And I may add, currently of the ADC (Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee).
And AAPAC (Arab American Political Action Committee).
And the CAAO (Congress of Arab American Organizations).
Glenn Beck’s blackboard could come in real handy right now.
Okay, maybe my flow charts aren’t tight enough for Glenn. But I still find it most disturbing that the same Department of Justice that’s supposed to be handling terrorism prosecutions in this area has just welcomed to its team a man actively involved in three organizations that are on record for supporting Hezbollah and Hamas.
Item: Following the 2006 Israeli incursion into Lebanon, Hammoud was right out front in protest rallies in downtown Dearborn organized by the CAAO, of which he was then chairman.
An article from Dearborn’s pro-Hezbollah newspaper, the Arab-American News, triumphantly reported on the protests (“Michigan: 10000 March to Protest Israeli Attacks”):
As the crowd continued down the road, thundering cries of “Israel out of Lebanon!” “Down, down Israel!” and “Death to Israel!” rang out. As the rally continued its move down Schaefer, more and more people came running. They were joining in from back alley-ways, jumping out of cars and sprinting down sidewalks to take part in the rally.Hatred for Israel pulls us together, that is. Hatred for Israel and devotion to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah can be very powerful motivators around here. At the time, NPR was reporting on the CAAO rallies:
“Other than our own leaders, Israel pulls us together like no one else can,” said Abed Hammoud as he helped lead the rally down the road. Hammoud is chairman of the Congress of Arab American Organizations (CAAO).
At one recent demonstration organized by the Congress of Arab-Americans, about 1,000 people attended. College-age men asked, in call and response fashion, "Who is your army?" Protestors responded: "Hezbollah." "Who is your leader?" they were asked. "Nasrallah," the chanters responded. Many carried placards of the Hezbollah leader.Hammoud came here from southern Lebanon some time around 1990. He told NPR that his “hometown is just a few miles from the Israeli border. His day job is assistant county prosecutor, but his passion is advocating on behalf of the Congress of Arab-American organizations.”
A few days earlier at an even larger demonstration, more than 15,000 turned out, about half of Dearborn's Arab community. . . . "Oh, Jews, remember Khaibar," the marchers chant. "The army of the Prophet will return."
They say it’s healthy to have a hobby. But does Hammoud’s passion for advocacy require shouting allegiance to Hezbollah, and death to Israel?
Hammoud told NPR
he regards Israeli airstrikes as “war crimes and atrocities” — attacks he does not hesitate to compare with Nazi Germany.
“The Nazis used to kill, especially Jewish people, using the ovens and the concentration camps,’ he says. “The Israelis use F-16s and burning bombs and smart bombs. I'm sorry. A death of a child is a death of a child.”
I’d be sorry too if I tried out an argument like that. Reflexively playing the Nazi card is a trick favored by the ADC.
Hammoud has shared leadership duties at AAPAC and CAAO with Osama Siblani, who publishes the Arab-American News, the current issue of which is calling for a “Third Intifadah” against Israel. Siblani is an outspoken supporter of Hezbollah and Hamas, whom he considers “freedom fighters.” Hezbollah has such deep support in Dearborn that the local feds have had to spend a lot of time, or anyway, used to spend a lot of time, trying to keep track of all the money launderers, cigarette smugglers, mortgage fraudsters, and tax cheats wiring proceeds to fund Nasrallah’s rocket arsenal. In 2006 Siblani as good as dared federal investigators to try and do anything about it.
“If the FBI wants to come after those who support the resistance done by Hezbollah, then they better bring a fleet of buses,” said Osama Siblani, publisher of the local Arab-American News and an outspoken activist. “I for one would be willing to go to jail.”You can talk big like that when you know the FBI has been warned to leave you alone.
Hammoud has also used his position as a prosecutor a time or two to try to put the kibosh on speech he didn’t like. That could be a handy skill right now when government efforts to “right-size” the First Amendment are all the rage in Michigan. In 2006 Hammoud was displeased about what he called a “smear” by an anonymous poster on the Russ Gibb online forum, Russ Gibb at Random, alleging that the president of the Life for Relief and Development charity, Khaleel Jassemm, was an AAPAC member. The Life for Relief organization had recently been raided by the FBI for suspected financial support to Hamas.
In his post, Hammoud denied that Jassemm was ever a member of AAPAC. I guess that’s true. (But, in fairness to the original poster, who was first in the members list at CAAO? Life for Relief). (And, while we're at it, who is 16th on the list but the MAS Political Action Committee, a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood.) Hammoud concluded his angry post with this creepy threat:
“I do however like to remind everyone that we all live under the law and that writing and posting falshoods (sic) can be punished. We also know that the great technology that allows people to smear others while they hide under screen names allows us to find out who they are if there is a need for a legal action. Thank you.” (Italics in original).Kind of heavy-handed for an anonymous post on a blog mostly of local interest, wouldn’t you say? Now who on Earth ever heard of a county prosecutor trying to use his office to punish someone for saying something he doesn’t like?
And while we're on the subject of Kym Worthy, Hammoud’s boss as the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office since 2004, did you know she also had close ties with the ADC even before she sent Terry Jones to jail for the crime of visiting Dearborn?
Could use that chalkboard right about now.
Hammoud also once lent his professional support to an ill-advised Michigan House effort, Resolution 214, to censure Detroit News editor and columnist Nolan Finley for describing Palestinians as lusting for Jewish blood. The Resolution was a screed directly aimed at enforcing an Islamic speech code in Detroit’s mainstream press. (Sample language: “Whereas, A state that prides itself on the diversity of its people should speak out against statements that foster hatred and intolerance;”).
Dearborn’s State Representative Gino Polidori, who signed on as co-sponsor to this resolution at the same time he was paying his jizya tax, explained himself to a concerned constituent this way:
This resolution is an expression of our support for free speech yet against discriminating opinions. While we must respect Mr. Finley's right to free speech, we must also recognize that we endure this same right.That’s pretty clear. The legislature is for free speech, just against opinions they don’t share. Is there any wonder these rubes can't balance a budget? Between these guys and Jack O’Reilly, it’s a good bet Michigan license plates won’t soon be bearing the motto: “The First Amendment State.”
And as for Hammoud’s free speech, he’s certainly entitled to his opinions, no question. Nor has he been stingy with them before this. And as far as his landing that new federal job goes, it’s strictly verboten for DOJ officials to consider the political points of view of career attorneys in hiring and firing decisions. Who can forget how that was stressed to us all those years when Democrats like Pat Leahy and Carl Levin were getting so emotional about it (they called it, “politicizing the Justice Department”). It was a moral infraction slightly below serial oil-drilling. At least right up until Eric Holder was appointed Attorney General.
So it isn’t that I think Mr. Hammoud should have been denied employment with DOJ just he holds strong political opinions that disagree with mine.
But Hammoud’s heavy involvement with Hezbollah-supporting organizations is more than just a political viewpoint. It’s the basis for a conflict of interest in a federal district where the majority of terror-related prosecutions are against criminals engaged in lucrative crimes, while fully committed to sharing their ill-gotten proceeds with Hezbollah.
And we shouldn’t forget how Hammoud told NPR that, while being an assistant prosecutor was his day job, “his passion is advocating on behalf of the Congress of Arab-American organizations.” And remember how Hammoud’s CAAO organized 1000 protestors in Dearborn, who were asked, “Who is your army?” to which protestors responded: "Hezbollah."? Why weren't red flags popping up during this guy's security clearance review?
Hezbollah’s status as a terrorist organization is more than one party’s political opinion. That’s the judgment of the State Department and official U.S. policy. It’s the job of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to prosecute terrorists and supporters of terrorism, including those who materially support Hezbollah and Hamas.
Are we to believe that that kind of passion vanishes the moment you get sworn in as a new Assistant United States Attorney?