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Other group helping in Iraq not prosecuted (leftist activists, Voices in the Wilderness, skate)
Syracuse Post-Standard ^ | 7 March 2003 | Renee K. Gadoua

Posted on 03/09/2003 11:36:44 PM PST by Stultis

Other group helping in Iraq not prosecuted

Friday, March 07, 2003

By Renee K. Gadoua

The same federal act used to indict three Central New Yorkers accused of illegally sending money to Iraq has not been enforced against at least a dozen local residents who openly violated U.S. law by traveling there.

The International Emergency Economic Powers Act authorizes U.S. sanctions against Iraq. Four Muslims, including three Onondaga County residents, were indicted Feb. 26 on charges that include violating the act by using the Syracuse-based charity Help the Needy to send money to Iraq without a license.

About 600 people have brought medical supplies and other goods with them to Iraq since the Chicago-based peace group Voices in the Wilderness formed in 1996. Group officials and supporters said they are unaware of any arrests or investigations of the organization. It and four delegates face $50,000 in fines imposed by the federal Office of Foreign Assets Control in November because the group delivered medicine without a permit to Iraq in 1998.

"Every time we send a dele- gation to Iraq we break the sanctions," said Bitta Mostofi, speaking for Voices in the Wilderness. "We do it intentionally and knowingly."

Two Central New Yorkers, Cynthia Banas of Vernon and Ed Kinane of Syracuse, are in Iraq as part of a peace delegation with Voices in the Wilderness.

Glenn Suddaby, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of New York, said he is not familiar with Voices in the Wilderness or any investigation of the group or its donors.

"This (Help the Needy) is a fraud case that's occurred here," he said. "Funneling money to Iraq is only part of this investigation."

Federal prosecutors say Help the Needy and Help the Needy Endowment, which said they would help starving and oppressed Iraqis, lacked a required license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control to send money or goods to Iraq.

Voices in the Wilderness does not have a license. Nor does it plan to pay the fines, Mostofi said.

"We do not believe any human being should seek permission to aid another human being in need," she said. "If they want to give us permission, go ahead, but we don't feel like we need it."

The press office of the assets control office, the branch of the U.S. Department of Treasury that enforces U.S. trade laws, did not return two phone calls Thursday.

Voices officials were unfamiliar with the Help the Needy case, but said the group's stated intention of helping oppressed people in Iraq mirrors their own goal.

"It's very telling about the policies of this country that Muslims and people affiliated with it (the Muslim community) are handcuffed and so quickly taken away when relatively all-white, Christian peace groups have been treated as we have, which is the threat of fines or minimal fines," Mostofi said.

Bill Griffen, a peace activist who teaches education at the State University College at Cortland, said he has donated money to Voices in the Wilderness and helped collect parts for musical instruments for Iraqi musicians.

He said no law enforcement officials have questioned him about his donations.

"I have friends in Iraq, the human community," he said. "The risks I'm taking are extremely minimal."

Up to 150 people, many who say they donated to Help the Needy, were questioned as witnesses in the investigation.

The maximum penalty for violating the sanctions against Iraq is a $1 million fine and up to 12 years in prison, according to a Treasury Department document.

If convicted, two of the four Help the Needy defendants would each face up to 265 years in prison and $14.25 million in fines, prosecutors have said.

The other two would face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Paul Frazier, a Syracuse activist, said he has donated to Voices in the Wilderness and Conscience International, an Atlanta-based anti-war group.

In January 2001, six Syracusans collected medical and school supplies to bring to Iraq when they traveled there with Conscience International.

"We sat in St. Lucy's gym and collected several thousand dollars of medical supplies and said this is humanitarian aid for Iraq," Frazier said. "No one arrested us."

In January, Keith Watenpaugh, a LeMoyne College professor, visited Iraq with Conscience International.

In an interview last month, he said he knew he risked jail for violating sanctions.

"There were just some raised eyebrows," he said of officials who looked at his passport in the United States, Jordan and Iraq.

Suddaby said he does not know why federal officials have not investigated the peace organizations and enforced the law.

"They (the groups' supporters) are running the risk of being prosecuted," he said. "If you're violating U.S. law, you run the risk of arrest."

TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 1996; 1998; 200101; 5; aidinandcomfort; antiwarcrowd; antiwargroup; antiwargroups; atlanta; banas; billgriffen; bittamostofi; cathykelly; chicago; ci; conscience; conscienceintl; cortland; cynthiabanas; edkinane; fau; frazier; griffen; helptheneedy; htn; htne; iana; il; illinois; inthewilderness; iraq; katherinekelly; kathykelly; keithwatenpaugh; kinane; laurencannon; lefties; lemoynecollege; medicalsupplies; newyork; ny; onondagacounty; paulfrazier; peaceactivist; schoolsupplies; syracuse; terrorcharities; terrorcharity; vernon; vitw; voices; watenpaugh; wilderness

1 posted on 03/09/2003 11:36:44 PM PST by Stultis
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To: Stultis
JUNE 21, 2001 Thursday : (IRAQ: LAUREN CANNON, LEADER OF A GROUP OF US AND UK "ACTIVISTS" VISITING IRAQ, SAYS THEY WILL TRAVEL TO TALL AFAR SOCCER FIELD SITE WHERE IRAQ CLAIMS US AND UK AIRSTRIKES KILLED 23 PEOPLE) Lauren Cannon, the leader of visiting American and British activists currently visiting Iraq, said the group will travel to Tall Afar "to see for ourselves who was behind the deaths." - "Iraq Says It Will 'Punish' Allies," By Sameer N. Yacoub, Associated Press Writer, AP, Thursday, June 21, 2001; 3:17 p.m. EDT,
2 posted on 06/02/2005 2:14:43 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude Adjustments Offered Here Free of Charge)
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To: Stultis
Glenn Suddaby, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of New York, said he is not familiar with Voices in the Wilderness or any investigation of the group or its donors. "This (Help the Needy) is a fraud case that's occurred here," he said. "Funneling money to Iraq is only part of this investigation."

* Help the Needy : Islamic charity with possible terrorist ties. It is being investigated for possible "material support to terrorism," a broad category of crimes that can cover many activities, one of the FBI agents said. - "Former Idaho football player arrested as material witness in Islamic charities probe," by NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, Associated Press , 3-18-03 *

* Help the Needy : an offshoot of the IANA, the Islamic Assembly of North America . - "Al-Kidd: 'I'm not a terrorist'," THE ASSOCIATED PRESS , , Monday, March 31, 2003

* Islamic assembly of north America aka IANA : A close affiliate of Syracuse-based Help the Needy is the Michigan-based Islamic Assembly of North America, a charity with which it shares members, officers and Web registrars. Some four months before 9/11, the assembly's sites allegedly posted death screeds that advocated suicide mega-bombings and the flying of airplanes into buildings in order to "demolish a center vital to the enemy or its military forces." - "Upstate charity tied to illegal Iraqi cash: Feds say N.Y. group laundered millions," by DOUGLAS FEIDEN, New York Daily News, April 6, 2003


See also :

The final bunch are those that were invited by the FAU [Florida Atlantic University] Muslim Student Organization (MSO) to speak on campus. This is the same MSO that created two Islamic centers in Boca Raton, one of which houses two religious leaders that have been accused of having direct ties to terrorist organizations.

The guest lecturers included: 

1. Rafil Dhafir, the past Vice Chairman of the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA), who was convicted of raising money for terrorist organizations through an Iraqi children’s charity called Help the Needy

2. Al-Haaj Ghazi Khankan, the Executive Director of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who is quoted as having pledged his support for the HAMAS and Hezbollah terrorist groups

3. Kathy Kelly, the co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness, who served time in a federal prison for trespassing onto the Ft. Benning military base in Georgia

4. William Baker, who has been described by many as a “neo-Nazi” for his hate-filled writings and his involvement in a white-supremacist organization

---------- "WoT ALERT: Terror U.," by Joe Kaufman,, January 21, 2005

3 posted on 06/02/2005 2:30:03 AM PDT by piasa (Attitude Adjustments Offered Here Free of Charge)
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