When Islamic Jihad Began in America


By Ed Morrissey, Captains Quarters Blog

February 22, 2008

The Beginning Of Jihad On American Soil

When did radical Islamist terrorists first strike in the United States? Some may guess 9/11; others paying more attention would say 1993, in the first attack on the World Trade Center. The second guess comes closer, but in fact it began in Manhattan in 1990, with an assassination that has largely been forgotten. Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the terrorists that conducted the 1993 attack, reminds us of the first Islamist terrorist attack in the US:

At the time, the most radical proponent of Jewish migration to Israel was Rabbi Meir Kahane, who in the late 1960’s had founded the Jewish Defense League (JDL) in New York. The JDL had been responsible for several terrorist attacks against Soviet targets in the United States, attacks ostensibly aimed at coercing the Soviets to free Russian Jews to move to Israel. After emigrating to Israel himself, Kahane was elected to the Knesset, occupying a seat until the late 1980’s when his party, Kach, was disbarred for anti-Arab racism. (Among other things, Kahane had called for the expulsion of non-Jews from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.) During October and November 1990, Kahane embarked on a speaking tour of the United States. On the evening of November 5, he appeared in a ballroom at the Marriott Hotel in midtown Manhattan. Fifty or sixty people were in attendance for the two-hour lecture, including [Sayyid] Nosair and two associates: Mohammed Salameh and Bilal Alkasi.

At the conclusion of his speech, Kahane mingled with audience members near the podium. Nosair approached, concealing a .357 magnum Sturm Ruger revolver, fully loaded with hollow-point rounds, its barrel shortened, the sight filed down (to avoid inadvertent hooking on clothing at the moment of truth), and the serial number obliterated—the trademarks of an assassin. Worming his way into a small knot of people, Nosair suddenly drew from a distance of about seven feet, pumping two shots into Kahane and killing him instantly.

Who was Sayyid Nosair? He was no random nutcase or fanatic, as portrayed at the time, incensed by Kahane’s rhetoric. He helped build the radical Islamist terrorist cell run by Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the “blind sheikh” now serving a life sentence in Stillwater, thanks to McCarthy’s prosecution. At the time, Nosair worked in a Manhattan court as a maintenance technician, but joined an existing terror cell after hearing Abdel Rahman speak at his mosque in 1990.

The cell had already been identified as a problem by the FBI prior to Abdel Rahman’s arrival in the US in early 1990. Thanks to some inept work at the INS, the blind sheikh got a green card before they realized that his name appeared on their lists of exclusions. Afterwards, they couldn’t find cause to revoke his permanent-resident status. Abdel Rahman used this to his advantage, taking over control of the cell and telling its members that the time had arrived to wage war against the US.

If the FBI discovered this, it wouldn’t have surprised them. They already knew that the cell had something planned; they had been watching them for at least a year, and had already discovered in 1989 that the cell had turned the mosque into a weapons depot. They continued to watch the men, including Nosair, until July 23rd, 1990, when they openly challenged the surveillance agents and accused them of religious bigotry. The FBI ended the surveillance, and the men continued to train — and Kahane became their first victim.

After the assassination, one might have expected all of this evidence and surveillance to arouse deep suspicions of conspiracies and future terrorist attacks. However, authorities went out of their way to assure everyone that Nosair was just a “lone deranged gunman”, in the words of the NYPD. The FBI, which had plenty of evidence pointing in the opposite direction, ignored it completely. The Bush 41 administration did nothing to pursue a trove of evidence from Nosair that something larger could be afoot in Abdel Rahman’s cell, and surveillance apparently remained off-limits.

Be sure to read the entire essay from McCarthy. After doing so, ask yourself how much we have learned since Kahane’s assassination — and how much we have forgotten since 9/11.

UPDATE: Or did it come ten years earlier, almost to the day?

On the evening of July 21, 1980, in Washington, D.C., Dawud Salahuddin, a twenty-nine-year-old African-American convert to Islam who was born David Theodore Belfield, prepared to commit murder. In an empty office at the Iranian Interest Section of the Algerian Embassy, on Wisconsin Avenue, where he worked as a security guard, he loaded a Browning semi-automatic pistol, test-fired it out a window into an alleyway, and stashed it in a gym bag. Then he went to sleep on a couch. The Iranian Embassy had been closed down a few months earlier, as United States relations with Iran continued to deteriorate after the overthrow of the Shah, in early 1979, the installation of the repressive regime of Ayatollah Khomeini, and the ongoing hostage crisis at the American Embassy in Tehran. The next morning, Salahuddin woke before dawn and prayed. He walked along Wisconsin Avenue to a designated spot, where a friend, also an African-American and a Muslim, met him in a rental car, and together they drove northwest, toward the Maryland border. In the passenger seat, Salahuddin changed into a mailman’s uniform and put on a pair of cotton gloves. He stuffed the pistol into a large Jiffy bag. On Idaho Avenue not far from the National Cathedral, another friend, a postal worker, was waiting with a mail-delivery jeep. Salahuddin drove the jeep by himself to Bethesda, Maryland. He stopped at a pay phone outside a diner to call the home of Ali Akbar Tabatabai, a former press attaché at the Iranian Embassy in Washington, who had become an outspoken opponent of Ayatollah Khomeini. When Tabatabai answered, Salahuddin hung up. Minutes later, at around eleven-forty, he parked the jeep in front of Tabatabai’s house, on a quiet cul-de-sac, and walked to the door carrying what looked like two special-delivery packages. He held one package, a decoy crammed with newspapers, in front; it obscured the second package, inside which Salahuddin held the pistol in his right hand, his finger on the trigger. The house was used as a meeting place for the Iran Freedom Foundation, a counter-revolutionary group, and one of Tabatabai’s associates answered the door. Salahuddin asked for Tabatabai—saying that the delivery required his signature—and when he appeared Salahuddin shot him three times in the abdomen and fled. Forty-five minutes later, at 12:34 P.M., Tabatabai was pronounced dead at Suburban Hospital.

Salahuddin had been keeping a high profile, associating publicly with known Muslim radicals, and the police and the F.B.I. had been aware of him for some time. The morning after the killing, the authorities in Montgomery County, Maryland, obtained a warrant for David Theodore Belfield’s arrest on a charge of murder. The plot, which involved many accomplices and dubious alibis, had unravelled quickly. The homicide report described the shooting as a “political assassination,” and noted that “the deceased was the founder of an organization whose goal was the overthrow of the present regime in Iran.” The killing fit into an over-all scheme of violence precipitated by political upheaval in the Muslim world. In a July 29, 1980, editorial, the Washington Post said the murder in Bethesda was “part of a wider pattern” in which insecure Persian Gulf governments “turn to the gun to rid themselves of their expatriate opponents.” Eleven days before Salahuddin murdered Tabatabai, gunmen in Paris, posing as reporters, had tried to kill Shahpur Bakhtiar, the last Prime Minister of Iran under the Shah (a later attempt, in 1991, succeeded), and, in December of 1979, a nephew of the Shah had been assassinated, also in Paris.

Salahuddin now lives in Iran, and has since a week after this assassination. He openly talks of attacking American targets if given the opportunity, and told New Yorker that he had tried to figure out how to “crater the White House” twenty-five years before al-Qaeda attempted it. His life ambition is to bring America to its knees. The question is whether he acted on his own, or whether Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini ordered the hit. (via CapQ reader Shivan M)


Who is Facist?

By Thomas Sowell at http://www.townhall.com/columnists/ThomasSowell/2008/02/14/who_is_fascist

About Jonah Goldberg’s new book, “Liberal Fascism.”


“The Fascists were completely against individualism in general and especially against individualism in a free market economy. Their agenda included minimum wage laws, government restrictions on profit-making, progressive taxation of capital, and “rigidly secular” schools.”

John McCain cannot unite or lead the Republican Party

John McCain: The Anti-Conservative
What could be wrong with a presidential candidate who is a longtime Republican senator from a conservative state, a certified war hero with a great smile and a wisecracking sense of humor? Nothing at all, except the last time one ran against a Clinton, he ended up filming Viagra commercials while Bill was rehearsing his inaugural address.

The media have created the fiction that Sen. John McCain, alone among the Republican candidates, can beat Hillary or Obama this fall. This is a fiction because only a conservative can unite the Republican Party this year and win. Call him “maverick”, call him “independent,” but please don’t call McCain “conservative.”

In nuclear physics, every subatomic particle has an opposite. When they collide, they combine to produce another particle that resembles neither. McCain is the political antimatter that collides with conservatism and produces “liberal republicanism.” If John McCain is the Republican nominee, conservatism will be where we were in 1965: having to feed the conservative phoenix rising out of the ashes.

In his Florida victory speech, Sen. McCain said, “Our party has always been successful when we have, like Ronald Reagan, stood fast by our convictions.” But McCain’s Senate record proves he is not a conservative, far less a principled Reagan conservative. As Charles Krauthammer said recently, “McCain’s apostasies are too numerous to actually count.” And what McCain says about his record is astonishingly misleading.

In recent debates McCain has said he voted against the 2001 Bush tax cuts because they weren’t accompanied by sufficient spending cuts. But in a Senate floor speech in 2001 his reasons were pulled from the Democrats’ playbook. He said, “I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who most need tax relief.” In 2004 he said he was against making the tax cuts permanent. Now he says he favors permanence.

In speeches and debates this year McCain has said – again and again – that he has “learned the lesson” of the failed McCain-Kennedy-Bush illegal immigration “reform” bill he fought so hard for last year. (That failed bill is one of the major points in the New York Times’ endorsement of McCain over his Republican competitors, saying he, “…risked his presidential bid to uphold fundamental American values in the immigration debate.”) Fundamental American values are conservative values. Granting permanent resident “Z visas” and citizenship to illegal immigrants contradicts those values.

The hyperliberal editors of the New York Times liked McCain’s illegal immigration bill so much, they mentioned it twice in the endorsement, praising him for being, “…a staunch advocate of campaign reform working with Senator Russ Feingold, among the most liberal of Democrats, on groundbreaking legislation just as he worked with Senator Edward Kennedy on immigration reform.”

McCain says he understands that the borders must be secured before anything else is done. But last Sunday, when Tim Russert asked him if he’d sign the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill, he said, “Yeah,” and then caught himself and went on to avoid a straight answer because the bill wasn’t going to pass. He ducked the question again in the Wednesday California debate. Who believes a President McCain would veto an amnesty bill that Congress passed?

McCain has swallowed the global warming baloney and has introduced legislation to create a “cap and trade” system for American industry. Also in its endorsement of him the New York Times praised his, “…recognizing the threat of global warming early.” In the Wednesday debate, he said that if he was wrong, all that would happen would be that we’d leave our children a cleaner planet. No, senator. You’d also leave the American economy in tatters.

When would a conservative be endorsed by the New York Times over other Republican candidates? To borrow a phrase from Mr. McCain, “when pigs fly.”

Because his politics is based on collaboration with liberals McCain is a divider of Republicans, not a unifier. This is the gentleman who on February 20, 2005 told Tim Russert on “Meet the Press” that, “I have no doubt that Senator Clinton would make a good president.” He is the same gentleman who — defending his McCain-Kennedy-Bush “comprehensive immigration reform” — screamed “f*#@% you” at Texas Republican John Cornyn, one of the bill’s leading opponents. He’s also told Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter that he was a colorful anatomical term and referred to Sen. Charles Grassley a “#$%^#*^ jerk.” It is difficult to even deal with people you abuse. Unifying them is impossible.

One Senate source I spoke with said that there was probably more than one Republican senator who was supporting McCain’s presidential bid just to get rid of him.

Unifying senators and voters is, for a presidential candidate, a fundamental leadership skill. Most military people understand the difference between leadership and management. Mr. McCain makes a big deal of the difference in describing why he believes he’s a better candidate than Mr. Romney. But there is a great difference between commanding — as McCain commanded a Navy aircraft squadron — and leading.

McCain says that leaders have to inspire, which is partly right. But leaders also have to earn the trust and confidence of those he would lead. McCain has not done so, either among conservatives or among his fellow senators.

That deficiency in McCain’s definition of leadership is best illustrated by the infamous MoveOn.org “Petraeus-Betray Us” ad that ran in the New York Times last September. It was a transparent libel of an great soldier by some liberal slime and published in a toxically-liberal newspaper that has profited from publishing our nation’s most closely held secrets.

The libel impugned Gen. Petraeus’ honesty. It was important because troops follow military leaders who are trustworthy and truthful. If the grunts don’t trust you, they won’t follow you. And the same is true of voters.

If McCain is our next president, what will we get? We won’t get conservative Supreme Court nominees. As John Fund reported and Robert Novak confirmed, McCain has said Sam Alito is too conservative. We’ll get Souters and Kennedys, but not Alitos from President McCain. We’ll get immigration amnesty, global warming measures to strangle our economy and pretty much everything else you’d expect from a liberal masquerading as a conservative.

When voters are alone in the voting booths — on Tuesday and again on November 4 — they make a choice that’s as personal as choosing a mate. Trust weighs heavily in their decision. The successful candidate will have inspired trust. John McCain cannot do that because he is not truthful with voters. They will not trust him, nor should they.

Mr. Babbin is the editor of Human Events. He served as a deputy undersecretary of defense in President George H.W. Bush’s administration. He is the author of “In the Words of our Enemies“(Regnery,2007) and (with Edward Timperlake) of “Showdown: Why China Wants War with the United States” (Regnery, 2006) and “Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe are Worse than You Think” (Regnery, 2004). E-mail him at jbabbin@eaglepub.com.

McCain’s legacy of limiting free speech


From National Review Online

Blacking Out Speech
McCain-Feingold’s assault on freedom.

By Newt Gingrich

“In the election of 1800, Thomas Jefferson became president and swept his party into power due, in part, to the country’s overwhelming opposition to the Sedition Act of 1798. This act was a deliberate attempt by the Federalists in power to silence their political opponents.

The McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law enacted in 2002 is an equally dangerous modern-day assault on the First Amendment. It could more accurately be called the McCain-Feingold censorship law because it stifles political speech, protects incumbent politicians and consolidates power in Washington. This law is of the Congress, by the Congress, and for the Congress, because it protects members of Congress by silencing opposing points of view.

McCain-Feingold explicitly rejects James Madison’s warning in Federalist 10 that the destruction of liberty in pursuit of “curing the mischief of factions” is worse than the disease itself.

Madison and Thomas Jefferson were very sensitive to limitations on free speech because they lived through the Federalist efforts to criminalize political speech that was critical of the government. In response to the Sedition Act, Madison helped author the Virginia legislature’s resolution that declared the act unconstitutional and stated that the law “ought to produce universal alarm, because it is leveled against that right of freely examining public characters and measures, and of free communication among the people thereon, which has ever been justly deemed, the only effectual guardian of every other right.”

Jefferson helped write Kentucky’s resolution, which called the Sedition Act a momentous regulation that wounds “the best rights of the citizen” and stated that “it would consider a silent acquiescence [to it] as highly criminal.”

Today we are seeing the most systematic effort to censor and repress political speech by those in power since the Federalist overreach of the 18th century.

This is no exaggeration. The ongoing litigation between Wisconsin Right to Life (WRTL) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is a clear example of this.

WRTL attempted to air several issue ads in Wisconsin in the summer of 2004 calling on citizens to urge both of Wisconsin’s U.S. Senators to oppose the filibustering of federal judicial appointments. McCain-Feingold however, which Wisconsin Senator Feingold cosponsored, contains a free speech “blackout period” before elections in which radio and television ads mentioning a candidate are deemed “electioneering communications” and are thus illegal. Therefore, since Senator Feingold was up for reelection in 60 days, this Wisconsin grassroots organization could not exercise their First Amendment rights and hold their elected representative accountable.

In Maine, we are now seeing the same thing happen again. The Christian Civic League of Maine (CCL) wants to broadcast a grassroots lobbying advertisement calling on Maine’s senators—by name—to support the federal Marriage Protection Amendment before the Senate votes on it next week. The FEC objected and argued in federal district court that the Maine Christian Civic League can’t use the Senators names in the ad because it would fall within the McCain-Feingold free speech blackout period before Maine’s June 13 primary election. The FEC won and this case is now on appeal to the Supreme Court, although with each passing day CCL is prohibited from running its grassroots advocacy ad.

This is horribly wrong. What would the Founding Fathers have thought of such free speech “blackout periods”? The days leading up to an election ought to be filled with debate. Free speech and activism, by informing and organizing the public, empower average citizens to promote a cause they believe in and to demand honest and responsive representation. Instead, the incumbent politicians that supported McCain-Feingold prefer to keep us quiet and prevent us from making noise about their records as Election Day gets closer.

A great travesty of the law is that it makes it harder for candidates of middle-class means to run for office at all. Instead, we have the example of how one candidate spent $100 million personally to buy a Senate seat, then a governorship, but while in the Senate voted for McCain-Feingold to limit every middle-class citizen to $2,500 in donations per election campaign. These rules move us dangerously closer to a plutocracy where the highest bidder can buy a seat.

In 1994, the Contract with America was a commitment to restore the bond of trust between individuals and their elected officials, putting the interests of the American people above all else. By limiting the ability of individuals or a collective group of individuals to participate and voice their opinion Congress is breaking this bond.

We must repeal McCain-Feingold as the necessary first step towards reaffirming a bond of trust between the American people and their elected representatives.

A truly functioning campaign system would take power out of Washington and return it to its owners—the American people. Such a system would allow individuals to make unlimited contributions to candidates for Congress in their district, so long as it is reported immediately on the Internet and is transparent and accessible.

Once the American people come to understand the nature of McCain-Feingold’s assault on liberty, there is no doubt that the final outcome will be the same today as it was for the Sedition Act: repeal. Those skeptical of seeking this reform should consider the words of Ronald Reagan: “If you’re afraid of the future, then get out of the way, stand aside. The people of this country are ready to move again.””

—Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and author of Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America.