As one of the many instances when the authorities refuse to recognize terrorism when it stares them in the face, I briefly recounted in 2002 the Empire State Building murder rampage that had taken place five years earlier:
Ali Hasan Abu Kamal, a Palestinian gunman hailing from militant Islamic circles in Florida, took a gun to the top of the Empire State building in February 1997 and shot seven people there, killing one. His suicide note accused the United States of using Israel as its "instrument" against the Palestinians, but city officials ignored this evidence and instead dismissed Abu Kamal as either "one deranged individual working on his own" (Police Commissioner Howard Safir) or a "man who had many, many enemies in his mind" (Mayor Rudolph Giuliani).
I wrote these words in frustration. But now, Abu Kamal's relatives have come clean, according to a report by Mahmoud Habboush in the New York Daily News, "Killer's daughter admits it was political."
Ali Abu Kamal's relatives say they are tired of lying about why the Palestinian opened fire on the observation deck of Empire State Building, killing a tourist and injuring six other people before committing suicide. Kamal's widow insisted after the shooting spree that the attack was not politically motivated. She said that her husband had become suicidal after losing $300,000 in a business venture.
But in a stunning admission, Kamal's 48-year-old daughter Linda told the Daily News that her dad wanted to punish the U.S. for supporting Israel - and revealed her mom's 1997 account was a cover story crafted by the Palestinian Authority. "A Palestinian Authority official advised us to say the attack was not for political reasons because that would harm the peace agreement with Israel," she told The News on Friday. "We didn't know that he was martyred for patriotic motivations, so we repeated what we were told to do."
But three days after the shootings, Kamal's family got a copy of a letter that was found on his body, they said. The letter said he planned the violence as a political statement, his daughter said. "When we wanted to clarify that to the media, nobody listened to us," she said. "His goal was patriotic. He wanted to take revenge from the Americans, the British, the French and the Israelis."
She said the family became certain that he carried out the attack for political reasons after reading his diary. "He wrote that after he raised his children and made sure that his family was all right he decided to avenge in the highest building in America to make sure they get his message," said Linda, who works for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. She said her mom burned the diary, fearing that it would cause the family trouble.
Comment: The report says it all. Fabrication, malice, politics, conspiracy theories – and Western politicians, law enforcement, and media all too ready to lap it up. (February 18, 2007)