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  • To Michael Mukasey, Rudy Giuliani, Tom Ridge and Frances Townsend: Welcome to our World! | Charity & Security Network
    by challenging the propriety of the designation in court It goes on to note that the Bush administration defended this provision successfully in a case involving the MEK U S v Afshari 427 F 3d 646 9th Cir 2005 The four MEK advocates National Review op ed argues that they did not act under the direction or control of MEK and therefore cannot be considered to have provided MEK with personnel If only it were that simple The CBSNews Political Hotsheet notes the flaw in this analysis saying Yet it s not clear that the efforts of the Giuliani and the others constituted acting entirely independently particularly since as Gawker notes the Supreme Court has deemed advocacy performed in coordination with or at the direction of a foreign terrorist organization a crime Seeing as Giuliani and the others were speaking at French Committee for a Democratic Iran which was reportedly formed to support the MEK the case could be made that they were acting in coordination with the group Up until June 2010 reasonable minds could differ about what the material support law meant But after the Supreme Court ruling in the Humanitarian Law Project case upheld its application to peacebuilding activities there is no doubt As salon com commentator Glen Greenwald noted in a post on this topic There are people sitting in prison right now with extremely long prison sentences for so called material support for terrorism who did little different than what these right wing advocates just did The four conservative MEK supporters are right to be concerned about flaws in the listing and de listing process U S nonprofit organizations have been struggling with these issues for years Listings made without adequate due process or chance to appeal based on secret or questionable evidence do not

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Welcome_to_Our_World (2016-02-16)
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  • Brief Argues Material Support Conviction Should Require Knowledge of Terror Connection | Charity & Security Network
    not on government lists but that the donations violated the material support law because HLF s local partner charities zakat committees were controlled by Hamas On Oct 22 2007 one HLF leader was acquitted and the jury deadlocked on the remaining 197 charges In the retrial prosecutors dropped charges from 197 counts to 108 counts and a new judge presided In November 2008 the HLF leaders were found guilty and were subsequently sentenced to long prison terms The Problem of Unlisted Groups During the second trial Robert McBrien from Treasury s Office of Foreign Assets Control a new witness told the jury that designation of the zakat committees to a government list of proscribed groups is not necessary for donations to be prohibited He said that keeping up with front groups is a task beyond the wise use of resources Instead he said Treasury targets umbrella groups He did not explain Treasury s continuing failure to designate these groups According to AlterNet the same zakat committees have received aid from the International Red Cross and the U S Agency for International Development Trial Court s Jury Instructions No Knowledge Requirement Under the trial court s instructions to the jury it could convict if it found that a defendant knowingly provided support to a local zakat committee even though the zakat committee was not designated if it found that the zakat committee was controlled by Hamas However the jury was not required to find that the defendants knew that fact or even should have known that fact This instruction exceeded the proposed instruction from the prosecution which would have required the defendant knowingly provided or attempted to provide the material support alleged emphasis added Friend of the Court Brief Argues Due Process Demands Knowledge Requirement The organizations filing the friend of the court brief argue that before a group can be convicted of material support of terrorism the law requires proof it had knowledge an unlisted foreign charity is controlled by a listed terrorist group Instead the trial judge relied upon an erroneous and dangerously expansive interpretation of the material support statute That interpretation if upheld on appeal would jeopardize the legitimate work of countless foundations and charities throughout the U S It would mean that a charity or foundation could be prosecuted under the material support statue even if it exercised rigorous due diligence that ensured that it did not support any entity on the government s list of designated organizations It goes on to argue that the judge s jury charge violates fundamental due process principles requiring fair notice of what conduct is prohibited as well as the plain meaning of the statute The brief says the trial court s jury charge turned an already expansive statute into a trap that can catch donors unawares exposing them to criminal prosecution even where they have been effective in ensuring that none of their aid went to a designated organization If upheld it would interfere with and deter fully legitimate nonviolent

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Brief_Argues_Material_Support_Conviction_Should_Require_Knowledge_of_Terror_Connection (2016-02-16)
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  • Supreme Court Hears Oral Argument To Decide if Parts of Patriot Act Violate First Amendment | Charity & Security Network
    or early July Page numbers refer to the Feb 23 2010 oral argument transcript Background on Material Support Laws and the Humanitarian Law Project Ambiguous Law Chilling Effect on Humanitarian Aid Kagan Membership Yes Peacebuilding No Background on Material Support Laws and the Humanitarian Law Project Originally passed in 1996 but augmented by the Patriot Act in 2001 the material support statute bars providing aid to any organization designated as a terrorist group by the United States government However the material support statute not only prohibits providing money and weapons to these groups but denies U S organizations from providing training personnel service and expert advice or assistance including advice on facilitating peacebuilding programs or making human rights claims at the United Nations Cole represents individuals and groups who want to advise designated groups about nonviolent approaches to resolving their political grievances One of the groups Cole represents the Humanitarian Law Project is a U S nonprofit with a mission to advocate for the peaceful resolution of armed conflicts and for worldwide compliance with humanitarian law and human rights law They sought to advise the Kurdistan Workers Party PKK about advocating their agenda before the U N Commission on Human Rights and conducting advisory sessions and public awareness campaigns But because the PKK is a designated terrorist group the material support statute of the Patriot Act makes these actions criminal Ambiguous Law Throughout the oral argument justices raised questions about whether a distinction can be drawn among different types of support that individuals provide to terrorist organizations Chief Justice John G Roberts Jr said at least one part of the law banning expert advice seemed vague to him I don t know sitting down that I could tell he said whether advice about peaceful advocacy was covered by the material support statute Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the law is so broadly written that almost anything can be included in the category of training Under the definition of this statute teaching these members to play the harmonica would be unlawful she said Trying to understand what was permissible under the law Justice Stephen Breyer said petitioning the United Nations does not on its face seem to me to be something that reasonably you would think was going to aid designated groups in their unlawful objectives Chilling Effect on Humanitarian Aid The restrictions created by material support statute have also hampered delivering humanitarian aid to people trapped in areas controlled by a designated group during or after a natural disaster or armed conflict See Legal Roadblocks for U S Famine Relief to Somalia Creating Humanitarian Crisis Justice Anthony Kennedy conveyed this concern when he asked U S Solicitor General Elena Kagan could the government forbid any organization or person from giving tsunami aid to one of these organizations referring to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also expressed reservations about the law s negative impact on humanitarian aid activities saying she did not understand the line between lawful and

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Supreme_Court_Decide_Patriot_Act_Violates_First_Amendment (2016-02-16)
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  • Initial Supreme Court Briefs Filed in Humanitarian Law Project Case | Charity & Security Network
    terrorist by the U S government Filing a brief on behalf of HLP a human rights group and other plaintiffs the Center for Constitutional Rights CCR claims the law making speech advocating nonviolent activity a crime violates the First Amendment s protection of free speech In CCR s press release David Cole an attorney representing HLP spoke about the statute that makes peaceful conflict resolution a crime This statute is so sweeping that it treats human rights advocates as criminal terrorists and threatens them with 15 years in prison for advocating nonviolent means to resolve disputes In our view the First Amendment does not permit the government to make advocating human rights or other lawful peaceable activity a crime simply because it is done for the benefit of or in conjunction with a group the Secretary of State has blacklisted The ACLU filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of several organizations focused on conflict analysis and human rights groups including the Carter Center Grassroots International and Human Rights Watch The introduction of the brief states Plaintiffs seek to engage in pure political speech promoting lawful nonviolent activity Specifically they would like to resume what they were doing before the statutory prohibitions at issue here were triggered teaching and advocating the use of international law and other nonviolent means to reduce conflict advance human rights and promote peace Additional friend of the court briefs Brief from the Constitution Project and Rutherford Institute Brief from the Victims of the McCarthy Era Brief from Academic Researchers and the Citizen Media Law Project Brief from the Anti Defamation League supports the government s position More detailed summaries and analysis of the briefs will be posted on the Charity and Security Network website Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Initial_Supreme_Court_Briefs_Filed_HLP (2016-02-16)
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  • Time to Update Bush's EO 13224 | Charity & Security Network
    of the problem with using EO 13224 and IEEPA to ensure charitable resources are not diverted to terrorist organizations is that as an embargo law IEEPA focuses only on transactions not on end use or intentions As a result the law prohibits any transaction with an SDGT or anyone associated with it even if the transaction is for the purpose of delivering life saving disaster relief or working to turn terrorists away from use of violence to address their grievances President Bush could have avoided this situation by allowing the humanitarian exemption in IEEPA to remain in force Instead he found providing such aid threatens our safety But what threat do humanitarian aid and the charities that deliver it pose to the American people To our troops Does this barrier fuel the antagonism toward the US that helps terrorist recruitment Does the entire concept of withholding aid violate human rights We now have eight years of experience and information to assess the current pros and cons of EO 13224 and consider what is appropriate for the long term We know the following Treasury s broad brush accusations to the contrary there is no proof that charities especially US charities are a significant source of terrorist support either tangible or intangible EO 13224 and Treasury s implementation policies have created significant barriers to legitimate charitable development health education human rights and conflict resolution programs The ultimate contradiction is illustrated by the facts of a case now pending before the Supreme Court Holder v Humanitarian Law Project In that case a U S charity wants to provide human rights and non violent conflict resolution training to two organizations listed as SDGTs The US government has fought their efforts in the courts for years without ever explaining how programs aimed at reducing violence present a danger to the US In the 21st century world battlefields and combatants are not always clearly defined by boundaries and uniforms The humanitarian imperative enshrined in the Geneva Conventions demands that we find a way to allow for care of civilians in conflict zones whether or not there is an official war going on EO 13224 and the embargo based strategy do not fit this new reality Humanitarian aid provided in conflict zones does not automatically free up resources for the local branch of a SDGT to spend on weapons and explosives This unproven myth has found its way into judicial opinions and the Congressional record without ever being subjected to evidence based analysis It should not guide our actions in the future without serious and honest scrutiny In many ways Treasury s Office of Foreign Assets Control OFAC has bungled the application of IEEPA and EO 13224 when it comes to the charitable sector For example in the August 2009 ruling in KindHearts v Treasury the court called OFAC s delays and lost documents inexplicable But to be fair OFAC is an anti money laundering and anti terrorist financing enforcement agency Their sole goal is to disrupt

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/blog/Time_Update_EO_13224 (2016-02-16)
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  • House Committee Reins In Patriot Act Provisions; Calls Made for Hearing on Amending Material Support Statute | Charity & Security Network
    Act include The government must have concrete facts showing that the information is connected to a terrorist or foreign agent before issuing a National Security Letter NSL to get it The lone wolf provision is allowed to sunset This never used provision allows surveillance of non US citizens not working on behalf of a foreign government Creates new reporting audit and oversight provisions that will ensure Congress will continue to get the information needed for real congressional oversight of the executive s surveillance operations The focus will now return to the Senate where the Senate Judiciary Committee s bill S 1692 will soon be on the floor and to the House Intelligence Committee which will soon be considering its own competing Patriot bill A more detailed analysis about the bill passed out of the House Judiciary Committee is available at OMB Watch s House Judiciary Committee Approves Strong PATRIOT Act Reform Humanitarian Aid Amendment A comprehensive account of the humanitarian aid amendment debate is available at Background Summary of House Judiciary Committee Discussion of Humanitarian Exemption to Material Support Prohibition Rep Jackson Lee offered an amendment that would have changed the criminal law prohibiting material support of terrorism to allow U S organizations to provide urgent humanitarian aid to people in need Understanding that the security and image of the U S can be improved by responding to human tragedies with humanitarian aid she called for changing the laws that prevent aid programs and services from reaching those who need it most She asked what sense does it make to bar these people the charitable sector Rep Tammy Baldwin D WI was also supportive of the themes raised by Jackson Lee s amendment While the amendment was withdrawn after Rep Jerrold Nadler D NY raised technical concerns Jackson Lee requested

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/House_reins_patriot_hearing_material_support (2016-02-16)
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  • Court: Penalizing Humanitarian Aid is Unconstitutional | Charity & Security Network
    standard accepted by the government to criminalize humanitarian efforts in hostile situations around the world Teaching human rights enforcement or providing humanitarian relief in war torn areas should never be the basis for criminal prosecutions said Kadidal The material support statute makes it a crime to provide money or goods training personnel expert advice or assistance and services to any organization designated a foreign terrorist organizations by the State Department Shayana Kadidal an attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights said The new administration should change the law to make clear that only those who intend to further the illegal ends of an organization can be punished CCR also called on Congress to revise the definition of material support to exempt medical supplies and services and provision of basic necessities like food water and shelter to civilian refugees Congress needs to stop trying to fix this fundamentally flawed scheme piecemeal said Kadidal Currently the only exemptions are for medicines and religious materials 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

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Penalizing_Humanitarian_Aid_is_Unconstitutional%20 (2016-02-16)
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  • Capacity Crowd Hears Experts Call for Reforms to Allow Peacebuilding and Humanitarian Aid | Charity & Security Network
    advocacy groups supporting reforms of security measures that restrict charitable and peacebuilding activities We would like U S law to be updated to respect charitable access in order to provide basic humanitarian aid to civilians and to protect free speech association and peacebuilding Guinane said Nathan Stock Assistant Director of the Conflict Resolution Program at the Carter Center discussed how the restrictions on talking with deisgnated groups has limited the options among peacebuilders and diplomats from using their craft to reduce violence He said The restrictions constrain our ability to make effective foreign policy especially in the Middle East They make the job of our diplomats more difficult Joel R Charny Vice President of Humanitarian Policy and Practice at InterAction said charitable groups like Save the Children and OperationUSA are unable to provide urgently needed food and other supplies to civilians living in places where a desiganted group operates because of the harmful laws He said It is impossible to reconcile international humanitarian law with the Holder decision and with specific counter terror measures He also said that in places like Somalia the laws hold up assitance to three million people who are on the verge of famine That is completely against the ethics and values of the U S nonproft community Emily Berman Counsel for the Liberty National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice described how the law is being used to suppress Constitutional rights such as political speech and association Citing the investigation of 23 midwest peace and international solidarity activists who believe they are being targeted because of their political beliefs Berman said There is a real risk that this decision will chill not just academic work and pure speech but political dissent within the United States The entire event with all speakers and a

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