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NYT: Terror Suspect Mixed Up Nice Guy

From those tireless defenders of the faith at the New York Times:

Najibullah Zazi (C) is escorted by U.S. Marshals after a helicopter landing at a New York Police Department facility in Brooklyn, New York, September 25, 2009.

From Smiling Coffee Vendor to Terror Suspect

By MICHAEL WILSON

September 26, 2009

For years, he was a fixture in Lower Manhattan, as regular as the sunrise. Every morning, Najibullah Zazi would be there on Stone Street with his pastries and his coffee, his vending cart anchored to the sidewalk.

For many on Wall Street — young, old, all in a hurry, the charging bulls of Bowling Green — his was the first hello of the day. Affable and rooted, he lived for 10 years in the same apartment with his family in Flushing, Queens. His father drove a cab for more than 15 years.

He was, in other words, no brooding outcast, no sheltered, suggestible loner raised in a closed community.

He was the smiling man who remembered a customer liked his coffee large, light and sweet. He had a “God Bless America” sign on his cart. He was the doughnut man.

But prosecutors say Mr. Zazi, 24, who worked blocks from ground zero, was just as furtive an operative as the Sept. 11 hijackers when he traveled to Pakistan last year for terrorism training and returned to the United States with a plan to build bombs using beauty supplies and backpacks.

In fact, law enforcement officials, who fret about how to seal the borders of a free society from terrorists, say they find in Mr. Zazi a particularly harrowing challenge: a homegrown operative who travels freely, who is skilled with people, who passed an airport employee background check, who understands the patterns and nuance of American life so well that he gave multiple interviews to journalists for whom access and openness rarely seem like a disguise.

“This is one of the best countries in the world,” he told a reporter by telephone on Sept. 14 after the F.B.I. had identified him as a terrorism suspect. “It gives you every single right.”

Mr. Zazi, to date, has merely been charged, not proven guilty. And vast passages of his life remain unexplored, facts and experiences that could help explain his embrace of violence or undercut the government’s disturbing portrait of him.

Even if he is proven to be the aspiring terrorist the government asserts, how and why he became one may not be understood for months, if ever. The suspects who have been charged with terrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks were fueled by a variety of motivations and influences, and often a mix of them: politics, family, economic deprivation, social alienation, the work of a terrorist recruiter. Religion sometimes provides a general framework and sense of identity, but other factors and events frequently drive the transformation.

For nearly two weeks, though, the story of Mr. Zazi, now one of national interest, has lacked almost any details. A tour of where Mr. Zazi worked and lived, in New York and in Colorado, and interviews with investigators, the Zazi family and friends, provides something of a fuller picture, one filled with the routines of life in Queens but also flecked with hints of his emerging anger, contradictions and puzzles.

Mr. Zazi is both an Afghan immigrant steeped in the traditions of Islam and a kid from the streets of Queens, where his family moved in the early 1990s.

As a teenager, he often carried two things, his basketball and his prayer mat, his friends say. He grew a dark, wiry beard and began wearing tunics several years ago, just as he was applying for his first of two Macy’s credit cards.

He was a janitor and a worshiper at a mosque that split several years ago over the question of its members’ loyalty to the Taliban after the Sept. 11 attacks. He was a devoted fan of gadgets who married, by arrangement, his 19-year-old cousin, who lives with their two children in Pakistan.

Last summer, the authorities say, he shopped in Denver for hair supplies to build bombs with. If he did so, he was also engaged in something much more mundane: credit counseling to survive a bankruptcy he had declared in New York.

It is impossible at this moment to know what it all adds up to. But the details that are being learned create the sense of a far more complicated man than the coffee cart vendor many people saw. Certainly the government’s charges have painted the outlines of a man Mr. Zazi’s family is having a very difficult time reconciling with the Najib they knew…

In typical New York Times fashion, this article meanders on and on about the hard life and times of our hero.

As is their practice, The Times intends to portray Mr. Zazi as a sympathetic figure.

Who, even if he is guilty of what the wicked prosecutors claims (and he probably isn’t, mind you), it isn’t really his fault. He had gotten behind in his bills.

In other words, we need to feel empathy for the man. Just as Mr. Obama says he felt empathy for the 9/11 terrorists.

After all, as The Times once again kindly explains, it’s really ‘The System’ that makes them do these terrible things.

And certainly not because of being an adherent to the religion of peace.

This article was posted by Steve on Saturday, September 26th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

11 Responses to “NYT: Terror Suspect Mixed Up Nice Guy”

  1. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Clearly, he’s the victim here.

    “Mr. Zazi is both an Afghan immigrant steeped in the traditions of Islam and a kid from the streets of Queens, where his family moved in the early 1990s. ”

    Then I say, make him president! He’s certainly qualified.

  2. proreason says:

    “Religion sometimes provides a general framework and sense of identity, but other factors and events frequently drive the transformation.”

    Well, after all, he lives in an evil country.

    Who can blame him?

    Someone should apologize for this country.

    That would have a big impact on nice guys like him who turn to violence from the pain of living in a country that enslaved millions, just 9 generations ago, not to speak of our insuferable cruelty to Muslims.

    I mean, really. When was the last time you averted your eyes from a Muslim woman.

    At the heart of it, it’s our own fault.

  3. canary says:

    Maybe the New York Times employees terrorists that eat donuts, drink coffee w/cream and sugar, chat and smile throughout the day.

    “Last summer, the authorities say, he shopped in Denver for hair supplies to build bombs with. If he did so, he was also engaged in something much more mundane: credit counseling to survive a bankruptcy he had declared in New York.”

    So, the NY Times don’t accept he shopped for bombs, but have determined mundane, that the poor broke terrorist had the money to travel across the country for credit counseling???? But, they have so many
    ACORN offices in NYC. Reminds me of Obama’s muslim friends he had in Hawaii, California, and NYC, and Obama’s relatives. 4 trips as a teenager to Indonesia, then there was trips to Pakistan with his NY muslim friends, but he complained of being broke getting through college.
    Mom, Dad, sisters, brothers, travelling all over the world. Poor things.

    • canary says:

      During the summer session after his first year at Harvard, Obama traveled to Chicago to work for Sidley & Austin law firm where he met Michelle.

      pg 328 “The idea of working at a corporate law firm, so near and yet so far removed from the poor neighborhoods where my friends were laboring, only worsened these fears….And so, having sublet the cheapest apartment I could find, having purchased the first three suits ever to appear in my closet and a new pair of shoes that turned out to be a half size to small and would absolutely cripple me for the next nine weeks…”
      pg 332 “Just as Michelle perhaps saw in me a life of adventure, risk, travel to exotic lands – a wider horizon than she had previously allowed herself.”
      Barack Obama the Audacity of Hope pg 328

      And both Obama’s maternal and paternal family took off time from flying all around the world, and flew from far away lands all around the world to come to the wedding. He was most proud of his muslim converted brother, even though he was a bit outspoken of his new beliefs.
      I just don’t understand how all these poor people like Zazi can travel all the time. Isn’t this the 2nd NY terrorist this year caught, who’s father drove a cab.

      So, I guess he just wore 1 suit everyday working for Reuters? And he flew to Kenya and went on a Safari prior to becoming poor and going to Harvard. Well, we all have priorities. Some, like Obama and Zazi prefer to live in poverty in order to travel. Material things are not important when it comes to muslim religion. Fast, live in caves. Course Mohammad had a majic white flying horse when he flew from Mecca to Israel. And Moses majically flew him up to heaven dozens of times to tell him how to write the Koran.

    • proreason says:

      “I just don’t understand how all these poor people like Zazi can travel all the time.”

      They can’t do it with their own money.

      Same for Obamy when he was in his teens and twenties.

      Somebody gave them the money.

      And when somebody gives money away, there are always strings attached.

      This guy travelled a lot when he had almost no income. And the Moron traveled a lot when he had no income.

      It would be nice if a journalist asked how and why, and what the strings were.

      But that will never happen. They don’t ask questions that they don’t want to know the answers to.

  4. Liberals Demise says:

    Poor little mixed up multi-national with a love for thing that go ……. “B-O-O-M”!!!!

  5. VMAN says:

    Maybe the One could invite him to the White House for a beer, have a little talk with him and set him on the right path. He is very wise you know?

  6. beautyofreason says:

    What nefarious propaganda from the NYT. There are several goals in this article, that are quite clear if you analyze the language:

    1. Downplay the connection of radical Islam to the violence:

    “Religion sometimes provides a general framework and sense of identity, but other factors and events frequently drive the transformation. ”

    2. Apologize for terrorists who act against our country. Throw greater doubt on the motives of the suspect. Make him sound like an average Joe caught up by occurrences outside of his control. Make them all victims.

    “Mr. Zazi, to date, has merely been charged, not proven guilty. And vast passages of his life remain unexplored, facts and experiences that could help explain his embrace of violence or undercut the government’s disturbing portrait of him.”

    (this crap reminds me of the Indian Muslim Zakir Naik, a pivotal figure in India who runs a large Islamic television station who said all Muslims are victims from negative 9/11 coverage and he didn’t know whether or not Osama Bin Laden was a terrorist. Grr.)

    3. Psychoanalyze the suspect with a sympathetic eye.

    The NYT would NEVER use these subtle apologies for any Bush administration official. Three cases of water boarding used to prevent terrorism are enough to elicit over a dozen scathing NYT articles and editorials criticizing the Bush administration, but a jihadist who plotted to kill hundreds of fellow New Yorkers is cast as a victim. Shameful.

  7. imnewatthis says:

    He wasn’t rich but he used credit cards to travel. Then he declared bankruptcy.

    • canary says:

      nah. Obama has some kind of credit card consolidation thing they keep advertizing, and there were plenty of ACORN offices in NYC, without going across the country. The CIA has known there is a an al-Qaida cell in Denver area for years now.

      Strange Obama doesn’t have a consolidation for medical bills instead of his trillion or nothing bill..

  8. imnewatthis says:

    Is it so hard for the Times to conceive that he was a disingenuous “smiling coffee vendor”, blending in and patiently biding his time until he could fulfill his violent mission?


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