Willful Blindness: Sami al-Arian Released on Bail

by Andrew C. McCarthy

Sami al-Arian is a convicted terrorist abettor.  He was shown at his trial to be the leading figure in the murderous Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization.  The judge who heard the evidence against him imposed the maximum sentence (57 months) when he pled guilty to conspiring to provide material support to PIJ.  He has been ordered deported.  He is still in the United States only because he is awaiting a trial for another felony, contempt:  he is refusing, despite immunity from prosecution and court orders, to tell a grand jury what he knows about other Islamic radicals.  His supporters, meanwhile, have been urged to harrass the prosecutor and his family.

So naturally, the courts have ordered him … released on bail.  The judge on his contempt case has delayed the trial so he can appeal for the umpty-umpth time his already rejected claim that he was promised he wouldn’t have to testify, and an immigration judge has decided there is no reason a convicted terror supporter should be in jail while awaiting another felony trial before his deportation order is executed.  Only in America.  Once again, we see a vivid demonstration of what happens when the war on terror is left to the courts (a central theme of my book, Willful Blindness).

Here is the New York Sun’s report of some of what the sentencing judge had to say in imposing the maxiumum sentence on al-Arian:

“You are a master manipulator. You looked your neighbors in the eyes and said you had nothing to do with Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This trial exposed that as a lie,” Judge Moody said. “The evidence was clear in the this case that you were a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”

When evidence emerged at the trial of Al-Arian’s contacts with leaders of the terror group, his attorneys argued that he was involved solely in the group’s nonviolent wing and that his fund-raising activities were charitable in nature.

Judge Moody also called that account “a lie.” He noted that Al-Arian worked intensely to restructure Palestinian Islamic Jihad to preserve financial support from Iran. However, the judge said Al-Arian did nothing to oppose the group’s terrorist acts and even laughed when discussing the suicide bombings in conversations secretly wiretapped by the FBI. “When it came to blowing up women and children, did you leap into action then?” Judge Moody asked rhetorically. “No. You lifted not one finger, made not one phone call.”

Judge Moody faulted Al-Arian for condoning terrorist bombings in the Middle East, while raising his children comfortably in America. “Your children attend the finest universities this country had to offer while you raise money to blow up the children of others,” the judge said.

The Corner

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