On March 18, 2009 the House Foreign Affairs Committee held its third hearing in an ongoing investigation into the proper role of the military in the government's foreign assistance efforts. Committee Chair Howard L. Berman (D-CA) set the direction for the discussion by asking "And what are the implications of putting a military face on development and humanitarian activities? How does this affect the way we are viewed in the world, and what is the practical impact on USAID’s ability to carry out development projects?"
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The Charity and Security Network monitors U.S. and foreign government activities and a wide range of news sources to identify developments in national security policy that impact civil society and nonprofit organizations. We collect and disseminate relevant information on our website, via our Twitter and Facebook accounts, and through our biweekly email newsletter, which contains links to a variety of news articles. To read the most recent issues of our email newsletter or to subscribe, click here.
Our staff also creates news pieces on events and developments of particular interest to our members that are not covered in other news outlets. Those stories can be found below, in revese chronological order.
On Feb. 19, 2009 a Texas based hub for national security data collection, the North Central Texas Fusion System, released a Prevention Awareness Bulletin that cites an increase in tolerance as a security concern, cites non-violent activities relating to Muslims and says "it is imperative for law enforcement officers to report these types of activities to identify potential underlying trends emerging in the North Central Texas region." It attracted national attention and criticism from civil liberties organizations.
On Feb. 17, 2009 a Swedish court in Malmo acquitted the head of a charity of charges that he financed terrorism through a charitable group. Khalid al-Yousef, the leader of al-Aqsa Spannmal (Grain Foundation), faced a six year jail sentence if convicted. It has also been reported that $150,000 in donations raised by the charity which had been frozen by the United States and Britain will be returned.
An activist turned informant is responsible for leading the FBI to arrest two Texas men during the Republican National Convention (RNC) in St. Paul last September. Activists in Austin however contend that the informant manipulated the two men who are each facing one count of possession of firearms not registered to them.
The only remaining case challenging warrantless wiretapping during the Bush administration, Al-Haramain v. Bush, has survived another attempt by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to have it dismissed because it claims key evidence cannot be used without threatening national security. On Feb. 27, 2009 the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rejected DOJ's request to stay a Jan. 5 ruling a federal District Court that allows the judge to view and consider the contents of the contested classified document to determine if the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation (Al-Haramain) can proceed with its lawsuit.