An enormous cache of internal communication and financial records were entered into evidence Monday at the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) trial in Dallas. Most of the evidence, including a videotape, was seized from the offices of HLF, Infocom (defendant Ghassan Elashi's computer company); and various unindicted co-conspirators. They also seem to comprise the heart of the government's case that HLF money illegally went to charities controlled by Hamas. They were introduced via FBI agent Lara Burns, back on the stand and being questioned by prosecutor Nathan Garrett.
One document, seized from the home of unindicted co-conspirator Ismail Elbarrase was dated August 1992 and handwritten in Arabic. The missive came from the Islamic Relief Committee, a recipient of HLF funds and described by the U.S. government as "part of the HAMAS social infrastructure in Israel and the Palestinian territories." The document discussed, among other things, meetings that took place in June and July of that year; the suggestion of a consultative committee and "Activities of the Intifada:"
You do not know how happy people become when they watch those Mujahideen and how proud they feel when they parade in their uniforms and weapons and the extent of their honor when they carry out their Jihadist operations against the Jews and their tentacles. It is a feeling that no taste or enjoy its flavor except the ones who live it. Jihad in Palestine is different from any Jihad; the meaning of killing a Jew for the liberation of Palestine cannot be compared to any Jihad on earth. This is the meaning that I came out with from there…about your brothers over there in our beloved Strip. They live now in permanent alert and cry out to you with their loudest voice: "Be with us and live with us. Do not rest, and do not twinkle until you care about us and provide us with what helps us of funds and weapons. Weapons, weapons, our brothers."
A $40,000 payment from HLF to the Islamic Relief Committee in 1996 is among the overt acts alleged in the indictment's count 13, conspiracy to deal in the property of a specially designated terrorist.
Also submitted into evidence Monday were thousands of pages of financial records showing HLF money going to what prosecutors believe are Hamas charity committees and Hamas money handlers. HLF payments going to Fayez Abu Aker from 1998 until the day before HLF was shut down in December 2001, for example.
"A suggested work paper" on "Re-arranging Frame of Work on the Inside" was found in the home of Dr. Abdelhaleen Ashqar a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Palestine Committee. The paper, originally in Arabic, describes the early years of Hamas and the coming together of Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas apparatus. The section addressing education lists one of its goals as "ending control of non-Islamists of educational institutions."
Two trends found within the thousands of pages of memos, financial ledgers, phone conversations and letters entered into evidence on Monday are striking. The us ("Islamists") as the HLF officials refer to themselves vs. the others (secularists and leftists) and the sheer volume of commentary by HLF and their benefactors about the importance of helping the families of martyrs.
Check out our extensive coverage of the HLF trial and the issues surrounding it. The IPT has been providing the nation's primary source of news coverage on this trial, which is the largest terrorist financing trial in the history of the United States.