Acquittals, Hung Jury in Al-Arian Case:
I noted a long time ago that the Justice Department was developing a decidedly mixed record in its anti-terrorism prosecutions. As of today, there's another important case to add to the list:
  In a major defeat for law enforcement officials, a jury in Florida failed to return guilty verdicts Tuesday on any of 51 criminal counts against a former Florida professor and three co-defendants accused of operating a North American front for Palestinian terrorists.
  The former professor, Sami al-Arian, a fiery advocate for Palestinian causes who became a lightning rod for criticism nationwide over his vocal anti-Israeli stances, was found not guilty on eight criminal counts related to terrorist support, perjury and immigration violations.
  The jury deadlocked on the remaining nine counts against him after deliberating for 13 days, and it did not return any guilty verdicts against the three other defendants in the case.
  DOJ has had some recent successes in anti-terrorism cases, but the al-Arian case was considered a very important prosecution. No word yet on whether al-Arian will be recharged on the 9 counts that didn't result in a verdict.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Analyzing the al-Arian Verdict:
  2. The Al-Arian Verdict and the Patriot Act:
  3. Acquittals, Hung Jury in Al-Arian Case:
This case shows why we shouldn't trust the Bush Administration to decide who deserves indefinite detention without judicial review. They can't distinguish between terrorists, jerks (like Al-Arian) and wholly innocent people (like El-Masri).

Remember this when Bush or Cheney assure you that everyone at Gitmo is a really terrorist.
12.7.2005 5:06am
Does anyone know if District Judge Moody's pretrial ruling on mens rea under the material support law was appealed (and if so, what happened)?
12.7.2005 6:37am
Anderson (mail) (www):
I recall this case from law school. We were doing a national First Amendment moot court on Pickering and firing a school employee for controversial pro-Palestinian speech, and this case was in the news at the same time. Anyone know if al-Arian ever sued the university?
12.7.2005 9:11am
This case shows why treating terrorism as a criminal matter is so problematic. We just can't afford to wait until we're sure that someone knows "beyond a reasonable doubt" that they are funding terrorists or until we have that level of certainty that someone plans to blow themselves up before we act.
12.7.2005 9:13am
JToren (mail):
This acquital was incredibly disappointing, and on top of that the coverage was abysmal, and I just wanted to make sure folks here caught it.

First, the AP article —

The second sentence of the article says this:
"The case against Sami Al-Arian, 47, had been seen as one of the biggest courtroom tests yet of the Patriot Act's expanded search-and-surveillance powers."

Why in the world is it a test of expanded surveillance? The evidence was gathered, so if there was any violation of privacy or any improper search, it's done. And it was admitted, so there were no legal sanctions. The only way it would be a test of the PATRIOT Act would be if the jury acquitted despite sufficient evidence because they objected to the way the evidence was gathered, and that seems highly unlikely. This is a classic move by the Palestinian-apologist media. They deflect attention behind the truly outrageous story, which is what Al-Arian has said and done against Jews, by shifting the focus to a more contraversial issue; that is, the outer reaches of the PATRIOT Act.

Next: "Al-Arian, a Palestinian who was born in Kuwait, has lived in the United States since 1975."

If he was born in Kuwait, and has lived in the U.S. since 1975, how in the world is he "Palestinian"? Since the definition of Palestinian is amorphous and fictional to begin with, I suppose there can be no answer.

Next: " At times, the participants appeared to speak glowingly of the Palestinian "martyrs" who carried out suicide attacks."

APPEARED to speak glowingly? You don't need a wiretap to know of the glowing thing he has said about terrorists. He has said them in public and the quotes have been well-publicized. The NY Times (I'll get to them in a second) at least included a couple.

On the plus side, the AP account has little commentary and pundit-speak, just a somewhat skewed presentation of the facts. The Times, as usual is another story:

"The former professor, Sami al-Arian, a fiery advocate for Palestinian causes who became a lightning rod for criticism nationwide over his vocal anti-Israeli stances..."

Advocate for Palestinian causes? Anti-israel stances?? Someome simply reading this description might think he is a mere, well, anti-Israel Palestinian advocate, not a terrorism-supporting anti-semite. (Of course, the unfortunate reality is that they're often synonymous, but people won't — and shouldn't — assume that is the case.) But later on in the same article are a sampling of Mr. Al-Arian's quotes:

"Mr. Arian was heard raising money for Palestinian causes, hailing recently completed attacks against Israel with associates overseas, calling suicide bombers "martyrs" and referring to Jews as "monkeys and swine" who would be "damned" by Allah."

By now you've probably read the rest of the article, which is heavy with glowing quotes from his lawyers and pundits in his camp. The main problem with the coverage is not what it says, but what it doesn't. If they are going to relay all the defenses of Al-Arian regarding his "political speech" and "contraversial views," it should tell us more about the *content* of those views. It leaves people to assume that his views are politically pedestrian.

12.7.2005 9:23am
JToren has a point. I should have used a stronger word than "jerk" to describe Al-Arian. "Repugnant bigot" is better.

But the Bush administration still can't distinguish between the repugnant bigots and the terrorists.

If he was born in Kuwait, and has lived in the U.S. since 1975, how in the world is he "Palestinian"? Since the definition of Palestinian is amorphous and fictional to begin with, I suppose there can be no answer.
Palestians scattered throughout the Middle East after the creation of Israel. They are treated as second class citizens (if they are lucky) and are often segregated from the rest of the host-country's people. Israel probably treats Palestinians better than any Arab country.

There was a move in Israel to try to define Palestinians out of existance. One Israeli leader even said that "there is no such thing as a Palestinian." Fortunately, those days are mostly past.
12.7.2005 9:39am
Anderson (mail) (www):
This case shows why treating terrorism as a criminal matter is so problematic. We just can't afford to wait until we're sure that someone knows "beyond a reasonable doubt" that they are funding terrorists or until we have that level of certainty that someone plans to blow themselves up before we act.

So you're suggesting that the prof should've been arrested and thrown into a cell without habeas? Please clarify.

Nothing stops FBI from "acting" in the sense of doing some decent work. They could've set up a sting, or done a better job tracing the money. But to judge by the news reports, they thought playing a bunch of tapes where the prof badmouths Israel and gets all excited about terrorists was enough for a conviction.

(For the record, the prof sounds like a loathsome character all right.)
12.7.2005 9:57am

I'm also not sure what you are suggesting. The arguments for interpreting the material support statute to require actual knowledge or intent that the provided funding will be used to further terrorist acts are based on the First and Fifth Amendments. So, it would not seem to matter that this was a criminal prosecution, as opposed to something else.
12.7.2005 10:27am
Some Guy (mail):
So, why are we taking enemy prisoners again? So the legal profession can exert its moral and legal authority to have them released later? Thank God you folks weren't around in 1944.

Given that the legal profession has demonstrated that it is more than willing to be captured as a tool of the enemy, shooting terrorist prisoners in the field after cursory field interrogation may be the best policy option from now on. I have no doubt the same folks who are today using the courts to push for the release of dangerous enemy combatants would propagandize for the enemy should this become our policy, but those folks are working for the enemy and can be expected to agitate on behalf of the enemy no matter what we do. It would seem we would take less casualties from terrorists who might fight to the death or from new recruits encouraged by their martyrdom than from terrorists who probably would fight to the death, anyways, and are now being released from custody to kill us another day.

(Go ahead, cry about this particular foreigner being "innocent," it's irrelevant whether he made bombs in his basement, gave cash to terrorists, or is just a plain old "jerk" who advocates the murder of your countrymen. For each individual foreign enemy the government is unable to prove to a judge's satisfaction actually engaged in overt terrorist acts, there are another 100 hardcore terrorists in custody who the same ruling applies to and who we will be forced to release. Those men will kill Americans, be it our friends and family in Afghanistan or Iraq, or commuters on the Red Line in DC. We've been capturing scum on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan who were released in response to the first round of ICRC/ACLU hand-wringing, so don't even claim it's hypothetical or a right-wing scarecrow. If you advocate for the release terrorists, you are assisting the enemy in murdering Americans.

The ACLU knows this, that's why they are properly characterized as Al Qaeda's outside counsel.)
12.7.2005 10:31am
Once again, I am pretty sure Some Guy is satire, or at least should be.

Although I haven't been to the campus of USF, so maybe it really is a "battlefield."
12.7.2005 10:45am
JosephSlater (mail):
I'm not so sure Some Guy is satire. There seems to be a lot of such "satire" on even this normally sane blog these days.

I'm interested in the ever-growing list of folks whom the hard right are willing to label enemies of America, or at least folks that undermine our security safety. So far, according to posters on this blog, it's not just the ACLU, liberalsm, the left, and most all democrats (maybe except Lieberman, on a good day). It's also the "main stream media" (or "MSM," a concept that apparently doesn't acknowledge that Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and most talk radio is both mainstream and media); the CIA (note the new talking point that CIA leaks are done with the express purpose of undermining Bush, to the nation's peril); much of academia; and at least a good chunk of the legal profession. Oh, and of course western Europe and the vast majority of other countries that we used to call allies in the pre-Bush era. All of them, undermining our war effort.

To get back to the specific point, in response to JTOren, my guess is this case is being described as a "test of the Patriot Act's expanded powers" mostly because the Patriot Act was sold as being a trade-off of the burden of allowing more government intrusion for the benefit of being able to find and proscute more folks. If prosecutions are unsuccessful, it makes the benefit seem less worth the burden.
12.7.2005 11:14am
Just to follow up on Medis, I agree. At least I hope it is satire.

it's irrelevant whether he made bombs in his basement, gave cash to terrorists, or is just a plain old "jerk" who advocates the murder of your countrymen.

In addition to being incapable of distinguishing Florida from Afganistan, Some Guy apparently can't distinguish bombers from money launderers from ranters.
12.7.2005 11:16am
Omar Bradley (mail):
Some Guy,

Bravo. Unfortunately those on the left will continue to "provide aid and comfort to America's enemies".

War and "the rule of law" cannot exist. It's the 1st principle of physics. No 2 objects can occcupy the same space at the same time. The existence of a state of war requires the absence of the rule of law, as the legal system allows for the chance of defeat while war demands nothing but victory. As long as we continue to confuse the two and allow the legal system to interfere with a state of war, we shall continue to suffer the consequences.

Indisputably as an admitted leader of the PIJ, Al-Arian did just that and thus should have been tried for treason.

Why the administration is reluctant to bring treason chrages I have no idea. We need leaders like Lincoln, Wilson, and Roosevelt who recognize that there is no option but victory and that anything other than victory is defeat and submission.

If suspension of habeus was ok for "Honest Abe", the man who freed the slaves and the savior of the Union, it should be ok for George W Bush. Likewise the administration should ressurect the Smith Act and some version of the Espionage Act. As FDR understood, we must pursue no course but victory and only upon the unconditional surrender of the enemy will we cease in our attempts to smite him.

Regarding al-Arian, he may have been acquited in Tampa but I have no doubt that he's been pronounced guilty in Tel Aviv and that is a mere matter of time before this wrong is made right and the victims of al-Arian receive their due justice.
12.7.2005 12:44pm
Palestians scattered throughout the Middle East after the creation of Israel. They are treated as second class citizens (if they are lucky) and are often segregated from the rest of the host-country's people. Israel probably treats Palestinians better than any Arab country.

All true. What goes unmentioned is the mass expulsions of Jews from Arab and Muslim lands just after Israel was created, often in the familiar German pre-war manner (leave yoor wealth behind). At least as many Jews were expelled as Arabs were displaced. Israel ended up having massive refugee camps for them.

The difference, of course, was Israel welcomed them and allowed them to join society. The Palestinians got treated (and are still treated) as garbage by their fellow Arabs, kept in pens ("refugee camps" that are 50 years old) just to keep the issue going.
12.7.2005 1:05pm
The Original TS (mail):
Thank God you folks weren't around in 1944.

Yes, indeed. Think of all those Japanese-Americans that would have been running around loose.
12.7.2005 1:08pm

War and "the rule of law" cannot exist. It's the 1st principle of physics. No 2 objects can occcupy the same space at the same time. The existence of a state of war requires the absence of the rule of law, as the legal system allows for the chance of defeat while war demands nothing but victory. As long as we continue to confuse the two and allow the legal system to interfere with a state of war, we shall continue to suffer the consequences.

There's no use arguing any more. This man has presented an incontrovertible scientific proof that now that we've begun military action somewhere we can't have laws.
12.7.2005 1:13pm
guest (mail):
Re Palestinians: There are obviously Palestinians now, because that's what they call themselves. But you'd be hard-pressed to find any reference to "Palestinians" before 1948, or 1967. Palestinian identity is a very recent invention, there was no separate Palestinian religion, culture, language, etc., nor did the local Arabs think of themselves as Palestinians, or otherwise different from clan members who lived in Transjordan and elsewhere.
12.7.2005 1:45pm

Although I also suspect that Omar Bradley is satire (and maybe the same person as Some Guy), I do find this general line of argument interesting. The basic assumption seems to be that the "rule of law" diminishes the power of our society and thus weakens our ability to fight wars. But "rule of law" advocates tend to argue that societies governed by the rule of law end up stronger, not weaker, than their competitors. Indeed, the rule of law is frequently credited as one of the most significant factors in the rise of the United States to its current position as the most powerful country in the world.

Of course, there is an entirely different line of argument which suggests that in war, or other "unusual" circumstances, the laws under which we are ruled should be modified temporarily to take into account these unusual circumstances. As an aside, this strikes me as suspect argument if for no other reason than some amount of war seems like an ordinary, not unusual, circumstance--an observation, unfortunately, that is particularly applicable when the "war" in question is something like a "war on terror," which many of our allies will note has been going on for a very long time now.

In any event, this proposition (that conditions of war require different laws) is still distinct from this other proposition (that conditions of war require no rule of law at all). Personally, I don't find the latter proposition remotely plausible.
12.7.2005 1:49pm
Arthur (mail):
This outcome is a major victory for citizens and other residents of the United States, although it's a loss for a prosecutor. Whenever an innocent man is found to be innocent by the legal system, the rest of us innocent folks should cheer. We can hope that if we are ever falsely accused of crimes, we might be found innocent by a jury also.
12.7.2005 2:14pm
Omar Bradley (mail):

I assure you it's not satire.. Rather an honest belief in what is needed for victory. In this war there will be either victory or defeat. We will prevail, or we will submit to Islam. As "the civil rule of law" as shown today allows for and indeed oftentimes results in defeat, it is simply not an acceptable option. The risk is too great.

Also, I don't men to say that there are no rules of war. There are, although in war the only real rule is victory and the "rules" are to be more like nonbinding guidelines that depend on the circumstance. I simply meant the civilian criminal justice system/federal judiciary and the military cannot coexist. In wartime, the miltary deals with ALL war related matters and the civilian side handles all unrelated matters, like the Michael Jackson case or an antitrust suit for example.


I hope men as "innocent" as al-Arian never have the opportunity to harm someone you care about.
12.7.2005 2:33pm
Gen. Bradley:

With whom are we at war? With a tactic? An inanimate object? A condition? Unless I'm mistaken, the men whom we are trying to guard our country from are nothing more than criminals. If we are at war, how do we define victory? Where are the theaters of engagement? How long will this war last?

The people who cast this law enforcement campaign as a "war" are the same people who call football games "wars".

As for you continued assertion that Al-Arian is actually guilty, well, take that up with the jury of citizens who decided that, well, he isn't.
12.7.2005 2:49pm
It occurred to me that under Gen. Bradley's thinking, we have been at "war" continously since 1948 (Korean, Cold, Poverty, Vietnam, Drugs, Terror). Just think, all of that time we should have allowed the military to determine the scope of criminal justice in America. Just think of how the "civil rule of law" has weakened us in during this time period.

(I forgot about the War on Disco, as it was really just a police action)
12.7.2005 2:54pm
Omar Bradley (mail):

Clearly as a legal mattre he is not guilty. That doesn't mean he's innocent. I guess you think OJ didn't do it, either. Or the Rodney King officers. I mean, there waas videotape evidence of them but I guess they're not guilty. Juries are not infalilble.

It's interesting that the same people who are saying that he's not guikty and that's that are many of the same who will disregard a guilty verdict on death row and other serious felons and continue to demand their release. Why do anti death penalty advocates make appeals and writs? Why don't they just "take it up with the jury"?

By wars, I only refer to congressionally authorized uses of force. AFAIK Congress hasn't yet yet issued an AUMF on Disco or Drugs.

This war is against Iraq and all those who belong to all those that fall under the banner of Al Qaeda and its associated jihadist groups and organizations. It will end upon their unconditional surrender or when Congress decides to cease hostilities or halt funding as they did in Vietnam.

A criminal belongs in the civil justice system, it's my view that the civil justice system should have no place in dealing with war-related matters. We're not going after criminals in this war, we're going after terrorists.

The theater is whereever AQ operates. As for how long? Who knows? I'd prefer sooner rather than later, and groups like the ACLU sure aren't helping things.
12.7.2005 3:25pm
Well, Omar, I believe that the risk of abandoning the rule of law is far greater than the risk of adhering to it, because the rule of law is a major part of what has made this country as powerful as it. Indeed, the development of the rule of law is credited as a factor in the rise of many of the world's great empires, and its abandonment is credited in the fall of many of those same empires.

And I might note that unless you believe that our military leaders are infallible, letting them do whatever they want to do will not eliminate the possibility of mistakes and defeats. So, the question is not what will lead to certain victory, but rather what is our best bet for victory. And history tells me to bet on the rule of law, rather than betting on letting people in power do whatever they want to do.

Of course, when we speak of the rule of law, the relevant laws include not just the laws for civilians but also the laws governing the military (which are not just "guidelines", of course, as anyone who has been court-martialed will tell you). In that sense, it is appropriate to recognize that different circumstances merit different laws--but that principle is consistent with a general rule of law, even in the military, and even during times of war.

Incidentally, did you know that one of George Washington's first acts after becoming Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army was to ask the Continental Congress for Articles of War to govern the Army? He believed that the rule of law would make his Army more, not less, effective in fighting the British. Indeed, he specifically noted that the British had Articles of War, and he argued that his Army would be at a disadvantage without them.

Of course, many other military leaders have made similar arguments throughout our history. Strangely enough, it seems like those who are most likely to seek a weakening of the laws of war are civilians who find themselves with authority over the military, not military leaders themselves. But come to think of it, maybe that is not so strange after all.
12.7.2005 4:00pm

I do agree that, on the whole, some amount of military action is not unusual for a state and does not justify much modification of the rule of law. One of the reasons I'm hesitant to support military action in general is that law does tend to break down in such chaotic situations. Even non satirical posters have made the point that in WW2 the allies were responsible for actions which clearly violated accepted conventions of warfare, but were not punished. I think that point is valid, though I also think those actions did nothing to help us win the war. The difference today, of course, is that WW2 was on such a large scale, and the allies so short of resources to fight, that it would have been impossible to uncover those crimes and bring those responsible to justice. I would like to think, though, that such an attitude is an acknowledgment of the practical barriers to enforcing the law, rather than a moral argument that war makes those things okay. War makes many distasteful things inevitable, but if we have the resources and ability to stop some of them, then surely we have an obligation to do so.
12.7.2005 4:10pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
Regarding the theory that if we have military action we cannot have the rule of law, and the ever-growing list of folks whom the hard right are willing to label enemies of America who are guilty of association or criticism of the Bush administration, I have this to say (long, but anyone concerned about potential abuses of the Patriot Act against American citizens should read):

1983-1990, I was a single mother who went to college and law school because I am disabled and the courts were not enforcing child support. I did it to learn a skill that could earn a paycheck to support my daughter and lead us to a better life.

I graduated an ABA-accredited law school, and then fell into a 15 1/2 year gap between law graduation and licensure — solely by reason of my severe disabilities (autism, learning, and physical disabilities). Why?

1. Years-long battle to enforce my right to necessary reasonable accommodations against the California Committee of Bar Examiners on the Bar Examination;

2. More battles to enforce my right to my necessary reasonable accommodations in legal employment;

3. Meanwhile, excluded from employment and the professional license my law degree trained me for, I was relegated to being warehoused on Social Security disability benefits;

4. California provided no affordable housing SSI disability beneficiaries could afford, yet my physcians were telling me my health would be threatened if I had to sleep on concrete streets or out in the weather elements with the severity of my disabilities;

5. When I followed the requirements of two agencies to receive disability-related benefits of 'getting into housing,' which those agencies knew my benefits levels could not afford, the California Bar Examiners revoked my previously twice granted good moral character clearance;

6. When the California Bar Examiners finally accepted their affirmative obligations under Title II of the Americans With DIsabilities Act to provide my necessary reasonable accommodations to take and pass the California Bar Examination, the California State Bar Court retaliated for my having tried to enforce my rights under the ADA by denying my bar admission because I was evicted from the unaffordable housing the other two agencies required me to 'get into,' because I was not receving the child support I was entitled to, rejecting my Rehabilitation Act IWRP the federal government financed for me to reach my goal of attorney licensure;

7. Immediately after my bar admission was denied by reason of my disabilities, the same California Bar authorities found good moral character should allow bar admission of a person who had 17 prior felony convictions and had stabbed a person appx. 22 times and murdered her; he had good moral character, but I did not because I was disabled;

8. The delay was so long in my bar admission, and the ability to find and retain employment with anyone who would comply with Title I of the ADA with respect to my proven necessary reasonable accommodations (appx. 1:2000 ratio of those employers willing to reasonably accommodate and allow me the opportunity to work), I was forced like a refugee to leave California and move to Florida with a friend then in the Florida bar admission process;

9. I made repeated requests of the Florida Board of Bar Examiners to provide my necessary reasonable accommodations to honor those I received from California, so maybe I could become licensed in Florida, but they have resistantly refused for more than 3 1/2 years, completely barring me from even making an application;

10. I was in a traffic accident for which I was not at fault in Florida, and when I requested my necessary reasonable accommodations to meaningfully participate in Court to defend my more than 10-years previous clean and safe driving record (not even a parking ticket on it), the Florida Atty. General argued about 'the spector of giving out driver's licenses to incompetents' (The State of Florida's attorneys previously argued I was physically substantially limited in typing or writing for an hour or less), and a State judge told me I could not see (I have 20/20 vision) because he confused a blind person's screen reader device with my very different voice-recognition Speech-To-Text assistive device; the State Court ignored Tennessee v. Lane, and the State judges told me to 'take my appellate remedies;

11. I did (US Sup. Ct., Docket No. 05-7287, and I also filed a Federal ADA civil rights lawsuit in the Federal Court alleging illegal discrimination and/or retaliation against the California and Florida Bar Examiners and State Courts (California Supreme Court consented to federal jurisdiction when it refused to give me any final judgment on my bar admission by refusing to reasonably accommodate and license as an attorney in that state any person who is quadraplegic, without arms, or autistic/learning disabled who requires a scribe or voice-recognition Speech-To-Text device to place pleadings in written format);

12. Before the ADA litigation, my life and that of my friend (who got his Florida bar admission and became my husband) was relatively uneventful; evidently, however, my ADA civil rights litigation was unpopular, afterwards we became subjected to:

(a.)numerous entrapment attempts on both my husband and I, one of which involved a convicted federal bank fraud who appeared to be an informant;

(b.)appx. 6 attempts by people to run us off the road while driving places, one of which caused an accident resulting in two Secret Service agents showing up in the hospital emergency room a family member was taken to by ambulance from the accident scene;

(c.)much electronic interference with our cell phones, computers, and television, and very shortly after my ADA Federal suit was filed, an apparent 'sneak and peek' attempted boarding of our vessel, aborted upon discovery I was on the vessel with a camera, followed two nights later by what appears to have been a DEA task force response to a fictitious scenario my husband and I spoke in the privacy of our vessel home to determine if we were being electrnically surveilled without our permission (local police filed a police report about the 3 am attempted boarding incident, inexplicably refused to pursue the fleeing suspects, and minutes later four law enforcement officers showed up in the same cab in which the suspects fled asking to 'be paid for this');

(d.) during Florida's Hurricane Jeanne, the vessel adjacent to our vessel appeared to be deliberately reckelessly tied to ensure it would break loose at the height of the Hurricane and crush our vessel with us on it like a watermelon (4-5 mooring lines instead of 12 required for Hurricanes, placed so low on tie pole as to ensure breakage at height of Hurricane storm surge), and my husband had to leap onto the vessel in peril in 75+ mph Hurricane force winds to secure it to save my life; the following morning, someone placed the vessel's 220 voltage electrical line under our dock to intimidate us;

(e.) I complained to the local police (defendants in the ADA federal suit) who investigated the previous 3 am vessel boarding incident to investigate who would have tied the vessel adjacent to us like that and put the 220 voltage line under our dock, and my husband and I were told to 'go to the Coast Guard;'

(f) For the next 3 months, no one came back to that vessel adjacent to us, so my husband and I filed in admiralty and arrested the offending vessel we had successfully saved from marine peril at the height of the Hurricane(breaking loose); the only witness the Defendants brought forth was a former Coast Guard E-9 petty officer, who committed perjury in open court before a federal magistrate (the district judge has recognized the perjury in the record of the case on PACER);

(g) The vessel case has dragged on for more than a year and we are still not beyond resolution of the "expedited" post-arrest hearing, since the perjurer's testimony was stricken; at that hearing striking the testimony, the courtrooom was filled with people who looked like federal governmental people, and the Defendants were authorized by someone to park in the spots reserved for the US Marshal; it is questionable who owns the vessel given two $1 transfers on the title; and we ordered the transcript of the hearing two months ago and the Court reporter still has not filed the transcript;

(h) My husband and I made FOIA requests on federal agencies, and after this in every federal agency in which we had something pending, all were promptly denied: DOJ discrimination complaints on Title II State public entities were inexplicably dumped based on Title III of the ADA, my Social Security disability appeal is not being docketed and I am not being given any hearing (filed more than a year ago), and a medical doctor for the US Attorneys' Office in Tampa wrote in a medical report used against my husband that he had reviewed my videotaped deposition, which was never taken because I filed a motion to quash, which report the Tampa US Attorneys Office used to coerce my husband to drop his student loan proceeding;

(i) We then brought suit against the perjurer in the vessel case for running up vessel fees during the arrest, who admitted he committed perjury to protect the vessel and the owner, knew it was wrong, and also admitted knowledge (though did not personally participate in) the "commando raid" (his words) on our vessel home, the one at 3 am, the one where the local police told us to go to the Coast Guard;

(j) A magistrate ordered a discovery deadline in my ADA federal suit to investigate the 3 am attempted vessel boarding incident, which was abruptly cut off without explanation by the district judge to prevent the discovery, sending the case on appeal. What was there we would have found out in discovery?;

(k) my husband and I are repeatedly being subject to interference by one or more defendants, or their associates or employees, in our cases, almost every time we have a critical deadline. On the evening my United States Supreme Court Petition was due in my ADA federal suit, Docket No. 05-7771, two employees of a defendant put my husband and I right in the middle of emergency police operations, police cars screaming up to us at 50 mph out of nowhere, stopping just feet short of where we were about to go board our vessel, employing bright search lights, officer jumped out in a bullet proof vest with his hands on guns, and eventually ran after other people nearby in a chase - intentional intimidation? We need more discovery, but the defendants are fully aware part of my disability is posttraumatic stress disorder from having watched my mother die, and I took cover because I thought my husband and I were going to die in a spray of bullets for having the audacity to file my Petition in the Supreme Court;

13. A few days ago, msn reported that there was a botched "terror" investigation in Tampa, evidence was compromised, and an agent whistleblower said the Bush administration had tried to make a domestic terrorist case out of no evidence of any terrorism, and no arrests have ever been made in the case. See, .

The reason I am writing about this in response to the Al-Arian Patriot Act discussion here is I think it is important when people discuss the Bush administration and the Patriot Act that is is conceivable two American citizens who only sought reasonable accommodations to pursue one's bar admission and restore a driver's license unjustifiably suspended — and the fact my husband represented his brother with brain cancer (gloioblastoma) as his attorney, together with the brother penning a ctitique of the Bush administration on called "Bin Laden Is Moses Reborn (which has no connection with myself or my husband other than purely by association) — were subject to an abuse of the Patriot Act by the federal government.

Of course, my husband and I are fighting for our right of discovery in these matters. We want to know if WE are the subject of the Tampa botched "terror" investigation solely because we brought forth an unpopular ADA disability civil rights case, and criticized the Bush administration's policies to pay for tax cuts for the rich by starving out the disabled, denying the disabled medical care, cutting the disabled from Social Security disability, refusal to enforce the ADA in employment and licensing opportunities, and because I took my case to the Supreme Court. And also because my husband's brother who is sick with cancer penned a critique of the Bush administration's anti-terrorism practices under a catchy titled blog thread that has more than 5000 entries by members of the public.

Surely, if my husband and I ARE the subject of an abuse of the Patriot Act, what everyone should know is this can happen to anyone, any American citizen, for simply engaging in First Amendment protected activities.

In sum, it would appear there may have been a substantial abuse of the Patriot Act as well as infliction of punishment on my husband and I by a deliberate attempt to ensure non-survival of two American citizens just for filing unpopular civil rights cases in America's Courts, and criticism of Bush administration policies, in order to silence and defeat civilian opposition to the policies of the Bush administration.

So, having written this, while before I believed in the Patriot Act, now I am having a hard time with the notion Congress should extend and expand the government's powers under the Patriot Act, as well as a hard time with the notion a person can have important legal rights denied based on "guilt by association" or holding unpopular views critical of the government.

The danger, of which our Founding Fathers were well aware, is abuse of ordinary citizens by an all too powerful government without Constitutional protections, and while all these things have happened to my husband and I as described above with no remedy, one thing is certain — the US Attorney has not done one thing to punish the perjurer. He is still walking free.

I do not know if the Supreme Court would allow a disabled person to amend a Petition for Certiorari that was not complete because of a retaliatory event to prevent the filing, but if this would be allowed, my ADA case could well be the Court's first opportunity to consider the potential abuse of the Patriot Act involving ADA retaliation with a vessel against someone who just simply sought to invoke bar admission and restoration of a driver's license under the protections of the ADA.

Maybe what is really at issue is the government's opposition to someone critical of the Bush administration's policies who wants to ... become a lawyer?
12.7.2005 4:26pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
I hadn't realized that the defense rested without putting on any evidence. They saw that the case against their client was just that bad.
12.7.2005 5:01pm
Mary Katherine Day-Petrano (mail):
My earlier post referred to this cite:

Report: FBI Botched Terrorism Probe

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer
Mon Dec 5, 7:13 PM ET

WASHINGTON - FBI agents botched a terrorism investigation in Florida and tried to cover up mistakes, said Justice Department investigators, who also concluded that a high-ranking official retaliated against the veteran undercover agent who first pointed out the problems.


The findings were included in a draft report by the Justice Department's inspector general on a complaint made by former agent Michael German about an investigation in Orlando that he believed showed promising signs of a link between terrorism financing and the sale of illegal drugs.

The inspector general's office "substantiated German's allegations that the Orlando case was mishandled and mismanaged by the FBI's Tampa Division," the report said. German, who left the FBI in 2004 after 16 years, received the Nov. 15 draft and made it public.

But the inspector general did not back up his contention that the agent in Orlando and FBI supervisors missed the chance to unravel a terrorism financing operation, concluding there was no evidence to undermine earlier reviews that the suspect had no link to terrorists.

German said Monday that the inspector general gave too much credence to those reviews, especially after documenting other significant problems.

Among the most serious issues investigators found in an inquiry that began in January 2004 was the use of correction fluid to alter dates on three FBI forms to obscure an apparent violation of federal wiretap law. But the investigation did not determine who made the changes.

The agent who handled the terrorism investigation in 2002 also misdated reports to make it appear he completed them much sooner than he had. One account of a key meeting between an informant and the main subject of the investigation was not entered in the FBI database for 10 months, the report said. FBI policy says such reporting normally should be done within five days.

German sought protection as a whistleblower in September 2002, by which time he believed his complaints were being ignored. Government employees who report allegations of wrongdoing are supposed to be shielded from retaliation.

Yet the report found that Jorge Martinez, then the chief of the FBI's Undercover and Sensitive Operations Unit, excluded German from serving as an instructor in undercover training programs in response to German's decision to persistently raise questions about the case.

Martinez told another FBI official he wouldn't use German in the training programs — despite his previous regular participant in such training — because he lacked confidence in him, the report said. Martinez said he didn't recall saying that, but if he did, it was a "knee-jerk reaction but did not mean to indicate I was retaliating against him."

The FBI had no comment on the report.

Sen. Charles Grassley (news, bio, voting record), R-Iowa, a critic of the FBI and ardent defender of whistleblowers, said German is "in a long line of FBI whistleblowers who have had their careers derailed because the FBI couldn't tolerate criticism. I look forward to seeing a final report on Mr. German's case, but right now I believe it to be a sad day when someone at the FBI alters records in order to discredit a whistleblower."
12.7.2005 5:28pm
Porkchop (mail):
None of these debates are new. Expediency versus the protection of the law; sure knowledge of what is right and necessary versus "sophistry," "legalisms," and technicalities" -- while not historically accurate, this sets out the argument for the law over expediency as well as anyone ever has:

The following is an excerpt of a dialogue among [Sir Thomas] More, his daughter and her suitor, William Roper, as set forth in Robert Bolt's two-act play, A Man For All Seasons.

* * *

More: There is no law against that.

Roper: There is! God's law!

More: Then God can arrest him.

Roper: Sophistication upon sophistication.

More: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal.

Roper: Then you set man's law above God's!

More: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact - I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of the law, oh, there I'm a forrester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God....

Alice: While you talk, he's gone!

More: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law!

Roper: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!

More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!

More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you - where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast - man's laws, not God's - and if you cut them down - and you're just the man to do it - d'you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

Roper: I have long suspected this, this is the golden calf; the law's your god!

More: Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god....But I find him rather too subtle....I don't know where He is or what He wants.

Roper: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else!

More: Are you sure that's God? He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God - And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly!

Bolt, Robert, "A Man for All Seasons" (1962) (courtesy of

Omar, Some Guy? Comments?

12.7.2005 7:17pm
Seamus (mail):

Why did Robert Bolt (not to mention Thomas More) hate freedom?
12.7.2005 7:33pm
Porkchop (mail):


Why did Robert Bolt (not to mention Thomas More) hate freedom?

Well, I don't know about Bolt, but More IS the patron saint of lawyers. :-D That probably explains it.

I guess he hated God, too, Seamus, at least according to Roper. (Maybe NOW they will revoke More's sainthood.) AND he was tried and executed for treason for not getting on board with the government's new priorities (specifically refusing to take an oath of loyalty required by Henry VIII after declaring himself head of the Church of England).

Not agreeing with the new government position = treason. Invoking the law to justify the disagreement (read the description of the proceedings) -- even worse than treason.

Where have I heard that before?

12.7.2005 8:50pm

You are right, I didn't mention how badly Arab countries treated Jews after 1948 and 1967. But I did mention that Israel probably (and I should probably omit the "probably") treats Palestinians better than any Arab country.

When discussing the Middle East, there are so many justifiable grievances that you have to limit yourself to the ones that are relevant to the current discussion. Or you just get bogged down.

Not taking my own advice: As to the person who said that Palestians are a recent invention, that is propaganda that the Israeli government appears to have wisely abandoned. Palestinians speak an unwritten dialect of Arabic that is distinct from that spoken in Syria, Egypt and Jordan.
12.8.2005 8:48am