Saturday, November 29, 2008

Guilty on all 108 Counts

Nov 29, 2008

By now you are probably aware that the verdict has been delivered in the Hamas terrorism financing trial in the federal court in Dallas, Texas.

When the gag order on the attorneys was lifted, one of the HLF defense attorneys Linda Moreno told reporters, "Twelve good American citizens in the first trial didn't convict anyone of anything and 12 good American citizens in the second trial convicted everyone of everything. If you can make sense of that ... explain it to me."

Moreno may have conveniently forgotten but a juror from the 2007 trial that ended in a mistrial, William Neal, told reporters at the end of that trial: “Honestly, if I had not been on that jury this would have been a different case.”

We were not about to let that happen again unchallenged by intercessory prayer.

It was a great blessing to have so many people especially in Texas praying over the 2008 trial. We were positioned as the gatekeepers for this nation, and truly the impact of the verdicts goes far beyond even the borders of the U.S., or Israel for that matter. This is the kind of ability to successfully prosecute terror financing networks that other nations in this fight - like the U.K., France, Germany, etc., - needed to be reassured we are still in the fight with them against global Islamist terrorism.

Hebrews 11:3 says, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." We were calling the will of God as it is in heaven, into the earthly realm. It is the beauty of the simplicity of our faith and also our calling: to impact the world around us for good by calling for the will of God to be established in all important matters.

Below are excerpts from my private reports to intercessors in the final weeks of the trial. Some of the information does not need to be public, but I am uploading most excerpts for the purpose of giving other intercessors a model for taking up issues important to our nation in a concentrated prayer surge.

Nov 28, 2008
Praying the Headlines

In case you haven’t heard yet the “charity” and all five defendants were found guilty on all 108 counts. The verdict was read, Nov. 24, 2008.

I had the sense that we were going to be giving thanks before Thanksgiving for the verdict rendered. You would not believe what an energizing shot this has been to the whole network of people in our country whose job it is to deal with counter-terrorism - from the FBI to the Department of Justice and the counter-terrorism experts who investigate and inform. None of them was really confident this jury would return convictions. I think they were all mentally prepared for anything but the justice that was delivered. Thank God He gives His children the power to speak into situations like this one and tip the balance of spiritual powers at work to the side of Divine justice.

This was an important case to win and a primary reason is because it has 'righted' a wrong that was allowed to linger in the U.S. from at least 1993. From the first time I heard an official admission that we were allowing fund raising in the U.S. for terrorist organizations that were murdering and maiming civilians in Israel, I knew that the U.S. was bound to reap what we were sowing in terrorism. The Word says that we are not to be deceived, that whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.

Once there has been 'repentance' - which is made official in the jury verdict - then blessing can again begin to flow. Indeed, in the same day another terror trial that was in appeals court upheld a verdict against three other Islamist terrorists in the U.S. Then, of course, the terror attacks in India also bring Islamist terrorism back to the front burner. Americans would like to forget about the war on terrorism, but it is not going away. So we must give our counter terrorism forces and prosecutors the tools to really fight to win. In the Name of the Lord, may God grant a turnaround in what the U.S. is willing to put up with from Islamists who have been like wolves in sheep's clothing among us.

An excellent editorial at the National Review is one of the best perspectives I have read in follow up to the HLF trial verdict. No other general news media has quite grasped the significance of these events as this article called Not so holy. It is a short piece you might enjoy reading.

I appreciate each and every one who joined in to pray over this matter even though it may not have seemed like the normal matter for Christian intercession. I believe that we are called to step into situations just as this and make an impact on our world by speaking the will of God as it is in heaven to be established on the earth. We are not “of the world” but we are impact the world by calling those things that be not as though they are.

Nov 24, 2008
All Guilty on All Counts

Praise God for the victory in this trial! It is so significant that this jury did what many counter-terrorism experts doubted they would do and I have no doubt that it is the prayers of the saints that brought home this verdict of all guilty on all counts! Praise God that He has answered.

I have been reading the counter-terrorism experts almost preparing themselves for a loss. I cannot tell you how important this win is for the brave men and women who are in the war on terror in the United States, Israel…even in other nations of the world. This was a spiritual line drawn in the sand and I thank each and every one of you for rising up and calling for God’s will as it is in heaven, to be executed on the earth. This is the battle we are in and the impact we can have in the affairs of state. It is awesome and we serve an awesome God!

Holy Land Foundation defendants guilty on all counts
By JASON TRAHAN / The Dallas Morning News 03:28 PM CST on Monday, November 24, 2008

Nov 21, 2008
Jury Deliberations Continue

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of convictions in this trial. We really need the precedent of convictions, especially as we are about to undergo a leadership change in Washington, D.C. It is no secret that President Elect Barack Obama, along with most liberal Democrats have underestimated the peril Islamists pose to the safety and welfare of our nation. They, like much of the media, have bought into the deception of these groups that they do not belong to radical terror groups but are non-threatening people like you and I. This is just not so.

Even the Church has been dangerously persuaded in the tolerance arguments Islamists have used for cover. There is a difference in moderate oriented Islam and radical violence-oriented Islamists. Some say there is no difference, but there is and we better start learning how to distinguish between them – our safety depends on it. Our prayers should be in earnest for an awakening – one that doesn’t cost us dearly – in the United States as to the true nature of the wolves in sheep’s clothing.

In the meantime, please pray that these 12 jurors would get it right. That God would intervene in those deliberations and reveal the truth even to those who may be adamantly opposed to seeing it, so our law enforcement and legal system will have these convictions to draw a line in the sand of terrorism fund raising and money laundering schemes.

As I wrote in a comment following Jason Trahan’s report this morning in the Dallas Morning News: It is mind-blowing what heroic declarations the tight circle of attorneys who defend terrorism-connected figures in the U.S. attribute to their clients. (William) Moffat, along with HLF attorney Linda Moreno, successfully defended Sami al-Arian in Florida. “Not Guilty” certainly did not mean “innocent” because Al-Arian later pleaded guilty to supporting the Islamic Jihad terror group.

Moffat makes comparisons between Al-Arian and Mandela, while Moreno has been quoted as saying, "It was a privilege to represent Sami Al-Arian, Moreno said, because cases like his are the civil rights cases of the 21st century, and tests of the Constitution not seen since the Red Scare of the 1950s. Moreno said she feels optimistic because, although the government is failing, juries are passing the test. The jurors she has faced are white, Southern, and not especially well-informed conservatives, she noted, yet they get it and do not convict."

Collectively, the defense attorneys in the Holy Land trial have apparently never found a terrorist case in the U.S. that they didn’t like. Between them they have defended individuals that were accused of involvement in the World Trade Center bombing; the U.S.S. Cole bombing; Bin Ladin's personal secretary; Lynn Stewart, the defense attorney who represented Sheik Abdul Rahman (1st World Trade Center) and passed messages for him; knowing funder of the Islamic Jihad terror group, Wadih El-Hage and Al-Arian, Salim Hamdan, Abdul Rahim al-Nashiri, a senior Hamas operative, Abdelhaleem Ashqar nd others.

These attorneys may see themselves and their clients in heroic terms but they are certainly not making the United States a safer place for the vast majority of the population that does not have terrorist connections.

Everyone deserves a vigorous defense, but these terror-defenders do not care about the public welfare. Since the taxpayers have picked up the tab to defend the Holy Land Foundation defendants in two trials to the tune of several million dollars, they should also understand these aren’t just run of the mill public defenders, but those whose specialty is terrorism. There is nothing heroic about them or their clients.

The only ignorance in the public (and most of the media) is ignorance of the solid evidence that was presented by the government in this case. It is an inexcusable and deadly mistake on our part. –end-

Our battle does not end with the Holy Land Foundation trial, although I am asking for you all to continue to intercede for Divine Justice to prevail in the case. Hopefully, from praying for this trial you will have become acquainted with the greater picture of the battle we face in this nation and, as those who can intercede, more aware of the ongoing issues of how our government deals with Islamist terrorism.

An Israeli prophetic brother, Asher Intrater, wrote recently, “…I am gravely concerned that the West is vastly underestimating the evil and danger of Islamic Jihad.”

I second his grave concern.

Thank you for praying fervently over these jurors, that they would deliver a verdict that speaks of justice and truth. Every time we fail to convict, it becomes harder for convictions to be won in the future. May God’s justice catch up with these men before Thanksgiving!

Giving Thanks for God’s Justice,
Donna Diorio

Articles this week covering the trial by Jason Trahan, Dallas Morning News:
Holy Land trial may have lasting effects
07:38 AM CST on Friday, November 21, 2008
As jurors continue to deliberate in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism financing retrial, supporters on both side of the aisle appear to be preparing to claim a moral victory – whatever the verdict is.

Today marks the jurors' seventh day of deliberations, which follow nearly two months of testimony. Last year's panel deliberated 19 days before a judge declared them deadlocked and called for a mistrial. Continues online

Full collection of Trahan’s CRIME blog coverage of the HLF trial:

And the reports Nov 17, 2008
Holy Land Foundation…The Retrial
By Dennis Lormel, who created the FBI's Terrorist Financing Operations Section

Nine/Eleven Finding Answers
All the evidence in the HLF retrial presented in a manner that connects the dots. This is more than you ever wanted to know about the evidence, but even if you only skim over it lightly you will be able to begin to see the weight of the evidence that has been presented against the defendants.

Nov 7, 2008 Update
HLF Trial Testimony Ends, Goes to Closing Arguments

In a surprise move yesterday following the testimony of a former U.S. consul general to the Palestinians - who the same day as retiring from the State Department became a paid consultant to Yasser Arafat to the tune of 3 to 4 million over a 7 year period - the lead attorneys for the five Holy Land Foundation defendants stood and declared, “The defense rests.”

Today, there is a slight possibility that the government prosecutors will call a government rebuttal witness to counter the highly biased testimony of Edward Abington, who proved to be the most slippery of the defense witnesses. Defense attorneys appeared exultant as each made declarations of resting their case on behalf of each of the defendants.

Pray that the jury will not be only influenced by the last testimony they heard and will not be fooled by those providing cover for terrorism enemies.

Pray that God will grant this jury to be made up of 12 reasonable deciders who will not put the security of the people of the United States on the backburner while giving the benefit of their doubts to people who have been clearly shown to be motivated in their life choices toward the hateful agenda of radical Islamist associations.

Pray for the jury instructions to be fair and not to overly burden the jury, so they are not able to render a just verdict.

In this case, there has been undeniable evidence of the terrorism connections of these defendants, yet there are always high placed individuals willing to offer “expert” testimony that denies what is obvious. From the beginning we have asked that you pray for the evil spirits that provide cover and camouflage for the nefarious activities of these defendants to be stripped away so the truth will be laid bare. They have been getting away with continuing in evil because of the public being persuaded that they are being judged unfairly.

Pray with us now that the Judge who judges all things fairly will arise and cause His verdict to be rendered against them. That their funding of a terror group – which will be a precedent for all subsequent terrorism financing cases – will be stopped by this 12-member Dallas jury panel following the leading of the Lord, not falling for the deception of the enemy.

Pray the Spirit of the Lord to preside as Foreman over their deliberations. For their eyes to see things they have not seen before. For dreams in the night to reveal and break any deceptions harbored in their worldviews that would cause them to try to believe excuses rather than discern the truth.

Pray the court room and the jury room be filled with an angelic presence as the warfare over this verdict is fought out in the spirit and that we may all see that truly there are more that be with us than be with them in this battle.

The watch on this trial suddenly shifted gears yesterday when the defense announced it was resting its case. It is a new type of battle now that is centered completely on 12 fellow normal citizens coming to a decision that will affect the future safety of the entire U.S. and Israeli populations. This jury’s decision will not wipe out terrorist acts, but their decision could put a major dent in the freedom of terrorist agents to work freely among us. Giving law enforcement and other government agencies working hard to protect us a reason to believe that those they arrest will not just be set free in the legal system.

Please pray for the jurors until a verdict is rendered.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Eye Witness to the Holy Land Foundation Re-Trial, Week 6

WEEK SIX Report Covering Oct 27-31, 2008
HLF Trial Update & Prayer Points

Saturday, November 1, 2008
The prosecution rests;
the bluster, indignation and contempt begins

One thing that has stood out about the defense cross examination of witnesses in the case against the Holy Land Foundation defendants and that is how little the five defense attorneys had to work with each time they were given the opportunity to challenge witness testimony. When one considers exactly what points the defense attorneys did raise in cross examination there was little substantive challenge of facts.

Instead defense attorneys have done their cross exams with a game face of bluster, indignation and contempt. When Josh Dratel comes to the podium we can be confident we are about to see bluster; Hollander does the indignation; and Moreno’s specialty is the contempt. Theatrics are what you depend on when you have no real defense.

Hopefully the jury has seen enough of this kind of thing to realize that when defense attorneys start making an issue out of things like what the definition of the word “is” is, it is nothing more than a shell game. It is the truth that is being hidden and moved around by sleight of hand techniques to confuse the jury. It is very easy to get drawn into the thinking that these cases are little more than a sporting event where attorneys are the winners and losers. (Remember the O.J. trial?)

Pray that as the defense case is presented, jurors will not be caught up in the theatrics of criminal defense. Pray they will be able to keep focused on real evidence and what is truly reasonable to draw from all they have seen. What is at stake is far greater than a bunch of attorneys who have made it their specialty to defend terrorism in the United States Courts. Pray that the jury does not lose sight of their charge to do justice on the behalf of all of the citizens of the United States.

Over the next week or so, the defense will bring witnesses who like themselves have been content not to dig too deeply into what the Holy Land Foundation was actually funding in the Palestinian territories.

The first such witness was former Congressman (D-TX) and attorney John Bryant, who represented HLF during the 1990’s when a series of Dallas Morning News investigative reports began to unearth ties to the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. One thing from Bryant’s testimony was clear: he took his clients’ word at face value without question. The U.S. government representatives that he tried to approach on behalf of the HLF were not so na├»ve and rebuffed his efforts to get them to tell him what HLF could do to remove suspicions about their activities.

Last year the defense also called another former government witness, Edward Abington who under the Clinton administration was the US consul general in Jerusalem. After leaving that position Abington became a paid consultant to Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority. He reportedly received $2.5 million for those services – a fact that leaves little doubt as to where Abington’s sympathies lie.

Apparently it is his former government title that the defense hopes will impress the jury. In my view Abington came off in testimony last year resembling a ‘banty rooster’. He will likely be called to testify again this week and likely that he will stick to his testimony that Hamas is not “Islamist”. Abington will be used to undermine any empathy or trust the jury has for Israel defending itself against terrorism and the Israeli security testimony that has been heard in the trial.

Another potential expert witness for the defense is Dr. Nathan Brown who testified last year primarily seeking to discredit the testimony of the Israel Security Agency counterterrorism attorney “Avi” whose identity was shielded to protect the agent and his family from kidnap and murder plots terrorists have executed as retaliation in the past.

Dr. Brown would have to be far more dazzling than he was last year. The prosecution presented two outstanding terrorism experts with much stronger credentials in the testimony of Dr. Matthew Levitt and Dr. Bruce Hoffman. Dr. Brown is clearly outgunned in his knowledge of terrorism in general and Hamas specifically.

Pray that jurors will have great discernment about those offering viewpoints in this trial. That the truth will ring true and falsehoods be glaring.

Last year the defense only called five witnesses. They maintained that the government did not make a case against their clients. When the prosecution rested on Friday, each of the five defendants’ attorneys filed separate motions to dismiss the case which Judge Solis denied. This year the prosecution brought five witnesses they did not call last year, including former HLF-insider Imam Mohamed Shorbagi. Surely the defense attorneys do not really believe the case against their clients has not been made this year…nevertheless:

Please continue to be in prayer this week for the jurors as they begin to hear all the counter accusations of defense lawyers against the government who will be accused of Islamophobia, witch hunts, invasion of privacy and other conspiracy laced theories designed to take jurors eyes off of the evidence of Hamas terrorism affiliates in our own backyard in Dallas, Texas.

Pray Isaiah 60:18 “Violence (Hamas) will not be heard again in your land…But you will call your walls salvation (Yeshua), and your gates praise (tehillah).”

The defense can say HLF only funded things meant to raise the quality of life for Palestinians but the full array of evidence negates that claim.

One profound example of that are the video clips of kindergarten ceremonies funded by HLF. A 5 or 6 year old forcefully screaming out a hate speech against Jews as part of a presentation for an audience should tell outsiders exactly what kind of brain washing the kindergarten is trying to achieve.

Listening to that jarring expression of hatred from a pre-schooler, I thought about Hitler's rousing hate-filled speeches. I have no idea however, what could possibly have been going through the minds of many spectators whose response to the video clips was smiling and smirking. Pride? God help us. As long as children are born and raised with indoctrination of such intense hatred - encouraged to see suicide mass murder as a lifetime achievement - there will never be peace in the Middle East. This case is about not allowing funding for those kinds of indoctrinations to continue.

Everyone who prays should pray this jury will not succumb to exaggerations of the legal measure they must use to judge this case. It is not how well the defense attorneys can act with bluster, indignation and contempt that matters. They are not the issue and this trial is about far more than the sport of criminal defense.

We must put down a boundary stake in our legal system which cuts off ambiguity in terrorism financing. This is a critical case. Please continue to stand in the gap for justice to prevail.

Articles this week covering the trial by Jason Trahan, Dallas Morning News:

Holy Land prosecutors rest case; defense calls first witness

Holy Land jurors get a sample of Hamas martyr propaganda

Full collection of Trahan’s CRIME blog coverage of the HLF trial:

And the Investigative Project on Terrorism reports
Israeli Official Details Zakat Committee Links to Hamas

Nine/Eleven Finding Answers
All the evidence in the HLF retrial presented in a manner that connects the dots. This is more than you ever wanted to know about the evidence, but even if you only skim over it lightly you will be able to begin to see the weight of the evidence that has been presented against the defendants.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Eye Witness to the Holy Land Foundation Re-Trial, Week 5

October 26, 2008
HLF Trial Update & Prayer Points

Holy Land Foundation Trial

Pray Isaiah 60:18 “Violence (Hamas) will not be heard again in your land…But you will call your walls salvation (Yeshua), and your gates praise (tehillah).”

WEEK FIVE Report: Oct 19-24, 2008
Behind the Veil: Inside Terrorism

The 5th week of the U.S. Government case against the Holy Land Foundation for providing material aid to a designated terrorist organization
kicked off with the testimony of Major “Lior” of the Israeli Defense Forces who provided the foundation for evidence that will be center stage as a second Israeli Intelligence officer brings relevant testimony as to the significance of evidence seized during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002.

Afterwards, Defense attorneys continued to try to soften the damaging blow of testimony given by a Rome, Georgia imam Shorbagi an ex-HLF representative who has been convicted of providing material aid to Hamas through the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development. The spectator seats have been especially filled with HLF supporters during the times insider Mohamed Shorbagi testified for the government.

At the end of his testimony, prosecutor Jim Jacks questioned Shorbagi about his fear of being deported and returned to the Palestinian territories. Shorbagi, who was extremely hesitant to voice his fears, admitted it was a “security” concern. He probably will not be much safer in the U.S. based on obvious community displeasure with his testimony unless steps are also taken to provide a new life and identity for him and his family. Shorbagi is an unrepentant Islamist supporter of Hamas, however, which does not bode well for his future safety among his own.

Then FBI agent Lara Burns returned to the stand to provide jurors a connect-the-dots overview of the money trail which most observers agree is a critical but intensely boring area of testimony. The prosecutors have wisely broken up this testimony with many other witnesses, a great many of whom did not testify in the first trial. Prosecutors have done an outstanding job of painting a cohesive picture of the case against these defendants for the jurors.

On Wednesday the government called the Director of the Office of Foreign Assets (OFAC) from the Department of the Treasury, Robert McBrien, whose testimony dealt with how terror groups use “Front” organizations to disguise their primary mission of funding and money laundering for the terror orgs. McBrien covered the OFAC rules that forbid even contributions to charities that aid specially designated terror groups. The jury jumped to attention when McBrien testified about the aspect of terror aid that seeks to recruit and propagandize children, something jurors have seen repeatedly in HLF videos entered in the evidence. This fear seems well grounded based on conversations overheard among the spectators.

On Friday the prosecution called Dr. Bruce Hoffman, the man who literally wrote the book on Counter Terrorism called Inside Terrorism, which is used in university counterterrorism courses.

Hoffman’s testimony, which dealt with the critical role charities play in terrorist organizations, provided a contextual overview for jurors about how the terror infrastructure works together - the social aspects designed to win the hearts and minds of the people, a hand in the glove of violent terrorism organizations. Hoffman testified that terror organizations without a social arm are the “least consequential” historically.

This trial marks the first time Hoffman has testified in a terror trial, despite his knock out terrorism expert credentials.

One by one each of the five main defense attorneys representing the HLF defendants passed on the opportunity to cross examine Dr. Hoffman. Many of the defense attorneys were yukking it up among themselves during Hoffman’s testimony – a display of bravado the jurors probably did not even notice due to their rapt attention of Dr. Hoffman's testimony.

Prayer Points

Little does the American public know how much is riding on the successful prosecution of this case. Hardly any are paying attention as Islamists and the terror groups that represent them burrow deeper and deeper in the fabric of American life.

Friday a woman with a full face veil leaving only her eyes visible came to the court, although I did not see her enter the actual courtroom. Is this America’s future?

Not if we take our stand and declare the Divine Will. I would liken the importance of obtaining convictions in this court case to driving a boundary stake into the ground forbidding the further advance of Islamic terrorism operations in the United States.

Please continue to pray for this trial as the Lord leads and based on the prayer points issued to date. I would add that prayer should continue to be made for the jurors to execute justice and for the prosecution and its witnesses continue to present a solid, understandable and fully convincing case.

Pray as the Defense prepares to deliver its case that no lies, half-truths, deception, subterfuge will stand up to the light of truth in the eyes of the jury. Pray that button-pushing issues that the defense tries to use to outweigh the truth in this case will been seen through easily by the jurors.

Pray the jurors be given the hearts of lions, the wisdom of Solomon and ability to deliver a verdict that will protect our nation from the terrorists operating here.

Pray the U.S. Government will drive a new legal boundary stake into the ground against terrorist groups that cannot be removed and will trigger a new day in the U.S. counter terror ranks.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Eye Witness to the Holy Land Foundation Re-Trial, Week 4

October 19, 2008
HLF Trial
Update & Prayer Points

WEEK FOUR: Oct 14-17
Beyond a REASONABLE Doubt

The government continued to lay a solid foundation of evidence against the defendants in the 4th week of the Holy Land Foundation retrial showing ties of the individual defendants to the Hamas terrorist group dating back as far as the 1980’s. The intimidation factor is increasing, however, as the courtroom and overflow room has become packed 98% with supporters of the HLF and Hamas.

It is unreasonable to think that in 1995 when President Bill Clinton issued the first Executive Order naming Hamas as a terrorist organization and restricting U.S. residents from interaction with Hamas, that the defendants swore off their allegiance to Hamas. The reason for Clinton’s action was because Hamas is and always has been one of those Islamist Palestinian terror groups that refuse any peaceful negotiation with Israel. Hamas rejects the “Two State Solution” maintaining that the only Islamist option is for Israel to be wiped off the map. It is literally against their religion – or rather, to be more precise, it is against the Islamist interpretation of the Islamic religion.

One of the points that have not been adequately explained in this trial - although it allows huge wiggle-room for the defense - is explaining the political dynamic between the secular Fatah and the Islamist Hamas.

Defense attorneys have brought in testimony to explain away the close family relations of several of the defendants to the highest leaders of Hamas like Khalid Meshaal and Moussa Abu Marzook. In questioning they have had government witnesses admit that it is common in Palestinian families for one family member to be Hamas while another close family member to be in Fatah. That is the simple fact unfettered by the underlying dynamic of the past relationship between the Palestinian Authority’s Fatah and Hamas. Further, that explanation cannot be applied to these defendants and their Hamas leader relatives, whose Hamas affiliation has been well documented by the government for several decades past.

This is one of the complicated realities of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that the government would do well to bring in to testimony. For the fact is that through most of the years even though Hamas was a separate entity from Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority (which Fatah is a branch of), Hamas was always deeply allied with the PA and Fatah against their common enemy, Israel.

Where it suited both of their goals – and this would be the majority of the time – the two groups allied together against Israel. If Arafat wanted to apply pressure to force concessions by Israel and still maintain the illusion of “clean hands” among world governments, he could always give the nod to Hamas on terror attacks denying any control over them.

When Arafat died, however, the power struggle for control of the Palestinian street broke out in a real rivalry between Hamas and the PA/Fatah. Before Arafat’s death the PA/Fatah and Hamas were very much friendly “rivals” with the only real separation between them being the means each side believed was most effective to the same end. They were content most of the time to work in coordination with each other which is why in one immediate family the father might support Arafat’s PA/Fatah and the son participate as an activist in Hamas. It is not such a ‘family-friendly’ rivalry these days…and I won’t go into the reasons here for the sake of brevity.

Nevertheless, that family-friendly scenario is not what is happening in the family relationships of the Holy Land Foundation defendants and their relatives in the leadership of Hamas. At no time since the 1980’s have the Islamist HLF defendants been advocates and supporters of Fatah but they have consistently voiced support and done activities on behalf of Hamas. There was no sudden change from their position when the U.S. outlawed dealings with Hamas in 1995 and 1997. It is a ‘sleight of hand’ explanation that the defense is giving the jury on this and the only reason I can see that the government has not challenged that is in the difficulty of explaining the political dynamic of the complex relationship between Hamas and the PA/Fatah.

Pray that the government will remove this camouflage of deception.

HLF Security-Measures Testimony
One of the documents introduced into evidence this week was a security procedures document written in Arabic and seized by the FBI in a raid on the defendants’ offices. The security procedures (translated into English if you scroll down Infocom Search 35) was covered by the government prosecutor with a lead agent in that investigation, FBI Special Agent Robert Miranda.

The range of security measures advised in the document would be highly unusual for a real charity group, nevertheless defense attorneys countered with questioning the FBI agent about several examples where the defendants had not followed security procedures….like that could not be chalked up to sloppiness or even arrogance about not getting caught by the sleeping giant.

Pray that the jury will not accept flimsy excuses as “reasonable doubt”.

The Daughter Fills the Courtroom

On October 9th, the daughter of Ghassan Elashi, Noor, who is a spokeswoman for the defendants and a reporter on leave from the Fort Worth Star Telegram, issued an appeal for more supporters to come to the trial. Here is an excerpt:

"During the past three weeks, I have felt my heart shatter a few times as I witnessed prosecutors use vindictive approaches such as character assassination, fear-mongering and guilt by association as an attempt to convict my dad.

"Sitting in the courtroom, I've felt my blood boil and freeze and boil again in a few seconds time. And as I looked behind me, my eyes scanning the room in search for faces of encouragement and moral support, I found that it was mostly empty with the majority of the benches unoccupied."

Her appeal has been answered to the point that by this past Friday (10/17) the large court room was filled to capacity and the smaller overflow viewing courtroom on the 16th floor was near capacity by 10 AM. Few non-HLF supporters were able to hold seats in the courtroom on the day when a former HLF representative delivered damaging testimony about the HLF-Hamas connection.

Here are a few problems I see with that state of affairs.

First of all, when I got up to the 16th floor viewing room it was packed with adult Muslim men. There was no U.S. Marshal posted in the courtroom itself, although from time to time different marshals would come in and look around. Not the most comfortable situation I have ever found myself in.

Then at the mid-morning break all the adult men went up to the courtroom and a lot of teenagers were sent out of the court room to make room for the adults. They came to the 16th overflow room and some were not well behaved, nor quiet. At several points it was impossible to hear some of the testimony because the boys were not being controlled by the female chaperons. A couple of the boys were kicked out when one security officer came in while they were being mildly disruptive.

Between the mid-morning break and lunch, an Arabic man came in made an announcement in Arabic (which excluded only me from the announcement) and nearly the whole room jumped up and ran for the exit. Obviously some seats had become available in the court room. Shortly afterward some of the teenagers came back who unable to get seats in the courtroom.

Although there are VERY few people coming into that courtroom who are not supporters of the defendants, I believe it sends a very intimidating message to the jurors who are not seeing very much security between themselves and the public. It would be nice if some rows in the courtroom were reserved for government supporters for the same reason.

The Dallas Morning News reporter Jason Trahan in his coverage of the Friday session wrote that Judge Solis had to issue a warning to the courtroom during the testimony of Imam Shorbagi because of the disruptive murmuring of spectators telling each other, “He’s lying.” Purported Holy Land insider testifies

Pray that in the days ahead some adjustments will be made to inhibit the intimidation factor and to level the playing field so people who are there in support of the government’s case are also granted in-court seating. I have always believed that the jury needed to see people sitting in the spectator seats who were not rooting for the defendants, but the public seems to have little interest in this case.

No one minding the store
The public probably has little interest because the media – outside of Jason Trahan’s reporting – has no interest and that is evident by the total lack of newspaper reports following the trial nationally. The local television news came out for the opening statements and likely will not return until the closing statements and verdict. The truth is the media nor the public will ever know how strong the government evidence has been because they just aren’t paying attention.

It is a tragic thing to have the future of our homeland security so on the line as it is in this trial and for so few to be paying attention to what is even happening.

“While men slept, the enemy came in and sowed tares.”

If we don’t care about this, who is it exactly that is going to hold back the tide?

More reports on the testimony of Week 4, Oct 14-17, 2008

Former Holy Land Representative says charity collected money for Hamas.
Jason Trahan, Dallas Morning News

Trahan’s HLF trial coverage in the DMN CRIMEblog

A Security-Conscious Charity
The Investigative Project on Terrorism

U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas Website
USA v. Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development Exhibit List

Friday, October 10, 2008

Eye Witness to the Holy Land Foundation Re-Trial, Week 3

HLF Trial
Update & Prayer Points

October 10, 2008
Now On Emergency Footing

There is a critical ruling coming from Judge Solis next Tuesday (10/14/08) that we need to be in prayer about heavily over the next few days as attorneys file for the case against Ghassan Elashi to be dropped on double-jeopardy grounds, and/or for a mistrial to be declared for all five defendants and the other four defendants’ cases to be severed from Elashi.

Defendants’ attorneys took issue with the testimony late Wednesday evening of FBI Special Agent Robert Miranda that InfoCom, a company owned by Elashi with four of his brothers, did business with a U.S. government designated Hamas terrorist who figures prominently in this case as well. Defense attorneys argue that the testimony went too close to disclosing to the jury that Ghassan Elashi is currently serving prison time for a conviction on terrorism related charges.

Read more in Jason Trahan’s Dallas Morning News coverage here. Also Trahan’s back filings on this trial here.

Please pray for justice to prevail. The prosecutor and FBI agent are both professionals who understand what can cause cases to be thrown out completely – so it may be the defense attorneys are trying to make it seem they over-stepped even if they did not get into actual double jeopardy territory. This may be chest thumping and screaming by the defense in order to make the judge fear making the wrong ruling, a ruling which can be overturned in appeals.

Pray for the boldness of the prosecutors and prosecution witnesses to continue and for boldness in the Judge’s seat – that he would be granted uncanny wisdom in judging all matters of the case. Evidence has been very strong and is being presented in a way that an average citizen can follow and see the truth. This must be striking fear into the hearts of the defense. Pray for that to continue and for the truth to prevail and all the schemes of the enemy to be foiled.

Pray for the jury to not get caught up in anything but executing righteous judgment in the matter being presented to them. For the personal baggage that each brings into deliberations to be overwhelmed with a hunger for justice and truth to prevail – and for the safety issues of Americans to be upheld.

To this point I have asked you not to post this information on the web or in blogs but now I am going to reverse that and ask for you to spread these HLF Trial Prayer Reports as far and wide as you can. Before I was interested in not broadcasting our prayer strategies to those who are not praying with us. That has proven not to work, so with spiritual counsel, I am going in the other direction. Sometimes it is safer to go more public than less public.

I am encouraging you to not only forward these mailings but also to publish them on web sites and blogs. You may also publish the earlier couple of weeks of reports, too. If you have any questions on which ones, just drop me an email.

The trial gets underway again on Tuesday, Oct 14, which is the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles (which relates to the ingathering of the harvest).

These are tumultuous times in which we are living, and fear is all around but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. Pray for those who are involved in this trial as ministers of righteousness in the spirit of Romans 13:4-5, to be strong, courageous, bold, cunning and wise. Pray confusion and fear into the camp of the enemy, so that they may not stand as the justice of God is released through these proceedings.

Eye Witness to the Holy Land Foundation Re-Trial, Week 2

HLF Trial Update & Prayer Points

October 4, 2008

The "willing suspension of disbelief"
refers to the willingness of a person
to accept as true the premises of a work of fiction,
even if they are fantastic or impossible.

The person, or audience, tacitly agrees to provisionally
suspend their judgment in exchange for a satisfying personal payoff.

This is exactly what the defense attorneys in the Holy Land Foundation are asking the jury to do concerning all the evidence that has been presented over the past two weeks through Hamas and counter terrorism expert Dr. Matthew Levitt, Christian FBI Arabic translator Ataf Shafik, and FBI agent Lara Burns, a lead investigator in the decade long investigation of the Holy Land Foundation.

The payoff defense attorneys are appealing to on the jury panel judging this case is, of course, the public distrust that exists of governmental authorities. The Word of God however instructs us in Romans 13:3-4 differently about government authorities:

For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

Pray for the fulfillment of this verse in this HLF terrorism financing case before the Federal Court in Dallas.

Defending Terrorism

For two weeks jurors have seen bank records, videos, wire tap audios, surveillance photos, in-house HLF documentation and declarations from the defendants themselves, yet the Defense proposes that nothing counts until 1995 when the U.S. government finally officially declared Hamas a terrorist organization. (See the evidence online at the US District Court website.)

The Defense is asking the jury to pretend like the consistent history of these 5 defendants has nothing to do with the charges against them of materially supporting a terrorist organization. The defense also asks the jury to forget about the multiple family connections of the defendants with the highest echelons of Hamas leaders including those family Hamas members funding the startup of HLF and presiding over disputes with other Islamist fundraisers.

The jury saw numerous videos that have been seized in FBI searches at various locations over the years that show, among other things, HLF fundraisers where skits are performed depicting murder of Jewish soldiers and Israeli citizens. Songs are also performed extolling suicide attackers killing Jews, glorifying “martyrdom” of jihadists and giving their blood to wipe the Jews out of Israel. Very often children from 4 or 5 years old to 12 participated in the performance singing the songs, marching in step and waving flags. It was troubling during these displays to realize that these are “home movies” for the families of the defendants.

I watched in horror as the children – some now grown - of several of the defendants were giggling between themselves recognizing themselves as little children performing in the fundraisers. Later as an audio tape was being played of a wire tap telephone call excitedly informing one of the defendants of 2 suicide bus bombings 30 minutes apart in Jerusalem in February 1996, one young teenager was giggling hearing the background noise of the call: a child playfully screaming in the defendant’s home. Like the “home movies” these phone calls are like “home audios” of their childhood. “Train up a child in the way he shall go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” How sad that these are normal activities and conversations in the life of the defendants’ children and families.

Yet the defendants are laughing up their sleeve because they know our system of law favors them being able to slither out of these charges because the jury has had their eyes taken off the ball by Defense attorneys focusing them on insignificant details to obscure the truth. We all can remember how that was accomplished in the O.J. Simpson trial, right? The jury must decide if these men are part of the Hamas terrorist organization in the U.S. Pray they will fulfill that charge in the interest of the American public safety.

As the defense stepped up to cross examine FBI agent Burns yesterday, we began to see the insignificant details ‘gotcha’ game come into play.

v Defense Attorney Linda Moreno (who represents Ghassan Elashi) majored on emphasizing that the dates of many of the damning videos and other government evidence introduced being dated or produced prior to the 1995 U.S. designation of Hamas. As if their life work up to 1995 did not count. She tried to introduce another “Ghassan” to make it seem the government had the wrong guy, and also tried to imply that the HLF acted exactly like the Red Cross.

Pray that jurors will not be willing to suspend disbelief that these men were aggressively committed to Hamas before the U.S. designation when they suddenly dropped all their prior life work of support and aid of Hamas because now Hamas was illegal by U.S. law. Pray for wisdom and clear thinking to prevail among the jury and to realize this is not just a sports event between lawyers, but whether terrorists are allowed free reign in our nation.

v Moreno is also sitting on top of all the defendants in how they are presenting themselves during the trial. I have seen her coaching them on what not to do – like instructing Elashi not to listen to testimony with ‘praying hands’ positioned to his face, or for Shukri Bakr not to sit with arms folded across his chest.

Pray for these efforts to present a false face to falter and for wise counsel in deception to fail. Continue to pray for the spirit of deceptive cover to be disintegrated by the Lord.

v Defense Attorney Nancy Hollander (who represents Shukri abu Bakr) majored on two themes so far. (1) emphasizing how long the FBI has been wiretapping the defendants and trying to bring the jury to relate to the privacy issues over the national security issues. This was the issue that effectively locked the jury last year from being able to concentrate on whether these men are Hamas and working against U.S. interests.

Pray that any who are given to distrust the government more than the Islamist terror organizations in our nation will see the light – that God will give the clarity of the issues and Divine wisdom to judge.

Hollander is also trying to make truly insignificant details seem like a vast government conspiracy against the defendants. Judge Solis did not allow her to dispute these items before the jury and over the weekend she has to show exact examples for the judge to rule on before proceeding. She is also trying to bring the Christian Arab FBI translator into disrepute by saying his translations are not accurate. Pray that Ataf Shafik will not be slimed by false accusation – the differences in word translations Hollander is proposing is miniscule (like the meaning differences between “rebuilding” and “refurbishing”, for example).

After the lunch break on Friday as we waited for the resumption of Hollander’s cross examination of FBI agent Lara Burns, Shukri Bakr came over to talk to a boy sitting in the row in front of me with one of the defendant’s wives. I turned away from them but heard Shukri encouraging the boy about the trial “Next Year in Jerusalem” – they would all go to Jerusalem. In case you don’t know, this is a Jewish New Years’ saying that Jews have greeted each other with for centuries in their exile from Israel. I’m sure Shukri was just trying to provoke me to reaction. He didn’t. Pray that what these men have sown in their life association with Hamas, they will now reap during the processes of this trial.

v Defense Attorney Gregory Westfall (who represents Abdulrahman Odeh) is a Fort Worth attorney who does a down home Texas version of Peter Falk’s Columbo character when he is before the jury.

Pray the jury doesn’t buy into any of the false imagery they are being presented in this case – that God gives them supernatural discernment to judge between lies and truth.

Westfall is painting Odeh as a boy scout, humanitarian but anytime a business is used as a front to disguise the real criminal ‘business’ of the parties, they will carry out normal legal business as a cover for the criminal activity they are trying to hide.

Pray that jurors are not fooled by evidence of legitimate charity done by HLF while disguising terrorist support activities.

Westfall is also beating the drum on how long the government has been wiretapping the defendants, pointing out 9 years on defendant El Mezain and 5 years of Shukri. The implication is that in all those years the government has very little damning evidence captured on tape – however that overlooks that a criminal conspiracy protects itself by trying to never let down its guard. The moments it does are the moments law enforcement make their cases on. Pray that the jury will not be moved by false fronts and cover stories thrown up by the lawyers or the defendants.

On Tuesday last week, I made the mistake of being herded into an elevator full of the defense attorneys and Shukri Bakr. I stood in a back corner with attorney Greg Westfall to one side of me, atty Nancy Hollander in front of me and defendant Shukri Bakr on the other side of me. Westfall struck up a conversation with me – toying with me, of course – introducing himself and when I did not respond in kind, he asked me outright who I was. Still I hesitated from answering then Shukri Bakr said, “Donna. You are Donna?” I answered, Yes. Westfall then asked me if I found the trial interesting and I answered ‘Totally.’ As the elevator doors opened he replied that the fun just never quits coming. They actually believe there are taking the high ground in defending the indefensible: terrorism. It was an uncomfortable elevator ride and I will never make that mistake again.

These attorneys and defendants do not believe our God will answer our prayers about this trial. I have nothing to prove to them or to anyone else. But I am a citizen of the United States who cares greatly whether we are going to allow terrorists to raise funds in the U.S. so the terrorist group Hamas can continue to expand its influence and reign of terror.

Hamas, you have to understand, opposes all peace negotiations with Israel. Their outcome is that not “one hand’s span” of “Muslim” land remain “occupied” by Israel. The Islamist slogan is, “First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people,” meaning, first the Jews, then the Christians.

Please continue to pray for God’s justice to prevail in this case and for the protection of all involved in it. All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to remain silent. If fear keeps Americans silent when cases like this are being conducted, then Islamists will overtake us. Lift up your voices to God for His justice to be executed on these men and upon those who are associated with them throughout this D/FW region and within the U.S. Is there not a cause?

Thanking you for your prayers over this trial,
Donna Diorio

On a related note: See the article by Messianic Jewish pastor, Ron Cantor, of King of Kings congregation in Jerusalem, Sharia Don’t Like Itwhich discusses a bill that has been introduced by Republican Tom Tancredo, “The Jihad Prevention Act” which would banish Sharia law and its advocates from the United States. Cantor’s article is based on this article also found on his site:

Bill Would Ban Sharia Law and Advocates from U.S.
Monday September 22, 2008
By Robert Longley (

Sharia law, and its advocates, would be banished from the United States under "The Jihad Prevention Act" just introduced by U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado, 6th).

Sharia law is a form of Islamic justice often criticized for its brutal physical punishments, including flogging and execution by stoning. Sharia punishment is often enforced against women found guilty of "Haram" offenses such as premarital sex and adultery.

Tancredo's bill would bar foreign nationals who advocate Sharia law from entering the United States and make advocacy of Sharia law a deportable offense.

"Any alien who fails to attest, in accordance with procedures specified by the Secretary of Homeland Security, that the alien will not advocate installing a Sharia law system in the United States is inadmissible."

"Advocating the installation of a Sharia law system in the United States shall constitute a ground for revocation of a person's naturalization under this subsection."

The United Kingdom recently declared the decisions of the five Sharia courts operating within the U.K. to be legally enforceable. "Today the British people are learning a hard lesson about the consequences of massive, unrestricted immigration," said Tancredo in a press release.

"When you have an immigration policy that allows for the importation of millions of radical Muslims, you are also importing their radical ideology – an ideology that is fundamentally hostile to the foundations of western democracy – such as gender equality, pluralism, and individual liberty," declared Tancredo.