Now that the Holy Land Foundation trial has ended and guilty verdicts have been rendered on all defendants, on all counts, we have the opportunity and the duty to see how those decisions reflect on the other groups and individuals who were involved in the case, specifically on the side of the defense.
Besides the six defendants -- all former leaders of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) and HLF itself -- apart from the legal sense of the words, there were a number of others who were being “put on trial” for crimes as well. They were given the label “unindicted co-conspirators,” which means just as it’s written, those involved in a conspiracy who were not indicted (charged) for their role in the conspiracy.
A more precise explanation for the term is found in the 2004 Federal Courts Law Review (FCLR) 1, Section II.A.1, which states, “The term ‘unindicted co-conspirator’ refers to any person who allegedly ‘agreed with others to violate the law but who is not being charged with an offense and who, consequently, will not be tried or sentenced for his criminal conduct’… Prosecutors often have enough evidence to indict these individuals, but instead name them as unindicted co-conspirators for a variety of strategic reasons.”
With regards to the HLF case, the list of “unindicted co-conspirators” numbers over 300.
Many of the names on the list are well known throughout the Muslim community. Two of the names, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), are a couple of the largest Muslim organizations in the United States.
In FCLR 1, Section II.E.1, it is stated, “In order to name an individual as an unindicted co-conspirator, the presiding judge must agree that the individual qualifies for this designation by finding that his or her statements or acts were in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy.” Certainly both CAIR and ISNA met the criteria.
When CAIR was founded, both it and HLF were part of the American Palestine Committee, an organization led by then-global head of Hamas, Mousa Abu Marzook. The committee’s goal was to raise money for Hamas from American shores. CAIR’s parent organization, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) was also part of the committee, which gives reason why a number of IAP-related individuals are named as “unindicted co-conspirators” as well, as are a number of CAIR-related persons. Even one of the trial’s defendants, Ghassan Elashi, played a large role in CAIR’s beginnings.
HLF’s beginnings occurred via ISNA. As told by counter-terror expert Steven Emerson, in his groundbreaking work, American Jihad, prior to HLF going off on its own as the Occupied Land Fund (OLF), its former designation, the group was an ISNA subsidiary, using the same Plainfield, Indiana mailing address.
ISNA, on the co-conspirators list, is labeled as a “member of the US Muslim Brotherhood.” It was through the Brotherhood or Ikhwan that ISNA was created in 1981, by way of the Muslim Students Association (MSA) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) operative Sami Al-Arian. At the time, Al-Arian was close to Marzook, helping to co-found the IAP in the same year. The U.S. Brotherhood was entirely focused on the Palestinian issue, laying the groundwork for Marzook’s future Hamas and Al-Arian’s future PIJ American-built infrastructures.
Both CAIR and ISNA, as well as ISNA’s lifelong financial guardian, the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), attempted to have their names removed from the co-conspirators list, claiming that their naming was a violation of their Constitutional rights. But to no avail. Their names, including the names of those connected to them, were there till the end. If they were involved in the conspiracy, why should they be removed?
The HLF conspiracy was a large one, as would be expected for the significant amount of groups and individuals found to be involved. Within it, millions of dollars were raised for Hamas, an organization found on the U.S. State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs). This was, of course, a federal offense.
When the six defendants -- HLF, Elashi , Shurkri Abu Baker, Mohammed El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqater and Abdulraham Odeh -- were found guilty on November 24, 2008, every one of the entities on the list were found guilty as well. Not charged or indicted, but guilty nonetheless.
If justice were truly to be served, these groups and individuals would not go unpunished.
If justice were truly to be served, these groups and individuals would suffer the same defeat as did HLF and its five unholy operatives.