Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Fort Dix Terrorists
Muslims get long sentences for U.S. Army base plot
PHILADELPHIA, April 29 (Reuters) - Two Muslim men convicted of plotting to kill soldiers at a U.S. Army base received long prison sentences on Wednesday for a plan prosecutors said was inspired by holy war against the United States.
Three others in the plot were handed life sentences on Tuesday.
Mohamad Shnewer, 23, a Jordanian-born taxi driver from Philadelphia, was sentenced to life plus 30 years for his part in the plan to attack the base at Fort Dix in New Jersey using automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, the U.S. attorney's office said.
Serdar Tatar, 25, a Turkish-born convenience store clerk from Philadelphia, was given a 33-year sentence in federal prison for his role in the planned attack, which was never carried out.
The two men, together with ethnic Albanian brothers Dritan, Eljvir and Shain Duka, planned to kill as many soldiers as possible at the base in retaliation for what they saw as U.S. oppression of Muslims around the world, prosecutors said. The five were convicted in December.
The Duka brothers, whose family moved from Macedonia during the 1980s, were sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison without parole by U.S. District Judge Robert Kugler in federal court in Camden, New Jersey.
I don't agree with the Feds that this was "the most frightening terror plot ever hatched in America," as one prosecutor put it. The story is easily skewed as a tragicomedy. But five characters more unsympathetic would be difficult to find.
The Duka brothers are illegal immigrants, sneaking in through Mexico. They have family here. They had a roofing business. Shnewer is a citizen, his family owns a food market. Tatar's father was an honest businessman with a pizzeria near Fort Dix, soldiers as customers. Our soldiers, our National Guard, who get called up for active duty in Iraq. What the f*ck were they thinking? They said it was entrapment, that it was a joke, they were just a bunch of guys playing paintball, drinking beer, mouthing off. Hey, we've known men like that. They blew up a Federal building in Oklahoma City. Later, we managed to overlook some immigrant buddies learning to steer jets but not how to land them.
None of these Fort Dix plotters has owned up to being a radical jihadist; if they were authentic terrorists, wouldn't they be proud of their beliefs & aborted plans? They're stupid. They're ingrates of the worst sort. They're loathesome. They deserve prison time. Their plans weren't far advanced & had no hope of succeeding even if they were completely serious; I remain unconvinced they were in earnest. Their families ought to be deeply ashamed of them. But I hope their sentences are reduced on appeal, an unpopular sentiment, I'm sure.