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That's the only way to describe the coverage of the story of the kid who was indicted yesterday for conspiring to assassinate the president as part of an Al Qaeda plot. When I heard about this on the radio in the car, a big part of the story was apparently that he was a valedictorian of a Virginia high school. I guess that this was supposed to indicate some kind of disconnect; how could such a seemingly all-American boy do such a thing?
Well, as Paul Harvey says, here's the rest of the story. The "high school" was a Saudi-funded madrassa. (Do such institutions even have valedictorians, in the sense that we would recognize them?)
Why wasn't this part reported? Fear of CAIR?
[Update at 9:33 AM EST]
Ed Morrissey has more.Posted by Rand Simberg at February 23, 2005 05:39 AM
Of course, before you convict the kid, you should wait and see what actual evidence exists. His family is claiming that the Saudi authorities obtained a confession from him via torture. If true, then all these allegations may prove baseless.
Libertarians should be concerned about how many cases the US government has brought against alleged "terrorists" only to have them tossed out of court because there was no evidence. There is no reason to trust our government.Posted by Timothy Okuda at February 23, 2005 10:29 AM
I've convicted nobody. I'm simply reporting the facts as best I know them. He was indicted. He attended a Saudi-run high school, which had anti-western and Islamist teaching materials that appalled even CAIR.Posted by Rand Simberg at February 23, 2005 10:32 AM
Part of "the rest of the story" is that his family is alleging that the evidence was obtained under torture.Posted by Timothy Okuda at February 23, 2005 10:51 AM
I doubt if he would have been indicted if the only evidence they have against him is a confession under torture. If so, then he'll be acquitted, since that will be disallowed in trial.Posted by Rand Simberg at February 23, 2005 10:54 AM
Do such institutions even have valedictorians, in the sense that we would recognize them?
Why wouldn't they?
Why wouldn't they? I'm not saying they wouldn't--I'm just asking. I'm not familiar enough with a madrassa to know whether they would or not.Posted by Rand Simberg at February 23, 2005 10:59 AM
"I doubt if he would have been indicted if the only evidence they have against him is a confession under torture."
You should do a little research on the subject of US government accusations of terrorism and their lack of success. See for instance, the case of Capt. James Joseph Yee, the Muslim chaplain at Guantanamo, whose case was dismissed. Or see the case of Sami Omar Al-Hussayen, who was acquitted. Or Brandon Mayfield, who was arrested on assertions that his fingerprint was connected to the Madrid bombings. Or the conviction thrown out in Detroit because it turned out a government witness lied on the stand.
There is plenty of evidence indicating that the US government's "evidence" on "terrorist suspects" is often sloppy, misleading, or nonexistent.Posted by Timothy Okuda at February 23, 2005 11:53 AM
I'm aware of that history. I'm also aware of more numerous cases in which convictions were obtained with untainted evidence...Posted by Rand Simberg at February 23, 2005 11:55 AM
You know the other part of the "rest of the story" was that the Saudi's were already putting the kid through the judicial process (just too slowly for US interest). Also, if his parents are right, then they were also torturing him.
So why would the US Attorney extradite this kid from Saudi Arabia and put him into a judicial system where all the evidence would be dismissed because of how it was obtained?
Anyway, I think Rand's point was why leave out the part about where he got his education if it is indeed important to know that the kid was a valedictorian. If the torture issue is important enough, why should we even care about the kid's education?Posted by Leland at February 23, 2005 12:29 PM
"So why would the US Attorney extradite this kid from Saudi Arabia and put him into a judicial system where all the evidence would be dismissed because of how it was obtained?"
Because they believe their evidence. But given past history, there is no reason why we should believe them. After all, they believed their "evidence" in the Yee, Al-Hussayen, and Mayfield cases, and as we quickly learned, the evidence was bogus. There are plenty of examples of people being charged with "terrorism" on the flimsiest of evidence.
And Rand wrote:
Okay, cite successful convictions. Let's make it easy--cite people successfully convicted of terrorism since 9/11.
Without doing any research (for which I haven't the time right now), the Lackawanna cell (several convictions or pleas, as I recall), the Portland cell (same thing), the Shoe Bomber, the Beltway snipers...Posted by Rand Simberg at February 23, 2005 01:39 PM
...numerous "Muslim charities" and "islamic banks" that have been proven in court to have been funding and support mechanisms for terrorism...Posted by DaveP. at February 23, 2005 07:50 PM
Here are some more successful prosecutions, Timothy:
In April 2004 Royer was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Of his codefendants, six pled guilty, three were convicted and two were acquitted. One got a life sentence and another got 85 years.
Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, described by federal prosecutors as a member of the group, escaped the initial crackdown and fled to Saudi Arabia, where he was arrested later in 2003.
And they're even related to this case.
Sure, he just went to Saudi Arabia on vacation...
He's entitled to the presumption of innocence in the courts, but there's no reason that I have to consider him so, and I find your automatic assumption that the government doesn't have a case amusing. And disturbing.Posted by Rand Simberg at February 24, 2005 05:54 AM
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