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The Washington Times:
U.S. officials yesterday said the killer of a U.S. Navy diver had been released from "temporary custody" in Lebanon but refused to rule out bringing him to the United States by force.In light of the the latest headlines - CIA prisons, "domestic" spying, etc, etc, ad nauseum, this is an interesting quote:
The Lebanese government criticized Washington's request to hand over Mohammad Ali Hamadi, saying the militant already had served a prison sentence for the 1985 murder of Robert Dean Stethem of Waldorf, Md.
Hamadi, a member of the Hezbollah guerrilla group, was taken into custody upon returning to Lebanon after his release from a German prison Thursday. He had served 18 years for hijacking a TWA plane to Beirut and fatally shooting Petty Officer 2nd Class Stethem, who was 23 when he was killed.
"What I can assure anybody who's listening, including Mr. Hamadi, is that we will track him down, we will find him, and we will bring him to justice in the United States for what he's done," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.What would you think if he was "snatched"? What would Senator Jay Rockefeller say?
"We will make every effort, working with the Lebanese authorities or whomever else, to see that he faces trial for the murder of Mr. Stethem," he said.
Here's what happened that day in 1985:
On June 15, 1985 Hezballah Shi'ites brutally beat, tortured and then killed 23 year old Robert Dean Stethem as he was being held hostage aboard TWA 847 commercial airliner. Robert was on his way home after a tour of duty with the US Navy in the Middle East. The terrorists had hijacked the plane with 153 passengers in Athens Greece forcing the pilot to fly twice to Algiers and twice to Beirut during the 17 day siege. The hostages were released after Israel released 435 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.The Navy's guided missile destroyer USS Stethem is named for him.
"When the plane was at the Beirut airport in Lebanon, Petty Officer Stethem was singled out because he was in the US military. After many hours of being cruelly beaten, tortured, and finally killed by the terrorists, they threw his body from the plane in a final disgraceful, cowardly act. The wounds were so terrible that his body had to be identified by its fingerprints.
Throughout the ordeal, Robert Stethem did not yield, and instead encouraged his fellow passengers to endure by his example. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star for heroism and bravery. He is buried at Arlington Cemetery."
Robert Stethem's brother Kenneth is a retired Navy Seal:
"Every time I look at the flag now and for the rest of my life,'' said Kenneth Stethem, "the red will represent the blood he spilled, the blue the beating and bruises he endured, and the white the purity and integrity he demonstrated in sacrificing his life.''More here.
I had been in the service for just a few months back then - this incident illustrated quite graphically to me the potential price.
"We will make every effort, working with the Lebanese authorities or whomever else, to see that he faces trial for the murder of Mr. Stethem," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
I wonder who those "whomever else" might be. I just hope he's put in US custody quickly.Posted by Lornkanaga at December 22, 2005 07:25 PM
The Mossad had the right idea with "Wrath of God."Posted by Mike at December 22, 2005 09:31 PM
It is not relevant that this guy served 18 years under someone else's laws. He needs to be tried and convicted here in the USA. I say go get him.Posted by Dale at December 23, 2005 05:19 AM Hide Comments | Show/Add Comments in Popup Window(3) | (Note: You must refresh main page to view newly posted comments here)