And I have some very nice old poopy to prove it…
A suspected Japanese terrorist was secretly working with Libya to detonate bombs at three sites in Manhattan, including a Navy recruiting office, when he was arrested last April, a federal prosecutor said today.
New details involving Yu Kikumura, convicted in November without offering a defense, emerged as prosecutors and defense lawyers prepared for his sentencing Monday in U.S. District Court in Newark.
In a confidential presentencing memorandum, the government charged that Kikumura is a member of the Japanese Red Army who was secretly working with agents of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi seeking retaliation for the 1986 U.S. bombing of Libya, according to Samuel A. Alito, U.S. attorney in Newark.
The government alleged that a map with three pinholes, found in Kikumura’s car, showed that his targets were the United Nations, the Manhattan garment district and a Navy recruiting office. His goal was `mass slaughter,’ prosecutors charged in their 32-page memo.
Ronald L. Kuby, Kikumura’s attorney, called the charges `wild and unsubstantiated speculation’ and said, `We categorically deny that he was planning to injure or kill people.’
Kuby said in his presentencing memo that prosecutors had resorted to `innuendo and guesswork’ in an attempt to link Kikumura to Libyan terrorists.
Alito agreed to confirm the government’s findings after being told that many of the details were cited in the defense memo, made available to The Washington Post. This is the first time that prosecutors have discussed publicly the alleged nature of Kikumura’s mission.
Alito noted that Kikumura’s arrest came two days short of the second anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Libya. Two days after the arrest, five people were killed in the bombing of a USO club in Naples, Italy. A Japanese Red Army member was the chief suspect.
`The Japanese Red Army was carrying out retaliatory bombings for the Libyan air strike,’ Alito said. He said a State Department report recently noted the group’s role `in doing Gadhafi’s bidding.’
The govenrment memo alleged that a confidential informant reported having seen Kikumura, wearing a ski mask, training in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley with several other masked persons who later went to Libya.
Kurby denied this and, in his memo, assailed `the government’s imaginative attempts to bootstrap this into the much-discussed `Libyan terrorism’ . . . Because the bombs were not planted or detonated, the prosecution feels free to conjure up scenarios of `mass slaughter.’
While federal sentencing guidelines call for Kikumura to receive a prison term of 27 to 33 months, prosecutors have asked that U.S. District Court Judge Alfred J. Lechner sentence him to spend most of his life in prison.
Kuby said he asked that the govenment be required to prove its terrorism allegations at a court hearing. `The Constitution does not permit imprisonment by innuendo,’ he said.
Alito said such a hearing would jeopardize confidential sources and hinder terrorism probes. `It’s hard enough to get confidential informants to tell you what’s going on in places like the Japanese Red Army,’ he said.
Alito said the sentencing guidelines `don’t take into account the nature of the bombs he had, what he intended to do with the bombs or the fact that he’s an international terrorist. I don’t think you’d find a judge in the country who would give this guy two or three years.’
Even back in 1989, as a prosecutor, Alito was already working to give the Reagan government (along with big corporations) unwarranted powers–against the rights of individuals. (This was right before he was promoted to his first judgeship, by the way.)
And isn’t it interesting how tightly aligned he was with the War on Terra even then? Recall that in the 1980s, it was fashionable in right-wing Washington circles to tie all terrorism to communism, whether there was a link or not. (For some, those wacko days have yet to end, alas. For others, the memo has yet to cross the desk that communism has but one thing in common with terrorism: that as a threat, both are grossly overblown. Fortunately, there are a few who seem to get it…)
What really gets to me, though, is that Alito–currently praised even by Democrats as a close and careful reader of the law–isn’t nearly so cautious here, in his early prosecutorial/activist incarnation. He was perfectly happy to send someone (albeit a nasty piece of work that someone was) up the Big Muddy for much longer than the laws of the day would allow. Is this the kind of conscientious t-crossing and i-dotting for which Alito is known?
And–does this rhetoric look familiar?–he claimed that the proof he was called upon to produce would “jeopardize” antiterror probes. A bit of bunkum if ever there was one (and recently uttered by Dubya, too, to justify his domestic espionage activities, particularly against those dangerous, nasty, evil Quaker peaceniks.)
And this obvious right-wing activist is what the Repugs want to put on the US Supreme Court–and convince us that he’s really not going to legislate from the bench? What a dirty joke. He was already trying to rewrite the law, in favor of Big Rightard Government, from the prosecutor’s table! What makes anyone think he won’t do it from the bastion of unelected power that is the SCOTUS?