On the 4th of July, an Egyptian immigrant to the United States who believes in wild conspiracy theories about Jews, is known for his great "hate for Israel," and has possible ties to al Qaeda, armed himself to the teeth and assaulted the Israeli airline counter at Los Angeles International Airport, killing two.
It is obvious why Hesham Mohamed Ali Hadayet targeted Jews in a highly visible place on so
prominent a date: to engage in terrorism against
But one important institution - the
Sure, law enforcement should not jump to conclusions, but this
head-in-the-clouds approach is ridiculous. It also fits a well-established
pattern. Consider three cases of terrorism in the
Rashid Baz, a Lebanese cab driver with a known
hatred for all things Israeli and Jewish, armed himself to the teeth in March
1994 and drove around the city looking for a Jewish target. He found his
victims - a van full of Hassidic boys - on the
And how did the FBI classify this crime? As "road rage." Only because the murdered boy's mother relentlessly fought this false description did the bureau finally in 2000 re-classify the murder as "the crimes of a terrorist."
Ali Hasan Abu Kamal, a Palestinian gunman hailing from
militant Islamic circles in
His suicide note accused the United States of using Israel as its "instrument" against the Palestinians, but city officials ignored this evidence and instead dismissed Abu Kamal as either "one deranged individual working on his own" (Police Commissioner Howard Safir) or a "man who had many, many enemies in his mind" (Mayor Rudolph Giuliani).
· Gamil al-Batouti, an EgyptAir copilot, yelled "I put my faith in God's hands" as he crashed a plane leaving Kennedy airport in October 1999, killing 217. Under Egyptian pressure, the National Transportation Safety Board report shied away from once mentioning Batouti's possible terrorist motives.
And despite all the "world-has-changed" rhetoric following the horrors of last September, Western officialdom continues to pretend terrorism away.
Damir Igric, a Croat immigrant from the former
· Hassan Jandoubi, an Islamist with possible connections to al Qaeda, had started working at the AZF fertilizer factory in suburban Toulouse, France, just days before a massive explosion took place there last Sept. 21. This, the worst catastrophe ever in a French chemical plant, killed Jandoubi and 29 others, injured 2,000, destroyed 600 dwellings, and damaged 10,000 buildings.
The autopsy revealed that Jandoubi was wearing two pairs of trousers and four pairs of underpants, which the coroner compared to what is worn by "Islamic militants going into battle or on suicide missions." Also, the chemical plant was processing ammonium nitrate, a stable chemical that requires a substantial infusion of energy to explode.
Ignoring these signs, the French authorities declared there was "no shred of evidence" of the explosion being a terrorist act and ruled it an accident. They even prosecuted two publications merely for calling Jandoubi a "radical Islamist," making them pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines to Jandoubi's heirs, a mosque and a Muslim organization for their "defamation" of Jandoubi.
Work dispute, hate crime, road rage, derangement, post-traumatic stress, industrial accident ... these expressions of denial obstruct effective counterterrorism. The time has come for governments to catch up with the rest of us and call terrorism by its rightful name.
Good news: the FBI did "catch up with the rest of us" and did call terrorism by its rightful name. On April 12, 2003, over nine months after the murders, the Associated Press ran this story:
By Paul Chavez
Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, 41, killed two people at the ticket counter of El Al, Israel's national airline, and wounded several others in the July Fourth attack before he was fatally shot by an airline security guard.
The Department of Justice had withheld characterizing the shooting while
federal agents launched a worldwide probe. They determined it was terrorism
related to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, said Matthew McLaughlin, an FBI
"The investigation developed information that he openly supported the killings of civilians in order to advance the Palestinian cause," McLaughlin said.
The FBI findings, made several months ago, were recently approved by the Justice Department. McLaughlin said Friday that his office was told not to issue a news release but was given permission to confirm the finding if asked.
The investigation found that Hadayet had
become increasingly militant in recent years. Just weeks before the shooting,
he bought the weapons used in the attack, closed his bank accounts and sent his
family overseas. At the time, Hadayet, who lived in