…or it’s the all-time greatest political hit job ever conceived.
Willie Horton hopped up on black-tar heroin, this is.
But it’s self-inflicted by the Obama administration in any case.
When this stuff first came up was more than a year ago. When the Muslim Brotherhood got Mohammed Morsi elected as Egypt’s president, one of their promises was that they’d get Omar Abdel Rahman, the Blind Sheikh who was the spiritual leader of the gang of clowns who tried to pull off the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 (they killed six people but failed to get one tower to crash into another, as was their plan), out of an American prison.
Rahman was prosecuted under existing federal statutes – at the time Rudy Giuliani was the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York whose office handled the case and Andy McCarthy, currently of National Review, Fox News and PJ Media fame, was the prosecutor who handled the case, and if you want to see an absolutely terrific HBO movie about the affair you can click here to watch Path To Paradise starring Peter Gallagher – and he went to the Supermax federal prison in Colorado. Rahman turned up with diabetes, and now he’s in a federal medical facility for sickie prisoners in Springfield, Missouri.
Most Americans have all but forgot about Rahman, except for that idiotic red-and-white Santa Claus hat he was known for wearing.
Interestingly enough, the dingy Brooklyn storefront mosque – the Al Farook Mosque – that the blind sheikh was associated with turned out to have another interesting personage associated with it – Abdul Hakim Mohammed. Mohammed, an American of Yemeni descent, was the imam of that mosque from 1996-99 and raised money worldwide in an effort to spring Rahman out of prison. When Mohammed left Al Farook, he decamped for Nashville – where he was the Imam of the Islamic Center of Nashville from 1999-2007.
One of Mohammed’s followers at that mosque was an impressionable young man from Memphis who was a student at Tennessee State University at the time. His name was Carlos Bledsoe, but after Mohammed sunk his hooks into the young man he would eventually spend a year in Yemen and return with a new name – Abdulhakim Mujahid Mohammed, after the imam who converted him to Islam. The former Carlos attempted to kill a pair of rabbis before hopping in his car and traveling down I-30 to Little Rock, where he descended on the Army recruiting station there with guns blazing and killed Pvt. Andy Long on June 1, 2009 in the incident portrayed in Losing Our Sons, the movie we’ll be screening at the LSU Union Theater in Baton Rouge tonight.
It would seem amazing how these things have such common threads behind them, but on the other hand it’s also significant how jihadist Islam can metastasize when it isn’t addressed.
In any event, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt regards the Blind Sheikh as something akin to the Egyptian version of Ayatollah Khomeini – and he’s got some long-standing friends in the Zawahiri family of Al Qaeda fame. As the Weekly Standard’s Thomas Joscelyn reports…
It seems that bad actors in both Egypt and Libya decided to agitate for the release of Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman, aka the “Blind Sheikh.” This is a longstanding cause for al Qaeda and other militants – even though it is inconceivable that Rahman will be released and terrorism on his behalf is itself, in many ways, a pretext.
Rahman is a widely revered character in jihadist circles, having issued fatwas that repeatedly led to terrorism. Osama bin Laden credited Rahman, a long-time friend and ally of al Qaeda’s deceased master, with issuing the fatwa that condoned the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Rahman is serving a life sentence in an American prison for his role in 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which prefigured 9/11, and a follow-on plot against New York City landmarks. Rahman’s spiritual guidance directed those terrorists.
According to USA Today, the protest outside of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was initially planned by Gamaa Islamiya (known as the IG), in which Sheikh Rahman was a top leader. USA Today reports:
The protest was planned by Salafists well before news circulated of an objectionable video ridiculing Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, said Eric Trager, an expert at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
The protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was announced Aug. 30 by [G]amaa Islamiya, a State Department-designated terrorist group, to protest the ongoing imprisonment of its spiritual leader, Sheikh Omar abdel Rahman. He is serving a life sentence in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.
Then on Monday, Trager says, Mohammed al Zawahiri (brother of al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri) tweeted that “people should go to the embassy and ‘defend the prophet.’” Mohammed al Zawahiri, who was present at the assault on the embassy in Cairo, also claims that he helped arrange the protest.
Here is an additional observation about the Zawahiri family’s ties to these events: Ayman al Zawahiri himself made a reference to Sheikh Rahman in his September 10 eulogy of top al Qaeda operative Abu Yahya al Libi, who was killed in June. Ayman al Zawahiri’s relationship with the Blind Sheikh is decades-old at this point, as the two worked closely together throughout their early terrorist careers. Ayman al Zawahiri’s Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) has long partnered with Rahman’s Gamaa Islamiya to execute attacks.
In his video, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group, Zawahiri says:
And we, by the grace of Allah, have announced that we will not release the American captive Warren Weinstein, Allah willing, until the Crusaders release our captives including Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman and Aafia Siddiqui.
The idea that the Blind Sheikh could ever have been on the table for Morsi and the Al Qaeda types in Egypt – that there was anything they could do which would lead to his release – seems like a hopeless delusion on the part of the jihadists in that country.
And yet they don’t seem to see it as a delusion. For some reason they seem to believe that they could earn his release through pressure. Thus the rioting outside the U.S. embassy in Egypt in the past week.
And then there is the stateside reaction to this hopeless delusion. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland…
“Let me say as clearly as I can, there is no plan to release the Blind Sheikh – there is no plan. To my knowledge we have not been approached about it recently by any senior Egyptians.”
Which is a pretty non-denial denial. “There is no plan” isn’t “no way that’ll happen.” “There is no plan” means “there might be a plan at some point.”
Naturally, that didn’t sit well with some others in Washington. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) wasn’t satisfied at all…
“We have not gotten a straight answer. What we get from the State Department is that there is no plan to transfer the Blind Sheik,” King said. “They’re not saying there’s not going to be a plan tomorrow. What does that mean?”
“It’s very easy to end this controversy,” he said. “All the administration has to do is say clearly and definitively that the Blind Sheik will die in an American prison.”
By way of further denial, we give you Media Matters – who as we know is the administration’s press auxiliary…
Dismissing evidence to the contrary, conservative media this week claimed the Obama administration is considering releasing Omar Abdel-Rahman, also known as “the Blind Sheikh,” who was convicted of planning terrorist attacks against the U.S. Even after administration officials denied accusations that Abdel-Rahman may be released, right-wing media continued to push the claim.
The Media Matters piece quotes a Justice Department spokesman as saying the reports are “utter garbage” and national security spokesman Tommy Vietor as saying “The blind sheik is going to serve out his life sentence. There are no discussions about transferring him. These reports are wrong.”
Fair enough, but the Egyptians apparently have reason to think otherwise and have had it for some time, and someone well-placed enough in the administration to speak about it intelligently is departing from the original line.
Or somebody on the Republican side has decided this is a perfect red herring to stink up Obama’s entire campaign with.
If so, they’ve got some brilliantly devious people working on the campaign.
Because releasing the blind sheikh to the Egyptians would be nothing more than an extension of the policy which provides a billion dollars a year in aid to a country Obama can’t claim as an ally anymore – that money almost comes off as a payment of the Islamic jizya tax required of infidels if we’re not receiving anything from Egypt outside of their forebearance where the Israelis are concerned. It’s now protection money – Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood pals have instructed us that if we stop that aid they’ll just have to attack the Jews next door. And if they want the blind sheikh or else we’ll get attacked, well, that isn’t much of a change in principle, now is it?
Meaning it’s believable. And until Obama or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton steps to a microphone and declares unequivocally that Rahman will rot in jail until the end of his days, and say it forcefully enough to convince the public, those nagging questions will come up.
Particularly since Obama has already opened this door by telling Dimitri Medvedev that he’d have more “flexibility” after the election. Nobody knows that that means, so they’ll fill that void with all kinds of horrors out of their imagination. Like coughing up the blind sheikh, for example. That would indicate a certain “flexibility.” And a lack of devotion to American principle and national honor.
And if the blind sheikh were to be released by the Obama administration, that would drive Americans absolutely up the wall. Particularly if it was seen as a capitulation to Egyptian jihadists to whom we pay a billion dollars a year.
This has the potential to be a colossal mess less than seven weeks before the election. It’s a stink bomb. If it’s a stink bomb of Obama’s own making – meaning that somebody in the administration really is talking about giving up the blind sheikh regardless of those denials – then he deserves all the damage this will do to him. But if it’s a Republican dirty trick, Obama will still be a victim of his Middle East policy which makes the release of the blind sheikh seem possible.
McCarthy put it best, whether he’s in on some sort of dirty trick against Obama or not:
The White House, State Department and Justice Department each issued statements denying any deal is in the works, but, “There’s no way to believe anything they say,” said Andrew McCarthy, the former assistant US attorney who prosecuted Abdel-Rahman. “I believe there may already be a nod-and-wink agreement in place.”
And coming off the horrendous bumbling lies the administration sent UN Ambassador Susan Rice forth to tell last weekend about how the anti-American violence in the Muslim world was about some idiotic YouTube video nobody had seen, and how the massacre of our diplomats in Benghazi was a protest of that YouTube that got out of control, when in fact there was no protest…can anyone really make a good argument that McCarthy is robbing them of credibility they’re due?
Either way, this might not go away anytime soon. It’s too big, too salacious and too possible. It’s the ultimate October surprise, and it gives the Romney campaign to sideswipe it by talking about the urgent necessity for an American foreign policy with a spine again.
That it might be true as well…well, you can judge the implications of that for yourself.