December 30th 2008 11:00:55 PM
“Fort Dix defense: Men were ‘all talk’” (Dec. 5):
Albanians have an expression that defense attorney Rocco Cipparone said perfectly describes the five men accused of plotting to attack Fort Dix.
“A barking dog doesn’t bite,” he said. “All talk, no action.”
Cipparone, who represents defendant Mohamad Shnewer, recalled that phrase yesterday while cross-examining FBI informant Besnik Bakalli, an Albanian illegal immigrant.
Bakalli befriended defendants Dritan, Eljvir and Shain Duka, who are ethnic Albanians, at the behest of the FBI. He secretly recorded months of conversations with them.
Their discussions often were dominated by talk of radical Islam, guns, and whether the men should take part in armed jihad, overseas or in the United States.
Cipparone and the other defense attorneys said that talking was all their clients ever did. Prosecutors said the men formulated a plan to kill soldiers at Fort Dix and trained for their mission by shooting on a firing range and playing paintball.
In often-combative exchanges with Bakalli, Cipparone pointed out segments of the recordings where the Duka brothers demurred or said they didn’t have the guts to go on jihad.
While discussing suicide bombings, Dritan Duka once said, “I wouldn’t do it. I will never do it.”
On one recording, Eljvir Duka said Islam could not be spread by violence.
“It’s not by the sword only,” he said. “You can’t force them to come to Islam.”
But Bakalli accused Cipparone of cherry-picking the transcripts without providing the context. He repeatedly tried to offer longer answers, only to have Cipparone cut him off.
Defense attorney Michael Huff, who represents Dritan Duka, began his questioning yesterday by probing Bakalli’s story of shooting a man in Albania in a “blood feud.”
Bakalli said this week that the man had been threatening his sister and that in Albania families must settle disputes violently and among themselves.
The man Bakalli shot survived, and Bakalli was convicted in absentia of firing a gun without the proper permits. Bakalli was not charged with shooting the man.
“So, in Albania are you allowed to shoot someone as long as you have the [gun permits]?” Huff asked.
“Like I said . . . Albania is not the United States,” Bakalli answered. “We have our own traditions.”
“It’s a tradition to shoot somebody?” Huff asked.
“It’s a tradition to handle your own problems,” Bakalli said.
Indeed, having a past like Bakalli’s really should have no bearing on an Albanian witness’s credibility — because it really is perfectly normal for the average Albanian to have shot or killed someone at least once. For example, no sooner did this chick meet her first Albanian than she found out he had axed someone to death by the age of 12. My friend Karol knew some Albanian kids when she was growing up in Brooklyn. Three of them turned out to be the Duka brothers.
Here is just one other item about the convictions:
CAMDEN, N.J. (AP) — Five Muslim immigrants face possible life prison terms after being convicted of plotting to massacre U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix in a case that supporters called entrapment and prosecutors said was a pre-emptive strike against terrorism.
The five men were convicted Monday in federal court of conspiring to kill military personnel but acquitted of attempted murder. Prosecutors acknowledged the defendants were probably months away from an attack and did not necessarily have a specific plan.
Prosecutors said the defendants bought several assault rifles supplied by the FBI and that they trekked to Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains to practice their shooting. The government also presented dozens of jihadist speeches and videos that the men supposedly used as inspiration.
[Executive director of the New Jersey chapter of CAIR, Jim] Sues said… “The evidence showed there was no real, honest-to-God planning for an attack on Fort Dix,” he said. “The defendants were never all in a room at one time with a map of the fort, plotting what they were going to do.”
Yes, to the defenders of stopped terrorists — whether in court, at home, or in the media — it’s always “all talk” until they actually kill their intended targets. I’m reminded of a 2005 article that appeared in Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, titled “Love and Terror,” by some schmuck named David France. Apparently, 17 year-old Yusra Abdu was only toying with the idea of doing a “suicide mission” after meeting “charismatic young rebel Hani Akad” (mastermind of several suicide bombings already) — since in Nablus, writes France, “offering to enlist as a suicide bomber was a young girl’s way of flirting.” Here is where France is indignant over the saved-from-herself girl being behind Israeli bars (ultimately for a total of just 15 months):
The two of us watch the chain swinging between her ankles as she shambles away. I can’t help thinking how old she looks at 17 — her childhood gone and her future imperiled, for all I can tell, because of a girlish crush. “She said, ‘I loved him very much,’” the soldier tells me finally. “She said, ‘Yes, I cried a lot. I cried for two months.’”
Later, in the car, the soldier says he believes she was telling the truth. Given the long mutual distrust between their communities, I’m startled: Does that mean he doesn’t view Yusra as a threat to Israel? “Is she a terrorist?” I ask.
“Sure,” he says easily. “She did talk about it twice.”
“But she says she never intended to do it. Doesn’t that make a difference?”
No, asshole, it doesn’t. Just like the Albanians above, once you’re caught you always decide you don’t really want to do it — whether you did or not. I see it on “Forensic Files” and on “The Investigators” and on “Cold Case Files” all the time when a crime is stopped before it happens ( “I could never really kill anyone,” goes the usual refrain). Immediately once in shackles and behind bars, the foiled offenders have the same revelation: “What was so wrong with my free-breathing life that I would have ruined it by doing something like this? There’s no way I would have actually gone through with something so stupid!”
Here is a courtroom scene of two women who are shocked and crushed by the verdict that their brother (the Turkish conspirator, Serdar Tatar) was actually convicted of something that they honestly don’t believe he would really have gone through with. Let their Westernized appearance be a reminder that one doesn’t have to look like a jihadi to be a jihadi. Relatedly, as in the case of Albanian nationalism’s KLA heroes, we know that one doesn’t have to be a jihadi to be a terrorist.
In closing, pay no attention to the men behind the bars! All you need to know about Albanians is how “pro-American” they are, whether they’re making you pizza or carjacking your FedEx truck. Read with Albanian accent: “Please, you no worry about the Fort Dix; those were not Albanians…Albanians no do like this…Look, we love US, we love Clinton, we love Bush, we’ll love your mother and sister too if they help us…and we’ll rape and kill them if they don’t…Look — we even make street in Bush’s honor…”:
Kosovo decided Wednesday to name a central street of its capital Pristina after outgoing US President George W. Bush for his support of the territory’s split from Serbia.
Backed unanimously by Kosovo’s cabinet, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said the move was “a sign of the huge state and national respect and appreciation” for the United States’ contribution to independence, declared earlier this year.
Located in Pristina’s downtown area, Bush Street is to be linked to the main thoroughfare named after Mother Teresa, the 1979 Nobel Peace Laureate of Albanian origin.
Separately, the government pledged 5,000 euros (7,000 dollars) towards a statue honouring Bush’s predecessor, Bill Clinton, popular in ethnic Albanian-majority Kosovo over NATO’s 1999 air war against Serb forces. […]