Saturday, January 25, 2014

Remembering the Good Doctor: Ten Years in Prison for Aiding the Starving Children of Iraq

Dr. Dhafir Update 

by Katherine Hughes  -

"I am stunned by the conviction of this humanitarian, especially as the US State Department breached its own sanctions to the tune of $10bn. The policy of sanctions against Iraq undermined not only the U.N.’s own charter, but the Declaration of Human Rights and the Geneva Convention as well."

- Denis Halliday, assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and head of the U.N. Humanitarian Program in Iraq 1997 and 1998.

"Unlike many of the U.S. corporations doing business in violation o f the Iraq sanctions, Dr. Dhafir's violation was not for personal enrichment but as a humanitarian doing charitable work."
- Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate

Apologies for not updating for a while, but I had been feeling overwhelmed and seem to be finally digging myself out. I did manage to get a post card made before the Plowshares Craftsfair, so I was able to give out many post cards there. I had to get a 7" x 5" card to get the information I wanted included (and even then I had to leave out quotes from patients' families :O()

If anyone would like copies of the post card sent to them please email me individually and I can send them to you. What would work best for me is if you send a stamped addressed envelope and I can just put the post cards in (tell me how many you want) and send them to you. The front of the postcard is the top picture here with Magda Bayoumi and Bob Newman (my husband). I'll post the text on the reverse side at the end of this email. I plan to send the cards to the media to see if we can get some coverage of the case. I also plan to send it to churches and synagogues to see if they will invite me to speak about the case (I've already given it out at the mosque).

My request to visit Rafil was turned down because I did not know him before his incarceration.

News of Rafil is that he doesn't currently have a lawyer and I'm not sure if he is going to write a 2255 motion himself or he has other thoughts. I know Kathy Manley is working pro bono on a brief to help Rafil get his designation changed and, if successful, that would then make Rafil eligible for the camp at Devens. Kathy Manley and Steve Downs (two most amazing lawyers and co-founders of Project SALAM) are coming to stay with me tonight. They will attend the drone trial here in Syracuse to see how the court works as they will represent a defendant in the next drone trial. It will be lovely to see them.

Bob Elmendorf has been working on a FOIR for Rafil for several years and it now looks like we will be able to send the FOIR discs to Rafil to be viewed at the prison library. This is a tremendous development because the discs run to tens of thousands of pages (at least) and to print them would be impossible, never mind the fact that they are mostly blacked out. Also, Rafil is the person who is best able to understand these documents and he also has time to read them. Hopefully, like Yassin Aref, Rafil might come across some thing(s) that can form the basis of a new appeal.

I was recently in touch with a journalist who is interested in writing about Muslim charity in post-9/11 USA. While looking for information to share, by reading through my emails of 2006/2007, I got all fired up again (I was up 2 nights until 3 a.m.) and I have an article in mind to write for Rafil's upcoming 11th anniversary, February 26th. In our correspondence the journalist mentioned a "documentary" called Jihad in America: The Great Deception? and when I watched a clip, 40 seconds in, I saw Jeff Breinholt speaking (he's the DOJ guy who wrote "Terrorist Financing," and gave the Dhafir lecture at Syracuse Law School just after Rafil's sentencing). It was hard for me to do, but I've ordered the video because I couldn't find another way to see it. I'm also interested to read the paper that Breinholt reads from in the clip. The "documentary" blurb states that is it a secret memorandum found by the FBI and is titled "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America". Has anyone come across that paper, or know any more about its origin?

If anyone would like to organize something to commemorate the anniversary of Rafil's arrest, February 26th, 2014, I would be very grateful.

Please keep Rafil in your thoughts and/or prayers and write to him so that he knows he is not forgotten: Rafil Dhafir, #11921-052-Unit HB, Federal Medical Center Devens

My best to everyone,

Never give in! :O)

Post card text:

Syracuse oncologist Dr. Dhafir has paid a heavy price for his crime of compassion: sending food and medicine to starving Iraqi civilians during the 13-year-long U.S and U.K.-sponsored UN sanctions against that country: According to UN statistics, 6,000 children under the age of 5 were dying every month--this in a country that previously had a first world standard of livingHe has already served 10 years of his 22-year sentence, please write and let him know he is not forgotten and that his humanitarian outreach is appreciated.

Rafil Dhafir, #11921-052-Unit HB, Federal Medical Center Devens, PO Box 879, Ayer MA 01432

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