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Rabih Haddad Speaks Out from Detention

Rabih Haddad
Date Published: 
July 14, 2002

“The real scoop is that the government lied”

    The following is an excerpt from a statement written by Haddad and released by the Committee to Free Rabih Haddad on January 15, 2002.

Ever since my arrest on December 14 of last year, I have been railroaded by the government in a series of actions that had denied me the most basic of rights. Rights that attract the oppressed and persecuted of the world to this haven of liberties and freedoms. From the beginning, there has been nothing but allegations, insinuations, innuendoes, and lies…It took legal action on my part and the part of other concerned entities and elected officials to finally make the record of my previous hearings public. I couldn’t wait. I was certain that once everything came out, the world would know the truth. What a dreamer I was!

Headlines like “Haddad Less Than Honest” and “US Files Link Founder of Charity to Al-Qaeda” sprang up, and it dawned on me that the media, true to its “sensationalist” fashion of reporting, acted like a group of sharks on a feeding frenzy…I was accused of being “less than honest” when the headline should’ve read “The Government Lied.” That is exactly what Mr. Herschel Fink, an attorney for the Detroit Free Press, was quoted as saying in the Chicago Tribune. He declared that the government was “lying when it said that national security would be compromised by lifting the veil of secrecy.”

They knew it all along and they were engaged in a deliberate disinformation propaganda campaign, and still are, to assassinate my character and tarnish my reputation, my only true asset in this world. The media “looked the other way” and let them get away with it.

Judge Timothy Workman of London did not! He “threw out” the US extradition case against Lotfi Raissi on April 26. I wish I had a judge like that. Prosecutors acting for the US had “promised to produce evidence…The evidence never materialized” reports the Chicago Tribune (4/5/02). I couldn’t help but wonder about how this man’s life, like mine, was disrupted, his family broken, and his reputation forever blemished.

The other headline read “US Files Link Founder of Charity to Al-Qaeda.” I was outraged! There was no mention of this in any of the three hearings that I had…It came in the form of a “declaration from the FBI,” not an affidavit, not a sworn statement, but a “declaration” that I was observed at overseas locations that “housed and supported terrorist organizations associated with Al-Qaeda.” This is supposed to have taken place in the late 80’s to early 90’s. I declare that the FBI is dishonest.

The proof is quite simply that I left the region in mid-1992 when there was no such thing as Al-Qaeda. I wonder if they are referring to the same overseas locations where the Consul from the US Embassy used to pay me regular visits at the height of the “Gulf War”…I was the Director of External Relations of one of the major Muslim relief organizations at the time. It was also, at those very locations, where I received an official invitation from the US Embassy to attend a special reception in honor of a high ranking State Department official visiting the area…

[And] if it is “guilt by association,” then why isn’t the same standard applied to the Enron scandal and the close relationships and associations its top executives have with top executives of the government? How many lives have those associations terrorized and jeopardized?

This is a sad day for democracy and freedom where the media becomes a rubber stamp for the government’s propaganda machine, even an accomplice at times, and relinquishes its main role of being the watchful eye of the people. I am deeply troubled and saddened by the fact that the media ignored the real facts in my court transcripts and chose to go after the “scoop.” The real scoop is that the government lied…