Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Video Taping--The Great American Crime

From the NY Times:
A Virginian implicated in a scheme to raise money for Hamas, the militant group, was in federal custody on Tuesday, and officials analyzed what they regarded as a suspicious videotape of a major Maryland bridge that his wife shot from their vehicle last week.

A lawyer for the man, Ismael Selim Elbarasse of Annandale, said he and his wife were videotaping sights from the bridge on their way back from a beach trip.
An accountant, Mr. Elbarasse was named but not charged as a conspirator in the case in an indictment announced on Friday. Officials said he had helped the defendants launder hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hamas.
"It was the nature of the videotape itself that got everyone's attention," [Police Chief Gary W. McLhinney of the Maryland Transportation Authority] said in an interview. "This went beyond the normal tourist video. They didn't seem to be focusing on what people normally focus on there, the water, the skyline, the facilities on the shore. They were focused on the bridge itself."
Hey Chief! I've got another one for you! He's got detailed pictures of the bridge, and he lives in a country known to harbor terrorists.

I think since the Rodney King thing that cops have a problem with camcorders. In Googling around for info on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, I came across the official web site for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, a much longer bridge farther down the bay from the bridge where the arrest was made. If you look at the map, the bridge where the guy was arrested is the one just north of Annapolis; the Bridge-Tunnel is down near Norfolk.

Near Norfolk, you say? Isn't that where we've got a huge Navy base? Well, aspiring terrorists, no need to ponder that question for long. The Bridge-Tunnel web site provides these helpful photos:

Caption: "Observe Navy and commercial ocean-going ships glide gracefully through one of the world's busiest shipping channels through coin-operated viewing machines. Check out our Shipwatcher's Guide which describes the major types of Naval Ships currently based in Hampton Roads."

That's right, Virginia. Nuclear-powered aircraft carriers pass just above the tunnel portion of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. I've never been on it or videotaped it, but I found that out within five minutes. Of course real terrorists take the wife and kids across less strategic bridges and videotape the trip. That's just how wiley they are.

Maybe this guy was up to something, but it sure seems unlikely. But now he's probably going to be charged with some bogus crime, and then forced into pleading guilty by being threatened with "enemy combatant" status.