When I went to the computer room to check my e-mail, I was carrying an old newspaper with me. There I found an e-mail from my friend, Lynne, asking me to write something for you so she could read it on my behalf. I came back to my cell thinking about what I should write. When I opened my newspaper, I saw a comic picture of President Bush with two big ears and Mr. Cheney with a scowling face––which captured my attention. The caption read, "Cheney got the heart transplant, but Bush is still on the waiting list for a brain." Maybe this sounds funny to you, but it was deep and really sad to me, because this brainless and heartless man misled this nation and ruined this country for eight years.
If we go back to the philosopher's argument about what makes human beings special and notable creatures, some of them will say “the brain.” They mean logic, thinking, and reasoning. Others will say “talking,” by which they mean expression and communication. Many religious scholars would add “the heart,” by which they mean love, passion, and kindness. I believe it is a combination of these three––mind, heart, and talking––that makes us the best creature on this planet––just as the combination of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld made the worst administration in America's history. The mess and pain they created made a war that will take decades, if not centuries, to recover from. It's amazing that the triangle of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld is exactly opposite to the triangle of mind, heart, and talking, because Mr. Bush never got his brain transplanted, Mr. Cheney was heartless, and Mr. Rumsfeld did not believe in talking or diplomacy.
In my culture we say, "A leader for the people is like a head for a body, and the head without a brain is just a rock." I still do not understand how someone about whose brain almost all the comedians joked became a decision maker and the commander-in-chief of this free nation. There’s no doubt that heart––not as the physical object only, but as the source of motivation and the house of peace––is one of the most important aspects of the human being. When it is full of love, compassion, and kindness, then a person will show it in his actions. And when it is full of hate, anger, and suspicion, then a person will act on that. But if anyone would like to know how a human can exist without a heart, he should look at what Mr. Cheney did.
It took humanity twenty centuries and two world wars to reach an agreement about the universal rights of human beings and to begin the United Nations. Yet Mr. Rumsfeld never believed in the UN or talking or diplomacy. He thought the only way to solve all human problems was to break down all the mountains of Afghanistan. He wanted people to forget about Pakistan and Afghanistan because their people are "terrorists," and to neglect the Middle East because Israel does not have a partner for peace. He didn't even worry about Germany and France because they are “Old Europe.”
Only history will reveal the Bush Administration's mystery of their secret decisions, secret prisons, and secret evidence. I am not the one who can expose that; I don't even have any way to do so. But I would like to tell you about one of its well-known policies, "The One-Percent Policy." This policy originally came from Mr. Rumsfeld, and it was specific about Pakistani nuclear scientists. As he said: "If there is a Pakistani scientist who we are 99% sure is not doing anything wrong, but there is a 1% chance that maybe one day he will give some information about nuclear weapons or some of its material to a terrorist group, then we need to get him now." Like many of the rules and policies in this country, it was at first very specific, but then it became very generalized. Clearly the Bush Administration applied the 1% policy here at home, most likely through their secret agencies, especially Homeland Security, which is why many people like myself have been targeted and then set up in tricky way and then charged with conspiracy and supporting terrorism, even if we were not aware of doing anything wrong at all. Based on this policy, they targeted many Muslim youth, and they set them up not because they were doing anything wrong, but rather on the suspicion of the 1% chance that one day maybe they might do something wrong. The government's logic was, "What's better for a person who has a 1% chance to one day support terrorism or harm us: to leave him to do it, or to simply imprison him?" The problem with this logic is that there is no consideration in it about human freedom, and it is also clearly against the Constitution. Of course, they did this by claiming that the courts were protecting the nation through the Patriot Act, and whoever disagreed with them about their policy was accused of not being a patriot.
No doubt that the Bush Administration ran the country by means of fear and suspicion, to the degree that it seemed like a police state. From time to time, the “terror alert” would change its color from yellow to orange, or even to red when they declared the arrest of another "sleeper cell" just to keep people living in fear and make them believe the government was doing a great job of saving them from terrorists. That's why they continually reminded people and told them we were still at war, and that terrorists still lived among us and wanted to harm us. The problem was that the public was not aware that the "terrorists" were just kids who were deceived and set up by the government to justify its wiretapping and use of secret evidence.
I was shocked when I first read an interview in the New York Times with a retired FBI agent who defended the government’s wiretapping program, claiming it to be effective because it led to the arrest of an imam in Albany, New York. I am that imam, and I want to assure all of you, as well everyone in this country, that I never participated in any violence, I never worked with any terrorist, I’ve never been a member of any terrorist group, I never supported any terrorist activity, and I never had anything to do with any terrorist plan in this world. God knows what's in people’s hearts, and He's my witness that I never had any intention to do so. It's sad when they make a plan to trick someone and push him to say something, then charge him with conspiracy––and when they arrest him, they make international news to declare the victory of unveiling another terrorist plan. All this just to scare people and to justify the secret policies. Long live their wiretapping program and the victory of my arrest!
It's clear how the government used the One-Percent Policy and suspicion to target and set up many people, but it’s not clear how they apply the same policy in the justice system. Some say they do this by using secret evidence, others say by exaggerating and manipulating and bringing criminal liars (whom they call “experts”) to testify in order to scare the jury and mislead the court. That’s why many people lost faith in the justice system: some called them inquisition courts, others called them revolutionary courts, because almost no one went to these courts to face conspiracy or terrorist support charges and came out as a free man. Not much evidence is needed to convict on conspiracy! While by the law, a person must be found guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, in another way if a person looks 99% guilty but one juror votes innocent, the jury should not convict him. But based on the One-Percent Policy, if a person is 99% innocent and 1% guilty, then the jury should not let him go! Before I learned about this policy, I always asked myself, "Why did they target me?" and "How did they find me guilty?" But after I learned about the One-Percent Policy, then I understood. I am sure they targeted me for 1% suspicion, and they indicted and convicted me based on that!
I ask all of you to please learn more about this policy and to educate the public about it, so we can create pressure on the government not only to stop it (if they are still using it) but to open an investigation about everything done under this policy so it can be corrected and fixed.
I am not mad, I do not carry any hate in my heart, I do not believe in revenge, and I will never call for it. But I grew up in the Middle East, and saw how dictators and brutal leaders humiliated their people and disappeared many, many of them by the rule of emergency, claiming they were protecting their country from outsiders. Whoever disagreed with them or criticized their policy was accused of not being a nationalist or of being a spy––and then they disappeared him. I am sure no one in this country wants that, and no one wants to go back to the dark age of police states and inquisition courts when everything was secret. I do not like to exaggerate and I am against manipulation: I am not saying this is what’s going on here now, although maybe some people feel that way. But things develop slowly; many times when someone opens a door, it will not be closed. That’s why we all should stand against the use of secret evidence, and reject targeting by suspicion, or indictment and conviction, under the One-Percent Policy. If we fail to do so, then all of us will become victims of it in one way or another.
Thank you very much for your time and support.