Wednesday, October 03, 2007

'This Is Not Over'

We’ve certainly been hard on the Dearborn Press & Guide for the past year, most recently chiding young reporter, Sean Delaney, for his "maybe Hezbollah is and maybe it isn’t a terrorist group" speculation in his initial coverage of the arrest of Houssein Zorkot. ("How the Press & Guide Does 'Fair and Balanced'").

But in Sunday’s edition, Mr. Delaney has regained some of our respect by the straight reporting he does based upon arrest reports obtained through a Freedom of Information request. (“Documents reveal new details in Zorkot case”).

As Peter Parker’s uncle told him in Spiderman, with great power to make sarcastic remarks comes great responsibility to give credit where it is due. So, thanks for reporting this important information, Sean.

According to reports from the responding officers Zorkot was first confronted by Dearborn police in Hemlock Park on the night of September 8, after three unidentified persons reported seeing a man carrying a firearm. Zorkot resisted, struggling to the extent that officers had to crack his arm with flashlights and finally shoot him with a Taser.

According to Delaney, the police report describes the electrical jolt causing Zorkot “to fall to the ground, where he began rolling back and forth while yelling ‘Ali Ackbed.’”

I’m inclined to assume this spelling is the reporting officer’s phonetic rendering of “Allahu Akbar,” the well-known battle cry of Islamist warriors at the climactic moment of attack. (That, or maybe it is some South Lebanese dialect for “Don’t Tase me, bro.”)

In any case, Zorkot did have to go through another round of Tasing, after which, as he was escorted to the patrol car, he told police, “You think this is over? This is not over.”

By all means read Delaney’s account, especially his careful inventory of what was found with Zorkot in his vehicle: (e.g., “eight prepaid international phone cards,” “numerous photographs of Zorkot standing in front of a billboard depicting ‘various Muslim extremists,’” “[t]wo cameras.”

Dearborn police are continuing to say that Zorkot has not been “linked” with any terrorist group, but we still don’t know exactly what it takes to determine such “links” exist. Do Hezbollah fighters carry ID cards, like all members of the ACLU and the NAACP?

We do already know that Zorkot ran his own Hooray for Hezbollah website, and had himself photographed in Southern Lebanon, the heart of Hezbollah’s terror empire, in front of rocket launchers and billboards of Nasrallah.

But supporting Hezbollah doesn’t make a person a terrorist, says Imad Hamad of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. "Expressing sympathy for something is not a crime and it does not make one a terrorist," he said.

True, expressing sympathy with terrorism may not make one a terrorist, but picking up a powerful weapon and brandishing one out of sympathy for terrorism must get you pretty close. But hey, Imad, while we're on the subject, why does expressing sympathy towards fighting jihadist terrorism make one an Islamophobe?

Anyway, Hamad also says we’re “still learning the facts in this case and it is important not to rush to judgment. Clearly, this was an unfortunate incident perpetrated by a disturbed individual.”

Hamad doesn’t explain why, in spite of lots of evidence that Zorkot was motivated by his allegiance to Hezbollah and pursuit of his own “personal jihad,” it is a rush to judgment to assume Zorkot's motives were terror-related, but on no evidence at all Hamad can state so matter-of-factly that Zorkot is “clearly…a disturbed individual.”

(Actually, claims of mental illness, and that the perpetrator were "acting alone," have been standard defenses to keep violent terror-motivated actions in the US from actually being connected up with worldwide terrorism).

We’re still going to have to wait to find out exactly what Zorkot said--or what authorities discovered--that led to his being charged with unlawful intent to use a firearm. His forensic exam will also settle whether or not Zorkot is mentally competent to stand trial, or really is only a “disturbed individual.”

But spend a few minutes on his website and you’ll have no problem figuring out what’s disturbing him.

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