- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Imams threatened

A group of imams and their attorney have received a death threat for suing passengers who reported suspicious behavior that led to the imams being removed from a U.S. Airways flight last year.

The threatening letter sent to New York lawyer Omar T. Mohammedi said: “We have located the residences and identified the families of all parties” in the lawsuit filed in March.

“We plan, at random, to start systematically killing the people on our list if this suit proceeds. You, personally, have been identified as the prize kill. It is our belief that terrorists like you should understand the true meaning of terror,” the letter says.

The threats were made public Saturday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is backing the six imams’ lawsuit, in which the clerics say they were discriminated against because of their religion, and that bias prompted passengers to wrongly accuse the imams of acting suspiciously.

“Any time a threat of violence is designed to achieve a political goal, it should be classified as an act of terror,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for CAIR.

An FBI spokesman told Audrey Hudson of The Washington Times that the agency is “aware of the information” provided by CAIR.

“I can neither confirm nor deny that any particular matter is under investigation, but, as a general proposition, the FBI takes this type of threat seriously and aggressively investigates any such matter within its jurisdiction,” said Neil Donovan, a spokesman in the New York City FBI field office.

Slingshot strategy

With an increasingly front-loaded primary calendar, the big question for presidential candidates is whether the first few states are more or less important. Sen. John McCain’s campaign made clear it is betting on more important, reports Stephen Dinan of The Washington Times.

In a memo to campaign workers yesterday, the chief strategist said the cost of advertising across the nearly 20 states that could have primaries Feb. 5 would be $16 million for just one week — a huge expense for even the best-funded candidates and an uncertain one, given the nature of primary voters and caucusgoers.

“It is unrealistic to expect any of the campaigns to have sufficient resources to do what they would like to do in all of those states,” strategist John Weaver wrote in the memo.

The McCain folks think they are well-positioned to use the three early states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina to slingshot into the Jan. 29 Florida contest and then on to Feb. 5.

While former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani leads the national polls, Mr. Weaver pointed to state-by-state polling, which he called “the key to understanding the real dynamic of this race,” and said an average of polls conducted in April and May in those early states shows Mr. McCain leading in each — by one percentage point in Iowa, five percentage points in New Hampshire and six percentage points in South Carolina.

Durbin’s words

“Whatever your politics or your views on the Iraq war, the admission by Sen. Dick Durbin [Illinois Democrat] that as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee he knew that America was duped into a war, but remained silent because he was sworn to secrecy, was a stunner,” Dennis Byrne writes in the Chicago Tribune.

” ‘At the time of this debate,’ he recently said on the Senate floor, ‘I was a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee. And I would read the headlines in the paper in the morning and watch the television newscasts and shake my head. …

” ‘The information we had in the Intelligence Committee was not the same information being given to the American people. I couldn’t believe it. … So in my frustration, I sat on the floor of the Senate and listened to this heated debate about invading Iraq, thinking the American people are being misled, they are not being told the truth.’

“As many in his home state know, the idea that Durbin could keep his mouth shut about anything is a stunner in itself. He has been known to shoot it off frequently and disastrously. Witness the time he made the inflammatory and false comparison of the U.S. military’s treatment of Guantanamo Bay detainees to the millions murdered by the Nazis, Soviet Gulags and Cambodia’s Pol Pot,” said Mr. Byrne, a Chicago area writer and consultant.

“So, what are we to think now? That Durbin willingly let thousands of Americans and uncounted thousands of Iraqis die when he knew the truth? Is he bringing it up now because he is seeking absolution? Was it just bravado, a childlike ‘I know what you don’t know’ moment? Was it a slip of the tongue; did he misspeak? Was it just a routine attempt to again make Bush administration officials look like liars, but he failed to think through the implications and consequences of what he was saying? Did it even occur to him that he was implicating every member of the Intelligence Committee for hiding the truth from the public?”

Looking back

The Washington Times’ 25th anniversary, coming up May 17, is “a remarkable achievement,” Michelle Malkin said in an interview last week with reporters and editors of The Times.

“There’s always a lot of backpatting among the blogosphere for being the information revolutionaries, but The Washington Times — when you talk about founding fathers, especially when you’re talking about alternatives to the liberal elite — and I’ve been a part of the commentary galaxy at The Washington Times for several years, and I owe a lot in terms of mentorship to the people who’ve been involved with the editorial and opinion pages,” Mrs. Malkin said.

She praised the late Warren T. Brookes, a columnist for The Times who died in 1991. In 1995, Mrs. Malkin won the Brookes Fellowship at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Mr. Brookes has “been a role model for me, and ought to be a role model for many more journalists who are conservative and who, particularly, get into the opinion side,” she said. “Because I think what he represented for a lot of people was a breakthrough on op-ed pages, of someone who did more than just navel-gaze, he put the investigative work into it, absolutely, and let the numbers speak for themselves. And I think he showed that you could have this hybrid of someone who was an opinion columnist, but also a journalist of the first order. And I think that for people in the conservative movement who aspire to be opinion leaders, that to have that training and that background, it’s very important.”

A transcript of the interview with Mrs. Malkin is online at washingtontimes.com.

Another Brit

“Move over, David Beckham: Another Brit is heading our way to cash in, just like the soccer star did,” Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

“Retiring British Prime Minister Tony Blair plans to hit the lecture tour in the United States before or after he sets up a foundation to fund humanitarian work in Africa. He should do well: Yanks love him,” Mr. Bedard said.

” ‘He’s probably more popular in the U.S., and there’s more money there, too,’ says Peter Riddell, a Blair biographer. It’s a path that Blair’s buddy, former President Bill Clinton, blazed overseas. Blair is also considering a Bubba-like memoir. And we hear that if the embattled World Bank boss leaves, both could become candidates for the job.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]



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