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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