Posted by: Lister | February 27, 2007

Down the river

The LA times has the headline: Evidence against Muslim charity appears fabricated.

When the Bush administration shut down the nation’s largest Muslim charity five years ago, officials of the Dallas-based foundation denied allegations it was linked to terrorists and insisted that a number of accusations were fabricated by the government.

Now, attorneys for the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development say the government’s own documents provide evidence of that claim.

In recent court filings, defense lawyers disclosed striking discrepancies between an official summary and the verbatim transcripts of an FBI-wiretapped conversation in 1996 involving Holy Land officials.

The summary attributes inflammatory, anti-Semitic comments to Holy Land officials that are not found in a 13-page transcript of the recorded conversation. It recently was turned over to the defense by the government in an exchange of evidence.

[…] “Throughout the run-up to trial, the government has insisted that the defendants can learn what is contained in the [surveillance] intercepts by reading the so-called ‘summaries’ of those intercepts,” defense attorneys said in their papers.

But the recently disclosed transcript, attorneys said, shows that “not only are the summaries so inaccurate and misleading as to be useless,” but that the “author of the attached summary has cynically and maliciously attributed to the defendants racist invective and inculpatory remarks the defendants never uttered.”

“It is appalling that such summaries even exist, much less that the government represented that this is all our clients need to know in order to defend themselves.”

[…] How the summary and transcript could be so different was unclear, though experts in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act arena theorized that its top-secret nature may have led some analysts to believe that the work product would never be publicly disclosed, much less entered into evidence in a trial.

Because the court records are heavily redacted, it could not be determined who provided the summaries of the FBI wiretaps.

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