He’s not quite Osama Bin Laden... But he almost is

February 14, 2008

* The terrorist who killed more Americans than anyone else before the 9/11 attacks



1. The death of a master terrorist
2. The New York Times in a tizzy
3. He’s not quite Osama Bin Laden... But he almost is
4. Even the Wall Street Journal calls him a militant
5. And Rupert Murdoch takes action?


[All items below by Tom Gross]

I attach three items below written by myself and published yesterday by The National Review, and another from this morning, on the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh.

Mughniyeh was responsible for the deaths of more Westerners (Americans, French, Argentinians, Israelis and others) than any modern terrorist leader apart from Osama Bin Laden. (For more background on Hizbullah, see here.)



Posted by Tom Gross, Thursday, February 14, 2008 (07.20 AM)

This is the big banner headline on today’s New York Times website. It also appears above the fold on the front page of the paper’s print edition today:

Bomb in Syria Kills Militant Sought as Terrorist

We know that other big media, like Reuters and the BBC, have long shied away from calling terrorists by their name.

But now the self-styled “Paper of Record” seems to be getting itself into a real tizzy about whether Imad Mughniyeh, the terrorist who killed more Americans than anyone else before the 9/11 attacks, who blew up elderly Holocaust survivors together with their grandchildren in the Buenos Aries Jewish center, who personally oversaw the torture of American hostages, who pioneered (for Hizbullah) the suicide bombings, culvert mines and other killing methods that have become routine in Iraqi schools and markets, can just simply be called a terrorist rather than the more benign term “militant”.

(The writers of the Times article call Mughniyeh “one of the most wanted and elusive terrorists in the world.” Why can’t The New York Times editors and headline writers?)

Amazingly, headlines in both the Houston Chronicle (in Texas) and the Globe and Mail (in Canada) give Mughniyeh the even more respectable title of “Hizbullah official.”

Even the anti-American and anti-Israeli British paper The Guardian acknowledges Mughniyeh’s true nature in its headline today: “Car bomb ends life of Hizbullah chief wanted for string of kidnappings and mass murders.”



Posted by Tom Gross, Wednesday, February 13, 2008 (07.30 AM)

When a man died in a bomb explosion late last night in Damascus, Syrian police kept media and other onlookers well away from the scene of the blast in the affluent Kfar Soussa district.

Syrian media, all of which falls under the direct or partial control of the regime, still hasn’t mentioned the incident, but Hizbullah’s al-Manar TV station in Lebanon today confirmed that the dead man is Imad Mughniyeh, one of their top commanders and one of the world’s most wanted terrorists.

Among the crimes Mughniyeh masterminded:

* The 1983 suicide bombings in Beirut that killed over 300 US marines and French troops.

* The 1985 hijacking of a TWA airliner in which a U.S. Navy diver was killed.

* A wave of Western hostage-taking in Lebanon in the 1980s.

* The 1992 bombing of Israel’s embassy in Argentina in which 29 people were murdered.

* The 1994 bombing of the Buenos Aires Jewish center in which 95 people died, including Holocaust survivors. (In reporting Mughniyeh’s death this morning, the BBC refused to call the Buenos Aires bombing of elderly Jews “terrorism” and merely referred to it as “an act of violence.”)

* The torturous murders of CIA Station Chief William Buckley and U.S. Marine Lt. Col. Rich Higgins.

The left-wing Israeli paper Ha’aretz, today called Mughniyeh “The epitome of the ‘Axis of Evil’.”

Mughniyeh had been in hiding for years and had undergone several rounds of plastic surgery to disguise his appearance. In recent years, he established links with Osama bin Laden despite the Sunni-Shia heritage of their respective terror groups.

Hizbullah has blamed Israel for assassinating Mughniyeh.



Posted by Tom Gross, Wednesday, February 13, 2008 (11.43 AM)

So much for Rupert...

This is now the main headline and story lead on The Wall Street Journal website:

Fugitive Militant Is Killed

Hezbollah said fugitive militant Imad Mughniyeh, one of America’s most wanted, has been killed by Israeli agents. Israel denied involvement. Mughniyeh was believed to be the mastermind of the 1983 attack on the U.S. Marine compound in Beirut.



Posted by Tom Gross, Wednesday, February 13, 2008 (1.23 PM)

The link I gave earlier (the item above) to The Wall Street Journal article that failed to call Imad Mughniyeh a terrorist has just been changed. (I sent my National Review item to several senior staffers at the Journal, a paper I occasionally write both op-eds and book reviews for.)

The Journal article now uses the word “terrorist.” It begins:

The accused mastermind behind Hezbollah’s deadliest terrorist attacks, including operations that killed civilians and U.S military personnel alike, died Wednesday in an apparent car bombing in Syria, an assassination that his organization is blaming on “Israeli criminal hands.”


Meanwhile, dozens of other papers are still calling Mughniyeh – who mass murdered civilians in Argentina, Lebanon, Israel, on TWA airflights, and so on – a “militant”. Here, for example, at The New York Times-owned International Herald Tribune.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.