By WILLIAM MAYER and BEILA RABINOWITZ
December 24, 2008 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - The headline from the AP website reads, "5 immigrants face life behind bars for Army plot," hardly the type of lead in that one might expect in describing a significant conviction in the war on terror, involving a domestic conspiracy to murder U.S. servicemen entered into by 5 New Jersey Muslims. [source, http://www.google.com:80/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hpU78Fwu6-swpC3MuWomEA9WYcCQD958EI380]
Though the headline might prove confusing to some and maddening to others who concern themselves with such things, the text of the article itself seems to provide additional fodder supporting allegations of bias and editorializing within supposedly "straight" news stories by the Associated Press.
Actually there are several versions of the story, written or rewritten by other AP reporters, all of which display this trait.
At least three aspects of the story are of concern.
The first is that Jim Sues, the executive director of CAIR NJ, was courted by AP for comments regarding the case.
"Many people in the Muslim community will see this as a case of entrapment," said Jim Sues, executive director of the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who attended five days of trial testimony. "From what I saw, there was a significant role played by the government informant."
CAIR, the Council on American Islamic Relations is directly linked to terrorism through it having been named in the successful prosecution of Hamas terror funder the Holy Land Foundation. The jury returned convictions on all 5 defendants on 108 charges a month ago today. Additionally, one of the defendants in the case, Ghassan Elashi was the founder of the Texas chapter of CAIR. He was already serving a lengthy sentence on another terror conviction.
At this late date CAIR should be treated like poison, no more a reasonable commentator on issues surrounding Islam or terrorism than would be members of the Nazi party on Jewish matters.
The second troubling aspect of this article is the inclusion of James Yee's take on the trial.
The former Sgt. James Yee has been feted as a Muslim poster boy since charges of spying while he served as a Muslim chaplain at Gitmo, were dropped because proceeding with the trial was judged to have been damaging to national security. Despite the wailing of Muslim apologists and civil libertarian riff-raff, Yee was simply not prosecuted despite voluminous evidence. He was not pronounced innocent, a very big difference.
" U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, Commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, dismissed all charges related to the alleged mishandling of classified information pending against Army Chaplain James J. Yee...citing national security concerns that would arise from the release of the evidence, Miller decided to drop these charges."[source, http://www.southcom.mil/pa/Media/Releases/PR040319Yee.pdf]
Yee was however, subsequently found guilty on charges of adultery and illegally downloading pornography to an Army computer in an Article 15 disciplinary action.
The third aspect of this story which should raise questions about AP's reporting, especially on terrorism cases is the author's mentioning that the two government witnesses in the case entered the country illegally. Left out however is the fact that three of the five defendants, the three Duka brothers [Dritan, Shain and Eljvir] are illegal immigrants.
This seems to be an attempt by the article's author to editorialize, casting doubt that the prosecution was fair, possibly suggesting that the informants could have been manipulated.
So what do we have here?
We have the last wire service in the United States representing an important terror conviction of Islamic radicals as a prosecution of "immigrants." Within the piece we see AP going to tainted and extraordinarily biased Muslim sources for comment, despite the fact that both CAIR and Mr. Yee have records which should bar them from serving in such a capacity. Finally we have the "poor immigrant" card being played again by AP seemingly with the intent of softening the image of the terrorists while ignoring that the majority of them were themselves here illegally.
We chalk this episode up to more evidence of bias at the Associated Press - which has rightfully been pilloried by numerous commentators for its slanted reporting.
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