March 10, 2004


Good news from Iraq:

Abu Abbas, the Palestinian who led the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in which a wheelchair-bound American hostage was killed, has died in US custody, a Pentagon spokesman said today.

"Initial reports indicate he died of natural causes," said Bryan Whitman, the Pentagon spokesman. "Medical efforts to revive him were unsuccessful and autopsy will be performed."

In certain cases, like Abu’s, it would be fun to perform autopsies before death. Meanwhile, in Tikrit:

The tension that pervaded the town six months ago has lifted. The aggressive American patrolling seen last summer and autumn has been scaled down. There are joint US military and Iraqi army checkpoints in and out of the town and the centre is under the control of the local police.

The best line comes from Tikrit barber Amar: "I'm happy and I thank God, the Prophet and the Americans for that."

As observed in comments, the Democratic Underground pogs are going nuts about Abu. So is the PLF:

The Palestinian Liberation Front has accused the United of the "assassination" of its leader Abu Abbas, who the Pentagon said had died of natural causes in US custody.

"We hold the US administration responsible for the assassination of Abu Abbas, the Arab Palestinian national leader," Nazem Yussef, PLF representative in Lebanon, told AFP.

"They had stopped giving him medicines for 10 days at the detention centre in Iraq, and he had been suffering from heart problems and blood pressure," Mr Yussef said.

Contributor J. F. Beck notes: “Well, he ain't suffering blood pressure now.”

Posted by Tim Blair at March 10, 2004 03:54 PM

Good riddance. But how long before someone alleges official complicity and/or nastiness?

Posted by: Tony.T at March 10, 2004 at 04:01 PM

Too bad we couldn't have shot the bastard and tipped him overboard. Ah well.

Posted by: Andrew at March 10, 2004 at 04:20 PM

Democratic Underground is going positively apeshit over Abu Abbas' untimely demise. "Natural causes" indeed. Needless to say, unintentional hilarity abounds. I'm actually disappointed this waste of protoplasm cheated the hangman.

Posted by: Spiny Norman at March 10, 2004 at 05:45 PM

Let me guess, they think he was part of a vast Bush Evil Family Empire conspiracy who was killed before he could reveal the truth.

Or maybe some of the Kucinich fans are sad that anyone would take delight in this man's timely death.

Posted by: Sortelli at March 10, 2004 at 09:17 PM

Medical efforts to revive him were unsuccessful

Dang, you mean that experimental tie-a-plastic-bag-over-his-head resuscitation technique failed again?

Posted by: R C Dean at March 10, 2004 at 09:59 PM

I presume the Tikrit story will be front page news on the NYT any day now, right? right? Hello, is this mike on? chirp . . . chirp . . .

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at March 10, 2004 at 11:15 PM

You know what causes high blood pressure? Too much blood. That's a medical fact.

What he needed were some holes to let that highly pressurised blood out, in controlled conditions such as those afforded by a stake in front of a properly trained firing squad for example.

Poor Abu didn't get the treatment he required and instead succumbed to his condition. Another warcrime you can chalk up to the devil Bush.

It's tragic to think a man who's brave band of freedom fighters had once survived the attack of an unarmed, wheelchair-bound American paraplegic Jewish man and even gone on to defeat him in pitched battle, should die in such frankly sordid circumstances.

God speed good Abu! God speed you to your richly earned reward!

Posted by: Amos at March 11, 2004 at 12:13 AM

Fuck him, and the horse he rode in on...

Posted by: mojo at March 11, 2004 at 02:42 AM

Sortelli: "Let me guess, they think he was part of a vast Bush Evil Family Empire conspiracy who was killed before he could reveal the truth."

Close! They think the Achille Lauro hijacking was an Israeli plot to give Palestinians a bad name. After seeing that I quit reading and took a shower.

Posted by: Ken Summers at March 11, 2004 at 02:43 AM

You know, sometimes I long for a revival of the "Your honor, the sumbitch needed killin'" defense.

Posted by: Charlie (Colorado) at March 11, 2004 at 05:54 AM

Like that old American guy in Texas who habitually shoots people who try to rob his store. He's shot two dead and been shot once, he's 65 or something. Said something like "He can work for his own damn money. Ain't no reason to let something like that live."

I like that guy! They should pack that guy in a missile and shoot him at Mugabe.

Posted by: Amos at March 11, 2004 at 08:30 AM

Mojo, have some sympathy for the horse.

Posted by: Name withheld on advice of counsel at March 11, 2004 at 11:28 AM

It's a damn shame he had to go and die under "questionable" circumstances.

I think it would have been better if one of the Klinghoffer family had been there to send him to Allah's loving embrace with an axe handle...

Posted by: trackersmurf at March 11, 2004 at 01:45 PM