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by Palestine Forever
Thursday, Apr. 24, 2008 at 2:55 AM
A prominent pro-Palestinian activist in Texas has died after drowning in a lake. Riad Hamad was the founder of the Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund http://www.pcwf.org/ and raised millions of dollars through his organization for schools, charitable organizations and hospitals. Local police say Hamad was found gagged and bound in the lake. While police say he “likely committed suicide”, questions have been raised over his death. Prior to his death, Hamad had been under FBI surveillance. In late February, FBI and IRS agents raided his office and seized forty boxes of tax returns and other documents. No charges were filed at the time, but investigators claimed they “had probable cause” to investigate. Riad Hamad was fifty-five years old.
riad_elsohl_hamad__1952-2008_palestine_children__s_welfare_fund.jpg, image/jpeg, 489x590
Riad Elsohl Hamad, 1952-2008 Palestine Children's Welfare Fund
Help continue his work in his honor and in his memory at PCWF. Tax exempt donations may be made to:
Palestine Children's Welfare Fund
405 Vista Heights Rd.
El Cerrito, CA 94530
The Palestine Children's Welfare Fund is an enterprise that was established by a group of individuals whose goals are to improve the living standards of the children of Palestine in the refugee camps inside Palestine. The group aims to provide the children of the refugee camps with better educational opportunities, health facilities and a bright future without violence, hatred and discrimination. The organization has branches and volunteers in more than ten countries and is not connected with any militant or political association of any kind. PCWF works throughout Europe, Canada and the United States and operates its financial and social work from Palestine to ensure that our work is based in the place where it is needed the most to reach the children of Palestine.
Did Palestinian Activist Riad Hamad Commit Suicide?
April 18, 2008
After police fished the body of Riad Hamad out of Lady Bird Lake in East Austin, Texas, they told the media the non-violent Palestinian activist and directing coordinator of the Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund had committed suicide.
“Right now, the indications are that this was not, there was not foul play involved,” police Sgt. Joseph Chacon told KXAN, never mind Mr. Hamad was found bound with duct tape. “Parkgoers who saw the body said the death did not look accidental. They said the man’s face was wrapped with duct tape, and his arms appeared to be tied in front of his body.” KXAN did not bother to explain how Hamad managed to wrap himself in duct tape.
It should be obvious Hamad had a bit of help, although it is apparently too much to expect the corporate media to point out the absurdity of the police explanation. “When the body was removed from the lake, tape was found around the eyes, and the hands and legs were loosely bound,” the Austin police’s public information office expects us to believe. “The bindings of his hands and legs and placement of the tape were consistent with Hamad having done this to himself. Detectives know that Hamad walked from his vehicle to the water on his own based on evidence retrieved from the scene.” Again, no explanation how Mr. Hamad did this or more to the point why a person supposedly interested in suicide would wrap himself in duct tape, loosely or otherwise.
Hamad was not your garden variety suicide, however. “Riad Hamad is a non-violent activist in Austin, Texas. He holds multiple Master’s degrees and has never been arrested. He is now under surveillance by the FBI because he organized the shipment of books to Palestinian children,” Free Speech TV noted before the teacher’s alleged suicide.
“The FBI has on a number of occasions conducted surveillance on Riad Hamad. His neighbors have been interviewed, his co-workers have been questioned, and packages he has sent have been opened,” admits Joe Kaufman, writing for the Scaife funded website, FrontPageMag, run by David Horowitz, a notorious neocon.
Hamad’s crime? He had a problem with Israel killing Palestinians and had shipped books to children.
On Christmas, 2006, Hamad described his crimes, so outrageous for the likes of pro-Israel neocons. He describes a trip to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s T. Don Hutto detention center in Taylor, Texas, where he talked to an incarcerated Muslim woman and “provided her with cash for phone calls and snacks for the children since the jail officials are providing them with mainly pork and ham that they do not eat,” obviously a treasonous act demonstrating his collaboration with terrorists, including Adel Suleiman, a man with a case of severe diabetes who disappeared in the “detention center” dungeons situated in Haskell, Texas, and Oklahoma.
Back in February, the FBI and IRS raided Hamad’s Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund. “We had a very unpleasant visit from the FBI and IRS agents yesterday morning and they walked out with more than 40 boxes of tax returns, forms, documents, books, flags, cds etc.,” Hamad explained in an email to Hajja Romi. “The special agent said that they have a probable cause for money laundering, wire fraud, bank fraud, etc and I think that all of it stems from more than 35 years of watching me.”
“On the morning of Wednesday, Feb. 27, award-winning schoolteacher Riad Hamad, founder of the Palestine Children’s Welfare Fund (PCWF) was getting ready to leave for work when the doorbell rang in his modest apartment in Austin, Texas. It was a dozen FBI and IRS agents bearing a search warrant from Judge Robert Pittman, known for his hostility to Palestinians and Arabs, with whom Riad had had previous experience,” explains a post on the Progressive Independent forum.
For most of the day, the agents searched every nook and cranny of the apartment, then left with more than forty boxes of papers, files, computers and CDs. No charges were filed at the time against Riad and he was not arrested, but the investigators said they had probable cause to investigate wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.
PCWF thus joins the Middle East Children’s Alliance, Kinder USA and Holy Land Foundation — all dedicated to helping Palestinian children as a major part of their work — as objects of investigations that have damaged the functioning of their mission. In no case were these organizations found guilty of wrongdoing, and at most some people with Kinder USA were pressured into minor pleas in order to avoid costly court proceedings.
It is not a coincidence that Riad and PCWF have been targeted. PCWF has been associated with all these organizations, and it is reasonable to assume that when investigations turned up nothing there, they used the references to PCWF to go fishing. Riad has been expecting this for 37 years but refuses to be intimidated, and insists upon exercising his full right to defend Palestinian rights — and his own — in America.
Is it possible Riad Hamad was targeted for suicide as well, sort of the same way prize-winning American investigative journalist Gary Webb committed suicide with multiple gunshots to the head? Webb investigated Nicaraguans linked to the CIA-backed Contras who had smuggled cocaine into the U.S. which was then distributed as crack cocaine into Los Angeles. Gary had to go, as he had yet another book on tap before he killed himself over a stolen motorcycle. Riad had to go too, as he was a thorn in the side of the neocons, the FBI, ICE, and the IRS.
Finally, it should be remembered that back in 2003, Israel declared its intention to embark “upon a more aggressive approach to the war on terror that will include staging targeted killings in the United States and other friendly countries,” according to United Press International. “The Israeli statements were confirmed by more than a half dozen U.S. foreign policy and intelligence officials in interviews with UPI. Israeli hit teams, which consist of units or squadrons of the Kidon, a sub-unit for Mossad’s highly secret Metsada department, would stage the operations, former Israeli intelligence sources said. Kidon is a Hebrew word meaning ‘bayonet,’ one former Israeli intelligence source said.”
Is it possible a neocon hit team or as likely a Mossad “bayonet” team took out the school teacher Riad Hamad?
Certainly, it makes more sense than the lame claim that Mr. Hamad wrapped himself up in duct tape and threw himself in Lady Bird Lake.
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