Here’s a rare and thoughtful piece in the New York Times today looking into the government’s lousy rate of conviction in terrorism cases since 9-11. The writer admits that the main reason that most of these prosecutions fail is that the defendants haven’t actually committed any crimes. The corollary is that the juries are requiring strict proof of material support or conspiracy before they put someone away for life.
Or to put it in the words of a juror in the Holy Land Foundation case: “[prosecutors] danced around the wire transfers by showing us videos of little kids in bomb belts and people singing about Hamas, things that didn’t directly relate to the case.”
Perhaps our country is not as reactionary as it seems. In the Holy Land case, for example, jurors soundly rejected the US government’s well-worn and evidence-free style of prosecuting muslims and muslim-affiliated groups. More importantly, perhaps because of the recent actions of terrorists in the US backed Iraqi-Kurdish autonomous region, opinion seems to be turning away from knee-jerk condemnation of so-called ‘terrorism’. After all, the Kurdish separationist PPK went much further than Hezbollah did when it kidnapped an Israeli soldier; Israel claimed that action gave it the right to conduct a month long bombing campaign that killed nearly a thousand Lebanese. PKK operatives have killed over 30 Turkish soldiers in the past weeks and kidnapped several–and still the US has insisted Turkey do nothing about it.
The hypocrisy echoes widely in previous and present US calls of outrage against Palestinian organizations who hurt and kill far less Israelis than Israel’s army does Palestinians. And perhaps Americans, though slow to react to just about anything that is not presented as a movie trailer, reality show or video game, are finally taking notice.