Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 13:39:06 -0700 (MST) From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Dave Wells) Subject: [aapjevents] UPDATE: Int'l Criminal Court and Civil Liberties News (fwd) To: email@example.com Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
My earlier attempt didnt' go through. ---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 09:11:46 -0700 (MST) From: email@example.com To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com Subject: UPDATE: Int'l Criminal Court and Civil Liberties News
(includes correction/updates on earlier email in CAPS)
We may wish to have info on ICC at July 4 event--as the ICC technically starts on July 1.
There will also be an unprecedented closed doors deportation case in Florence ON THIS MONDAY). Eric Bjotvedt is the defendant's lawyer according to the following article. We might want to do a vigil/press conference to coincide with this either in Florence at the Federal Court Building here in Phoenix. This closed doors case is following the order of Ashcroft that we were in part protesting on Friday. I WOULD SUGGEST WE CONSIDER DOING THE VIGIL/PRESS CONFFERENCE ON MONDAY AT THE COURT BUILDING IN PHOENIX. I THINK WE CAN GET PRESS COVERAGE FOR THIS. TYPICALLY FOR COVERAGE THEY NEED TO BE EARLY IN THE DAY UP TO NOON DUE TO REPORTER'S DEADLINES (UNLESS YOU'RE JANET NAPOLITANO!). THE NORTHSIDE OF THE COURT HOUSE WOULD BE SOMEWHAT SHADED.
Below are the relevant stories. 1. Short one on Peacekeeps and ICC 6/20 2. Deportation Story form LA Times 6/20 3. Previous story on the defendant from LA Times 10/28/01
From the Briefs of AZ Republic June 20, 2002, page A15 U.S. Continues to push for Tribunal Exception UNITED NATIONS-Continuing its campaign against the new International Criminal Court, the United States declared Wednesday that it will no longer participate in U.N. peacekeeping missions unless the Security Council grants the troops permanent immunity from prosecution by the tribunal.
Such assurances are highly unlikely given the strong support for the court by even staunch U.S. allies, and given their concern that a blanket exemption for peacekeepers could fatally undermine the tribunal's authority.
The United States is virtually alone on the council in its opposition to the court, which has been ratified by 67 U.N. member states and come into effect July 1.
(a shorter inferior version of this article appears on page A12 of today's Republic) A prior LA Times article from October on this same individual follows.
Deportation Hearing Closed Law: A public bond proceeding for Muslim student in Arizona would compromise FBI's anti-terror efforts, judge rules.
June 20, 2002
By GREG KRIKORIAN, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A federal judge in Phoenix ruled Wednesday that a bond hearing for an outspoken Islamic student facing deportation will be held in
closed session to safeguard the FBI's methods of investigating terrorism.
Acting on an unprecedented request by attorneys for the INS,
Immigration Judge Scott M. Jefferies agreed that a normally routine hearing for Zakaria Soubra, 26, will be held behind closed doors Monday. The judge also granted the INS' request that all parties to the case be prohibited from disclosing any information disussed or presented at the hearing in Florence, Ariz., just outside Phoenix.
While several closed proceedings have been held in other terrorism-related cases since the attacks in New York and at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, court officials said Wednesday's order represented the first
time a deportation hearing has been closed--and
all details of the case sealed--under a federal court regulation unveiled last month by U.S. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft. In court papers, INS attorneys said disclosure of the contents of sealed affidavits from federal investigators would "compromise United States interest in enforcing
federal immigration law and the ongoing investigation of terrorists."
Soubra, an outspoken Lebanese national, has been held in INS
custody since May 23 for allegedly violating his immigration status as a college student by falling below the minimum number of credits required in a semester.
He also is one of the eight alleged Middle Eastern extremists
named in the "Phoenix memo" written by Phoenix-based FBI agent Kenneth Williams in July 2001 warning
that Islamic extremists were enrolling in U.S. flight schools.
In the sealed affidavits presented to Jeffries, both Williams
and Andrew G. Arena, chief of the FBI's International Terrorism Operations Section, requested that Soubra's hearings in the deportation case be closed.
Authorities have not alleged any links between Soubra and the
September skyjackers. But records and interviews show that FBI agents have been interested for more
than a year in Soubra's attendance at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., as well as his membership in Al Muhajiroun, a hard-line anti-American group based in London that some intelligence agents suspect of links to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, Al Qaeda.
It was partly the concern about Al Muhajiroun and Soubra's connections to flight schools that prompted Williams' memo.
Soubra has acknowledged causing controversy in Arizona. He organized a street demonstration protesting Russia's war in Chechnya; arranged a critical discussion of the U.S.' presence in Yemen, and was asked to leave a local mosque after scolding members for
accepting the authority of the U.S. government.
But in an interview last fall with The Times, Soubra condemned the Sept. 11 attacks as a violation of Islamic law because they targeted civilians.
"Obviously, the government is doing everything it can to keep
this guy locked up," said Soubra's attorney, Eric Bjotvedt. "Yet they are not charging him as a
terrorist. They are only saying he fell out of status."
Said Bjotvedt: "He feels he has been wrongly detained and become a scapegoat, all because he fit some profile."
Officials with the INS did not return calls for comment about
The Earlier Article referred to follows (I don't believe I saw this in the Arizona Republic, even though the date line is Tempe, AZ).
Copyright 2001 / Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Times
October 28, 2001 Sunday Home Edition
SECTION: Part A; Part 1; Page 1; National Desk
LENGTH: 1922 words
HEADLINE: RESPONSE TO TERROR; TRICKY PURSUIT; Terror Probe Hovers Over Arizona; Search: Authorities say it is too tough to tell the dangerous from the ardently
BYLINE: RICH CONNELL, TIMES STAFF WRITER
DATELINE: TEMPE, Ariz.
BODY: Well before the trail of a suspected Sept. 11 skyjacker drew investigators to this Phoenix suburb, the FBI had its eye on Zakaria Soubra.
The 25-year-old Lebanese national, one of the few Middle Eastern students at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University north of here, suspects it might have been his visit to a shooting range with an American-born veteran of jihads in the Balkans and the Middle East. Or his membership in a London-based group calling for governments
around the globe to be removed in favor of a single, pure Islamic state.
Or maybe it was his association with several fellow Muslim flight school students, some of whom attend a prayer group Soubra formed and who also were questioned by the FBI within hours of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Although confidential government records show more than two dozen current and former Arizona residents have come under federal scrutiny--or have been targeted for questioning since the East Coast attacks--only one, picked up overseas, is suspected of having a direct link to terrorist activity. Indeed, the government's anti-terrorism efforts here open a window on the difficulties of identifying cells or individuals who are truly dangerous.
As the FBI investigated tips involving small groups of Middle Easterners here who espoused radical beliefs, a young Saudi, who authorities believe steered a jetliner into the Pentagon, moved through this same college town, largely unnoticed.
Hani Hanjour was in his early 20s when he first came to Arizona in the mid-1990s to take flight training at local airfields. He kept to himself, having limited contact with the outside world.
Even in private conversations, one former roommate recalls, he never signaled strong religious or political views.
The public stridence of a Zakaria Soubra, who expounds religious arguments to justify suicide bombings in the Middle East, and the disciplined stealth of a Hani Hanjour, who silently planned mass murder, illustrate a fundamental challenge to America's counter-terrorism efforts.
Pursuing radical activists and determining when their rhetoric might cross into
illegal or violent activity is tricky--legally and tactically--federal officials say.
"There are people who just keep popping up" and whose case files are repeatedly
opened and closed because prosecutable crimes can't be found, said one senior federal law enforcement official who has
worked counter-terrorism investigations. "We're not interested in their religion. We're just interested in violent activity, when it crosses a line into violent acts."
Soubra, for example, insists that hijacking commercial airliners and killing U.S. civilians is prohibited by his faith--at the same time he calls for Islamic world domination.
For investigators, the failure to pick up warnings before last month's plot makes clear they must concentrate on an additional, far different chore: identifying devoted killers trained to blend in.
"They don't stand out. And they especially don't stand up and say, 'We hate America,' " says professor Steve Cimbala, who teaches national security and intelligence studies at Pennsylvania State University.
Officials say there is no foolproof way to zero in on those who are actually threatening as opposed to ardently dissident, especially with time and resources stretched thin.
Arizona has had its mix of both.
Among those who have been sought or monitored in the Phoenix area in recent weeks is a family man who records indicate has been scrutinized several times in connection with international terrorism probes. The man did not respond to requests from The Times for an interview, but neighbors say the FBI and police questioned them after the attacks about activities at the man's home.
Another is a Sierra Vista man, who lived near the Mexican border and left the U.S. in 1999, according to records. He is described as a weapon expert and is suspected of scouting terrorist targets in
Yet another is Malek Seif, a Djibouti national whom federal authorities reported receiving flight training in the Phoenix area at the same time as Lotfi Raissi, an Algerian arrested last month by English authorities. Raissi is suspected of overseeing pilot training of four of the suspected 19 hijackers. Seif left the U.S. in late August and was arrested in Marseilles, France, in early October as part of an anti-terrorist crackdown, according to records and interviews. After
two days, he was released because of a lack of evidence that he had knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks, a French law enforcement official said. He is still believed to be in Europe.
Since Sept. 11, two other Phoenix-area residents have been detained on immigration charges, and a material witness in the case has been indicted for lying about whether he knew Hanjour.
FBI officials here refuse to discuss their terrorism investigations, before or
since the attacks.
One apparent reason for the agency's focus on the Tempe area is its growing, somewhat transient Muslim community.
Many Muslim students are attracted to Arizona State University and the large Islamic Cultural Center nearby. The center serves as a hub of religious and social activity and includes the first gold-domed mosque in the Phoenix area.
Long before Sept. 11, federal agents sought to tap into the Muslim community for information.
One former Arizona State Muslim student recalled agents first showing up at his
home in 1998, after the bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa, to interview him--and try to cultivate him as a source.
In recent years, agents also have been interested in potential threats, apparently focusing in part on a mysterious figure, known among young local Muslims only as Abu Muhajid, which translates roughly to "the
Muhajid, described as a white, American Muslim, often shared tales of Islamic holy wars in Chechnya and Bosnia, say those who met him. He could not be found in recent days, and those who know him say he has disappeared.
"He had experience in jihad," Soubra said. "He used to report what other Muslims" were suffering.
Soubra believes it was his own association with Muhajid and their visit to a local shooting range that firs brought FBI agents to his door in early 2000.
"They said they saw me hanging out with a person who was dangerous to society,"
he recalled last week. Since then, federal agents have periodically returned to Soubra and his associates, interviews show.
After a Saudi friend began visiting Soubra's apartment, the FBI showed up a second time, asking who the visitor was. Just days after he moved out, agents were at Soubra's landlord's office, asking more questions.
"They just said they were checking him out," recalled the apartment owner, Bill
Within hours of the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, agents showed up at Embry Riddle to interview Soubra and several other Muslim students who know him.
"They asked all kinds of questions about" Soubra, said Ahmad Alhulaisi, a Palestinian studying aeronautical engineering.
Alhulaisi is among several current and former Embry Riddle students on lists of
people the FBI has been keeping tabs on since the skyjackings. Earlier this month, he was detained for questioning during a Prescott traffic stop, a law enforcement source confirmed.
Alhulaisi complained about the delay and being under such scrutiny. But he acknowledges he was speeding home after one of his weekend road trips to nightclubs in Southern California frequented by Middle Easterners. "I love L.A.," he says. He is less enthusiastic about Soubra's Friday prayer meetings. "He is religious. . . . Me
and my roommates are not strict like that."
Soubra said he arrived in Arizona for flight safety studies in 1998, and is being sponsored by a relative.
The FBI's interest in Soubra is partly tied to his membership in Al-Muhajiroun,
a controversial London-based group, records show.
The organization, which British authorities reportedly have under 24-hour surveillance, maintains the U.S. government is engaging in terrorism against Muslims and contends Islamic law prohibits cooperating with the FBI or other government agencies of non-Islamic states.
It also says Muslims should work for the creaion of a single Islamic state worldwide. However, Soubra stresses, the group also has said that killing innocent U.S. civilians is wrong.
Only "pure intellectual and political" means may be used to remove non-Islamic
regimes in the West, says Soubra.
Soubra acknowledges belonging to an Arizona chapter of the group but declines to discuss how many members there are or where they meet. He sidesteps questions about his views of suspected terrorist
mastermind Osama bin Laden, instead offering lengthy descriptions of what he says is the Islamic basis for various kinds of
Soubra's activities have rubbed many the wrong way. At his flight school, advisors unsuccessfully urged him to cancel a lecture criticizing U.S. military presence in Yemen, just days after the bombing of the
U.S. destroyer Cole.
At the Tempe mosque, Soubra says he was once asked to leave after chastising members for supporting non-Islamic governments in the U.S. and elsewhere.
For all the disruption he has caused and the investigative attention apparently
paid him, friends say Soubra appears to be peaceful, if a bit preachy.
He insists he knew nothing of the Sept. 11 plotters and has not been given any
indication he is a target of a federal investigation. He continues to go about his flight safety training and dorm life.
Unlike people such as Soubra, Hanjour kept to a routine of study, attracting little attention even within the Muslim community.
At Tempe's King Tut coffeehouse, a popular Middle Eastern gathering spot where
tobacco water pipes and political argument go hand in hand, Hanjour occasionally dropped by. But he is remembered mostly for his silence, according to owner Majda Kassel.
"He didn't talk much," she said.
Abdulah Suliman, who lived with Hanjour in Tempe for three months in 1998, said
his former roommate rarely ventured out, other than to attend pilot lessons or go to the bank to get the money he said relatives sent.
"I'd tell him let's go see a movie. He'd say, 'No.' Id tell him let's go play
basketball. He'd say, 'No,' " Suliman said. "He just stayed home and studied his books for flight school."
Hanjour sometimes went to the Tempe mosque. But Suliman, who has been interviewed in recent weeks by the FBI, said he never got a measure of Hanjour's religious or political beliefs. It just didn't
Raissi joined Hanjour for a time at flight school here. Though more outgoing than Hanjour, Raissi stayed a shorter time and also appeared to have avoided the attention of officials, according to interviews.
To help investigators ferret out terrorist cells, President Bush signed legislation Friday giving law enforcement sweeping new tools to tap phones, monitor e-mails, share sensitive information and hold suspects.
But many wonder whether even those powers will be enough to uncover those silently scheming to commit mass violence.
"There isn't anything you can do to a guy who gives you zero signals," Penn State's Cimbala said.
Kassel said Raissi and Hanjour sat at her tables and she sensed nothing.
"The one who never advertised his thoughts," she said, "is the one who did the
Times staff writer Sebastian Rotella and researcher Nona Yates contributed to this report.
LOAD-DATE: October 28, 2001
Dave Wells, Ph.D. Faculty Interdisciplinary Studies Program Arizona State University Tempe AZ 85287-3801 Dave.Wells@asu.edu (480) 727-7038
----- End forwarded message -----
Dave Wells, Ph.D. Faculty Interdisciplinary Studies Program Arizona State University Tempe AZ 85287-3801 Dave.Wells@asu.edu (480) 727-7038
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