Terror in LA?

HonestReporting extends condolences to the families of Victoria Chen and Ya’akov Aminov, killed in the Los Angeles airport attack on July 4. We wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and commend the heroic security officials who protected other passengers from being hurt or killed.

American law enforcement authorities, as well as virtually the entire world media, are continuing to refuse to countenance that the LA shootings may have been a terror attack.

On Sunday, the London daily “Al Hayat” revealed that Hesham Muhammad Ali Hadayet, the Egyptian perpetrator of the attack, met twice with a deputy to Osama Bin Laden in 1995 and 1998 in Egypt. It has also been separately reported that in Irvine, California, Hadayet had Koranic verses of Jihad tacked to his apartment door.

Furthermore Hadayet had also recently said that “Israelis tried to destroy the Egyptian nation by sending prostitutes with AIDS to Egypt.”

Because the international media all but ignores the hate and incitement against Jews and Israelis that permeates much of the Arab world, and does not recognize this incitement to be one of the prime causes of terror against Israelis, perhaps we should not be surprised.

One wonders, though, whether the media might have not have used the word “terrorism” if an Arab gunman had approached a line of 80 passengers waiting — not an El Al check-in desk — but at an American Airlines desk, and shot dead two American civilians, wounded seven others, and attempted to kill dozens more.

Below we reprint excerpts of an editorial from the Jerusalem Post asking some poignant questions about media coverage of the attack.

We encourage HonestReporting members to monitor your local coverage and to contact the editor of you spot irregularities in their reporting.

Thanks to journalist Tom Gross for the above insights.

===== NO ‘ISOLATED INCIDENT’ =====

Jerusalem Post Editorial July 6, 2002

CNN’s coverage of Thursday night’s attack on the El Al counter at Los Angeles Airport must have puzzled local viewers.

The obvious first assumption, given the timing and location of the incident, would surely be that it was a terror strike as was indeed stated immediately by Israeli officials. Yet CNN’s broadcaster seemed at pains to stress that no such evidence was yet available (as if it could be) to draw such a conclusion. Instead, several other theories were floated. Perhaps it was a “work dispute,” since early eyewitness accounts supposedly had the attacker shouting out “They cost me my job!” Others apparently described it as an “altercation that got out of hand,” and CNN’s newscaster even helpfully reminded viewers that “California is a place where a lot of people walk about carrying around guns.”

This wasn’t just a media line. US law enforcement officials also seemed to reluctant to label the incident a terrorist attack, instead saying that at first glance it appeared to be an “isolated incident.” One American security expert appeared on the air confidently declaring that it was unlikely to be the forewarned al-Qaida strike on July 4, because that group prefers committing “large-scale terror attacks” as if al-Qaida operated only according to some kind of strictly followed playbook.

Even after the assailant was identified as Hesham Muhammad Ali Hadayet, an Egyptian national who has spent the past 12 years in the US, local law enforcement officials continued to resist drawing the obvious conclusion. Because Hadayet had no prior known links with terrorist groups, Richard Garcia, the FBI agent in charge of the investigation, told The New York Times it just as well could have been a “hate crime,” or perhaps Hadayet “might simply have been despondent for some as yet unknown reason, perhaps a financial problem or a family dispute, and that despair drove him to violence.”

…The notion that an individual like Hadayet necessarily needed a direct personal order from the likes of Osama bin Laden to carry out his nefarious deed for it to be characterized as a “terror attack” rather than “isolated incident,” “hate crime,” or “despondent act” is a dangerously misguided one. It is misguided about the nature of terrorism in general, and about the nature of the enemy America is facing in specific. Haven’t bin Laden and other Islamic terrorist leaders publicly called on individual Muslims like Hadayet to commit such acts? And when they do, isn’t that terrorism, pure and simple?

Why the reluctance on the part of some in the US to acknowledge that this was clearly a terrorist attack on American soil? Because to do so would grant a victory to al-Qaida? Or because it would mean admitting that letting such a heavily armed man inside an airport terminal on a day when the nation was at the highest state of alert was a clear lapse of security? (Had Hadayet attacked any counter other then El Al, one wonders if he would have been stopped so quickly and prevented from killing many others)…

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