Skip to comments.The Enemy Within
Posted on 01/26/2003 4:46:27 AM PST by yoe
When he was governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Ridge signed the execution warrant for Muslim militant Mumia Abu-Jamal, whom a jury convicted of murdering Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981.
Mumia had shot the 25-year-old policeman once in the back and point-blank in the face. A handful of congressmen, as part of a yearslong campaign to ''Free Mumia,'' assailed Ridge.
Those same congressmen likely will give Ridge an even harder time in his new post as secretary of homeland security. The most senior of them, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., has been on the Mumia campaign since the start, signing letters, addressing rallies and pressuring the previous president of the United States to intervene. Conyers similarly has embraced the cause of Leonard Peltier, the convicted murderer of FBI special agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald A. Williams. Conyers argues that Mumia, a Muslim African-American, and Peltier, an American Indian, are victims of a racist and bigoted system. He also sued the Department of Justice a year ago to force an open hearing for Rabih Haddad, leader of a group that U.S. officials say raises money in the United States for Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida terrorist group.
Fringe politician that he is, Conyers is no backbencher. On his Website he calls himself ''a senior statesman in American political life.'' The 20-term representative from Detroit is the second-most-senior member of the House, and serves as the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. This means he shares oversight of the Justice Department and FBI, and writes and amends antiterrorism laws. Nor is he alone as a prominent congressional friend of radicals and revolutionaries.
An Insight investigation finds that at least a dozen sitting members of the House and Senate have provided active support to terrorist organizations, armed clandestine groups that targeted and killed Americans, or regimes that sponsor terrorism. Some of the lawmakers have been at it for years even decades. Some appear to have done it for ideological reasons. Others certainly have been duped. With most, it's hard to tell.
The problem, close observers of domestic terrorist groups say, is that providing such support has become an accepted practice on Capitol Hill, where critics are silent and almost everyone would like to sweep the issue under the rug. One of the reasons for the silence, congressional sources admit, is that either the lawmakers or the cop-killers and terrorists for whom they advocate are members of ethnic minorities and Democrats and Republicans alike are afraid to raise the issue for fear of being called racist.
At the time Mumia murdered Faulkner, Barbara Lee was on Capitol Hill as a staffer to then-representative Ronald V. Dellums, D-Calif. She succeeded Dellums in a special 1998 election and sits on the House International Relations Committee.
Like Conyers, Rep. Lee publicly has embraced the ''Free Mumia'' campaign, and she has long-standing ties to radical groups and to regimes that have sponsored terrorism. In the early 1980s, Lee had an unusually close relationship with the Marxist-Leninist regime of Maurice Bishop on the Caribbean island of Grenada. Lee and fellow Dellums staffer Carlottia Scott had tried with much frustration to get the congressman involved with the Grenada cause, and finally, in April 1982, brought him to the island where he became committed to the Bishop regime. At that time, Grenada was serving as a transshipment point for Soviet-bloc weaponry to guerrilla and terrorist organizations in the hemisphere, as official documents captured by U.S. forces subsequently proved.
One of those documents is a May 16, 1980, memorandum from the Grenadian ambassador to the Organization of American States to Bishop, stating that Lee warned of a possible infiltration of the regime's leadership. Lee had received a letter, addressed to her Capitol Hill office in 2464 Rayburn Building, from the office of the prime minister and with an official postal frank. The memorandum stated, ''Comrade: On May 14, 1980, Barbara Lee called to say she had received a piece of anti-PRG [People's Revolutionary Government] propaganda stamped from the prime minister's office, postmarked in Grenada. We collected it May 15, and it is herewith attached.'' The ambassador suspected ''a spy inside the ministry'' and credited Lee for the timely warning to the communist regime.
Lee and Scott pushed the PRG cause for some time, finally persuading Dellums to visit Grenada in early 1982. Insight has obtained a letter that Scott wrote to Bishop after that visit, following a stop in Cuba. Addressing the Grenadian leader as ''My Dearest,'' she described ideas that she, Lee and Dellums had for promoting the Marxist-Leninist regime's cause in Washington. ''Ron had a long talk with Barb and me when we got to Havana and cried when he realized that we had been shouldering Grenada alone all this time,'' she wrote. ''He's really hooked on you and Grenada and doesn't want anything to happen to building the Revo[lution] and making it strong. He really admires you as a person and even more so as a leader with courage and foresight, principle and integrity. Believe me, he doesn't make that kind of statement often about anyone. The only other person that I know of that he expresses such admiration for is Fidel [Castro].''
Several other such U.S. lawmakers have championed a domestic terrorist.....
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