Friday, April 28, 2017

28-Apr-17: Calling the Jordanians to account for the cold-blooded murder of three Green Berets

Jim Moriarty salutes his murdered son's coffin [Image Source]
It's now clear we are not alone in struggling to achieve justice over the objections, double-talk and calculated indifference of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Regular readers of our blog know that we have embarked on a battle to get Jordan to comply with its obligations under the 1995 Extradition Treaty it signed with the Clinton administration.

Within that framework, we - and the FBI and the Department of Justice - want to see them hand over our daughter's murderer, a Jordanian woman of 37 called Ahlam Tamimi, so that she can be put on trial in the United States for the most serious of offences. An article that appeared recently in the New York Jewish Week provides the background: "30-Mar-17: Years of pursuing a child's killer: Setbacks, challenges and a roller-coaster ride"

Tamimi was charged under US Federal law in July 2013 with a series of felonies arising from her masterminding the 2001 massacre-by-human-bomb at Jerusalem's Sbarro pizzeria. Our daughter Malki, 15, was killed in that grotesque act of savagery. Dozens more were killed or maimed. Those charges against Tamimi were in a sealed criminal complaint that remained secret until unsealed nearly four years later, on March 14, 2017. (Tamimi had been charged with multiple counts of murder under Israeli law a decade earlier and had pleaded guilty to all charges. She was sentenced to 16 terms of life imprisonment which came to an abrupt and premature end in the catastrophic Shalit Deal of 2011.)

We presume the US Department of Justice was attempting to negotiate with the Jordanians during those four years up until last month. The Jordanians eventually refused and have come up with several reasons.

Jordan's brazen approach to the US demand includes claiming 22 years after it was signed that the extradition agreement is unconstitutional. Or that it was never ratified (does anyone actually know who has to ratify it? And why can they not ratify it today?). Or that it is somehow not applicable to Jordanians. Whatever, since Jordan is owned and operated by a family whose origins are Saudi Arabian and who dominate a society whose population overwhelmingly identify as Palestinian Arabs, no one expects a serious response. What's significant is simply that Jordan is saying "no"... and that Tamimi is regarded as a national hero in Jordan because - and not despite the fact that - she committed those 2001 murders.

There's no doubt the extradition treaty was regarded as binding at an earlier stage (and still is by the Americans). Under King Hussein, who is no longer alive, Jordan handed over to the US one of the plotters of the first World Trade Center terror attack from 1993 for extradition and eventual imprisonment inside America's justice system.

Here's how that extradition from Jordan was reported:
Bomb Suspect Extradited to the U.S. From Jordan | August 03, 1995 | Los Angeles Times | Robin Wright and Ronald J. Ostrow
WASHINGTON — In a closely held operation, the FBI on Wednesday brought back from Jordan a heretofore unknown suspect in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, government sources disclosed. Eyad Ismail Najim, a Jordanian national, allegedly rode with Ramzi Ahmed Yousef in the bomb-packed van when it was driven into the underground parking lot of the trade center in New York City... Like Yousef, he left the United States shortly after the bomb went off on Feb. 26, 1993. The explosion killed six, injured more than 1,000 and caused tens of millions of dollars in damage. Yousef was brought back to the United States from Pakistan in another FBI covert operation last February. The two seizures of prominent suspects in the worst international terrorist attack ever to take place inside the United States rank among the biggest counter-terrorism successes ever achieved by U.S. law enforcement agencies. President Clinton is expected to issue a statement today heralding the U.S. victories against international terrorism, White House sources said.
Najim has been under sealed indictment since shortly after the other suspects were arrested and indicted, according to government sources. U.S. intelligence has long known where to find Najim but the FBI was unable to request extradition until a treaty was worked out with Jordan in March, the sources said. The final instruments of extradition were completed and exchanged last Saturday, allowing the FBI to proceed. The indictment had been sealed to ensure that Najim would not learn that he had been identified and try to flee again. While in Jordan, he was enrolled in school. Like many of the other trade center defendants, Najim is described as fairly young. "He thought he got away with it," one law enforcement official said. Najim was flown from Amman, the Jordanian capital, aboard a U.S. government plane and was expected to arrive at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, N.Y., a former Air Force base, and then be taken to the FBI's New York office for processing.
Ismoil is imprisoned today at the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum (ADMAX) Facility in Florence, Colorado. He is due to be released on August 30, 2204 (not a typing error).

King Hussein's son, Abdullah II, has the powers of an absolute monarch. He could choose to see to it that his country complies with the extradition treaty. No constitution or law or customary practice would get in the way. So far, at least, he chooses to do nothing.

At the same time, he engages in self-congratulatory Tweets honoring his contribution to the fight against terrorists - like this:
Twitter source (April 5, 2017)
We were struck by the hubris, and asked him:
Twitter source (April 27, 2017)
No response of course. Nor did his foreign minister trouble himself to react to this:
Twitter source (April 28, 2017)
Recently we have had the honor of coming to know the father of one of three US Special Forces servicemen whose deaths while serving the United States on the territory of one its supposed allies in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan during November 2016 has barely been reported. We wrote about it at the time, and it turns out our predictions were not far from the mark: "18-Nov-16: American service personnel killings in the Mid East get scant reporting and even less comprehension".

The Hashemite royal couple visiting the Trump
White House, April 5, 2017 [Image Source
Jordan is holding the shooter and will not extradite him to the United States either.

Here is a first-person account, reproduced in full, written by Jim Moriarty, a man who served his country via three tours of duty as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam, and is today a Houston attorney and a bereaved and angry father. Mr Moriarty's son was one of the three murdered in Jordan.
Jordan must stand to account for deaths of U.S. soldiers | James R. Moriarty | Houston Chronicle (Associated Press) | March 30, 2017 
A Jordanian soldier killed my son Army Staff Sgt. James F. Moriarty and two of his Green Beret brothers as they returned at midday to King Faisal air base in Jordan on Nov. 4, 2016. Since then, the government of Jordan has repeatedly misled the world about the incident, which I believe was nothing less than murder. 
Jordan quickly blamed my son and his fallen brothers, Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Lewellen and Staff Sgt. Kevin McEnroe, for failing to properly stop at a guard gate as they returned to the base where they lived and worked. International news reports soon included the false Jordanian explanation. Then the Jordanian story changed. An "accidental" weapon discharge provoked the guard to open fire, officials said. An FBI investigation later showed that excuse to be false, too. 
Then three weeks ago, just hours before the Lewellen and McEnroe families and I went public in Washington with findings from our ongoing search for justice, Jordan's ambassador to the U.S. released a new statement. The ambassador for King Abdullah II - whose country receives more than $100 million per month in U.S. foreign aid - called the killings "tragic and very unfortunate" and "deplorable," but still claimed that "rules of engagement" were followed.
The letter infuriated our families. It also further united us. We reside in different geographical and political places, but our three families agree that honoring our sons' service and sacrifices must include finding the truth about what happened to them in Jordan and why. 
Because of the work of the U.S. Army and the FBI, we now know what happened to our sons. What we do not know is why it happened or when Jordan will be held accountable. On Feb. 28, the FBI showed us the haunting surveillance video of our sons' killings.
The video shows the truck driven by McEnroe slowly pulled up to the gate - just like any other day. The Jordanian soldier, wearing body armor and hidden in a concrete guardhouse behind camouflaged netting, opened fire without warning with an M-16 assault rifle. He was no more than 5 feet away. Bullet holes appeared in the view of the camera. Shattered glass flew.
The video also shows the chances of survival for McEnroe and Lewellen were almost zero. Caught completely by surprise attack, they died quickly in a hail of gunfire. My son Jimmy met a different fate. The Jordanian killer stalked him for minutes.
My son and another Green Beret, who would survive the attack, exited their trucks just in time to avoid being killed in the first bursts of gunfire. Armed only with pistols, they then spent the remaining six-and-a-half minutes of my son's life communicating with the soldier and other Jordanian soldiers in English and in Arabic. They soon realized they were in a fight to the death. The video shows Jimmy desperately waving and motioning to the five nearby Jordanian soldiers with whom they had worked that morning. Six other Jordanian gate guards did nothing to stop the assault.
The Jordanian soldier finally cornered the Green Beret survivor and my son. As the shooter came around a nearby truck, he caught the survivor by surprise. My son can be seen standing up in full view of the shooter and engaging him with his pistol. This move allowed the Green Beret to get to the Jordanian soldier's blind side and empty his pistol into gaps in his body armor, wounding him. My son took the bullets intended for the survivor and died moments later. The shooter, who was taken into custody by the Jordanian government, then was put into a medically induced coma. FBI investigators later conducted hours of questioning and the shooter gave yet another false explanation for the deaths: He heard "a loud noise" that he took for gunfire.
Americans are told that Jordan is our "ally." This incident raises troubling questions about that relationship - especially as Jordan refuses to accept responsibility for these deaths of U.S. troops or confirm what truly happened. Were I to speak directly with King Abdullah, I would remind him that my son called out in Arabic to his killer and other Jordanian soldiers, "We are Americans. We are friends." 
The time has come for the Jordanian government to finally account for these killings or risk its $1.6 billion foreign aid package. We want the killer of our sons prosecuted. We want the Jordanian government to apologize and publicly clear the names of our sons - and do everything possible to prevent such killings in the future. No more U.S. service members need to die at the hands of so-called American allies. 
King Abdullah II confers with the Chief Terror Officer of Hamas, Khaled
Meshaal, in Jordan [Image Source]
After a long period of asserting that the murderous attack by one of its soldiers was due to error by the Americans or, in a later variation, by the Jordanian, Jordan's version of events has just been re-adjusted once again:
After months of publicly defending the actions of a Jordanian guard who opened fire on a U.S. military convoy of Army Special Forces soldiers, killing three, Jordanian government officials have admitted that the shooter did not follow the military’s protocol and will face prosecution. Dana Daoud, a Jordanian Embassy spokeswoman, told The Washington Post that M’aarek Abu Tayeh — a member of the Jordanian king’s elite Hashemite force — will be “tried in a military court,” but she declined to comment on the nature of the charges against him or when a trial might occur... ["Jordan says guard who killed three U.S. soldiers did not follow rules of engagement", Washington Post, April 13, 2017]
Not much more needs to be said about Jordanian notions of justice that is not already obvious from previous encounters. 

We're thinking in particular about the shabby matter of Ahmed Daqamseha Jordanian armed guard who shot to death in cold blood seven Israeli schoolgirls. He was released prematurely last month to a well-publicized Jordanian celebrity's welcome: "12-Mar-17: What a Jordanian hero and his admirers tell us about the likelihood of peace".

To end, a handful of other recent posts of ours concerning the Jordanians, their idea of justice and their refusal to extradite Ahlam Tamimi, the happy, proud and celebrated killer of our daughter:

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