Free Ali Al-Timimi

August 31, 2008

Jess Ghannam

Filed under: Jess Ghannam — sandboxarea @ 9:18 pm

Former President of the Arab-American Anti-Defamation League in San Francisco

“For a growing number of legal scholars and Islamic community leaders concerned about American courts discriminating against Muslims, Dr. Al-Timimi’s case is a harbinger of how Muslim believers are becoming the target of a new emerging kind of civil rights discrimination”.


Kenneth Anderson

Filed under: Kenneth Anderson — sandboxarea @ 9:18 pm

Professor at Washington College of Law, American University, Washington DC, and a Research Fellow of the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

“Essentially, I think the US government overreached in its theories against Dr. Al-Timimi to the point of criminalizing speech as such, and I think there are serious First Amendment problems with that.

“I think there were grounds on which he could and should have been convicted for actual direction and participation, rather than speech alone, but the government’s theories went well beyond that point. It is not the conviction as such that disturbs me, but the overreaching government theories that create serious First Amendment issues.

“If you look at how the government presented its case throughout the course of the trial, it did not limit itself by any means to saying, Dr. Al-Timimi was directing his followers to do this or that; the government prosecutors really argued – also argued – that one could not preach, in the abstract, that one should take up arms against the United States. It is what the prosecutors ‘also argued’ that troubles me in this case. If they wanted to establish a strong precedent that you can’t preach violence against the US, they did so – but that is the wrong precedent, historically and legally, under the First Amendment.

“Perhaps there are ways in which these lines can be sorted out on appeal.

“I may as well add that the safety of the First Amendment lies in the hands of conservatives, not liberals. It’s not because conservatives attack the First Amendment and liberals defend it – on the contrary, progressives have long been disenchanted with the First Amendment, because it gets in the way of liberal authoritarianism to impose its standards – on schools, on workplaces, on universities, on churches, and so on – without having to argue and debate them. That disenchantment grows as liberals look with longing to other societies in the world without First Amendment protections and see how much easier it is for liberal elites to control public opinion. So it becomes a special obligation of conservatives and libertarians to be First Amendment purists, proudly and without dilution, protecting even hateful and wicked speech in the way liberals used to, before they discovered their authoritarian streak.”.

David Cole

Filed under: David Cole — sandboxarea @ 9:17 pm

Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center

After the April 2005 sentencing, Professor Cole said that the judement against Dr. Al-Timimi was “overly harsh” and that the US Governement’s case “raised questions about the violation of First Amendment free speech rights”.

Tim Davis

Filed under: Tim Davis — sandboxarea @ 9:16 pm

The Suffocation of Free Speech under the Gravity of Danger of Terrorism

American University, Washington College Of Law

On July 14, 2005, Dr. Ali Al-Timimi was sentenced to life in prison plus 70 years for acts of pure speech.

With the full might of the FBI and the Department of Justice, the same organizations that “dropped the ball on 9/11”, the government descended upon Dr. Al-Timimi like a “pack of wolves on an elk carcass.” The lead prosecutor, Mr. Kromberg, used every opportunity to portray Dr. Al-Timimi as a religious zealot with links to terrorism who ordered his mindless devotees to take up jihad against Unites States soldiers, regardless of the actual truth. Sadly, in the process, the United States First Amendment has taken another beating.

The United States government did not meet its burden of proof and there was a reasonable doubt as to what Dr. Al-Timimi advocated. Furthermore, if Dr. Al-Timimi looses his appeal, the fundamental constitutional right of free speech will take a serious blow.

There is no evidence that Dr. Al-Timimi was the “Virginia Jihad network” ringleader. Mr. Kromberg elicited testimony from the “Virginia Jihad” defendants that Dr. Al-Timimi was well respected and answered many of their questions concerning Islam.

In contrast, Dr. Al-Timimi did not associate with the “Virginia Jihad” defendants, he was not friends with any of them. In fact, other than the September 16th meeting, Dr. Al-Timimi had minimal contact with the “Virginia Jihad” defendants. However, there is abundant testimony that Dr. Al-Timimi answered numerous Islamic permissibility questions, not only from the “Virginia Jihad” defendants but also from any Mosque attendee.

In fact, there is little or no evidence that Al-Timimi directed anyone to do anything. Rather the evidence points to a scholar who at all times was eager to give advice to anyone who would listen. Instead of being a ringleader, Dr. Al-Timimi was a low ranking Muslim scholar who was a messenger between other Muftis and the Muslims at the Mosque.

Dr. Al-Timimi did not cross over the line of speech and commit any overt physical acts of aiding and abetting. Likewise, Dr. Al-Timimi did not aid and abet the “Virginia Jihad” defendants through instructional speech. Accordingly, Dr. Al-Timimi should not be sentenced to life in prison plus 70 years for averring his religious convictions.

(Please note that this is an edited extract. The original source contains the following notice: This working paper is hosted by The Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress) and may not be commercially reproduced without the permission of the copyright holder. Copyright c 2006 by the author.)

Jonathan Turley

Filed under: Jonathan Turley — sandboxarea @ 9:15 pm

Professor at The George Washington University School of Law

Prior to leading Ali’s appeal, Professor Turley commented on Dr. Al-Timimi beliefs on Armageddon and the US Government’s case. In the truest form of defending the US Constitution, Professor Turley said that “it is never about the defendants. It was not about the racist fantasies of Brandenburg. It certainly is not about the apocalyptic fantasies of Al-Timimi. It is ultimately about us and who we are. With Al-Timimi’s conviction, we face that moment of self-definition again as his articles of speech become the test of our own articles of faith”.

Known for exposing state and federal violations of a defendant’s rights in the court room as a means by which the government can coerce a jury, Professor Turley was critical of the Government’s court room conduct. When prosecutors intimidated the jury with one of Dr. Al-Timimi’s writings authored years after Ali’s alleged criminal speech, Professor Turley commented: “The relevance of such statements is questionable, but the potential prejudicial impact could not be more clear”.

Islamic Knowledge

Filed under: Islamic Knowledge — sandboxarea @ 9:15 pm

In addition to his scientific background, Ali possesses a background in Islamic studies. In 1987, he was the recipient of a scholarship to study theology at the Islamic University of Medina, Saudi Arabia. While living in Medina, Ali furthered his studies with the great scholars of the Prophet’s mosque.

Due to his passion for learning, Ali quickly progressed in his studies and is recognized as one of the few Muslim experts in the US in the field of Islamic Theology and Philosophy. He has taught both Theology and Quranic studies at the university level.

For over 15 years Ali has delivered hundreds of Islamic workshops and lectures locally and around the world.

PhD in Computational Biology

Filed under: PhD in Cancer Research — sandboxarea @ 9:15 pm

On December 1, 2004, Ali successfully defended his dissertation on “Chaos and Complexity in Cancer” and was awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy in Computational Biology. He also holds undergraduate degrees in both Biology and Computer Science.

In a recently published article about Ali, Curtis Jamison– Ali’s dissertation director at George Mason University– said Ali’s innovations in computational biology pointed to a significant breakthrough in cancer research. Ali was hired by the University to design a computer system that coordinated the research of several universities. While he was at George Mason, Ali published or co-published a dozen scientific papers.

Ali loved to discuss ideas, Jamison said, and at no point did he find an Islamic influence in his views, much less a religious extremism.

Who is Dr. Ali Al-Timimi

Filed under: About Ali — sandboxarea @ 9:14 pm

Dr. Ali Al-Timimi is a first generation American.

Born in 1963, Ali was raised in Washington DC. His parents immigrated from Iraq to America in the 1950’s. A cancer researcher and an expert on Islamic theology and philosophy; on July 14, 2005 Dr. Al-Timimi was unjustly sentenced to life in US prison plus 70 years for speaking about Islam.

Labels and Libel

Filed under: Labels and Libel — sandboxarea @ 12:54 pm



211 and 187 are just numbers. But make sure you never joke with a California Highway Patrol officer about a “one-eight-seven” during a traffic stop. You probably won’t make it home in one piece. Words have power and words can sometimes have a hidden meaning.

The government lawyers frequently employ a set of code words to describe Ali. Even a year prior to his indictment the government started a smear campaign against Ali by planting stories in the media about him. Unfortunately, members of the press were all too willing to parrot the government’s descriptions.

I wanted to highlight how the use of certain words can prejudice the listener. As I discussed in “Judge Me, Judge Me Not“, the Magistrate who authorized Ali’s search warrant could only rely on the government’s characterization of Ali. To secure the warrant, the government used the special words: Islamic group, military training, and WMD (weapons of mass destruction).

As none of those descriptions were truthful, we should perhaps label them as Words of Malicious Deception. The goal was to not only to secure a Magistrate’s signature… but to begin Ali’s trial in the media. Irrespective of your opinion of any specific newspaper or journalist, the fact remains that democracies need journalist to tell the truth. In fact, Congress enacted laws to ensure that the US press would not be manipulated by the CIA. And the much discussed reporter shield law might further strengthen our democracy.


In this post, I wanted to focus on the use of cul-de-sac which was used by the Washington Post to describe the location of Ali’s house. If we look at the other description used to characterize Ali’s home, the reporter described it as a “brick townhouse”, located on “Meadow Field Court”, which is “near” a huge shopping center called “Fair Oaks Mall”, which is located “in Fairfax” which is one of the wealthiest suburbs in America. 


So, the use of cul-de-sac provides no additional clarification to the reader. You might say that the reporter was just being thorough. Hummm. That’s sooo… September 10 thinking. The intent was to slyly communicate that Ali had a siege mentality much like various American militia members who build bunkers in their homes.

Ali lived in a residential community which contained over 100 townhouses. You know, with the typical layout were you’re sandwiched by your neighbors… the type where the neighbor’s cat hops over the adjacent deck… because you treat it better.


So did Ali live in the cul-de-sac area of the property… no. Ali lived at the corner before you get to the cul-de-sac. Why? Dislike of French words? Maybe that’s why he never lived in New Orleans with all those Rues. Does it mater? Only if you’re trying to lend credence to the government’s “WMD” absurdities.


So did the reporter intentionally mislead the readers be weaving the cul-de-sac lie into the WMD story line? What do you think? If so, it was masterfully done. Perhaps I should renew my Washington Post subscription if not for the truth then at least for the fiction writing.

Woodward and Bernstein preserve us!

August 28, 2008

Cone of Silence

Filed under: Cone of Silence — sandboxarea @ 3:46 am


Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now?


Shhhh. Don’t let the defense know… or the press. This is just for you. Wink, wink. You’re special. We can trust you today and maybe tomorrow. Oh and we’ll tell you in the future that we lied to you in the past but you’ll be able to overlook that. We’re the GOVERNMENT and we decide if and when we’ll tell you the truth and which parts of it. We’re the GOVERNMENT and we control the narrative of Ali’s story, don’t we.

Most people know that the government has a bad habit of over classification… even those things that were once unclassified or declassified can get reclassified… just because. One of the consequences of this is that it enables government employees to cover up crimes, negligence, or waste. If the boss can cover up his mistakes no matter how egregious then why can’t a grunt? 

In Ali’s case, the government lawyers applied and continue to apply 3 types of control over information. Of course, we’re talking about the unethical and perhaps criminal means of information control. These tactics undermine the judicial process and consequently negate the protections of the Constitution.

The first tactic used by the government is to reclassify documents already disclosed in previous trials. As we will discuss in the post “Out of Sequence Prosecutions”, for the government to win in Ali’s case and many of the related cases, the government had to isolate the defendants into arbitrary trials so that it could deny access to information through claims of relevance. Additionally, it had to conduct the trials in an incongruent sequence so that the court, press, jury, and more importantly the defendants would always be off-balance and have to defend against wild accusations “statements of fact” that were made in previous trials in which they could not defend themselves since they were not part of those proceedings.


Here’s an example of a topic which was declassified in the Paintball trial and then reclassified in Ali’s case:



The second technique of inappropriate information control used by the government is to use broken English linguistic barriers in their responses:


After consulting a smart 5th grader, we found out that “… no information not provided…” really means: “I found stuff at the NSA but I don’t want to say so. So I’m going to try to confuse you.

This is known as the “no, not, but” dialect of American English.

A more truthful response would be: “As you know, the Appeals Court ordered me to investigate if the NSA or any other group within US Government failed to disclose information. Today I declare that the US Government failed to disclose information.” Then the court and defense would work with the government to determine if the undisclosed information was relevant. Instead the government pissed on the role of the court determined that the information was previously given to the defense during the pre-trial phase. Continuing to piss on the court Continuing its analysis, the government also qualified that the information to which it is referring only relates to “entitled” information which is also “discoverable”. The government prefers to make its own determination if evidence is “discoverable” and if the defense is “entitled” to it.

Though this invalidates 100s of years of American and British Law; in Alexandria this is known as bypassing the Court in Discovery and Entitlement or as the kids will learn this semester in Law School: Going from the “D”-to-the-“E” without starting at the “C”. 


So why would the government use this amount of obfuscation? A smarter 5th grader explained that the government presented during pre-trial only what appeared to be from a domestic source (that is, the FBI). Since the government lawyer found information at the NSA, that means that the NSA was also performing domestic monitoring of the Paintballers and Ali and maintained its own files. So, the government lawyer had to move the focus to the entitlement aspect and speak in the “no, not, but” style now famous in Alexandria.


The third technique used by the government to circumvent its legal obligation of discovery is to provide classified information to the judge directly without the government lawyers, defense lawyers, or even the court clerks having access to the information.



After using this technique and making a mockery of the US legal system for 4 years, the Court recently declared:




Of course the government also uses other techniques to hide the truth by forgetting to answer questions, answering the wrong questions, saying that other people in the future will answer the questions, etc but the above-mentioned 3 techniques seem to be the most damaging to the legal profession, the responsiblity of representing the Government of the United States, and the American way.

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