LYNNE STEWART CONVICTED OF AIDING JIHAD TERRORISTS
Addled Leftist lawyer guilty of abetting the global jihad. Why did she do it? Check this out: "To rid ourselves of the entrenched, voracious type of capitalism that is in this country that perpetuates sexism and racism, I don't think that can come nonviolently." So she thinks that the likes of the jihadist Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman are going to end sexism and racism? Imagine her surprise if her friends and allies actually took power!
"Lawyer Convicted of Helping Terrorists," from AP, with thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist:
NEW YORK - A veteran civil rights lawyer was convicted Thursday of crossing the line by smuggling messages of violence from one of her jailed clients — a radical Egyptian sheik — to his terrorist disciples on the outside.
The jury has been deliberating off-and-on over the past month in the case of Lynne Stewart, 65, a firebrand, left-wing activist known for representing radicals and revolutionaries in her 30 years on the New York legal scene. The jury deliberated 13 days in all.
Stewart faces up to 20 years in prison on charges that included conspiracy, giving material support to terrorists and defrauding the U.S. government....
The jury also convicted a U.S. postal worker, Ahmed Abdel Sattar, of plotting to "kill and kidnap persons in a foreign country" by publishing an edict urging the killing of Jews and their supporters. A third defendant, Arabic interpreter Mohamed Yousry, was convicted of providing material support to terrorists. Sattar could face life in prison and Yousry up to 20 years.
Stewart was the lawyer for Omar Abdel-Rahman, a blind sheik sentenced to life in prison in 1996 for conspiring to assassinate Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and destroy several New York landmarks, including the U.N. building and the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels. Stewart's co-defendants also had close ties to Abdel-Rahman.
Prosecutors said Stewart and the others carried messages between the sheik and senior members of a Egyptian-based terrorist organization, helping spread Abdel-Rahman's venomous call to kill those who did not subscribe to his extremist interpretation of Islamic law....
Stewart, who once represented Weather Underground radicals and mob turncoat Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, repeatedly declared her innocence, maintaining she was unfairly targeted by overzealous prosecutors.
But she also testified that she believed violence was sometimes necessary to achieve justice: "To rid ourselves of the entrenched, voracious type of capitalism that is in this country that perpetuates sexism and racism, I don't think that can come nonviolently." Thursday, February 10, 2005
BUSH-HITLER HIGH SCHOOL ART WINS AWARD
It can be funny in a rather dark way to mock the historically ignorant types who parrot Bush/Hitler/Chimp comparisons.
But it isn’t so funny to see this kind of sideways Holocaust denial infecting 17-year old high school art students like Jeffrey Eden: Youth defends prize-winning Bush/Hitler art. (Hat tip: Antiprotester Journal.)
Nobody is surprised that a 17-year old has a stupid opinion, of course. But it is disturbing that young Jeffrey was highly rewarded for this work of dumb hatred, receiving an A from his teacher and a “silver key” from the Rhode Island Scholastic Art Awards.
Jeffrey Eden devised his award-winning project less than 30 minutes after his high school art teacher asked him to express a thought or two in a three-dimensional way.
The award-winning artwork by high school student Jeffrey Eden compares President Bush’s war policies with Adolf Hitler’s pillage of Europe.
So, in the wake of last year’s polarizing election and the war in Iraq, the 17-year-old built an abstract scene comparing President Bush’s war policies with Adolf Hitler’s pillage of Europe.
The student’s diorama-like assemblage juxtaposes Hitler quotes with statements by Mr. Bush, Nazi swastikas with American flags, desert-colored toy soldiers with olive plastic figures. And so on.
Eden said he’s trying to point out certain similarities between the U.S.-led war in Iraq and the German blitzkrieg — without actually equating Hitler to President Bush. In this, the success of his project is debatable.
Nonetheless, it has earned the Charlestown student a silver key at the Rhode Island Scholastic Art Awards. ...
Figures of President Bush and Hitler, drawn on Popsicle sticks, are at the focal point of Eden’s work. Each is addressing his own army of plastic soldiers.
On a backdrop, Eden has pasted statements of Hitler. He has penned a few of his own sentiments, too. He hopes people will read them.
“Hitler’s own justification was his own hatred,” said one slogan. “Treatment of the prisoners was unspeakable [concentration camps],” said another.
To the right of President Bush, Eden’s handwriting said “No justification” and “Saddam had no affiliation with the Taliban and there are no weapons of mass destruction.”
Eden said the written messages are as important as the visual ones. He thinks they show that the work is comparing Hitler and President Bush — not equating them.
“I felt I was clear about what I was trying to get across,” he said. “I believe those who misconstrued the artwork didn’t take the time to really read into it.”
His teacher, Lynn Norton, believed he got his point across. She gave him an A.
SANITY PREVAILS IN GERMANY
Sanity prevails in Germany: Germany Rejects Call for Rumsfeld War Crimes Probe. (Hat tip: zulubaby.)
KARLSRUHE, Germany (Reuters) - Germany’s federal prosecutor Thursday rejected calls to investigate allegations that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was guilty of war crimes over the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal.
The U.S. Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and four Iraqis who say they were abused by American soldiers at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison had filed a criminal complaint with German Federal Prosecutor Kay Nehm in November.
They were seeking to take advantage of a 2002 German law allowing for the prosecution of human rights abuses and war crimes regardless of where they occur.
The complaint said that Rumsfeld, former CIA Director George Tenet, a senior defense official and seven U.S. military officers, including the former top U.S. commander in Iraq, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, were ultimately responsible for the torture and humiliation of Iraqis at Abu Ghraib.
The German federal prosecutor said in a statement it was up to the United States in the first instance to pursue legal action against the alleged perpetrators and their superiors.
German prosecutors could only step in if U.S. authorities failed to act, for which there was currently no evidence, the prosecutor added.
HISTORIC SAUDI ELECTION CHARADE
Democracy is catching hold in Saudi Arabia! Ring in the new age! Saudi men vote in historic poll.
“This was a wonderful moment,” Badr al-Faqih, a 54-year-old geography professor, told AP after casting the first ballot at one polling station. “This is a first step towards more elections.”
Abdul Rahman al-Hussein, 53, a school principal, told AP he had gone early because he wanted to be among the first to vote.
“This is patriotic participation,” he said. “I want this campaign to succeed.”
The House of Saud is experimenting with a radical new form of democracy, one that doesn’t rely on foolish infidel notions of equal rights.
Women are excluded from the polls and only some 148,000 of 400,000 eligible men have registered to vote in Riyadh.
BRITISH ANTI-SEMITISM WATCH
Not good news, as hostility toward Jews continues rising in Britain: Attacks on British Jews hit record high. (Hat tip: NC.)
LONDON (Reuters) - Violent anti-Semitic attacks in Britain have reached “alarming” record levels, according to a report released, prompting calls by Jewish leaders for more to be done to protect their community.
The Community Security Trust (CST), which represents Britain’s 290,000-strong Jewish community on security matters, said on Thursday there had been 532 “anti-Semitic incidents” — defined as malicious acts toward Jews — in 2004, including a record 83 assaults.
The total, which included abuse and threats, was a rise of 42 percent from the CST’s 2003 figure, and well above the previous record high of 405 in 2000.
“This increase is extremely alarming. The transfer of tensions in the Middle East to the streets of Britain has resulted in an unprecedented level of anti-Semitic incidents,” said Michael Whine, director of communications for the CST. [Which means it is reasonable to assume that, although the article avoids mentioning it, the attackers are mostly Muslims. —ed.]
The Trust said 100 incidents were reported in March 2004 alone. In the worst incident, a Jewish teenager had his jaw shattered in the English south coast city of Southampton.
Last month London police said they were hunting a group of black and Asian men said to be behind a string of racist attacks on orthodox Jewish men in the capital.
A few days earlier, vandals daubed swastikas and other Nazi symbols on 10 gravestones in a Jewish cemetery in Aldershot, southern England, the second time it had been targeted. Thursday, February 10, 2005
PROZAC FOR TERRORISTS?
By Roger Kimball
"Democratic civilization," the philosopher Jean-François Revel once observed, "is the first in history to blame itself because another power is trying to destroy it."
I thought of Revel's comment when reading The Daily Telegraph's story about the the 35-year-old Algerian member of al Qaeda who had been been released from prison because he was depressed. Yes, you read that correctly: "G.," as the chap is identified--real names are changed to protect the guilty--"had been released on house arrest after suffering a mental breakdown in custody." Well, you know how these Algerian terrorists are: they don't like to remain cooped-up at home. It makes them nervous.
We don't know much about G., except that in October 2003 he was put in the pokey because the Court had concluded that he had "actively assisted terrorists who have links to al-Qa'eda." So now the poor baby is depressed. So what? Being bonkers is part of what it means to be a terrorist. Osama (if he is still with us) is probably pretty depressed, too. I certainly hope so. According to the police, G. violated house arrest by receiving unauthorized "visitors." (I wonder who? Did anyone check their headgear?) The Home Secretary wanted to send G. back to jail. But the judge, a Mr. Justice Collins, ruled that the crown had failed to prove "to the necessary standard" that G. had wrongly violated house arrest. G.'s solicitor likened the risk of bail being wrongly withdrawn to the "'sword of Damocles hanging over anyone's head,'" and said that it was the "'ultimate nightmare'" for G. "to be at the mercy of secret evidence that he was unable to disprove." Well, my ultimate nightmare is the spectacle of convicted terrorists set free courtesy the suicidal machinations of liberal lawyers and conniving courts. Thursday, February 10, 2005
PA TV: GOAL IS ISRAEL'S DESTRUCTION
As Israel and the Palestinians agree to a cease-fire setting the stage for peace talks, official Palestinian Authority television continues to communicate the ultimate goal of eliminating the Jewish state.
In the official Friday sermon broadcast last week, senior Muslim figure Ibrahim Mudyris explained that the diplomatic process can only achieve a return to the borders Israel had before the 1967 war. The final stage, he said will be the destruction of Israel "the way Muhammad returned there as a conqueror."
Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch, an Israel-based monitor, said that in its Arabic messages, the Palestinian Authority always has denied Israel's right to exist and often has presented the peace process as a tactic leading to the Jewish state's destruction.
That approach was repeated last Friday, Marcus said.
In his sermon, Mudyris declared that all of the land encompassing Israel belongs to Muslims.
"We tell you Palestine, we shall return to you, by Allah's will, we shall return to every village, every town, and every grain of earth which was quenched by the blood of our grandparents and the sweat of our fathers and mothers," he said. "We shall return, we shall return."
Mudyris said the willingness of Palestinians to return to the 1967 borders does not mean they have "given up on the land of Palestine."
It might take diplomacy to return to the 1967 borders he said, but diplomacy will not lead to a return to the "1948 borders," a reference to the land before Israel was established as a state.
"No one on this earth recognizes [our right to] the 1948 borders," he said. "Therefore, we shall return to the 1967 borders, but it does not mean that we have given up on Jerusalem and Haifa, Jaffa, Lod, Ramla, Natanyah [Al-Zuhour] and Tel Aviv [Tel Al-Rabia]. Never."
Mudyris said "our grandfather's blood" and "father's blood" demands a return to the entire land, "and [their blood] shall curse anyone who will concede a grain of earth of those villages."
"Our approval to return to the 1967 borders is not a concession for our other rights," he said. "No! ... this generation might not achieve this stage, but generations will come, and the land of Palestine ... will demand that the Palestinians will return the way Muhammad returned there, as a conqueror." Wednesday, February 9, 2005
TRIANGLE PLAY OPENING?
It didn't take long for the Palestinians to live down to my predictions. While I had expected a few days for the newly-minted cease-fire to settle in, Hamas had already set a major mortar attack into action. The Jerusalem Post reports on the hail of mortars and Kassam rockets that hit Israeli targets in Gaza:
At least twenty-five mortar shells and Kassam rockets have landed on Gaza Strip settlements since 2:00 a.m. Thursday, hitting settlements in Gush Katif, southern Gaza, and northern Gaza, according to the IDF. ... Meanwhile, the settlers are claiming a total of 38 Kassam rockets and mortar shells have been fired at settlements. ...
No wounded have been reported, but early Thursday damage was caused to one building and to the electrical system in one of the settlements.
The Abbas government couldn't even hold a truce for twenty-four hours without Hamas demonstrating its power to disrupt events. In retaliation, Abbas fired his Gaza commanders for their failure to prevent the attacks, but Abbas may well run out of field officers by next week if that's the mission they must accomplish. Palestinians, especially in Gaza, overwhelmingly support Hamas over Fatah and Hamas now controls two-thirds of the electable offices in both territories. Abbas can't put Hamas out of business when the Palestinians so openly support the terrorists rather than the peacemakers. If he did, a civil war would erupt, or Fatah would simply put Abbas out of his misery to prevent one.
I give this cease-fire another week of attacks, and then I predict it will crumble under the same old Palestinian triangle offense, just like all the others. When the Palestinians want peace, they can have it. Right now they're choosing murder and misery, and they will get that instead.
THE BIG ME CELEBRATES ALONE
Bill Clinton opened his presidential library to great fanfare, with a big media splash and predictions of how it would draw large numbers of people eager to relive the supposedly heady days of light and magic of his presidency. So far, the Washington Times reports, those predictions have gone bust, with one notable exception:
Although the library originally said it had drawn more than 100,000 visitors in the first six weeks of its opening, the National Archives and Records Administration, which operates the library, told U.S. News & World Report that only 42,045 visitors actually paid the $7 to enter. The rest of the visitors were VIPs, journalists and other nonpaying guests.
Although Clinton supporters predicted that 50,000 persons would attend the star-studded Nov. 18 dedication, where actors Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt mingled with the locals, the true number was closer to 20,000, according to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
By comparison, Mr. Bush's presidential library on the campus of Texas A&M in College Station -- which also has a presidential apartment -- drew 67,677 paying visitors in a comparable period in 1997, between Nov. 5 and Dec. 31.
In 1991, the Ronald Reagan library at Simi Valley, Calif., drew 69,152 paying visitors between its Nov. 4 dedication and Dec. 31.
However, the Times notes, one VIP in particular has made a point of repeatedly visiting the library:
Fewer visitors than expected have dropped by the much-ballyhooed, $165 million Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Ark., since its November gala opening, but one VIP has been trying to make up for that: President Clinton himself.
"I understand he's here regularly," says Todd Scholl, director of marketing for Little Rock's Peabody Hotel.
And what does the former president do?
"That's a good question," says Mr. Scholl.
The former president recently showed up unannounced at a private reception at the library and has become so ubiquitous that a guest at another event this week approached Skip Rutherford, president of the William J. Clinton Foundation, and asked, "Is Bill here tonight?"
Mr. Clinton has been entertaining old friends in the museum's two-bedroom penthouse apartment, overlooking the Arkansas River. The apartment is also known as the "Executive Suite," and Mr. Clinton plans to spend an average of one week each month there. He used to bunk at his mother-in-law's condo before getting the new pad that his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, has not visited since November.
To be fair, Hillary has a job that keeps her in either Washington DC or New York most of the time, while Bill has a lot of time on his hands. Now that he has a new job with the UN tackling tsunami relief and rebuilding, he'll spend a little less time there.
But it says something about the ego-building and stroking that Bill Clinton requires that he feels he has to spend 25% of his nights sleeping at his presidential library. I can't recall that any recent president (if any at all) made a habit of regularly spending much time at all at their libraries. While they all raise extensive private financing to build them, most former presidents simply make their records available for posterity and return on special occasions for public appearances.
In fact, Clinton's attachment to his monument seems more than a little self-obsessive and somewhat pathetic. If the library is meant to represent his presidential career, he's giving the impression that the entire enterprise was less substantial as a means of directing policy than as personal therapy of narcissism. All politicians have that to some degree, but most don't cling to it the way Clinton has after his terms expired. Perhaps his friends should entertain the notion of an intervention to help him break his self-addiction. Thursday, February 10, 2005
ST. LOUIS DEMOCRAT GUILTY OF VOTER FRAUD
Nonaresa Montgomery was found guilty by a jury late today of perjury in a trial in St. Louis Circuit Court in the St. Louis vote fraud trial. She was found not guilty of evidence tampering.
Nonaresa Montgomery, a paid worker who ran Operation Big Vote during the run-up to 2001 mayoral primary, was on trial this week in St. Louis Circuit Court on charges of perjury and tampering with evidence.
Big Vote was part of a national campaign -- promoted by Democrats -- to register more black voters and get them to vote in the November elections.
Montgomery is accused of hiring about 30 workers to do fraudulent voter-registration canvassing.
They were supposed to have canvassed black neighborhoods and recorded names of potential voters to be contacted later to vote in the Nov. 7 election. And they were paid by the number of cards they filled out.
Instead of knocking on doors, however, they sat down at a fast-food restaurant and wrote out names and information from an outdated voter list.
The charges stem from about 1,500 fraudulent voter registration cards that were turned in to the St. Louis Board of Elections on Feb. 7, 2001, the deadline for registering for the mayoral primary.
Board employees realized that there was a serious problem with some of the cards when they spotted the name of longtime alderman Albert “Red” Villa, who died in 1990.
Apparently Montgomery is not the one who filled out the fake voter registration cards (six Operation Big Vote workers pleaded guilty in December to dozens of election law violations and one still faces charges) but Montgomery failed to tell a local grand jury investigating the case about a meeting , and failed to mention when asked that she had copies of some or all of the voter registrations.
The meeting referred to in the case was in February 2001 where discussion about destroying the fake voter cards to stymie police investigators...
The meeting was at the campaign office of Comptroller Darlene Green.
The probable cause statement says Green attended, and "the idea of burning copies of the registration cards was discussed".
Also attending: political consultant Pearlie Evans and St. Louis election board official Keena Carter. Carter (Assistant Democratic Election Director ) is now cooperating with investigators.
Darlene Green testified late Wednesday...
Carter, Montgomery and a Democratic Representative Bill Clay operative, Pearlier Evans, all met with Green to discuss the problem of the cards. Green confirmed for the jury today that "it was discussed, what should we do with them".
Several times, prosecutors had to jog Green's memory by showing her pages of her testimony before a grand jury. She insisted she had little memory of the meeting, saying, "There's no way I could remember what was said."
Under questioning by Montgomery's defense lawyer, Green's memory was usually much better, and she was quite cooperative with Herman Jimerson.
After the meeting at Green's office, the voter cards disappeared, and have never been found.
Montgomery has waived the sentencing hearing and received two years probation.
Judge David Mason added conditions that included community service work in which she would help young people understand how to properly register to vote.
**Here is a video of the court proceedings from the trial.**
Note: The defendent's lawyer says the accusations are politically motivated yet all of those involved were either Democrat office holders, consultants or operatives. Democrats have dominated the politics in St. Louis City for years. Republicans have not held the mayor's office since Aloys P. Kaufman held the office from 1943- 1949. Thursday, February 10, 2005
By Lawrence Kudlow
Last night on Kudlow & Cramer, I asked three influential US senators about the CNN News scandal regarding Eason Jordan’s traitorous remarks at the Davos economic forum. George Allen, Jeffrey Sessions, and Norman Coleman all agreed with Michelle Malkin’s characterization that Jordan and his CNN defenders have “slimed the military.” They were furious at the whole story, with each expressing anger at Jordan’s liberal anti-US-military bias. Senator Sessions pointed out that episodes like this show why the mainstream media has lost so much credibility in recent years. Senator Coleman was not ready to open up an investigation, but he indicated it was worth looking at. Senator Allen was strong in his defense of both the moral character and the visionary mission of our troops in Iraq.
Importantly, each was aware of the story. And since this whole tawdry tale has been reported only through the blogosphere, it points out just how strong the alternative internet medium of blogging has become. The blogosphere has reported on this from day one, and refuses to stop. Only a few months after the Rathergate scandal during the presidential election campaign the blogosphere, if anything, is even stronger today in its influence and ability to widely disseminate alternative media coverage. Powerhouse bloggers such as John Hinderaker, Glenn Reynolds, and Hugh Hewitt, among many, many others, have flexed their muscles and badly bruised CNN on this story.
In case you’re returning to Earth after a brief sojourn on another planet, Eason Jordan accused the US military of deliberately targeting journalists in order to assassinate them. Besides the obvious anti-military bias, Jordan’s comments were incredibly arrogant and cynical. And, yes, I believe these remarks border on wartime treason, since they so clearly give aid and comfort to our terrorist enemies and anti-American Arab militants throughout the Middle East.
Essentially, Jordan has attempted to back off his remarks. Without denying that he said them, he is basically saying he didn’t mean to say them. Huh? On-the-scene eyewitnesses like liberal House member Barney Frank and the equally liberal Senator Christopher Dodd have corroborated Jordan’s scandalous remarks. Equally reprehensible, CNN itself refuses to take ownership of the anti-American behavior of their top news executive. Also reprehensible is the fact that the Davos conference organizers refuse to release the tape that would so clearly indict Jordan.
The fact that CNN is trying desperately to make the story go away merely confirms the institutional anti-military bias of that news organization. If CNN had any patriotic backbone, or even good professional journalistic common sense, they would have, at the very least, suspended Jordan pending a thorough investigation.
Seeing as the blogosphere’s reporting has moved into the upper reaches of the US Senate, it is unlikely that CNN will succeed in its attempted cover-up. Freedom of the press is the best disinfectant for public corruption. Bloggers are doing their duty. Thursday, February 10, 2005
'TIS THE EASON: STEAM'S BUILDING
By Michelle Malkin
There's a lot of new stuff and a weird turn from the Wall Street Journal editorial page.
Bret Stephens' curious little account in the WSJ does not, contrary to the subtitle of the piece, settle the question of what exactly Eason Jordan said and how he said it. It's interesting, isn't it, that Stephens does not call for the videotape or a transcript of the panel to be released.
Run along, nothing more to see here, move on, huh?
Interestingly, Stephens ignores Rony Abovitz's role in directly challenging Eason Jordan during the event. In both his brief Jan. 28 Political Diary dispatch and his brief piece today, Stephens is silent on Abovitz's strong and immediate objection to Jordan's remarks at the forum.
Compare Stephens' incomplete squibs to the reporting done by the Miami Herald's Glenn Garvin. Garvin may not be able to say "I WAS THERE," as Stephens' piece declares, but Garvin gives us a much better sense of what exactly went down and how:
During a Jan. 26 panel discussion of threats to reporters, Abovitz was shocked to hear CNN's Jordan say American troops in Iraq had ''targeted'' journalists and killed a dozen of them.
''He was going on and on about it,'' recalled Abovitz. 'My first thought was, gee, have I been missing something? And I stood up and asked, `Is this documented? And if so, why hasn't it been on the cover of Time magazine? Because if it's true, it's much bigger than [U.S. military abuses at] the Abu Ghraib prison.' ''
Jordan seemed surprised at the question, said Abovitz. ``He kind of froze, and then he started backpedaling. But the crowd included a lot of people from the Middle East, who were cheering him on, so then he wiggled back and forth.''
Jordan was traveling Wednesday and could not be reached for comment, but a CNN spokeswoman said he used the word ''targeted'' only to mean that the reporters had been fired on by U.S. troops who thought they were enemy combatants.
''Mr. Jordan emphatically does not believe that the U.S. military intended to kill journalists and believes these accidents to be cases of mistaken identity,'' the spokeswoman said.
But several others who were in the room, including Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank and Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, told The Herald that Abovitz's account was essentially correct.
''It sounded as if [Jordan] was saying the killings had been deliberate,'' said Frank, who was part of the panel. ``I sat up, and I said, `That's very troubling to me, I feel an obligation to act on this.'
'He answered, `I'm not saying this is American military policy.' And my recollection is that he next said that American military personnel had deliberately shot at journalists and not been punished.''
Frank said he asked Jordan whether he was talking about cases of mistaken identity or itchy trigger fingers ''in the heat of battle,'' and Jordan said no.
After the panel, Frank said he pressed for more details. 'I called [Jordan] and said, `If you think there are cases where American military personnel killed reporters and weren't disciplined, I want to know, and [Congress] will take action,' '' Frank said. ''He said he'd get back to me.'' But Jordan called only after the controversy surfaced, Frank said, and then to say he had been misunderstood.
Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, who was in the audience, also agreed with Abovitz's account and ''was outraged by the comments.'' A spokeswoman for David Gergen, the U.S. News & World Report editor who chaired the panel, said that Gergen also felt Abovitz's report was generally accurate.
Garvin provides a lot of helpful context that Stephens' pieces lack. Ed Morrissey and Jim Geraghty react to Stephens' op-ed here and here. Lucianne readers respond here.
As for Stephens' petty comments about other bloggers and commenters who have tried to fill in the blanks and advance the story (which Stephens' pieces fall far short of doing), it's clear the only "meltdown" occurring here is the MSM's.
More voices weighing in...
James Lileks with Newhouse News Service:
In the olden days such rote tripe would have gone unreported. But these are not the olden days. The Jordan story has been roiling the blogs for some time -- possibly because some on the right are suspicious of CNN, and see Jordan's remarks as emblematic of that organization's biases and offshore courting of anti-American sentiment.
But perhaps the blogs recognize a simple truth: Either Jordan is right, in which case it's news he should report, or he's spinning humid fictions that conform to the darkest suspicions of America's foes. And surely that's news as well.
Check your local channel for details. Not to say you'll find them -- but hope, like hatred of America, springs eternal. It's almost as if some people enjoy killing our reputation for sport. Heck, it's a hoot.
Marvin Olasky with Creators Syndicate:
Bloggers have reported the story extensively, often accusing Jordan of giving aid and comfort to terrorists and their appeasers. This is the type of story that's harder to cover than one in which dollars clearly change hands, but it may be a more subtle form of bribery. Fox is beating CNN in the United States, but CNN is No. 1 around the world and wants to stay that way. What better way than to kiss up to Europeans and Middle Easterners than by telling them what they want to believe about those awful Americans?
The establishment media, instead of circling wagons to protect one of their own, should investigate. If anyone has evidence of soldiers knowingly targeting journalists, let's hear it. If there is no evidence, Jordan should clearly and loudly apologize, and CNN should stop giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough opines: "If Jordan thinks U.S. troops are little more than hired assassins focused on killing journalists, it is time for him to name names. Otherwise his continued attacks constitute slander." (Trey Jackson has the video.)
Brit Hume and his all-star panel on FNC stay on the story. An excerpt:
KRAUTHAMMER: ...the crime here I think is intellectual cowardice on the part of Eason Jordan. I mean, if he said this and then he tried to walk it back, he wasn't trying to explain it, he was trying to undo it. But then he says in a statement that has been released, he never has believed that American troops have deliberately attacked journalists. Well, if he doesn't, why is he spreading a rumor that he believes is false, malicious, libelous, and will endanger American troops? I mean, you don't truck in rumors like that. He essentially says, now he was just reporting what others are saying. If he thinks it's a falsehood, why is he repeating it? So I think that is the real problem here, and I think as Mort indicated, he did, he's admitted that in the past he's sort of covered up and suppressed news in Iraq because he didn't want to, say, endanger his employees. Well, if you're going to give our news shaded by Saddam Hussein and essentially censored, you ought to either get out of Iraq, or say it openly on the air: the news you are now hearing is approved by this regime, so everybody will know it's not honest news. There's dishonesty here which I think is the real problem.
KONDRACKE: I mean, he is the news director of CNN, and it also raises questions about whether this is an attitude that informs all the reporting of CNN...
Veteran journalist Mark Tapscott says: "Expect much more coverage tomorrow and Friday..."
Captain's Quarters and La Shawn Barber are on top of other MSM mentions. Easongate and TKS are live with the latest. Hugh Hewitt on the blogs vs. the bigs.
I close with a letter cc'd to me by a military wife who has a simple request for the organizers of the Davos event. I echo her call: Release the tape or a transcript. Bret Stephens characterizes us as "hounds" who won't stop "baying." Eason Jordan no doubt agrees.
To: Mark.Adams@WEForum.org Cc: email@example.com Sent: Thursday, February 10, 2005 6:13 AM Subject: Release Jordan tapes/transcript
I am a military wife and mother of two who has just heard about the outrageous remarks made by CNN's very own news chief, Eason Jordon, at your recent forum.
I can't begin to tell you how disheartening it is to hear of powerful media figures creating an image of my husband and his fellow US Marines as murderers and torturers of journalists--without backing his statements up. If they were true, isn't this a major news story? Why is CNN not covering it? If there are really US military members intentionally targeting journalists, we need to know who they are and hold them accountable.
If this Jordan's story is NOT true, why is he making these remarks at a public, international forum? Does he not know that his words will be used in the Arab media to further disparage men like my husband--putting them at greater risk of harm or retaliation? If journalists believe they might be "targeted" by the US military or coalition forces, wouldn't they be more inclined to report their stories with this in mind?
Really, this must be hashed out in the public. Jordan should not be able to drop such verbal "bombs" and then just walk away. Please let the public read for themselves what Jordan's words were, and in what context. Then we can determine whether this man was leaking a huge news story, or perpetrating slander on the US military and coalition forces who are dying every day for freedom in Iraq and elsewhere.
Solana Beach, CA
USA Thursday, February 10, 2005
NIK GOWING, THE PHILOSOPHICAL GURU OF EASON JORDAN AND CHRIS CRAMER
The Baron did more investigating of Nik Gowing, whose book Dying To Tell The Story appears to have prompted Eason Jordan and Chris Cramer, executives at CNN, to issue multiple unsubstantiated allegations of deliberate targeting by US and Israeli militaries of journalists in war zones as policy. Baron found this sample from the book, a lengthy essay written by Gowing to summarize the arguments he presents. From the start, Gowing makes clear that he has no intention of using temperate rhetoric to make his case:
There is a growing fear in our business that some governments – especially the most militarily sophisticated like the US and Israel – are sanctioning the active targeting of journalists in war zones in order to shut down what we are there to do – to bear witness and report what they are doing.
The fear is that an apparent culture of impunity by at least two nations is already actively encouraging others to believe they can get away with targeting and eliminating journalists, or at least turn a convenient blind eye to the issue. More than ever, we are inconvenient eyes and ears who monitor and report what some in power and command would much prefer we did not.
There is evidence that media activity in the midst of real-time war fighting is now regarded by commanders as having ‘military significance’ which justifies a firm military response to remove or at least neutralise it. From the media’s perspective, the core guiding principles of reporting must remain accuracy, impartiality, objectivity and balance in a time of armed conflict.Yet if some worst case fears are shown to be justified, then on the political and military side some senior officials seem to view our 24 hour/7 day-a-week presence as a real-time military threat that on some occasions justifies our removal by the application of deadly force. Despite expressions of sympathy, the fact that journalists and technicians are killed or injured appears to be of barely marginal concern.
That mirrors almost exactly what Eason Jordan has said in Portugal in November 2004, in October 2002, and allegedly in Davos last month. It also sounds very close to what Cramer said in support of Jordan's claims in the past, and probably formed the basis of his enthusiastic recommendation of Gowing's book in November 2003 to the INSI.
Unfortunately, Gowing then goes into lengthy dissertations on several incidents, most of which have been reviewed and debunked -- some that he manages to debunk himself after using them as examples to support his thesis. For instance, he alleges that the US military killed Tariq Ayyoub because they wanted to take out the al-Jazeera broadcast station to keep Arabs from broadcasting during the invasion:
There is also the US air attack involving Al Jazeera’s office in Baghdad on 8 April 2003, several hours before the fatal tank shelling of the Palestine Hotel and the day before major hostilities ended in the Iraqi capital. During the pre-dawn attack by an A-10 ground attack aircraft, Al Jazeera’s correspondent Tariq Ayyoub was killed by shrapnel as he stood on the bureau’s roof preparing to broadcast live.
In the absence of a clear explanation from US CENTCOM, the overwhelming impression remains that the bureaus of both Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV not far away were targeted by the US during the critical hours before US ground forces finally secured the city centre.
Many anti-US activists have used Ayyoub's case to support Eason Jordan's argument at Davos. In fact, it's widely listed as one of twelve "suspicious" journalist deaths resulting from the Iraqi invasion. But on the very next page, Gowing himself explains what happened:
It eventually became clear that what was initially assumed to be a clear case of malicious US targeting was in reality probably more complex. The Al Jazeera bureau was located next door to a villa used by Mohammed Saeed Al-Sahaf , Iraq’s information minister who towards the end of the war became known as ‘Comical Ali’. Located between the buildings was an electrical generator which the US forces wanted immobilised in order to crank up the pressure on Al-Sahaf and the regime. Al Jazeera conceded later it was probably this equipment which the US had targeted and not the Al Jazeera bureau. However, without a full and frank exchange of details with CENTCOM, along with battle damage assessment, it was hard to be sure. Tariq Ayyoub was killed by shrapnel from the weaponry that hit the generator. It penetrated a small space under his body armour because misguidedly he was one of the very few Al Jazeera staff to believe the US military assurances made to his executives in Qatar the previous day that the bureau was safe from US attack.
So the US military didn't set out to kill Ayyoub, but instead attacked a government installation nearby, and the shrapnel killed the reporter. Government broadcast facilities certainly make legitimate military targets; destroying command and control functions is simply basic military strategy. Al-Jazeera must have known that the building next to theirs belonged to the information ministry, and anyone with a lick of sense would have gotten as far away from it as possible. Standing next to it in the open and posing for a live broadcast as any invading army entered would have been, and was, a particularly foolish act.
How exactly does this have anything to do with a deliberate policy of assassination? Well, Gowing argues that a lack of "openness" led to uncertainty of US motives. And in the world of Gowing, Jordan, and Cramer, that uncertainty constitutes positive proof of malicious intent. Gowing wanted the US to stop in the middle of a battle that was expected to produce desperate door-to-door urban combat and do a field investigation, completed with releasing battle-damage assessments to al-Jazeera, in order to prove we didn't assassinate Ayyoub.
Well, excuse us -- but we were in the middle of a war. We made plain our intention to attack government forces and assets within the city of Baghdad and its surroundings. People who continued to stand around or inside those facilities assumed the risk for doing so -- and al-Jazeera's proximity to that information ministry facility was not an accident.
It's arguments like this -- Gowing does the same thing with the ITN journalists who drove between two hostile forces and got killed as a result -- that demonstrate on their face the ludicrous nature of these charges. In order to buy this argument, one has to take it on faith that the US military operates under the worst possible motives at all times, as Gowing never provides a single shred of proof of any deliberate intent to kill these specific journalists for any reason. All he does is ask a series of questions as to motive, and the faithful are expected to fill in the answers for themselves.
If CNN executives find themselves under the sway of such tripe, one could make an argument that the news service has become a faith-based organization instead of a rational fact-finding media outlet. If that's what CNN wants to be, then Time Warner needs to rebrand its service and be honest with its customers (and advertisers) that the intent is to serve those who faithfully believe the worst about America at all times. If not, then Eason Jordan and Chris Cramer need to be shown the door.
UPDATE: Rodger at This Isn't Writing, It's Typing tells me I'm in the right church but possibly in the wrong pew. He notes a speech Gowing gave at the London School of Economics last May, which contains the same specific allegations that both Jordan and Cramer made lately. However, Eason and Cramer have made allegations like these all the way back to 2002, with more specificity to the US in 2003 after Gowing's book. Rodger's undoubtedly correct that Gowing's speech influenced the CNN executives tremendously, though. Wednesday, February 9, 2005
NOT EVEN VOLTAIRE BELIEVED THIS ONE
Very few people realize how often mainstream media sources say things that just aren't true. Sometimes the reason is malice, more often it's ignorance or prejudice. A fascinating example of a libel directed against the Catholic church--undoubtedly the world's most frequently defamed institution--was brought to our attention by reader Matthew Kowalski. On New Year's Day, the Washington Post published an article by Jose Antonio Vargas titled "Seeking the Hand of God in the Waters". The article reported on various efforts to find theological meaning in the South Asian tsunami. The Post article included these paragraphs:
Martin E. Marty, professor emeritus of religious history at the University of Chicago, has written his 55th book, "When Faiths Collide," which he says should land in bookstores this week.
"It's only natural to repose yourself in the will of God," he says. "If you're a believer, then you must believe that God, somehow, is a presence in all of this. But God didn't tell anybody that you go through life without disasters."
Still, talk of religion's role in the disaster irks Marty. Following the devastation in Lisbon in 1755, priests roamed the streets, hanging those they believed had incurred God's wrath. That event "shook the modern world," he notes, changing people's idea of a benevolent, all-caring God.
The ludicrous assertion that priests had "roamed the streets" hanging people after the Lisbon earthquake was made by Vargas, and apparently passed by one or more editors at the Post without raising any questions. The claim was then picked up and repeated by a number of other news sources.
It struck at least one person odd, however: a woman named Theresa Carpinelli. In the Catholic Exchange, she tells the fascinating story of her effort to get to the bottom of this smear against her church. A casual reader of the paragraphs quoted above might attribute the "hanging" reference to Professor Marty. In fact, however, he was astonished to learn that the claim was being attributed to him. It appears that it may have originated in an unsourced, wholly imaginary Wikipedia entry. For reasons not yet explained, Vargas slipped it into his article in the midst of Professor Marty's comments. Ms. Carpinelli has corresponded with Vargas and the hoax has been exposed, but as far as I can determine, the Post has not run a correction.
The moral of the story is that news sources that are considered reliable by many people, like the Washington Post, in fact make a great many errors--some innocent, others not. If an assertion sounds outlandish, like the claim that roving bands of 18th century Catholic priests went about hanging people, realize that it may very well be a fabrication. (Or, to take another example, the claim that a Secretary of the Interior expressed the view that environmental preservation is unnecessary in view of the imminent end of the world.) And bear in mind that false statements seem to be made more frequently about some people--Catholics, say, or Republicans--than about others. Thursday, February 10, 2005
SAUDI: "EXTREMIST TEACHINGS," NOT ENEMPLOYMENT, CAUSE JIHAD VIOLENCE
From the Stop-the-Presses Department. Someone should alert Condi Rice to this. Will she listen if our friends and allies the Saudis say it? From Arab News, with thanks to Jeff Lastname:
JEDDAH, 10 February 2005 — Labor Minister Dr. Ghazi Al-Gosaibi thinks extremist teachings, not unemployment, are the root causes of terrorism in Saudi Arabia.
Gosaibi blamed the spread of terrorism on the “indoctrination that teaches young people they can kill justifiably” and the training some extremists received in terror camps in Afghanistan.
“I don’t believe that terrorist movement has anything to do with unemployment,” the minister told reporters in Riyadh.
Unemployment has long been regarded as a major source of frustration in a region possessing one of the world’s youngest populations. Many also argue that economic hardships also drive young people from the region toward militancy.
“As you know Osama Bin Laden is a very rich man and all of his cronies are quite rich,” Gosaibi said.
I have pointed out Osama's riches in just those terms to many enlightened types who are still stuck in Marxist and post-Marxist analytical straitjackets, and thus cannot conceive that human beings could have any motivation other than economic. They thereupon labeled me an "Islamophobe." So I applaud Gosaibi's honesty. Nonetheless, I doubt Gosaibi will actually face the real causes of jihad violence in the Qur'an and Hadith. Thursday, February 10, 2005
THE STORY BEHIND OMAR KHADR
By Michelle Malkin
Drudge linked to a story last night, still up today, which he headlined: "CANADIAN TEEN WAS ABUSED AT GUANTANAMO, LAWYERS SAY..."
Now, here's the rest of the story. The teen is Omar Khadr, member of an infamous clan in Canada with close ties to al Qaeda. In a CBC documentary, Omar's brothers acknowledged:
“I admit it that we are an al-Qaida family. We had connections to al-Qaida,” said Abdurahman Khadr, who says he resisted his father’s urgings to become a suicide bomber.
But another son, 22-year-old Abdullah Khadr, backed the idea of martyrdom for Islam.
“Every Muslim dreams of being a shahid (martyr) for Islam,” he said. “Everybody dreams of this, even a Christian would like to die for their religion.”
I wrote about Omar here and here.
Before you cry buckets over the poor, abused tots at Gitmo, let's make one thing clear: We are not talking about hordes of peace-loving, cherubic grade-schoolers (like the kind who were freed from Saddam's prisons by American troops). We are talking about four male juveniles captured as active enemy combatants against U.S. forces – and suspected of having links to the al-Qaida terrorist network of Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime.
These "children" weren't playing Nintendo or lolling around in a sandbox when they were taken into custody. They were at war, armed and dangerous, carrying out jihad.
One of the youths reportedly in custody at Gitmo is 16-year-old Omar Khadr, who, as I noted last week, is a suspected al-Qaida soldier accused of lobbing the hand grenade that killed Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer, a 28-year-old medic with the U.S. Special Forces. At least one eyewitness said Khadr was no confused little boy. He knew exactly what he was doing: trying to kill Americans.
[Omar]is in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay for his alleged role in an ambush of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan last summer. Omar is accused of lobbing the hand grenade that killed Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer, a 28-year-old medic with the U.S. Special Forces.
"That wasn't a panicky teen-ager we encountered that day," Sergeant First Class Layne Morris of South Jordan, Utah, who lost his right eye in the ambush, told the Boston Globe last month. "That was a trained al-Qaida who wanted to make his last act on earth the killing of an American."
Speer left behind a wife and two children, ages 3 and 11 months. Just days before his murder, Speer had selflessly walked into a minefield to rescue two wounded Afghan children.
Judi MacLeod at Canada Free Press has excellent coverage of the press conference the Khadr family and their lawyers held yesterday:
According to U.S. law professor Muneer Ahmad, who had visited Khadr in November and co-authored a subsequent affidavit, the physical and mental abuse of Omar Khadr is "horrific", "immoral" and "illegal"
"We have evidence that one of Canada’s children has been tortured by the United States, Ahmad said.
With his mother weeping in the background and Edney demanding that the federal government fight more vigorously to protect Khadr’s human rights, a fusillade of questions about the Khadr family’s checkered past all but dominated the news conference.
Khadr may be "one of Canada’s children" to Muneer Ahmad. To many Canadians, he’s the scion of a family, three members of who camped out at Osama bin Laden’s terror training camps in Afghanistan.
Ahmed Said Khadr, the family patriarch--once set free from Pakistan by the intercession of Prime Minister Jean Chretien--was a well-known al Qaeda financier who raised four Toronto-born sons in the world of radical Islam.
It was in bin Laden’s terror training camp that Omar Khadr was captured in July, 2002 after allegedly tossing a grenade that killed a U.S. Army medic.
Khadr’s outspoken mother and sister cried no tears for the fallen army medic.
Following Khadr’s capture, his sister said the death of Sgt. 1st Class Christopher J. Speer was no "big deal". His mother, who said she would rather see her sons at al-Qaeda training camps than "be on drugs or having some homosexual relation" in Canada, insulted some Canadians.
Yesterday, Mrs. Khadr let her lawyer do the talking by reading a statement that asked "every Canadian mother and father to help me get justice for my son and bring him home."
Reporters wanted to know why Canadians should care about her son’s plight in consideration of her family’s open disdain for the West and their close ties to terrorism.
Edney responded with an admission that there is no doubt that there is a lack of sympathy toward the Khadr family, but chided inquiring reporters with, "It’s the principle you’re fighting for".
"We need to be very clear," Ahmad, added. "The U.S. did not torture the Khadr family. They took the body of a boy and subjected it to horrific conditions. So how can we forget about that because of a history that the Khadr family has in the public conscience of Canada?"
With evidence that has yet to be proven, Ahmad did not use the word "alleged" when he spoke about the U.S. subjecting Khadr’s body to "horrific" conditions.
Dan McTeague, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has conceded that Ottawa is still concerned that Khadr has been imprisoned for almost three years without being charged with a crime.
Sgt. 1st Class (ret.) Layne Morris, who was injured in the firefight that ended with Khadr’s capture, is skeptical about Khadr’s allegations of torture.
"The best defence is a good offence," he said yesterday, referring to al-Qaeda training manuals that urge members to allege abuse if they are arrested. "He might be youthful-looking, but he is certainly not youthful-acting. You don’t get to Afghanistan in a firefight with U.S. forces on a whim."
Spare your tears for Omar Khadr. Save them for Sgt. First Class Christopher Speer, his widow, and his young and fatherless daughters. Thursday, February 10, 2005