About Project SALAM - Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims
Following 9/11 the FBI and Justice Department indicated that they were operating under a new paradigm of preventing terrorist attacks before they occurred. This paradigm suggested that charges could be brought against people who they suspected might commit crimes in order to obtain convictions before any crimes actually occurred. Such prosecutions seem in fact to have occurred and it appears that completely innocent Muslims have been convicted and sent away for long prison sentences based only on suspicion and concocted charges. In this web site we propose to examine the US post-9/11 terrorism prosecutions and determine whether in each case there was substantial evidence of criminality or simply evidence unfairly concocted and/or twisted to convict innocent Muslims.
Tactics Used in Prosecution
We also propose to examine the tactics and strategies of the prosecution in these cases to determine if the government, in their effort to obtain convictions against Muslims, has stretched legal concepts beyond the point where a fair trial is possible, and is unfairly damaging communities. These tactics include:
- The use of secret evidence and secret court opinions
- The use of “agent provocateurs”/ “informants” who agitate in the Muslim community leading to the conspiracy arrest of everyone who did not notify the FBI about the agent’s provocative conduct. These “informants” are either criminals spared long prison sentences and deportation for their help, and/or are paid large sums of money by the government.
- The use of pending immigration applications to coerce Muslims into giving false testimony against members of their community
- The use of staged press conferences and pre-trial publicity that hype unfounded and sensational terrorist allegations in order to scare communities, damage the reputation and credibility of Muslims, and influence the jury pool. Often after the damage is done, the pre-trial terrorist hype of the prosecution is shown to be completely wrong, unwarranted or greatly overdone
- The use of strategies for intimidating juries into believing that the defendants are real terrorists by excessive security, by insisting on anonymous witnesses and/or jurors, and by constantly referring in trials to “9/11” and to known terrorists such as “Osama bin Laden” even where these references are legally irrelevant to the charges.
- The use at trial of bogus experts who are not independent scholars, and who make a living by simply parroting the government’s theory in case after case.
- The practice of opposing, often successfully, attempts by the defense to introduce experts to explain the political and religious realities of the Muslim community, while the government is allowed to present their own extremely distorted views in this regard.
- The use of translators who are not independent and give the most one sided pro-government translation of foreign words out of context.
- The practice of routinely charging defendants with lying to the government based on unrecorded interviews, often conducted under extreme pressure, where it is essentially the agent’s word against the defendant’s.
- The practice of incarcerating Muslims together in prisons designed to restrict their interaction with the outside world (Communication Management Units (CMU)), and to restrict their religious practices while in prison. This includes severe limitations on family visits to non-contact visits which requires family members to see each other only through a plate glass window and to talk to each other only on a telephone.
- The use of extensive surveillance, including illegal warrantless wiretapping, to monitor targets and their associates, including their attorneys.
- The use of extremely complex or vague charges and legal instructions which confuse the jury.
- The use of charges of “material support for terrorism” which the government has said can be used against anyone who donated to or did anything for a particular group, even if the donor had no knowledge that the group was considered terrorist by anyone
- The excessive and inappropriate use of Conspiracy charges and the use of guilt by association to smear those who have innocent contacts with known or suspected terrorists, and to link innocent people with each other in an alleged criminal association, using one against the other.