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Former Army translator gets 18 months in prison

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Former Army translator gets 18 months in prison

Sep-07-2011 at 03:29 AM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)

Former Army translator gets 18 months in prison

by Jeff Karoub. Associated Press, August 18, 2011.

DETROIT, (AP) — A former military translator and Iraqi native convicted of making false statements to the U.S. government when he sought national security clearance was sentenced Thursday to 18 months in federal prison.

Issam "Sam" Hamama, 61, was convicted in January on three counts of making false statements to the FBI and on his application for a security clearance when he had denied having any contact with a foreign government. He was acquitted, however, of secretly working as an Iraqi agent in the U.S.

The government sought a 6 1/2-year prison sentence for the former Detroit-area resident, who now lives in El Cajon, Calif., while his defense attorney said he should only serve probation.

Federal Judge Nancy Edmunds called it a difficult decision. She said she found it "most troubling" that Hamama was convicted of falsely stating to the FBI that he did not have a relationship with the Iraqi Intelligence Service, but noted he had been acquitted of the most "substantive" charge and commended his service as a translator and cultural adviser in Iraq between 2003 and 2008.

U.S. attorneys declined to comment after the sentencing. Defense attorney Haytham Faraj called the sentence harsh and said he intends to appeal.

The government had said in a sentencing memorandum that Hamama's "perjury was so frequent and covered so many different subjects that his conduct was a willful attempt to obstruct the truth finding function of the jury." The document said through his lying he was able to obtain employment as a contractor to work with U.S. troops in a combat zone in Iraq and given access to classified U.S. military information.

"His presence created extraordinary danger," Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Martin said during the hearing. "(The government) has a right to know the background of someone who is out there with its troops."

Hamama, a Chaldean who came to the U.S. in 1980, has claimed that he only passed along basic information about U.S. Iraqis when he contacted Iraqi officials in the 1990s during the regime of Saddam Hussein. He acknowledged that he liked Saddam, but only because the dictator favored Christians, and claimed he didn't know that his Iraqi contacts in New York and Washington, D.C., were intelligence agents.

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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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