Al-Arian Defense Charges 'Selective Enforcement'



'One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" is an argument that
has been espoused by the likes of George H.W. Bush, Oliver North and
Margaret Thatcher. Now that thinking -- on the part of the U.S. Justice
Department -- could result in freedom for Tampa's best-known alleged
terrorist (or freedom fighter), Sami Al-Arian, and three co-defendants
scheduled to go on trial next January. Federal authorities prosecute some
groups for terrorism while ignoring identical or similar activities by
other groups, according to court documents filed on behalf of Al-Arian and
Hatim Naji Fariz. The motions describe a long list of terrorist activities
in the United States by Cambodian, Irish and Jewish groups that either have
not been prosecuted by federal authorities or have received only
slap-on-the-wrist attention. Many of the groups have direct links to
bloodshed, while the government has stipulated that Al-Arian and his
associates were not involved in violent attacks or any actions aimed at the
United States.

Fariz's federal public defender, Kevin Beck, said that "100 percent of
terrorism prosecutions" he located under the same law that's been applied
to Al-Arian were of Muslims and Arabs. "Obviously this is not fair. The
prosecution is driven by politics, domestic policy and a foreign government
[Israel]."

Ironically, one alleged terrorism supporter who has escaped the interest of
federal prosecutors is himself a federal prosecutor in Tampa. The Weekly
Planet has reported that the U.S. Attorney's Office's chief criminal
prosecutor, Robert O'Neill, is part owner of a Hyde Park bar, Four Green
Fields, that has hosted fundraisers for Sinn Fein, which the U.S. State
Department describes as a front for the Irish Republican Army. The IRA has
murdered at least 650 civilians since the 1970s, and in recent years has
built bombs for Palestinian groups and aided Colombian narco-terrorists.

"O'Neill appears to have been involved in doing the same thing as Al-Arian,
all at a time when he was supposed to be investigating Al-Arian," veteran
federal prosecutor Jeffrey Del Fuoco wrote in a confidential Aug. 29, 2003,
Justice Department memo that was obtained by the Planet. "I can think of
several disastrous problems associated with this, to include defense
allegations of 'selective prosecution'."

Terry Zitek, the lead prosecutor against Al-Arian, did not return phone
calls or respond to detailed messages on the subject of selective
enforcement.

Fariz and Al-Arian's motions list a number of groups that are clearly
terrorist but have not been prosecuted, including: * Kach and Kahane Chai.
These are Israeli terrorist groups that openly operate and raise money in
New York. "Law enforcement agencies rarely bother them and generally ignore
their activities," Fariz's motion states...

 


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