Monday, April 09, 2007


Dhafir Witness, Tuesday April 10th Noon , Justice Ctr.

Sgt Powlina of Justice Ctr. says “The Government” told me to do it

Legal Counsel Tells How He Was Denied Access to Dr. Dhafir in Jail

Witness Tuesday 12 PM Justice Center Syr. NY

Syracuse NY—Supporters of Dr. Rafil Dhafir ( ) will be gathering for a Witness at 12 PM noon Tuesday April 10th 2007 in front of the Justice Center (Prison) at 555 South State Street in Syracuse NY.

"This will be our third witness where we will go to where we believe a crime was committed by the government against Dr. Dhafir. The crime at the Justice Center was intimidating Dr. Dhafir’s legal team and denying Dr. Dhafir his right to legal counsel“, said organizer Madis Senner. The first witness was held at the Ashcroft speech at SU, the second was at the Federal Bldg. this past Tuesday. “We will be following in the tradition of the prophets to tell our community, country and world that rules were broken, people intimidated and prosecutions were politically motivated by the US attorneys in the Northern District of NY”, Senner said. The witness will consist of prayers and testimony.

Who is “THE GOVERNMENT”—Suddaby?, Ashcroft?, Rove?
Court documents and testimony reveal that Sgt. Powlina of the Justice Center claims he was told by “THE GOVERNMENT” to deny Royce Hawkins part of the legal team access to see Dr. Dhafir on November 17th 2003 the day after his picture at a support rally for Dhafir appeared in the Syracuse Post Standard. Hawkins as a routine course of business had been going to the Justice Center for four years prior to this and had never been denied access previously.

From the Fourth Bail Motion: “The continued detention of Dr. Dhafir has
brought to the front clear violations of his Sixth Amendment right to counsel.
….We find it extremely significant that the prison officials told us that the
decision to bar these individuals came from the Government. We do not think that
it is proper for the Government to unilaterally decide who should or should not
assist us with Dr. Dhafir's defense. When we were advised of this decision, we
asked the authorities why our letters to them were shared with the Government.
We were not given a response. These actions/decisions are clear Sixth Amendment

Devereaux Cannick, Dr. Dhafir’s lawyer, speaking at the hearing for the
fourth bail moion; “A sergeant Powlina at the Justice Center called me in one
day and shared a letter that I had sent to him and told me that he was
instructed by the government not to let this person in. The government
maintains that it offered—gave no such instruction, but for some reason
Powlina finds himself under this belief, that it was the government who told him
that these people who were part of the legal defense team prior to my getting
involved with this case should no longer have access. And then I
further asked him, do you think that the government should unilaterally dictate
who should be part of my legal team? Maybe they should just decide that I
should not be here as well.” (page 19)

Who is Sgt Powlina referring to when he says “THE GOVERNMENT”? Was it the US attorney’s office? Or was it someone higher up in the Justice Dept. or Homeland Security that was pulling the strings? Was it Karl Rove?

Did Federal Authorities Push County Civil Servants?
The witness will give Royce Hawkins the chance to tell his story. Senner said that this incident had a chilling affect on Dr. Dhafir’s supporters, particularly within the Muslim community. “When they moved Rafil a few days later on the holiest of holy days in Islam we said “uncle” and cancelled a large rally we had planned, “Senner said.

“We hope that hearing this story will help our community understand why we feel Dr. Dhafir was railroaded”, Senner said.

“Given the current scandal regarding the US attorney’s office I would have to believe that some high up “loyal Bushie” told Powlina to deny access to Royce; If that is the case who gives them (Feds) the right to tell our county civil servants what to do? This deserves an investigation to determine if our county and state laws were violated.” Senner concluded.


Dhafir, St. Pats 4, Imam Aref/Hossain--Targets of “Loyal Bushie” Prosecutor to Speak Out
St. Patricks 4
Witness Homepage--

Targets of “Loyal Bushie” Prosecutor to Speak Out
Dhafir, St. Pats 4, Imam Aref/Hossain Supporters Gather
Witness, Tuesday April 3rd 5 PM, Federal Bldg Syracuse NY

Syracuse NY—Members of the St. Patrick’s 4 and supporters of Dr. Rafil Dhafir and Imam Aref/Hossain will be gathering to talk about their political prosecutions on Tuesday April 3rd at 5 PM at the Federal Bldg in Syracuse NY. US attorney Glen Suddaby head of the Northern district of NY US attorney’s office prosecuted all 3 cases. The Witness will consist of prayers and testimony.

Selective Prosecution
Both Dhafir supporters and the St. Pats 4 feel that they were targeted and selectively prosecuted. Dhafir supporters point out that he is only person to be criminally charged with breaking the IEEPA sanctions against Iraq for providing humanitarian aid when thousands of individuals and many corporations did as well with only minor consequences.

US Attorney Glen Suddaby brought Federal conspiracy charges against the St. Patrick’s 4 after they were acquitted of local charges for symbolically pouring blood at a military recruitment office. The fact that Catholic workers have been doing this for decades and have never previously been federally charged shows selective prosecution. The group’s attorney Bill Quigley said that he could find no similar cases going back to the Nixon era.

Many believe that the prosecution of the St. Patrick’s 4 was meant to send a message to the activist community the same way that the prosecution of Lynne Stewart was meant to send chills into the legal community. Quigley calls the prosecution of the St. Pats 4 an attempt to “hyper-criminalize dissent”.

“Why were the St. Pats 4 prosecuted and not other Catholic workers?” questions organizer Madis Senner. “Because they live under the jurisdiction of US attorney Glen Suddaby” Senner concluded.

Prosecutor’s Trophy Run
Imam Aref and Mohamed Hossain were framed in a sting operation by an FBI informant. It is the opinion of many in the Albany NY area that they were un-fairly treated and set up by the government to win a trophy in the war on terror.

Similarly Dr. Dhafir continues to be incorrectly hoisted on the government’s trophy wall as a victory in the War on Terror when he was never charged or convicted of terrorism: Many have derided the government over its terrorism smear of Dhafir:

Intimidation, Letting Witnesses Lie
Dhafir supporters continue to cry foul play over the government’s prosecution of Dhafir. They point out that legal counsel was denied access to visit Dhafir, to the intimidation of those close to Dhafir and the deliberate attempt to mislead the defense. ;

“Our community and country needs to hear, what Dr. Dhafir’s lawyer Devereaux Cannick said in his closing arguments, that the US Attorney’s willfully and knowingly let a witness lie”, Senner said.

A series of Witnesses
This will be the second in a series of Witnesses. To read about the first witness go to:,0,729114,print.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork

“We will be visiting the scene of a crime each Tuesday (at noon) for the next few weeks”, Senner said.

The next Witness will be Tuesday April 10th 2007 in front of the Justice Center in Syracuse NY. Royce Hawkins, part of Dr. Dhafir’s legal team will tell how he was denied access to visit Dr. Dhafir after his picture at a protest in support of Dr. Dhafir appeared in the Syracuse Post Standard. Court documents reveal that Sgt Powlina of the Justice Center was told by “the government” to deny Royce access. ;
“Who is Powlina referring to when he says” the government” told me to it? Suddaby? The FBI? Rove? “Senner asked. “Whomever it was is un-doubtedly a very “loyal Bushie”, Senner concluded.


Saturday, March 31, 2007


AP story of AShcroft Witness

Group to protest Muslim doctor's jailing during Ashcroft speech

By WILLIAM KATESAssociated Press WriterMarch 27, 2007, 2:09 PM EDT
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The politically motivated firings of federal prosecutors bolsters the claim that Rafil Dhafir was selectively prosecuted by the government to be "a trophy" in the war on terror, supporters of the imprisoned Muslim doctor said Tuesday while protesting a speech by former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft.

Ashcroft was scheduled to speak Tuesday night at Syracuse University's 1,800-seat Goldstein Auditorium at the invitation of the school's College Republicans organization. Ashcroft would be unavailable for questions afterward, university officials said.

"The government targeted Dr. Dhafir to be a trophy in the war on terror," said Madis Senner, a protest organizer.

"They called him a terrorist. They denied him bail. They made it so he couldn't even defend himself properly. This was all done on Mr. Ashcroft's watch. We want to hear his explanation," said Senner.

Ashcroft was attorney general from 2001 to 2005 and played a prominent role in passage of the Patriot Act following the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001.

Dhafir, now 60, is serving a 22-year prison sentence after his conviction in February 2005 of 59 criminal counts, including money laundering and conspiracy to violate U.S. sanctions against Iraq. He was found guilty of misusing $2 million that donors gave to his unlicensed charity, Help the Needy, and spending $544,000 for his own purposes.

The jury said Dhafir, an oncologist, also defrauded Medicare out of $316,000 and evaded $400,000 in federal income tax payments by writing off the illegal charity donations.

Prosecutors said Dhafir's Syracuse-based charity solicited more than $5 million over the Internet and by mail between 1995 and February 2002, claiming it would help starving Iraqi orphans and poor children. The government was able to trace only about $160,000 in Iraq.

Dhafir was arrested in a high-profile raid in February 2003 that drew nationwide media coverage. Ashcroft and New York Gov. George Pataki both called Dhafir as a terrorist.

However, no terrorism charges were ever filed against Dhafir, who maintained throughout that he was innocent and that the charges against him were politically motivated.

His conviction and sentence were decried by the Islamic Society of Central New York and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Defense attorney Deveraux Cannick said appeals are pending in Dhafir's case.

Senner and other Dhafir supporters said their concerns about Dhafir's treatment have been heightened by the controversy surrounding current U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the firings of eight federal prosecutors. A growing number of critics say the dismissals were politically motivated and have called on Gonzales to resign.

"We have to wonder whether the Bush administration selected, orchestrated and directed Dr. Dhafir's prosecution," Senner said.

"There is no indication that (U.S. Attorney Glenn) Suddaby was specifically chosen to go after Dhafir. We do know though that enormous resources were applied to arrest and convict Dr. Dhafir," he said.

Suddaby's office has steadfastly denied there were any political considerations involved in Dhafir's prosecution. Suddaby could not be immediately reached Tuesday for comment.

Throughout the case, Cannick said the government singled out Dhafir for a three-year investigation because he was an Iraqi-born Muslim, and when it failed to link him to any terrorists or terrorist groups, it charged him with fraud to save face. Other individuals and corporations that sent money to Iraq received only civil penalties, not criminal charges, Cannick said.

Dhafir was denied bail four times _ he was deemed a flight risk _ and held for nearly two years while awaiting trial. Cannick said Dhafir's detention hindered his defense and violated his Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

Dhafir's discriminatory treatment has continued in prison, Senner said.

Dhafir is serving his time in the recently created Communications Management Unit, or CMU, at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind., where all telephone calls and mail are monitored, the number of phone calls limited and visits are restricted, and all inmate conversations must be conducted in English unless otherwise negotiated. Most of the unit's initial group of inmates are Arab Muslims, including five members of the so-called Lackawanna Six, a group of Yemeni natives who pleaded guilty in 2003 to attending an al-Qaeda training camp.,0,729114,print.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork



Ashcroft--Dhafir supporters Question Prosecutions—Aref, St. Pats 4

For more information FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Madis Senner 315-463-5369
Rafil’s Homepage—

Who Told you Attack Islam Mr. Ashcroft?

Dhafir supporters Question Prosecutions—Aref, St. Pats 4

Shine Center, 7 PM Before Ashcroft Speech at SU

Syracuse NY—With the US attorney’s scandal expanding supporters of Dr. Rafil Dhafir ( ) will be gathering for a Witness at 7 PM in front of the Shine center on the Syracuse University campus ahead of ex-US Attorney General John Ashcroft’s speech to College Republicans ( ).

“We will be following in the tradition of the prophets to tell our community, country and world that rules were broken, people intimidated and prosecutions were politically motivated by the US attorneys in the Northern District of NY”, said organizer Madis Senner. The witness will consist of prayers and testimony.

Loyal Bushie
“The Northern NY US attorney’s office epitomizes the meaning of a loyal Bushie”, Senner said. He is referring to recently released emails by the government in relation to the US attorney’s scandal indicating that the US attorney’s office has become politicized under President Bush. And that there was an emphasis to reward those that did the President’s bidding; these US Attorney’s were called “Loyal Bushie’s”.

This will be the first of a series of Witnesses that will take place over in the weeks and months ahead. “Each week we will return to the scene of where we think a crime was committed. Next week we will be at the Federal Bldg in Syracuse, the following week we will be at the Justice Center where Dr. Dhafir’s legal counsel was denied access to see him; Senner said.

“We look to God, because the US attorney’s scandal shows us that there is no justice left in America,” Senner concluded.


Background—the following is meant to help those reporting on the Witness. When you piece together all the pieces it is evident that only someone at the highest levels of government could have orchestrated what has happened in Northern NY:

*John Ashcroft smeared Dr. Dhafir as a Terrorist on the Day of his arrest, but never charged him with terrorism:

*Denying legal counsel access to see Dr. Dhafir: ;

*The selective prosecution of Dr. Dhafir:

*The Internal Affairs investigation of NYS trooper Charles Jones after he offered to monitor Dr. Dhafir on bail:

*The intimidation of 150 Muslim families that donated to Dr. Dhafir’s charity:

*The transporting of Dr. Dhafir ahead of rally for him at the Justice Center:

*The continual smearing and treatment of Dr. Dhafir as being a terrorist when he was never charged with terrorism.

*The continued listing of Dr. Dhafir as a terrorist on the government’s trophy list when he was never charged with terrorism:

*The political prosecution of Imam Aref/Hossain:

*The selective prosecution of the St. Pats 4 under Federal conspiracy charges after they had been found not guilty of local charges. Their prosecution for symbolically pouring blood at an action is the first time conspiracy charges were brought against Catholic workers who have symbolically poured blood at actions for decades. Could it be that living in the northern District of NY had anything to do with it?



Video-March 6th action

Here is a video click of the March 6th action, delivering letters to Schumer/Conyers.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Press Release for March 6, 2007 action

Official—“US Attorney’s Office Politicized”

Dhafir Supporters—To Present Evidence for Hearings

Tuesday March 6th Noon, Federal Bldg, Syr. NY

Syracuse NY--Supporters of Dr. Rafil Dhafir will be using Congressional/Senate Hearings over the political firings of US Attorney’s on Tuesday March 6th to deliver a memo listing what they say were abuses committed by the US Attorney’s prosecuting Dr. Rafil Dhafir to their local reps.

This weekend the Washington Post (3/3) confirmed that the US attorney’s office has become a political tool for the Bush administration to push its agenda:

White House Backed U.S. Attorney Firings, Officials Say
“The White House approved the firings of seven U.S. attorneys late last year after senior Justice Department officials identified the prosecutors they believed were not doing enough to carry out President Bush's policies on immigration, firearms and other issues, White House and Justice Department officials said yesterday.”

Dhafir supporters are looking to use the hearings to make a statement about how Dr. Dhafir was un-justly prosecuted by the Bush administration for political gain. “They needed trophies in the war on Terror and they pushed US attorneys to deliver,” said supporter Madis Senner. “The same WMD lies, phlaming of critics and nastiness exhibited by the Bush Administration has surrounded the Dhafir case,” Senner said. “The evidence is overwhelming”, Senner concluded.



Dhafir—Hope Shines Bright on the Horizon


For the first time in years I see much hope on the horizon for Dr. Rafil Dhafir. My soul is full of joy and I thank God for that vision. I share the following with you and ask for your help.

The world is beginning to wake-up to the horrific treatment that Dr. Dhafir has had to endure at the hands of US Attorney’s and Homeland Security. The Washington Post reported (2/25) on the illegal and secret prison program targeting Muslims and Arab Americans that he is part of:

Since the day of his arrest he has been un-justly and very publicly maligned as a terrorist by the government. Ex-governor (NY) Pataki even smeared him as a terrorist a few weeks before his trial. Yet the prosecution has lacked the integrity, or proof, to charge him as a terrorist. They were even able to sneak the terrorist ruse into their sentencing memorandum ensuring that the judge gave him 22 years (above the sentencing guidelines).

The fourth bail motion
detailed the un-ethical and arguably illegal actions by the US attorney’s prosecuting Dr. Dhafir. Yet the judge and justice system ignored this appeal.

I say all this because things are changing.

Ahead of the Congressional/senate hearings slated for March 6, 2007 over the mass firings of US Attorneys the Washington Post (3/3) reported what many of us already knew-- that the US attorney’s office has become a political tool for the Bush administration to push its agenda:

White House Backed U.S. Attorney Firings, Officials Say
“The White House approved the firings of seven U.S. attorneys late last year after senior Justice Department officials identified the prosecutors they believed were not doing enough to carry out President Bush's policies on immigration, firearms and other issues, White House and Justice Department officials said yesterday.”

Given the WMD lies, the vicious attacking of critics (Wilson,O’Neill, Clarke, etc.), the neglect of Katrina victims and Iraq Vets can there be any doubt that the Bush administration pushed US attorney’s to break the rules and ruthlessly attack Muslims and Arab Americans to win trophies in the war on terror?

On Tuesday March 6 a few of us will be gathering at Federal Bldg in Syracuse at noon to deliver Senator Schumer and Representative Walsh’s offices a brief detailing the politically motivated abuses by US attorneys Suddaby, Olmstead, Greene and West in the Dhafir case. I will also show comparisons to other cases to demonstrate the endemic and systematic patterns of abuse by US attorneys handling supposed terrorism cases. Please feel free to join us.

I ask that you reflect upon what I have said, about the state of our country and its leadership. Please pray for Brother Rafil, for justice to be served, for hope, or strength or whatever you feel called to pray for.

I believe in the power of prayer. I believe that it is only God that can bring justice and free Rafil and all the other Muslims and Arab Americans that have suffered miserably at the hands of the Bush administration.

To often we begin by making a civil rights argument or rushing to the courts; In doing so we loose our most important ally and turn a person into an issue.

Prayer and God are important to Dr. Dhafir. He is a devout Muslim that is in jail today because he followed his calling to help the children in his homeland of Iraq that were suffering from the sanctions in the 1990’s. He is a “Hafiz”, one who has memorized the Koran verbatim. He started the mosque in Syracuse and was its first director. He gives generously in anonymity to those in need.

You may want to come to one of our prayer services were we read letters from Dr. Dhafir. You will hear first hand from him and see the gracious person that he is. Just this past Friday at St. Andrews we heard how he would slip envelopes full of cash to recently widowed Muslim women.

Please pray for Rafil and for justice to be served.

As I write Rafil—God Bless and Praise Allah. God is Great.

Madis Senner

PS Rafil’s Homepage—


Dhafir Part of Secret Prison Program

Washington Post Article Link--

Facility Holding Terrorism Inmates Limits Communication
By Dan EggenWashington Post Staff WriterSunday, February 25, 2007; A07
The Justice Department has quietly opened a new prison unit in Indiana that houses a hodgepodge of second-tier terrorism inmates, most of them Arab Muslims, whose ability to communicate with the outside world has been tightly restricted.
At the Communications Management Unit, or CMU, in Terre Haute, Ind., all telephone calls and mail are monitored, the number of phone calls limited and visits are restricted to a total of four hours per month, according to special rules enforced by the Justice Department's U.S. Bureau of Prisons. All inmate conversations must be conducted in English unless otherwise negotiated.
The unit appears to be a less restrictive version of the "supermax" facility in Florence, Colo., which holds some of the United States' most notorious terrorists, including al-Qaeda operative Zacarias Moussaoui and Unabomber Theodore J. Kaczynski.
The Indiana unit, by contrast, is part of a medium-security facility and includes inmates set to be released in as little as two years. Prisons spokeswoman Traci Billingsley said the unit's population will not be limited to inmates convicted of terrorism-related cases, though all of the prisoners fit that definition.
Prison officials said they already seek to fully monitor the mail and other communications of all 213 "terrorist inmates" in the system. "By concentrating resources in this fashion, it will greatly enhance the agency's capabilities for language translation, content analysis and intelligence sharing," the bureau said in a summary of the CMU.
The unit, in Terre Haute's former death row, has received 17 inmates since it was launched in December and eventually will hold five times that number, officials said.
Defense lawyers and prisoner advocates complain that the unit's communication restrictions are unduly harsh for inmates not considered high security risks. They also say that the ethnic makeup of the CMU's population may indicate racial profiling. "If they really believed these people are serious terrorists, they wouldn't be in this unit," said David Fathi, staff counsel for the National Prison Project at the American Civil Liberties Union. "They'd be in Colorado with [Atlanta Olympics bomber] Eric Rudolph and the Unabomber and the rest of the people that the Bureau of Prisons thinks are serious threats."
The prison bureau has come under sharp criticism in recent months for failing to adequately monitor terrorist inmates' communications. The Justice Department's inspector general reported in October that three terrorists imprisoned for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing had sent nearly 100 letters to alleged terrorists overseas from the maximum-security facility in Colorado.
"The inclusion of this unit is one of the many things we're doing to improve our monitoring capabilities," Billingsley said.
According to prison records, current residents at Terre Haute include five members of the so-called Lackawanna Six, a group of Yemeni natives from Upstate New York who attended an al-Qaeda training camp. The unit also houses Randall Royer, a defendant prosecuted as part of the "Virginia jihad" case in Alexandria, and Enaam M. Arnaout, an Islamic charity director who pleaded guilty to diverting money to Islamic military groups in Bosnia and Chechnya.
The only non-Muslim inmates are an unidentified Colombian militant and Zvonko Busic, 61, former leader of a Croatian extremist group that hijacked a jetliner and set off a bomb that killed a police officer in 1976, according to prison records and defense lawyers.
Another CMU resident is Rafil Dhafir, 58, an Iraqi-born physician from Syracuse, N.Y., who was sentenced to 22 years for defrauding charity donors and conspiring to violate U.S. economic sanctions against Saddam Hussein's government.
In a recent letter to supporters, Dhafir recounted his abrupt, heavily guarded transfer to Terre Haute in December and described it as part of "a nationwide operation to put Muslims/Arabs in one place so that we can be closely monitored regarding our communications."
"We are all concerned about the close intrusion on our communications," Dhafir wrote. "We knew all along that our calls, mail and visits were monitored, but with the new system we will have absolutely no privacy including our visits. This is causing a great deal of anxiety and resentment especially among those whose families speak no English."
Dhafir wrote that prison officials "are allowing us total freedom for our religious activities" and appear to be working with inmates to improve conditions.
Prisoner advocates and prisons officials generally agree that the bureau is within its rights to monitor prisoners' mail, phone calls and visits. They differ on whether the intensive use of these tactics is justified for these inmates.
Some lawyers and prison advocates said there are important problems with the CMU, including a lack of public notice about its formation and a lack of clarity about how inmates are chosen to be sent there.
Washington lawyer Carmen Hernandez, who represents Busic and is president-elect of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, noted that being sent to the unit is not considered a punitive measure by prisons officials. As a result, authorities do not have to provide hearings and other procedures that are required when punishments are to be administered.
"They claim it's not a punitive measure, but when you start restricting access, it certainly would appear to be punitive," Hernandez said. "If you're going to restrict people's liberties beyond what they already are, it ought to be for a good, particularized reason, and there does not appear to be one here."
Howard Kieffer, a Santa Ana, Calif., defense lawyer who runs a Web site focused on federal prisons, also argues that the unit "screams racial profiling."
"It's highly suspect that basically all of the people in this program are of Middle Eastern descent," Kieffer said.
Billingsley said inmates are not placed in the unit based on ethnicity or religion. She said the facility will eventually house a variety of prisoners, including sex offenders who attempt to communicate with victims and others who have abused mail or phone privileges.
"What they all have in common is a demonstrated need to more closely monitor their communications," Billingsley said.
During a tour of the Colorado prison last week, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said the monitoring problems there had been solved, although prison guards say the facility remains understaffed.
Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

Documents show new secretive US prison program isolating Muslim, Middle Eastern prisoners
02/16/2007 @ 1:03 pm
Filed by Jennifer Van Bergen

Program in apparent violation of federal law

The US Department of Justice has implemented a secretive new prison program segregating "high-security-risk" Muslim and Middle Eastern prisoners, tightly restricting their communications with the outside world in apparent violation of federal law, according to documents obtained by RAW STORY.

Quietly implemented in December, the special "Communications Management Unit" (CMU) at a federal penitentiary in Indiana targeting Muslim and Middle-Eastern inmates was not implemented through the process required by federal law, which stipulates the public be notified of any new changes to prison programs and be given opportunity to voice objection. Instead, the program appears to have been ordered and implemented by a senior official at the Department of Justice.

In April of last year, the US Federal Bureau of Prisons -- part of the US Department of Justice -- proposed a set of strict new regulations and as required, there was a period of public comment. Human rights and civil liberties groups voiced strong concerns about the constitutionality of the proposed program.

The program originally proposed was said to be only applicable to terrorists and terrorist-related criminals. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), however, and a coalition of other civil liberties groups objected to the language of the regulation as too broad, and potentially applicable to non-terrorists and even to those not convicted of a crime but merely being held as "witnesses, detainees, or otherwise."

After pushback from civil rights groups, the program appeared to have been dropped by the Prisons Bureau, with coalition groups believing that they had made their case regarding Constitutional rights. Yet documents obtained by RAW STORY show that a similar program, the CMU, was surreptitiously implemented in December 2006.

Executive Director of Federal Defense Associates Howard Kieffer, a legal group based in California that assists inmates and lawyers of inmates on post-conviction defense matters, says the order for the program must have been issued by one of the offices which oversee the US Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Only three government offices have the authority to issue such changes to federal prison operations, and they all fall within the senior management of the Justice Department: the office of Harley Lappin, the Director of Prisons Bureau, the Office of Legal Counsel, or directly from the office of the US Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales.

The Public Affairs Office of the Department of Justice and the Attorney General referred all requests for comment to the Prisons Bureau. As of press time, Felice Ponce, an officer in the Prisons Bureau Office of Information was unable to answer requests to confirm the existence of the program, provide details about it, or comment on it at all.

Those who had such information at the Bureau were all "out of pocket," Ponce said.
Documents obtained by RAW STORY show that the CMU program, instituted Dec. 11, 2006 -- shortly after the mid-term elections in which Democrats won both chambers of Congress -- is being implemented at Terre Haute Federal Correctional Institution in Indiana.

Under the CMU program, telephone communications must be conducted using monitored phone lines, be live-monitored by staff, are subject to recording and must be in English only. All letters must be reviewed by staff prior to delivery or sending, and visits may be non-contact only, live-monitored, and subject to recording, in English.

Keiffer asserts that the program, which purports to house high-risk inmates for the purpose of better monitoring their communications, "is not related to inmate security" at all.
The program "doesn't affect the highest security inmates who are still being kept in other high security prisons, where some may be allowed greater freedom in communications than the CMU inmates," he says. "It affects a class of inmates who would not garner as much sympathy as others and who have diminished support in the US."

"It is just like the detentions after 9/11," he adds. "It's profiling."

Calls placed to the FBI were not returned.
The CMU is in apparent violation of the federal Administrative Procedures Act which explicitly requires that all prison regulations be promulgated under that law. Courts have overturned programs that have violated this law "half a dozen times over the past ten years," Keiffer says.
One of the documents obtained by Raw Story, entitled "Institution Supplement," was issued by the Terre Haute facility and given to prisoners transferred into this new program. The document states "all contact" between the inmates and "persons in the community" may only occur "according to national policy, with necessary adjustments indicated herein," indicating that the new program's contact rules are the same as normal prison rules except where "adjusted" in the Supplement.

Attorney Peter Goldberger, a Philadelphia-area specialist in criminal appeals and former law professor who has 30 years experience dealing with federal prisons and inmates, told RAW STORY that the Terre Haute Institution Supplement is officially a supplement to the Prison Bureau's national Program Statement on Inmate Discipline and Special Housing Units, published in the Code of Federal Regulations and last amended in 2003.

Keiffer explains that an Institution Supplement cannot exist by itself without specific authorization. The CMU Institution Supplement states that it is "according to national policy." But Keiffer notes that the national Program Statement does not in fact authorize the CMU program. In order for the program to be properly authorized, it would have to address the particular program parameters, locations, specify the inmates to whom it applied, and would have to take into account the specific and unique features of that program. The already existing national Program Statement does not address the CMU program and thus does not authorize it.
Goldberger notes that "What's different" about the program, "is limitation of contact with friends, family and outsiders -- instead of 300 minutes of telephone time per month, it's one 15 minute call per week, which can be reduced in the Warden's discretion to a mere three minutes once a month."

"Instead of all-day visiting every week or every other week, it's only two hours at a time, twice a month, with no physical contact, presumably sitting on opposite sides of a plexiglas window," Goldberger continued.

"And all letters, except to lawyers, courts, and Congress, will be read and copied, with weeks of delay, instead of cursorily inspected and sent right on," he adds. "It's a totally new and different program."

Director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, D.C. Kate Martin told RAW STORY that restrictions of inmate communications must be narrowly tailored to serve a specific identifiable need of the government. Martin said that there was a clear rationale for restricting communications of those who had previously handled classified information -- for example a former CIA agent who had passed secrets to a foreign government. But with individuals who never possessed classified information, she said, that rationale doesn't exist.

The government must show that the inmates had been plotting terrorist crimes from their cells or some similar scenario, Martin said. Without that, the restriction of communication of a group of prisoners raises a suspicion that it is actually an effort by the government to deny information to the press and public about what it is doing.

Who's in the Program?
The federal penitentiary where the most dangerous criminals are held, including the Unabomber and the Millennium Bomber, is the maximum security prison known as ADMax at Florence, Colorado. The CMU is not being implemented there, however, instead it is being implemented in Terre Haute Federal Correctional Institution in Indiana.

The CMU is said to be targeting terrorists or suspected terrorists, but many being held are not considered high risk or even convicted of violent crimes.

In a letter obtained by RAW STORY from CMU inmate Dr. Rafil Dhafir to one of his supporters, the current unit has at present only 16 prisoners, but is expected to have 60-70 more added soon. Dhafir writes that the CMU "is still not fully understood. The staff here is struggling to make sense of the whole situation," and says that the prisoners are "so far treated with great respect and good accommodation," but "with the new system we will have absolutely no privacy." The letter has been posted on a support site for Dhafir.

Dr. Dhafir was convicted for violating US sanctions against Iraq, because he had sent humanitarian aid to the country during the restricted period. Dhafir was not charged with any terrorism related activities or a violent offense.

Also in CMU detention are also five of the "Lackawanna Six," a group of six American citizens who traveled to Afghanistan before Sept. 11, 2001 and were indicted for giving material support to Al Qaeda. Yahya Goba, one of the group's members - who turns up as a government witness in numerous cases - is not in the system, although he was sentenced to ten years along with the other Lackawanna defendants.

Howard Keiffer believes that the program not only violates federal law but the Constitution as well, saying it abridges their right to freedom of expression and association.
These inmates are "not able to communicate like other inmates," he said.
James Landrith, Jr., who heads "The Multiracial Activist," an on-line journal that covers social and civil liberties issues relating multi-racialism, says the new program set a "very, very bad precedent."

It's "interesting that this administration is trying to push these things through covertly" -- things he said he views as unconstitutional restrictions -- "while you have a sitting Vice President who could be charged in the short-term future with having been involved in outing a CIA agent."

He added that the program "makes it very very hard for someone to mount a real defense or appeal when they can't talk to anyone on the outside."

Some say the program smacks of racial or religious profiling.
Editor of Prison Legal News Paul Wright told RAW STORY that "segregating prisoners based on their race, national origin or language directly contradicts the recent US supreme court ruling in Johnson v. California which held that the racial segregation of prisoners was illegal."
Johnson v. California, a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision, involved the segregation of African-American inmates. In its decision, while the Court noted that it did not decide whether the segregation violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution, it nonetheless "explicitly reaffirm[ed] that the 'necessities of prison security and discipline,' are a compelling government interest justifying only those uses of race that are narrowly tailored to address those necessities."

Race, national or ethnic origin, one's status as an alien, or any innate or immutable characteristic that a person has no power to change, must be scrutinized by courts under the same standard; only a compelling government interest and a narrowly tailored program is held to be constitutional.

Religious discrimination is prohibited by Prison Bureau regulations. The regulation states that Bureau "staff shall not discriminate against inmates on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, disability, or political belief. This includes the making of administrative decisions and providing access to work, housing and programs."

Director of the Human and Civil Rights Division of the Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation Ibrahim Ramey says his group is "deeply concerned about the violation of civil rights of incarcerated Muslims" who are targeted by the program.

"The removal and concentration of Muslims" Ramey says, is a "violation of the concept of innocent until proven guilty."

Though the inmates have been convicted, Ramey believes the CMU appears to be "a precursor to a program of segregation of people by religion in federal detention facilities."

"You don't segregate all Jews or all Christians," he adds.

Most of RAW STORY's calls and emails to inmates' attorneys or former attorneys were not returned. Several refused to comment. One attorney who represented one of the inmates at trial commented that "the new facility creates hardships for the family because of the distance and restrictions on visitation and phone use, but overall the staff are treating the inmates very well; they are very professional in their handling of the inmates."

Jennifer Van Bergen is the author of The Twilight of Democracy: The Bush Plan for America, dubbed a "primer for citizenship." Her book Archetypes for Writers: Using the Power of Your Subconscious will be out in March 2007.

Muriel Kane provided research assistance for this article.

Sunday, April 16, 2006



The Following post about the Federal Reserve is incorrectly posted to this blog. I have not been able to delete it.

Skip to the next post.

madis senner

Monday, February 14, 2005



Targeted Muslim Doctor Convicted
Supporters Shocked and Surprised

Dr. Rafil Dhafir arrested on February 26, 2003, as a potential terrorist (to read Ashcroft Statement was found guilty on 59 of the 60 charges against him. When the terrorist claims failed to materialize the government expanded its case to include Medicare fraud and other charges. Dhafir was found guilty of charity fraud, breaking the sanctions against Iraq and Medicare fraud among other things. He was only acquitted of charge 3 in a 60-count indictment that dealt with money laundering.

Two of the jurors left the court room in tears looking at Dr. Dhafir appearing as if they were trying to say they were sorry.

Dr. Dhafir is to be sentenced on June 20, 2005.

Dr. Dhafir is one of the only, if not the only, person to be arrested for breaking the sanctions against Iraq. The only thing that distinguished Dr. Dhafir from the others that similarly defied the sanctions was his Muslim faith.
In a pretrial motion Defense Attorney Devereaux Cannick asked that the charges be dropped against Dr. Dhafir because he was being selectively prosecuted (To read the motion Because of this pretrial ruling the judge did not allow the defense to raise the issue of selective prosecution and ask why Dr. Dhafir was being targeted when countless other individuals had blatantly and willfully defied the sanctions and were not charged. This has been documented with testimony from those that similarly defied the sanctions at:

In another pretrial ruling the Judge prevented the defense from questioning why Dr. Dhafir had been arrested--so they could not raise the issue of terrorism and the government's intent in arresting Dr. Dhafir. Arguably this handicapped the defense.

Going into the trial there was a question as to whether in a post 9-11 environment the Dr. could find a fair jury. In an effort to find an unbiased jury the court sent out a pretrial 44-page questionnaire to prospective jurors. Some of the comments that came back were very racist. To r
One of the contentious issues of the trial had been the coverage of the trial by the local paper, the Syracuse Post Standard. Several supporters set up blogs to document what they saw as unfair and prejudiced coverage.

Dr. Dhafir's supporters were shocked and surprised that he was convicted of so many charges. Several that had attended the trial on a regular basis questioned whether they had been sitting in the same courtroom as the jury. Others said that this was another sign that there are two systems of justice in our country--one for rich and white folks, the other for the poor, people of color and Muslims. Some saw deeper symbolism and wondered what this verdict says of our country referring to a recent Cornell study that found 44% of Americans would favor restricting the civil liberties of Muslims in America (To read the survey go to:

The lawyers were going to meet with Dr. Dhafir to determine what they were going to do next, if anything. I am hopeful that the defense will move ahead with an appeal.

The one bright note of the Dhafir trial was the Dr. Dhafir was never charged with terrorism--so he was never convicted of terrorism. The sad thing is that he was not allowed to wipe this smear from his name in court!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005


Defense Team Closes Swinging--Prosecution willfully Lied

A standing room only crowd that could only be accommodated by rotating visitors in and out of the gallery heard the defense team expose what they called the "prosecution's lies". In a dramatic moment defense lawyer Devereaux Cannick stared at the prosecution and called them liars to their face.

"A lawyer is suppose to tell the truth when he knows a witness lies", Cannick said. He then went on to read court testimony corroborating his claim. The first example he showed was the testimony of prosecution witness Colleen Williams in comparison to the prosecution witness Achmed Ali whose testimony was in direct conflict.
Devereaux said that the prosecution knowingly sat by while Achmed lied.

Devereaux went on to point out several other lies.

The morning began with defense lawyer Joel Cohen ripping the prosecution.

Joel attempted to raise the terrorist issue and question the government's intention in arresting Dr. Dhafir. Originally Dr. Dhafir was accused of being a terrorist by John Ashcroft the day of his arrest. The prosecution objected several times--the Judge eventually told the jury to ignore Mr. Cohen and told them his pretrial ruling that prevented the defense from raising the issue of the government's intent in arresting Dr. Dhafir.

Cohen's presentation was forceful and consistent as he asked why would Dr. Dhafir do all these things openly--the government presented a marketing tape saying he was stealing, etc---if he were a criminal. Criminal's try to hide things. Dr. Dhafir was open with appeals and aid!

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Medicare Testimony Highlights Prosecutions Misdeeds and Misleads

Today's testimony by Medicare supervisor Ms. Carosella (spelling?) highlighted the prosecution's case of--innuendo, misrepresentations, hyperbole, Enron like accounting skills/claims and pure bull !!!!!

The above chart is a representation of one presented by the prosecution today to show how Dr. Dhafir overcharged his peer group when it came to Medicare billings. On the surface the information seems pretty convincing…But??

In cross examination we learned that the Medicare person did not know what the make-up of the peer group was--In other words she did not know whether the peer group contained doctors with similar practices, or were they from similar locations. Meaning that a general practitioner or cardiologist could have been part of the peer group and would have had no where near the same medication billings as an oncologist such as Dr. Dhafir would have. She did not know how many patients there was in the peer group. She did not know what type of patients were used, etc….etc.. Basically the table was a bunch of numbers that proved nothing, whose only objective was to make Dr. Dhafir look bad.

The chart is another example of the prosecution's Enron like accounting efforts to fabricate statistics and numbers to make its case.

Government's attempts to inflate Dr. Dhafir's Medicare over-charges was further exposed. As we noted previously, Dr. Dhafir is accused of over charging Medicare for services done when he was not present--he gets 15% less if he is not present. The government presented the gross amount of the total billed rather than the 15% of $274,000.

We learned that even 15% of that amount is too much because the doctor can charge the full value for medication, lab work, etc…Because much of the cost of chemotherapy is medicine the 15% number is radically reduced.

In court the defense had Ms. Carosella calculate one overcharge:
$1,244.41 Total bill
$186.66 %15 of the amount ($1,244.41)

Overcharge less meds and lab work
$1,244.41 Total bill
$914.91 Cost of medicine
$329.50 ($1,244.41 less $914.91) Total bill less medicine

$10.83 Cost of lab work
$318.83 ($1,244.41 less $914.91 - $10.83) Total bill less medicine

$47.83 Revised Overcharge ($318.83 X 15%)

Last week the prosecution was caught in its own web of deceit regarding Medicare and was forced to compile a revised schedule to show the actual over-charges, that it today presented to the defense team. The defense was going to mull over the numbers.

The idea that the prosecution had to create an accurate and revised schedule of supposed Medicare overcharges after the fact raises several issues.
--The government is operating way beyond its experience base. I noted earlier that lead FBI agent Kolbe had a woefully deficient accounting background.
--It shows how bogus the Medicare overcharge is. Yes it appears Dr. Dhafir overcharged Medicare, but lets put the amount in its proper context. Secondly, as Ms. Carosella testified that in 1992 Dr. Dhafir was audited and was found to have over charged Medicare by $800. The case such as this one should have been settled out of court as is the usual way.
--It reinforces previous inconsistencies exposed in the prosecution's case. For example, FBI agent Kolbe admitted that some of the money he said Dr. Dhafir took from the charity was actually his own money.

All of this goes to show how desperate and malicious the government has been to convict Dr. Dhafir. As Ms. Carosella noted the government asked her to "GET DR. DHAFIR"; that is in essence what she said before break.

Note Closing arguments will be heard beginning Monday January 31, 2005

Thursday, January 20, 2005


Medicare Fraud---More Bogus Claims

More Prosecution Misstatements
Bad Math, Bad Analysis-More Enron

The prosecution continues to make misstatements and exaggerated claims against Dr. Dhafir. Yesterday they presented inflated numbers taken out of context when claiming he was guilty of Medicare fraud.

The Post Standard reported today ( ) that "Dr. Dhafir is accused of defrauding Medicare out of $274,000 from 1998 to 2002 by billing for 26 chemotherapy treatments as if he were in the office when he was not…. "
"He's accused of billing Medicare at the 100 percent reimbursement rate if a physician is present for the treatment instead of at the 85 percent rate for nurse practitioners, even when he wasn't in the office. His nurse practitioners and a laboratory technician have testified they administered chemo and other treatments when Dhafir wasn't around."

When we examine the numbers, the "supposed" $274,000 that Dr. Dhafir bilked from Medicare is actually $41,100 or 15% of that amount($274.000). What the prosecution is doing is claiming that the gross amount Dr. Dhafir billed Medicare for as the 'supposed" amount he ripped them off for. Instead the actual claim, if Dr. Dhafir is guilty, is 15% of the gross amount. ($274, 000).

Lets put the government's claim in perspective. Dr. Dhafir billed Medicare for approximately $1,000,000 annually. For the period of five years the government is talking about he would have billed them for a total of about $5 Million. Then consider Dr. Dhafir's take home pay of about $500,000 annually. Do you think he would intentionally steal $8,220 ($41,100 divided by 5) from Medicare annually?

This is just another example of the prosecutions bad math, bogus claims and misstatements--they could teach the Enron accountants a thing or two. As we have already learned the prosecution admitted that some of the money it claimed Dr. Dhafir took from the charity was actually his--so he stole from himself? We also learned that the lead FBI agent has almost no accounting education. We learned…..the list goes on and on……

Let's not forget that the Medicare fraud charges were introduced after Dr. Dhafir was arrested. The charges are the culmination of several FBI going over his records with a fine tooth-comb--and this is what they came up with?

What happened to "evil-doer terrorist" original charge against Dr. Dhafir? Let's hope that the Medicare fraud claim disappears the same way the original charge disappeared.

But then I am sure that the government will conjure up some other claim.

After all the head office, justice department, desperately wants to convict Dr. Dhafir to help in the war on terror….OOOPPSS that was another bogus claim that is no longer being put forth by the prosecution!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


The week of January 3 to 6, 2005--More Enron Man!

The defense team spent the week cross-examining FBI agent Kolbe. They exposed serious inconsistencies in the government's case. The government has been portraying Dr. Dhafir as the "evil-doer" that misappropriated charitable funds from his Charity (Help the Needy (HTN)) for his personal use and for non-relief purposes such as promoting Islam. Under testimony FBI Agent Kolbe admitted that some of the funds he said were HTN's, were actually Dr., Dhafir's. We also learned that there were lots of donors to HTN that donated money for specific purposes such as religion.

FBI agent Kolbe was caught in more lies and at times seemed over his head--he is woefully deficient lacking a solid accounting background. As a CPA, that has worked for a Big 8 accounting firm in NYC, I am surprised that the lead FBI person would have almost no accounting background for a case that is so financially complicated. The defense was able to find several blunders and outright lies. Sadly and pathetically Kolbe seems he could fit right in at Enron before the debacle. Let's hope the jury sees it that way as well for Enron Man.

The Syracuse Post Standard even weighed in with some damning coverage of Kolbe's testimony. Consider the following reported last week:

"Cannick questioned Kolbe about an error in an application for a search warrant that the agent made two years ago. The affidavit said an $82,000 check deposited in Help the Needy's account was from Dhafir's medical practice, MCMC LLC, when in fact the check was from another medical practice, MMC LLC. The money was the proceeds from Dhafir's sale of his Camden medical office, Kolbe said.
Kolbe's affidavit, which was given to a judge to allow agents to intercept Dhafir's phone calls and e-mail, called the $82,000 check a high-interest loan that Dhafir made to Help the Needy, which repaid him at a higher amount.
"Was that a lie?" Cannick asked Kolbe.
"I would characterize it as a misstatement," Kolbe said. "However, it's a fact that it's $82,000 of Dr. Dhafir's." "

"A Syracuse charity that solicited donations in the United States by promising to aid starving Iraqis was also getting donations from the Middle East designated for specific projects, according to evidence in the federal trial of the charity's founder…"

The following are some key points:
January 3:
*We learned that agent Kolbe had very little, or almost no accounting background. Which is a surprise given that much of the government's case rested on complicated analysis of the Help the Needy financial records.
*A series of checks that Kolbe testified were donor's money were claimed by Dahfir to be his family's money. His testimony was challenged showing that dates of these checks and deposit dates didn't match.
January 4:
*Agent Kolbe admitted that he illegally conducted searches of Dhafir's home while he had only one search warrant for February 26, 2003.
*Agent Kolbe admitted that he did not do a complete analysis of Zagha's bank account to see how much was deposited into the account, outside of IANA/HTN transfers. Zagha was Help the Needy's point person in the Middle East. Since the FBI is claiming Dr. Dhafir stole and inappropriately spent money you would think the FBI would do a more thorough job of investigation.
*Kolbe was made to admit that Dr. Dhafir deposited about $83,000 from his personal funds into Zagha's fleet account before HTN was founded.
*We learned why Help the Needy had large sums of money in its accounts at times. Because they would spend money on specific practices at certain times.
We learned from a FBI field worker's report that mosques played a major role in the distribution of relief aid. This undermined the government's claim that HTN had nothing to do with mosques. The government has been consistently trying to paint Dr. Dhafir as a religious extremist that used charity funds to promote the Islamic faith.
*A pamphlet was shown describing how "preachers" (imams) were used to aid in relief distribution.
*From emails we learned that workers in the Middle East used their own vehicles to transport goods. This was a rebuttal to the government's allegations that there were no receipts for the transportation of goods.
We learned from correspondence from a HTN worker in Jordan that additional funds from "well doers" for other missions, besides relief, were donated. The government had been trying to claim that HTN misspent money on non-relief activities.
January 5:
Kolbe's hand written notes showed that Ayman Jarwan told him that Dhafir was the one who paid for all the administrative costs of HTN.
Kolbe admitted that he saw money donations earmarked for preacher's sponsorship from donors in the USA.
January 6:
* We learned from a Jordanian worker that Gulf donors purchased Q'uran's. The letter also documented that HTN was prohibited from buying Q'urans.
*The same letter talked about an individual donating a mosque in Basra.
*Kolbe had to admit that Atlanta Muslims had donated money to build mosques, when he previously had said he never found such during his investigation.
*We learned a lot about specific donors and their designated donations for religious activities such as the purchase of Q'urans.
*We saw a letter dated 1991 from someone named "Hamza" saying he had received $2,000. Indicating that Dr. Dhafir had money with Zagha well before HTN was established.

Sunday, January 09, 2005


Post Standard Letters--Finally a few are published

Letters to the Editor

Post-Standard Letter
Sunday, January 09, 2005

Dhafir trial coverage has prosecutorial tone

To the Editor:

I have been attending the trial of Dr. Rafil Dhafir two days a week since it started in October. My experience of the paper's reporting on this trial suggests prosecution could not do a better job of presenting its side of the case if it were writing the articles.

Significant evidence for the defense is often ignored. If mentioned at all, it is buried under big, damning headlines. What happens in the courtroom and what is reported in the newspaper often have only a passing resemblance.

More than half-a-million Iraqi children under the age of five died as a direct result of the sanctions imposed on Iraq. Dr. Dhafir's actions may have helped save lives. Doesn't he deserve the right to be held innocent until proven guilty? Shouldn't we as citizens in a democracy help ensure this right, even if the newspaper denies it?

Katherine Hughes

Dhafir is convenient target in war on terror

To the Editor:

What would a witch hunt be without witches? What would the war against terrorism be without terrorists? The public must be kept in a state of perpetual fear. In this case, it is the Muslim community.

The charge that he violated the U.S. sanctions against aiding Iraq, and comments linking Dr. Dhafir to the war on terror, are part of the witch-hunt mentality the Bush administration promotes.

New York Gov. George E. Pataki reportedly described Dhafir's as a "money laundering case to help terrorist organizations . . . conduct horrible acts." Prosecutors hinted at national security reasons for holding Dhafir without bail. But no evidence was offered to support the allegations.

Attorney General John D. Ashcroft spoke of a terrorism supporter apprehended. A federal prosecutor suggested an Arab engineer who was an associate of Dhafir's might be proficient in fashioning "dirty bombs." A federal magistrate denied bail to the oncologist, saying he might escape to Canada.

In January of 2001, I handled press relations for an organization, Conscience International, which donated $150,000 worth of medicine, eyeglasses, school supplies and medical books directly to hospitals in Iraq, all without U.S. government authorization. Its goal was to challenge the sanctions.

The press response was phenomenal. You would think such "high-profile" criminals would be prosecuted. Well, no one was! There was no need for witches as the war on terror hadn't started yet.

Peter Wirth

Thursday, December 09, 2004


Dhafir--I am forbidden to smile--Paper reports

From the Syracuse Post Standard

Dhafir: I'm forbidden to smile, wave
He says his behavior in court is restricted. Official: Only visiting is prohibited.

Thursday, December 09, 2004
By John O'Brien Staff writer

In the first six weeks of his fraud trial, Dr. Rafil Dhafir smiled and waved at his supporters nearly every time he entered the courtroom.

On Wednesday, he was dour and barely looked into the gallery at all.

Dhafir says the government put a clamp on him.

"I have to tell you that I can no longer return your greetings, wave to you, say hello, or even smile to you in court," he wrote Friday in a letter to Jeanne DeSocio, one of the half-dozen or so supporters who sit in the gallery almost every day.

"I was told that I am not allowed to do that!!!" Dhafir wrote. "I don't know how low the government will stoop down to."

Dean Obernesser, a deputy U.S. marshal, said he spoke with Dhafir last week about talking to people in the courtroom during breaks. The Marshals Service has a policy barring defendants who are in custody from visiting with people other than their lawyers in the courtroom, Obernesser said.

No one from the Marshals Service told Dhafir he couldn't wave or smile, Obernesser said.

"We informed them of the Marshals Service policy regarding visitation," Obernesser said. "The Marshals Service policy does not say one thing about smiling or waving. It speaks of visitation."

In the first six weeks of the trial, Dhafir often chatted with friends and supporters during breaks. Such conversations are prohibited because those talks "could include anything," Obernesser said.

Dhafir, 56, an oncologist from Manlius, is accused of defrauding donors to the Syracuse-based charity he founded, Help the Needy, by siphoning some of their contributions intended for oppressed Iraqis to finance his business interests and those of his friends. He's also accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iraq by shipping money there, and of Medicare fraud and tax evasion.

DeSocio, who often prayed in the courtroom, said she was shocked to read Dhafir's letter.

"I don't know why this man can't even smile at his friends," she said. Dhafir gave her a thumb's-up sign one day when she'd been crying after hearing testimony about starving Iraqi children.

In Wednesday's testimony, Dhafir's former tax accountant testified that federal agents never told him he had a right to a lawyer and to say nothing before questioning him on the day of Dhafir's arrest. G. William Hatfield, who later pleaded guilty to helping Dhafir file a false tax-exemption application for Help the Needy Endowment Inc. with the IRS, said the agents told him he'd be "much better off" if he didn't contact his lawyer when they questioned him Feb. 26, 2003.

Hatfield testified last week that Dhafir claimed $1.3 million in tax deductions for charitable contributions from 1996 through 2001. But Hatfield said those donations would not have been tax-deductible if, as prosecutors allege, he'd had the money sent to an account in Amman, Jordan, then back to the United States for his own use.
© 2004 The Post-Standard. Used with permission.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Govt--September 11th would never have happened if….Govt---To be a good citizen spy on Muslims...Tap dancing around the 500-pound Gorilla (Terrorism)

Colleen Williams, hired by Dr. Dhafir to do the Help the Needy's taxes, gave the court room an earful today as she told how she was recruited by the FBI to spy on Dr. Dhafir.

The gist of what Colleen Williams said regarding her recruitment was that the FBI told her that there would have been no September 11th if people had been more vigilant and involved in providing information to the government.

Later in cross-examination Ms Williams said that government told her (implied) that to be a good citizen you need to infiltrate and provide information about organizations like Help the Needy--AKA Muslims and Muslim charities.

While there are many disturbing implications to be had from Ms. Williams's testimony two are especially egregious regarding Rafil's case--terrorism and targeting both of which have been nixed by the Judge.

As we have noted on several occasions Dr. Dhafir has been smeared as a terrorist by the likes of John Ashcroft and NY Governor Pataki. Defense lawyer Devereaux Cannick has publicly stated that Rafil was hit with other charges when they government could not find proof of terrorism. Now Colleen Williams tells us that the government told her that in the pre 9-11 period if more people would have helped the FBI with investigations like the Dhafir case there would have been no 9-11--the largest act of terrorism on USA soil.

So in other words, Ms. Williams said that she should help the FBI to prevent further terrorist acts in the USA. Yet the Judge in a pre-trial ruling said that the defense could not raise the issue of the governments motive in arresting Rafil--fight against terrorism--during the trial. Given Ms. Williams's testimony will the judge continue to let his ruling stand? (To read Judge's ruling click on: )

The other point raised by Ms. Williams was the targeting of Muslims and Muslim organizations by the government. Some may say that Ms. Williams did not so exactlysay so, my interpretation is that she implied it. Ms. Williams used the term 'to be a good citizen', was asked to spy for the government and given her statement about how she was helping prevent future 9-11's to me the implication is clear.

In a pretrial Motion For Dismissal based upon Selective Prosecution ( ) the defense asked that the case against Dr. Dhafir be dropped because he was being targeted because of his Muslim faith and Arab background. The judge denied the dismissal.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Correction, Tears, Intentionally Boring? Prosecution Witness Makes Defense case about filings

Correction: John Obrien of the Post Standard pointed out that I incorrectly quoted the dialogue between prosecution witness Officer Chad Monroe. Here is what I wrote:
Per the Wednesday October 27th blog:
Post StandardI received several phone calls over the weekend, one even from my uncle,telling me that the picture in the Post Standard on Friday of Rafil in abank made him look bad. The prosecution had claimed that Rafil waspretending to be someone else. Well--Devereaux ripped that BOGUS claim todayduring cross-examination of Monroe. Zagha is a man in Jordan that dealt withfinancial matters for Rafil

Devereaux--Did the Dr give you ID saying he was Zagha?
Devereaux--Was he posing as someone else?
Devereaux--Is it illegal to deposit money?

Here is the court Testimony on October 27, 2004--Chad Monroe (A) being cross examined by Devereaux Cannick (q);

Q: Now, may I have the photograph of Dr. Dhafir put up? Can you see the photo?
A Yes, sir.

Q: What is the date that the photograph was taken?
A: The photograph does not have a date on it that I see.

Q: Well, during the course of your investigation, did you ascertain the date of the photograph?
A: No, I did not?

Q:Did you ascertain the date that the doctor was actually in the bank?
A:No, I did not.

Q: Now in that photograph, it doesn't seem to be that the doctor is in any way disguising his appearance, does it?
A: No it does not.

Q: He's not covering his face is he?
A: No, he's not.

Q: Just going into the bank and standing in the line, am I correct?
A: Yes, sir.

Q: And he appears to be in that photograph the same way that he appeared at the time that you conducted your surveillance of him outside of his office, am I correct?
A: Close, I guess, yes.

Q: Beg pardon?
A: Yes, he appears similar when I conducted my surveillance.

Q: you said similar, any differences in his appearance?
A: Different clothes on and things like that.

Q:Yeah, but in terms of his face, his face, his beard, he ore a beard on the day that you conducted your physical surveillance?
A: Yeah beard could have been longer or shorter compared to the photograph.

Q: Well, do you recall it being longer or shorter?
A: I recall it being a little longer that the photograph?

Q: The name Maher Zagha is on this photograph, this has been received in evidence?
Mr. Olmstead: Yes, it has.

Q: On this photograph that's been received into evidence, do you know how the name Maher Zagha got on this photograph?
A: No, I do not.

Q: Now, when you --how was it that you got possession of this photograph?
A: The photograph came along with the suspicious incident report from the Fleet bank?

Q: You're not suggesting to the jury that Dr. Dhafir went to the bank and represented himself as Maher Zagha?
A: I did not say that, no.

Q: No. And that was not what he was doing, am I correct?
A: According to my information in the SAR, he was--he had conducted at least one transaction on the Maher Zagha Account.

Q: Account. And that one transaction was a deposit, am I correct?
A: I don't recall without looking at it.

Q: Well, let me ask you this, there is nothing illegal about a person going and making a deposit into someone else's account, am I correct, sir?
A: That's correct.

Q: And especially if the person has the permission and authority of the account holder, am I correct?
A: That is correct.
Clearly I mis-quoted the cross-examination and I admit that I was wrong. But did I miss the gist of what went on? Was I wrong in saying that during cross-examination the defense showed the picture of Dr. Dhafir in the bank to be irrelevant/innocuous, or a 'bogus attempt to make Dr. Dhafir look bad'?

Tears over the Sanctions: One of the more moving moments of the trial was when local activist and Dhafir supporter Jeanne DeSocio broke into tears Wednesday November 10th. She got upset over the testimony of Susan Hutner, Dept of Treasury Foreign Assets Division, who spoke coldly and indifferently about the sanctions, as if the death of over 500,000 Iraqi children did not matter. It was all too reminiscent of Secretary Madeline Albright who considered the deaths of Iraqi citizens as collateral damage.

Boring Yes--But is it Intentional? Last week's the governments' power point presentation was on display again as Don Bailey went over the Help the Needy money flows. One could see the jurors eyes glaze over as the prosecution tried to show where they thought the money went. The question I have is do they want to put the jury to sleep or are they just making their case?

I ask whether they were intentionally making it boring because--boring and confusing could help them. Consider Devereaux's; cross-examination of Dr. Masood on Monday November 15th. The prosecution had called on Masood to testify to show that Dr. Dhafir had misled his donors by building mosques and buying Koran's--not supply food and medicine to Iraqi's with the money they got. Devereaux tried asking, he was over-ruled by the Judge, whether Masood knew that HTN had offices in England and other countries as well as wealthy Middle East donors who had pledged to invest in mosques and Koran's. Even asked whether Masood knew that Dr. Dhafir had donated over $1,250,000 to HTN.

The defense was trying to correctly point out that contrary to what the government is saying about the use of funds Dr. Dhafir was also raising lots of money specifically targeted for mosques and Q'urans from people overseas. So a lot of what the government was saying, donations did not go to charity, is wrong because the sources for those 'supposedly dubiously spent donations' were target donations by foreign donors.

Add to this the glimmer we have seen of how devout and meticulous Rafil was in his faith. There is copious documentation of how Rafil asked imams and religious scholar's specifics of what was or was not acceptable. For example, if donations were for food--what does food include and not include. The detail was beyond meticulous.

So could boring could help the prosecution because the jury might give them the benefit of doubt--thinking that the missed the link the government was trying to make when they dozed off.

What Filing?: On Monday November 15th prosecution witness Dr. Qazi rained on the prosecutions case by saying that he did not now about filing with OFAC until last year--he attributed the filing to increased post 9-11 scrutiny. Remember that the prosecution has gone to great lengths to show that knowledge about the sanctions and government filings were widely distributed and known to the public. But as Devereaux previously pointed out the media and the government had done almost zilch on educating the public. Qazi who has several charities only confirmed how poor a job the government has done. Did the jury get it?

Monday, November 08, 2004


No to Terrorism, Mistrial, the FBI Smear, Defense comes out swinging

Thanks to everyone that braved the wet snow this morning to hear Judge Mordue's decision on whether the defense can question the government's intent in arresting Dr. Dhafir--terrorism. I am sure Rafil was pleased and would say thanks.

The judge ruled against the prosecution and said that they cannot question the government's intent in arresting Dr. Dhafir and raise the issue of terrorism. The judge said he found no references to terrorism in the testimony of any of the witnesses. He noted that although Agent Kolbe in his testimony referred to certain Islamic books that talked about military maneuvers he did not mention terrorism.

Friends, in a post 9-11 environment what do you think most Americans would think of if you mentioned Islamic books and military maneuvers in the same sentence?

Judge Mordue did not find Smari's testimony and the mention of the Muslim brotherhood as being terrorist related. Check out the following Google search of the Muslim Brotherhood:

Basically the Judge will continue to allow Dr. Dhafir to be smeared as a terrorist by the government and not allow him his constitutional right to defend himself.

Defense lawyer Joel Cohen immediately asked for a mistrial on the grounds that Special Agent Kolbe severely prejudiced the jury (he may have said that he was a severely prejudiced witness.) Joel pointed out that Kolbe testified that Dr. Dhafir is still being investigated and may be subject to further charges. Joel implied that Kolbe was also embellishing his testimony when a yes or no answer was asked for. Five plus years of searching and they are still looking for more charges against Rafil?

Joel went on to say that if the mistrial were denied that the defense would ask for --evidentiary denial. I do not believe that I got the phrase correct about the defense teams next course of action should they be denied a mistrial. What is clear is that the defense came out swinging today.

Please note that I left the courtroom immediately afterwards and did not stay to hear Devereaux expose more government half-truths in his cross-examination of Kolbe.

Thursday, November 04, 2004


Dhafir Trial--Is Terrorism sneaking in? Tears, Devereaux Shines, 15 agents--no many more

Terrorism: One of the more contentious issues regarding the trial has been the Judge's pre-trial ruling that the defense could not question the government's motive for arresting Dr. Dhafir and the issue of terrorism. We thought that this ruling was preposterous and totally un-fair since the government has consistently smeared Dr. Dhafir as a terrorist in the court of public opinion.

Well, it appears that the justice may be prevailing. In a bench meeting at the end of court the defense claimed that the prosecution had raised the issue of terrorism.

The defense pointed out that in its questioning the prosecution on several occasions had raised the issue of terrorism. They noted that the prosecution had referred to the Muslim Brotherhood, a suspected terrorist organization. During the questioning of Smare the name of a sheik that helped move goods in Northern Iraq came up. The shiek is supposedly a terrorist. Other instances of the prosecution implying terrorism pertained to items that came up during a search of the trash. The defense was trying to prevent the prosecution from continuing its game of trying to have it both ways--imply Dr. Dhafir was a terrorist and not let the defense respond.

The Judge said that he would rule about whether the defense can question the government's motive for arresting Rafil and the terrorism issue on Monday. Let us pray that Justice will be served.

Tears. Prosecution witness Smari broke into tears on Wednesday when he talked about the suffering and hardship his family was facing in Iraq at the hands of Saddam and the sanctions.

Devereaux Shines. Defense lawyer, Devereaux Cannick, shined in his cross-examination of the prosecution's witness agent Kolbe (the cross examinatoin began Wednesday). Devereaux began by asking Kolbe if he knew what the word embellishment meant? He did not, so Devereaux explained. The cross examination of Kolbe continued on Thursday.

Through his questioning Devereaux got Kolbe to tell how limited, arguably negligent, the government was in telling, we the people, that it was against the law to break the sanctions against Iraq. The only government document telling the public that it was against the law to break the sanctions was a treasury document dated 1999. The sanctions were placed on Iraq in 1991. The local paper or other news sources did not print anything saying that breaking the sanctions was against the law. . In fact it was only a New York Times article in 1992 (or 1991) that pointed out it was against the law to break the sanctions.

Kolbe's testimony revealed how keen the government was to get Rafil and how harsh it treated people involved with HTN. We learned that the government took 60 odd boxes from Dr. Dhafir that included among other things a set of scholarly books in Arabic and other things that had no bearing on the case.

Only 15 agents, not 85 came to Rafil's home the day of his arrest--NOT. In the previous blog I talked about the government's half-truths and how Kolbe had said that only 15 agents came to Dr. Dhafir's home the day of this arrest. Rafil has consistently said 85 agents came to his home the day of his arrest. I said Devereaux would as he did, show that Koble's count was a half-truth. Kolbe stuck with the 15 but he did admit that other agents came to Rafil's home from other locations once their assignments were complete. I would bet that their other assignments was the interrogation of up to the 150 Muslim families that had donated to Dr. Dhafir's charity . Kolbe also admitted that a least one DEA agent came there. Kolbe said that the DEA agent came because he had a special tool to find things. Kolbe admitted no drugs or other contraband was found. Again Devereaux revealed one of many government half-truths.

We again heard how harshly Mrs. Dhafir was treated. Devereaux got Kolbe to admit she was not under arrest and could leave her home if she wanted. Although Kolbe said no agent ever told her she could leave. As we learned previously she was held at gunpoint when the agents first came. We also learned that agents followed her around in her own home even though she was not under arrest. They even followed her into the bathroom as she changed out of her sleeping clothes. Kolbe said she was 'contained'

We learned about the surveillance of HTN and Dr. Dhafir and how the government drilled holes in the HTN office to plant bugs. We heard of an agent that posed as a janitor at a HTN banquet. We heard about donors that were monitored by the government. We learned a lot, lot more about what could be called Big Brother tactics.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Government Half-Truths, Corrections, Laying the Ground work, Dangerous Work

Frank Woolover led us in a wonderful prayer this morning as we also sang Kumbaya.

Corrections: In case you missed it the Post Standard ran the following correction corroborating our blog of Thursday October 28th that agent Kolbe never said that donations to Help the Needy was used to purchase cloth:
Thursday's headline on a story about the Federal court trial of Dr. Rafil Dhafir incorrectly reported that an FBI agent testified Help the Needy's money was used to buy cloth. The agent said the money was sent to a clothing merchant, Maher Zahga, who buys cloth and sells it clothing manufacturers. But the agent did not say the money was spent on
Section B1, October 29, 2004

Government Half-Truths. We are beginning to see what appears to be a pattern of half-truths by the prosecution witnesses. What do I mean by half-truths? For example, suppose someone was stopped by the police for DWI and told the police that he only had one beer. Yes he only had one beer, but he also had 3 martinis, half a bottle of wine and 3 shots of Tequila.

We reported in our Wednesday October 27th blog that agent Kolbe stated that none of the donations to Help the Needy in 1995 and 1996 went to charities. (I am not sure whether Kolbe had a qualifier such as 'to my knowledge' no money went to charity.) In testimony today Smare, the prosecutions witness who worked for Help the Needy until 1999, testified that while he was at HTN that donations went to where it was suppose to go---Directly conflicting Kolbe's testimony.

Because of Professor Smare's schedule he appeared between Koble's testimony and cross-examination.
When Kolbe is cross-examined, tentatively Thursday, I expect that more government half-truths will be exposed. For example, Kolbe testified that only 15 agents came to Rafil's home the day of his arrest. Like the drunk that only had one beer agent Kolbe is probably correct that only 15 agents-- that only FBI agents were there. But what about the New York State Police, the Department of Defense, etc. etc…..Hmm... 85 law enforcment personnnel caem to arrest him. Can you believe that they put a gun to Priscilla's, Rafil's wife, head.

Thursday would be a good day to be in court to watch Devereaux potentially expose more government half-truths when he cross-examines Kolbe. It will also be a good day to see Devereaux in action. His lighting up the prosecution's witness Monroe will be a tough act to follow--but he might succeed.

Laying the Groundwork: In response to a question from the Judge as to where Prosecutor West was going with his line of questioning he said that he was laying the groundwork to show that HTN broke the sanctions.

Thursday: Professor Smare proved to be a credible witness. He noted that HTN contacted Muslim scholars to verify that donations were going where they should. He also noted that if donations were ever used for special purposes other than where they were suppose to go that a special request would be made and money would be earmarked for those projects. In the previous days testimony he said that money donated to buy rice had to buy rice otherwise it would be a violation.

Danger : Smare talked about how dangerous it was for those bringing things into Iraq. They took a cell approach and had for example 8 people work with another 8 people that did not know each other. This way if someone was ever caught they did not know the other.
Don’t' forget Rafil was placed on Saddam's Hit List for his charitable work. To learn more about the dangers of trying to bring donations into Iraq--both for death and the chance to be ripped-off, read:
Wednesday: Kolbe provided more information about money flows and the operations of HTN.

God Bless,
madis senner

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