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January 27, 2011

"Century knocked off man's terror-support sentence"

The title of this post comes from the headline of this AP story, which gets started this way:

In the shadow of 9/11, the conviction and 155-year sentence handed down to Hezbollah supporter Mohamad Hammoud was considered a milestone in the fight against terrorism and a strong warning to people who sent money to support militant groups.

A federal judge knocked more than a century off that sentence Thursday, saying it turned out to be "grossly disproportionate" for the first man convicted under a key terror-fighting legal strategy.

Instead, Judge Graham Mullen ordered Hammoud to serve 30 years in prison for smuggling cigarettes and sending $3,500 of the profits to Hezbollah.  The new sentence means the 37-year-old from Lebanon will spend an additional two decades in prison, then likely be deported to his homeland.  "The crime represented here was not as serious as other terrorism cases," Mullen said.

His attorneys wanted Hammoud to walk out of the courtroom with a sentence of the more than 10 years he already served on charges that include providing material support to terrorists.  They contend he sent the money to a wing of Hezbollah that helps provide Middle Eastern communities with clean water and good housing, not the military wing labeled terrorists by the United States government for numerous attacks on Israel.

January 27, 2011 at 05:07 PM | Permalink

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"They contend he sent the money to a wing of Hezbollah that helps provide Middle Eastern communities with clean water and good housing, not the military wing labeled terrorists by the United States government for numerous attacks on Israel."

I hope no one is naive enough to believe this. A "wing" of Hezbollah devoted to "clean water" is roughly the equivalent of a "wing" of the Nazi Party devoted to building children's libraries.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 27, 2011 7:02:45 PM

BO:

"Hammoud continued Thursday to deny he had any destructive motives, asking the judge to let him go so he could see his elderly mother and maybe start a family back in Lebanon.

"Your honor, I made a huge mistake. I betrayed a country that gave me a lot," Hammoud said.

After learning he still had decades to spend in prison, his shoulders slumped. But he managed a smile as Cohen patted him on the back.

Hammoud's brother, Bassam, and a few friends were in the courtroom to support him. Bassam Hammoud said his brother never had an inkling of being a terrorist and had no reason to support Hezbollah's violent aims.

"My brother is a good guy," Bassam Hammoud said. "He doesn't want to hurt anybody."

Another of Hammoud's brothers was convicted in the scheme and has already served his time and returned to Lebanon, where he ran for a local council seat against the Hezbollah candidate, Cohen said.

"This was a trial about a young kid and $3,500," Cohen said. "It doesn't make anyone in this country safer."

The omnipotent BO knows for a fact that the young man was a terrorist. Strawmen built to his specifications and knocked down.

I read an article a few years ago where Indian national party store merchants who had only a workable knowledge of the English Language were arrested and indicted in eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia because they sold aluminum foil and charcoal to informants who talked about "cooking" and these merchants did not report these nasty details to LE and were thus supporting the production of meth. Hell, pseudoephedrine hydrochloride is the only true nasal decongestant on the market and now you put your life in your hands when you jump through hoops to buy it legally.

Homeland Security and the DOJ cannot make the American people safer through strongarm tactics and internal spying. Eventually, their "oppression" of basic civil and human rights will not contain the animosity that they continue to feed.

Maybe, the true terrorists are the ignorant American people who allow people like politicians and the DOJ to lead them around by the nose, curtail their liberty and who pay taxes for their undeserved pensions.

Posted by: albeed | Jan 27, 2011 10:50:52 PM

albeed --

"The omnipotent BO knows for a fact that the young man was a terrorist. Strawmen built to his specifications and knocked down."

I don't recall saying a single word about "the young man." Would you please quote where I did?

My subject was Hezbollah, which you'll find out when you learn to read. And if you actually believe that Hezbollah has a "humanitarian" element, you are the biggest fool on this blog, and that beats a lot of competition.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 28, 2011 3:18:05 AM

Bill:

I agree, you did not mention the young man but Hezbollah. The article was about the sentencing reductions for the young man, which I considered to be minimal in light of the observations.

In the future, I will refer to you and/or your comments as either Bill's or BOt's for shorthand. This will be to remain civilized and not be accused of inflammatory communication. I don't always disagree with your observations, but rather your often inflexible positions to see other alternatives.

I still strongly believe that overcriminalization is a serious problem in our country, that Congress is a useless POS (both parties), and that illusions of safety and the de-education in American public schools continues without serious consideration that they are leading us to hell in a hand basket.

Posted by: albeed | Jan 28, 2011 9:49:10 PM

"Judge Graham Mullen ordered Hammoud to serve 30 years in prison for smuggling cigarettes and sending $3,500 of the profits to Hezbollah."

What insanity? Thirty years, for that?

Posted by: ohwilleke | Feb 3, 2011 8:26:57 PM

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