Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

FRIDAY, MAY 14, 2004

All the way to Boise

The next witnesses the prosecution will present in Sami Al-Hussayen’s terrorism trial are coming from afar. Terrorism expert Reuven Paz came all the way from Israel to testify, possibly on Monday. A second terrorism expert, who will be in Boise on Sunday to prepare to…

Continue reading this post »

THURSDAY, MAY 13, 2004

Katz can testify

Author Rita Katz can testify about links between various web sites, but her testimony can't be the basis for introducing any exhibits about those sites into evidence, Judge Edward Lodge has ruled. Katz originally had been proposed as an expert witness, but instead is testifying…

Continue reading this post »

First fatwa

The first fatwa to be described in front of the jury is one from Sheikh Salman Al-Awdah entitled, "Martyrdom Operations." It outlines various conditions related to religious law cited by other Islamic scholars, then says, "Based on these conditions, these operations can be carried out…

Continue reading this post »

Impassioned arguments

Impassioned arguments filled the courtroom this morning, as both sides argued whether four fatwas, or fatawa - plural of fatwa - should be shown to the jury. The four offer religious justifications for suicide attacks, particularly against Jews. They were posted in the spring of…

Continue reading this post »


Not all his

Large numbers of the files on the computer seized from Sami Al-Hussayen's apartment weren't his - suggesting the computer was used by others, too, and may not always have been at Al-Hussayen's Moscow home.That information, brought out in cross-examination by defense attorneys this morning, followed…

Continue reading this post »

TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2004

Computer tells story

Sami Al-Hussayen's home computer was used for "web site testing, development, maintenance and publication of content to several Internet sites," a prosecution computer expert testified today, as well as for thousands of online financial transactions involving donations.According to computer forensic expert Curtis Rose's report, the…

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, MAY 10, 2004

'Assault on the First Amendment'

Voices were raised in the courtroom this afternoon, as lead prosecutor Kim Lindquist heatedly objected to the idea that his characterization of Sami Al-Hussayen's postings to a Yahoo email group about Chechnya are an "assault on the First Amendment."Judge Edward Lodge said, "As I understand…

Continue reading this post »

'Kill, and conquer again and kill

Over defense objections, prosecutors introduced a slew of postings to a Yahoo email group about Chechnya today, each posted to the group by Sami Al-Hussayen, who's being tried on charges of providing material support to terrorism.Most appear to be news reports highly sympathetic to the…

Continue reading this post »

Try, try again

Prosecutors tried for a third time today to get the judge to let them show the jury evidence that Sami Al-Hussayen was a designated "moderator" of a Yahoo email group about Chechnya. He was one of an undetermined number of moderators, but only ever deleted…

Continue reading this post »


Wait a minute

Earlier in the trial, U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge had ruled in the strongest of terms that he wouldn't allow evidence against Sami Al-Hussayen in the form of thousands of postings to a Yahoo email group about Chechnya that came from others, just because Al-Hussayen…

Continue reading this post »

Who was in control?

As lead defense attorney David Nevin continues his cross-examination of key prosecution witness John Pulcastro this afternoon, Nevin has focused for the past hour on questioning the FBI analyst's contention that Sami Al-Hussayen controlled an array of Islamic web sites. He pointed to numerous instances…

Continue reading this post »

Now for the other side

The government still is presenting its side of the case against Sami Al-Hussayen, but the testimony of the government's main witness, FBI intelligence analyst John Pulcastro, just finished. That means the cross-examination of Pulcastro by the defense will start, which could be extensive. Pulcastro has…

Continue reading this post »


Same thing?

A government witness, Mohammed Aleem, did everything Sami Al-Hussayen is accused of doing and more, defense attorneys complained in court on Wednesday. Al-Hussayen is accused of aiding terrorists by helping maintain various Islamic web sites, in what authorities call an Internet-based campaign to raise funds…

Continue reading this post »

Harrowing rhetoric

Jurors endured an hour of harrowing, bloodthirsty rhetoric about killing Jews and destroying Israel in a lecture by an extremist Saudi sheikh, read in part to the court today by an FBI intelligence analyst.The lecture, by Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali, propounded a theory that Christians and…

Continue reading this post »

Right-hand man?

In arguments to the judge this morning, prosecutors charged that Sami Al-Hussayen is Saudi Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali's "right-hand man as far as web site maintenance and web site matters," a contention the defense quickly termed "ridiculous."Lead defense attorney David Nevin said Al-Hawali recently was asked…

Continue reading this post »

TUESDAY, MAY 4, 2004

One by one

No word from the judge yet. Instead, the prosecution has gone back to introducing, one by one, fairly innocuous exhibits, most involving lengthy intercepted phone conversations and emails between Sami Al-Hussayen and others about technical, management and staffing problems involving various web sites. The day…

Continue reading this post »

Free speech or terrorism?

In explosive arguments in court this morning, prosecutors charged that Sami Al-Hussayen schemed to help broadcast an incendiary speech on the Palestinian Intifada by controversial Saudi Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali on the Internet, thereby proving that he was helping terrorists with recruitment and fundraising. They said…

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, MAY 3, 2004

Don't ask, don't tell?

Here's an odd one: Federal attorneys don't want Sami Al-Hussayen's defense lawyers to ask government witnesses if they've been arrested for terrorism.The question comes after the defense has pointed out that government witnesses, such as the head of the Internet Archive service, have posted and…

Continue reading this post »


He signed on the line

Among the many web site registration forms and other minutiae presented as evidence in court on Thursday to tie Sami Al-Hussayen to various web sites, there were four documents he signed, giving various titles showing he had responsible positions.One was a contract, in Arabic, in…

Continue reading this post »

Dedicated volunteer

In several of the intercepted phone calls and emails introduced as evidence this week, people affiliated with the Islamic Assembly of North America marvel at all the help Sami Al-Hussayen provides the religious outreach group, without any pay."We get paid, doing what we do. You…

Continue reading this post »


Bits and pieces

Prosecutors this morning showed the jury bits and pieces from 58 different exhibits, mostly intercepted emails and phone conversations involving Sami Al-Hussayen and people associated with the Islamic Assembly of North America - and that was just before lunch.Jurors' heads must have been spinning for…

Continue reading this post »


Were his knees that bad?

A reporter for the Idaho Statesman was ejected from the courtroom by a guard on Tuesday and ordered to go home and change because he was wearing shorts – long walking shorts, but shorts nonetheless. The guard refused his offer to leave later and change…

Continue reading this post »

Not about Al-Hussayen?

In his cross-examination of FBI Special Agent Michael Gneckow on Tuesday morning, defense attorney David Nevin asked Gneckow, "Just so we're clear about it, that call you got from a bank employee in 2001, that did not relate to Mr. Al-Hussayen, is that correct?"Gneckow had…

Continue reading this post »

MONDAY, APRIL 26, 2004

A web site is a warm gun

Among the arguments both sides in the Al-Hussayen case submitted in legal documents over the weekend is one in which the government likened its legal theory behind the case to an armed robbery prosecution. Al-Hussayen is charged with providing material support to terrorists by operating…

Continue reading this post »

Surprise ruling

There was a surprise ruling in the Al-Hussayen trial this morning – Judge Edward Lodge ruled that the prosecution can’t introduce into evidence thousands of emails posted to a Yahoo email group but not linked directly to Sami Al-Hussayen, and also ruled that four fatwas,…

Continue reading this post »

Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.