Saturday, December 31, 2005

Palestinians Applaud Terror Attacks Against US and Europe

In a poll taken after the Gaza disengagement by Norwegian NGO Fafo, 65% of Palestinians strongly supported Al Qaeda terror attacks in the US and Europe. (Hat tip: LGF readers.)

And nearly 80% want their fledgling new state (funded by the same countries they’d like to see attacked) to institute the Dark Ages code of shari’a law.

A poll carried out in the Palestinian Authority shows 65% support for Al Qaeda terror attacks on the United States and European countries - the biggest donors to the PA. The poll comes at a time when US and European funding of the Palestinian Authority is at an all-time high.

With elections due to be held next month and the Hamas terror group gaining significantly in municipal elections and polls, the survey further illustrates the desire of a majority of PA Arabs to establish an Islamic state, similar to Iran. A whopping 79.9% of Palestinians would like the PA to follow Shari’a - Islamic religious law. Included in the figure are 11.3% of the respondents, who would like to see Shari’a supplemented by the laws of a PA Legislature.

“What is striking is the willingness of Palestinians to turn against even the Western countries upon whom they are so totally dependent in order to progress,” said Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) Director Itamar Marcus. “The poll underscores what PMW has been documenting for years - the profoundly negative impact hate education has had on PA society ... Palestinians are not in direct conflict with the US, and certainly have counted on the Europeans as active allies. And yet an overwhelming majority desire to see Europeans and Americans killed by a religion-based terror organization.”

Happy New Year !

Iran In The Crosshairs?

The German magazine Der Spiegel published a report yesterday that speculates an impending military response to Iranian intransigence on nuclear proliferation, primarily involving the US military. According to the magazine, the US has leaned on Turkey to provide extensive intelligence on Iran in exchange for helping to suppress the PKK in northern Iraq, and will use that intelligence in a series of air strikes on key strategic points in Iran:

The most talked about story is a Dec. 23 piece by the German news agency DDP from journalist and intelligence expert Udo Ulfkotte. The story has generated controversy not only because of its material, but also because of the reporter's past. Critics allege that Ulfkotte in his previous reporting got too close to sources at Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND. But Ulfkotte has himself noted that he has been under investigation by the government in the past (indeed, his home and offices have been searched multiple times) for allegations that he published state secrets -- a charge that he claims would underscore rather than undermine the veracity of his work.
According to Ulfkotte's report, "western security sources" claim that during CIA Director Porter Goss' Dec. 12 visit to Ankara, he asked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide support for a possibile 2006 air strike against Iranian nuclear and military facilities. More specifically, Goss is said to have asked Turkey to provide unfettered exchange of intelligence that could help with a mission.

DDP also reported that the governments of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman and Pakistan have been informed in recent weeks of Washington's military plans. The countries, apparently, were told that air strikes were a "possible option," but they were given no specific timeframe for the operations.

In a report published on Wednesday, the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel also cited NATO intelligence sources claiming that Washington's western allies had been informed that the United States is currently investigating all possibilities of bringing the mullah-led regime into line, including military options. Of course, Bush has publicly stated for months that he would not take the possibility of a military strike off the table. What's new here, however, is that Washington appears to be dispatching high-level officials to prepare its allies for a possible attack rather than merely implying the possibility as it has repeatedly done during the past year.

The background context for these attacks come from Iran itself. Not only has the new hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a number of anti-American statements, but he has openly campaigned for the destruction of Israel, hosting a "seminar" exploring the ramifications of a world without America and Israel. He has disputed the historical fact of the Holocaust and told Europe that if they want to save Israel, they will need to relocate the entire country to Europe.

Having given Israel an almost perfect excuse for a pre-emptive attack, the Germans think that George Bush won't pass up the opportunity to join them. The DDP quoted a high-ranking German military officer as saying that an attack would have to happen before Iran develops its nuclear weapon, and that window appears to be closing fast. Along with a series of high-level meetings in Turkey between American and Turkish diplomats and military planners, it looks like something may soon be afoot regarding Iran. And oddly enough, although Der Spiegel doesn't mention it in their article, one of the clearest indicators may be Teheran's sudden reversal on the Russian offer to process their uranium for the Iranians. Until this week, Iran rejected the offer outright, saying that Iran had a sovereign right to process their own uranium for peaceful purposes. Without much explanation, though, the Iranians changed course this week and endorsed the Russian proposal in concept while asking for clearer details on the Russian plan.

In other words, it looks like everyone has suddenly understood that the Americans have taken over the game plan on Iran, as quietly as possible under the circumstances. The question remains what we intend to do with Teheran to block their acquisition of nuclear weapons and end Iranian provocations of Israel.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Must Be the Season of the Kidnap

The British anti-Israel worker (referred to by the press as a “humanitarian”) kidnapped in Gaza has apparently been released, according to spokesliar Saeb Erekat: Britons released in Gaza safe after ‘shameful’ kidnap: Erakat.

Saeb Erekat? I thought he resigned.

LONDON (AFP) - Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat confirmed that three Britons kidnapped in the Gaza Strip had been released and were safe, branding their abduction “shameful” and damaging to Palestinian interests.

“Some of my people there confirmed to me that they are now on their way to Gaza (City). They haven’t reached Gaza,” he told BBC television by telephone.

“I’m happy that this despicable, shameful act is over. These people are friends and I hope that this will be the last (such event). They are safe and well,” he added.

“We have some people from the British consulate in Gaza, they will be handed to them and I am sure that they will take them to Jerusalem.”

Humanitarian aid worker Kate Burton, 24, and her parents Hugh and Helen were released late Friday after a two-day ordeal, Palestinian MP Kamal al-Sharafi told AFP in Gaza earlier. ...

Erakat said the Palestinian authorities had exerted “every possible human effort” to find the abducted Britons and was “very happy” they were now in safe hands.

“There were house-to-house searches, area-to-area searches, town-to-town searches,” he said.

Germany "Confronts" Ahmadinejad

By Matthias Küntzel
Transatlantic Intelligencer

In pondering the behavior of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, I cannot help but think of the 500,000 plastic keys that Iran imported from Taiwan during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-88. At the time, an Iranian law laid down that children as young as 12 could be used to clear mine fields. Before every mission, a plastic key would be hung around each of the children’s necks. It was supposed to open for them the gates to paradise.
The “child-martyrs” belonged to the so-called “Basij” movement created by the Ayatollah Khomeini. The Basij Mostazafan – the “mobilization of the oppressed” – were volunteers of all ages that embraced death with religious enthusiasm. They provided the model for the first Hezbollah suicide bombers in Lebanon. To this day, they remain a kind of SA of the Islamic revolution. Sometimes they serve as a “vice squad”, monitoring public morals; sometimes they rage against the opposition – as in 1999, when they were used to break the student movement. At all times, they celebrate the cult of self sacrifice.
Ahmadinejad forms part of the first generation of Basiji militants and still today he is often to be seen wearing a Basiji uniform. He would like to bring about a renaissance of the Basiji culture of the 1980s – in order, among other things, to combat the burgeoning Western-oriented youth movement that has, for instance, given rise to some 700,000 weblogs in the last years. Thus Ahmadinejad made a personal appeal this year for Iranians to participate in the annual “Basiji Week” that took place in late November. According to a report in the newspaper Kayan, some 9 million Basiji heeded the call, “forming a human chain some 8,700 kilometers long in which President Ahmadinejad also took part. In Tehran alone, some 1,250,000 people were mobilized.” (Cited in Wahied Wahdat-Hagh, „Bassiji: die revolutionäre Miliz des Iran“, on MEMRI Deutschland.) Ahmadinejad used the occasion to praise the “Basij culture and the Basij power” with which “ Iran today makes its presence felt on the international and diplomatic level”. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, Chair of the Guardian Council, went so far as to describe the very existence of Iran’s nuclear program as “a triumph of the young people who serve the Basij movement and possess the Basiji-psyche and Basiji-culture.” He added: “We need an army of 20 million Basiji. Such an army must be ready to live for God, to die along the way of God, and to conduct Jihad, in order to please God.”
Is the Iranian population being thus prepared for the announced nuclear war against Israel? Three years ago, the then Iranian President Hashemi Rafsanjani explained that a single atom bomb used against Israel “would leave nothing on the ground”, whereas the damage done by a possible retaliatory strike would be limited (source: MEMRI Special Dispatch, 3 January 2002). Even with a million dead, the Islamic world would survive, whereas Israel would be destroyed. Thus the logic of Rafsanjani’s argument. It is this murderous calculation – the sort of calculation that lies at the base of every suicide attack – that distinguishes the atomic ambitions of Iran from the interests of all existing nuclear powers.
If there is a western nation today that has the means to confront such madness with effective sanctions, it is Germany. For the last 25 years, the German government has offered its good offices to the anti-Semitic Mullahs in Tehran with a shamelessness unrivalled by any other western government. In 1984, Hans-Dietrich Genscher was the first western Foreign Minister to pay his respects to the Mullah regime. Ten years later, Germany’s federal intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), trained Iranian intelligence agents in Munich. (See Arthur Heinrich, “Zur Kritik des ‘kritischen Dialogs’”, Blätter für deutsche und internationale Politik, May 1996.) And whereas since 1995 American firms are prohibited from trading with Iran, Germany will, in the words of Werner Schoeltzke of the German Near and Middle East Association, , “remain the preferred technology partner of Iran also in the years to come” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 5 December 2003).
Germany is today by far the most important supplier of goods to Iran and its exports are increasing at a steady 20% per year. In 2004, German exports to Iran were worth some €3.6 billion. At the same time, Germany is the most important purchaser of Iranian goods apart from oil and Iran’s most important creditor.
Since, however, Ahmadinejad provided the world with such a stark reminder of the ideological foundations of the Mullah-dictatorship – Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism, and the destruction of Israel – Berlin is in a tight spot. On the one hand, Berlin would not like to put in danger Germany’s special relationship with Tehran. On the other hand, it does not look particularly good when the country from which came the Holocaust practitioners now collaborates with the regime of the Holocaust deniers. On 11 December, Germany’s new deputy Chancellor, Franz Müntefering of the SPD, indicated the way out of this dilemma: “Berlin Demands a ‘Reaction’ to Ahmadinejad” ran the headline in the following day’s edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (12 December 2005). This sounded surprisingly forceful. But whoever read the small type quickly understood the actual meaning of the headline: “ Berlin demands a ‘reaction’ to Ahmadinejad from everyone else”. The deputy Chancellor was cited as follows: “We cannot do it alone. Rather this has to be frankly discussed in the framework of the European Community and it must in the clearest possible terms be discussed in the framework of the United Nations”.
Excuse me? Germany can do nothing on its own? Only the German government can abrogate the 2002 investment agreement between German and Iran. Only Berlin can terminate the “Hermes” export credit guarantees that offer Iran advantages beyond almost any other country. As a consequence of the “Hermes” guarantees, the German state takes over all the specific risks connected with exports to Iran. Already in 1992, exports to Iran enjoyed the second highest level of Hermes guarantees after only Russia, and since then their scope has been continually increased. To bring an end to the privileges that the Mullah-dictatorship thus enjoys is entirely possible, though evidently politically unwanted. Müntefering’s uncompromising rhetoric is just the musical accompaniment to “business as usual”. Thus whereas the German government speaks impressively at the EU summit of sending “a clear signal of the sharpest possible disapproval”, in the Bundestag it speaks sheepishly “of avoiding the isolation [of Iran]”.
And what of Germany’s “Left” opposition? Should we not assume that privileging the most elementary human rights over the interests of the big corporations would be a special concern of the “Greens” or the “the Left” alliance? Far from it. Apart from some few exceptions, the “Left” has not been prepared to allow the Holocaust denier from Tehran to deprive it of its conspiracy theories and rage against “BuSharon”. “If the Iranian President Ahmadinejad did not exist,” writes, for example, the Berlin-based “Green” daily Die Tageszeitung (taz), “the USA and Israel would have had to invent him” (15 December 2005). Ahmadinejad’s words are only to be taken seriously inasmuch as they “provide a welcome pretext for the USA and Israel.”
Thus, on 16 December 2005, all the parties represented in the German Bundestag united to pass a resolution – including not a single word about the German-Iranian special relationship – applauding the Müntefering line: “The German Bundestag welcomes that the German government has stood up to the remarks of the Iranian President.” Yes indeed: Bravo and many more such successes! Given the obvious solicitude for the requirements of German industry, it would not surprise me if Ahmadinejad ordered his next batch of plastic keys for his Basiji from Germany. But will 500,000 keys to paradise be enough for the war against Israel?

Translated from the German by Transatlantic Intelligencer
Matthias Kuntzel writes for the Transatlantic Intelligencer.

Ex-Hostage Makes Bizarre TV Appearance

The Susanne Osthoff case smelled funny before, but today it got really ripe: Former Iraq Hostage Makes Bizarre TV Appearance. (Hat tip: cutterjohn.)
If former hostage Susanne Osthoff had been better advised, she probably would have opted against appearing on German television entirely covered in a black headscarf. The hijab, which left only a pair of slits for her eyes, made the freed hostage look like a disturbing cross between a Chechen Black Widow suicide bomber and a ninja.
On Wednesday night, 10 days after her release from captivity, a televised interview with Osthoff, who had been held in Iraq for three weeks, was broadcast on the German public television channel ZDF. In the interview’s introduction, the presenter explained that Osthoff’s choice of dress was suposedly intended to preserve her identity —a bizarre thought considering that Osthoff’s face has been all over the front-pages since November and most people in Germany must be quite aware of what she looks like. Besides, she didn’t wear a headdress in her interview with Arab broacaster Al-Jazeera earlier this week.
The second shock for viewers was the rambling, incoherent nature of Osthoff’s answers. Even the heavily edited version (ZDF spokesman: “We wanted to protect Osthoff from herself.”) of the original 15-minute interview was barely comprehensible. Questions were left unanswered and at times Osthoff rambled off into non-sequiturs about how badly she had been treated by her landlord back in Germany. When asked how the kidnapping had been carried out, she was evasive, simply responding: “I think these details are not interesting. That doesn’t interest anyone. Generally kidnappings are carried out quite violently. People watch a lot of television and realize perhaps that you don’t let yourself get abducted voluntarily.”

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A New Year’s Jihad Retreat

By Joe Kaufman

Watching the ball drop, twirling a noisemaker, kissing your sweetheart, and making a resolution that rarely comes to pass -- everyone looks forward to the memory of a new year. But one group will be ringing in the New Year a little differently…through a children’s jihad retreat, with a guest speaker who exalts terrorists and another who is linked to al-Qaeda.

The majority of Islamic organizations within the United States have, at one time or another, been cited for their connections to terrorism, whether by support of terror groups or through actual terrorist activity carried out by its members. Two of those organizations, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Muslim American Society (MAS) have been working together putting on joint conferences. As stated in the New York Daily News (January 30, 2004), the organizations “have held conferences featuring speakers accused of terror ties and have published material supporting suicide bombings against Israel.”

Both ICNA and MAS stress the need for providing forums for Muslim youth. ICNA, in order to address this “need,” has created an apparatus called Young Muslims (YM). Likewise, MAS has established its own Youth Division. Through the two groups, children can learn the tenets of radical Islam by attending winter and summer camps.

Prior to 9/11, the camps would be referred to as “Jihad Camps,” but given the greater meaning of the term (holy war), why attract more attention than what’s necessary? Today, though, while the name has changed, the same radical message is taught. In YM Newsletter Issue 3 (2002/2003), Young Muslims extols the virtues of the works of Osama bin Laden’s mentor, Abdullah Azzam. According to YM Newsletter Issue 4 (2003), one of its goals is to assist in outreach “designed to call people to Islam, strengthen their belief in it, and organize them to work and to wage jihad in its cause.”

From December 31st of this year through January 2nd, the Tampa chapter of MAS will be launching a new camp, or as they put it, an ‘ILM & TARBIYAH RETREAT. Taking place in Lithia, Florida, at the Cedarkirk Camp & Conference Center, the theme of the event is “A Generation with a Mission.” That title is a little more subdued than the YM August 2002 “Planning for Our Akhira (afterlife),” but make no mistake, the speakers are just as extreme.

Featured at the “retreat” is the former President of MAS-Chicago, Chantal Carnes. Carnes is well known in the radical Islamist American community; she has given speeches at such venues as ICNA, MAS and Muslim Students Association (MSA) conventions. In addition to being a lecturer, she has also hosted a radio program for the Islamic Broadcasting Network (IBN). Each half-hour program was spent reviewing a different book.

On the occasion of July 22, 2003, Carnes and a guest had reviewed the title ‘Imam Shaheed Hassan Al-Banna - From Birth to Martyrdom.’ During the show, she lathered Al-Banna, the founder of the violent Muslim Brotherhood, with praise. She stated, “Every movement I can think of – every organization I can think of – in a way or another, is tracing back to what he started.” She said he had “inspired” her, and that “His life was captivating.” She said she liked “the fact that he was a shaheed (martyr),” and that she was going to model Al-Banna’s “personal development” with that of her own.

According to former federal prosecutor John Loftus, “Al Banna was a devout admirer of Adolph Hitler and wrote to him frequently. So persistent was he in his admiration of the new Nazi Party that in the 1930’s, Al-Banna and the Muslim Brotherhood became a secret arm of Nazi intelligence.”

Carnes also gushed about the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood started with only four persons. She exclaimed, “It’s not quantity, it’s quality!” According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the Muslim Brotherhood is a “terrorist group”… “The Brotherhood shares with HAMAS a complete rejection of Western values and Communism and calls for the establishment of a pan-Islamic state founded on the basis of shari'a, or Islamic law… The two movements similarly share the view that Israel is the theological archenemy of Islam… As the precursor of the HAMAS movement, the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza promoted the long-term strategy of creating the foundations of a Muslim state that would eventually become powerful enough to destroy Israel.”

On another occasion, Carnes and her guest had reviewed a book (‘To Be A European Muslim’) written by the grandson of Hassan Al-Banna, Tariq Ramadan. She admiringly referred to Ramadan’s writing as being “deep.” She stated, “He’s actually not that old to be writing about such deep concepts.” In August of 2004, Ramadan made the news when the Department of Homeland Security barred him from entering the United States by revoking his visa and work permit. Cited was the Immigration and Naturalization Act, which denies entry to aliens who have used a “position of prominence within any country to endorse or espouse terrorist activity.”

Chantal Carnes thoughts on Al-Banna and his lineage are nothing new to MAS, for as Daniel Pipes states on his website (in a piece concerning a 2004 paintball event held by MAS-Tampa), “the Muslim American Society is the U.S. face of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The other featured speaker for the MAS Retreat is Mazen Mokhtar. Mokhtar is the Youth Division Head of MAS-New Jersey and the Khateeb (sermon-giver) of Masjid Al-Huda and the Institute of Islamic Studies. Mokhtar is also associated with the terrorist group Al-Qaeda.

In August of 2004, shortly before he was to speak at a Young Muslims camp in Pennsylvania (‘A Few Good Men’), the U.S. government accused Mokhtar of assisting Al-Qaeda through the use of a web site he had created. The web site was, and it was a “mirror site” (replica) of (Azzam Publications), a site named for Abdullah Azzam that was soliciting funds and recruiting Taliban, Chechen and Al-Qaeda mujaheddin (holy warriors) for terrorist operations overseas. Mokhtar’s site was to be used as a back-up for Azzam Publications, when Azzam was shut down after the 9/11 attacks, so that fundraising and recruitment could continue.

On Azzam Publications, in an “APPEAL FOR PROFESSIONAL WEB DESIGNERS,” it is stated, “…we hope inshallah, that Allah would reward you for any time or effort spent in assisting our aspiration of providing an independent media source from the Islamic perspective.” It seems that Mokhtar answered the appeal.

His reward? A search was conducted on the New Jersey home of Mokhtar, and copies of Azzam Publications sites were found on his computer’s hard drive and files. These sites were being run by a British citizen named Babar Ahmad, a man thought to have been part of an operation headed by captured Al-Qaeda mastermind, Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

On Mokhtar’s Minna site, in the page titled ‘Jihad in Chechnya,’ a video CD depicting terrorist operations was being sold through the website. On the bottom of the page, it states, “Any enquiries regarding the content of this CD should be directed to the Islamic Army of the Caucasus, to Field Commander Shamil Basayev, Field Commander Khattab or their spokesman Movladi Udogov.” In September of 2004, Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility for the Beslan school massacre in Russia, which left over 300 dead, mostly children.

Acquaintances of Mokhtar’s expressed “surprise” at the notion that he would be affiliated with something such as this -- that his speeches were “mild,” not extreme. However, when one looks at his past, prior to his involvement with Al-Qaeda, one gets an entirely different picture.

On an Internet newsgroup forum, from the years 1992 to 1996, Mazen Mokhtar had made some very disturbing (and somewhat comical) remarks about the terrorist group Hamas and the concept of suicide bombing. Some of his statements are as follows:

“One of the reasons of my support for Hamas is that they have very high moral standards… If their standards were lax, they would have lost my support, and moral standards can't get any more lax than killing those who are innocent.”
“Bombing houses is best left to the IDF (IOF?) they are the experts in the field. Hamas prefers to invest its limited resources in doing good.”
“I have read the [Hamas] covenant. I support the covenant…”
“Hamas’s path is the only path in the history of the Palestinian struggle against Israel that has produced results, and the results are impressive, I must say. I think it is clear that Hamas has the wider vision and the better plan.”
“…the operations of HAMAS are heroic.”
“In any action of mass self defense, there is the possibility that some innocent people will die… I have enough trust in Hamas to feel that no one is killed before being identified as a collaborator.”
“Yes, [suicide bombing is allowed], assuming that the targets are legitimate (and the suicide bombing is a sacrifice, not a suicide.)”
“[Blowing yourself up is not considered suicide], because it’s an effective method of attacking the enemy and continuing jihad… These are not people [sic] committing suicide because they are fed up with life, these are people who are sacrificing their lives for Allah.”

The Muslim American Society of Tampa cannot plead ignorance, with respect to the views of the two featured speakers it is sponsoring at its retreat. This is the case not just because MAS has associated with these two in the past, but because quite simply, the viewpoint of the organization is identical!
On the MAS-Tampa website, one can peruse through an e-library filled with many significant Islamic texts, all written or translated in English. Included in these works is a text entitled Sahih Bukhari, whose section, ‘Fighting in the Cause of Allah (Jihaad),’ begins with the following: “I asked Allah's Apostle, ‘O Allah's Apostle! What is the best deed?’ He replied, (1) ‘To offer the prayers at their early stated fixed times.’ I asked, ‘What is next in goodness?’ He replied, (2) ‘To be good and dutiful to your parents.’ I further asked, what is next in goodness?’ He replied, (3) ‘To participate in Jihad in Allah's Cause.’”

Also of relevance on MAS-Tampa’s e-library are a number of discourses, letters and prayers authored by Hassan Al-Banna, himself. In one of the letters dated 1947, entitled ‘Toward the Light,’ there is contained a foreboding message. In it, Al-Banna lists a set of political, judicial and administrative goals. They are: “(1) An end to party rivalry, and directing the political forces of the nation into a unified front; (2) Amending the law, such that it conforms to all branches of Islamic legislation; and (3) Reinforcing the armed forces, and increasing the number of youth groups; igniting in them the spirit of Islamic jihad.”

With all of this in mind, one has to wonder how long it will take the participants in a jihad camp or retreat to accomplish the “deeds” and “goals” set forth in Sahih Bukharih and Al-Banna’s letter. Will they take the time to learn and grow as mature adults, or will they skip right to the third of each (Jihad) and move immediately towards the here-after (Akhira)?

Who Didn't See This Coming?

After the release of hostage Susanne Osthoff -- and her return to Iraq after the Germans negotiated for her freedom -- the market has suddenly turned brisk for German hostages:

A former German ambassador to Washington and four members of his family were reported missing and apparently kidnapped Wednesday while vacationing in a remote part of Yemen. It was the latest in a string of tourist abductions in the Arabian desert.
Juergen Chrobog, ambassador from 1995 to 2001, his wife and three adult sons were declared missing by the German Foreign Ministry. In Yemen, government officials said the family had been taken hostage by tribesmen who regularly seize Western tourists as bargaining chips in dealings with the government, according to news service reports from Sanaa, the capital.

Great move, Germany. I think you're about to learn a hard lesson in market economics as well as the folly in negotiating with terrorists.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

RoP in Germany

An Islamic center in Bavaria called the “Multi-Kultur-Haus” has been shut down by German authorities for spreading violent Islamist propaganda. (Hat tip: Ethel.)
BERLIN, Dec. 28, 2005 (AP) — Authorities on Wednesday shut down an Islamic center once attended by a man who accuses the CIA of kidnapping him and sending him to a secret Afghan prison to be abused and interrogated.
The man’s lawyer has linked the alleged kidnapping to the investigation of extremist activity at the center.
The state government of Bavaria said Wednesday it was shutting down the Multi-Kultur-Haus association in the southern town of Neu-Ulm after it seized material urging Muslims to carry out suicide attacks in Iraq.
Khaled al-Masri, a Kuwait-born German citizen who is suing the CIA for allegedly spiriting him to Afghanistan for interrogation, has said he visited the center several times before he was snatched.
Al-Masri said he was taken while trying to enter Macedonia on New Year’s Eve 2003 and flown to Afghanistan, where he was subjected to “torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” during five months in captivity, according to a lawsuit filed in a Virginia federal court.

How the Grinch Stole Michael Moore

By Peter Schweizer

Peter Schweizer's new book, Do As I Say (Not As I Do), is available from the FrontPage Magazine Bookstore for only $18.95.

In a recent speech broadcast on C-SPAN, Michael Moore complains that a "crazy person" (that would be me) has been spreading lies about him, including the story that he owns stock in a number of evil vicious multinational corporations, including Halliburton. "Michael Moore own Halliburton stock?" the anti-corporate activist told his supporters at the Paul Wellstone Memorial Dinner. "See, that's like a great comedy line. I know it's not true - I mean, I've never owned a share of stock in my life." He went on: "Anybody who knows me knows that, you know - who's gonna believe that? Just crazy people are going to believe it - crazy people who tune-in to the Fox News Channel." (Looks like this crazy person is in good company.)

On the back cover of my book, I include part of Michael Moore’s 990PF that he files with the IRS for a tax shelter he and his wife set up and control. The form clearly shows that Moore bought and sold shares in Halliburton and a number of other vicious, evil corporations. Look through the tax forms from 1998 to the present, and you will find more of the same.

How is it possible for Michael Moore to say he doesn’t own any stock while his tax forms say otherwise? Since Michael Moore simply never lies, this must be a case of identity theft.

Here is what must have happened. Someone set up a tax shelter and registered it at Michael Moore’s home address in Michigan. The thief transferred money from Moore’s accounts into this private foundation and then hired an investment broker to pour the money into corporate stock and bonds. The thief must have practiced forging Michael Moore’s name because the signature on the tax form is a perfect match. To make matters worse, the thief must look exactly like Michael Moore because the only other person involved with the tax shelter is his wife, Kathleen Glynn, and she never noticed anything going wrong. (The private foundation has no staff or other trustees.)

So who is behind this nefarious plot? My first guess is Dick Cheney. Think about it, Cheney has a lot of experience with this covert operations. And a look at the stocks in portfolio includes plenty from the military-industrial complex and oil industry, who are of course all of Cheney’s best friends. When the Halliburton stock in question was first purchased, Cheney was CEO. What better way to boost the stock price than use Michael Moore’s money?

But at second glance, this sort of operation is too soft for Cheney. If he wanted to get Mike, a dirty ops campaign like this would be too mild. Wouldn’t he just trump up charges and invade Michigan?

That brings us to another possibility: Karl Rove. Whenever anything goes wrong on the Left (remember those fake Bush National Guard papers?), Mike thinks Rove is behind it. He has to be behind this, too, right?

All joking aside, Michael Moore is following a tactic that too many of the liberal-leftist elite use to avoid any sort of accountability...

The real question facing the Left’s rank-and-file when it comes to the hypocrites I highlight in my book is this: are you going to stand by your principles or your heroes? If you truly believe what you claim, you shouldn’t tolerate this kind of hypocrisy on the part of your leaders...

So I ask those on the liberal-Left: Who are you going to believe, Michael Moore or his tax returns?

Peter Schweizer's new book, Do As I Say (Not As I Do), is available from the FrontPage Magazine Bookstore for only $18.95.

Peter Schweizer is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of several books, including Reagan’s War, The Bushes, and Do As I Say (Not As I Do).

But We're Out Of American-Killing Terrorists!

The German government has another scandal on its hands, and this one they went out of their way to create. The hostage that people widely believe Germany traded for the release of a terrorist that tortured and murdered American Robert Stethem in 1985 has refused to come back to Germany and insists on returning to Iraq instead. The Times reports that the hostage, Susanne Osthoff, had converted to Islam and married an Arabic nomad long before being captured by terrorists last month:
THE German Government angrily rebuked a former hostage yesterday who is determined to return to Iraq despite being held captive for three weeks by a Sunni gang.
Susanne Osthoff, a 43-year-old archaeologist, announced this week on al-Jazeera television that she would go back to her work in northern Iraq, trying to set up a German cultural centre in Arbil.
Angela Merkel’s new Government, which regards the freeing of Frau Osthoff this month as its first foreign policy triumph, is furious. It made huge efforts to secure her release and is widely believed to have paid a ransom.
It has now blocked all funding for her project and has told her that she should leave the region immediately. She is believed currently to be in Jordan, with her 12-year-old daughter, preparing to return.
“I would have little sympathy if Frau Osthoff puts herself again in danger considering the intensive efforts made by many people to secure her release,” said Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German Foreign Minister, who headed a team that negotiated her release.
CQ readers started following this story a week ago, when the Germans suddenly released Mohammed Ali Hamadi, a Hezbollah terrorist jailed for life in Germany for killing an American Navy diver in Beirut. The release of Hamadi came shortly before terrorists in Iraq released Osthoff. While the Germans delivered Hamadi to Beirut, they continued to deny any linkage between Osthoff's sudden release and their parole of a murderer they knew the Americans wanted for trial in the US.
Now, after having traded something for Osthoff, the Germans will look damned foolish indeed if she comes up missing again. On the other hand, just as with the Giuliana Sgrena incident, one can wonder whether Osthoff herself had a hand in her own kidnapping and ransom. If so, her possible partners might not want to team up with her again, as the Times notes that the German magazine Der Spiegel says the kidnappers appeared tired of dealing with her.
In any event, the Germans might find their initial political victory turn into a giant headache -- and Germans might start asking Merkel's government exactly what Osthoff cost them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Tsunami: God's Revenge Against Women

In Banda Aceh one year after the tsunami, the purveyors of shari’a blame women for the disaster.
MARLUDDIN JALIL, a Sharia judge who has ordered the punishment of women for not wearing headscarves, was uncompromising: “The tsunami was because of the sins of the people of Aceh.”
Thundering into a microphone at a gathering of wives, he made clear where he felt the fault lay: “The Holy Koran says that if women are good, then a country is good.”
A year after the disaster which many see as a divine punishment, emboldened Islamic hardliners are doing their best to eradicate sin — and women are their prime targets.
With reconstruction slow, irrational fears of a second tsunami high, and nearly 500,000 still homeless along 500 miles of coastline, the stern message falls on fertile ground. A Sharia police force modelled on Saudi moral enforcers enthusiastically seeks out female wrong doers for public humiliation.
The Wilayatul Hisbah, which loosely translates as “Control Team”, has arrested women, lopped off their hair, and paraded them in tears through the streets while broadcasting their sins over a megaphone.
More than 100 gamblers and drinkers — men and women — have been caned in public and some clerics are calling for thieves’ hands to be amputated.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Susanne Osthoff II: The Happy Hostage

Based on this interview one might well question the psychological status of former hostage Susanne Osthoff:
'My kidnappers were not criminals'
A former German hostage who spent 24 days in the hands of unknown captors in Iraq has said that her kidnappers were not criminals and had demanded humanitarian aid for Sunni Arab regions.
Speaking to the Al-Jazeera satellite channel, Susanne Osthoff said her captors told her not to be afraid as her kidnapping was "politically motivated".
"Do not be afraid. We do not harm women or children and you are a Muslim," she quoted them as saying. "I was so happy to know that I had not fallen into the hands of criminals."
Osthoff, a Muslim convert and Arabic speaker, said her captors demanded German humanitarian aid for Iraq's Sunni Arabs and stated clearly that they did not want a ransom.
"They said we don't want money ... Maybe we want from Germany ... hospitals and schools in the Sunni triangle [area northwest of Baghdad], and they would like to get money in the form of humanitarian aid."
She described her captors as "poor people" and said that she "cannot blame them for kidnapping her, as they cannot enter [Baghdad's heavily fortified] Green Zone to kidnap Americans."
She said she lived with her captors in a clean place and that they treated her "well". ...

Susanne Osthoff and friends

This has got to be another evil trick by Bush&Rumsfeld Inc. - incapacitating Iraqi terrorists ability to kidnap Americans by not allowing them to enter the Green Zone! Shocking!
BTW... there is a suspicion - probably never to be proven - that Osthoff was released in exchange for Hizbollah terrorist Mohammad Ali Hammadi, convicted of killing Navy diver Robert Stethem in Beirut during the 1985 hijacking of a TWA flight.
Oh, and Mrs. Osthoff contemplates a return to Iraq in the near future (her subsequent kidnapping is a safe bet if terrorists are still not permitted to enter the Green zone).
Are there any other Arab killers of U.S. military personel in German prisons?
You know, just in case...

Susanne Osthoff I

Wildly Inappropriate Hostage Reaction Watch
Susanne Osthoff, the German archaeologist who converted to Islam, says her kidnappers acted professionally and were not criminals: German hostage in Iraq told she was safe as Muslim.
DUBAI (Reuters) - A German held hostage in Iraq for three weeks said on Monday that the kidnappers who freed her a week ago promised not to hurt her because she was a Muslim.
In her first interview since the ordeal, Susanne Osthoff, 43, told Al Jazeera television at its Qatar headquarters that they also said they did not want money.
“They said ‘Ms. Susan, we know you and you are Iraq’s friend’,” said Osthoff, a convert to Islam who speaks fluent Arabic. She is an archaeologist who has spent more than a decade working on excavations in Iraq.
“’We’re informing you now this was a political reason why we kidnapped you, and we’ll inform you later about what will happen, so don’t be afraid, we don’t harm women or children, and you are Muslim’,” Osthoff quoted a kidnapper as saying.
“I was very happy because I knew I wasn’t in the hands of criminals,” she said. Her comments were translated into Arabic from English and parts were unclear. ...
Wearing a pinstripe jacket and loose black headscarf during the interview, Osthoff said the kidnappers pushed her into the trunk of a car in what she called a “professional performance”.
The fate of her driver remains unclear. Osthoff said she was driven to a place near the Iraqi border but was later taken to Baghdad and released.
“I wasn’t in tough circumstances and they treated me well,” she said. “They understood that I knew about the Iraqi people’s plight.”
The German government denied her freedom was linked to Berlin’s release of a Hizbollah member jailed for life in 1985 for the murder of a U.S. Navy diver.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

The real meaning of Hanukah

Liberation is a theme that courses through all of Jewish history. The story of the Israelites’ escape from Egyptian slavery and return to their homeland under the leadership of Moses resonates with many oppressed minorities. That particular escape from tyranny long resonated with black slaves and was incorporated into their liturgy and gospel singing.

Jews have always been a people on the move – usually not by their own choice. The Romans dispersed them after they rebelled against Roman imperialist rule. This was the genesis of the Diaspora.

Jewish communities were chased from one European nation to another in a brutal “whack a mole” pattern endured by Jews for centuries. The Inquisition was just one manifestation of this history.

The tragic history of the Jewish experience reached its apotheosis in the Holocaust, when many in Europe tired of the game and just decided to eliminate its Jews once and for all. The brutality of the Holocaust did lead to one of the most spiritual events of the modern era: the return of Jews to their original homeland, Israel.

Today, many ill-informed or biased people feel that the Jews no longer deserve a home and that Israel should not be supported: that, in the words of the United Nations, the day it was founded was a day of “mourning.”

Israel has been hit by a never-ending series of wars and terror attacks, boycotts and slanders. The genocidal threat that now faces Israel comes from Iran, which is rapidly developing nuclear weapons and has boasted of its intentions to destroy Israel. The world dithers or looks away as the policy of appeasement and defeatism overwhelms any sense of morality.

By one means or another, the survival of Jews and Judaism has always been in question since ancient times. As Jay D. Homnick pointed out in The American Spectator, the Festival of Lights, Hanukah, has its roots in the Jewish struggle for survival:

The conceptual basis of Hanukah is simple enough: The Greeks were the first nation to wage war not so much against Jews as against Judaism. They sent an occupying force to Israel and enlisted Jewish collaborators known as Hellenists. Their primary goal, as the liturgy expresses, was “to make them forget Your Torah.” It was a war against the Bible, and it was founded in the Greek worldview of scientific secularism. Sadly, it was mostly successful. Although the Talmud never overtly admits this, most independent historical sources indicate that this campaign succeeded in seducing the vast majority.

The small group of guerrilla fighters known as the Maccabees are celebrated for their brilliant military campaign, overcoming great odds. But perhaps more challenging was winning the population back to their national patrimony. Indeed, tradition has it that only one flask of sanctified oil survived the Greek occupation of the Temple. An amount ordinarily sufficient to burn one day, it miraculously lasted for eight full days. Light is used as a symbol for intellect in Judaism, because it illuminates where there is doubt. Thus, the candles represent the ability of the Bible to be restored to prominence as long as a small loyal group safeguards it in time of crisis.

In a day and age when the leadership of the largest branch of American Judaism is worried more about Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell than Abu-Musab El-Zarqawi and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, this story seems more relevant than ever.

For Jews, the Bible is not solely religious; for Jews, it is also a national epic. The disasters, the betrayals, the resurrections and liberations that occur in tthe Bible are a tragically recurring motif in Jewish history. The Pharoahs and all the other tyrants have never died. They have just assumed new titles.

Ed Lasky is news editor of The American Thinker.

Ed Lasky

Friday, December 23, 2005


The head of the Muslim Brotherhood, obviously emboldened by the lack of serious outrage at the statements of Iranian “president” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, now joins the Holocaust Deniers’ Chorus: Egypt’s Brotherhood leader calls Holocaust a myth.

None of this comes as a surprise to readers of LGF, of course; the only new part is that these people are now feeling comfortable enough to spew their vile sickness in front of reporters for al-Reuters—with a big smile.

CAIRO (Reuters) - The head of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition force in parliament, echoed Iran’s president on Thursday in describing the World War Two Holocaust of European Jews as a myth.

“Western democracy has attacked everyone who does not share the vision of the sons of Zion as far as the myth of the Holocaust is concerned,” Mohamed Mahdi Akef said in a statement.

Akef cited as evidence of Western intolerance the cases of French writer Roger Garoudy, who was convicted in France in 1998 of questioning the Holocaust, and British historian David Irving, who faces similar charges in Austria next month. ...

Akef, whose group won 88 of the Egyptian parliament’s 454 seats in elections in November and December, made his comment in an attack on the United States’ assertion that it is promoting democracy in the Middle East. He said the U.S. campaign was a cover for promoting its own interests and those of the Zionist movement in the region.

“American democracy ... steers the world into the American orbit delineated by the sons of Zion, so that everyone must wear the Stars and Stripes hat and keep away from the Zionist foster child,” he wrote in his weekly statement.

He accused the U.S. House of Representatives of hypocrisy when it threatened to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority if the Islamist movement Hamas takes part in January elections. He also criticized European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana for saying that Europeans might think twice about aid to the Palestinians if Hamas members were in parliament.

Hamas says it is an extension of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in 1928 and which renounced political violence inside Egypt decades ago. Hamas believes in armed struggle to replace Israel with an Islamic state.

Last week the deputy leader of the Brotherhood, Mohamed Habib, asked about Ahmadinejad’s denial of the Holocaust, said reports of Nazi attempts to wipe out European Jews might have been exaggerated.

“We don’t have confirmed things to enable us to prove this matter or refute it. It needs documentation but what one can be sure of is that there were attacks on the Jews but not by means of gas chambers or perhaps not in these numbers or on this scale,” Habib told Reuters in an interview.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Spielberg's Munich Pact

By Debbie Schlussel

When Steven Spielberg began filming Munich in June 2004, he set the tone for his fictional movie about Israeli agents who hunted down the Palestinian terrorists responsible for the slaughter of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Spielberg abruptly stopped filming and closed up shop. Why? Because the 2004 Summer Games were happening in August, and Steven Spielberg didn’t want to upset the terrorists.

That’s what Munich is about: not upsetting the terrorists. And rolling over while they attack and kill us. In Steven Spielberg’s world, not going after terrorists brings peace. In the real world, not going after terrorists brings more bloodshed.

When Spielberg began filming in 2004, it was well known that his film was based on George Jonas’ Vengeance – a book discredited as bunk by both Israeli Mossad agents and Palestinians with actual knowledge of the events depicted. So Spielberg claimed the movie was not based on Vengeance. If it’s not based on the book, then why do the credits of this film say it is?

Spielberg lied.

But not as much as he and admittedly anti-Israel scriptwriter Tony Kushner lied in this two-and-a-half-hour-plus celluloid fairy tale. Like the book on which it’s based, Munich is long, boring, and filled with fakery.

Spielberg’s Golda Meir is unsure about going after the Munich terrorists. She wavers and constantly seeks reassurance that this is the right thing. But the real-life Golda Meir could not have been more certain and intent on killing these terrorists.

Spielberg’s “Black September” terrorist group is named after the Munich terrorists, who murdered the Israeli athletes in September. The real-life “Black September” is so named after Jordan’s massacre of 10,000 Palestinians in September 1970 – causing many Jordanian Palestinians to flee for safety in the West Bank and Israel.

Spielberg’s Palestinian terrorists have deals with CIA officials in which they are paid not to harm American diplomats. Real-life Palestinians in 1973 beat to death U.S. diplomats, like Cleo Noel and George Curtis Moore in the Sudan, with Yasser Arafat personally giving the orders. (They were tortured to death and beaten so badly, authorities could not tell which of the two was black and which was white.)

Spielberg’s Palestinian terrorists have cute, young, innocent, piano-playing daughters who will be fatherless. But he never shows the cute, young daughters of the Israeli athletes who were made fatherless – and whose fathers, unlike the Palestinian terrorists, were innocent victims with no choice in the matter.

Spielberg’s Mossad agents say bigoted things like, “The only blood that matters to me is Jewish blood,” and go around killing innocent people at whim. The real-life Mossad agents who hunted the Munich terrorists went to great pains to avoid killing innocents (whether or not they were Jewish), a reason it took so many years and financial resources to get all but one of them. (Jamil Al-Gashey lives safely under the protection of the terror-state Syria.) In real-life, they killed only one innocent man whom they mistakenly believed to be a terrorist – a Moroccan waiter in Norway – for which those Mossad agents responsible were tried, convicted, and imprisoned, something that does not happen in the Spielberg version of events. Spielberg’s Mossad agents complain that Israel has no death penalty, so killing the terrorists violates Israeli law. Real-life Israel does have a death penalty for Nazi war criminals, like Eichmann, and recognized that the Munich terrorists were equally worthy.

Spielberg’s Mossad agents cry and brood a lot, unsure of themselves and why they are pursuing terrorists. Been there, seen that before – in the left-wing Israeli film Walk on Water. But it bears little resemblance to the real Mossad agents who hunted the terrorists. They were not metrosexual, sensitive guys – as badly as Spielberg and Kushner would like them to be. Like Golda Meir, they could not have been more certain of the just purpose of their mission.

Spielberg’s Mossad agents question why they should kill terrorists who murdered innocent people, when they will be replaced by other terrorists. Using that fallacious logic, why have a justice system at all? Bank robbers who go to jail will be replaced by more bank robbers. Ditto for child molesters, rapists, al-Qaeda terrorists, etc.

Then, there is something I haven’t read in other critics’ accounts of Munich – something that made me sick to my stomach. Are the lives of the innocent Israeli athletes so worthless that the scenes in which they are murdered by Palestinian terrorists are interspersed with the self-doubting Mossad agent having sex? How would Steven Spielberg like it if a loved one was shown being bludgeoned in between scenes of a law enforcement official bouncing up and down on top of the agent’s naked wife? This happens twice, the first time with a pregnant woman and a sexual position I thought was reserved for NC-17 and X-rated movies. Thanks for cheapening these murdered athletes’ lives, Spielberg.

From the beginning of this movie, the memories of these innocent victims of terrorism are desecrated, their lives morally equated with Palestinian terrorists’ lives. The work Kushner and Spielberg expended to create this undue symmetry of the asymmetrical is the hardest work they did in the entire film...

...Using voiceovers from TV and radio news accounts of the Olympic massacre, Spielberg presents the media confusion over whether the Israeli athletes and their Palestinian captors survived. Spielberg shows scenes of families of both Israeli athletes and Palestinian terrorists sobbing – as if their relatives are on equal moral footing. After it is confirmed the Israeli athletes were murdered, Spielberg uses news footage showing pictures and names of the Israeli dead. Interspersed with that, he shows Golda Meir and Israeli generals looking though photos and announcing the names of the Palestinian terrorists. They’re equal in this movie – Get it?

That’s the message of this movie: An eye for an eye doesn’t work. Instead we should just allow our enemies to take out both our eyes, with no end in sight. Israel tried Spielberg’s route, and the country’s experience was just the opposite of Spielberg’s message.

When Israel won the Yom Kippur War, when it hunted down the Olympic terrorists, when it invaded Lebanon and had Yasser Arafat in its sites in Beirut, the world respected Israel – and so did its Islamic enemies. And terrorist attacks stopped or slowed. When Israel showed weakness – signing empty peace treaties, like Oslo; pulling out of Southern Lebanon in an hour; and giving away Gaza – the world disdained Israel, and so did the Palestinian terrorists. That's when the terrorist attacks acceleterated. Many more Israelis have been murdered and maimed in the twelve years after the Oslo accords than in the twelve years before.

In Munich, repeated scenes of the Israeli athletes being taken hostage by the Palestinian terrorists show a poster of Masada in the background at their Olympic quarters. Masada was a famous mountain fortress in Israel, where ancients Jews made their last heroic stand against the Romans. Masada became a symbol of Jewish heroism that inspired the imagination and spirit of the founders of Israel.

But the symbolism of the Masada poster is lost on Spielberg. In his Munich vision of the world, he doesn’t want a heroic last stand against terrorists. He just wants us to roll over and die without a fight.

Steven Spielberg built tremendous political capital with the making of Schindler’s List. But he blew it all on Munich. And he just wrote his epitaph with it.

There are a lot of people named Abu in this film – Abu Youssef, Abu Salameh, etc. But the biggest Abu is the one in the credits, Abu Spielberg – Minister of Disinformation.

Diver's killer set free in Lebanon

By Nicholas Kralev

U.S. officials yesterday said the killer of a U.S. Navy diver had been released from "temporary custody" in Lebanon but refused to rule out bringing him to the United States by force.
The Lebanese government criticized Washington's request to hand over Mohammad Ali Hamadi, saying the militant already had served a prison sentence for the 1985 murder of Robert Dean Stethem of Waldorf, Md.
Hamadi, a member of the Hezbollah guerrilla group, was taken into custody upon returning to Lebanon after his release from a German prison Thursday. He had served 18 years for hijacking a TWA plane to Beirut and fatally shooting Petty Officer 2nd Class Stethem, who was 23 when he was killed.
"What I can assure anybody who's listening, including Mr. Hamadi, is that we will track him down, we will find him, and we will bring him to justice in the United States for what he's done," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
"We will make every effort, working with the Lebanese authorities or whomever else, to see that he faces trial for the murder of Mr. Stethem," he said.
Attempts to bring Hamadi to the United States are complicated because the United States and Lebanon do not have an extradition treaty.
Mr. McCormack and other U.S. officials would not rule out using force to achieve their goal if diplomacy fails. They cited past cases of foreigners who were forcefully brought to the United States to stand trial.
"We saw that with the person responsible for the murder of an American citizen, Mr. Klinghoffer," Mr. McCormack said on Tuesday in reference to Leon Klinghoffer, a disabled New Yorker who was shot in his wheelchair on a cruise ship in 1985 and thrown overboard while still alive.
"We tracked that person down and we brought them to justice in the United States," he said. "It doesn't matter how long it takes, but we will track them down and they will face justice in the United States."
The mastermind of Mr. Klinghoffer's murder, Mohammed Abbas, was captured in 2003 near Baghdad and died in custody 11 months later of what the Pentagon called "natural causes."
In a case cited by another U.S. official, Aimal Khan Kasi, a Pakistani citizen who in 1993 shot five persons in their cars as they entered the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., was snatched in an FBI raid in Pakistan four years later and was executed in 2002.
Richard Stethem, the diver's father, said yesterday that the United States should use force to apprehend Hamadi if necessary.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Jeffrey Gedmin: Adjusting the Law

Davids Medienkritik proudly presents the English version of the newest WELT article from Berlin Aspen Institute's Jeffrey Gedmin.

Adjusting the Law
December 14, 2005
By Jeffrey Gedmin

Arno Widmann comments in the Berliner Zeitung: “the Americans are waging a war against human rights" ("einen Krieg gegen die Menschenrechte"). The same day the Berliner Zeitung ran a long page two story on the CIA's empire of evil. Shoddy Michael Moore-style journalism is popular. Of course, the United States hardly does itself favours. The Bush team seems arrogant and seldom wants to admit a mistake.

It all distracts dangerously from a more serious debate about how we fight the war on terror. Critics argue that the United States cannot have carte blanche to do whatever it wants in Guantanamo. The Bush administration says, Read the Geneva Convention—it does not apply to Al Qaeda prisoners. Both are right. Why does it take so long to get to the inevitable: the development of international law to meet the needs of the current era. We have done this before. That's how we got the Geneva Conventions. Now we need laws that apply to combatants who do not wear a uniform, who hide among civilians and who deliberately target unarmed innocents. These are not the criminals our domestic judicial systems or the international law have been equipped to deal with.

Then there is torture. I yearn to say those words "torture is never justifiable!" I feel confident with other moral absolutes. Slavery is never justifiable. Terrorism is never justifiable. The United Nations Convention Against Torture, to which the U.S. is a signatory, bans torture as well as other acts of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment." Did you know "cruel, inhuman and degrading" can include giving sodium pentathol ("truth serum") to a terrorist who has information about a pending attack? I am not interested in degrading anyone. Nor am I interested in punishment or revenge by the way. I do want information, though, that can prevent further massacres. I want an honest and serious debate about how we get that information.

This U.S. debate is being led by Republican Senator John McCain. McCain has credentials. He spent more than five years in a North Vietnamese prison and was tortured much of the time. McCain says "No" to torture: any kind, any time, any circumstance, any place. This includes brutal tactics--the cruel, inhuman and degrading stuff--that may fall technically short of torture, such as making a prisoner stand for a long period of time or blasting prisoners with strobe lights and loud rock music. This is presumably the semantic game the Bush administration is playing when it says it does not torture. There is another side to the debate. Like McCain, Charles Krauthammer of the Washington Post says torture is a "monstrous evil." In an essay in the Weekly Standard magazine, Krauthammer argues for an absolute ban on all forms of coercion by military personnel. He professes revulsion over the "sick sadomasochism" of Lynndie England and her cronies at Abu Ghraib. But then Krauthammer wants exceptions. He calls for specialized agents--and not just anyone with CIA credentials--who in exceptional, life-saving circumstances would seek permission from the highest political authorities in the country (or from a special judicial body) to interrogate aggressively.

Before we ignite an anti-American (or anti-Gedmin) tirade, please recall that Germans themselves are consumers of information obtained through unsavoury techniques. It seems it is hard to escape ugly dilemmas in the war against Islamo-Faschism. The unpleasant truth is: Aggressive interrogation methods have already saved lives.

This may be what German foreign minister Steinmeyer had in mind when he warned last week against frivolous accusations or judgments Combating the terrorists, says Steinmeyer, poses the most difficult choices for the authorities. I have no doubt. Let's put platitudes aside and let a serious debate begin.

Jeffrey Gedmin is director of the Aspen Institute Berlin

“Munich” stands for “appeasement”

By Kate Wright

Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List taught a new generation of movie-goers the reality of the World War II Holocaust. Spielberg’s new movie, Munich, regrettably undoes some of his earlier good work, in recounting Israel’s response to the slaughter of 11 Israeli athletes by the Palestinian Liberation Organization at the 1972 Olympics. Israel’s Prime Minister Golda Meir ordered Israeli agents to hunt down and liquidate the PLO assassins, as a “Never Again!” message of life affirmation to the evil forces of the world.
Recent statements by Mr. Spielberg (Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Time) regarding his new movie suggest that his “close encounters” with “extraterrestrials” are taking their toll. We all know that Hollywood history is not history, but Steven Spielberg is taking great pains to carefully position his new movie as “historical fiction.”
“Historical Fiction”
Historical fiction means some of the events in this movie are real, but the story is imagined. Specifically, this means that the horrific murders that occurred at the Olympics in 1972 actually happened, but the story Steven Spielberg is telling about the Israeli response to those murders is fictional, that is, imagined by the writers and director.
The presumed name of the Israeli Mossad’s secret team was “Caesarea,” although there is rumor of another undisclosed “X” name, and the media called their mission “Wrath of God.” There is very little known about this secret unit because Israel has not opened its intelligence files to the public. Steven Spielberg’s movie is based on a book called Vengeance by George Jonas. According to press materials, there were no Mossad consultants to this movie, nor were there PLO consultants. But there were political consultants who assisted the writers, producers and director. Their collective representations about the people and events of this secret unit are the imagined part of the story.
Munich vs. Vengeance
The American movie is entitled Munich, however, the French release of the film reportedly is called Vengeance.
The word “Munich” is synonymous with appeasement. In history, The Munich Pact of 1938 is viewed as the catastrophic mistake of the 20th Century that paved the way for The Final Solution – Hitler’s extermination of 6,000,000 Jews. Great Britain’s Neville Chamberlain, together with Daladier of France and Bonnet of Italy, appeased Adolf Hitler in Munich, with the ceding of parts of Czechoslovakia to the Reich. When Chamberlain arrived home in London, he announced that he had secured, “Peace in our time!” Abandoned by its allies, Czechoslovakia surrendered to Hitler. World War II began shortly thereafter, and even today, the word “Munich” remains the international symbol of appeasement that encouraged Hitler to invade Poland and Russia, in his fascist quest to exterminate the Jews.
The word “vengeance,” as commonly understood, is reserved only for God. But justice is the universal window into the human condition. To characterize the Israeli response as a “response to a response” as Spielberg states in Time Magazine and his new movie implies, is a clear effort to deny the objective morality of what happened, not only in 1972, but throughout history. Justified Deterrence is the moral precept that Israel relies upon to defend itself and prevent its destruction from terrorism and other forces of aggression. Reducing the events of September, 1972 and its aftermath to an existential melodrama about manmade vengeance denies the political nature of the Olympic assassinations and its implication for the safety of all Jews.
According to Time Magazine, Steven Spielberg is attempting to create a “prayer of peace” – an analogy to correct the “stalemate” of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He cites the biggest enemy as “intransigence.” The cause of the conflict – as he would have his audience believe – is that neither Palestinians nor Jews are willing to make any changes in their approach to one another.
The Middle East conflict is neither vague, nor abstract. This is not an “eye-for-an-eye” battle of humanity. This conflict has existed since the 7th century. While people in the media and political consultants refer to the “Arab-Israeli” conflict, the source of the Middle East conflict originates with Jihad, the force that drives the modern terrorist organizations and Muslim regimes that support the destruction Israel and all non-Muslim civilizations, including the United States of America.
Militant Islam is not limited to the Middle East—nor are its tactics—as America learned on September 11, 2001.
Islamic Jihad and The “Schism” of Civilization
The Israeli athletes who were assassinated by the PLO in Munich in 1972 did not die by tragedy, nor by moral failings. They were slaughtered. This was a massacre of innocents. At that time, and today, there are no doubts about what happened at the Olympics. We saw much of it live on television. Creating a fictional story about the secret Israeli response—based on speculative feelings of a fictional protagonist – distorts the truth of what actually happened in history.
The command to “Convert by force, subjugate as dhimmis or kill the Infidel” is a core belief of Islam. This Jihad, or Holy War, is 1400 years old, not just a few decades. This command is the basis for what is universally recognized as the “schism” of civilizations. Jihad is not like blasphemy or heresy, which can be debated and rejected by theologians. Jihad is fueled by the Islamic belief that murder is a holy act. Jihad is a permanent theological imperative as well as a political tactic to destroy freedom-loving people everywhere, not just Jews and Christians, as the world has learned since 9/11.
It is important to understand that Osama bin Laden publicly declared war on America well before 2001. Officially, he declared “Holy War” on America in August of 1996, but there were other provocations before and after. In fact, the early 1970s saw a major rise in terrorism throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East. The 1972 PLO killings at the Olympics occurred in this contemporary context, but they originate in modern Islamic Jihad, arising from the ashes of Hitler’s Holocaust. This is why recasting the present day Middle East conflict as a “tragic stand-off” or as a “stalemate” of the last few decades is historically incorrect.
In real history, there is an enemy. The enemy is Islamic Jihad, although sometimes Jihad is called Militant Islam or Islamofascism. Jihad is a permanent war. This means Jihad excludes the idea of peace, but allows for truces (hudnas) to regroup, infiltrate, and attack again. Ignoring the facts of history is dangerous, but recasting the facts of history into a relativistic “fiction” leads audiences to scream, “Steven Spielberg…phone home!”
Jihad—like fascism and totalitarianism – destroys the moral order of humanity. This Jihad is same evil force that denies Israel the right to exist. If Israel has no right to exist, then be my guest, declare that this is a narrative about manmade vengeance. But if Israel does have the right to exist—and there is a moral order to humanity—then the moral compass of civilization drives this story – for all mankind—and commands that Israel defend herself and the safety of all Jews, despite any personal struggle.
Now, let’s enter the make-believe world of Steven Spielberg’s movie, Munich.
The Munich Narrative
This is the fictional story of a young Israeli named Avner (Eric Bana) who relinquishes his identity as a Mossad officer to lead the secret Israeli mission to track down 11 PLO operatives presumed to be responsible for planning and executing the Olympic slaughter. Because the mission is secret, Avner operates through highly paid informers. Neither Avner, nor his four-man team is privy to the Mossad’s strategy, nor are they apprised of the specific history and deeds of each targeted Palestinian.
Of the 11 PLO targets, only one – Al Hassan Salameh – commands our complete attention and fascination, as a worthy screen antagonist. He is the chief architect of the horrifying PLO assassinations, the front for Yasser Arafat’s PLO, along with another uncredited PLO master planner. Unfortunately, Al Salameh operates off-screen, jet-setting around the globe, negotiating his security with governments, aligning with adversarial regimes, and eluding Avner throughout the movie, with little tidbits of information conveyed through highly paid informers. But we never see any of this, nor do we understand what drives Al Salameh, so the narrative moves forward in journalistic fashion, with riveting sequences, without Al Salameh’s onscreen conflict and story participation. This error is fatal to the story, and robs the film of momentum.
The primary narrative is Avner’s internal story, expressed as conflict with Ephraim, the Mossad Chief (Geoffrey Rush), and Avner’s four-man team. Without a powerful onscreen antagonist who presents conflicting story values, Spielberg relies on flash-cuts from the opening sequence of the Munich slaughter to create tension. Unfortunately, story motivation cannot substitute for onscreen conflict, so the audience drifts away from the Israeli mission’s strategic assassinations, and instead redefines and experiences them as a series of consecutive murders Sicilian style. What begins as an extremely well-motivated story deliberately descends into an episodic narrative about vengeance, framed by rationalization.
In the end, there can be no satisfying climax. In fact, the end credits state that Al Hassan Salameh was captured in 1979.
What is Munich About?
Writers Tony Kushner and Eric Roth boldly present an existential story-form about “the struggle” to track down 11 Palestinians “in response to” the loss of 11 Israeli athletes, but they purposely deny the audience the most gripping layers within the “thriller story” to track down Al Salameh. The compelling curiosities about Al Salameh’s personal habits, his mastery of deceit, his layers of depravity, remain unexplored. There is no depiction of any internal struggle for Al Alameh to match that of Avner.
Above all, the audience cannot help but wonder about how the glamorized Al Salameh understands the underpinnings of the Arab and Muslim cultures that abandon the voices of their own poorest and most oppressed. What does Al Salameh think of a religion where Sunnis refuse to believe that their own brethren, Shias and Kurds, are human? How does he feel about the poorest Palestinians who claim to use terrorism because they are screaming to be heard? Is he listening to them? What is missing from his own mindset – or is it the mindset of Islam—that the world’s wealthiest Muslim Arabs cannot take care of their own? What is inside this mysterious wealthy world of Arab jet setters who refuse to create their own society to respond to the cries of the Palestinians?
These opposing story values might have been a worthy journey to challenge Avner’s struggle. It’s as if the writers and director were intent upon ignoring the questions of interest in favor of creating a politically correct “Mein Kampf” (“My Struggle”) for our time. Literally, the “struggle” is the story. The message is that the Israeli struggle to defend itself is morally equivalent to the Palestinian struggle to be heard. The end result is that Avner’s struggle fizzles into a type of self-inflicted relativistic anti-Zionist propaganda.
With due respect, there are many outstanding moments, including an amusing character named Yvonne who presents the “dialectic” philosophy of Georg Hegel as dialogue with Avner, foreshadowing that this is a story about “rethinking right and wrong.”
Ironically, this is the story clue. The Hegelian system is predicated on the unity of opposites and exploration of the negations that comprise these opposites. This unity of opposites – the dialectic – is ultimately tested by the “negation of the negation” and forms the synthesis of the dialectic. In Munich, the psyche, deeds, and strategy of Al Salameh represent the opposing forces to Avner’s story, both literally and figuratively. Without a comprehensive exploration of this set of opposing story values, there can be no Hegelian process of the dialectic, nor its synthesis.
As a result, Munich is overflowing with good character choices and superior filmmaking, but fails as storytelling, even in the friendly audience of peers at the Directors Guild of America. The audience exited, speechless. Personally, I felt like the character Carl (Ciaran Hinds), the worrier who is constantly “chasing the mice” inside his skull, only Carl solved his mice cravings with alcohol and affection.
Instead, I went home and wrote this. Then, it became clear that “the (three) mice” are all blind. They are spinning around a treadmill of moral confusion, exhausted by politically correct thinking. By negating curiosity, they negate thought. By transposing history into a morally equivalent humanist struggle, “the three blind mice” took us into a world where there is no relief, let alone insight into the complexities of the human condition.
Now, fasten your seatbelt and hook your shoulder strap. You are about to exit the world of make-believe, and re-enter the real world where history rules, and truth prevails. Stay tuned for the historical overview that is missing from this movie.
Where Islam Meets Nazism
The nexus between Islam and Nazism exists in the “Never Again!” timeline of the 20th century, officially dating to November 28, 1941, when Hitler made a pact with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem – the grandfather of the PLO – to effect The Final Solution…the extermination of all Jews from the face of the earth. As a reminder, the Grand Mufti had declared Jihad on the Allied Powers (our side) on November 25, 1941, and the United States of America was attacked two weeks later by the Axis Powers (their side) at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
Tracing the roots of 20th century Islamic Jihad begins with the Balfour Declaration of 1917. After World War I, Great Britain was granted control of the “Mandate of Palestine” and sought to create a permanent home for Jews. In 1920, anti-Zionist Hajj Amin al-Husseini rose from Islamic Arab ranks and began a campaign to exterminate Jews. Concurrently, an Egyptian named Hasam al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood, and began supporting Al Husseini who was elevated to “The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem” by the British.
Al Banna and The Grand Mufti continued inciting violence against Jews through the 1920s, and as Nazism spread through Europe, Jews fled to Palestine. Their next move was to make overtures to Adolf Hitler, and the influx of Jews set off the “Great Uprising” or “Arab Revolt” of 1936-1939. After the 1938 Munich Pact, Hitler moved swiftly into Poland and Russia, advancing “The Final Solution.” Then, in 1941, he cemented his alliance with The Grand Mufti, after which The Grand Mufti moved to Germany and traveled regularly to present-day Bosnia (establishing the roots of the modern-day Bosnian conflict).
When World War II ended in 1945, the Grand Mufti colluded with intelligence communities (reportedly French and British) and avoided prosecution for war crimes by fleeing to Egypt. The United Nations was established, and as reparation for the Holocaust, called for the establishment of the State of Israel. On May 14, 1948, after the British Mandate expired, David Ben-Gurion formally established the modern State of Israel, which was immediately invaded by Arab armies, though Israel prevailed. The Grand Mufti and his Muslim Brotherhood regrouped in Egypt, as the modern-day anti-Zionist Jihadist movement that spawned other militant anti-Zionist organizations, including the Fatah Party, Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Liberation Organization that architected the 1972 Olympic killings, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda.
The events of Munich, 1972—like the events of September 11, 2001—originate from the Islamic Jihad of the 20th century Muslim Brotherhood. This is why those who have witnessed or studied history feel compelled to clarify the origins of this conflict, because we know that murder is not a holy act. We know that Jihad is a permanent political tactic to convert or destroy all non-Muslim humanity.
Jihad is not equal to justified deterrence. The Munich slaughter is not equal to Israel’s moral imperative to liquidate Jihadists. The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem is not equal to David Ben-Gurion. Adolf Hitler is not equal to Simon Wiesenthal. Yasser Arafat is not equal to Golda Meir. The PLO is not equal to Israel. The “culture of death” that is Jihad is not equal to the “culture of life” that is L’Chaim.
Is anyone really surprised that this outrage happened in Munich, the birthplace of Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich? Jihadists, who are fighting an ancient struggle, are particularly cognizant of history, and pay obsessive concern to dates and places.
In history, there are no regrets about what happened to Adolf Hitler, no confusion about what happened at the 1972 Olympics and no legitimate voices that defy the necessity of Israel’s strategic response to the Munich slaughter. The Israeli response to the 1972 Olympics transcends the timeline of history as a “Never Again!” morality tale of good vs. evil. This is not a story about negating life. This is not a story about vengeance. This is a story about the painful regrets and compelling issues that comprise the profound decisions involved in defending….the sanctity of human life.
“Implacable Resolve”
Steven Spielberg describes his movie as a “prayer for peace.” Although he defines the enemy as “intransigence,” he refers to the “implacable resolve” of the agents who hunted down the PLO assassins. According to Webster, “implacable” means “incapacity for appeasement.” Is Spielberg hinting that it is Israel’s incapacity for appeasement that drives the Jihad? Is he implying that if only Gold Meir had appeased the terrorists this one time in 1972 – like Chamberlain appeased Hitler at Munich in 1938—there would be no modern-day conflict? Is he suggesting that Israel’s vengeance triggered the 3rd act of the 1400-year old Jihad? Is he stating that America – like Israel – is to be reviled for affirming the sanctity of life? Or is he condoning that America and Israel are to be hated for defending freedom?
Perhaps Mr. Spielberg is entranced by what Professor Jeane Kirkpatrick described as The Myth of Moral Equivalence, the humanist claim that all sides—regardless of core beliefs, tactics and genocides—are somehow valid. Otherwise, Spielberg seems convinced by moral relativism, the position that there is no comprehensive moral truth or truth value, that only personal subjective morality, deriving from social convention, is truly authentic. Even Hollywood publicists will have trouble extricating him from this self-inflicted philosophical quagmire by suggesting that he fall back on the obscure concept of moral pluralism which acknowledges the co-existence of opposing ideas and practices – but does not require that they be equally valid. As a last resort, he may be tempted to gravitate to the nouveau concept of value pluralism. But this stimulates the little mice into over-drive, and begs the fundamental question of our time.
If Israel has no right to exist, then who does?
Otherwise, Mr. Spielberg is committed to persuading the world that Israel is at fault for its intransigence. He would have us believe that Jihad – the core belief of Militant Islam—is equal to Israel’s justified deterrence to wage its own strategic defense. He would have us believe that Jihad is equal to The Ark of the Covenant.
Refusing to appease the anti-Zionist Muslim regimes that seek to destroy Israel is the litmus test for the 21st century. Maturity teaches us to recognize the origins of the creator-based concept of the individual. Righteousness teaches us to acknowledge the sanctity of the moral compass of civilization. Courage teaches us to defend these concepts, from which freedom derives. We are inspired by the wisdom of the ages to defend Israel’s right to exist, because this “creator-based right to exist” is a gift to all mankind, not only “the chosen” few. The new anti-Semitism is anti-Zionism.
What Really Matters
Perhaps we can learn “something important” after all—not from movies—but from the moral compass of history itself.
We are in a war of ideas. Freedom, Justice, and Truth transcend the movies. What really matters will survive the motives of movie studios. What really matters will survive all of us, especially the appeasers. What really matters will transcend the timeline of history.
The Muslim World is in a civil war of sane ideas vs. insane ideas. Baathists, Sunnis, Wahhabists, and Shias are scrambling for certitude, trying to figure out what side of history they are on. The insanity of Jihad is startlingly clear, once the moral compass of civilization is irrefutably in place. King Abdullah laid down the gauntlet by defining the “War on Militant Islam,” challenging sane Muslims to renounce the insanity of this “culture of death” that is Jihad. Now that Iraqi Muslims have declared their future, it is possible for sane Muslims to declare that freedom rules. It is time to negate the schism of civilization, reverse the schism inward, and break “Militant Islam” at its very core belief. Murder is not a holy act. Jihad is not a Holy War. Jihad is evil. Only Muslims can declare moral victory in their own civil war of ideas. Jihad—like all “cultures of death” – is dead on arrival.
Steven Spielberg’s “prayer for peace” appears to be earnest. Yet he misses the point of real history. By naming his movie Munich, he advances the message of appeasement. By promoting moral relativism as moral equivalence, he propels his audiences into moral clarity. By selling intransigence as the enemy, he invites history to define the constant enemy. The “Jihad to liberate Jerusalem” – like all fascist and totalitarian genocidal schemes that deny freedom and dignity of the individual – is the true enemy, not just of Israel, but of all mankind.
Meanwhile, all human beings get to decide which side of history they are on. Dreamworks appears to have made their decision.
Creating a dialogue that bridges the Muslim and the non-Muslim world is admirable, but the “true” dialogue—like the events of 1972—begins with the value of life.
In Memorium
Moshe Weinberg, 33
Yossef Romano, 31
Yossef Gutfreund, 40
David Berger, 28
Mark Slavin, 18
Yacov Springer, 51
Ze’ev Friedman, 28
Amitzur Shapira, 40
Eliezer Halfin, 24
Kehat Shorr, 53
Andre Spitzer, 27

Kate Wright is an American.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Germany Releases Convicted Terrorist

Hizballah terrorist Mohammed Ali Hamadi, convicted in Germany of murdering US Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem aboard a hijacked airplane, has been freed. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades.)
BEIRUT - Hezbollah member Mohammed Ali Hamadi has returned to Lebanon after being secretly released in Germany, where he was serving a life sentence for the 1985 hijacking of a TWA jetliner and killing of a US navy diver, Hezbollah and Lebanese security sources said Tuesday.
Hamadi returned a few days ago, a Hezbollah source told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa in Beirut. A Lebanese security source confirmed that Hamadi entered Beirut four days ago aboard a commercial flight from Germany.
The sources did not indicate whether Hamadi stayed in Beirut after his return. He had been arrested on 13 January 1987 at Frankfurt airport after customs officials found liquid explosives in his luggage.
He was sentenced in 1989 for possession of explosives, hijacking a U.S. commercial passenger airliner in Athens to Beirut - TWA flight 847 - on 14 June 1985, beating and holding passengers aboard that flight, and murdering Robert Dean Stethem, a US Navy diver, on the same flight.
Looks like business as usual in Germany under Angela Merkel.
Commentators have speculated that Hamadi’s release may be connected to the freeing Sunday of German hostage Susanne Osthoff in Iraq. German authorities had already tried to use Hamadi as a bargaining chip in the late 1980s to secure the release of German hostages in Lebanon.

Germany releases Hezbollah

Despite some encouraging signs, the situation in Germany is troubling in other regards. Reuters reports
Germany has secretly released a Hezbollah member serving a life sentence in prison for killing a U.S. Navy diver.
He was returned to Lebanon despite an extradition request from the United States, Lebanese political sources said on Tuesday.
The sources said Mohammad Ali Hammadi, convicted of killing Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem during the 1985 hijacking of a TWA flight to Beirut and sentenced to life without parole, was flown back to Beirut last week.
Germany, readers will remember, arranged the release of the captured terrorists from the Munich massacre, too.
Ed Lasky

Germany Releases U.S. Patriot's Hezbollah Murderer

By Debbie Schlussel

In June, we wrote about the 20th anniversary of hijacking of TWA flight 847 and murder of Navy diver Robert Dean Stethem by Hezbollah terrorists.

Stethem was a true American hero. Only 23 years old, he was tortured, beaten, and trampled to death by the Hezbollah terrorists for the crimes of being an American, a U.S. serviceman, and refusing--to his last breath--to denounce America.

We're sad to report that yet another prediction of ours has now come true. We predicted in June that Mohammad Ali Hamadi, one of the Hezbollah terrorists who murdered Stethem, would be released by the German government.

On Friday, the Stethem Family informed us that our worst fears have been realized and that Hamadi will not face justice for his brutal act of terrorism. Germany secretly released
Hamadi to freedom in Lebanon.

Robert Dean Stethem, American Hero, RIP

The German government captured Hamadi in 1987. (Stethem's other three murderers--Imad Fayez Mugniyeh, Hasan Izz-Al-Din, Ali Atwa--remain free, and are believed to be in Lebanon, Iran, or Syria.) Hamadi was carrying explosives that were the same kind use in previous terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, Hamadi--who remains under indictment in the U.S.--was tried by the German government, not our. He was given life in prison without the possibility of parole. But there was always an understanding that Hamadi would be extradited to the U.S. to face justice, if the Germans ever released him.

Germany kept none of its promises and showed the world that it really has no resolve in fighting terrorism. The Stethem family learned Friday that Hamadi was released to freedom. Despite life without parole, Hamadi was up for parole twice and served only 16 years in prison. And unlike all other extraditions sought by the U.S. under an extradition treaty with Germany, Germany violated the extradition treaty and Hamadi's extradition was not granted. Reportedly, Germany did this for two reasons 1) to gain the release of a female German hostage, Susanne Osthoff (a German convert to Islam), from terrorists in Iraq (apparently, the Germans do negotiate with terrorists, and they trade terrorists for hostages); and Hezbollah has a strong connection with the ones in Iraq); and 2) in retribution for reported CIA terrorist camps in Europe. This is an outrage.

What's worse is that Germany released Hamadi clandestinely and provided armed security to escort him to freedom in Lebanon, where his two brothers and other family members are high-ranking Hezbollah officers. Hezbollah-dominated and Syrian-controlled Lebanon--where Hamadi is a hero for murdering Stethem--will never extradite Hamadi to the U.S. to face justice.

The Stethem family is very upset. And all of us should be, too.

Germany is supposed to be our ally in the War on Terror. But actions like freeing Hamadi clearly demonstrate otherwise. The fact that the U.S. government is not making a big deal out of this also speaks volumes.

Before 9/11, Hezbollah murdered more Americans than any other terrorist group. Both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times have confirmed that Hezbollah is a component of the Al-Qaeda network and is training Al-Qaeda terrorists at camps in Lebanon. Both have also reported that Hezbollah is training insurgents who murder our troops in Iraq. British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently reported that Qaeda explosives used in Iraq bear the trademarks of Hezbollah "craftsmanship."

But instead of publicly denouncing the actions of the Hezbollah and the German government in allowing a Hezbollah terrorist and murderer go free, our government is making nice with the enemy.

Top ranking federal officials--U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy III, FBI Special Agent in Charge for Michigan Daniel Roberts, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) Special Agent in Charge for Michigan and Ohio Brian Moskowitz, Citizenship and Immigration Services official Carol Jenifer--recently broke pita at the Detroit-area mosque of one of Hezbollah's and Iran's top agents in the United States. They laughed with him about Hezbollah being on the State Department terrorist list, seeming to scratch their heads as to why it's on the list. They clapped enthusiastically when he described what's going on in Southern Lebanon as "resistance, not terrorism."

It's not rocket science to make correct predictions like we make on this site--that Hamadi would be set free or that Islamic Jihad frontman Sami Al-Arian would be acquitted. Clueless, spineless appeasers like Murphy, Roberts, Moskowitz, and Jenifer, and the German government are running the show--and that makes the prospect of terrorists going free very predictable.

Robert Stethem must be looking down from Heaven and trying to make sense of what is happening here on mortal earth. He was an American patriot and for that, faced a brutal, early death. He would have been around 43, today. Around the same age, Murphy, Roberts, Moskowitz et al are patriotic only to themselves and their aggressive ambitions--and each continues to be promoted. When President Bush said, "You are either on our side or the terrorists' side," his own federal officials who oversee these three must not have been listening. (Moskowitz' boss, ICE Director of Investigations Marcy Forman-Friedman, reportedly told other ICE officials that she's glad Moskowitz "smoothed things over with the Islamic community of Detroit." That, not catching terrorists, is the priority at ICE.)

A lot has changed in 20 years since Robert Stethem gave his life in service to America. And not for the better. There is only one thing that hasn't changed: Robert Stethem and his family deserve justice.

And they have yet to get it.

UPDATE: Germany traded justice for Robert Stethem and the freedom of terrorist murderer Hamadi for German Muslim hostage's freedom in Iraq.

Visit Debbie Schlussel's website at She can be reached at