Below is a link to the local Channel 10 article and TV program covering the panel discussion held at the Maxwell School of Citizenship, Syracuse University, on Thursday evening . I have been unable to see the video on my computer, but reading the article has made me want to consider seriously whom I want to speak to in the media. Someone who did see the TV coverage said that I was shown for approximately 1 minute saying something not very consequential to encourage people to take a closer look at the case. This one-minute of coverage came out of a 25-minute interview and the 50-minute panel presentation.

Coverage invariably refers to me as a “Dhafir supporter” rather than a concerned individual who went along to the trial and was alarmed at the process I witnessed and at the media coverage, with the result that I felt it was my civic duty to help give people access to information that would allow them get a fuller view of the case.

During the last 15 months of unsuccessfully trying to get another view of this case presented, I continually come back to the words of the journalist John Pilger: “Omission is the most virulent form of censorship.” How are we to survive as a democracy when there is no access to other points of view and therefore no discussion?

Channel 10 omitted any coverage of a moving speech by Magda Bayoumi who described the morning of Dhafir’s arrest when the FBI came to her house and the house of almost 150 Muslim families. These families were interrogated between the hours of 6am and 10am. As a community should we not be concerned about what happened to these families?

The article also neglected to cover examples of my witness of the Medicare part of the trial where the evidence was so weak there were days when I literally cringed. For example, a striking visual aid of a bar chart showed Dr. Dhafir’s bar to be 7″ high, and another six or seven doctors’ bars ranging from approximately 1″ to 3″. The Medicare person testifying did not know the specialties of the other doctors shown (was anyone else using expensive chemotherapy drugs?), or where these doctors were located geographically (urban or rural practice?). This meant that as a tool to extract information the bar chart was completely useless. Doesn’t the fact that the government gained a conviction on 25 counts on this kind of evidence warrant some kind of discussion?

Coverage also neglected any mention of my concern about the continuing duplicity of the government in this case. After vigorously lobbying the judge to prevent Dr. Dhafir being allowed to defend against the charge of links to terrorism at trial, prosecutors brought that charge to sentencing and just weeks later presented a lecture entitled, “A Law Enforcement Approach to Terrorist Financing,” at Syracuse University Law School. The lecture, highlighting the case of Dr. Dhafir and his charity Help the Needy, was presented to a class of third year law students. The three prosecutors from the Dhafir case were present along with Jeff Breinholt, Deputy Chief, Counterterrorism Section United States Department of Justice.

By hosting this lecture the law school gave credence to a totally unsubstantiated charge. The boldness of the government presenting this lecture even after all I had witnessed was astounding to me, I took several days to regain my equilibrium. Should this event not be cause for discussion at least, if not concern? That we are teaching acceptability of this kind of rough justice to the coming generation of lawyers does not bode well for the future of the judicial system. And despite 4 months of trying I have been unable to get any coverage or discussion of the implications of this event in the local media, or to have it addressed at a forum sponsored by the law school.

In their recent book, “Guardians of Power: the Myth of the Liberal Media,” David Edwards and David Cromwell explain the filter system that occurs as a direct result of a media that is 70% dependent on advertising. Describing what journalists do they say: “But, of course, not questioning is a political act. In fact nothing could have been less neutral in 2002 and 2003 than echoing yet another Downing Street deception on Iraq without comment, thereby bringing closer a cynical war and the mass death of many thousands of innocent people — it could not be clearer that this “neutral” act is morally monstrous.” (p.180. See also the website:

I continue to be extremely interested in our own responsibility and complicity as individuals in what is happening. I addressed this topic in my article, “The United States v Rafil Dhafir: Individual Responsibility and Complicity.

Royce Hawkins, a mitigation specialist working on the Dhafir case and one of the panelists, said at the end of his presentation, “When your grandchildren are reading books about this dark period of history, they will look up and ask, ‘What were you doing then?’”

What will we tell them?

Link to:Channel 10