"Oh, Muslims everywhere!" Omar Abdel Rahman wrote from his American prison cell. "Cut the transportation of their countries, tear it apart, destroy their economy, burn their companies, eliminate their interests, sink their ships, shoot down their planes, kill them on the sea, air, on land."
This fatwa, or one very similar to it, was distributed to Al Qaeda terrorists in terror training camps while Mohammed Omar Abdel Rahman, the blind sheikh’s son, lectured them on their duties as Jihadists.
While Al Qaeda was working on terror plots that would eventually develop into the attacks of September 11, the blind sheikh was producing threatening sermons from prison warning that America would bring “destruction” on itself if it interfered with the forces of Islam.
On September 2000, a year before the attack, Bin Laden released a video together with Rahman’s son, vowing to free the blind sheikh while Rahman’s son urged Muslims to “move forward and shed blood.”
A year later they did.
It wasn’t easy for the blind terror chief to remain relevant in prison. His devoted attorney Lynne Stewart helped keep Omar Abdel Rahman relevant by helping him pass messages to his followers from prison. After Stewart’s crimes were exposed and this lifeline was cut, the blind sheikh became so forgotten that Bin Laden talked of avenging his death even though Omar Abdel-Rahman was still among the living.
Omar Abdel Rahman’s followers carried out the first attack against the World Trade Center. Ramzi Yousef, the perpetrator of the World Trade Center bombing, was a follower of the blind sheikh, and his uncle, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, was also the architect of the September 11 attacks.
Afterward, the blind sheikh’s followers unspooled a terror plot larger in scale than September 11 targeting New York landmarks.
Lynne Stewart didn’t just conspire to aid any terrorist. The man she was aiding was a crucial figure in a wave of terror rolling around the world from Egypt to Afghanistan. Islamic terrorists, including Al Qaeda, hung on his words and derived inspiration from his incitement to violence.
Stewart was present when Rahman was told that the bombing of the USS Cole had been carried out in his name and that there were plans to carry out further operations unless he was released. While the sheikh and his follower talked of terror, Lynne Stewart sat and scribbled, pretending to take notes so that the prison guards would not become suspicious.
In an interview, Lynne Stewart suggested that maintaining the blind sheikh’s “exchange value” was part of her job. “It could be very important that that person is still perceived as worth exchanging, perhaps, for someone else,” she suggested.
“Once he… becomes a non-person on the international scene, he loses currency, he loses credibility. He is no longer someone who perhaps would be viable for people to consider in some kind of swap or exchange.”
Stewart was admitting that her goal was to maintain Omar Abdel Rahman as a viable terrorist kingpin whose release his followers would want to obtain through a prisoner exchange.
A year after Rahman was sentenced to life in prison, terrorists from his Muslim Brotherhood splinter organization, the Islamic Group, carried out the Luxor Massacre in Egypt. European tourists had their ears and noses cut off before being killed. The attack had been carried out to take hostages to exchange for Lynne Stewart’s client. A note calling for the release of Rahman was found in a disemboweled body.
When asked about the Luxor Massacre, Stewart accused Americans of being “two-faced about violence” adding that, “The basic desire of people to be free hasn't changed. And I'm not sure that I want to second-guess what methods other people use.”
In the massacre that Lynne Stewart refused to second-guess; the methods included the murder of Shaunnah Turner, a 5-year-old girl.
Rosemarie Dousse, an elderly survivor of the massacre, said, that the killers “took all the young women, the girls, and disappeared with them. I don’t know where they went with the women, but they hurt them. We could hear screams of pain.”
Stewart continued to work for Rahman even after his conviction and played her part in helping him pass along messages of terror.
Finally a year before the September 11 attacks, the terror lawyer went too far and held a press conference confirming that the blind sheikh wanted an end to the temporary ceasefire between the Islamic Group and the Egyptian government that had been brokered the year of the Luxor Massacre.
When Lynne Stewart announced an end to the ceasefire, she was doing nothing less than calling for the murder of more Shaunnah Turners and she has never apologized for it.
Lynne Stewart was no longer functioning as an attorney. Instead she was acting as the spokeswoman for a terrorist organization. After September 11 fulfilled the fatwa of her client, she expressed her support for Osama bin Laden and said, “I'm pretty inured to the notion that in a war or in an armed struggle, people die.”
The people in the World Trade Center ''never knew what hit them. They had no idea that they could ever be a target for somebody's wrath, just by virtue of being American. They took it personally. And actually, it wasn't a personal thing.''
Lynne Stewart’s career of defending domestic terrorists had prepared her to take this callous view of the lives of the men, women and children murdered by her clients. Stewart had defended Weather Underground terrorists not for money, but because she agreed with their views.
“I am guilty of no crime,” Stewart has said. And she has gone on playing the victim while showing not an ounce of remorse.
“Oh, I would do it again in a minute,” she told an interviewer. And now that Obama has decided to set her free; she may get the chance.
Stewart has cancer and the Bureau of Prisons and the U.S. Attorney's office asked for her compassionate release. The request has been granted.
Compassionate releases are rare, but the old radical has friends in high places. Less than a dozen prisoners are granted compassionate release each year. Lynne Stewart won the lottery, but it’s doubtful that luck had anything to do with it.
Holder has filled the Justice Department with terrorist sympathizers and made it a place where Lynne Stewart would feel right at home.
The American Taliban’s lawyer is now the Acting Associate Attorney General and the Principal Deputy Solicitor General was the lawyer for Bin Laden’s driver. They join at least seven other lawyers who have defended terrorists. Lawyers whom Attorney General Eric Holder declared were “patriots” for representing terrorists.
The Second Circuit Court wrote that Stewart suffered from a “stark inability to understand the seriousness of her crimes.” But Lynne Stewart did understand. What she did not accept was that they were crimes. That is something that she has in common with Attorney General Eric Holder.
In her opening argument for the blind sheikh, Stewart contended that ''he has advocated for the suffering of his people at home, in Egypt. He has advocated by any means necessary, and that is not acceptable to this government.”
Omar Abdel Rahman’s idea of advocacy was mass murder. So was Lynne Stewart’s.
Now Stewart is being treated with the compassion that she denied his many victims; including Shaunnah Turner. And if Lynne Stewart lives to continue her crimes, she will repay that compassion the same way that her favorite terrorists always have.
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