June 24, 2010
In a strange turn of events the New York Times reports, Guilty Plea in Times Square Bomb Plot. Yes, defendant Faisal Shahzad, 30, put an immediate end to his trial for purportedly bombing (though no bomb went off) in Times Square. His Nissan SUV-bomb fizzled with his or someone’s incompetency, or to get the desired effect with a minimum of blowback. Who could that possibly be?
Could Shahzad be reminiscent of Sirhan Sirhan as a ‘Manchurian Candidate’? Sirhan was seized with a .22 caliber pistol in his hand in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel on June 5, 1968. He has maintained that he was hypnotized into the act of shooting Robert F. Kennedy.
The jury did not believe him. After deliberating for more than 16 hours, they found Sirhan to be what is now the classic “lone gunman,” not working with anyone else and thus guilty of murder one. Many said, “uh huh.”
Yet after 42 years, the story doesn’t go away. People come forth to suggest Sirhan may have been telling the truth, and that he may have been hypnotized into becoming a “Manchurian Candidate” type assassin by the CIA’s then MKULTRA program. In Shahzad’s case, he could be a Manchurian terror bomber, using weapons of mass destruction no less, which, as stated, fizzled.
In Sirhan’s case, it turned out there were far more bullets fired in the pantry surroundings than there were in his pistol. Also, the bullet that killed RFK was duly noted by the Coroner Thomas Naguchi on the death certificate as entering from behind the right ear where, coincidentally a rented-for-the-evening Ace Security Guard was standing. His name was Thane Eugene Cesar, with a .22 pistol, known mob associate, Kennedy-hater, affiliations with the CIA. Also, as RFK fell, he pulled off Cesar’s clip-on bow-tie. It was on the floor next to Kennedy like a finger pointing to the murderer.
With Shahzad, we also have the possibility of torture, another word used for “cooperation with authorities,” as in the cases of Khalid Sheik Mohammed or Zacarias Moussaoui and others.
The larger fact with Shahzad is that no one identified him in or near the Nissan Pathfinder the night of the crime. He supposedly first saw the Nissan under repair in a Bridgeport junkyard and then bought it from the owner, a young woman in the area, for $1,600. So the absolute truth of his guilt relies solely on his sudden confession in the courtroom, after weeks of “cooperating” with law enforcement.
And if Sirhan claimed he couldn’t remember anything before during or after the RFK assassination, the Times reports that “Mr. Shahzad recounted how and why he conceived the plot, traveling to Pakistan last year, joining the Taliban and receiving training in how to construct a bomb. And despite his admission of guilt and his extended cooperation with the authorities since his arrest, Mr. Shahzad was unapologetic, characterizing himself as “part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing the Muslim nations and the Muslim people.” Get the hanging rope.
Shahzad then goes on to offer himself up to the people terrorizing his people like a slice of apple pie.
“I want to plead guilty, and I’m going to plead guilty 100 times over,” he said, “because until the hour the U.S. pulls its forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, and stops the drone strikes in Somalia and Yemen and in Pakistan, and stops the occupation of Muslim lands, and stops killing the Muslims, and stops reporting the Muslims to its government, we will be attacking U.S., and I plead guilty to that.”
So unrepentant, so patently misguided or mind-guided, I smell a rat.
Again, Shahzad’s confession came just four days after the federal grand jury returned an indictment as he offered up new details that Tehrik-i-Taliban, an umbrella organization for the Pakistani Taliban, had helped him in his plot. Bada bing, bada boom!
Shahzad elaborated how he’d gone to find the Taliban, learned how to construct a bomb that he planned to detonate as part of his plan. Unfortunately, he didn’t learn very well. The damn bomb, if it was his, was pathetic, a hoax that bombed, which is now being sealed with his life.
Contrast that with another flat-footed, bravura statement, “With them [the Taliban], I did the training to wage an attack inside the United States of America.”
Yet, as I wrote in my article, Shahzad: American dream or nightmare bomber?, “The thing is here’s a guy who came here at age 18 on a student visa in 1998 (pre-War on Terror) and got a computer science degree from the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, followed by an M.B.A, which got him a job with a financial company in nearby Stamford. Not exactly Osama bin Forgotten. By 2009, Shahzad became an American citizen like his wife. He bought their one family dream-house in April in the ‘picture book’ American suburb of Shelton, replete with picket fences, front porch colonials, kids scuttling to school buses and ‘golden retrievers’ posing on well-trimmed front yards. Shahzad’s smiling wife wore ‘traditional clothes.’
“Furthermore, his family background in Pashto, Pakistan, is elite. He speaks Pashto, a rare asset, and his father, Baharu ul-Haq, is a retired senior air force officer, a connection to spare Shahzad hassles from local law enforcement. As Time magazine (5/17/10) reports, ‘If you are traveling in Waziristan, and you are stopped, the fact that you are an air force vice marshal’s son can offer you protection.’ I mean, he’s got it all, here and in Pakistan at the family house, till June 2009. Then he quits his job, the Shelton house goes into foreclosure and debts hit the fan.
“The couple now with two children, move to Sheridan Street in Bridgeport, a neighborhood surrounded by factories, ‘’working class and working poor people,’ and sagging homes with metal fences, graffiti, people who ‘keep to themselves,’ probably not to get mugged.
“Later that summer, Shahzad goes home to Pakistan with wife and kids. There, the US government claims, he joins a military training camp, yet I don’t see a picture of him in any military gear, glaring as he holds up a Kalashnikov. His family stays in Pakistan as he flies stateside in February. His one-way ticket record will provide the one way American officials became ‘suspicious’ of Shahzad’s actions. He was yanked aside at the airport for a second screening and answered questions about where he was when abroad. Still, he’s allowed to re-enter the US as the drones begin falling big-time in Pakistan, taking a far larger number of innocent than Taliban or Al Qaeda Pakistani lives.”
It’s as if the DOJ or CIA had read either my or other writers’ articles about Shahzad and addressed all the issues in his confession.
As to Shahzad’s “With them, I did the training to wage an attack inside the United States of America,” Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum of Federal District Court gently led the witness to “Any kind of attack?” And Faisal took the bait.
“It would have been any kind of attack,” Shahzad asserted, because “ . . . I was given bomb training, and that’s what I learned there.”
Then the NYT provides us with a Mother Theresa touch: “Wearing a white head covering, Mr. Shahzad stood for more than half an hour answering the judge’s questions about his motivations, his background and even his family. ‘I had a wife and two beautiful kids,’ he said, adding that they had returned to Pakistan to be with his parents.” Yes, and he went with them, as stated, and came back alone.
And the Times writes, “And it was seemingly with equanimity that Mr. Shahzad spoke of his plan to detonate a car bomb in New York City. ‘I chose the center of Times Square,’” he explained. And the judge delicately led the witness, “Were there a lot of people in the street?”
“’Yes,’ Mr. Shahzad replied. ‘Obviously the time, it was evening, and obviously it was a Saturday, so that’s the time I chose.’” What incredible crapola!
Leading the witness again, the judge said, “You wanted to injure a lot of people?”
And Shahzad said that he wanted “to injure people or kill people.”
Then he shifted gears, so to speak, “one has to understand where I’m coming from.” He considered himself “a Muslim soldier,” and that United States and NATO forces had attacked Muslim lands. That’s straight out of the playbook.
Judge Cedarbaum led the witness again, “But not the people who were walking in Times Square that night. Did you look around to see who they were?”
“Mr. Shahzad replied, ‘Well, the people select the government; we consider them all the same.’” Now, the piece de la resistance . . .
“Including the children?” the judge asked, looping the noose.
“’Well, the drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq,’ Mr. Shahzad replied, ‘they don’t see children; they don’t see anybody. They kill women, children. They kill everybody. It’s a war. And in war, they kill people. They’re killing all Muslims.’” Now, the hanging noose is tightened around his neck.
The Times added, “The guilty plea was consistent with Mr. Shahzad’s behavior since his May 3 arrest, when the authorities say he began cooperating with them for more than two weeks without counsel and waived his Miranda rights. One question was whether Mr. Shahzad would seek leniency in sentencing in return for his assistance.” He’s cooperating with them, waiving his Miranda rights, okay.
Then he’s waiving his plea deal, “ . . . the United States attorney, Preet Bharara, released a letter that had been sent to Mr. Shahzad’s lawyers. It made clear that there was no plea deal, and that in choosing to plead guilty to all 10 counts, Mr. Shahzad faced a mandatory life term, the maximum sentence for which he is eligible.” The trap door opens and he’s hanging by the neck.
Then tada! Captain Marvel appears with a flash of lightening behind him for truth, justice and the American way.
Attorney General Eric Holder said, “Faisal Shahzad plotted and launched an attack that could have led to serious loss of life . . . and today the American criminal justice system ensured that he will pay the price for his actions.”
Nevertheless, Bharara said “the investigation was continuing” although his office refused to comment on whether Mr. Shahzad was continuing to cooperate.” What was left? Digging his own grave? He’d done it.
Sentencing was scheduled by the judge for Oct. 5. “Mr. Shahzad’s lawyer, Philip L. Weinstein, had no comment.” What can you say after that? It was, as they say on Broadway, “a tough act to follow.”
This article was posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 8:57 am