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  • State Secrets Protection Act Passes House Subcommittee on Constitution Civil Rights and Civil Liberties | Charity & Security Network
    individual liberties and rights must be enforceable in our courts said Jerrold Nadler D NY the subcommittee chairman The government simply cannot be allowed to hide behind unexamined claims of secrecy The subcommittee also adopted an amendment that would limit the ability of outside parties to appeal a district court s decision on whether the privilege was properly asserted Before the vote the Subcommittee held a hearing in which most witnesses spoke in favor of the bill Asa Hutchinson a former member of the House of Representatives from Arkansas and undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security shared concerns about broad application and potential for misuse of the state secret privilege Hutchinson testified Over the past twenty years courts have dismissed at least a dozen lawsuits on state secrets grounds without any independent review of the underlying evidence that purportedly would be subject to this privilege Not only does this create an incentive for overreaching claims of secrecy by the executive branch but it has prevented too many plaintiffs from having their day in court Speaking at the same hearing Ben Wizner a staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union ACLU said the state secret privilege has evolved from a means of protecting national security interest into an alternative form of immunity that is increasingly being used to shield the government and its agents from accountability for systemic violations of the Constitution HR 984 restores judicial oversight by directing the White House to submit the information it deems a state secret to a federal judge who would conduct an independent review of the material The second reform would prevent the outright dismissal of an entire lawsuit without an independent review of the evidence deemed privileged Issues Humanitarian Access Material Support Financial Action Task Force FATF Financial Access Peacebuilding Countering

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/State_Secrets_Act_Passes_House (2016-02-16)
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  • House Urged to Improve Oversight, Regulation of Intelligence Gathering | Charity & Security Network
    Department both told the committee local police officers were no longer first responders but rather first preventers McNamara added Local police were now considered an integral part of efforts to protect the nation from a variety of threats including that posed by domestic and international terrorists Both officers called for closer relations during investigations and less red tape in obtaining and accepting security clearances between different agencies The speakers on the second panel expressed their concerns about stronger intelligence gathering bonds between federal state and local law enforcement agencies Gregory T Nojeim the Director of the Center for Democracy and Technology s Project on Freedom Security and Technology was apprehensive about the increase in data collected and stored by government agencies and their propensity to draw inaccurate or outright wrong conclusions Nojeim said While stovepiping was yesterday s problem tomorrow s problem may be pipe clogging as huge amounts of information are being gathered without apparent focus Nojeim said unregulated information collecting mechanisms could cast a net so wide that innocent people are unable to defend themselves against false accusations of terrorist activities For example photographing bridges is described as a suspicious activity even though such sites are regularly photographed by tourists journalists and photography buffs He also gave three recent examples of egregious abuses by law enforcement agencies conducting surveillance on peaceful activities Maryland state police surveillance of peaceful anti war and anti death penalty activists Reporting on lobbying activities and concern about tolerance Texas area Fusion Center s bulletin Compiling lists of marches and rallies including the Central Vermont Peace and Justice demonstrations Supporting similar sentiments Caroline Frederickson Director of the ACLU s Washington Legislative Office warned that intelligence does not equate with accuracy She said by its very nature intelligence is often uncorroborated inadequately vetted and fragmentary

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/House_Improve_Oversight_Regulation_Intelligence%20 (2016-02-16)
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  • ACLU Report Calls for Oversight, Overhaul of Patriot Act | Charity & Security Network
    and reform Intended as a mechanism to starve terrorist organizations of resources these statues instead undermine legitimate humanitarian efforts and perpetuate the perception that U S counterterrorism policies are unjust Prior to 9 11 material support was defined in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act as knowingly providing resources in preparation for in carrying out a terrorist attack 18 USCA 2339A or knowingly providing resources to any group designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization FTO by the Secretary of State 18 USCA 2339B The report notes that the International Emergency Economic Powers Act also contains a prohibition on providing material support The Patriot Act expanded these definitions to include expert advice or assistance and the only exemptions are for medicine and religious materials As a result medical and other services are prohibited In practice the definition of material support effectively prevents humanitarian organizations from providing needed relief in many parts of the world where designated groups control schools orphanages medical clinics hospitals and refugee camps This is illustrated in a summary of one volunteer aid worker s experiences in Sri Lanka after the tsunami of 2004 p 23 24 The report describes the progress of the legal challenge to the definition of material support in Humanitarian Law Project v Mukasey where the plaintiffs wished to provide human rights and conflict resolution training to designated terrorist groups in Sri Lanka and Kurdistan but were barred by the material support definition The report notes that the U S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found the terms training and service and part of the definition of expert advice and assistance unconstitutionally vague under the Fifth Amendment The government appealed and in January 2009 the court upheld this ruling Congress can cure the constitutional and humanitarian problems with a different material support definition The ACLU recommendations are as follows Amend the material support statutes to require specific intent to further an organization s unlawful activities before imposing criminal liability Remove overbroad and impermissibly vague language such as training service and expert advice and assistance from the definition of material support Establish an explicit duress exemption to remove obstacles for genuine refugees and asylum seekers to enter and or remain in the United States Provide notice due process and meaningful review requirements in the designation process and permit defendants charged with material support to challenge the underlying designation in their criminal cases Surveillance Harms First Amendment Rights Privacy The report provides clear and thorough explanations of how the Patriot Act has contributed to dramatic expansion of government surveillance and information gathering about people who are not the target of criminal investigations Surveillance issues it recommends for review by Congress are National Security Letters Section 505 of the Patriot Act expanded the power of the FBI to obtain sensitive personal information such as financial records credit reports telephone and email communications data and Internet searches on anyone it deems relevant to a counterterrorism investigation without a warrant The report details two Inspector General

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/ACLU_Calls_Oversight_Overhaul_Patriot_%20Act%20 (2016-02-16)
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  • Charity & Security Network
    Act Passes House Subcommittee on Constitution Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Date June 15 2009 After hearing testimony on why the application of the executive state secret privilege needs to curtailed a House subcommittee passed the State Secret Protection Act but limited some appeals and sent it to the Judiciary Committee for further consideration Debate over a similar bill in the Senate has been repeatedly postponed Read more about State Secrets Protection Act Passes House Subcommittee on Constitution Civil Rights and Civil Liberties State Secrets Protection Act Passes House Subcommittee on Constitution Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Date June 15 2009 After hearing testimony on why the application of the executive state secret privilege needs to curtailed a House subcommittee passed the State Secret Protection Act but limited some appeals and sent it to the Judiciary Committee for further consideration Debate over a similar bill in the Senate has been repeatedly postponed Read more about State Secrets Protection Act Passes House Subcommittee on Constitution Civil Rights and Civil Liberties House Urged to Improve Oversight Regulation of Intelligence Gathering Date April 9 2009 On March 28 2009 the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment heard from law enforcement officials and advocacy group leaders about developing an effective domestic intelligence sharing network to prevent terror while building privacy and civil liberties protections into the system Read more about House Urged to Improve Oversight Regulation of Intelligence Gathering Pages first previous 1 2 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

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/issue/Congressional%20Oversight?type=All&page=1 (2016-02-16)
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  • Criminal Cases Overview | Charity & Security Network
    Case Send Chilling Message to NGOs Exhibits from the Second HLF Trial Conviction of Holy Land Foundation Raises Questions and Concerns for NGOs Holy Land Jury Deliberates on when Aid Becomes Support of Terrorism Pete Seda and Al Haramain Oregon Pete Seda Begins Prison Term Appeal Pending Charity Leader Sentenced to 33 Months for Tax Evasion Judge No New Trial for Seda Request for More Evidence of Prosecution Misconduct in Seda Case Denied Charity Leader Released as FBI Evidence Tampering Becomes Issue in Case Prosecutors Admit Failure to Turn Over Key Documents to Former Al Haramain Leader Seda Oregon Charity Leader Convicted of Tax Charges Care International Defendant Petitions U S Supreme Court Convictions Reinstated for Boston Charity Officials Judge Hears Care Appeal in Tax Case Convictions Based on Publications Raise Questions for NGOs Free Speech Questions Linger After Judge Dismisses Most Charges Against Charity Leaders Chiquita Banana Double Standard Chiquita Fined Not Shut Down for Interactions with Terrorist Group 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

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/crimanal_case_overview (2016-02-16)
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  • Holy Land Foundation Case Summary: Controversial “Material Support” of Terrorism Trial Results in Long Sentences for former Charity Officials | Charity & Security Network
    were upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec 7 2011 While this ruling upheld the jury verdict and judgment against the defendants the Fifth Circuit addressed a number of issues of broader legal significance Click here for an in depth summary of this ruling and recognized the legitimacy of several arguments raised by the defendants as to the improper use of certain categories of evidence at trial The government did not claim HLF provided direct support of Hamas or a terrorist group Instead it argued that charitable aid that provides a public relations benefit to Hamas is a crime even though the local charities involved are not on any government lists of terrorist organizations This point was raised by an amicus brief that focused on the trial judge s failure to require a showing that HLF s leaders knew the unlisted charities were controlled by Hamas See The Knowledge Scienter Requirement section from this summary for additional details The amicus brief also argued that the erroneous and dangerously expansive interpretation of the material support statute would jeopardize the legitimate charitable work of countless foundations and charities throughout the United States The Carter Center the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Christian Peacemaker Teams were among the 20 organizations that signed the amicus brief An unusual twist the criminal prosecution of HLF involved the May 29 2007 filing by the prosecution that listed 246 individuals and entities as Un indicted Co conspirators and or Joint Venturers In a break with DOJ policies the list was not sealed and the names which included most major U S Muslim organizations were made public Both the trial court in Dallas and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the release violated due process rights under the Fifth Amendment HLF had been shut

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/background/HLF_summary (2016-02-16)
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  • Developments in Prosecutions of U.S. Charities: Holy Land Foundation, Care Int., & Al-Haramain-Oregon | Charity & Security Network
    officers and employees of HLF an organization that provided humanitarian aid to people living in the West Bank until shut down by the government in 2001 They had requested a rehearing of the court s earlier denial of their appeal of criminal convictions for conspiracy to provide material support and other charges More about HLF available here Care International Defendant Petitions U S Supreme Court A defendant in the Care International charity case has petitioned the U S Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court decision to reinstate a charge of conspiracy against him the Worcester Telegram Gazette reported Feb 18 2012 Samir Al Monla had been cleared on all charges until the First Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated his January 2008 conspiracy conviction in September 2011 There is no word yet on whether the Supreme Court will accept the case for review Al Monla s sentencing for the conspiracy conviction is scheduled for May 31 More about Care International available here Pete Seda Begins Prison Term Appeal Pending On Feb 29 2012 the former head of Al Harmain Foundation of Oregon based charity began his 33 month prison sentence for money laundering and tax evasion In September 2010 a jury found Pete Seda guilty of helping to smuggle 150 000 to Saudi Arabia through his Al Haramain Islamic Foundation in Oregon The case is now on appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit The charity is also known for winning the first judgment against the United States for an illegal wiretap of its communications with its attorneys The government is appealing that ruling More about Pete Seda and Al Haramain Oregon 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

    Original URL path: http://www.charityandsecurity.org/news/Prosecutions_Charities_HLF_Care_Al-haramain_seda (2016-02-16)
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  • Holy Land Foundation and its Leaders Petition for Re-hearing on Dismissal of their Appeal | Charity & Security Network
    and had millions of dollars forfeited after a trial at which it had no counsel It is also undisputed that no corporate representative made a knowing intelligent waiver of counsel on behalf of HLF As such the trial involved Constitutional error of the greatest magnitude and had no known precedent The Sixth Amendment protects the right to counsel and the right to confront evidence As a nonprofit corporation rather than a living person HLF could only assert its rights through counsel HLF was unrepresented at trial because its original attorney who represented both HLF and its board chair withdrew from representing HLF before the trial due to the potential conflict of interest between the two No steps were taken to provide HLF with representation at trial and it was later convicted In the request for re hearing Natarajan noted that Courts routinely take steps to protect litigants who are unable to vindicate their own rights through disability not of their making In civil cases courts appoint counsel guardians ad litem or next friends to protect the rights of civil litigants who are unable to participate in proceedings Courts also appoint third parties such as special masters and receivers when necessary to aid in the administration of justice She also noted that in criminal cases Courts appoint standby counsel for self represented defendants and indigent defendants HLF leaders arguments supporting a re hearing Attorneys for HLF s leaders who were also convicted at trial filed their petition for re hearing on Jan 4 2012 The petition sets out three questions of exceptional importance Did the appeals panel of judges err when they held that the trial court made four errors in admitting evidence but that the errors were harmless and therefore would not affect the convictions The defendants argued that this

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