Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wanna be terror supporter goes jail

Another sponsor of terror is going to jail. 
Hor I. Akl was sentenced to more than six years in prison today after previously pleading guilty to criminal charges related to a scheme to send hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hizballah, a designated foreign terrorist organization, announced Steven M. Dettelbach, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio; and Stephen D. Anthony, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Division.
As I wrote about 17 years ago, people who mean to do harm to others are right here in the United States. I was then referring to the case of Sami Al-Arian, a supporter of the violent terrorists of Palestinian Islamic Jihad which murdered Alisa and seven others in 1995.  But this most recent case clearly indicates that Al-Arian was just one man in a long line of terror's supporters and sponsors.

Way to go USA!

Read the full press release.

alisa flatow israel

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Speaking for Frank Lautenberg

I had forgotten about this video I made on behalf of Senator Frank Lautenberg's election campaign from a number of years ago.  Frank was a staunch supporter of our family and other victims of terror.
alisa flatow

Stephen M. Flatow

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

So much for secrets, I agree with Peter King

What's with the intelligence community?  I always thought that operatives--in the good old days, spies--were to be anonymous, working in the background, with methods of operation and identities protected.

Comes now the CIA and Saudi intelligence authorities talking about the operation that interrupted another Al Qaeda underwear bomb plot.

As reported in the New York Times,
The suicide bomber dispatched by the Yemen branch of Al Qaeda last month to blow up a United States-bound airliner was actually an intelligence agent for Saudi Arabia who infiltrated the terrorist group and volunteered for the mission, American and foreign officials said Tuesday.
 I'm not the only one puzzled by this behavior.  Congressman Peter T. King of Long Island, New York has also weighed in:
But American intelligence officials were angry about the disclosure of the Qaeda plot, first reported Monday by The Associated Press, which had held the story for several days at the request of the C.I.A. They feared the leak would discourage foreign intelligence services from cooperating with the United States on risky missions in the future, said Representative Peter T. King, a New York Republican and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
OK, guys, good job here, but let's keep these stories out of the newspapers.

Well, that's what I think.

Stephen M. Flatow

Monday, May 7, 2012

Comments on terror bombing video

The Mike Kelly column on the terror bombing video has generated two letters to the editor that focus on the comments made by one of Kelly's interviewee's, Aref Assaf, a pro-Palestinian activist.

Aref Assaf of the Paterson-based American-Arab Forum, one of North Jersey's leading Palestinian activists and a frequent critic of Israel's policies, also condemned the video.

"Any person or group that glorifies the killing of innocent people is something I can't condone," said Assaf, who was born in a West Bank refugee camp and still has family there.

But Assaf said the video's release did not surprise him.

"This is part of the price of continued violence between two people fighting over the same land," he said.
Whoa, you read that correctly, he's equating Israel's responses to terror as the same thing as the terror attack. And he fails to define what he means by "same land."

Two letters to the editor of the Bergen Record have taken Assaf to task for those comments.  While available on line, the links are hard to follow, so here are the letters in full:

Persistent ‘straw men’ in Mideast

Regarding Columnist Mike Kelly’s "Video as senseless as terrorist attack" (Page L-1, May 1):

Kelly’s column reminded us that monumental events often have lasting impact and that the horror of acts of violence do not dissipate with the passage of time and the public’s short-term memory.

Yet I was taken aback by the comments of Aref Assaf, president of the American Arab Forum. Assaf, described by Kelly as one of North Jersey’s leading Palestinian activists and a frequent critic of Israel’s policies, condemned the video but said, "This is part of the price of continued violence between two people fighting over the same land."

Is Assaf drawing moral equivalency between terrorist bomb attacks and responses by the Israeli military concerned about the safety of its citizens, both Arab and Jewish? By using the term the same land, is he saying that Palestinians are fighting over Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beer Sheva? These are two fundamental questions that must be answered by Palestinians when they decide to join Israel at the negotiating table, where Israel has offered to sit with her neighbors for 64 years.

The "settlement excuse" for not negotiating is in truth a "straw man." The maps for a just territorial compromise that would involve land swaps and the evacuation of some Israeli communities in the West Bank were drawn and agreed to by the negotiators at the end of President Clinton’s administration. The problem then, as it remains today, is the inability of Palestinian leaders to say yes to territorial compromise and no to terror. Israel is waiting for the Palestinian Authority to demonstrate its sincere desire for peace.

Neal I. Borovitz
River Edge, May 2
The writer, rabbi of Temple Avodat Shalom in River Edge, is chairman of the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey.

Regarding Columnist Mike Kelly’s "Video as senseless as terrorist attack" (Page L-1, May1) on the Internet video of the bombing that killed Alisa Flatow:

Aref Assaf of the Paterson-based American Arab Forum asserts, "This is part of the price of continued violence between two people fighting over the same land."

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Arabs have been attacking the people of Israel long before it was a state, including long before the West Bank was taken by the Israeli Defense Forces.

This violence has absolutely nothing to do with land. It is about existence: The Arabs simply do not want Israel to exist. Period. The truth is plain to see.

Herbert Burack
Teaneck, May 2
Well said.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Theatrical production at Guantanamo could have been handled better.

Experience is a good teacher. I believe it applies to all aspects of life.  Whether you are learning your way around Facebook, your car, or any other thing worth learning, we learn best from our mistakes.

So why did the government prosecution allow the defendants to stage a theatrical production?

Prosecution of terrorists and their supporters has a history.  Mistakes have been made, yet they are fortunately far outweighed by the numerous successes.

Already the trial of terrorists that started this week at Guantanamo Bay is seemingly off to a bad start for the US.  Having been a witness, maybe a stakeholder would be a better word, in the trial of Sami Al-Arian about nine years ago, I believe I am qualified to offer my opinion as to the events now unfolding at Guantanamo Bay as the US puts several on trial for their role in the mass murder that we call "9/11."

Alisa Flatow was murdered in April 1995.  In November of that year FBI agents seized the computers and other records of Sami Al-Arian, long a vocal supporter of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.  Victims' parents such as myself surmised that Al-Arian would soon be indicted for a role in Kfar Darom bombing that claimed the life of one American citizen, my daughter.

That was not to be because it wasn't until years later that Al-Arian was arrested in connection with that bombing and others involving American citizens and it wasn't until 2003 that he went to trial.  Found not guilty of the most serious charges, and a mistrial  declared on the others, Al-Arian pleaded guilty to providing material support to PIJ and was sentenced to a term in prison to be followed by his deportation.  (He's still in this country.)

What went wrong in the Al-Arian case?  To my way of thinking, the delay between seizing the evidence, interpreting it and presenting it at trial was almost eight long years.  Add to that a plethora of charges, and the inherent difficulty in proving conspiracy cases, and we wound up with almost nothing.

So now we turn to the proceedings at Guantanamo Bay.  A prosecution more than 11 years after 9/11 is the best we can get.  So we have to deal with it.  But, already, a mistake has been made by allowing the defendants to be in open court and slow down the proceedings with their antics.

What should have been a short, sweet, and to-the-point hearing about pleas to the charges turned into a mockery of murder and it was directly in the face of victims' families who watched by closed circuit TV.

The defendants have been able to work on their theatrics for quite some time, and the government should have been prepared for it.  At the first sign of difficulty, these killers should have been led out of the courtroom and taken to a room where they could watch the proceedings on CCTV.  Any disruption on their end of the hearing would have been invisible, and the court could have proceeded to have an uninterrupted hearing.

Here are some links to the coverage of the hearing:

New York Daily News ; LA Times

I hope the government has learned from its mistakes. 

Well, that's what I have to say.  What do you think?

Stephen M. Flatow

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Just another insult - Islamic Jihad posts video of attack

I previously posted a video distributed by Islamic Jihad commemorating the terror attack that killed Alisa Flatow and 7 others in April 1995 near the settlement of Kfar Darom.

Mike Kelly, writing in New Jersey's Bergen Record, comments on the video.

He writes,
The video seems like an amateurish cartoon. But what it depicts is as real as the grave in a Paramus cemetery where Alisa Flatow's body lies.

You can read the full column here.