Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Let's talk about terrorists.

This is Richard Jewell. He's dead now, but when he was alive, he was an unexpected and under-appreciated hero. A humble man with what's been described as a deferential manner, Jewell was the security guard who first spotted the bomb that Eric Rudolph left in a crowded park during Atlanta's Olympics.

Within days, the FBI let it leak that Jewell was "a person of interest" in the bombing. He fit the profile. That is, someone at the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit thought Jewell was a single loser with a love of law enforcement. The hell that the cops and the press put Jewell through in the following years, I wouldn't wish on the biggest ad weasel I've ever known. (Yes, Mr. Mooth, I'm talking about you.)

Eric Rudolph's bomb killed one person and injured 111 more. He killed that woman to make a point about abortion and homosexuals.

People like Eric Rudolph are seriously twisted.

This is Stephen Hatfill.

Hatfill was a scientist working on biological weapons at Fort Detrick, Md. Someone sent envelopes full of anthrax to liberals. Again, innocent people died, this time postal workers, because someone wanted to make a point.

About what I don't know.

The FBI fingered Hatfill for the job. He was later declared innocent and we, the taxpayers, had to pay him close to 6 million bucks because we, as a government, fucked up his life in a major way.

Now the FBI has decided that Bruce Ivens, a scientist who worked on biological weapons at Fort Detrick was really the guy. Inconveniently, Ivens killed himself this week.

C'est la vie.

This is Abdul Rahim Dost and his brother Badr Zaman Badr.

They spent 3 years being interrogated by grim men in small rooms at Guantanamo. They were among what Donald Rumsfeld once described as "the worst of the worst."

What was their crime? They wrote a satirical piece about Bill Clinton. The interrogators didn't get the joke. Interrogators aren't chosen for their deep appreciation of satire.

The brothers were released after someone finally got the joke. They were lucky. They were educated. Badr holds a master's degree in English lit so he could speak with his interrogators, a real plus considering they weren't allowed a lawyer.

If writing satire about Bill Clinton is enough to get you tossed into Gitmo, the staff of the National Review should be afraid. Be very afraid.

These 4 men have one thing in common. They were all wrongly accused of terrorism. All of them had their lives disrupted, even ruined, because law enforcement made mistakes. Law enforcement people are human, after all, and will.

Which is why the accused are given such latitude in our society. They're considered innocent until proven guilty and given every chance, from lawyers to judges, bail to habeas corpus.

That is, unless you're considered an unlawful combatant, a term that is decided by one man, the Decider himself, George W. Bush.

Given his track record so far, would you want to place your freedom at the mercy of his sound judgement? I didn't think so.

The next time some dick spouts off about how liberals want to give terrorists rights, think of these men, all innocent, who were once labeled terrorists by people we thought we could trust.


JD Rhoades said...

And let's not forget Abdallah Higazi, the Egyptian engineer who was staying gin the hotel across from the WTC on September 11th. After the hotel reported finding a ground to air radio in his room, the FBI took Higazi into custody and threatened to have Egyptian Security torture his elderly parents and young sister if he didn't confess. So he confessed. After which the airline pilot who actually did own the radio turned up and asked for it back, and the hotel said, wait, maybe we didn't actually find it in Higazy's room after all.


Charlie Stella said...

What we need is a perfect world where nobody makes mistakes and other people we think we can trust don't walk on planes they intend to take over with razor cutters and then fly those planes into buildings where they might kill thousands of people ... not to mention they shouldn't be provoked into doing bad things in the first place so there would be no historical foreign policy to blame.

And while we're at it, a world where people don't form aggressive governments that seek the living space of others (domestic or foreign) so that less aggressive peoples/governments don't have to form militia's to protect themselves ... and then there wouldn't be any beefs about past historical injustices because everybody would just, like, get along.


And then there are all those jails filled with people that in a perfect world would never do anything wrong, which would preclude all the mistakes ...

Reminds me of that commercial jingle ... "I'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony ... it's the real thing. Cocaine is it."

Sorry fellas, just being slightly contrary ... I'm bored today.

JD Rhoades said...

Charlie: just because terrorists exist doesn't mean we automatically have to believe the powerful every single time they point the finger and say "that person is a terrorist." Especially when those people in power have been proven so spectacularly wrong on so many occasions. When you voluntarily give up the right to ask "Oh really? Prove it," you sell yourself into slavery.

Charlie Stella said...

I agree we've been overzealous, JD ... and I've come pretty much full circle on the imbecile running things in the white house (he should’ve been impeached but the Dems were/are too concerned with leaving him there to gain the white house than anything altruistic), but I still prefer better safe than sorry (that's not an affirmation of everything we’re doing legally, but when nothing was being done, the net results were much worse—what “I” believe brought on 9-11).

Unfortunately, we can’t begin to count the number of terrorists/murderers/all around bad guys that go free because we didn’t “catch them” … but there’s no blame to be placed in those cases, just frustration.

All I’m suggesting is it’s pointing the finger is sometimes too easy.

David Terrenoire said...


The point of this post is not that there aren't bad people doing bad things. If there weren't, we wouldn't have anything to write books about.

No, the purpose behind this post was to point out that without the safeguards we rely on to protect us from the massive force of the government, we're screwed.

If we're at war, treat the people in Gitmo as POWs. If they're criminals, indict and convict them and keep them in jail.

Under our legal system, you shouldn't be able to hold somebody without proving guilt for as long as one person (even the president) deems appropriate.

That way lies tyranny.

Charlie Stella said...

Davey 3x's ... I'm thinking it's exactly what this country needs about now ... a frustration so great (perhaps from government tyranny, but it could just as easily be gov't inability to get things done--Democratic Congress), it revolts internally (whether it's a third party that speaks with genuine conviction or whatever it takes) and does something for the nationals (I know it's a bad word, but I prefer it) rather than corporations.

I don't blame GW for doing something ... I applaud him for doing something (even if it wasn't the smart thing to do). I do blame him for screwing it (pretty much everything he's touched) up and for the obvious deceit he used to accomplish his screw ups.

I've taken to distrusting pretty much all of them in both parties now and I'll probably be an observer this next presidential go (although I prefer Obambi ONLY because the Reps so disappointed me they don't deserve another chance), but it would be for a "change" I'm for, not the Dems or necessarily "Obambi's change".

A viable third party that speaks to my concerns would've worked, too.

We'll see how Obambi does come his administration (which I think will be a landslide victory) ... he'll have everything he wants (a Dem Senate/Congress) ... I'll even give him a few years to clean up some of the mess he's inheriting, but then he better deliver.

My son sends out a Daily Dose of Doom and last week reported that $15,000 a second Exxon earned last quarter/year/whatever. I suggest running the American Flag up their poles and seizing them (ala my favorite President Harry Truman). Maybe the country is ready for something like that ... or should be.

Rev. Don Spitz said...

Eric Rudolph is not a terrorist, but an anti-terrorist fighter. Those who have killed babykilling abortionists have done so to protect the innocent. People use force everyday to protect the innocent and no one has a problem with it, except when it comes to protecting unborn human beings, then they go ballistic. It's very simple, the unborn deserve the same protection as the born. Born people are protected with force quite often. Force that you would be glad if it was to protect your children against a murderer. Force that you yourself might use to protect your own children from being murdered. The unborn deserve the same protection.
SAY THIS PRAYER: Dear Jesus, I am a sinner and am headed to eternal hell because of my sins. I believe you died on the cross to take away my sins and to take me to heaven. Jesus, I ask you now to come into my heart and take away my sins and give me eternal life.

Charlie Stella said...

All righty, then.

Check please.

David Terrenoire said...

Ah, I see. So leaving a bomb in a crowd of innocent people is defending the unborn.

I know logic and religion don't mix, but this is one twisted notion of protecting the innocent, Rev.

Putting nails and other shrapnel around plastic explosives and then detonating your bomb in a group of unarmed civilians to further your own particular moral, political or spiritual point is the definition of a terrorist.

But when you see him, you might try explaining why it's not to Jesus.

gayle said...

I was enjoying the intelligent and respectful exchange of ideas until I read the Rev's comment. But he just proves the point that you don't need to be a muslim to be a religious extremist. (And no I don't think that all muslims are extremests.) Extremists of any religion are dangerous for many reasons.

Charlie Stella said...

All due respect, Rev, back to reality time (didn't EMINEM say that?):

Davey 3x's wrote: the purpose behind this post was to point out that without the safeguards we rely on to protect us from the massive force of the government, we're screwed.

To some degree, Dave, I agree ... but there are instances when we need that massive force of the government (whether we agree with it or not). Someone will always feel his ox has been gored when a decision to do anything is made and sometimes civil liberties get disturbed (which some may view as trampled), but somebody has to do something and I figure for what our current soldiers are giving up (just war(s) or not)/what are veterans have given up, we can live with a little inconvenience (not to suggest individuals deprived of their liberty were inconvenienced--but in the scope of all the others inconveniences those might have to be swallowed sometimes). I know it's easy for me to say ... and I'd much rather have a country free of all forms of censorship, but so long as there are bad guys, it can't happen the way I'd like.

The Japanese internment camps during WWII, while obnoxious to all of us now (and perhaps many back then), weren't attempts to override the constitution and all civil liberty, they were reactions to something we got a taste of on 9-11. The racial/ethnic profiling issue isn't one I think is something we can accept as etched in granite anymore (sometimes, sorry to say, racial/ethnic profiling makes perfect sense). It didn't bother me when I was stopped at the staten island ferry a few weeks back so the police could take a look-see in my bag. Granted I don't have the historical injustice of whatever affecting my brain, but sometimes it's just common sense to let a thing or two go.

I understand "give an inch-take a yard" is valid and we need to keep a diligent watch for abuses, but even a broken clock is right twice a day (except for GW, maybe it's just once) and because it's Bush (or his administration) doesn't make the right automatically wrong.

Jesus, I'm long-winded when I'm bored (and am now condemned to hell for blogging AGAIN) ... but I figure you guys need a nudge like me once in a while or it's just preaching to a choir.

Sandra said...

I should know better... (Dang you Charlie!)

Jesus said to forgive others their trespasses. The Bible is also clear that the only unpardonable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament is the law of rules and punishment. The New Testament fulfills the old laws through Christ's sacrifice for our sins. We're called upon to love, not to convert people to our ethical standards with the barrel of a gun. Peter and Paul gave their lives for what they believed in - they didn't take the lives of who they considered sinful around them.

Anyone who defends murder in this context has a faulty grasp of scripture. Not to mention some serious mental issues.

And yes Gayle, religious extremists come in all forms. Most Muslims are peaceful, lovely people. The few who aren't give them a bad name - just like these Christians fundamentalists. This is the backbone behind my last book, What Burns Within. Don't tell them or it might be up for a book burning, though. ;)