Sunday, February 14, 2010

How Many Terrorists Really Are in U.S. Prisons? Compare and Contrast

We know that we can prosecute terrorists in our federal courts safely and securely because we have been doing so for years. There are more than 300 convicted international and domestic terrorists currently in Bureau of Prisons custody including those responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the attacks on embassies in Africa.

~ Attorney General Eric Holder before a Senate Judiciary Committee, Nov. 18, 2009.

Attorney General Holder used the 300+ prosecuted terrorists figure in an attempt to convince Americans that giving Kalid Sheik Mohammed a civilian trial in New York City would be pretty much routine. The argument goes: "Hey, we've done it hundreds of times! Where have you been?"

I know you thought that number seemed high. Although the MSM uses some pretty fancy footwork to stamp out discussions of the T-word, it didn't seem likely that they had managed to submerge from public view the public trials of several hundred international and domestic terrorists.

Ready for the real figure of Islamic jihadists convicted in federal court of serious terrorism-related crimes comparable to many of the Guantanamo detainees who got federal convictions?

Less than a dozen.

These include:
Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber"; Bryant Neal Vinas, an American convicted of supporting al-Qaida plots in Afghanistan and the United States; Mohammed Jabarah, a Canadian who was active in al-Qaida and convicted of terrorism-related offenses; Shahawar Matin Siraj, a Pakistani-American who plotted to bomb Herald Square in New York; and Mohammed Junaid Babar, a Pakistani-American convicted of terrorist-related offenses in New York, and who testified in 2006 against a group of men accused of plotting bomb attacks in London.
The other convicted felons Holder was talking about number less than 200, according to Human Rights First, a nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington, D.C. Andrew McCarthy of the National Review has pointed out that these felons "often are would-be terrorists who have, for example, been convicted of relatively minor offenses such as immigration fraud or giving false information to federal authorities, or who have helped to finance a terrorist organization." Legal scholar Karen Greenberg, author of "Terrorist Trial Report Card: September 11, 2001-September 11, 2009," found that "[M]ost of those cases do not involve people affiliated with a radical Islamist organization, but rather with such groups as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a group of Marxist guerillas."

Dangerous people of this sort should be in the slammer at the very least and their crimes should not be taken lightly. No doubt this list does include wanna-be jihadists who, given a little more time and a little more rope, would have murdered Americans in cold blood. Maybe in great numbers.

But civilian court appearances by immigration law violators whose crimes would have been winked at by U.S. authorities if the violators had not gotten mixed up with South American revolutionaries should not for one minute be confused with court appearances by Islamic terrorist mass murderers at war with the U.S. civilian population.

And the person causing the confusion should not be the Attorney General of the United States, or his boss.

H/t: Nice Deb

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