Friday, February 11, 2005

Easy To Be Hard; Easy to be cold

Sometime it is instructive to watch just how much the Left, in its unguarded moments, shows its love for the poor and downtrodden of the Third World. This snippet from the New York Times  account of the conviction of radical lawyer Lynne Stewart illustrates it clearly.  Stewart was an the attorney for terrorist Blind Sheik Abdel Rahman and passed messages to and from the mastermind to his associates. 

The prosecution also showed videotapes of Ms. Stewart saying "good for them" when her client was told in her presence that a militant group in the Philippines had taken hostages. Recordings showed that she seemed to enjoy trying to distract prison guards so they would not know when her translator was giving Mr. Abdel Rahman messages about his followers and their plans.

The New Sisyphus, which quotes from Stewart's indictment provides more details on why Stewart said the kidnapping was "good for them": because it was good for her client.

j. On or about May 19, 2000, during a prison visit to Abdel Rahman by STEWART and YOUSRY, YOUSRY told Abdel Rahman and. STEWART about the kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the Philippines and Abu Sayyaf’s demand to free Abdel Rahman, to which STEWART replied, “Good for them.” STEWART then told Abdel Rahman that she believed he could be released from prison if the government in Egypt were changed. STEWART also told Abdel Rahman that events like the Abu Sayyaf kidnappings in the Philippines are important, although they “may be futile,” because it is “very, very crucial” that Abdel Rahman not be forgotten as a hero of the “Muiahadeen” (Jihad warriors). 

The Superseding Indictment against Lynne Stewart et al by the Department of Justice describes how Rahman tried to use his terrorist confederates to spring him loose, and how Stewart helped.

The superseding indictment charges that, “[a]fter Abdel Rahman’s arrest, a coalition of terrorists, supporters, and followers, including leaders and associates of the Islamic Group, al Qaeda, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the Philippines, threatened and committed acts of terrorism directed at obtaining the release of Abdel Rahman from prison.”...

Also during the May 2000 prison visit, the superseding indictment alleges that Yousry told Abdel Rahman and Stewart about kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the Philippines and “Abu Sayyaf’s demand to free Abdel Rahman, to which Stewart replied, ‘Good for them.’”

A contemporaneous report by CNN notes that some of the hostages ("good for them") held at the time were Filipino children.

The Abu Sayyaf is also reportedly seeking the release of three men -- including Ramzi Yousef, the alleged mastermind of the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, and Omar Abdel-Rahman, accused of conspiring to blow up New York City landmarks -- from jails in the United States. ...

In addition to the 10 Malaysians, the rebels are believed to be holding 10 international tourists -- from Germany, France, South Africa, Finland and Lebanon. The nationality of the 21st hostage was not known. The Abu Sayyaf has been linked to two kidnapping situations in the Philippines. The group has reportedly held 27 hostages -- including 17 children -- for nearly six weeks in Basilan province, where it is under attack by Philippine troops. 

Whether the children would be released in exchange for Mr. Rahman is unknown. But here is the transcript of the conversation between Rahman, his confederate Yousry (masquerading as a translator) and radical lawyer Lynne Stewart.

YOUSRY Mr. Abdeen is eh... I am telling the Sheikh about the Abu Sayyaf group in the Philippines, and they took hostages...The, in the New York Times, never said that they wanted to free the Sheikh.
ABDEL RAHMAN: And Ramzi Yousef.
YOUSRY: But they eh, their demand is to free the Sheikh and Ramzi Yousef.
STEWART: Good for them, I didn’t read that either.
YOUSRY: She says, Sir that she never read it in the newspapers either.
ABDEL RAHMAN: No, I eh, eh....
STEWART: Amazing, and they never said that.
YOUSRY: Yeah, they never did, they never did.
ABDEL RAHMAN: But are they still holding the hostages?
YOUSRY: Yes Sir, they still hold the hostages.
YOUSRY: [Arranging his papers] They are still holding them, they are telling them that unless they respond to their demands, they will kill them.
YOUSRY: Especially a German female with a heart condition, they are raising a big fuss.
STEWART: Have they still, are they still holding them?
YOUSRY: Yeah, and they still have them.

Filipino children and a sick German woman were all expendable in pursuit of whatever people like Stewart pursue. Leftist professor Ward Churchill, who is under fire for describing victims of the World Trade Center attack as "little Eichmanns", said in his book On the Justice of Roosting Chickens  that perhaps a few thousand would have to die for society to come around to his point of view. But they were nothing to cry over: just expendable Nazis.

Well, really. Let's get a grip here, shall we? True enough, they were civilians of a sort. But innocent? Gimme a break. They formed a technocratic corps at the very heart of America's global financial empire – the "mighty engine of profit" to which the military dimension of U.S. policy has always been enslaved – and they did so both willingly and knowingly. Recourse to "ignorance" – a derivative, after all, of the word "ignore" – counts as less than an excuse among this relatively well-educated elite. To the extent that any of them were unaware of the costs and consequences to others of what they were involved in – and in many cases excelling at – it was because of their absolute refusal to see. More likely, it was because they were too busy braying, incessantly and self-importantly, into their cell phones, arranging power lunches and stock transactions, each of which translated, conveniently out of sight, mind and smelling distance, into the starved and rotting flesh of infants. If there was a better, more effective, or in fact any other way of visiting some penalty befitting their participation upon the little Eichmanns inhabiting the sterile sanctuary of the twin towers, I'd really be interested in hearing about it.

The little Eichmann victims at the World Trade Center included fifteen Filipinos, sixteen Jamaicans, seventeen Columbians and fifteen Mexicans -- all dismissed with a wave of a hand. The Rocky Mountain News records Churchill as saying, "I'm not backing off an inch. I owe no one an apology". One of the sources of the inhuman 'strength' of the Left is its refusal to acknowledge the existence of anything smaller than a mass noun. Rhetorical service to the people, masses, workers, peasants; the poor and the downtrodden are objects worthy of the Left; but love, pity and sorrow for individuals is sentiment beneath contempt.