scorn, and a loss of reputation in the community."
However, Solis refused to remove references to CAIR and the other groups from the trial record. That's because the government introduced extensive evidence tying CAIR to Hamas. "The public," he wrote, "may make its own judgment from evidence presented at trial."
Solis filed his July 2009 ruling under seal, and until recently, it was unclear what information was actually contained in the order.
NAIT attempted to have Solis' ruling revised, asking the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to unseal the order and strike any references that tied the organization to Hamas. "The District Court's analysis, NAIT argues, essentially tars it with the same brush of guilt by association that the government used in its pre-trial brief," explained the appellate court. The court agreed to unseal the lower court ruling, but refused to strike Judge Solis' explanation that the groups were tied to Hamas.
While Solis' ruling may provide new ammunition for the groups to claim their rights were violated when they were publicly named as unindicted co-conspirators, they also have to explain why a federal judge determined the government had "ample evidence" tying the groups to a designated terrorist organization.
"CAIR's status as a co-conspirator is a matter of public record," Solis explained. Examining the trial proceedings, he recounted the numerous ties between ISNA, NAIT, and CAIR.