Raw Story should get a lot of credit for covering the attempted cover-up by a well-known anti-war group after cause celebre-turned-embarrassment Nasser Jason Abdo’s arrest earlier today. Earlier today, commenters reminded us of the sympathetic treatment Abdo got from CNN for borderline insubordination when Abdo decided that he suddenly didn’t want to go to Afghanistan after, er, enlisting in the Army while we were at war there. At least they didn’t scrub their sites of the connection:
Pfc. Nasser Abdo, the 21-year-old soldier arrested Thursday in connection with an alleged plot to attack Fort Hood, had ties to a number of prominent anti-war organizations, including Iraq Veterans Against the War and Courage to Resist, Raw Story can confirm.
Abdo, who went AWOL from duty over the July 4 weekend after being charged with possession of child pornography, was an applicant for conscientious objector (CO) status, supported by the Oakland-based GI rights group Courage to Resist. In turn, his efforts to resist deployment were supported by Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), one of the best-known anti-war groups in the nation. …
In the wake of Abdo’s arrest, Courage to Resist removed a page on their website that detailed Abdo’s plight, but it was preserved through Google cache. Reached by Raw Story, Jeff Paterson, the group’s project director, acknowledged that they had tried to cover up their involvement with the soldier and said they would be issuing a statement in the coming hours.
IVAW hasn’t done anything to cover up its link to Abdo, but they hastened to tell Raw Story that they’re ditching him now. Or, more accurately, they’re denying that there is any connection to ditch:
“We have worked with him in the past, but he was not ever a member of this organization,” the spokesperson said. “We have had three interactions with him in the past: We supported his application as a conscientious objector; we publicized a statement by him condemning Islamophobia; and finally, he lended his support to our ‘Operation Recovery’ campaign last Veteran’s Day. Besides that, we do not have a concrete link with him.
That makes the same kind of sense as Abdo’s enlisting in the military during a war in Afghanistan and then suddenly declaring he has moral compunctions about the war in Afghanistan. Here’s a clue, folks; if he worked on your campaign and you published his statement, then you’re connected to him. It doesn’t take a W-4 or a membership card to make that connection, especially if the group publicly defended Abdo for his odd request.
Raw Story’s source at Courage to Resist engages in a little more denial as well:
“We’re shocked [at Abdo’s arrest],” Paterson said. “I believe he had some significant mental health issues that became apparent as we worked with him. He had a particular version of Islam that was certainly … He was disrespectful to women. These were the kinds of issues we argued over late last year. It’s not a religious thing, it’s a matter of human decency.”
I suspect that the “thing” will turn out to be religious at least on Abdo’s part, just as it was on Nidal Hasan’s part when he massacred 14 people at Fort Hood almost two years ago. The question will be whether Abdo had connections to certain other groups — like, for instance, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as Hasan did — and whether the Army knew that Abdo presented a risk and didn’t address it, as also happened with Hasan.
CBS has a feel-good update to the story this afternoon. Abdo got caught because of an alert retired police officer — who happens to work at a gun store:
A law enforcement official told CBS News that Abdo had asked how to build explosives at a gun store near Fort Hood. His questions about explosives made the gun store worker suspicious and contact police, the official said. When police questioned Abdo at his motel, he made references to a plan to kill or injure people.
Gun store clerk Greg Ebert, a 17-year veteran of the Killeen police force who retired in 2010, said a customer arrived by taxi Tuesday at Guns Galore LLC, where the 2009 Fort Hood rampage suspect bought a pistol used in the attack. The customer bought 6 pounds of smokeless gunpowder, three boxes of shotgun ammunition and a magazine for a semi-automatic pistol, paying about $250. …
“(We) felt uncomfortable with his overall demeanor and the fact he didn’t know what the hell he was buying,” Ebert said. “I thought it prudent to contact the local authorities, which I did.”
As we continue to press the Obama administration on their Fast and Furious debacle, which seems as if it was aimed to paint gun shops as enablers of arms trafficking, this serves as a good reminder that the employees at these stores are usually conscientious about their work.
Update: Andrew Malcolm noticed the retired-cop connection earlier today.