Surveillance is an especially attractive weapon in a democracy with explicit constitutional limitations on invasions of free expression, because sanctions are submerged. It is “only” and investigation of the “facts,” we are told; it neither enjoins nor punishes political expression and activities. Yet it can hardly be denied the the self censorship which it stimulates is far more damaging than many express statutory or administrative restraints. It yields a maximum return of repression for a minimum investment of official power.
According to a document filed yesterday by federal prosecutors in the US District Court for Eastern Michigan, the US intends to rely heavily on Israeli occupation authorities as a source of evidence for the prosecution of Palestinian-American activist Rasmea Odeh on charges of immigration fraud.
Documents include: oral statements by Israeli police sergeants, transcripts from an Israeli military court and an “Adult Evaluation Report” from the Israel Welfare Office. Also included are:
Israeli documents (with translation) relating to defendant’s arrest for prison escape while serving her sentence for the crimes mentioned in paragraph 2 above, computer printouts from Israeli computer databases (with translation) regarding defendant’s criminal record and identity, fingerprint impressions for defendant from Israel, and Israeli identity documents (with translation); fingerprint impressions for defendant from the United States government; [and a] picture of released Israeli soldier relating to defendant’s release from an Israeli prison pursuant to a prisoner exchange.
The government intends to introduce interviews that defendant has given that are posted on public websites, such as YouTube, to include the interview located at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Xxrl8aj8aQ.
The government intends to introduce at trial testimony from one or more experts in the following areas of expertise: Expert on immigration law and procedure; expert on forensic documents (both Israel and United States); expert on Israeli conviction records; [and an] expert on the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), to include the history, structure and goals of the PFLP.
The need to introduce testimony from an “expert on Israeli conviction records” humors me, as does the extensive reliance on the Israeli court system for Palestinians. Israel’s military justice system for Palestinians is widely considered a sham by respected human rights NGOs. Even the recent president of IDF’s court system admitted that Palestinian defendants do not get fair trials. Palestinians in Israeli military court currently face an absurd 99.74% conviction rate. I doubt this system was any better in the late 1960s/early 1970s when Odeh was convicted.
The proposed use of a so-called “expert” on the PFLP also raises red flags. It brings back memories of the HFL trial’s utilization of Hamas “expert” Matthew Levitt, who “has a day job at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), a conservative think tank founded by the former research director of AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby.”
For starters, there is much indication that the US has shown itself willing to fund and support radical Sunni groups in an effort to counter-act Iranian-influence, Hezbollah and Shia power in general.
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
The focus of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, after Iran, is Lebanon, where the Saudis have been deeply involved in efforts by the Administration to support the Lebanese government. Prime Minister Fouad Siniora is struggling to stay in power against a persistent opposition led by Hezbollah, the Shiite organization, and its leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah. Hezbollah has an extensive infrastructure, an estimated two to three thousand active fighters, and thousands of additional members.
American, European, and Arab officials I spoke to told me that the Siniora government and its allies had allowed some aid to end up in the hands of emerging Sunni radical groups in northern Lebanon, the Bekaa Valley, and around Palestinian refugee camps in the south. These groups, though small, are seen as a buffer to Hezbollah; at the same time, their ideological ties are with Al Qaeda.
During a conversation with me, the former Saudi diplomat accused Nasrallah of attempting “to hijack the state,” but he also objected to the Lebanese and Saudi sponsorship of Sunni jihadists in Lebanon. “Salafis are sick and hateful, and I’m very much against the idea of flirting with them,” he said. “They hate the Shiites, but they hate Americans more. If you try to outsmart them, they will outsmart us. It will be ugly.”
Alastair Crooke, who spent nearly thirty years in MI6, the British intelligence service, and now works for Conflicts Forum, a think tank in Beirut, told me, “The Lebanese government is opening space for these people to come in. It could be very dangerous.” Crooke said that one Sunni extremist group, Fatah al-Islam, had splintered from its pro-Syrian parent group, Fatah al-Intifada, in the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, in northern Lebanon. Its membership at the time was less than two hundred. “I was told that within twenty-four hours they were being offered weapons and money by people presenting themselves as representatives of the Lebanese government’s interests—presumably to take on Hezbollah,” Crooke said.
The largest of the groups, Asbat al-Ansar, is situated in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp. Asbat al-Ansar has received arms and supplies from Lebanese internal-security forces and militias associated with the Siniora government.
The size, membership and influence of the [Abdullah Azzam Brigades] are unclear; its infrequent, small-scale operations and relatively prolific message output seem to imply it is a small group tasked with expanding, organizing, providing guidance and acting as middlemen. In Syria its only visible role has been in the release of various messages, mostly written and recorded statements by its leaders.
At the center of the AAB’s messages is a recurring preoccupation with the plight of Sunnis in the Levant, specifically their perceived oppression at the hands of the Shi’a of Lebanon and Iran, with Syria’s Alawi government enforcing this order and acting as a bridge between the Islamic Republic and its Lebanese ally. One of the group’s first releases was a September 2010 documentary titled “The Oppressed Sect,” an amateurish look at the region’s modern history, particularly the Lebanese Civil War, in which Sunni oppression becomes the principal narrative thread. Syria’s Baath government and Lebanon’s Shi’a parties (Hizbullah and Amal) are seen as ruthless players engaged in a dual conspiracy directed from Iran: on the one hand the oppression of Sunnis, on the other securing the integrity of Israel’s borders. The main piece of evidence furnished to prove this is that neither of the two has attacked Israel (presumably since the 2006 war between Hizbullah and Israel), while the AAB has launched several rockets. This is then weaved into a broader narrative of the repression (and labeling as “terrorist”) of any Sunni who takes actions to liberate Palestine.
At least a couple of players in Lebanon have suspected that non-Islamist political interests are behind the “Oppressed Sect” documentary:
In an attempt to tap into Sunni frustrations, an hour-long propaganda film began circulating in Sunni areas of Lebanon some six months ago with the clear intention of inciting anti-Shiite feeling. Titled “The Oppressed Sect,” a reference to Sunnis, the film purports to have been produced by the Abdullah al-Azzam Brigades, an Al Qaeda offshoot.
Using archive footage dating back to Lebanon’s 1975-90 civil war, the film lists historic Sunni grievances against Shiites. But some Islamist clerics who have studied the film question its authenticity. Sheikh Omar Bakri, a Salafist cleric who has recently begun to support Hezbollah, says it “smells of nationalism and secularism” and suggests that Hariri’s Future Movement fabricated it.
Another prominent cleric, Sheikh Jamal Khattab, the leading Islamic figure in the Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in south Lebanon, also notes that “the Islamic terminology is wrong” and believes it is an “intelligence deception.”
But when asked whom he thinks was responsible for the film, Khattab gives a discreet smile and says, “We like to blame such things on Israel.”
This evidence seems to suggest that the “Abdullah Azzam Brigades” (at least in the case of Lebanon) is a moniker for an organization or agency that has little sincere interest in radical Sunni Islamism but puts a great deal of weight on counter-balancing Iran and Shia influence in Lebanon. There’s a case to be made for these attacks being an operation done by Sunni figures in the Lebanese ruling class and their Saudi allies. As Ali Abunimah points out on Twitter, Geneva negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program resume tomorrow:
Terrorist (and likely state-sponsored) bombing of Iran embassy in Beirut occurs the day before Geneva talks resume on nuclear deal.
— Ali Abunimah (@AliAbunimah) November 19, 2013
Also remember that there is a clear precedent for state-sponsored terrorism against Shia in Lebanon done by the US, Saudi Arabia and Lebanese Sunni figures.
US v. Tarek Mehanna (Court of Appeals for 1st Circuit, Case no. 12-1461), Opinion of the Circuit Judges, 13 November 2013:
Terrorism is the modern-day equivalent of the bubonic plague: it is an existential threat. Predictably, then, the government’s efforts to combat terrorism through the enforcement of the criminal laws will be fierce. Sometimes, those efforts require a court to patrol the fine line between vital national security concerns and forbidden encroachments on constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and association. This is such a case.
We turn to the defendant’s asseveration that the district court committed legal error in charging the jury with respect to his translations. At first blush, this asseveration is counter-intuitive because the court below evinced a keen awareness of the First Amendment issues implicated here. Pertinently, the court instructed:
Now, this is important. Persons who act independently of a foreign terrorist organization to advance its goals or objectives are not considered to be working under the organization’s direction or control. A person cannot be convicted under this statute when he’s acting entirely independently of a foreign terrorist organization. That is true even if the person is advancing the organization’s goals or objectives. Rather, for a person to be guilty under this count, a person must be acting in coordination with or at the direction of a designated foreign terrorist organization, here, as alleged in Count 1, al Qa’ida.
You need not worry about the scope or effect of the guarantee of free speech contained in the First Amendment to our Constitution. According to the Supreme Court, this statute already accommodates that guarantee by punishing only conduct that is done in coordination with or at the direction of a foreign terrorist organization. Advocacy that is done independently of the terrorist organization and not at its direction or in coordination with it does not violate the statute.
Put another way, activity that is proven to be the furnishing of material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization under the statute is not activity that is protected by the First Amendment; on the other hand, as I’ve said, independent advocacy on behalf of the organization, not done at its direction or in coordination with it, is not a violation of the statute.
The defendant assigns error to these instructions in three respects. He says that they (i) fail to define the term “coordination”; (ii) incorrectly direct the jury not to consider the First Amendment; and (iii) should have been replaced by a set of instructions that he unsuccessfully proffered to the district court.
None of the defendant’s three claims of instructional error survives this review.
Although we agree that coordination can be a critical integer in the calculus of material support, the defendant’s first assignment of instructional error is simply wrong. While the district court did not use the phrase “is defined as,” it nonetheless defined the term “coordination” functionally. It explained to the jury in no fewer than three different ways that independent advocacy for either an FTO [Foreign Terrorist Organization] or an FTO’s goals does not amount to coordination. This distinction, which the court accurately characterized as “important,” went to the heart of the matter.
Moreover, the district court’s instructions harmonize with the text of the material support statute, which reads: “Individuals who act entirely independently of the [FTO] to advance its goals or objectives shall not be considered to be working under the [FTO]‘s direction and control.” 18 U.S.C. § 2339B(h). The context made clear that the government’s “translations-as-material-support” theory was premised on the concept that the translations comprised a “service,” which is a form of material support within the purview of the statute. See id. §§ 2339A(b)(1), 2339B(g)(4). The HLP Court explained that “service,” as material support, “refers to concerted activity, not independent advocacy.” 130 S. Ct. at 2721. The instructions given to the jury embraced this construct.
In sum, the district court’s instructions captured the essence of the controlling decision in HLP, where the Court determined that otherwise-protected speech rises to the level of criminal material support only if it is “in coordination with foreign groups that the speaker knows to be terrorist organizations.” Id. at 2723. If speech fits within this taxonomy, it is not protected. See id. at 2722-26. This means that “advocacy performed in coordination with, or at the direction of,” an FTO is not shielded by the First Amendment. Id. at 2722. The district court’s instructions tracked the contours of this legal framework. The court appropriately treated the question of whether enough coordination existed to criminalize the defendant’s translations as factbound and left that question to the jury. See, e.g., Jones v. United States, 526 U.S. 227, 247 n.8 (1999). We discern no error.
The defendant’s third assignment of instructional error calumnizes the district court for failing to give his proffered instructions on the interaction of the material support statutes and the prophylaxis afforded by the First Amendment. We will reverse a trial court’s refusal to give a proffered jury instruction only if the proffered instruction is substantively correct, not otherwise covered in substance in the court’s charge, and of sufficient import that its omission seriously affects the defendant’s ability to present his defense. See Chiaradio, 684 F.3d at 281; United States v. Prigmore, 243 F.3d 1, 17 (1st Cir. 2001); United States v. McGill, 953 F.2d 10, 13 (1st Cir. 1992).
In the case at hand, the defendant’s proffered instructions were not substantively correct but, rather, contained legally flawed propositions. There is nothing to be gained by citing book and verse. A single illustration suffices.
The proffered instruction stated: “the person [providing the alleged support] must have a direct connection to the group [FTO] and be working directly with the group [FTO] for it to be a violation of the statute.” Contrary to the tenor of this statement, a direct link is neither required by statute nor mandated by HLP.
I feel my earlier concerns continue to have grounding:
In this case, the government has declared the act of translating Islamist militant propaganda to be a form of criminal “material support” if done in “coordination” with designated foreign terrorist groups. Thanks to the Supreme Court’s refusal to define the level of coordination needed before speech can be criminalized in the HLP ruling, the government is now embracing one of the broadest definitions possible, one that doesn’t even require direct contact or a mutually recognized relationship.
It is increasingly unclear how one could engage in “independent advocacy” on behalf of an FTO without being seen as “coordinating” with the FTO in the US government’s eyes. The reason is obvious enough: militant groups with political goals tend to request all the advocacy they can get. If someone in the US without any connections to Hamas were to start a website offering verbal support for Hamas and translating Hamas propaganda, it would be almost almost impossible to conclude that the individual was not “coordinating” its activities with Hamas using the US government’s definition of the term. This is because Hamas would most likely welcome and encourage verbal support from anyone in any part of the world, just as any other group would.
The Minnesota attorney general is suing a Florida company that was a major buyer of overdraft debt from Minnesota banks, accusing it of churning out reams of fake bank affidavits to use in its collection from individuals and businesses. United Credit Recovery LLC was allegedly churning out computer-generated affidavits with bank logos, cutting and pasting supposedly notarized signatures of bank officials onto the documents to make them look authentic. The electronically robo-signed documents were used for years on a “mass scale,” not only to persuade people that they owed the money but also to convince courts to award judgments and to hike the value of portfolios for resale, according to a complaint the state filed Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court.
Attorney General Lori Swanson said her office doesn’t know how many Minnesotans were affected, but it’s at least several thousand. “The numbers are really astronomical,” Swanson said in an interview. The affidavits go beyond the traditional robo-signing that was a hallmark of the country’s mortgage debacle, where employees physically signed stacks of paper without regard to the facts. “Here it’s a cut-and-paste job. It takes traditional robo-signing to a whole new level,” Swanson said. “We have not seen this scale both in terms of the brazenness of it and the sheer numbers.”
For more information about this specific case, see Courthouse News Service’s article.
For some further context on this wider scandal, see New York Times, 31 October 2010:
“The difference is that in the case of debt buyers, the abuses are much worse,” says Richard Rubin, a consumer lawyer in Santa Fe, N.M.” At least when it comes to mortgages, the banks have the right address, everyone agrees about the interest rate. But with debt buyers, the debt has been passed through so many hands, often over so many years, that a lot of time, these companies are pursuing the wrong person, or the charges have no lawful basis.”
See also New York Times, 12 August 2012:
“I would say that roughly 90 percent of the credit card lawsuits are flawed and can’t prove the person owes the debt,” said Noach Dear, a civil court judge in Brooklyn, who said he presided over as many as 100 such cases a day.
Interviews with dozens of state judges, regulators and lawyers, however, indicated that such flaws are increasingly common in credit card suits. In certain instances, lenders are trying to collect money from consumers who have already paid their bills or increasing the size of the debts by adding erroneous fees and interest costs.
At times, lawsuits include falsified credit card statements, produced years after borrowers supposedly fell behind on their bills, according to the judges and others in the industry. “This is robo-signing redux,” Peter Holland, a lawyer who runs the Consumer Protection Clinic at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
- Where is the media on this? A search for “United Credit Recovery” on Google News currently brings up only 6 results.
- Why aren’t criminal charges being pursued? Forgery on official legal documents is a serious offense, at least I thought it was. According to Minnesota’s laws: “Whoever intentionally presents for filing, registering, or recording, or files, registers, or records a false or forged instrument relating to or affecting real or personal property in a public office entitled to file, register, or record such instrument when genuine may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than three years or to payment of a fine of not more than $5,000, or both.”
It’s amazing how blatant this is getting. It probably already has occurred that these agencies are just fabricating debt out of thin air from people.
Few arenas of public policy encapsulate American society’s cruelest and most shameful impulses as that of immigration.
There is no denying it any longer: the current draconian regime of immigration management in the US is one of the most sadistic enterprises this nation has ever undertaken. It is responsible for massive death, impoverishment, hyper-exploitation and unspeakable human misery. It has torn apart families and put children behind bars. It has led desperate travelers to untimely and agonizing deaths under the desert sun. It has empowered a security apparatus that has little regard for civil liberties or human rights with bloated budgets and expanded authority. In the name of “immigration enforcement” and “border security” America has once again created a behemoth that robs the dignity of millions of the most vulnerable human beings. Instead of addressing some of the root causes of unauthorized immigration the US has, once again, decided to confront a problem head on with massive criminalization and militarization. The consequences are tragic but predictable.
The business of putting human beings into cages and kicking them out of the country for their lack of bureaucratic approval may be perceived as a basic and legitimate function for any national government in today’s supposedly globalized world. It is also true that undocumented immigrants are in the country illegally. However, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “any law that degrades human personality is unjust” and “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” US immigration law is broken at best and an immoral atrocity at worst. Since the 1990′s, it has refused to take into account the unique circumstances that led millions of migrants to make the dangerous trek through the southwestern border without authorization. It also operates on the principle that goods and capital are legally entitled to maximum freedom of movement through national borders while human beings can remain hindered by quotas and red tape. Whether intended or not, this has led to the creation of an international form of apartheid.
The Wider Context: Neo-liberalism & Inadequate Legal Avenues
The fact is that the influx of desperate Mexican peasants is largely a result of neo-liberal reforms the US encouraged Mexico to undertake through IMF and World Bank conditionalities in the 1980′s as well as the signing of NAFTA in 1993. Reduced Mexican state support for agriculture as well as the flooding of the country with heavily subsidized US agricultural goods (especially corn) pushed millions of farmers off of their traditional lands and would later result in massive food insecurity when international prices shot back up. This may sound like “Blame America First” bilge at first, but the basic premise of peasant displacement is acknowledged by leading anti-immigration crusader Mark Krikorian, whose only lament is that “neither country did anything meaningful to make sure that the excess Mexican peasantry moved to Mexico’s cities instead of ours.”
As to the question of why displaced Mexicans did not immigrate to the US legally, the simple answer is that they were not allowed. The US has in place a per country cap for green cards that puts populous countries like Mexico at a great disadvantage. Also, green cards based on employment are heavily geared towards high-skilled workers. Out of the 140,000 green cards granted annually for employment reasons, only 5,000 are reserved for low-skilled workers. Put together with the high demand for low-wage labor from farms, slaughterhouses and meat-packing plants, illegal immigration was heavily incentivized. That’s not to say there were not significant, often deadly, barriers in the way for individuals coming across the Mexican border.
The Monstrosity of Border Security and the US-Mexico Death Trap
“To put this death toll in perspective, the fortified US border with Mexico has been more than 10 times deadlier to migrants from Mexico during the past nine years than the Berlin Wall was to East Germans throughout its 28-year existence.”
–Professor Wayne Cornelius, 2005 (when death toll was 2,978)
It is incredibly difficult to deny the sadism and cruelty underlying the US’ border security strategy. Since the early 1990s, more than 6,000 unauthorized border-crossers have lost their lives attempting to get into the US from Mexico. There is little doubt that draconian border security policy plays an enormous role in making this death toll possible. Since the early 1990s, the US Border Patrol has engaged in a policy of “prevention through deterrence.” By positioning a heavy Border Patrol presence on stretches of the border close to urban areas, this has encouraged undocumented travelers to attempt to enter the US through inhospitable and dangerous terrains. This is known as the “funnel effect.”
It is perhaps no coincidence that the genesis of today’s border security strategy took place the same year NAFTA was signed. In September 1993, Operation Blockade (later renamed “Operation Hold the Line”) positioned some 400 Border Patrol agents along a twenty-mile line of the southern border between El Paso and Juárez. The initiative was the brainchild of Silvestre Reyes, who was head of Border Patrol operations for the El Paso sector at the time. The popularity of this measure eventually lead to the strategy being replicated in the San Diego border sector with Operation Gatekeeper being launched in September 1994. Reyes, for his part, took advantage of his reputation as a successful enforcer against illegal immigration to win a seat in the House of Representatives for Texas’ 16th Congressional district, where he became a “major player” in the “military/homeland security complex.” As the ACLU puts it, this was the moment that “death was inserted into border security strategy” (p. 21).
In 2000, INS commissioner Doris Meissner confirmed that utilizing the deadly terrain of the southwestern US was part of the official strategy. She informed the Arizona Republic that her agency was convinced “geography would be an ally to us” and that “it was our sense that the number of people crossing the border through Arizona would go down to a trickle, once people realized what it’s like” (p. 5).
In a 2002 hearing before the U.S. Commission for Civil Rights, UC San Diego Professor Wayne Cornelius declared that the massive enforcement actions taken in ‘securing’ the US-Mexican border “constituted the most obvious, the most acute, and the most systemic violation of human rights occurring on U.S. soil today.”
In the summer of 2006, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) declared the problem to be a “humanitarian crisis” and requested a GAO report on the matter. The report asserted that:
Increased enforcement efforts in the San Diego and El Paso sectors that began in 1994 ultimately resulted in the redirection of migrant flows to eastern California and the Sonoran Desert of Arizona. [...] Studies of migrant deaths along the southwest border at the time concluded that, while migrants had always faced danger crossing the border and many died before INS began the Southwest Border Strategy, following the implementation of the strategy, there was an increase in border-crossing deaths resulting from exposure to either extreme heat or cold” (p. 8-9).
The actual deaths are predictably nothing short of excruciating. The GAO report states that “many migrants suffer severe dehydration and heat exhaustion as a result of attempting to cross the desert where temperatures can exceed 115 degrees in the summer” (p. 9). Evelyn Nieves describes it this way:
The deaths are full of suffering. People have suffocated in airless trucks, died in vehicle crashes, been struck by lightening or drowned. Most often, though, they are felled by heatstroke or dehydration. Some carry no identification and, in a tragic irony, end up where they wanted to be, in the United States—but in anonymous pauper’s graves (Quoted on p. 31).
The bodies continue to be discovered to this very day. In FY 2012, at least 171 migrants died while attempting to get in through the southern Arizona desert.
COMING SOON: PART 2
In the second part of this series, I will explain the plight of undocumented immigrants who made it past the border death trap and are living in the shadows in the US. It will examine their exploitation by unscrupulous businesses and how their undocumented status impedes their labor rights. It will also delve into the massive detention and deportation complex as well as the perverse role played by private corrections companies.
Bacon, David. 2012. “How US Policies Fueled Mexico’s Great Migration.” Nation, Janaury 23. http://www.thenation.com/article/165438/how-us-policies-fueled-mexicos-great-migration.
Jimenez, Maria. 2009. Humanitarian Crisis: Migrant Deaths at the US-Mexico Border. American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Mexican National Commission of Human Rights. http://bit.ly/18WU9iE.
Martínez, Daniel E. and Robin Reineke. 2013. “New Report Shows that Migrant Deaths Remain High in Arizona.” Border Wars. June 4. http://nacla.org/blog/2013/6/4/new-report-shows-migrant-deaths-remain-high-arizona.
No More Deaths. 2008. Crossing the Line: Human Rights Abuses of Migrants in Short-Term Custody on the Arizona/Sonora Border. Tucson. http://www.cultureofcruelty.org/documents/2008_report/.
No More Deaths. 2011. A Culture of Cruelty: Abuse and Impunity in Short-Term US Border Patrol Custody. Tucson. http://www.cultureofcruelty.org/documents/2011_report/.
Unnamed No More Deaths participant. 2011. “Designed to Kill: Border Policy & How to Change It.” 21 June. http://elenemigocomun.net/2011/06/designed-kill-border-policy/.
US Government Accountability Office. 2006. Border-Crossing Deaths Have Doubled Since 1995; Border Patrol’s Efforts to Prevent Deaths Have Not Been Fully Evaluated. http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-06-770.
According to the Guardian (15 October 2013), there is a renewed effort on the part of civil rights activists and members of US Congress to pressure the Justice Department to further investigate the 11 October 1985 murder of Palestinian-American activist Alex Odeh by likely members of the Jewish Defense League (JDL). The article neglects to mention the inexcusable role the Israeli government has played in preventing the murderers from being brought to justice.
In November 1987, the Village Voice disclosed the existence of an FBI memo that accused Israeli authorities of hindering the US investigation into a series of domestic bombings allegedly committed by the JDL, including the one that killed Odeh.
The memo said that the Israeli government’s responses to repeated FBI requests for information about JDL suspects now residing in Israel ”have been untimely, incomplete and in certain cases no response was rendered,” the Voice said. [...] According to the Voice, the document it obtained said ”numerous leads have been forwarded through FBI (headquarters) to the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service in Washington. Response to these leads is crucial for the solution of the 25 terrorist incidents and other criminal activity perpetrated by the JDL. ”Lead requests were for telephone subscriber information, criminal background information, arrest records, prison contacts, associates, residence status, and travel documentations.” Although there have been discussions between the Israelis and the Americans, ”no sustained improvement in the flow of information has been released,” the document said. The document said the FBI ”has developed several key suspects, many of whom have fled the United States and sought asylum in Kiryat Arba,” a large Jewish settlement on the West Bank (Associated Press, 18 November 1987; See also: Los Angeles Times, 19 November 1987).
There is also much indication that Israel refuses to extradite the suspected bombers due to widespread support for their terrorist deeds among the Israeli right-wing. According to a Los Angeles Times expose (13 May 1990), the prime suspects have been known to US authorities soon after Odeh was killed: Keith Fuchs, Andy Green and Robert Manning. All three had a history of terrorist violence in the name of far-right Zionism. Robert Manning was eventually convicted in 1993 for a 1980 mail bombing that killed a secretary at a computer company (Los Angeles Times, 15 October 1993), but was never tried for his alleged involvement in the Odeh assassination. Keith Fuchs and Andy Green are still believed to be living freely in a West Bank settlement (Los Angeles Times, 11 October 2007).
As Robert I. Friedman, the author of a book about Rabbi Meir Kahane, once put it:
Any attempt to extradite the suspects, the [US] officials fear, would be met in Israel by a firestorm of protest from right-wing legislators. [...] Justice Department sources assert that Israel is still obstructing its investigation. While liberal Israeli politicians familiar with the case concede as much, they hasten to add that this is not out of love for the JDL trio, but because many Israelis view those who slay Arab-American supporters of the Palestine Liberation Organization or alleged Nazis as heroes. That makes Israel’s compliance with an extradition request very difficult (Los Angeles Times, 13 May 1990).