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  1. #1
    DDilegge
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    Default Germany (catch all, incl. terrorism)

    20 Dec. Voice of America - Germany Frees Convicted TWA Hijacker.

    Germany has freed a Lebanese man who was sentenced to life in prison for hijacking an American airliner and killing a U.S. Navy diver 20 years ago.

    German justice officials confirmed Tuesday that Mohammed Ali Hamadi was released on parole after a routine review of his case, and they say he already has left Germany.

    Sources in Lebanon say Hamadi, a member of the Hezbollah militant group, has returned to Beirut, the focal point of the 1985 hijacking.

    Hamadi was convicted in the hijacking of a TWA airliner that took off from Athens in 1985. U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem, a passenger on the plane, was killed while the commandeered jet was on the ground in Beirut.

    The German Foreign Ministry has denied any link between Hamadi's parole and the recent release of a German hostage in Iraq.
    Lest we forget...

    September 5, 2001
    Volker Christian Rath
    Staatsanwaltschaft bei dem landgericht
    Frankfurt Main
    GERMANY

    Dear Mr. Rath:

    It has come to our attention that Mohammad Hamadei has recently had a parole hearing and that his parole is under consideration. Really? This is shocking to our family. We believed that he was sentenced to life in prison and expected him to serve it in full. This is unconscionable.

    As mother and father of slain United States Diver, Robert D. Stethem, killed at the hands of Mohamadi Ali Hamadi and Hasan 'Izz-a l-Din aboard TWA Flight 847 in June of 1985, and on behalf of Robert's siblings, I want to express our grave concern to you that his release is even being considered after serving just 15 years of a life sentence. As you know, in the United States, prosecution of Mohammed Ali Hamadei would have given him the death penalty. In the United States a life sentence for Hamadei would also have warranted him a life sentence without parole. Because he was prosecuted in the Republic of Germany, his fate is out of the American justice system's hands.

    Our family spent a year in Germany attending the trial for this criminal, which robbed us of sharing the life of our children and very young grandchildren. We thought the German justice system awarded him a just sentence. To release him at this time would undo all that your justice system so carefully set forth in their opinion and declslon.

    I would like to quote a few lines from that opinion:

    The court is thus convinced that the accused, were he to be set free today or tomorrow, would re-engage as a Hizbullah fighter. Page 119 of the opinion

    It is also not conceivable that prison officials can resocialize the accused and eliminate his violence-based conceptual framework. Even . . . the observation of the accused over many months leads to a specific prediction that even in prison he will remain impenetrable and will remain fixed in his ideological-religious views and will not be susceptible to a change in the sense of living a violent-free life. Furthermore, it can be expected that prison will be experienced by the accused as an unjustified, but God-willed test of patience and that the accused will hope to achieve his freedom through further appeals. This can only mean that there is no real chance of reintegrating the accused into society. There are therefore no reasons to neglect the goals of atonement and consideration of the safety of the general public because of any potential of the accused reintegrating into society. Page 119 of the opinion

    Our son was brutally beaten for many hours, shot in the head point blank, and thrown on the Beirut Airport tarmac. He died a violent death at the hands of the hijackers, who did not know this young man, and who showed no mercy when it came to killing him. For this alone, he deserves to suffer prison confinement for the rest of his natural life! After the hijacking, Hamadei and his accomplices stayed in West Beirut, dominated by the Shiite militia, and finally stayed in Iran, protected by the Foreign Ministry of Iran. This too, is recorded in the opinion on page 109.

    Now, I will give further reasons that will convince any sane individual how wrong it would be to release this criminal. He belongs to a family that has been a part of the Hizbollah organization for many years. His older brother, Abd al-Hadi Hamadei is today assigned a top security position in the Hezbollah organization. I would expect if Hamadei were released from prison, he would be sent to Lebanon, his homeland. Hamadei's education is limited, so the first place he would go, would more than likely be with his older brother who is a top security person in the movement of the Hezbollah organization.

    When Hamadei was arrested, he was in possession of very volatile explosives. Those explosives were destined to do harm and destruction to further the terrorism that already plagued the cities in Europe. I would expect that money and power would reign once more and because Hamadei has no future, would once again seek out his brother's Hezbollah organization, since that organization does employ and pay salary to each member.

    Hamadei had no feeling for the rights of others, especially for Americans and those who associated with the Americans. His hatred for Americans could only have worsened during his years of imprisonment and to allow his freedom puts all public citizens at risk.

    Our family wants justice in this case. While the American Department of Justice is still actively seeking the apprehension of the other terrorists involved in the TWA flight 847 hijacking, it would be a travesty of justice to have Mohammed Ali Hamadei released. Since Lebanon has not cooperated in the capture of Hamadei's accomplices, it shows that terrorism and all the terrorism training is tolerated within the borders of Lebanon. Surely his release would guarantee that once again the terrorists have won out!

    Please, before releasing Mohammed Ali Hamadei, read in full the opinion and decision by the Court that sentenced Hamadei to life in prison.

    Sincerely, Richard and Patricia L. Stethem
    P.O. Box 331 Port Tobacco, MD 20677

  2. #2
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    Default Hostage Exchange

    Don't take it to the bank yet, but Debka.com is reporting that Germany released Hammadi in exchange for the German Hostage being held in Iraq who was released recently. If true, and it probably is, then not surprisingly this draws a clear connection between some of the insurgents/terrorists in Iraq and the Hizballah in Lebanon. I'm sure this story will get more interesting in time. Germany recently completed a very close election (the parties are still struggling to build popular support), and then there are rumors that this move positioned the new German head of intelligence to be more influencial in the Middle East etc. Bad news for now, but there may be a silver lining in this story yet, we'll see in a few days.
    Last edited by Bill Moore; 12-21-2005 at 06:25 AM.

  3. #3
    DDilegge
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    Default Update...

    Diver's Killer Set Free in Lebanon (Wash. Times).

    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.
    A Legacy of Courage (Wash. Post Editorial).

    This story is about others, mainly a young man from our own area named Robert Dean Stethem. He was a Navy diver and the victim of that murder, committed in the course of a torturously long airplane hijacking carried out by members of Hezbollah in 1985. Mr. Stethem, who came from Waldorf, was beaten savagely aboard the plane while it sat on a runway in Beirut. Afterward, a 16-year-old girl from Australia, Ruth Henderson, talked quietly with the sailor, seeking to comfort him. "He said how it may be better that he died," she testified later in a German court. "He believed that someone would die on the plane, someone from the Navy men [there were five other divers on the plane], and he said that because he was the only one who wasn't married, that he should be the one to die. He spoke with a clear mind. . . . He didn't believe that all of us could get out alive. He felt it was fair that he dies so that the rest of us could live." Mr. Stethem was killed not long afterward.

    Stethem was probably the bravest young man I have ever seen in my life," said John L. Testrake, captain of the hijacked TWA Flight 847. Mr. Testrake himself won praise for his coolness during the 17-day ordeal, in which the plane was directed back and forth across the Mediterranean a number of times. Another hero of the flight, one whose essential humanity and courage undoubtedly prevented additional bloodshed, was Ulrike Derickson, a flight attendant who tried to stop the abuse of Mr. Stethem and who intervened to prevent the killing of a second Navy diver. She sought to calm the hijackers when they became agitated and to protect the passengers in whatever ways she could.

    Like Mr. Stethem, they are gone now. Mr. Testrake died in 1996 and Ms. Derickson just this year. In the season of life, names such as these should live.

  4. #4
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default "Justice Will Be Done"

    Date: January 8, 2006 4:15:57 PM PST

    To: president@whitehouse.gov

    Cc: vicepresident@whitehouse.gov

    Subject: ROBERT DEAN STETHEM

    Mr. President,

    I would like to provide you with an explanation as to why Muhammed Ali Hammadi's recent release by Germany, and your Administration's lack of any attempt to prevent it, is so upsetting to our family and to Americans everywhere. I am not writing you out of grief or anger but out of a hope that his example will inspire you to follow act on your own words and the dictates of your conscious in this War on Terror.

    Robert Dean Stethem was singled out, beaten beyond recognition and tortured in order to make him scream into a transmitter (so that the tower would send a fuel truck). Not a cry was heard to come from him, despite the brutal beating he endured. Instead he chose to remain silent and endure the beatings because he knew that the only way a rescue attempt could be conducted by U.S. forces was if the aircraft remained on the ground.

    After Robert was beaten and tortured and bleeding from puncture wounds all over his body, he was placed next to a 16-year old Australian girl. As bad as Robert was beaten, he had the courage and strength to comfort and console her. He told her that, "She would be okay and that she would get out of here alive." When she tried to return the comfort, he said, "No, I don't think so. I am the only one in my group that is not married and some of the guys have children, too." Some time later, Robert was again taken up to the cockpit and tortured in order to get the fuel. But it didn't work, he would not give in to them.

    One of the hijackers, Muhammed Ali Hammadi, was so enraged that he dragged Robert to the door, pulled a trigger and shot Robert in the head. Then he dumped Robert's body onto the tarmac. While Robert was being dragged to the door, he knew that all he had to do in order to live was to cry into that transmitter, but he wouldn't do it. He would not give in to the demands of the terrorists. He would not allow the honor and dignity of America to be intimidated by the fear and pain that Hammadi and terrorists everywhere represent. Robert sacrificed his life in order to protect our liberty and defend our way of life.

    You have rightly said, "Whether we bring our enemies to justice, or bring justice to our enemies, justice will be done." You have truly said that "We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them." Robert lived by them. Robert also died by them. The motto of the USS SSTETHEM (DDG-63), named in Robert's honor, is "Steadfast and Courageous." I hope that his example, and the example of other heroes like him can inspire you to understand why allowing Germany to release Hammadi was a wrong. Justice was not done, Robert was not honored and Americans are not safer by allowing Hammadi to return to Lebanon and Hezbollah.

    You know this, we know this and the American people know this.

    The Stethem family

  5. #5
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default This is really not the type of things we need

    Another story from CBC.ca. We really don't need this type of operation going on...

    Berlin issues warrants for 13 CIA agents in German kidnapping
    Last Updated: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 | 5:51 AM ET
    The Associated Press

    Arrest warrants have been issued for 13 people in connection with the alleged CIA-orchestrated kidnapping of a German citizen, a Munich prosecutor said Wednesday.

    Prosecutor Christian Schmidt-Sommerfeld said the warrants were issued in the past few days. He did not say for whom the warrants were issued, but indicated a statement would be issued later Wednesday.

    Munich prosecutors have previously said that they had received from Spanish investigators the names of several U.S. secret agents believed to be involved in the kidnapping of Khaled al-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent.

    Al-Masri says he was abducted in December 2003 at the Serbian-Macedonia border and flown by the CIA to a detention centre in Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was abused. Al-Masri says he was released in Albania in May 2004 after the CIA discovered they had the wrong person.

    More...
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  6. #6
    Council Member RTK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Another story from CBC.ca. We really don't need this type of operation going on...
    Throw this into the catagory of "Bad PR." I completely concur with Marc is that its stories like this that do very little for the greater common good. If true, it's a damning statement about the state of the intel community.

  7. #7
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    That el-Masri was released (apparently dumped off on some street in Albania, oddly) and that Chancellor Merkel feels comfortable stating that Condoleeza Rice told her that el-Masri was innocent should indicate that the man was obviously not someone who deserved to be taken to Bagram and beaten the crap out of.

    Now whether or not CIA agents should be subject to arrest for this is another story. Frankly I am amazed that there is not some kind of program to make amends and hush money to people we have snatched up in error (see also this guy). What happens instead is that these folks sue in righteous outrage and expose lots of things that the U.S. would rather not see come to light.

  8. #8
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Bad PR in European Press

    Gentlemen, It gets worse.
    Jane Fonda's little party raiser in DC is storming the Baltic press.
    She even managed to keep her banner with their website in plain view. Go figure. The bad part is on their site.

    http://www.unitedforpeace.org/

    A solid majority of people in this country oppose the Iraq War. Imagine if, instead of sitting on the sidelines, all these millions joined the movement to bring the troops home. It's up to all of us to make the peace movement visible in our communities every day and to inspire others to get involved.
    Together with this paragraph is a link for the attached T-shirt. Yep, for 20.00 bucks you get this T from "Good Storm dot com"

    What a bunch of Bravo Sierra !

    Regards, Stan
    Last edited by Stan; 02-08-2007 at 10:02 AM.

  9. #9
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    This is a disturbing trend: European nations or their citizens suing or charging with crimes folks who make "mistakes" (or not) in the prosecution of the "War on Terror."

    Innocents are killed, detained or otherwise in war. There needs to be a mechanism to deal with this.

    Guilty folks are also detained and later released, and being detained and released shouldn't be financially lucrative, whatever the compensation scheme.

    I served as an Interrogator for a few years, and nowhere in my training was it considered "okay" to torture a subject. Are we just throwing around the word "torture" liberally here, or are there really CIA guys with cattle prods out there torturing people? Either scenario is unacceptable, by my view.

  10. #10
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default State Secret

    In yesterday's press:
    http://www.epl.ee/artikkel/314720
    Here's a brief translation (Slapout's still studying his Estonian :

    The Finnish media quoted a Human Rights Watch report, which indicated that somewhere in the beginning of 2003, aircraft N313P was destined for Pärnu, Estonia.
    Pärnu is Estonia's Summer resort town, 170 clicks south of the capital.

    Estonia's Foreign Ministry Public Affairs Officer, referring to the US aircraft landing in Pärnu, replied "this was a USA/Estonian military and security police exercise, and the content of this cooperation is protected by the "State Secrets Act". The government has already reported that no kidnapped persons have been brought into Estonia by aircraft."

  11. #11
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    120mm, I think the main accusation in Maher Arar and Khaled el-Masri is that these men were kidnapped and then rendered to Syria and Afghanistan, respectively, where they both say they were tortured by foreign nationals for the CIA.

    Not sure why you believe there should be no compensation. These men were innocent. They were summarily kidnapped, imprisoned for months at a time, and brutally tortured both mentally and physically, with no recourse to appeal or due process. Why should the government not compensate them for the government's error?

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    Default German army in new racism row

    A video showing a German army instructor telling one of his soldiers to envision African-Americans in the Bronx while firing his machine gun was broadcast Saturday on national television.

    The video, coming after scandals involving photos of German soldiers posing with skulls in Afghanistan and the abuse of recruits by instructors, seemed likely to raise more questions about training practices in Germany's conscript army.
    .....
    The instructor tells the soldier, "You are in the Bronx. A black van is stopping in front of you. Three African-Americans are getting out and they are insulting your mother in the worst ways ... Act."

    The soldier fires his machine gun several times and yells an obscenity several times in English. The instructor then tells the soldier to curse even louder.
    .....
    story link:
    http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe...ermany.race.ap

    video link:
    http://www.nowpublic.com/video_of_ra...video_portal_1

  13. #13
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    Listening to Germans saying "mother####er!" is just funny.

    Let me just say I am shocked, shocked! to find racism in the armed forces.

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    First time I heard that I didn't know am I going to laugh or cry!? I know US Military using derogative terms for arabs to train troops but for Germans to use Bronx "example" I am just puzzled where that came from!??

    I guess, racism is never "funny" when turns against you...

  15. #15
    Council Member tequila's Avatar
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    That's sort of what makes it bizarre - but I have no idea about racial politics in Germany or where it would come from.

    I guess, racism is never "funny" when turns against you...
    This is true. Lots of the Southerners who made fun of black or Hispanic or Asian recruits in the squadbay had the nerve to get butthurt over cracker incest jokes. Rather amusing in the end.

    It would be great to have a non-racist population or military, but I doubt we will ever get there.

  16. #16
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    I think it's important to point out that there is a difference, albeit one that is glossed over by man commentators, between "stereotyping" and "racism". Racism implies a hierarchy of value between distinguishable groups and is based on a completely faulty understanding of both biology and social dynamics. If you dig a touch deeper, you will find that it is also based on Spencer's concept of "Survival of the Fittest" (yeah, that was Spencer, not Darwin) applied to a skewed, unilinear teleology.

    Stereotyping on the other hand is a result of the way our brains have evolved and is a pro-survival trait. Stereotyping is the action of taking limited sensory input and reacting to it - it's not always right, but it does tend to be fast. Let me give you an example of why I say that stereotyping is "pro-survival". Imagine you are on the savanna and you see the top of one piece of grass moving against the wind. Are you going to rationally analyze it or are you going to react? If you rationally try to analyze it, you will probably end up being killed by the lion whose tail tip you mistook for a grass stem, while the other person who just ran will live to have kids.

    Stereotyping may harden into racism once you start getting an inter-locking set of "rational" justifications for why the stereotypes are not only "valid" but "why" they are "true". This is a process some Sociologists call "crystallization" where perceptions "become" social "truths", and it's why so many people will say that "racism" is learned.

    Let's bring this out of the lecture hall

    Most people have difficulty killing other people (those that don't are usually called sociopaths). So, here's the problem - how do you get someone to kill someone else in an organized fashion, but not indiscriminately? One way to do this is to "train" them such that they will engage an opponent only when they receive certain stereotypical sensory input. In an ongoing fight, this stereotypical sensory input starts to get crystallized into names - the "muj", the "geek", the "Hun". At other times, you end up picking a stereotype that already exists in the culture and is perceived as "dangerous" and use that. Since cultural stereotypes can come from almost any medium, I'm not at all surprised to hear about the German example. Anyone played any video games recently?

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila
    It would be great to have a non-racist population or military, but I doubt we will ever get there.
    Sadly, I agree.

  18. #18
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    Default FAZ & Spiegel Al Qaida Report

    All,

    Frankfurter Allgemeine Zietung is reporting that Spain has captured some 14 Al Qaida types planning strikes in Germany & Spain http://www.faz.net/s/RubDDBDABB9457A...~Scontent.html

    Spiegel is carrying the same story

    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/

    FAZ and Spiegel are referencing El Pais but so far I have had no joy searching their website http://www.elpais.com/archivo/buscando.html

    IHT, BBC, and Guardian had nothing on this topic at this time...

    This website is reporting 10 individuals were planning suicide attacks against public trains in Barcelona. Three were identified as suicide bombers: Mohamed Shoaib, Mehmooh Khalib and Imran Cheema

    http://www.20minutos.es/noticia/3388...as/terrorismo/
    Last edited by Jedburgh; 01-27-2008 at 01:32 AM.
    Sapere Aude

  19. #19
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Doubts over the Spanish plot

    Some are not convinced:

    Under the title 'Spain doubts alleged terror cell's plan' http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080125/...terror_arrests

    Compared to a CBS report that treats the plot seriously:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/...=World_3754062

    All very odd.

    davidbfpo

  20. #20
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Informant talks now?

    Just found on Reuters this story:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/world...rpc=22&sp=true

    Based on an informant's evidence and four of those arrested were released for lack of evidence.

    davidbfpo

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