Witness for the prosecution

In today’s New York Sun, Josh Gerstein recounts the testimony of former New York Times reporter Judith Miller in the federal trial of two men accused of conspiring with Hamas. As a reporter for the Times Miller saw the 1993 interrogation of one of the two men — Muhammad Salah — when he was held in an Israeli prison. What she saw of Salah’s interrogation in Israel crucially belies Salah’s defense in the current terrorism-related proceedings.
Salah was held for five years by the Israelis before he was deported to the United States in 1997. Upon his return to the United States, Salah confronted legal proceedings that are recounted from a pro-Hamas perspective in this 1998 article by a self-identified member of the Islamic Associaton of Palestine, the organizational predecessor of CAIR. Not surprisingly, Chicago’s infamous Bridgeview mosque makes an apppearance in the 1998 story regarding Salah’s legal proceedings.
Gerstein also mentions the supporters of the two defendants present in the courtroom, “including about two dozen women in headscarves who sat in the courtroom gallery [and] seemed deeply skeptical of Ms. Miller’s veracity.” Gertein’s article is interesting from a variety of perspectives, one of which is the reference to such Americans who identify with the Islamist enemies of the United States. Of all immigration issues confronting us at the present, I should think that cutting off the flow of such immigrants would be among the highest priorities of a government at war. Yet so far as I can tell, it is not even a subject of discussion.
A footnote of local interest: Gerstein concludes with an utterly fatuous observation by Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law Jane Kirtley of the University of Minnesota. As between terrorists and the governments who protect us from them, it is the apparent view of Professor Kirtley that journalists “really need to make it clear they’re not part of the government. It’s a cautionary tale of how engaging in this kind of newsgathering can eventually come back to haunt you.” Gerstein’s story on Miller’s testimony in the Salah trial carries more than one cautionary tale; leave it to Professor Kirtley to find one that isn’t there.


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