Operation Imminent Horizon
An edited version of the article on the left appeared as a letter to the editor to the Syracuse Post Standard on December 10, 2003.
Operation Imminent Horizon
On February 26th of this year(2003) federal authorities attacked our Muslim community(Syracuse, NY) as part of an operation code named 'Imminent Horizon'. Its purpose ABC News (March 5, 2003) reported was to "disrupt and rattle" potential terrorist operations ahead of the invasion of Iraq. Deemed as a risk by Attorney General Ashcroft were Dr. Rafil Dhafir, an USA citizen, and 150 predominantly Muslim families that had made donations to Dr. Dhafir's charity Help the Needy. Help the Needy provided humanitarian aid to Iraq. The February 26th raid was the largest interrogation of Muslims in America undertaken by federal agents at one time.
Shaking the Tree
ABC news said that; "it's called "shaking the tree," - creating doubts, trying to rattle potential terrorists." This paper reported that up to 150 Muslim families ('Up 150 questioned, Dr. Denied Bail', March 1, 2003, Renee Gadoua) were asked obtrusive and inappropriate questions. Nothing fell from those interrogations or from Dr. Rafil Dhafir who still sits in jail denied bail. All the bluster and innuendo of terrorism as implied by Attorney General Aschroft on the day of Dr. Dhafir's arrest has not materialized. The only thing Dr. Dhafir is guilty of is as the editorial in the Sept/Oct issue of Fellowship magazine noted was to; "put humanitarian compassion higher than the cruel sanctions that for over a decade starved the Iraqi people." His internment and treatment has all the hideous aspects of other such government operations designed to intimidate and coerce innocent citizens as was the case of Wen Ho Lee.
Consider. A full-scale investigation of Dr. Dhafir began three years earlier, yet the government chose to arrest him ahead of the war with Iraq. Countless other organizations and individuals concerned about the devastating effects of the sanctions similarly defied them and were not arrested. Nor were any of the folks that had aided them interrogated, as were the 150 Muslim families who had donated to Dhafir's charity. The only thing that distinguished Dr. Dhafir, a US citizen, from the other charities was that he was born in Iraq and was a Muslim. Ashcroft stated the purpose of arresting Dhafir was to prevent terrorism ahead of the war--the goal of Imminent Horizon. Was ABC silenced about further reporting on Operation Imminent Horizon as was attempted with news anchor Peter Jennings when he reported about troubles with the planning of the war?
This patriot act type of behavior inflicted upon our community by Attorney General Ashcroft has eerie similarities to the injuries done by another righteous Federal lawman--J. Edgar Hoover. While Hoover focused his agent's attention and our country's resources on the titillating aspects of sex and personality, Ashcroft has focused them on his perverted view of religion. A self-proclaimed devout bible believer and follower of Christ, Ashcroft defies the central teaching of Christ to love your enemies and instead chooses to define his faith through condemnation, persecution and violence. His actions corroborate the crusader image by which so much blood has been spilled.
Help us stop the persecution of innocent American citizens such as Rafil Dhafir at the hands of crusaders emblazoned by the patriot act. Call your Federal senators and representative. Tell them that you want a full investigation of Operation Imminent Horizon and a list of innocent American citizens that fell victim to it. Tell them that at a time when our country is being challenged by terrorism and finances that our resources could be better spent other than by targeting those that the righteous considers 'evil doers'.
Madis senner, lives in Syracuse NY
From ABC News
Iraq's Attack Network
The United States is secretly asking for help from more than 60 countries - nations ranging from Bahrain, Yemen and Egypt to Italy and Japan. Intelligence sources say the United States has a list of about 300 suspected Iraqi agents.
The domestic part of this operation has already swung into action in New York. Sources say the United States is expelling two Iraqi diplomats from the Iraqi mission to the United Nations. The diplomats - both attachés - are named Nazih Abul Latif Rachman and Yehia Naeem Suaoud. They have until Friday, March 7, to depart the United States.
'Shaking the Tree'
Overseas, sources say most of the suspected Iraqi agents are also hidden in their embassies, using diplomatic jobs as cover. The United States will ask host nations to expel them, just as it is doing in New York.
A much smaller number of suspected agents are said to be posing as businessmen or students. The United States will ask that they be arrested.
If there is no cooperation, sources say the United States will mount its own harassment campaign - letting suspected Iraqi agents know they are now being watched.
In law enforcement terms, it's called "shaking the tree," - creating doubts, trying to rattle potential terrorists.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., said he believes there is a definite threat - of increasing magnitude - from Iraqi agents overseas.
"It is more likely that something will take place in another nation involving Americans or American institutions than in this country," said Rockefeller, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. "I will say this, that our agencies are on top of it."
Agents Found Before
Two days after the start of the last war against Iraq in 1991, Iraqi agents tried to blow up a U.S. government cultural center in the Philippines. The bomb detonated prematurely, killing one Iraqi and severely injuring another.
In the aftermath, the United States discovered more than two dozen Iraqi agents throughout the region.
And more recently, on Feb. 14, also in the Philippines, an Iraqi diplomat named Husham Husain was expelled for his alleged ties to the Philippine terrorist group Abu Sayyaf.
Sources say the CIA, FBI and military intelligence agencies have worked on this operation for more than a year - a period during which they say evidence has continued to mount that Baghdad intends to strike.
"It's very telling about the policies of this country that Muslims and people affiliated with it (the Muslim community) are handcuffed and so quickly taken away when relatively all-white, Christian peace groups have been treated as we have, which is the threat of fines or minimal fines," Mostofi said."
"Suddaby said he does not know why federal officials have not investigated the peace organizations and enforced the law."
OTHER GROUP HELPING IN IRAQ NOT PROSECUTED; The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), March 7, 2003 pA1; yline: Renee K. Gadoua Staff writer