[Sent in November 2005.]

Dear Dean Arterian,

I have contacted you before about my concern for what is happening to civil liberties in this country. We corresponded by email in the spring about bringing Elaine Cassel, author of “The War on Civil Liberties,” to campus.

I am contacting you again in regard to the case of Dr. Rafil Dhafir. The law school hosted a lecture with Jeff Breinholt and the three Dhafir prosecutors, Michael Olmsted, Steve Green and Greg West. The lecture was entitled “A Law Enforcement Approach To Terrorist Financing” and Dr. Dhafir’s case was being presented as an example of this.

As someone who sat through the 14-week trial of Dr. Dhafir in response to an invitation from the ACLU, I am concerned that an esteemed law school would be providing this kind of platform for the government without giving a chance for the other side to be heard. I believe this is true particularly because the government lobbied the judge successfully to disallow the charge of terrorism being part of the trial (while at the same time continuing to smear Dr. Dhafir with this charge in the media). This ruling turned into a brick wall that the defense kept hitting during the proceedings, I give examples of this on my website: www.dhafirtrial.net

The government has never provided any evidence that Dr. Dhafir helped fund terrorists. On the contrary his charity, Help the Needy, was one of the few charities getting aid through to starving Iraqi civilians. Over the course of the twelve years of brutal US sanctions, half a million children under the age of five died. Indeed, Assistant UN Secretary Denis Halliday resigned because of what he called a “genocidal policy” against Iraq.

There are another ten or so people who responded to the call for “court watchers” from the ACLU. We are all extremely concerned about what happened at the law school. In the interest of fairness these same students who heard the prosecution’s view of the facts should be able to hear another perspective. Certainly the view of the court watchers was never made available by the paper to the general public. I am hoping that we haven’t yet reached that point in academia. I hope you will be willing to set up a forum where the other side of this case can be heard.

This case has never been about just Dr. Dhafir for me; what has happened in his case is merely a symptom of a much greater problem. The degree to which individuals are complicit in what is happening will determine what kind of world we will leave to our children. This is the reason why I believe it is so vital that people have an opportunity to be informed of the whole story.

Below is an article that I wrote after the sentencing; it gives a good summary of the case and of my own concern about what is happening to civil liberties in this country. I am still available for the Friday December 2nd appointment if it becomes free again. Otherwise I look forward to meeting with you some time next week.

Katherine Hughes

[I had made the December 2nd appointment through Dean Arterian’s secretary, it was cancelled and I was not given another appointment.]

Link to article:

United States of America v Rafil A.Dhafir: Individual Responsibility and Complicity.

[Posted on this website: 7/27/06.]