Friday, November 20, 2009

NY Times asks- Can Soldiers Be Victims of Terrorism?

Can Soldiers Be Victims of Terrorism? That's the question raised in The New York Times of 11/20/09. The question arises out of the attack at Fort Hood, although it can be asked around the world.

Writes Robert Mackey,
"On Thursday in Washington, as my colleague David Johnston reports, several legislators declared at a Senate hearing that the murder of 12 soldiers and a retired guardsman at Fort Hood this month was “a terrorist attack.” Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, who opened the hearing,said, “We will look at the Fort Hood murders not as an isolated event, but as part of a larger pattern of homegrown terrorism that has emerged over the past several years.”"
An excellent discussion follows. Read the full article.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009  - Obama: Professed 9/11 Mastermind Will be Convicted

Does the president know when to keep his opinions to himself? Judging by his latest expression of guilt and innocence (remember the Gates v. Cambridge police fiasco) it appears not.

As reported on - Obama: Professed 9/11 Mastermind Will be Convicted
President Barack Obama predicted that professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will be convicted, as Attorney General Eric Holder defended putting him through the U.S. civilian legal system.
In one of a series of TV interviews during his trip to Asia, Obama said those offended by the legal privileges given to Mohammed by virtue of getting a civilian trial rather than a military tribunal won't find it "offensive at all when he's convicted and when the death penalty is applied to him.''
Obama quickly added that he did not mean to suggest he was prejudging the outcome of Mohammed's trial. "I'm not going to be in that courtroom," he said. "That's the job of the prosecutors, the judge and the jury."
Obama's comments come along with Attorney General Eric Holder's statements that the civil justice system will be more than adequate to address the issues to be raised by the defense at trial.

In my experience, juries have difficult jobs with cases involving conspiracy and long distance planning. It's hard for them to connect the dots because there is usually no evidence of the defendant pushing the plunger or squeezing the trigger. Add to that the evidential issues surrounding getting Mohammed's confession, and, well, you can see the problems.

In testimony before the Senate, the New York Times reports Attorney General Holder said,
''I have every confidence that the nation and the world will see him for the coward that he is,'' Holder told the committee. ''I'm not scared of what Khalid Sheik Mohammed has to say at trial -- and no one else needs to be either.''

Interesting, Mr. Attorney General, that you don't recognize the defendant's constitutional right not to testify at his trial and the requirement that the court explain to the jury that his decision to not take the stand cannot be held against him.

I have no doubt that NYC can handle the security. Sure, thousands of drivers and pedestrians will be inconvenienced as they are routed for blocks out of their way by frozen zones. But, hey, it's worth it right?

In the meantime, I hope Mr. Obama can act with a little more dignity as president. Not every news item requires his personal two cents, and the jury is sure to hear how the president of the United States has already prejudged this case. As for our attorney general, my advice is to not get too cocky. Other terror prosecutions have fizzled, this case might, too.

That's what I think.

Stephen M. Flatow

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Friday, November 13, 2009

US Attempts to Seize Iranian Assets in NYC

Those familiar with our case, Flatow v. Islamic Republic of Iran, will remember that our family attempted to collect on our judgment by seizing various properties we alleged were owned by the Iranian government through third parties. As the records in those cases show, we could not overcome the so-called day-to-day control of these assets by the mullahs in Iran.

Notwithstanding that we thought we had proved that Iran was the owner of the Alavi Foundation by virtue of its nature as an Iranian controlled charity, US courts ruled against us.

Now comes the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the filing of a Verified Amended Complaint seeking forfeiture of properties around the United States on the basis that there owners are fronts for the Islamic Republic of Iran.

10 years ago I stated that the seizure of Iranian assets was another weapon to be used to get the Iranians out of the terrorism sponsorship business. Apparently, the government agrees.

It seems we were right all along.

Kudos to the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Here's hoping he's successful in his efforts.

Read two current news accounts: 1010WINS, The New York Times.

The US Attorney's Press Release is here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fort Hood Attack - terrorism or not?

It's too early to answer the question posed above. Thirteen people were killed and 30 others injured in the shooting rampage at the Texas Army post on Thursday. So was it a "mad" gunman or someone intent on affecting America's involvement in Muslim countries? Once again, I think it's too early to know.

That's not to say that folks are not jumping into the fray.

CAIR sends out a mixed message- Americans should unite in the face of this outrage, but urges Muslims "to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves, their families and their religious institutions from possible backlash."

Phyllis Chesler wrote
Ordinarily, I'd agree with such advice about conclusion-jumping. The military does first have to investigate the matter fully. One can't always believe what one reads in the media, etc. But whether or not Major Hasan acted alone, had allies, was inspired by religious and political Islamism, was psychiatrically troubled–the fact remains that he committed an act of terrorism. He terrified other soldiers precisely where they were supposed to feel safe. So much of the truth is already so clear that it would be insane, insulting to the intelligence to deny or minimize it.
I think right now we all need to take a breath and think about the victims who, after all, represent us all.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Italian Court- Rendition a no-no

In a landmark ruling on Wednesday, an Italian judge convicted a station chief and 22 other Americans accused of being C.I.A. agents of kidnapping in the 2003 abduction of a Muslim cleric from the streets of Milan.

So begins the latest news report from The New York Times. Of course, it's Bush's fault-
The case was widely seen as an implicit indictment of the measures the Bush administration relied on to fight terrorism.

Now, this is coming from a country that bungled the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment of the Achille Lauro hijackers. Priceless.

Let's see how this story unfolds.

Read the Times' story here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

"It's Radical Islam, Stupid" - CAIR in the cross hairs

In an essay, "It's Radical Islam, Stupid" released on Hudson New York, Steven Emerson once again puts CAIR in the cross hairs.
In 1993, a secret meeting of the Muslim Brotherhood Palestine Committee—mostly senior Hamas leaders--was held in a Philadelphia Marriott. The group discussed new ways to secretly funnel money to Hamas and of creating a new public relations organization to deceive the American about their true objectives of helping Hamas.

Less than a year later, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was created to serve as a front group for Hamas. Since that time, it has morphed into a quasi legitimate “Islamic civil rights” group portrayed in some circles as the equivalent of the NAACP. For 14 years, CAIR got away with the lying to us about who they are, justifying Islamic terrorist attacks, legitimizing suicide bombings, presenting speakers who had been Holocaust deniers, making incendiary presentations about the United States and urging Muslims not to talk to the FBI. CAIR claims that that there is no such thing as radical Islam, but rather a secret cabal to attack all of Islam, while secretly receiving millions of dollars from Saudi financiers and attacking terrorist prosecutions as somehow an “attack on Islam.”
Emerson cites numerous examples of the media's and politician's soft-peddling on CAIR but explains:
There is a much larger pattern here that just the apologia or selective amnesia for CAIR. The free pass given to radical Islam has become a pandemic. The Goldstone Report, which pur- ported to document “Israeli war crimes” in the war with Hamas in January, was one of the most dangerously one-sided, dishonest reports ever produced by the United Nations. Naturally the New York Times played it as a lead item on the front page without any skepticism by their reporter, who is known to take CAIR hand outs.
Read the full essay, It's Radical Islam, Stupid.