11.9.01

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Death Row’s “9/11 Revenge Killer,” Targeting Anyone Who “Looked” Middle Eastern, Executed

In Muslims and Arabs after 9/11 on July 21, 2011 at 7:57 am

(CNN) — Texas inmate Mark Anthony Stroman was executed Wednesday night for killing a man from India during series of revenge shootings after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.  Stroman was put to death at 9:53 p.m. ET, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice said.

The U.S. Supreme Court denied a stay of execution for Stroman last month, and his supporters — including a survivor of one of the shootings attributed to him — urged Gov. Rick Perry and the state Board of Pardons and Parole to grant clemency. The state Criminal Appeals Court denied his last appeal on Wednesday.

Stroman, 41, made national headlines after he fatally shot Vasudev Patel during a shooting rampage after the 9/11 attacks. An admitted white supremacist, Stroman targeted those he believed were Middle Eastern, in revenge for the attacks.

A Pakistani man, Waqar Hasan, was also murdered, and a Bangladeshi man, Rais Bhuiyan, was seriously wounded.

“I cannot tell you that I am an innocent man. I am not asking you to feel sorry for me, and I won’t hide the truth,” Stroman told CNN in a recent interview.  “I am a human being and made a terrible mistake out of love, grief and anger, and believe me, I am paying for it every single minute of the day.”

Prosecutors say that just days after the attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania a decade ago, Stroman began carefully plotting revenge. At the time, he was free on bail for previous crimes.  On September 15, 2001, Stroman shot Hasan in the head while the man was grilling hamburgers in his convenience store. The 46-year-old Pakistani native had moved to the Dallas area that year to start a new life with his family.  Six days later, Stroman shot Bhuiyan in the face while he manned the counter at a gas station. Bhuiyan survived, but was left blind in one eye.  Then, on October 4, Stroman attempted to rob the Mesquite, Texas, gas station operated by Patel. Surveillance tapes showed the suspect waving a .44-caliber chrome-plated pistol at the clerk and demanding, “Open the register or I’ll kill you.” The 49-year-old Patel, a Hindu, tried to reach for his gun hidden under the counter, but Stroman shot the man in the chest. He left without taking any cash and was arrested the next day.

It was for that crime that Stroman was prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to death. During the sentencing phase, he made an obscene hand gesture to Hasan’s relatives.

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New SecDef Panetta: Defeat of al Qaeda Within Reach

In al Qaeda on July 10, 2011 at 8:24 am
 

KABUL, Afghanistan — Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who arrived in Kabul on Saturday, said the United States was “within reach of strategically defeating Al Qaeda” and that the American focus had narrowed to capturing or killing 10 to 20 crucial leaders of the terrorist group in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

Mr. Panetta, who took over as defense secretary from Robert M. Gates on July 1, made his comments aboard his plane before arriving on an unannounced trip to Afghanistan.

They were Mr. Panetta’s first public remarks in his new post and among the most positive from a senior American national security official about the decade-old war against the terrorist organization, founded by Osama bin Laden, that was responsible for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Mr. Panetta, who as director of the Central Intelligence Agency ran the American commando raid that killed Bin Laden in Pakistan on May 2, said that vanquishing Al Qaeda was one of his most important goals as defense secretary.

“Obviously we made an important start with that in getting rid of Bin Laden,” Mr. Panetta said. “We’re within reach of strategically defeating Al Qaeda. And I’m hoping to be able to focus on that, working obviously with my prior agency as well.”

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