FBI agent testifies a 3rd day (Sept. 30, 2008)

The jury’s faces seemed emotionless much of Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008 as they watched numerous Palestinian patriotic videos of events that took place in the U.S. more than 15 years ago. Many jurors cracked small smiles, however, when U.S. District Judge Jorge Solis told them they were leaving at lunch. Reason: The witness on the stand, FBI agent Lara Burns, was sick.

Prosecutors started by playing a long tapped phone call between two men—none of which were Holy Land Foundation (HLF) defendants. The men said defendant Shukri Abu-Baker wanted to invite Hamas member Jamil Hamami to the U.S. to speak and raise funds for the HLF. Burns pointed out that the phone call took place before Hamami left Hamas.

The next wiretapped call that jurors listened to was lengthy and edited conference call between several Palestine Committee members, including defendant Abu-Baker. They were trying to resolve a dispute between the HLF and another American Muslim charity, AL-Aqsa Education Fund, which also wanted to invite Hamami to the U.S. to raise funds. By the end of the tedious phone call, the individuals concluded that the HLF will split the proceeds with Hamami from the money he raised. Burns said that Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook intervened in this dispute, which goes against Abu-Baker sworn statement in which he said he was not aware of any personal relationship between Abu Marzook and the HLF.

Prosecutor Barry Jonas played about a dozen other tapped phone calls between Abu-Baker and other Palestine Committee members. The calls were meant to further connect the HLF to the Palestine Committee and further clarify the conspiracy.

The edited video clips then began playing. One clip showed defendant Mohammad El-Mezain at a Los Angeles event organized by the Islamic Association of Palestine sitting between Hamas leaders Jamail Hamami and Mahmud Al-Zahar. This clip, Burns said, also went against Abu-Baker’s sworn statement where he said he was not aware of a personal connection between the HLF and Hamas.

Another clip showed Mufid Abdulqader singing Palestinian traditional songs on a stage with his fellow band members. They sang songs like this one: Ya Hamas Thuri Thuri, Bil Hijar Ou Bil Baroodi. (Oh Hamas revolt revolt, with the stone and with the gunpowder.

The next excerpt was of a skit performed by Abdulqader and another individual dressed like an Israeli soldier. Abdulqader chanted Ana Hamas Ya’yooni (I am Hamas oh beloved) … Wahmi Bladi Falasteen (And I protect my country Palestine.) The “Israeli soldier” replied by saying Ana Esahyooni Elmanhoos (I am the sly Zionist) … Lazim Ahdim Falasteen u Akhaliha Israel (I must destrory Palestine and make it Israel.) The skit ends with Abdulqader shooting and killing the Israeli soldier.

Burns then talked about the 1990 El-Felisteen, an Arabic magazine that was distributed in the U.S., which included a piece by Shukri in which he states, “We will not accept other than Hamas.” Other issues include HLF advertisements directly above or below statements by Hamas. All of this, Burns said, also goes against Abu-Baker’s deposition where he says “I reject and abhor Hamas.”

Burns will likely finish direct examination by late Thursday, Oct. 2, 2008.

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