Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The release of an Islamic terrorist and memories of TWA 847

Detroit-based commentator Debbie Schlussel is on my "must-read" list, although I don't care for her commentary on show business and entertainment. She is at her best when it comes to personalizing the real victims of Islamic terrorism. A case in point is her outrage at Germany's release of Mohammad Ali Hamadi, the Hizbollah terrorist who murdered Navy diver Robert Stethem on TWA 847 back in 1985. Stethem was a native of Waldorf, MD.

Navy diver Robert Stethem

Between entertaining my in-laws and taking last week off to visit my aging parents during Christmas, I haven't had much time to blog, but I did take the time to call the Embassy of Germany to protest the release of Hamadi, even though the principal contact in the political division was away on leave and her voice mailbox was full and I therefore was obliged to leave a voice mail (with my real name and phone number) with her substitute. I had high hopes when Angela Merkel became Chancellor, but those hopes were dashed with Hamadi's release.

Who remembers this picture?

I have some memories of media drama surrounding TWA 847, but I realize that they were incomplete. I remembered the pilot's shouting that the terrorists had killed a passenger (who was Robert Stethem) and I knew that the pilot was from Missouri (where I'm from) and that his death from cancer several years ago was ignored by the media, but despite what Always on Watch calls my "steel trap" of a memory, I didn't know his name. The pilot's name was John Testrake. Michael Kraft recounts the TWA 847 hijacking from his perspective working in State Department Counterterrorism Office in 1985 in his article GERMAN RELEASE OF TERRORIST REVIVES MEMORIES OF GERMAN AND MEDIA WEAKNESSES posted in The Counterterrorism Blog.

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