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  • Key Treasury Department Positions Remain Vacant; Holdovers Might Not Be Long-term Appointees
    the Bush administration Stuart Levey was retained by Treasury officials While this raises concerns about the potential for developing sensible counter terrorism finance policies it might not be a long lasting situation The Wall Street Journal reports 3 that the Obama administration s efforts to avoid hiring persons related to the banks receiving bailout funds has slowed down the appointment process at the Department of Treasury With many positions remaining

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/24 (2016-02-16)
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  • Rising Attacks on Aid Workers Linked to Perception of Close Ties to Governments
    national security However the mechanism is the problem To achieve this the agency wants to require applicants to submit detailed personal information on key individuals to be shared with the intelligence agencies Their rule 3 currently under review by the Obama administration says Information provided to USAID by applicants will be transmitted to USAID employees who will check that information against one or more databases maintained by the intelligence community If adopted PVS will eliminate the buffer between the government and NGOs that is paramount to any group providing goods and services autonomously The Charity and Security Network has published an Issue Brief 4 that analyzes the problems with PVS and calls on USAID to consider alternatives Unless the Obama administration takes further action the rule will go into effect on April 3 Recent Incidents of Aid Workers Killed or Kidnapped Impact Long term Aid Delivery The killing or kidnapping of aid workers has become almost become routine in certain parts of the world Employees of NGOs from the United States Europe and across Africa are increasingly becoming victims of violence between rival factions and governments who are unable or unwilling to provide adequate security for aid workers The U N 5 has said that dozens of people involved in relief work were kidnapped and or killed in 2008 and large consignments of aid items were pillaged by insurgents and criminal groups The following incidents have occurred in first two months of 2009 On Jan 8 an Associated Press report 6 described the murder of two U N World Food program workers in Somalia noting these actions follow the murder of 13 aid workers there in 2008 The article also said two aid workers for Medecins du Monde Doctors of the World who had been kidnapped in Ethiopia in September 2008 were released the day before the killing of the food aid worker On Jan 15 the New York Times reported 7 that three Red Cross workers were abducted in the Philippines describing the action as the latest in a string The workers from Switzerland Italy and the Philippines were in Sulu an area where rebel groups including Abu Sayyaf are reported to be active Their mission was to inspect a jail near a location where they had worked on water and sanitation projects On Feb 2 John Solecki the head of the U N s High Commission for Refugees in Baluchistan province in Pakistan was kidnapped by the Baluchistan Liberation United Front 8 According to a Feb 23 report from On Feb 23 the BBC reported 9 that two Sudanese aid workers for Aide Medicale Internationale were attacked and killed in an ambush in South Dafur After two aid workers 10 and an U N World Food Programme employee were killed in Somalia in the summer of 2008 the U N Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia Mark Bowden said It is intolerable and incomprehensible that humanitarian workers striving to save lives and alleviate human suffering in one of the most

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/25 (2016-02-16)
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  • Favorable Settlement in Case of Shut Down Charity KindHearts | Charity & Security Network
    seizure In his opinion Carr remarked that KindHearts is not only blindfolded but also has its hands tied behind its back See a summary of the Court s ruling here The three page settlement agreement spells out a step by step process for resolving the case KindHearts has 90 days to provide Treasury with a list of its valid debts and within 30 days of that time Treasury will issue a license authorizing payment of the debts and apportionment of all remaining funds between the entities listed in Appendix A These are the UN World Food Programme the UN Children s Fund the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees and Mercy Corps Masjid Saad an Islamic school in Toledo will receive KindHearts physical assets KindHearts will dissolve and cease operations once the assets are disposed of After KindHearts has dissolved Treasury will have 60 days to remove KindHearts from the terrorist list and lift orders blocking its property As long as KindHearts complies with the agreement Treasury will not put it on the terrorist list Treasury will pay KindHearts attorneys 330 000 within 180 days of the agreement something that generally would not be required unless the government s position is not substantially justified Once all the steps described above have been taken the parties will ask the court to lift the injunction against Treasury and dismiss the case with prejudice ending the litigation The press release from the ACLU which was co counsel for KindHearts noted that This is the first time the government has agreed to de list a frozen organization as a result of a lawsuit and then allow it to distribute its assets ACLU attorney Alex Abdo went on to say No American charity should have to endure the unconstitutional treatment that KindHearts was

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Favorable_Settlement_Shut_Down_Charity_KindHearts (2016-02-16)
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  • Nonprofits' Friend of the Court Brief in KindHearts Case Supports Due Process
    court to block the government from designating it as a supporter of terrorism The court granted the request saying the government cannot act without first affording KindHearts with constitutionally adequate process including notice and a meaningful opportunity to contest the basis for such a designation On Jan 30 a the court threw out a protective order 5 that had prevented KindHearts attorneys from getting copies of its files that were seized by the government in order to prepare their case The friend of the court brief took no position on the facts of KindHeart s case Instead it gave the court background information on the broader impacts the government s overreaching policies that deny basic rights have on charitable programs It states that the groups believe the government s unconstitutional actions and policies including the freezing of assets pending investigation the use of vague and overbroad legal standards the failure to provide adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity for a hearing to targeted NPOs and the lack of robust judicial review make it difficult or impossible for charities to mount a meaningful opposition to the accusations Fearing the possible arbitrary or mistaken action by the Department of Treasury many charities have been forced to consider if they will continue or begin work in regions devastated by prolonged conflict where terrorist organizations may be active These barriers according to the brief have created a climate of fear and intimidation among nonprofit organizations discouraging them from doing their critical humanitarian work particularly in conflict torn regions that are most in need for fear of being arbitrarily subjected to these actions and policies themselves The brief also says donors are discouraged from contributing out of fear their donations will be seized with no clear path for the money to be returned or directed

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/print/26 (2016-02-16)
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  • Judge Says Shuttered Charity Must Be Given Due Process | Charity & Security Network
    the process The complaint states that The lack of substantive criteria for freezing assets pending investigation and for designation is unconstitutionally vague violating KindHearts First and Fifth Amendment rights The asset freeze violated KindHearts due process rights under the Fifth Amendment because the organization did not receive adequate notice of the basis of the freeze did not have an opportunity for a hearing and was not afforded a meaningful opportunity to challenge the freeze There is no time limit on how long the freeze may last KindHearts was not allowed to use its funds to pay for counsel or to access its own records to prepare a defense Freezing KindHearts assets and seizing files and computers is not authorized under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act IEEPA which is limited to sanctions against individuals and organizations of foreign countries KindHearts will suffer irreparable damage to its reputation if it is designated as an SGDT even if the designation is later lifted The temporary restraining order effectively maintains the status quo while KindHearts constitutional challenge proceeds The group is represented by the American Civil Liberties Union ACLU and several co counsel According to the complaint KindHearts was formed in 2002 to provide humanitarian aid primarily in Palestine and Lebanon It provided clean drinking water to schools ran clinics and sent disaster relief to victims of Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Pakistan It had planned to open a hospital in Gaza in January 2007 On page 9 of the complaint the group states Assistance was provided to the poor and needy without regard to political affiliation or belief It identified recipients based on need alone not ideology or association These standards are consistent with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement s Principles of Conduct in Disaster Response Programmes but may be inconsistent with U S laws barring material support to terrorism which bar all transactions including humanitarian aid with SDGTs In areas where designated organizations control infrastructure and have popular support it may be impossible to enforce a non discrimination policy Pages 8 12 of the complaint detail extensive measures KindHearts took to comply with U S law including adoption of Treasury s Anti Terrorist Financing Guidelines The Guidelines have been criticized by major nonprofit sector organizations which have called for their withdrawal The complaint also describes KindHearts post shut down efforts to defend itself Because it is illegal for any U S person to engage in a transaction with a group once it is designated and shut down KindHearts attorney had to get a license from Treasury granting permission to provide legal services However Treasury refused a request to allow legal fees to be paid from frozen funds until June 4 It limited the defense effort to two paid attorneys and imposed a ceiling on the number of hours to be paid During this time counsel wrote letters to Treasury seeking reconsideration of the asset seizure the specific allegations against the group and copies of KindHearts files to

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Charity_Must_Be_Given_Due_Process (2016-02-16)
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  • Texas Law Enforcement Memo: Beware Nonprofits Promoting Tolerance | Charity & Security Network
    in the construct and operations of the fusion center system that remain unaddressed Ranging from inadequate training procedures of fusion center personnel to the lack of a single legal authority governing the conduct of the centers the report concluded that the Guidelines are ambiguous and fall short of being practical for application The ACLU and several other groups have reported that fusion centers make the collection and storage of personal data too easy for the government and also vulnerable to abuse and errors An example of government misuse of data collection was the 2005 and 2006 scandal surrounding the Maryland police officers undercover surveillance of war protestors and death penalty advocates Information obtained through the illegal espionage found its way into the fusion center databases There was no legal recourse for the targeted people wishing to remove the data In its response to the Texas bulletin the ACLU reiterated the fundamental flaws cited in the CRS report including lack of an authoritative body and the insufficient training of staff and standards employed by the fusion centers This particular bulletin was distributed to thousands of people in over a hundred different agencies Michael German ACLU National Security Policy Counsel and former FBI agent said The Texas fusion center s bulletin shows and unhealthy disregard for constitutional rights and democratic processes Fusion centers will most likely continue to be relied upon by law enforcement agencies under the Obama administration In the second week of March 2009 St Louis hosted a National Fusion Center Conference with former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano in attendance She had developed one of the first state anti terrorism fusion centers and as now Secretary of Homeland Security she hopes to improve the sharing of intelligence between state and federal agencies Napolitano aware of privacy concerns had created an agency to ensure safeguard measures of Arizona fusion centers But skepticism remains Peter Simonson executive director of New Mexico s ACLU chapter said I think the Obama administration has a much greater sensitivity to these issues than the previous administration but the track record from Arizona would suggest that we still have good reason to be concerned Background of the Fusion Center Inspired by the 2002 Department of Defense s project Total Information Awareness and the recommendations of the Criminal Intelligence Summit held in March 2002 fusion centers were envisioned as a central location designed to import information from local state and federal law enforcement agencies with the goal of effectively eliminating the barriers in laws and policies that limit intelligence sharing By overcoming the hierarchy within the law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies fusion centers were viewed as a more efficient way to conduct successful investigations In Oct 2003 the Department of Justice began the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan and began implementing it in 2004 The plan called for a fusion center type data sharing system but would not be limited to just law enforcement groups emergency management databases and the courts to gather materials It would also

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Texas_Memo_Beware_Nonprofits_Promoting_Tolerance (2016-02-16)
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  • Appointments for Top Treasury Posts: Will They Take a Big Picture View of Charities and Security? | Charity & Security Network
    Committee on April 1 2008 Levey said Treasury has active engagement with the charitable sector without disclosing criticisms of Treasury s process in shutting down of charities and freezing assets indefinitely His testimony also said Treasury has issued guidance to assist charities in mitigating the risk of exploitation by terrorist groups without acknowledging repeated calls for their withdrawal from a diverse group of nonprofits that say the guidelines are counterproductive and harmful to charities operations The Obama administration has faced intense criticism for not filling key positions at the Treasury Department with several candidates turning down offers and it is widely believed Levey s retention avoids creating another vacancy Wolin was Treasury general counsel from 1999 2001 and according to the March 13 Washington Post also served as deputy general counsel from 1995 1999 and was a special assistant to the national security advisor in the Clinton administration The Wall Street Journal reports that he once oversaw property and casualty operations at The Hartford Financial Services Group advised Mr Obama on economic policy before being asked to rejoin Treasury the White House said in an announcement of the nominations Lael Brainard is Vice President and Director of Global Economy and Development at the Brookings Institution where she also holds the Bernard L Schwartz Chair in International Economics The Brookings website says she was Formerly White House Deputy National Economic Adviser and Associate Professor at MIT she focuses on competitiveness trade international economics U S foreign assistance and global poverty She is also the Director of the All Brookings Initiative on Competitiveness Prior to that she served a deputy national economic advisor in the Clinton administration According to Google News on March 24 Brainard was set to take a post at the State Department but is headed to Treasury instead The

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Appointments_Treasury_Big_Picture_Charities_Security%3F (2016-02-16)
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  • Inspectors General Release Report on Secret Surveillance Programs | Charity & Security Network
    the arrangements that excluded all but three Justice lawyers from knowing of the PSP extraordinary and inappropriate The secrecy surrounding PSP was furthered demonstrated during the creation of the threat assessment memoranda After terrorism analysts had completed their intelligence examination a senior White House official added text to their appraisal that suggested possible threats from individuals and organizations involved in global terrorism and a recommendation authorizing the NSA to conduct surveillance activities under the PSP If the analysis had shown insufficient evidence of threats or lacked a compelling case for reauthorization of PSP the continuation of PSP would have been in jeopardy FBI CIA and other officials had difficulty evaluating the precise contribution of the PSP to counterterrorism efforts An examination of the impact of PSP information revealed most data collected was on the periphery of investigations as one source among many available analytic and intelligence gathering tools and not the primary source for key anti terrorism intelligence The report also called for the data collected by PSP to be carefully monitored According to ACLU Legislative Counsel Michelle Richardson Giving up the Fourth Amendment for an ineffective program is a double slap in the face of Americans The ACLU press release highlighted several issues raised by the report including Information derived from the PSP was vague or without context leading analysts to rely on more useful tools p 34 Agencies generally have no meaningful way to tag what information they used and possibly are still using that was collected under the illegal program as opposed to information collected by lawful means pps 32 35 Richardson added We already know that the NSA has overstepped the overbroad bounds of the FISA Amendments Act and it s time for Congress to take a thorough look at the surveillance powers it s handed

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