Recruiting for Iraq: not a crime

Posted: February 17, 2006 in International, Politics

From the Counterterrorism Blog we get this further example of the wonderful cooperation extended to us in our fight against Islamic Terrorism…to quote a Star Trek Line, it is a race against time, with the odds against us. Will Europe fall before we can win? Because, if we do not win, Europe will be the first casualty. I hope the Italians can learn to speak Arabic… 

The recruitment of volunteers to fight in Iraq against American soldiers cannot be considered under any point of view a terrorist activity.” These words, which would have been more fitting in the speech of a radical anti-war militant, were the core of the ruling with which a Milan Court of Appeals acquitted three men linked to Ansar al Islam (the motivation of the November 2005 ruling were made public only recently and excerpts from it can be found here).

As shocking as it might sound, this is nothing new in Italy. The Court of Appeals, in fact, only upheld the first degree ruling of another Milan-based judge, Clementina Forleo. In January 2005, Mrs. Forleo decided that the men were indeed part of a network that was recruiting fighters for the Iraqi conflict, but that the operations taking place in Iraq constituted “guerrilla warfare” and not terrorism. In her view, “Ansar al Islam was structured as an Islamic combatant organization, with a militia trained for guerrilla activities and financed by groups in Europe and orbiting in the sphere of Islamic fundamentalism, without having goals of a terrorist nature, goals probably shared by only some of its members.” Because one of the men on trial, Mohammed Tahir Hammid, conveniently declared that he did not agree with Ansar al Islam’s tactic of using suicide bombers, Forleo considered Ansar al Islam to be a “heterogeneous” organization whose members had conflicting opinions on the valid means to use in fighting enemy forces.

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