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  • The Sahel Does Not Have to be the Next Somalia
    the needs of the affected populations in a timely manner The humanitarian vacuum the UN reports 4 is being filled by AQIM and or criminal elements who are reportedly providing services and humanitarian assistance in remote areas The terrorist group has been able to develop recruitment and local support networks for gathering information supplying arms and ammunition and other logistics So rather than hurting the terrorist groups U S laws are having the opposite effect Responding to the overwhelming need in Somalia the U S Department of State announced in early August 5 that it would not seek prosecution for aid groups that receive grants from the U S government or the UN for violating the law if they acted in good faith to reach victims of the famine No specific details on the rule changes were made public and many aid groups who wished to respond to the crisis especially those operating with privately donated funds remain uncertain if they would be protected against criminal prosecutions While the temporary easing of restrictions for some groups was welcome news it illustrated gross inadequacies in the existing law Fear of incidental benefits to some members of designated groups should not prevent the delivery of essential aid to civilians in need For aid delivery to be effective and produce long term solutions for people living in the Sahel region humanitarian groups cannot be expected to wait and see if the U S government will grant permission for operating in the area while millions of people pour into refugee camps in search of food and other basic necessities Instead common sense reforms to the laws 6 would allow humanitarian and peacebuilding groups to operate and at the same time improve America s image abroad through their good works But what can be done

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/724 (2016-02-16)
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  • Sen. Franken Supports Restoration of Money Transfers To Somalia
    actors Third an end to the flow of remittances from the U S to Somalia would be a potential victory for al Shabbab which could then claim that America was preventing needed funds from getting to suffering Somalis The last major bank to offer these services Sunrise Community Banks said in statement on their website 7 that the humanitarian consequences of this decision weigh heavily on us That is why we continue to work with determination and hope to discover a solution Adding the bank has reached out to multiple government agencies and officials have made a specific proposal and have told the agencies that we are seeking a constructive exchange with them in an effort to reach an accommodation that would satisfy the concerns of those sending funds the government and the bank Sunrise Banks had stepped in to aid in the money delivering process a few years ago after most major banks stopped aiding the Somali community citing pressure from the U S State Department and Treasury Department The government supposedly has discouraged banks from aiding the Somali community because of fears that the money being sent would aid terrorists in Somalia Both agencies have made limited public comments about the difficulties Somali Americans are having sending remittances to Somalia At a press briefing on Jan 24 8 Bruce Wharton the deputy assistant secretary for Public Diplomacy Bureau of African Affairs at State said while he knew of some financial institutions providing transfer services the State Department is in discussions with Treasury and others to try to make sure that that flow from the Somali diaspora back home is safe that the money does not go to people who wish to harm the United States but that it can be a contribution to the people of Somalia overcoming the crisis that they face right now Center for American Progress Sarah Margon reports 9 that Treasury has acknowledged on its blog 10 that many Somali Americans depend on these services to send money to their loved ones in the region struggling to survive and promotes the continued use of legitimate and transparent methods for these critical transfers but has provided no guidelines or even a policy memo on the best ways to do so Other Minnesota area leaders have expressed their support for the Somali community to be able to wire money home The Minneapolis City Council including the mayor passed a resolution on Jan 12 entitled Support of the Somali American Communities Ability to Continue Remittances to the Horn of Africa 11 The resolution includes the following language Whereas The Somali community in Minneapolis provides significant financial support to their relatives in Somalia that provide basic needs like food shelter clothing and education and Whereas The halting of these funds causes great hardship to many people in need in Somalia Now Therefore Be It Resolved the City Council of the City of Minneapolis that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our Somali American colleagues neighbors and constituents in

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/711 (2016-02-16)
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  • Leahy to DOJ: Protect Humanitarian and Peacebuilding Activities
    s restrictions on peacebuilding activities also drew Leahy s criticism N on governmental organizations engaged in unofficial diplomacy and peace building often engage in informal negotiations that serve United States interests and pave the way for formal settlements of conflicts he said The Supreme Court s 2010 ruling in Holder v Humanitarian Law Project HLP left many individuals and organizations uncertain as to the scope of permitted activity under the law because their activities might be construed as providing expert advice and assistance to terrorist groups I believe the Attorney General should issue prosecutorial guidelines that remove the uncertainty over the scope of the material support law and establish a process by which actors may seek exemptions Leahy said Leahy s statement comes almost two months after he sent a letter 4 to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder about the material support law inhibiting U S aid groups from reaching the millions at risk for starvation in southern Somalia The humanitarian needs of the world and the security of the United States are both served by enabling non governmental actors to fulfill their missions We must not impede the efforts of individuals and organizations that have no intent to provide material support for terrorism and whose activities serve the goals of the United States On Aug 3 the DOJ responded to Leahy with a letter saying 5 in part we will continue our dialogue with key NGOs about how they provide humanitarian assistance inside Somalia and how we can assist them Also speaking at the hearing Daniel Glaser 6 Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing at the Treasury Department described their efforts combating terrorist financing In the ten years since the tragic attacks of September 11 2011 the U S government has made great strides in

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/646 (2016-02-16)
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  • Sec. Clinton Should Use Exemption Powers to Legalize Conflict Prevention and Resolution Programs
    and other peacebuilding activities legal The letter notes the importance of multi track diplomacy saying For many years U S organizations and private individuals have paved the way for peace by helping to bring fighting factions together and providing alternatives to violence as a means of redressing grievances We know that these initiatives can be the key to success in resolving conflicts The letter includes an attachment with examples of lost opportunities for pursuing peace caused by the overly broad application of the material support prohibition see examples here 8 One notable example involves the United States Institute of Peace USIP which had to turn down an invitation from the government of South Africa to help facilitate a meeting between leaders of Hamas and Fatah with former Israeli generals and officials Imagine what progress might have been made when USIP s expertise and South Africa s experience in shifting from armed conflict over apartheid to democracy were combined Imagine representatives from Hamas hearing from former African National Congress members about the challenges and benefits of shifting from armed conflict to a peace process The fact that U S law not only prohibits USIP from participating or else face criminal prosecution and jail sentences of 15 years or more is a national embarrassment A recent Council on Foreign Relations article 9 by Douglas N Greenburg and Derek D Smith notes the contradiction the material support prohibition creates for the U S government s response to the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas It notes that the agreement raises a number of difficult issues for the United States Among these is whether Washington can lawfully continue to provide aid to the Palestinian Authority PA if it includes Hamas as an equal partner After all existing U S law designates Hamas as a terrorist organization and thus prevents the United States from aiding it in any way A similar contradiction confounds the U S government s efforts to negotiate with the Taliban On June 19 2011 outgoing Secretary of Defense Gates told the press 10 that U S officials have been in talks with the Taliban in Afghanistan But the Taliban is on the Department of Treasury s list 11 of terrorist organizations Are these officials in violation of the material support law or have they been granted an exemption Or is the law just not being enforced If an exemption has been granted it illustrates the problems with case by case off the record secret exemptions What conclusions can the public draw from the Taliban negotiations Is it OK to ignore the law Is that the conclusion the Department of State intends The general exemption for peacebuilding activities proposed by the bipartisan group of experts is a far better way to address the issue The proposed exemption 12 permits specific types of peacebuilding activities that are designed to reduce or eliminate the frequency and severity of violent conflict or to reduce its impact on noncombatants It would essentially re open the door

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/597 (2016-02-16)
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  • Sec. State Clinton Asked to Exempt Conflict Resolution and Other Peacebuilding Activities from Material Support Ban
    developing dialogues between sworn enemies by showing combatants there are alternatives to violence by demonstrating that peace is not a zero sum game and by showing them there is a broad community prepared to help with the necessary transition Having been in the conflict resolution business for decades it is clear to me that these types of activities are in the interest of the U S and should be exempt from this prohibition Citing her experience in the peace process in Ireland she noted that Had the private individuals and NGO s involved in that peace process not had the right and yes it is a right to engage with the IRA leadership peace would have certainly been delayed And another 200 300 people would have died each year of delay The letter to Clinton points out that For many years U S organizations and private individuals have paved the way for peace by helping to bring fighting factions together and providing alternatives to violence as a means of redressing grievances We know that these initiatives can be the key to success in resolving conflicts It notes that although the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the ban on material support in June 2010 in Holder v Humanitarian Law Project the court held that the law may impose such restrictions not that it must Instead the letter notes that the law empowers you to exempt expert advice or assistance training and personnel from the material support prohibitions when you find these activities will not further terrorism Activities directly aimed at preventing or resolving conflicts fit this criteria The bipartisan letter includes a draft exemption 5 which would permit the provision of expert advice or assistance training and personnel designed to reduce or eliminate the frequency and severity of violent conflict

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/603 (2016-02-16)
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  • Send by email | Charity & Security Network
    Not case sensitive Switch to audio verification Home page Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force FATF Financial Access Peacebuilding Countering Violent Extremism Click Here For More Issues Solutions Principles to Guide Solutions Models to Draw On Proposed Solutions News The latest headlines Resources Litigation Analysis Background Legislation Studies Reports Experts Blog About Us Staff Contact Search form Search Stay Up To Date Subscribe Publications The Latest News

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/printmail/603 (2016-02-16)
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  • Congressional Letters to Attorney General Express Concern About Rights of Political Activists
    and Rep David Price D NC 4 In her letter to Holder Schakowsky included a message from Michael Deutsch one of the attorneys representing the activists whose homes were raided and who have been issued grand jury subpoenas Deutsch said the targeting of peaceful political activists and their organizations creates an anti constitutional chilling effect on all activists He asked Holder to speak out against this dangerous use of the broad powers of federal law enforcement Deutsch s letter also asks that no activists be indicted because prosecution would be based upon a distorted and dangerous interpretation of the law prohibiting material support for designated foreign terrorist organizations We also believe that these indictments will rely on the false claims of at least one government infiltrator provocateur In early 2011 members of the Minneapolis based Anti War Committee learned that an undercover FBI agent 5 had infiltrated their organization and conducted extensive spying over a two year period In his April 5 letter Rep Price writes to Holder that none of the individuals who received subpoenas or were questioned in the case have been informed of the potential charges against them or the specific focus of the investigation He is also concerned that the Bureau might be targeting these individuals and organizations because of their political views and not because of a criminal investigation On Jan 25 anti war activists subpoenaed by the FBI refused to appear 6 before a grand jury in Chicago They and other activists who had their homes and offices raided in September 2010 7 characterize the grand jury investigation as a fishing expedition to suppress the anti war movement and infringe on their First Amendment rights Three of the activists were offered immunity 8 and are at risk of being held in contempt of the

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/565 (2016-02-16)
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  • Subpoenas Re-activated for Three Anti-War Activists | Charity & Security Network
    Democracy Now that Three people are now being looking at reappearing in front of the grand jury and likely being forced with the choice between talking about who they meet with what the political beliefs of their friends and allies are or perhaps risking contempt and sitting in jail for eighteen months At the time of the searches the FBI spokesman said they part of an investigation of material support of terrorism The subpoenas include demands for information relating for financial transactions and foreign travel for activists involved in advocacy for the rights of people in Palestine and Colombia Noting the connection to free speech Nestor said they re being prosecuted under this material support for terrorism law a law that was really enhanced under the PATRIOT Act and that allows in the government s own words for people to be prosecuted for their speech if they coordinate it with a designated foreign terrorist organization What you run the risk of there is that even if you state your own independent views about US foreign policy but those views somehow reflect a group that the US has designated as a terrorist organization you can be accused of coordinating your views and face if not prosecution at least investigation search warrants being summoned to a grand jury to talk about who your political allies and who your political friends are An interview including Nestor and subpoenaed activists Jess Sundin Sara Grant Karen Redleaf and Anh Pham in the web show Our World in Depth with host Redleaf was posted November 4 2010 Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force FATF Financial Access Peacebuilding Countering Violent Extremism Click Here For More Issues Solutions Principles to Guide Solutions Models to Draw On Proposed Solutions News The latest headlines Resources Litigation Analysis

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Subpoenas_Reactivated_for_Three_AntiWar_Activists (2016-02-16)
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