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  • Article: Chilling Effect of the Material Support Statute on Humanitarian Aid | Charity & Security Network
    militant s group reach meaning the regions hardest hit by the famine were largely left without any international assistance The article notes the most effective approach to change would be formal amendment of the statute but notes that This approach however appears to be politically infeasible at least in the short term It then goes on to recommend administrative changes that can be made by the Department of Justice emphasizing amending prosecutorial guidelines to formalize safe harbors for aid that meets specific criteria It then offers procedural approaches to instituting these substantive guidelines They include Clarify and Publicize Guidelines Concerning Types of Aid Adding to the existing statutory exemptions for medicine and religious materials the government should identify specific types of permissible aid including international human rights law training and food and shelter delivered in the event of a humanitarian crisis Clarify and Publicize Guidelines Concerning Recipient Organizations Assist individual private donors by providing them with a clear list of safe recipient organizations through which they could channel charitable donations Clarify and Publicize a Specific Intent Requirement Prosecutors should refrain from prosecuting those individuals who although they provided material support to a terrorist organization as defined by the statute did not intend to further terrorist aims thereby creating a specific intent requirement Develop New Procedural Options Amend the Statute a statutory amendment which would conclusively narrow the current scope of liability and provide reassurance to humanitarian organizations and donors thereby effectively addressing the chilling effect on aid For example the Secretary of State has the authority to exempt certain peacebuilding activities from the prohibition on material support of terrorism See 18 USC 2339 B j Publish an Advisory Memorandum or Statement This would publicize and memorialize the government s prosecutorial discretion policy for material support prosecutions thus providing security to

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/studies/Harvard_article_Material_Support (2016-02-16)
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  • State Dept. Denies Counterterrorism Law Contributed to Somali Famine | Charity & Security Network
    does state that though the early warning system had information up to five years in advance the aid and the assistance and the response for that came much too late until it was already at an emergency level I mean is this is there something policy wise that needs to be looked at where is there a disconnect between the early warning system and the science and aid that s been pledged from there Ventrell s response was to promise to get back to the reporter later after consulting with an expert The Charity Security Network has called for Congressional hearings to look into legal restrictions on humanitarian assistance so that U S law does is not a contributing factor to such tragedies in the future The portion of the transcript of the State Department s May 2 2013 press briefing on this topic is reprinted below QUESTION Do you have any response to the new USAID FEWS report that came out MR VENTRELL Oh yeah QUESTION that estimates 260 000 Somalis were killed half under the age of five in the famine MR VENTRELL Thanks for the question Dana The United States is deeply saddened by the loss of life and human suffering caused by the 2011 to 2012 Somalia famine The causes of this devastating event were complex and went beyond just poor rains to include difficult economic political security and social issues But just to say that the regions of Somalia most affected by severe food instability and famine were primarily areas that al Shabaab controlled Al Shabaab s inhumane blockage of humanitarian assistance prior to and during the famine including banning dozens of humanitarian organizations from providing life saving assistance thwarted a more rapid international humanitarian response that could have saved even more lives And equally al Shabaab s refusal to allow affected populations to leave al Shabaab controlled areas prevented them from seeking assistance elsewhere So it our sanctions against al Shabaab didn t prevent our aid from getting there that wasn t the issues QUESTION But not at first it did You suspended the license I think it was either August July or August of 2011 but you placed the sanctions on Shabaab in 2010 2009 before the famine Isn t that correct MR VENTRELL Right But we provided 360 million in life saving assistance to go to all Somalis in need and it was al Shabaab that prohibited the delivery of assistance to areas of Somalia under its control Okay QUESTION The UN s saying that they should have done more to prevent this famine Is that something is that an assessment you agree with MR VENTRELL I hadn t seen that particular UN reaction but from our perspective our early warning system network worked and we had information about the crisis as it was developing and made the efforts to respond appropriately QUESTION I don t think anyone is trying to blame the United States for the famine But if the early

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/State_Dept_Denies_Counterterrorism_Law_Contributed_Somali_Famine (2016-02-16)
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  • Exempt Peacebuilding Activities from Material Support Law: Faith leaders to Sec Clinton | Charity & Security Network
    a similar letter to Clinton in May 2011 It is not in the U S interest for legal restrictions to negate civil society s comparative advantages in mitigating extremism on the ground the letter says When Congress passed the material support law it gave the Secretary of State the power to grant exemptions for activity involving training expert and advice and assistance and personnel 18 USC 2339 B j The proposed exemption would permit 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 Supporters of the exemption say it would clear the way for Track II diplomacy strategic talks that occur outside of official diplomatic channels which has been beneficial to the U S in the past Melanie Greenberg President and CEO of the Alliance for Peacebuilding said that We urge Secretary Clinton as part of her legacy to carve out an exemption from the material support laws for peacebuilding activity by professionals in the field The kinds of processes that led to the Oslo Accords and the Good Friday Accords would be impossible in today s legal climate and diplomats hands are being tied by the lack of a safety valve for informal dialogue with armed groups One of the letter s signatories Paul Alexander President elect of Evangelicals for Social Action supports the removal of these barriers saying peace with justice comes through communication and negotiation not violent coercion He added we won t get peacemakers at the table if they are at risk of prosecution Other signatories to the letter included Rev Rick Love President of Peace Catalyst the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California and the Mennonite Central Committee U S Washington Office Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Exempt_Peacebuilding_Activities_Material_Support_Law (2016-02-16)
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  • Somali Sentenced to 8 Years in Prison | Charity & Security Network
    ago to conspiring with four other Somali nationals in Minnesota to provide money and other support to al Shabaab which has been engaged in a protracted conflict with the country s internationally recognized government for years Yusuf had been a volunteer at the Humanitarian African Relief Organization HARO a U S based non profit organization helping persons in the Horn of Africa Nearly two million Somalis remain in a food crisis since famine was declared in July 2011 with millions more in the region also at risk According to a statement from Yusef s defense team she is a daughter with great heart She will go beyond her ability to help others She is highly beloved in the Somali Community HARO was not involved in the case Charles Rees one of Yusuf s lawyers said she never intended the funds to support military objectives He said she believed she was helping the young men with debts medical assistance and other matters She never meant any harm to the U S Rees said We will aggressively pursue those who choose to send money or other resources to organizations that support terrorist acts FBI Special Agent Daphne Hearn said after the senetencing This is a serious crime against our country and our citizenry and those who engage in these practices will meet the consequences of their actions in our judicial system After the U S government named al Shabaab a terrorist group in 2008 most forms of support for the group became prohibited under U S law In October 2011 a jury found two Minnesota women guilty of raising funds for al Shabaab 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

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Somali_Sentenced_8_Years_Prison (2016-02-16)
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  • Subpoenaed Activists Resist Grand Jury Investigations | Charity & Security Network
    the raids or why they are subpoenaing people to appear before a Grand Jury FBI spokeswoman Beth Anne Steele said the raids were conducted in part of an ongoing investigation involving a violent crime possibly related to a Seattle protest on May 1 that resulted in minor property damage Plante has said that she was not in Seattle during that time Tabatha Millican a spokesperson for the Committee Against Political Repression said the activists are being targeted based on their political beliefs Over two hundred community organizations and activist groups have signed a letter in support for those targeted in the raids and by the grand jury The case is similar to one in the mid west which began in September 2010 when more than 70 FBI agents took part in a series of coordinated raids on the homes of anti war labor and international solidarity activists and the office of the Twin Cities based Anti War Committee A total of 23 activists were subpoenaed to a Chicago grand jury for what the FBI said was related to activities concerning the material support of terrorism All of them refused to testify And while there have been no indictments Assistant U S Attorney Barry Jonas has said that the investigation remains ongoing Several Congressional and state legislators wrote letters to the Attorney General in April 2011 asking for an explanation of the investigations into individuals and organizations engaged in peaceful anti war demonstrations Numerous groups have condemned the raids calling them a fishing expedition Joe Iosbaker one of the activists targeted in the raids sees the subpoenas as part of a history of government suppression and disruption of social movements saying The FBI acts today as they have always acted to intimidate and disrupt the anti war movement and the movements

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Subpoenaed_Activists_Resist_Grand_Jury_Investigations (2016-02-16)
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  • State Designates Boko Haram Leaders as Terrorists | Charity & Security Network
    cause more harm than good These designations demonstrate the United States resolve in diminishing the capacity of Boko Haram to execute violent attacks the State Department said in a press release While State did not say why the entire group was not given a FTO label some analysts contend that doing so would discourage political solutions that address the economic and social grievances that underlie Boko Haram s campaign against the Nigerian government Boko Haram which means Western education is sin in the Hausa language commonly spoken in northern Nigeria is believed to have a number of factions with differing aims Academic experts on Africa sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in May urging her not to designate Boko Haram as a terrorist group saying such a move could backfire by giving the group disproportionate attention and increase the group s reputation among potential recruits An FTO designation would internationalize Boko Haram s standing and enhance its status among radical organizations elsewhere the letter said 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

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/State_Designates_Boko_Haram_Leaders_Terrorists (2016-02-16)
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  • Critical Bank Services for Somali Transfers Curtailed by Anti-Terrorism Regulations | Charity & Security Network
    Money Services Round Table a trade association of money wiring businesses joined Suleiman and other witnesses in urging Congress to limit the liability commercial banks face and help small money wire companies stay in business by passing a bill similar to one proposed by Rep Carolyn Maloney D NY in 2008 That bill would have required money service businesses to evaluate their customers and determine that they are not engaged in money laundering or terrorist financing It would give a safe harbor to banks The real problem is banks are risk averse Levine said U S based Somali money wiring services rely on banks to wire funds to their counterparts in Africa who deliver the money to the intended recipients But banks are severing ties with these companies to avoid inadvertent violation of anti money laundering rules even though there are no instances of government enforcement against any financial institutions for carrying out these money transfers In Minnesota home to over 30 000 Somalis a crisis erupted when Sunrise Community Banks a local bank that facilitated most money transfers stopped doing so on Dec 30 2011 Sunrise cited security and liability issues in closing bank accounts with the Somali money transfer shops A small number of Minneapolis area Somali money transfer shops were later reopened limiting the transferable amount to 500 after Sen Al Franken D MN and other Minnesota legislators voiced their complaints Appearing at the hearing Rep Keith Ellison D MN said B ecause of the regulatory burden and the fear of exposure to to risk of regulatory or even prosecutorial action the financial services institutions including Wells Fargo Bank Sunrise Bank and others have just come to a hard nosed business decision that they would terminate the facilitation of these transactions although they readily admit the 99

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Bank_Services_Somali_Transfers_Curtailed_by_AntiTerrorism_Regulations (2016-02-16)
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  • Report: Counterterrorism Laws Conflict with Humanitarian Action in Disaster and Conflict Zones | Charity & Security Network
    back operations in places deemed too legally risky T here is some evidence of organizations ceasing training activities diminishing the scope of their proposals for government funding in emergency contexts or reconsidering priorities where they sense a high risk of liability Because of the confusing and contradictory nature of these laws and policies a significant risk of the chilling effect is that humanitarian organizations will limit themselves far beyond the actual limits of the law says the report The report identifies ways in which the humanitarian community should respond to the legal and policy tensions created by counterterrorism measures such as the ones that curtail financial and other forms of engagement with listed terrorist groups It recommends that the UN and countries engage with humanitarian organizations to establish procedures principles and practices that would facilitate humanitarian operations in these situations It was written by Naz K Modirzadeh a fellow at the Harvard Law School Brookings Project on Law and Security Dustin A Lewis a Program Associate at the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research HPCR and Claude Bruderlein Director of HPCR Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force FATF Financial Access Peacebuilding Countering Violent Extremism Click

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