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I never forgot Leon Klinghoffer

Mastermind of Achille Lauro hijacking arrested in Iraq

Abu Abbas, the Palestinian terrorist who masterminded the 1985 hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean Sea, has been arrested by U.S. personnel in Iraq.

Abbas was arrested about 50 miles west of Baghdad after being turned away from Iraq's border with Syria, a Palestinian source told CNN.

The hijacking of the ship led to the killing of disabled passenger Leon Klinghoffer, an American Jew. Klinghoffer was shot in his wheelchair and thrown overboard by Abbas' men.

leon-klinghoffer-gravestone.jpgI still have nightmares about this. I don't recall many news stories that stayed with me as long as this one did.

I imagined again and again the horror of Leon Klinghoffer plunging into the water, still in his wheelchair. I imagined his wife watching this happen. I never forgot about it.

Klinghoffer was dead when they pushed him overboard. The terrorists shot to death a helpless man who could not defend himself. I could not let go of the thought that he went into that ocean in his wheelchair. There was something so barbaric, so raw and sinister about it. Leon was killed because he was a Jew. An American Jew. An American Jew sitting in a wheelchair doing his best to fend off the terrorists using only his voice. (To the terrorists, this was "provocation.")

I spent a lot of time at the library discovering all kinds of sordid things about the Palestinian Liberation Front after that incident.

I never forgot those things. I never forgot Leon Klinghoffer.

May Abu Abbas meet a worse fate than Leon Klinghoffer did.

Update - 3/10/04 Abu Abbas is dead. I hope his death was painful and protracted.


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... but I am. Mastermind of Achille Lauro hijacking arrested in Iraq I am actually in tears. Everyone is blogging [Read More]

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Abu Abbas, the Pallie terrorist who hijacked the Achille Lauro and killed Leon Klinghoffer, has been captured in Iraq. This is awesomely great news.... [Read More]

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CNN is reporting that troops in Iraq have bagged Abu Abbas, mastermind of the 1985 Achille Lauro hijacking and murder of Leon Klinghoffer. He was running for Syria, but got turned away. Apparently, the Syrians made some sort of clerical... [Read More]


I haven't forgotten him either; he was a true martyr, unlike some jihad-screaming loon. I also haven't forgotten Robert Stetham. Remember back when the names of individual victims of Islamic terrorism could be recalled?

You'd need an incredible memory, these days.

...and some people I chat with on IRC had sarcastic remarks about not protecting the museum, but having plenty of forces available to apprehend a murderer.

(...right when I was making my escape from the help desk. sigh)

Me too, M, that is one of the saddest things I've always remembered..it makes me ache all over again to think about it. We have been at war with these fuckers for many years already. And may we hunt down each and every one.

Of course, Saddam Hussein has no ties to terrorism.

I am so happy to hear this news. I was on the USS Saratoga when that happened. Deep in an engine room. For 3 days we raced back and forth across the Med. Nobody told us why, they just said "Make the screws turn as fast as they'll go." I was on the watch that set the new record for fastest screw RPM. When it was over, I got called to the radio room to get a telegram. On the way back down, President Reagan was on the CCTV finally explaining what was going on and saying that he wanted to be the first to congratulate us. My dad beat him by 18 minutes. I have never been more proud of myself than at that time. Later I found out that it was my boilers that had supplied the steam to launch the fighters that intercepted the escaping terrorists.

Same here. I always remembered the incident vividly, and how barbaric it was.

Rope. A nice rope. That's what we need.

And for God's sake, I hope we don't cave in and turn him over to the Italians to live out his life in a cell.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, the radio news this morning says that the Palestinians are "demanding" that he be released because Clinton signed the Oslo Accord. Here's to hoping Arafat swings alongside him.

BTW, radio news also mentioned that one Arab news outlet claims that Baghdad Bob hanged himself. Bummer if true, he amused me.

I think it would be heartening to Leon's widow that SOOOO many people remember his name and his fate. I never forgot it and was surprised and happy that Abbas had been found.

Leon Klinghoffer was one American who could be handled by half a dozen armed Arab terrorists.
Some time later, after the plane from Egypt was taken down, I was in Canada listening to a call-in show called, if I remember, "Cross Country Check-Up", or something like that.
The guest was an American diplomat who spoke primarily about international law, and the host who tried to keep things reasonable.
About ninety percent of the callers condemned the US for taking down the terrorists' airplane. They'd start out by saying they didn't condone what the terrorists did, but then they would.
Well, maybe it's just the folks who would call in.
Or maybe it's a white-hot resentment of anybody who can and will take out after their assailants. Unlike Canada.
We've got a list. It goes back a long way, and other terrorists on it--you know who you are--may as well start spending instead of saving for retirement. We will get you.
We will.

Richard Aubrey raises an interesting point:

For those opposed to American unilateralism (as exhibited in the recent war), and who plump down soundly on behalf of international law:

What is the track record of international law when it comes to hunting down known terrorists? How often have terrorists been handed over, either to the UN, the Hague, or to pursuing states?

The track record, AFAIK, is not encouraging. With implications for that precious international legal regime that always is cited but seems hard to nail down....

I hope that is not true about Baghdad Bob. I always thought Tim Robbins could use a press secretary.

And Abbas doesn't have a Demo president to waffle on what we're gonna do.

In case anyone missed it, the New York Times referred to Abu Abbas as a "guerrilla leader."

i'm glad you clarified that, michele. i was awfully young when the achille lauro was hijacked, and i didn't know that leon klinghoffer was already dead when they threw him overboard. all these years i had assumed that he was still alive. little consolation, i suppose. but a little.

Tanya....I was also slightly relieved to learn that too....

There's an article in today's Telegraph saying that it would be foolish to put Saddam on trial if we capture him. That goes for Abbas, as well. Just march him out of wherever he's being held, put a standard issue Beretta 92 in the nape of his neck, and spatter his face on the ground.

The son of a bitch is dead now... good for him

I bet the boilers will be working overtime down in Jahannam, too:
"WHO just came in?!"
"No way!"
"Can I do him first, boss? Huh? Please?"
"Those lucky sods up in al-Janna don't know WHAT they're missing..."

Too bad Abul Abbas died of natural causes. It would have been much better if we had severed his spinal cord, put him in a wheelchair, shot him in the head, and pushed him overboard. Of course, all Americans who are brutal enough to really do such a thing are already in prison.