January 18, 2006, - 6:32 am
By Debbie Schlussel
You’ve heard a lot about the ACLU lawsuit since its filing yesterday.
But you haven’t heard much about its less famous plaintiffs, plaintiffs with whom I’m all too familiar and about whom I’ve written a great deal. The details on these individuals makes the National Security Agency’s monitoring of phone calls not just warranted, but a necessity.
I’m not referring to the famous Plaintiffs about whom you’ve heard: For example, Christopher Hitchens, the well-known Vanity Fair writer who is tight with convicted felon lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s money launderer Grover Norquist. (Norquist’s receipt of thousands from Saudi charities raided by Customs for billions in Al-Qaeda money laundering is well-known, and Hitchens wrote glowingly of Norquist’s efforts on behalf of radical Islam).
I’m referring to ACLU lawyers Noel Saleh, Mohammed Abdrabboh, and Nabih Ayad, the ACLU Plaintiffs named in the yesterday’s Complaint, attorney William Swor, a member National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Nazih Hassan–all named in the lawsuit. They are exactly the kind of people whom the federal government SHOULD be watching, but probably isn’t. One of these men admitted to funding Hezbollah, one was accused of tampering with a witness, and a third signed a document contradicting statements he made in the lawsuit. Not to mention, one of these men engaged in exactly the same “spying” (on me) that he now opposes when done by the NSA.
Their clients are no different from that of convicted Attorney Lynn Stewart’s (convicted of helping the Blind cleric spread terrorist messages in Egypt), and in some cases, their behavior is far worse. Yet, instead of monitoring them, the federal government’s representatives in Detroit–including U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy III, FBI Special Agent in Charge Daniel Roberts, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent in Charge Brian Moskowitz–have been courting them, their clients, and friends in a series of exclusive meetings.
Take Noel Saleh. The thrice-disciplined attorney (who was suspended from the practice of law) openly stated at a town hall meeting with federal officials that he has financially contributed to Hezbollah. He heads an Arab welfare agency that gets millions in our tax dollars, yet was raided by the FBI for engaging in Medicaid fraud. The organization also spent thousands in our tax dollars on “job training” (commercial driving lessons and attempts at HazMat hauling certificates) for two men indicted as members of the Detroit Al-Qaeda terror cell. He has represented a number of Islamic terrorists, including Ibrahim Parlak and “former” PFLP terrorist Imad Hamad.
Then, there is Mohammed Abdrabboh, a Palestinian attorney and ACLU of Michigan Board Member.
Not only does he represent a number of accused terrorists, he lied in signed documents about it. In the ACLU lawsuit, Abdrabboh’s ACLU claims:
86. As part of his criminal defense practice, Mr. Abdrabboh has represented and continues to represent people the government has suspected of allegedly having some link to terrorism or terrorist organizations.
But in a grievance Abdrabboh filed against ME to the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission (designed to deny my right to free speech and get me to change this column about him–I didn’t and won’t), a year ago, Abdrabboh wrote (and signed his name to) the following:
Without hesitation, I affirmatively state that I have never represented anyone accused of terrorism or money laundering. I can also affirmatively state that I have never represented or consulted with anyone accused/suspected/indicted of money laundering, let alone money laundering to finance Al-Qaeda. . . . Debbie Schlussel will not be able to provide the ADB [Attorney Discipline Board] with a single court appearance, document or public record that would indicate that I have ever represented a suspected terrorist or money launderer.
Hmmm . . . I think a grievance against Abdrabboh for lying either in Court or to the Grievance Commission is appropriate.
In fact, Mohammed Abdrabboh represented Gamil Manea Ahmed Al-Najar, arrested in December 2002 in raids by then U.S. Customs (now Immigration and Customs Enforcement–ICE) for operating a money-laundering business, Najjar Money Transfer, through Dix Dollar Mart–one of six businesses believed to have transmitted as much as $50 million per year to Yemen, in violation of the Patriot Act and other reporting requirements. Customs Agents told me they believed the money was going to finance terrorist activities, likely Al-Qaeda. Abdrabboh is listed as Al-Najar’s attorney on the federal court docket.
So we know only one thing for sure about Mohammed Abdrabboh: He is a liar.
What we also know is that many of his clients are involved with terrorist and other nefarious activities. He appeared at the arraignment for two Palestinian and Lebanese clients accused (and later convicted) of chopping a Jordanian Palestinian to death. All three were under investigation by the FBI for mortgage and real estate fraud and were suspected of sending the proceeds “back home” to the Mid-East for assorted nefarious activities.
Abdrabboh is heavily involved with the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which openly praises Hezbollah–the terrorist group that murdered over 300 U.S. Marines and civilians in Lebanon. In the West Bank, Abdrabboh made a career of legitimizing Palestinian terrorists in his work for Al-Haq, the Palestinian version of the ACLU (only worse, if that’s possible). In work for the United Nations, he co-authored a report on the “Syrian Golan.” (The Golan is in ISRAEL.) Clearly, this man has a political agenda, not friendly to the United States or our key Mid-East ally.
Spying? Taping phone calls? Abdrabboh doesn’t have a problem with that either, when he’s the one doing it. On September 7, 2004, the same day he filed his phony grievance against me, Abdrabboh had one of his friends, a man identifying himself as “Casey Khalil” call me and try to entrap me in a taped phone call. But it didn’t work. The man, whose number came up as “Khalil Companies” on my caller ID, claimed he was a client of Abdrabboh for his mortgage company’s problems with the State of Michigan and wanted information on him.
The ACLU lawsuit claims:
88. The Program has inhibited communications between Mr. Abdrabboh
and his family and friends because he is less candid about his political views and avoids saying things that are critical of the U.S. government over the telephone or through email.
Puh-leeze. Abdrabboh is a vocal member of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, appointed by Michigan’s liberal Democrat governor, Jennifer Granholm. There was a meeting of his commission since the NSA program was disclosed in The New York Times, and he is as vocal as ever. All of these attorneys had a press conference in Detroit, yesterday, upon the filing of the suit. Contrary to being silenced, they couldn’t seem to shut up.
Next, there’s Abdrabboh’s law partner, Nabih Ayad. Both Abdrabboh and Ayad go on annual trips to the Middle East with Hamad. The trips involve meetings with Lebanese and Syrian officials tied to Hezbollah, and their travel-mates include officials of a Detroit charity that openly donated millions to HAMAS and privately raised money for Iraqi insurgents at a Los Angeles area fundraiser. Federal officials suspect that money laundering–and who knows what else–may be going on during these trips.
Ayad represented Omar Abdel-Fatah Al-Shishani, stopped at Detroit Metro Airport with millions in phony bank checks used to fund Al-Qaeda operations. Shishani–a friend of John Kerry’s–didn’t get much for his money, though. I had dinner with Abu Shishani in fall 2003, prior to his sentencing. It was a secret meeting with law enforcement members, and he did not know my real identity. Shishani told me that Mr. Ayad ripped him off of $25,000, did not help him, and he had to hire a new attorney. Based on that, it’s hard to see how NSA spying would affect his “representation” of his client.
Then, there are his 130 clients paid off an INS inspector and committed visa fraud. Ayad got these clients from his buddy, former “terrorist” Hamad. Paying off INS inspectors, visa fraud–these are things we SHOULD be spying on.
William Swor, another Plaintiff in the suit, represented an accused member of the Detroit terror cell. During the trial, the judge reportedly lashed at him for trying to tamper with and intimidate the government’s Arabic translator in the case. He sat on the Board of Saleh’s Arab welfare agency, and reportedly threatened to take work away from the translator, who also did work for the agency. Like Saleh, Swor was also disciplined by the Michigan Attorney Discipline Board, for snorting up his clients’ money. (He had a cocaine problem.)
Finally, there is Nazih Hassan, a member of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Michigan Chapter–a group founded with funds from HAMAS political director Moussa Abu Marzook. Of all the Plaintiffs detailed within the case, he is the most worthy of government monitoring. He is not an attorney, but is admittedly a friend of deportee Rabih Haddad–founder of Global Relief Foundation (GRF).
President Bush designated GRF as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entity and shut it down, because it was laundering money back and forth to Al-Qaeda and had strong ties to its Hamburg cell. Haddad was caught lying to the government about his income for the purpose of getting subsidized housing, carried a briefcase full of bricks of cash (which he showed federal agents), and lied on an application to buy a rifle less than six months after moving to the U.S. His charity, GRF, sent out letters in the name of Osama Bin Laden’s spiritual leader, Abdel Azzam, and attempted to raise funds for a “Pakistani Taliban” and jihad.
Hassan was president of Rabih Haddad’s mosque and helped him. The federal government SHOULD be investigating his mosque. They should be investigating Hassan. If our government is not investigating the mosque, friends, and helpers of a man raising money for worldwide jihad and laundering money for Al-Qaeda, then whom ARE they investigating?
Hassan also admits being friendly with individuals connected to IANA (Islamic Assembly of North America), a charity raided for financing Saddam Hussein (while pretending the money was going to fund needy Iraqis who needed food). IANA, which was raided by the FBI, operated websites BEFORE 9/11 that featured fatwas urging the use of planes directed at buildings as a way to murder Americans. IANA’s executive director, Islam Almurabit, and a key operative, Mohammed Al-Ahmari, fled to the Mid-East when the Detroit FBI tipped IANA off that it was investigating the group–both going to Saudi Arabia. Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, a Saudi national who was indicted but unfortunately acquitted, designed and operated the websites.
Again, Mr. Hassan’s own admission of being close to IANA operatives makes it quite clear that he certainly SHOULD be monitored by the government.
Some of the Plaintiffs and attorneys in the ACLU’s lawsuit against the NSA are the same as in a 2003 lawsuit the ACLU filed against Section 215 of the Patriot Act. That lawsuit languishes before another Detroit Federal Judge, without ever being decided.
And so should this one. (If you are interested in signing up oppose the ACLU lawsuit in court, please contact me.)
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