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Plot to kill “Mohammed cartoonist” foiled

Several readers sent me links to the news that Danish police arrested three Muslims who had “concrete murder plans” to kill Kurt Westergaard, one of the 12 cartoonists who drew the Prophet Mohammad back in the fall of 2005. According to MSNBC, the three suspects (two from Tunisia, and one from Moracco) will most likely “be released after questioning as the investigation continues,” and that the “Tunisians would be expelled from Denmark.”

Westergaard, age 76, and his wife have been living under police protection. He was quoted as saying:

Of course I fear for my life when the police intelligence service say that some people have concrete plans to kill me. But I have turned fear into anger and resentment

More details:
Denmark: 3 Arrests in Cartoonist Plot
Police foil plot to kill Muhammad cartoonist

Community Comments

#1 Dawn Douglass
February/12/2008
@ 9:44 am

Wow. It’s hard to believe they’re just going to release them.

#2 Darrin Bell
February/12/2008
@ 10:03 am

They’re also being deported. Doesn’t Denmark have any laws against planning to kill someone? Instead of being kicked out, they ought to be put on trial and jailed.

#3 Wiley Miller
February/12/2008
@ 11:43 am

Maybe they’re going to be sent to the United States, where they’ll become editors.

#4 Garey Mckee
February/12/2008
@ 6:33 pm

Denmark doesn’t care about prosecuting foreign criminals who commit crimes on their soil. They just deport them so they become someone else’s problem. It’s not the first time, and it won’t be the last time.

#5 Eric Burke
February/12/2008
@ 8:55 pm

A bullet for each of them before they blossom into terrorists that actually get to carry out there plans. Why let them live out their intentions?

They’re actually willing to kill a man over a cartoon…this is some a$$backwards world we live in. That is some sanbox there, that middle east…

#6 Rich Diesslin
February/12/2008
@ 9:09 pm

Wiley ROTFWL! Wow, that was wrong on so many levels, but funny!

#7 Rich Diesslin
February/12/2008
@ 9:17 pm

Question … if this plot was discovered in the US, would we be able to prosecute it or wait until an attempt? Certainly not comforting for the targeted victim to get this kind of news though.

#8 Garey Mckee
February/12/2008
@ 9:52 pm

Rich,

I’m sure if an investigation were to be conducted here relating to a similar planned attack, the suspects would be charged and eventually prosecuted for crimes related to their plans. Those charges would most likely include things such as illegal weapons, terroristic threats, etc. Also many suspects linked to terrorism here in the US also have ties to many of the known gangs in our urban areas as a means for them to recruit Americans into their cels. So an investigation would probably reveal involvement in other gang related crimes. These types of investigations are usually cooperative efforts between local law enforcement and the FBI, all under the auspices of Homeland Security, who would make sure that they were prosecuted to the fullest extent for these crimes.

#9 Darrin Bell
February/12/2008
@ 10:08 pm

“intent to commit a felony” is a crime in the U.S.

#10 Garey Mckee
February/12/2008
@ 10:23 pm

Yes it sure is!

#11 Rich Diesslin
February/12/2008
@ 11:47 pm

Good to know. Thanks Garey. Now I can release my cartoons of mo … er … or not. Is the key in the proof? TV portrays a lot threats situations with restraining orders or less until something is attempted or happens? Perhaps this is mostly domestic violence or hearsay issues (or just TV).

#12 Rich Diesslin
February/12/2008
@ 11:49 pm

Darrin, I’m guessing proving “intent” is hard to do in most cases though.

#13 Rick Stromoski
February/13/2008
@ 7:48 am

>>>A bullet for each of them before they blossom into terrorists that actually get to carry out there plans. Why let them live out their intentions?

Executing people for drawing a cartoon or for what they MIGHT do….and the difference is…?

#14 Mike Lester
February/13/2008
@ 8:04 am

Winston Churchill in describing the effects of appeasement said: “it’s the idea that if you feed the alligator he will eat you last.”

The Dutch don’t get it:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/02/12/wlent112.xml

#15 Rich Diesslin
February/13/2008
@ 8:49 am

Mike, what’s that article have to do with this thread or even appeasement … it seems to be more of a marketing issue for the church with perhaps an inter-faith aspect to it. Friendly dialog between religions isn’t appeasement and is usually a good idea. Even better if they can work humanitarian projects together.

Rick, depends on the cartoon I guess ;)

#16 Angela Robinson
February/13/2008
@ 9:22 am

Rich said, “Iâ??m guessing proving â??intentâ? is hard to do in most cases though.”

Actually, in most cases, it’s not that difficult. I’ve worked as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney. When these types of cases are successfully prosecuted it’s usually based on the testimony of witnesses that overheard plans or were actually told about them by the defendant. Witnesses are sometimes even co-conspirators who agree to testify in exchange for immunity or a plea bargain for a lessor charge.

At other times, it’s based on the physical evidence the defendant has in his possession or at his home like guns, explosives, shovels, a note with the victims address on it, cell phone calls, the type of supplies needed to complete the crime, etc. Usually the defendant has to do more than just think about the crime, he has to take some type of physical action like planning it. The article did say that “there were very concrete murder plans against Kurt Westergaard” and that the police chose to “intervene in the early stages.” It sounds to me like either an informant was involved or the authorities were wire-tapping phone calls.

I think the government didn’t want to spend the money on the trials for the 3 guys and then lock them up for 20 years which would have cost millions. It’s alot cheaper to buy 3 one-way tickets out of the country for $200 a piece. But, if these 3 guys are aggressive, I’m sure they’ll be back to try and finish what they started. Thank goodness our country doesn’t operate like this.

#17 Angela Robinson
February/13/2008
@ 9:35 am

Gary said, “Also many suspects linked to terrorism here in the US also have ties to many of the known gangs in our urban areas as a means for them to recruit Americans into their cels. So an investigation would probably reveal involvement in other gang related crimes.”

Hmmm? Urban gangs involved in international terrorism? I’ve never heard that one before. Can you site any recent arrests or prosecutions of a person that was a known terrorist and in an urban gang? I would agree that this happening is probably a really big FEAR of Homeland Security.

#18 Rich Diesslin
February/13/2008
@ 2:15 pm

Interesting points Angela, thanks. Sounds like if you have enough willing to testify and physical evidence it’s a strong case then. I was guessing this case had pretty good evidence. Sad to think they wouldn’t pursue it though, this would be a highly visible case to say “we’re not putting up with this nonsense” but from what you and Garey said, sounds like they are content to transfer the problem (and expense) to someone else. Bummer for the cartoonist.

#19 Eric Burke
February/13/2008
@ 2:52 pm

Executing people for drawing a cartoon or for what they MIGHT doâ?¦.and the difference isâ?¦?
The difference is that the cartoonist wasn’t planning to kill someone, the three muslims were. Do you think that they’ll have a change of heart just because they got caught?

It seems like they’ll simply get a chance to rethink their strategy. But at least they’ll be “expelled” from Denmark…whew! That’s a relief…

#20 Rick Stromoski
February/13/2008
@ 3:46 pm

When you advocate putting a bullet into peoples heads for planning a crime as to actually going through with it, you are no better than what you are fighting against.

#21 Wiley Miller
February/13/2008
@ 4:17 pm

You mean like invading a country because it’s suspected they might have weapons of mass destruction?

#22 Chris Hardiman
February/13/2008
@ 7:41 pm

“Hmmm? Urban gangs involved in international terrorism? Iâ??ve never heard that one before. Can you site any recent arrests or prosecutions of a person that was a known terrorist and in an urban gang? I would agree that this happening is probably a really big FEAR of Homeland Security.”

Angela, I can’t cite any specific examples, although I’m sure research would turn up some. Here’s the general idea, though — the urban gangs obtain weapons via the black market and sell them to terrorists. I’ve heard of a couple of examples of this in the past.

“When you advocate putting a bullet into peoples heads for planning a crime as to actually going through with it, you are no better than what you are fighting against.”

I am in favor of capital punishment, but I agree that it would be a cruel and unusual punishment for conspiracy or intent to murder. Still, they ought to be put into prison for life, not deported. Incidentally, does anyone know which crimes are still capital crimes in the US today? I know that rape used to be one but isn’t any longer; murder is the obvious one, of course. I believe that treason is one. Any others?

#23 Mike Wilson
February/14/2008
@ 6:31 am

Things like this scare me. I find it hard to believe that someone would be crazy enough to want to kill a guy over a cartoon….and not even a recent cartoon. That was what, about a year ago? Geez.

#24 Norm Feuti
February/14/2008
@ 8:28 am

â??Urban gangs involved in international terrorism? Iâ??ve never heard that one before.â?

I’ve never heard that either. The only urban gang involvement I’ve heard about in our own military.

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/08/army_gangs_reports_070827w/

#25 Angela Robinson
February/14/2008
@ 8:34 am

Chris said, “Incidentally, does anyone know which crimes are still capital crimes in the US today? I know that rape used to be one but isnâ??t any longer; murder is the obvious one, of course. I believe that treason is one. Any others?”

I believe each state and federal judicial district has its own law and guidelines regarding capital punishment for murder. You are correct in that I believe the ONLY crime that is usually punishable by death across the board is treason. Personally, I am NOT in favor of capital punishment and stopped practicing criminal law years ago because it was too stressful.

Also, very interesting information about the gangs. I can see where they might possibly sell illegal weapons to would-be terrorists.

#26 Angela Robinson
February/14/2008
@ 8:43 am

I should add the following to my comments above:

I believe each state and federal judicial district has its own law and guidelines regarding capital punishment for murder. Some states and federal districts allow it, while others do not. My state is strange in that our state law does NOT allow capital punishment, but the federal judicial district our state is in, does allow it.

#27 Dawn Douglass
February/14/2008
@ 8:48 am

Seven states have passed laws relatively recently (Texas just last year) that allow the death penalty for aggrevated rape of a child.

There are two people in Lousiana on death row for raping children, one his step daughter. It’s probably going to get up to the Supreme Court.

#28 Mike Lester
February/14/2008
@ 9:26 am

In an attempt to return to the original topic: your personal or my personal take on Danish law, Theo Van Gogh, capital punishment, Salmon Rushdie, WMD’s (to have or have not) and Piss Christ vs. mohammed cartoons is so much flotsam.

Pardon the religious metaphor but the lunatics adhering to sha’ria law don’t sing out of the same hymnal as we do. It’s hard to sing with no head.

#29 Mike Witmer
February/14/2008
@ 12:55 pm

“Denmark doesnâ??t care about prosecuting foreign criminals who commit crimes on their soil. They just deport them so they become someone elseâ??s problem. Itâ??s not the first time, and it wonâ??t be the last time.”

Just like the homeless in NYC.

#30 Garey Mckee
February/14/2008
@ 5:18 pm

Angela,

The one instance of terrorist related gang activity that made the news was The Eastie gang in Boston which was found to have ties to al-Qaeda.

These ties are something that anyone working local, state or federal gang task foce will tell you isn’t just a fear, but a reality.

And Mike,

We could always deport the NYC homeless to Denmark. (kidding)

#31 Garey Mckee
February/14/2008
@ 5:41 pm

Okay, one more comes to mind for Angela. Last one I swear LOL. The gang in chicago called BPS were the second largest gang in chicago. The leader was convicted in 1987 of plotting to carry out terrorist acts against the united states government with the support of the libyan government.

#32 Rich Diesslin
February/15/2008
@ 1:24 am

Perhaps it does make sense, considering they’ve already chosen the wrong side of the law. Would they view this as going to the next level?

#33 Rich Diesslin
February/15/2008
@ 1:27 am

Think of the cool movie plot if a gang played along just help defeat terrorists … you know “hey, dudes, it is OUR country to rape and pillage, keep your *** out.” Or even better turn over a new leaf like the guardian angels.

#34 Eric Burke
February/15/2008
@ 5:32 am

Hopefully the authorities gave them a stern talking to before they sent them home. I’m sure that once the three muslims had the situation explained to them, they were all red in the face over their social gaffe.

No doubt that the three muslims, Kurt Westergaard and his wife will all share a reflective laugh over the situation. Muslims are known for their sense of humor when it come to the Prophet Mohammad, so I’m sure this will all be smoothed over.

It’s the kind of situation that could yield a strong, unique friendship…

#35 Mike Lester
February/15/2008
@ 9:18 am

One more thing. If I’m not mistaken, after Theo Van Gogh was gutted on an Amsterdam street for his film “Submission” by people who didn’t like his movie (or cartoons), the killer(s) left a note claiming responsibility in his chest w/ the knife sticking through it. -or what is commonly referred to as an Islamic post-it-note.

#36 Wiley Miller
February/15/2008
@ 10:06 am

That was Islamic performance art, Mike. You are so déclassé.

#37 Mike Lester
February/15/2008
@ 10:15 am

zoot alores!

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