PowerLine – What Would Margaret Thatcher Do?
- Brexit: What Would Thatcher Do?
- Terrorist’s Wife Knew Of, Abetted Plans
- Power Line University (2): Who Reads the Papers?
- A tale of five Muhammads
- Sir Roger Scruton!
Posted: 14 Jun 2016 03:48 PM PDT
The Brexit vote in the UK next week is one of the most important political events of this era, and I’ll be watching it closely. Here we like to say, “What would Reagan do?” I’m not sure whether the parallel question is asked in Britain: “What would Thatcher do?” She was a Euroskeptic, and likely would be in favor of voting “Yes” on the Brexit referendum. Here’s her famous short speech on the idea of conferring more power on the European Union: her “No, No, No!” looks like a “Yes, Yes, Yes!” on Brexit to me:
Posted: 14 Jun 2016 11:55 AM PDT
Noor Zahi Salman, the wife of Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen, is cooperating with the FBI and reportedly has admitted that she knew of her husband’s plan to commit mass murder. She says she tried to talk him out of it, but didn’t report him to law enforcement.
It sounds as though Salman was more than a passive observer. Reportedly, she helped her husband to scout locations for a possible attack, including the Pulse night club, where she went by herself more than once. She also acknowledges being present when Mateen bought a holster and ammunition, so she knew about his purchase of firearms. If what is being reported is correct, she presumably will be charged as an accessory to her husband’s crimes.
Ms. Salman, an attractive young woman, is described as a member of “a well-to-do Palestinian family who emigrated to California from Ramallah, in the West Bank, in the 1970s.”
One troubling aspect of the many instances of Islamic terrorism and attempted terrorism we have seen in the U.S. is that family and friends of would-be terrorists often know of their plans, or at least their radical leanings, and nevertheless support them. It is hard to understand how a wife could know that her husband intends to carry out a massacre and do nothing to stop it, but that apparently is what happened here. Maybe it’s a cultural difference.
We have seen something similar in the Somali community in Minnesota, as Scott described in his reports on the recent criminal trial of three “Minnesota men.” As best one can tell, most members of that community supported and sympathized with the defendants even though the evidence made it abundantly clear that they wanted to serve ISIS. Those who point out, correctly, that terrorists represent only a small portion of the Muslim population generally fail to note that even though they may act alone or in a small group, they rely on the silence, or even the support, of a larger segment of the population.
Posted: 14 Jun 2016 08:53 AM PDT
For our second installment of our Power Line University “Yes, Prime Minister” course, let’s enjoy the famous scene “Who reads the papers?”
There’s an American version of this joke: “The Washington Post is read by people who think they run the country; the New York Times is read by people who think they ought to run the country; the New York Daily News is read by people who actually do run the country; USA Today is read by the wives of the people who run the country; the Wall Street Journal is read by people who own the country; the Los Angeles Times is read by people who think the country ought to be run by another country; the New York Post is read by people who think that it is.”
There is, however, no American newspaper equivalent of The Sun. It’s the one thing where Rupert Murdoch has let us down.
Posted: 14 Jun 2016 04:58 AM PDT
Attending the Somali terrorism trial before Judge Michael Davis in Minneapolis was an incredibly rich experience. I am still trying to process what I saw at the trial. Like the Orlando massacre, the case lies at the intersection of Islam, immigration and terrorism. The group of Somali Minnesotans charged in the case or gone to ISIS in Syria without being charged numbers 12 or 13 or 14. It’s not a small number, and it only represents the Twin Cities’ angle on the problem.
From the time that I first started following pretrial proceedings in the case, I was struck by the Muhammads involved in the case. They seemed to represent a variation of the town hall meeting in Blazing Saddles featuring one speaker after another named Johnson — Gabby Johnson, Howard Johnson, Samuel Johnson and so on. Their appearance inverted the Marxist adage. Here history repeated itself, but first as farce, then as tragedy.
The first Muhammad is of course the prophet of Islam. Charles Lister was the prosecution’s expert witness at trial. Lister is the author, most recently, of The Syrian Jihad: Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State and the Evolution of an Insurgency. At trial Lister gave an account of the mess in Syria and the evolution of ISIS. In his testimony he referred without fail to “the prophet Muhammad.” Prophet or not, he is the man without whom…well, you know what I mean.
The second Muhammad is Mohamed Farah (photo at right). Farah was one of the three defendants at trial. Like his friends who have pleaded guilty or who were convicted along with him, Farah’s recruitment to ISIS didn’t take much. Growing up Muslim in the Twin Cities’ large Somali community, he attended local mosques and supplemented his education with Islamic studies. Adding a large dose of ISIS videos to the mix was apparently enough to move Farah et al. to aspire to live under the caliphate declared by ISIS. He yearned to wage jihad with ISIS and to die as a martyr.
In November 2014 Farah left Minneapolis by bus for JFK International Airport to catch a flight that would get him to ISIS. At JFK Farah was intercepted by the FBI. Asked where he was headed, Farah said he was taking a solo vacation to sunny Sofia, Bulgaria. The FBI sent him back home to Minneapolis. He was ultimately arrested in San Diego the following April in the sting conducted by the FBI.
The third Muhammad represented Farah at trial. Murad Mohammad was Farah’s attorney. On the first day of trial Farah sought to replace Mohammad with another attorney. Farah was unhappy that Mohammad had advised him to plead guilty to the charges. Farah told Judge Davis that Farah warned him, “Judge Davis will ‘f’ you if you don’t plead guilty.” After interrogating both Farah and Mohammad, Judge Davis denied Farah’s motion. We won’t have an opportunity to evaluate Mohammad’s advice until Judge Davis sentences Farah.
The fourth Muhammad is a legal assistant who withdrew as a member of Farah’s defense team. His name is Hassan “Jaamici” Mohamud. Mohamud wears many hats; his home base is the Minnesota Da’wah Institute, where he serves as the imam. Mohamud was born in Somalia. He memorized the Koran at the age of thirteen. He is an expert in Islamic law. In 2009 the local FOX affiliate found Mohamud advising Muslims to avoid the “hellfire that comes with living in America.”
Mohamud turned up on the recordings made by informant Abdhirahman Bashir. Before trial the prosecution put defendants on notice that it intended to introduce a recording that cited Mohamud’s instruction in the battlefield prayer for jihad. At the hearing Judge Davis called on this matter, Mohamud and his boss resolved the issue by withdrawing from the defense. I wrote about the hearing in “Sheikh Hassan’s retreat.”
As a result of the hearing, we learned that Mohamud had sought to persuade Abdirizak Warsame against pleading guilty. In connection with the hearing Warsame attorney Jon Hopeman filed an affidavit setting forth Mohamud’s efforts to interfere with the deal Hopeman had worked out on behalf of Warsame. On the evening before Warsame was to plead guilty, Mohamud counseled Warsame “that all the defendants should stick together and go to trial, and if they did, good things would happen.” Hopeman, it should be noted, is a prominent and respected member of Minnesota’s defense bar. In his remarks to Judge Davis, Murad Mohammad told Judge Davis that he had emphatically warned Hassan Mohamud not to speak to defendants other than Farah. It was among the first points that Mohammad made.
Before the hearing, Mohamud would turn up in the news as a Somali “community leader.” In the photo at right he is holding forth outside the federal courthouse in Minneapolis in his accustomed style. That’s some “community leader” you’ve got there.
As a “community leader,” Mohamud had been invited to participate in the annual tour of secure areas at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airpot given by DHS to local Muslim leaders. As Jack Paar used to say, I kid you not.
Mohamud took part in such a tour in 2015 but was disinvited before this year’s tour took place. The Star Tribune reported that the disinvitation discouraged Mohamud “because, he said, his mosque has sponsored several events bringing together Homeland Security and the Muslim community.” Mohamud asserted his disinvitation derived from his criticism “of U.S. anti-terror tactics in Minnesota.” On the contrary, however, it’s probably what got him invited in the first place.
The fifth Muhammad turned up late in the trial. His name is Burhan Mohumed (photo at right). Mohumed is a Somali community organizer and friend of defendants. He faithfully attended the trial to support his friends.
Mohumed was removed by marshals three times for violation of the protocol prohibiting cell phone use in the courtroom. He was brought before Judge Davis when he got involved in the fight that broke out in the hallway outside the courtroom one morning and refused to let the marshals take his photograph, as Judge Davis’s protocol also required. Mohumed said he had interceded in the fight, trying to break it up. After interrogating Mohumed in open court, Judge Davis banned him from the courthouse for the duration of the trial. I noted these events that morning from the courtroom in part 16 of my trial reports.
That wasn’t the last we saw of Mohumed. He turned up in the two New York Times stories on the trial. The Times found Mohumed to be a go-to guy to opine on the purported insufficiency of the evidence to support the guilty verdicts returned by the jury against defendants.
Posted: 14 Jun 2016 02:15 AM PDT
Delighted to hear the news that the great British philosopher Roger Scruton has received a knighthood, and is now Sir Roger Scruton. I’ve had occasion to talk about Roger many times before on Power Line, such as here (praising his memoir Gentle Regrets), here (on his great recent book How To Be a Conservative), and here (featuring my short interview with him four years ago about his book on environmentalism).
Now, if you have a spare hour, the Intelligence Squared people held a recent “conversation/debate” (it is quite genteel) between Roger and Terry Eagleton, perhaps the best known Marxist literary critic. It’s a terrifically erudite exchange, and I do have to say that Roger gets in all the best comic lines. Eagleton is a formidable person, but like most leftist intellectuals, is humor-deprived. (You can also download this as a podcast from the IQ Squared people and listen to it in your car.)
I’m hoping to help arrange a North American lecture tour for Roger next year. Stand by for details when it happens.