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  • Summary of House Judiciary Committee Discussion of Humanitarian Exemption to Material Support Prohibition | Charity & Security Network
    lives and reducing the factors that drive violent extremism Jackson Lee noted that she traveled to Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake left many in dire need of immediate assistance and observed how difficult it can be to get essential aid delivered She rejected claims that humanitarian assistance is so fungible that it indirectly subsidizes purchase of weapons by terrorist organizations Instead she said nonprofits have due diligence procedures that ensure aid gets to its intended recipients She also pointed out the public diplomacy problems created when U S laws result in aid being withheld Rep Tammy Baldwin D WI spoke in favor of the idea noting she had prepared a similar amendment but would support the Jackson Lee proposal She noted problems with getting aid into disaster areas such as Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami and said the standard should be that aid is provided without distinction and be based on need only Rep Jerrold Nadler D NY opposed the amendment saying its effect would be far from humanitarian He said the problem is not the definition of humanitarian aid but the preceding section of 18 USC 2339A the law Jackson Lee s proposal would amend It applies to material support given knowing or intending that they are to be used in preparation for or in carrying out terrorism related offenses Nadler said This is not by any stretch of the imagination a humanitarian purpose even if the nature of the items have humanitarian uses For example Nadler said the Jackson Lee proposal could allow donation of food to al Qaeda members fighting for the express purpose of aiding them in the preparation or carrying out of terrorist acts so long as it is in a natural disaster There is no requirement that the food and water be used to aid actual victims of the disaster Jackson Lee disagreed saying under Nadler s interpretation the current exemption for medicine and religious materials could be given to further terrorist purposes Rep Lamar Smith R TX then moved for a point of order saying the amendment was outside the scope of the Patriot Act provisions under consideration and was not germane Jackson Lee said she would withdraw her amendment and engage Chairman John Conyers D MI on the idea of having a hearing on the issue We cannot ignore the problem she said Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz D FL opposed the idea of a hearing citing concerns about fungibility of goods However Baldwin and others supported it Conyers has not yet indicated whether he will hold such a hearing The issues discussed in the hearing raise important issues for discussion among nonprofits working to reform national security laws that negatively impact charities It is likely these questions will have to be addressed in some way if a humanitarian exemption proposal is to succeed For example Should a humanitarian exemption have requirements that the aid reach intended beneficiaries If so what should these requirements be What are the fact scenarios that would

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/background/house_judiciary_humanitarian_exemption (2016-02-16)
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  • Diverse Group of Nonprofits Seek Meeting with Obama Administration on New Rules for Charities | Charity & Security Network
    but says We are confident that new approaches that reflect the mission and expertise of the U S charitable community are not only possible but essential to the success of your national security and public diplomacy strategies The Network said such change must address systemic problems and indicated four benchmarks for success Provide clear standards for permissible charitable and development activity that are consistent with long standing norms for humanitarian operations such as the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non Governmental Organizations NGOs in Disaster Relief Provide a fair opportunity for charities accused of supporting terrorism to defend themselves Protect charitable assets from indefinite freezing and allow these resources to further the charitable mission donors intended to support Withdraw the Treasury Department s Anti Terrorist Financing Guidelines Voluntary Best Practices for U S based Charities The letter was endorsed by diverse group of U S organizations including faith based charities civil liberties groups and grantmakers Attachment Size Obama Letter pdf 68 73 KB 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/letter_to_Obama (2016-02-16)
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  • Amendment to State Secrets Bill Would Expand Ban on Humanitarian Aid and Other Programs | Charity & Security Network
    act of terrorism includes not only those that commit the act but those who aid abet counsel command induce or procure commission of a terrorist act and those who attempt plot or conspire to do so The Kyl proposal expands current law in three ways that would create serious difficulties for any U S organization operating an international program These are While current law provides notice of which individuals and organizations are illegal to deal with or provide aid to Treasury and State Department lists of designated terrorist organizations the Kyl amendment would expand the prohibition to apply to perpetrators of an act which is defined so broadly that it would be impossible as a practical matter to determine who the perpetrators are It would be equally impossible to determine who is otherwise associated with them The proposal does not provide a standard or any public notice on who is considered a perpetrator The people barred from receiving humanitarian aid would include potential innocent family members who have no involvement in terrorist acts This contravenes the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief which says the humanitarian imperative comes first and Aid is given regardless of the race creed or nationality of the recipients and without adverse distinction of any kind Aid priorities are calculated on the basis of need alone In addition the 1994 IFRC Code of Conduct states in part that aid is given regardless of the race creed or nationality of the recipients and without adverse distinction of any kind will not be used to further a particular political or religious standpoint and shall endeavor not to be used as an instrument of government foreign policy While an intent standard is a constructive concept in devising better

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Kyl_Amendment_State_Secrets_Bill_ (2016-02-16)
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  • Heavy Sentences Handed out in Holy Land Trial Send Chilling Message to U.S. NGOs | Charity & Security Network
    political affiliation or any factor other than need the convictions in the HLF trial and the prosecution s arguments indicate potential association with terrorist organizations is a factor in determining eligibility for aid Second the process for determining what foreign organizations that U S NGOs are legally authorized to associate with is unclear During the trial Robert McBrien from Treasury s Office of Foreign Assets Control testified that it can be illegal to deal with groups that have not been designated as supporters of terrorism and placed on government watchlists He said that keeping up with front groups is a task beyond the wise use of resources The zakat committees HLF was convicted of working with have still never been placed on the U S government s list of organizations supporting terrorism Finally approximately 5 million in HLF funds have been frozen by the government during this investigation and trial and may be forfeited to the government There is no process for the funds to be released or distributed in a manner that honors the donors charitable intent The Dallas area Holy Land Foundation was once the largest Muslim charity in the United States The charity which had no legal representation and therefore did not present a defense and five men were originally indicted in 2004 and the first trial ended in a hung jury in October 2007 During the retrial prosecutors reduced the charges from 197 counts to 108 counts of supporting terrorism money laundering conspiracy and tax fraud Prosecutors argued the defendants were supporters of Hamas The case s prosecutor Jim Jacks argued for the most severe sentences for all five men There s been no acknowledgment by any of these defendants regarding their connection to Hamas Jacks said They haven t been deterred Their entire sentencing presentation is they re being punished for providing charity It s important for the court to impose a sentence that says this is not a case about punishing people for doing nice things The successful prosecution of the HLF leaders on terrorism charges was the first after similar charges in other trials failed Speaking about the broader implications of this trial on other charities and NGOs David Kris assistant attorney general for national security said These sentences should serve as a strong warning to anyone who knowingly provides financial support to terrorists under the guise of humanitarian relief The Charity and Security Network statement on the sentencing said The U S charitable sector has been doing its best to provide humanitarian aid economic development human rights protection around the world despite national security laws that have made these efforts increasingly difficult The legal standards used by the prosecution and sentences handed down in the Holy Land Foundation trial indicate that this situation is likely to get worse The defense attorneys presented a different viewpoint telling the judge that their clients provided humanitarian relief to Palestinians and sent donations to some of the same zakat charity committees supported by the American agency

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Heavy_Sentences_Holy_Land_Trial_Chilling_Message_NGOs (2016-02-16)
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  • Conviction of Holy Land Foundation Raises Questions, Concerns for Nonprofits | Charity & Security Network
    these particular groups since at least 2004 when it indicted HLF that rationale does not explain Treasury s continuing failure to designate the groups According to AlterNet the same zakat committees have received aid from the International Red Cross and the U S Agency for International Development Treasury s legal theory makes it impossible for U S charities operating abroad to protect themselves by checking local charity partners against the list of designated supporters of terrorism The threat of being shut down by Treasury has already discouraged international programs from operating in conflict zones and now the potential for severe criminal sanctions could further exacerbate this situation After Hamas was designated in 1995 HLF hired a former member of Congress from Texas John Bryant to help the group communicate with Treasury about what groups were off limits Bryant testified that Treasury rejected their attempt to obtain guidance The lack of known evidence about zakat committee ties to Hamas was described by another defense witness Edward Abington former U S consul general in Israel between 1993 and 1997 In the first trial he testified that while in Israel he got daily intelligence briefings on security threats and was never told Hamas controlled charities In this trial the CIA barred him from referring to his past affiliation with it As a result Abington was only able to refer to government briefings that did not include references to the zakat committees The defense called this a blatant attempt to interfere with the defendant s Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights to present a defense The prosecution alleged that the zakat committees were staffed and controlled by Hamas using detailed charts to show Hamas affiliations with zakat committee leaders In an unusual and controversial move the government had two Israeli intelligence officials testify anonymously about documents and items seized in their raids on the zakat offices between 2002 and 2004 These items included key chains and other memorabilia memorializing suicide bombers The judge overruled defense objections and use of the anonymous witnesses is expected to be a major issue in the appeal More on the Evidence To counter the defendants argument that there is no criminal violation when all funds are used to support charitable programs hospitals and schools the prosecution presented a new witness Georgetown University professor Bruce Hoffman as an expert on terrorism He told the jury that throughout history terrorist groups have used charities as fronts to raise money and build good will almost without exception The prosecution spent the first four of its five weeks presenting witnesses and evidence that focused on the defendants political views about the conflict in the Middle East and their ties to suspected militants It also showed videos of violent attacks although the defendants were not accused of violent acts Much of this evidence centered on events that took place before Hamas was designated as a terrorist organization For example FBI agent Lara Burns testified about a 1993 meeting in Philadelphia attended by HLF representatives which

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Conviction_Holy_Land_Raises_Questions_Concerns_Nonprofits (2016-02-16)
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  • "Terrorism" Toolkit Will Offer Guidance to Charities | Charity & Security Network
    the toolkit More information is available from British Overseas NGOs for Development BOND 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

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/node/174 (2016-02-16)
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  • Expert: Rulings Diminish Charitable Giving and Impact | Charity & Security Network
    your funds frozen and your leaders prosecuted by providing aid in international hot spots where people are neediest or you stay away to stay safe said Kay Guinane Program Manager of the Charity and Security Network Neither choice is acceptable for a society that prides itself on its respect for human life she added Another direct consequence from the uncertainty surrounding many Muslim charities is misguided relationships between the private and public sector Explained here in greater detail deals such as the one between USAID and The American Charities for Palestine can result in charitable groups being perceived not as independent actors but as part of a broader U S foreign policy or military objective This unnecessary entanglement with the government will lead to the politicizing of humanitarian aid and potentially dangerous situations for relief workers in conflict zones This creates a fundamental catch 22 for all U S charities and grant makers that do any kind of international work Guinane said An article with further details is available here 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

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Rulings_Diminish_Charitable_Giving_Impact (2016-02-16)
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  • Report on State of the Humanitarian System: Politicization of Aid Disrupts Aid Delivery | Charity & Security Network
    not impartial and made on the basis of humanitarian need alone Produced by the Active Learning Network for Accountability and Performance ALNAP the report s findings are based largely upon survey responses from hundreds of aid workers donors and aid recipients around the world Most of the aid recipients surveyed by ALNAP and its partners felt that the best way in which humanitarian organizations could improve is to be faster to start delivering aid When asked what is the biggest problem or weakness hindering effectiveness nearly a quarter of aid workers polled responded limited access due to restrictions by host government authorities In 2009 2010 the international humanitarian system responded to 103 natural disasters and 43 complex emergencies in developing countries according to the report s data ALNAP also notes that risk aversion and compliance culture inhibit good leadership It identifies emerging trends in the humanitarian system Changing environmental and political climates mean that we are faced with new and different types of disasters The rise of Southern NGOs and governments seeking to play a greater role in disaster preparedness response and recovery is likely to generate a wider range of voices around the table Longer term development agendas and disaster preparedness recovery programming is increasingly overlapping with traditional disaster relief functions If humanitarian organizations simply continue with business as usual without a serious reality check they are in danger of becoming irrelevant or poorly adapted to this changing world ALNAP is made up of humanitarian organizations and leading experts from international and national NGOs and NGO networks e g Oxfam DARA UN agencies the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and academic and other research institutions Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force FATF Financial Access Peacebuilding Countering Violent Extremism Click Here For More Issues Solutions Principles

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