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HLF Trial Closing Arguments Begin

The Investigative Project on Terrorism reports that 'Deception' dominates the prosecution's closing arguments in the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas.

Jonas reminded jurors that investigators found a security manual with instructions how to avoid detection at one of the defendant's offices and that HLF officers used the word "Samah" rather than HAMAS in their conversations. In 2000, they had their office swept for bugs.

"Is this what a real charity would do?" Jonas asked repeatedly.

He pointed to Baker's 2002 sworn declaration in which he claimed to "reject and abhor Hamas, its goals and its methods" as part of a civil suit. But Baker also published an ode to Hamas in the Arabic publication Ila Filastin. "Hayzum (Gabriel's horse) Hamas has arrived," it concludes, "and we will not accept any other than Hamas." The poem was followed by a solicitation for donations to the Occupied Land Fund, HLF's original name.

Baker, Ghassan Elashi, Mohammad El-Mezain, Mufid Abdulqader and Abdulrahman Odeh are charged in a 36-count indictment with providing material support to HAMAS. Closing arguments continue today after six weeks of the trial. Prosecutors say they funneled more than $12 million to the Specially Designated Terrorist group, largely through charity organizations in the West Bank and Gaza called zakat committees.

Jonas referred jurors to exhibits showing various zakat committees and the hundreds of thousands of dollars HLF sent to each of them.

Steve Emerson's Investigative Project on Terrorism remains the best, most detailed source for coverage of the HLF trial, and it is nice to see an IPT site finally up and running. The web presence is long-overdue and is an immense public resource. You should spend a few minutes and give it a whirl. You'll be back regularly.