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Terrorism Expert Admits He Doesn't Know What a 'Terrorist' Is

Under cross-examination, terrorism expert acknowledges difficulty in labeling terrorists
By Associated Press
Thursday, May 20, 2004

BOISE, Idaho - A terrorism expert testified Wednesday that Internet postings attributed to a terrorism defendant were published to recruit and encourage financial support for terrorists.

But under cross-examination, the prosecution witness, Reuven Paz, acknowledged that he published some of the same information on his own Web site without being prosecuted, pointing out the difficulty in labeling people and activities as terrorist.

``For some people, terrorists are terrorists, and for others, terrorists are freedom fighters,'' said Paz, an Israeli. ``It depends on where you stand.''

Paz differentiated between his publication of the information, some of it extolling suicide bombings, and its publication on Web sites of the Islamic Assembly of North America. His use of the material was solely for the purposes of academic research into militant Islamic groups, he said.

The government claims defendant Sami Omar Al-Hussayen used his skills to turn the assembly Web sites into the foundation of an Internet network that disseminated information to foster terrorism, particularly in the Middle East and Chechnya.

Paz was called by the government in an effort to complete the link it says exists between Al-Hussayen and terror.

Over the past five weeks, the government has relied on technical experts to tie Al-Hussayen, a University of Idaho graduate student and Saudi national, to dozens of inflammatory Internet postings. The government is seeking to convince jurors that such news articles are used by terrorist leaders to strengthen their war chests and their ranks.

Besides the terrorism charges, Al-Hussayen is accused of visa fraud and making false statements for allegedly trying to hide his association with the assembly.

The defense maintains Al-Hussayen was only a volunteer who used his computer skills to keep assembly Internet operations going.

homepage: homepage: http://news.bostonherald.com/national/view.bg?articleid=28661

more info on the case 03.Jun.2004 02:08


Defense abruptly rests case in terrorism trial


BOISE, Idaho -- The defense for Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, accused of supporting terror, abruptly rested its case Wednesday after calling just one witness, ending a seven-week trial that pitted First Amendment guarantees against the government's war on terrorism.

Terrorism expert Frank Anderson, a former CIA agent who spent years involved in covert operations in the Middle East, told jurors that the Internet sites tied to the University of Idaho graduate student had nothing to do with terrorism and little to do with recruiting terrorists.

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge dismissed the jury of four men, eight women and two women alternates until Tuesday, when closing arguments are scheduled. The jury will likely get the case Tuesday.

Anderson's testimony bolstered the defense claim that Al-Hussayen's involvement in running Web sites for the Islamic Assembly of North America had nothing to do with trying to raise money to finance terrorist acts or recruit new terrorists.

Postings, particularly four scholarly declarations from Islamic clerics justifying suicide bombings in 2001, could be found on numerous other Web sites and on other information sources, including the Foreign Broadcast Information Service operated by the U.S. government, he said.

One of the sites,  http://www.islamway.com, is devoted to promotion of the Islamic religion, he said, and the other,  http://www.alasr.ws, is a daily Internet magazine analyzing political events.

In fact, Anderson maintained  http://www.islamway.com "has and has had since 2001 a clear, unambiguous, almost emotionally written condemnation of terror."

He also tried to reinforce lead defense attorney David Nevin's contention that Al-Hussayen's prosecution attacks the constitutional guarantee to freedom of speech by condemning information appearing on the Internet simply because the government finds it inflammatory and objectionable.

"I lived for 13 years in countries where you could be put in jail for what you write or say," he told jurors before an objection from prosecutors cut him off.

Federal prosecutors claim free speech is not the issue - that Al-Hussayen crossed the line by ensuring information was posted on the Internet that he knew would result in encouraging people to financially support terrorist groups and some to join them.

But while hundreds of documents were introduced by the government to show the provocative content of the Internet material and Al-Hussayen's connection to the sites, Nevin has insisted that the government has provided no evidence to show his intent was to support terrorism.

Anderson, who personally recruited three Middle East terrorists to spy for the United States during the 1970s and oversaw or managed recruitment of many others while at the CIA, also disputed the government's claim that Internet material is crucial to terrorist recruitment.

He maintained that a strong personal relationship with a charismatic person is needed to convince people to commit acts of terror.

"People are not inclined to kill women and children," he said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Deitch emphasized, however, that Anderson's involvement with recruitment at any level was over in 1995 when he left the CIA - just as the Internet was rising as a major factor in information dissemination.

Al-Hussayen, a 34-year-old Saudi national just months from completing his doctorate in computer science, is also charged with visa fraud and making false statements for allegedly hiding his association with the assembly. His attorneys have claimed throughout that he was just a volunteer helping maintain Web sites but having little if anything to do with their content.

Terrorism is looking at this photo 03.Jun.2004 08:46



Hehehe... 03.Jun.2004 15:37

Tony Blair's dog


What about CNN, then? 03.Jun.2004 23:58


"Federal prosecutors claim free speech is not the issue - that Al-Hussayen crossed the line by ensuring information was posted on the Internet that he knew would result in encouraging people to financially support terrorist groups and some to join them."

Or the Whitehouse?