PFLP Bulletin - Number 53

Translation / Interpretation / Caption Text

Deportation Bid in Arab Case Focuses on Magazines February 17, 1987 | RONALD L. SOBLE | Times Staff Writer Democratic Palestine and Al Hadaf are not exactly mainstream magazines in this country. Circulating only a few thousand at best nationally, the Middle East-based publications carry big doses of propaganda on behalf of a Palestine Liberation Organization faction that has had a violent history. Still, the magazines have been available at Arab-owned mom-and-pop shops that cater to the nation's small Palestinian population. And Middle East scholars for years have been able to read the English-language Democratic Palestine and Al Hadaf, an Arabic-language publication whose title means "The Target," in university libraries. Now, these arcane publications have become a focal point of the government's effort to deport a group of Arab immigrants for alleged subversive activities. Along with a now-defunct sister magazine, they were cited by the government in the recent arrests of eight Los Angeles-area immigrants who are accused of membership in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist faction of the PLO. Offer Glimpse Some students of Palestinian politics say the magazines reveal ties between the Popular Front and another little-known faction based in San Francisco and they offer a glimpse into the Popular Front's political views. As he was being arrested Jan. 26, a subpoena for the periodicals was handed to Khader Musa Hamide, 32, of Glendale, a longtime alien resident who is alleged by the government to be the leader of the Popular Front in California. Hamide, who studied business administration at the University of Oregon, was ordered by the Immigration and Naturalization Service to "produce any and all records, ledgers, documents, files, books and materials" linked to Al Hadaf, Democratic Palestine and the now-defunct PFLP Bulletin, the forerunner of Democratic Palestine. The publications, the order declared, teach or advocate the "economic, international and governmental doctrines of world communism." Federal Case Suddenly, magazines that for years had been readily available to anyone who wanted to read them were being used in a federal case to deport alleged political subversives under a 1952 law. The government has not indicated how the magazines will be used in deportation and bond hearings that are scheduled to take place today in U.S. Immigration Court. Hamide, his wife, Julie Nyangugi Mungabh, 28 of Kenya, and the six other defendants have denied participating in Popular Front activities. Their lawyers have charged that the arrests constitute a "politically motivated" attack on the First Amendment rights of Arab-Americans. "They (the government) seem to be focusing on these magazines, which clearly indicates their intent to limit constitutionally protected rights of speech and association," said Dan Stormer, the lead attorney. Beyond the civil rights issue, a number of Palestinians in California said in recent interviews that the Popular Front simply does not exist here or anywhere else in the United States and that the faction's publications command little attention. 'Not That Popular' "You need to know that the Popular Front is not that popular," said Osama Doumani, head of the San Francisco office of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and a former anthropology professor at the University of California, Berkeley. A harsher view of the Popular Front is taken by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the New York-based Jewish organization. The ADL maintains that the Popular Front is elusive because it has cloaked itself within the November 29 Committee for Palestine, a group headquartered in San Francisco that took its name in 1981 from a U.N. resolution promoting world solidarity on behalf of Palestinian refugees. "Close observation and analysis of the activities of the November 29 (committee) indicates that it appears to be a de facto alliance between U.S. adherents of the Popular Front . . . and the (Trotskyist) Workers World Party (of New York) . . . " a 1983 ADL report charged. Local Chapters In its literature, the committee describes itself as a coalition of more than 100 organizations, with 20 local chapters in the United States. It espouses self-determination for Palestinians and calls the U.S. government "a principal obstacle to resolving conflicts" in the Mideast. It also says, "The mass media try to make the very name 'Palestinian' synonymous with 'terrorist.' " At least one of the defendants, Hamide, has spoken at November 29-sponsored rallies, according to individuals who know him. The ADL information was turned over to the FBI, which conducted the original investigation of the Arab immigrant defendants last year, according to David Lehrer, the ADL's Los Angeles-based regional director. Two of the Popular Front publications named in the government subpoena, the PFLP Bulletin and Democratic Palestine, were circulated through a post office box also used by a top member of the November 29 Committee, the ADL said.