When former Ann Arbor resident Rabih Haddad was deported to his native
Lebanon in July 2003 on expired visa charges, many community members
rallied behind him over what they saw as disregard for civil liberties by
law enforcement. They criticized treatment of Haddad while in custody, and
said that his expulsion was a product not of his immigration status, but of
authorities’ suspicions about ties between terrorists and charities he founded.
In a report on terrorist financing released last month, the staff of the
9/11 commission criticized the government’s handling of the investigation
of the charity, Global Relief Foundation. While the staff’s report upholds
the government’s finding that Global Relief had terrorist “ties,” it
emphasized that it was in no way guilty of concrete financial support of
“There is a difference between troubling ‘links’ to terrorists and
compelling evidence of supporting terrorists,” the report stated.
Furthermore, it found “substantial” threats to civil liberties in law
enforcement’s investigation of the charity.
“They subjected GRF to the most intense scrutiny you can imagine,” Roger
Simmons, lead counsel for Global Relief, said in a written statement. “Not
a single employee was ever charged with anything related to the charity.”
Simmons praised the report, saying: “I think it took a lot of guts on their
part.” But he added that the damage is not undone, asking: “How do you get
your reputation back after being treated like this?…