March 31, 2010 | 18 comments
My legal battle with a suicidal maniac provides a case study for Islamist attempts at speech suppression.
(Page 3 of 5)
The next 14 months saw several more rounds of the same: Hamad appealing and all the judges turning down every aspect of every effort, culminating with a March 12, 2008, judgment by the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals slamming Hamad for his “ten year history of filing frivolous suits in this court.” The appeals court upped the award to me to $32,944.50 in attorney’s fees.
As Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor noted, Hamad’s lawsuit “was a clear attempt to use the courts and intimidation to prevent independent analysis and exposure of the incitement by anti-Israel NGOs.”
BY EARLY 2008, however, Hamad had other and larger concerns on his mind. On February 27, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service had jointly raided his house. Brandon Darby, a former leftist, anti-Zionist, and longtime friend of Hamad who now works for conservative causes and on behalf of Israel, has explained how this raid came to pass.
Darby, who had helped Hamad raise money and recruit “human shields” against the Israel Defense Forces—and who himself almost went to the Palestinian territories for that purpose—wanted to create a group, to be called Critical Response, to send medics into war zones such as Lebanon and Darfur to help civilians. Hamad liked this idea, regaling Darby with plans to use the cover of medics to place explosives on motorcycles and booby-trap ambulances in Israel to kill Jews. Hamad also devised a plan using the PCWF to send money to Hamas and Hezbollah. Darby recounted at Breitbart.com:
Hamad had approached me and shared that he had been able to skim off money [from PCWF] that he intended sneak to Palestinian comrades in Israel. I asked him why he needed to sneak anything when he was able to send funds legally. He responded with a detailed analysis of all the ways suicide bombers could get through checkpoints and achieve their goals. I declined and he told me that I had fallen back into my white privilege, but would come back to the revolution soon.
This talk of violence, Darby wrote, caused him to rethink his relationship with Hamad. “I couldn’t sleep and I debated within myself if I should go to the FBI.” Learning from another left-wing activist about plans to set up “a fake business to help Hamad funnel money for Palestinians” then nudged Darby to confront Hamad. The two met for coffee. On hearing of Darby’s disapproval, “Hamad responded by saying it would be good for white people to get caught in the war on terror and that people would limit what the government could do if the war on terror had whites in Guantanamo instead of just Arabs.”
This settled matters. Darby, agonizing over his past actions—“wondering if my previous support and efforts for the Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund meant I had blood on my hands”—became resolved to stop Hamad. “I ended up meeting with the FBI. They were kind and gracious. Hamad and the Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund were raided.”
The search warrant focused on fraud, not terrorism, as indicated by the supporting financial affidavit:
RIAD ELSOLH HAMAD failed to file his federal income tax returns for the years 1999 through 2003 and 2005, evaded payment of his federal income taxes for the years 1999 through 2006, and is engaged in preparing false documents used to obtain federally subsidized loan from various University of Texas campuses. The affidavit will show that HAMAD earned taxable income from the Austin Independent School District (AISD). HAMAD also runs/operates the Palestinian Children’s Welfare Fund (PCWF) which he claims raises money for the children of Palestine. HAMAD sends large amounts of money to the Middle East and/or to charities that forward the funds to the Middle East. The disposition of these funds is unknown at this time, A large amount of these “donated” funds have also been traced into various stock accounts controlled by Riad Hamad and/or his son Abdullah Hamad.
An investigator with the Internal Revenue Service put the last part more bluntly: “Riad Hamad, with the assistance of his son, Abdullah Hamad, his ex-wife, Diana Hamad, and his daughter, Rita Hamad, are using the ‘donated funds’ for personal use and not paying federal income taxes on these funds.”
We lack a news account, but here is how Hamad himself reported the raid on his house: A dozen federal agents, armed with a search warrant based on probable cause to investigate wire fraud, bank fraud, and money laundering, “searched every nook and cranny” of his apartment and took away “more than forty boxes of papers, files, computers and CDs.”
After the raid, Darby recounted he received a cryptic phone call from Hamad, one that foreshadowed what was to come.
I heard from Hamad one last time. He called me and said it was “just a matter of time.” I asked what he meant. He told me of the raids and said they had taken all of his documents, and that I would know soon. He said he had to go and he did. His body was found in Austin, TX in Lady Bird Lake a few days later. He apparently chose not to face the consequences of his actions.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?