The murder of Rabbi Kahane
by Elias Davidson
(a) Who was Rabbi Meir Kahane?
Martin David Kahane (aka Meir Kahane), was an American-born rabbi, known for his racist incitement against Arabs that included calls for expelling Arabs of from Israeli-controlled territories. He founded in the United States the violent militia Jewish Defense League. He moved to Israel and in 1984 he became member of the Israeli parliament, “Knesset” but his party was banned in 1988 as “racist” and “anti-democratic.” Kahane was assassinated on November 5, 1990, at the Marriott Hotel in Manhattan after he held a speech. In 2007, the FBI released over a thousand documents relating to their daily surveillance of Kahane since the early 1970s, many of which remain heavily redacted.1 According to the biography The False Prophet by Robert I. Friedman, Kahane worked during the ‘60s as an FBI informant, going by the name Michael King.2
According to the NYT of 28 June 1974, a Jerusalem District Court on 27 June convicted Meir Kahane « of seeking to damage relations between Israel and the US by conspiring to blow up foreign embassies in Washington, D.C. ». He admitted in court « that he sent letters to members of the Jewish Defense League in US urging them to blow up Soviet and Iraqi embassies in Washington and financial institutions in NYC that had ties with USSR ».
According to the Washington Post of November 8, 1987 (Byline Robert I. Friedman, « Kahane’s Money Tree » ), « Kahane has attracted an odd collection of admirers, including former Haagen-Dazs ice-cream president Reuben Mattus, 1987 Tony award winner Jackie Mason and attorney Barry Ivan Slotnick, who this year successfully defended subway gunman Bernhard Goetz and reputed mobster John Gotti. In the early 1970s, after an introduction by Slotnick, Kahane even forged a close relationship with Joseph Colombo Sr., the late head of the Colombo crime family. »
In 1971, Kahane was convicted in a New York federal court for conspiracy to manufacture explosives. He received 5 years probation. The following year he was arrested in Israel for attempting to smuggle explosives to Europe to blow up the Libyan Embassy in Brussels in revenge for the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich. Kahane’s lawyer argued that he had acted out of patriotism. He received a two-year suspended sentence. Kahane has been convicted of a number of other offenses in Israel and the United States, including sedition and inciting a riot.
(b) The murder
According to the official account, Rabbi Kahane was shot dead on November 5, 1990, at approximately 9:30 pm by El Sayyid Nosair, an Egyptian-born American citizen, after Kahane finished his speech at the second-floor lecture hall in the Marriott Hotel, Manhattan. He did so while a crowd of well-wishers gathered around Kahane as he answered questions.
Here are excerpts from a synopsis by the FBI dated September 18, 19923:
At approximately 9:30 pm after Kahane completed his speech, he was approached by an individual identified as El Sayyed A. Nosair who extended his hand. When Kahane responded he shot him in the left side of his neck. Nosair then turned and started to flee when he was confronted by one Irving Franklin who attempted to stop his flight. Nosair shot Franklin in the right leg and then fled the hote, commandeered a Medallion taxi cab and forced its driver, at gun point, to flee the area. The cab had gone about one block when it was forced to stop for traffic. At that point the driver fled and Nosair abandoned the taxi and attempted to flee on foot. Nosair encountered U.S. Postal Officer Carlos Acosta and without warning shot Officer Acosta in the chest. The round hit Acosta in his right shoulder when it was deflected by his bullet-proof vest. Officer Acosta fired two rounds in return, striking Nosair in the left side of his neck.
While no person testified to have actually seen Nosair hit Kahane, one witness, interviewed by the FBI on October 27, 1992 (name redacted) said he
found it “strange” for a Palestinian to attend a Kahane lecture. During the lecture [redacted]. The witness stated that he did not see Nosair wearing a yarmulke. After the question and answer session, the witness said he walked outside to the lobby for a breath of air and again met Nosair, who smiled at him. The witness then reentered the conference room, and while speaking to someone, heard two to three shots. People were screaming and running around the room, and it was then that he noticed Nosair crouched down and looking around holding a silver gun in his hand close to his hip. At that same moment someone jumped on Nosair causing Nosair to fire one shot. Nosair then ran out of the door.
Note that early reports put the time of killing at shortly after 9:00 p.m., not at 9:30 p.m. This time difference may be significant. The above account does not explain how the « witness » knew that the man he saw was Palestinian.
Several witnesses interviewed by the FBI said they heard two successive shots. According to #740, “Kahane was shot once in the head and once in the chest at 9:05 p.m.,” indicating that he was shot twice, possibly from different directions. Dr. Jerry Goldberg, 61, a general practitioner, said he heard several popping sounds that at first he did not realize were gunshots until he saw what he said was a black gun barrel fired once near the back of the room.4 “Kahane was answering questions when a man walked up to him, smiling and looking strange, drew a gun and shot him in the head and body,” said Richard Dunetz. “There were two shots.” Not a Word Spoken. One man had turned away momentarily. “I heard shots,” he said, “I didn’t imagine — all of a sudden, I turned around and he was on the floor.” Witnesses said that the 58-year-old rabbi was being guarded by personal security men during the meeting. They noted that the security guards had apparently questioned the gunman before the meeting and had decided to admit him. 5
Yet, the police and the court refused to consider the evidence that Kahane was hit by more than one bullet.
The Chief of Detectives, Joseph Borrelli, said the assassin was El Sayyid a Nosair, who is 34 years old and has been living in Jersey City. Chief Borrelli said the police did not know his nationality. “Everything indicates he was acting alone,” Chief Borrelli said.6 In this report, Kahane was shot « once in the neck ». The postal officer was « wearing a bulletproof vest » and hit Nosair « in the chin, arrested him and recovered his gun. » New York City detectives went to Jersey City at about 1 A.M. today and, along with Jersey City detectives, searched residences in the Journal Square area and the Greenville section of the city, said Sgt. Patrick Nalbach, a spokesman for the Jersey City police. He said the suspect had a valid New Jersey driver’s license, which expires in 1992. Rabbi Kahane was pronounced dead at 9:57 P.M. of a single gunshot wound to the left side of the neck that exited the right cheek, said Ms. Crowe, the hospital spokeswoman. She said the man the police believed to be the assassin had been shot once in the chin.7
Police said Nosair had been wounded in the chin and was in critical but stable condition. “We believe he lives in New Jersey,” said Chief Joseph Borelli. He said police had recovered a .357 magnum revolver from the scene, adding that Nosair fired at Kahane from fewer than five feet away, hitting him once in the neck.8
As he ran from the room, Mr. Dunetz said, he saw an elderly man — 73-year-old Irving Franklin — bleeding near the rear door. In front of the hotel, he saw Mr. Nosair in a cab, holding a silver gun to the head of the driver. As Mr. Dunetz shouted “Stop murderer!” he saw Mr. Nosair leap from the cab, race a half a block south on Lexington and shoot “a man coming from the post office” — Mr. Acosta.
In another testimony, Steven Hoffman, a computer sales representative from California who attended the Kahane lecture, identified Mr. Nosair as the man who, with a silver gun, shot Mr. Franklin in the leg in the rear of the meeting room. Officer Henry Gomez of the Police Department’s emergency squad said he removed pieces of a bullet from the wall behind Mr. Kahane’s body and fragments of two bullets from a wall by the post office doorway. Detective Robert Cotter, who analyzed the fragments for the department’s ballistics unit, said they could only have come from the revolver that lay next to Mr. Nosair.9
“It was incredible,” said Mike Richio, who works in a delicatessen two blocks from the hotel and watched the gun battle. “After the one guy fell on the road, these others kept firing.”10
Only one prosecution witness pointed to Nosair and said he saw him shoot Kahane after a lecture at a Midtown Manhattan hotel Nov. 5, 1990. College student Ari Gottesman, 21, testified he was standing next to Kahane when, from a distance of about a foot, a man who was ”dark- skinned, dark-haired,” fired two shots at the rabbi.11
(c) The suspect: Nosair
El Sayyed A. Nosair, who worked as a city boiler and air conditioner repairman since 1988, came to the United States from Egypt in 1981, gained permanent alien status in 1983 and became naturalized citizen in 1989 after marrying an American Moslem woman he met in a mosque in Pittsburgh, Borrelli said. The couple had two boys and one girl, and lived in Cliffside Park, N.J., just across the George Washington Bridge from New York City. 12
A spokesman for the New York City Department of General Services, John Beckman, said Mr. Nosair had worked for the city since April 1988 and was assigned to maintain heating, ventilation and air conditioning units at the Criminal Courts building at 111 Centre Street in lower Manhattan, at a salary of between $30,000 and $35,000 a year. 13
Records in this country showed Nosair was born in Port Said, Egypt, on Nov. 16, 1955, and graduated from a college in Cairo, where he studied industrial engineering. However, Gen. Ahmed Zaatar, an assistant to the interior minister of Egypt, said Wednesday that government records in Port Said showed no record of a man born there with that name, or spellings close to it. Immigration records indicate Nosair entered the United States through New York on a visitor’s visa July 14, 1981; married a U.S. citizen, Caren Ann Mills, in 1982; became a permanent resident of Pittsburgh in 1983 and became a naturalized citizen in September 1989. The Nosairs moved to Cliffside Park about a year ago with their daughter, Nora, 11, and two sons, Abdul Aziz, 7, and Abdul Rahman, 5.14
Neighbors described the alleged assassin of Rabbi Meir Kahane as a devout Moslem who showed no interest in Arab political activity.
“It’s a surprise to us, to everybody,” said Debra Ragab, 39, of Jersey City, N.J., where the suspect, El-Sayyid A. Nosair, a 34-year-old Egyption immigrant who repaired air conditioners for the city of New York, lived until recently. Ragab, who grew up with Nosair’s American wife in Pennsylvania, said Caren Nosair called her after hearing about the shooting on the news. “She’s devastated,” said Ragab. “She had no idea this was going to happen. … She doesn’t know what happened, why it happened.” The New York Times today quoted unidentified law enforcement sources as saying Nosair, from his hospital bed, denied shooting Kahane. “They were just a basic family,” Banks said. “I couldn’t believe it was him because he was so quiet.” Banks said that she never saw him pass out anti-Jewish material and that he wasn’t involved in political movements. Ragab said Jersey City’s Moslem community of 400 knew Nosair as an intellectual. Police said Nosair met his wife, who converted to Islam, in a Pittsburgh mosque. They said she kept a “truly religious household.” The suspect’s wife and three children were staying with relatives in Brooklyn, said Borrelli.15
Nosair was on documented sick leave from his job with the city’s Department of General Services five days last week, said department spokesman John Beckman. The diagnosis was confidential, Beckman said. Nosair began working for the city in April 1988 on a crew that tends to heating, air conditioning and ventilation at courthouses. In addition, Nosair injured his hand or arm in an accident at work in which he was nearly electrocuted, Borrelli said. The combined stress “was acting on him; he wasn’t getting ahead,” Borrelli theorized.16
Police investigators remained baffled yesterday over why Rabbi Meir Kahane was shot to death, but they said the suspect, El Sayyid A. Nosair, appeared to have acted alone. “We interviewed co-workers, his wife, people at the mosque,” Chief of Detectives Joseph R. Borelli said last evening. “No one has come up to us and indicated in any fashion that he had any dislike for or hated the rabbi. » Mr. Nosair’s wife, Caren, has told the police that her husband had been depressed lately, a law-enforcement official said.
His defense lawyer, Michael Warren, contended that detectives interviewed Mr. Nosair late Tuesday night after they had been told not to talk to him. The lawyer moved to challenge any statements derived from the visit and to subpoena the hospital visitor logs. A half-dozen fellow workers at the Criminal Courts Building refused yesterday to speak to reporters, saying they did not want their names used for fear of some form of retribution, but Malcolm Rice, the building’s chief engineer, suggested, in monosyllabic answers, that Mr. Nosair was well liked, a quiet man who kept pretty much to himself.
Asked if Mr. Nosair had ever voiced anti-Zionist sentiments or inveighed against Rabbi Kahane, Mr. Rice replied, “Nope.”17
Law-enforcement officials said yesterday that the man accused of killing Rabbi Meir Kahane was under psychiatric care and taking drugs for treatment of depression. “We are told by family members he was taking a prescription drug for or consistent with depression,” Chief of Detectives Joseph R. Borrelli said of the suspect, El Sayyid A. Nosair, last night. Another law-enforcement official identified the drug as Prozac, a widely used drug for depression. This official said Mr. Nosair was taking “three or four” kinds of medicine, but declined to name the others. Prozac’s manufacturers are facing many lawsuits charging that patients became far more hostile, despairing and uncontrollable than they had ever been before, mutilating themselves, attempting suicide or developing homicidal tendencies. An article published in February in the American Journal of Psychiatry predicted that up to 8 percent of Prozac users may be at risk for mania, obsession with suicide and dangerously violent behavior. Mr. Nosair also may have been suffering lingering effects of an industrial accident he suffered in 1986, in which an electrical shock left him with a large burn mark on his left hand and difficulty in using his left leg.18
(d) The gun
The revolver was found at Mr. Nosair’s side. But the 36-year-old defendant, an Egyptian-born Muslim, has denied that the gun was his. His lawyers say it was placed next to Mr. Nosair as part of a frame-up by Kahane followers who killed the Jewish Defense League founder after a long-running dispute, possibly over money.
Investigators were trying to find out yesterday whether the gun used to kill Rabbi Kahane on Monday, a Ruger .357 magnum revolver, could be traced to the retired police officer, Raymond Murteza, through firearms records. The police questioned Mr. Murteza because a copy of the retired officer’s Federal firearms license, which allows him to buy and sell guns in any state, was found among the personal papers of the suspect, El Sayyid A. Nosair. “He admitted he knew Mr. Nosair but he also stated he never sold him any weapons,” Inspector Charles Luisi of the Manhattan South Detectives said. When questioned on Thursday, Mr. Murteza told detectives he had recently sold a .357 magnum to a close friend, but minutes later he said he could not remember who bought it. “He’s not cooperating,” Inspector Luisi said. “He’s not been forthcoming.” Little was known about Mr. Murteza’s relationship with Mr. Nosair yesterday, the police said. Inspector Luisi said the two men apparently practiced shooting together at the High Rock firing range in Naugatuck, Conn. In addition, telephone records show that Mr. Murteza made several calls to Mr. Nosair, including two calls before dawn on May 17 and April 28, according to court papers. Several officers in the Waterbury Police Department said Mr. Murteza, who is 49 years old, was a Muslim from an Albanian family who had a reputation for eccentric behavior when he was on the force. “He was well-known for being different,” said Waterbury Patrolman Eric Stracht. “A little off the wall.” He declined to give details.Mr. Murteza was a police officer from 1968 until 1980, when he injured his back after falling off a moving Army Reserve truck during a blizzard, the Waterbury police said.19
Detectives investigating the killing of Rabbi Meir Kahane have searched the home of a former police officer in Waterbury, Conn., who sells guns and used to practice shooting with the man accused of the assassination, the police said.
Chief Borelli said, adding that Mr. Nosair went to a rifle range in Waterbury, Conn., several times a month to practice shooting. “He has a liking for guns,” the chief said. “He enjoyed target practice.”
Employees of the High Rock shooting range in Naugatuck, Conn., told investigators that they had seen Murteza giving shooting lessons to a group of men in Arab headdress, some of whom paused several times daily to recite prayers.20
The 7.62-millimeter cartridge is both a standard NATO rifle round and the type of ammunition used in the AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifle that is standard issue in Soviet bloc countries and widely used in the third world. Although the United States and a number of other countries have gone to a lighter 5.56-millimeter round as standard infantry issue, the 7.62-millimeter is still used in sniper rifles. The M-14 rifle, which has been replaced by the M-16, was the first American weapon to use the standard NATO round.
Mohammed A. Salameh, one of Nosair’s alleged co-conspirators and Mahmud Abouhalima were found in Nosair’s home in the night of the murder and were taken for questioning but were released, although the police – according to news reports – found there a huge collection of incriminating items:
•Thousands of rounds of ammunition.
•Maps and drawings of New York City landmarks, including the World Trade Center.
•Documents in Arabic containing bomb making formulas, details of an Islamic militant cell, and mentions of the term “al-Qaeda.”
•Recorded sermons by Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman in which he encourages his followers to “destroy the edifices of capitalism” and destroy “the enemies of Allah” by “destroying their… high world buildings.”
•Tape-recorded phone conversations of Nosair reporting to Abdul-Rahman about paramilitary training, and even discussing bomb-making manuals.
•Videotaped talks that Ali Mohamed delivered at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
•Top secret manuals also from Fort Bragg. There are even classified documents belonging to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Commander in Chief of the Army’s Central Command. These manuals and documents had clearly come from Mohamed, who completed military service at Fort Bragg the year before and frequently stayed in Nosair’s house.
•A detailed and top secret plan for Operation Bright Star, a special operations training exercise simulating an attack on Baluchistan, a part of Pakistan between Afghanistan and the Arabian Sea.
Nosair’s two alleged co-conspirators in the murder, Bilal al-Kaisi and Mohammed A. Salameh, who were sentenced for involvement in the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, were not charged for their complicity in Kahane’s assassination.
#1450 When police raided Nosair’s rented, two-story brick bungalow across the Hudson River in Cliffside Park, N.J., they discovered extremist Muslim publications and manuals for building bombs. They found photos of the World Trade Center, the Empire State Building and the Washington Monument and the text of a sermon advocating terrorist strikes on American soil.
But much of the evidence was in Arabic and no effort was made to have it translated. Instead, it was stored away by authorities. Detectives pursued what they believed was a simple case of homicide, focusing on the acts of a lone gunman.
Abouhalima and Salameh, Nosair’s co-conspirators, regrouped at Nosair’s home but were taken into custody by the NYPD “later” as material witnesses. The house was raided “early the next day.” (Triple Cross p. 57)
The Detectives and FBI agents “seized 47 boxes in the raid – boxes that included prima facie evidence of an international bombing conspiracy with the WTC as a target. (FOOTNOTE 18, P. 58). The murder was immediately defined as ”local murder” by a “lone gunman.”
[But if these texts were in Arabic and were not translated, how would the police and the media know that one text was of a “sermon advocating terrorist strikes on American soil” and if that text was in English, why hasn’t it been disclosed? Why wasn’t it reported that two people were found sitting in that home and were questioned?]
The accused killer of Rabbi Meir Kahane, El Sayyid A. Nosair, had a case of 1,440 rounds of ammunition suitable for military rifles stored in his house and a vial of poison in his locker at work, prosecutors said in court papers filed yesterday.
The Egyptian-born Mr. Nosair had a New York license plate inside his car, which had New Jersey plates displayed on the outside, and a yarmulke in his pocket the night he is accused of shooting Rabbi Kahane, an outspoken advocate of expelling Arabs from Israel, said the papers filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan by District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau’s office. A police search of Mr. Nosair’s home in Cliffside Park, N.J., found a bullet-riddled piece of plasterboard, pistol targets, several rounds of .22- and .38-caliber ammunition and the case of 1,440 bullets, identified by the District Attorney’s office as 7.62 millimeter.
In addition, the District Attorney’s motion filed by an assistant prosecutor, William Greenbaum, said that Mr. Nosair’s home also contained “literature relating to guns, weapons and combat, including subjects such as bomb-making, hand grenades, security and listening devices, ‘Arms in Afghanistan,’ ‘Explosive Traps,’ ‘How to Teach Yourself to Shoot Like an Expert,’ ‘The Nine Don’t’s of Fighting Discipline,’ and a guide to buying guns and ammunition.”
A handwritten formula and diagram for the same type of bomb used in February’s World Trade Center blast was seized in 1990 from the home of the Arab gunman charged with killing Rabbi Meir Kahane, New York Newsday reported. Sources familiar with the investigation said detectives who searched El Sayyid Nosair’s apartment also seized photographs of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Washington Monument and Saks Fifth Avenue department store, as well as pictures of the World Trade Center towers. At that time, at least two of the suspects in the World Trade Center bombing were Nosair’s associates, evidence in his apartment revealed. Investigators theorize that the photos represented potential targets Nosair identified in response to a sermon in which Muslim cleric Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman urged the destruction of symbolic targets within the United States. Nosair worshiped at the same Jersey City, N.J., mosque where Abdul Rahman preached. The sources said an Arabic transcription of the sermon, which was also seized in the search, is being weighed by investigators as a possible motive for the Feb. 26 bombing that killed six people and injured more than 1,000. “It actually says something like, ‘blow up their edifices.’ It looks like this was the motive behind the bombing,” the newspaper quoted one of the sources as saying. The evidence was not pursued or developed further before the bombing because it was not relevant to the Kahane murder case, which ended with Nosair acquitted of murder but convicted on weapons charges.21
There were also files of articles about the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the attempt on Zaki Badr, the Egyptian Interior Minister, which were carried out by clandestine cells of Islamic fundamentalists, offshoots of the Moslem Brotherhood. In Mr. Nosair’s locker at his city job as an an air-conditioner and boiler mechanic at 111 Centre Street, a criminal and civil courts building, the motion said, the “police found a vial containing a substance that laboratory testing subsequently revealed to be sodium cyanide.”22
(f) Recovered items at the site
A law enforcement official said Mr. Nosair had in his wallet two advertisements clipped from Jewish newspapers: one for Monday night’s event, the other for the Annual Jewish Overview Dinner at Le Chateau, 431 Avenue P in Brooklyn on Nov. 18. Also in his wallet were notes written in Arabic, which the police had not yet translated, the official said. The murder weapon, a Ruger .357 magnum revolver with five shots fired, was recovered, the police said, but its identification numbers had been filed off, making it difficult to trace. 23
(g) Nosair’s first trial
In court Nosair denied having killed Kahane. The jury was unable to conclusively establish Nosair’s guilt and he was acquitted from the charges of murder. He was, however convicted of assault, possession of an illegal firearm and of shooting a U.S. Postal Inspection Service agent after he run out of the hotel. No hard evidence was adduced at the trial that the postal agent was shot. For the aforementioned offenses Nosair was sentenced to twenty-two years of imprisonment. Supporters of the late Rabbi Kahane, who demanded the death penalty for Nosair, found his sentence outrageous and demonstrated outside the court. Nosair’s fans celebrated this decision.
Attorney Michael Warren said outside the courtroom that in a police-arranged lineup, only three of nine witnesses correctly identified Nosair.24
Sixteen witnesses have identified Nosair as the man who walked up to Kahane, 58, during a lecture and shot him in the head, court documents said.25
The prosecutors, William Greenbaum and Mary Anne Wirth, built their cases on the testimony of 51 witnesses, yet the jury was not convinced. A principal witness, Ari Gottesman, 21 years old, a junior at Touro College, testified that after the speech he was standing next to Rabbi Kahane when two shots rang out. Rabbi Kahane was fatally struck in the neck at close range by a bullet. Mr. Gottesman said that after the gunfire he turned and saw “a dark-skinned dark-haired” man about a foot away trying to conceal something in his sleeve. The man then began walking hunched over toward an exit. Mr. Gottesman was the sole witness who identified Mr. Nosair as the gunman who shot Rabbi Kahane. Mr. Franklin testified, but said he was unable to identify his assailant.26
In a statement to police, attached to a disclosure form filed in court, Nosair said he went to see Kahane’s lecture because he agrees with much of the rabbi’s anti-Arab rhetoric. Nosair also told police he believes Kahane was shot by a Jewish man. He said he was wounded when he was caught in the crossfire between the killer and the U.S. Postal Service police officer who fired a bullet into his neck. The gun police recovered and accused him of using on Kahane was placed next to him as he lay wounded in the street, according to Nosair’s statement.27
In his statement, which was not read in court but made part of the court record yesterday, Mr. Nosair said, “I came to Kahane’s lectures two times because there are many points I agree on it, although there are some different points I disagree with.” Mr. Nosair contended someone else killed Mr. Kahane after a speech at the Marriott East Side Hotel on Nov. 5. “I believe that a person who is a Jew is the one who shot him because there are many Jews who disagree with him.”28
While one witness did testify that he saw Mr. Nosair pointing a silver-plated gun at the rabbi moments after the shooting, the jurors said the prosecution offered no fingerprints or evidence of paraffin tests or bullet-trajectories to show that he had fired the weapon, and no conclusive medical, autopsy or ballistics proof that the rabbi had been slain by that gun. Besides lacking crucial links between the defendant’s gun and the victim’s fatal wounds, the juror and the alternate said, doubts had been raised by testimony suggesting that there had been at least one other gun in the room where the killing occurred, and that the weapon was never accounted for and its possessor never identified. Other doubts arose, they said, because crucial links between Mr. Nosair and the silver-plated .357 Magnum Ruger revolver found beside him in the street, and Mr. Kahane and his wounds, were not established. “If you’re going to identify a person with a gun and a victim with a wound, it’s important that the gun and the wound be linked,” the alternate said, “and if it’s not put into evidence it cannot be considered.” She said some witnesses from the hotel told of hearing two shots, but only one bullet was found and it was not tested for hair, blood or other indications that it had passed through the rabbi’s neck, the fatal wound. A doctor told of lead traces on the neck, showing a bullet had passed through, but the jury, she said, was left to wonder: where was the bullet that killed Meir Kahane? The alternate juror said said the prosecution had offered no evidence of Mr. Nosair’s fingerprints on the gun, no paraffin tests that might have shown Mr. Nosair fired it, and no evidence showing the bullets’ trajectories. “There was even conflicting testimony on how many shots were fired,” he said. “Was it one? Was it two? Was it three?”29
Defense lawyers for the accused killer of Meir Kahane tried Thursday to persuade a judge to allow testimony about missing videotapes made by hotel security cameras on the night the radical rabbi was slain. The private investigator, Roland Thomas, offered a secretly made tape recording of a hotel security chief saying he saved hotel videotapes, that are now missing, from the night Kahane was killed. Thomas, who once pulled his licensed 9mm handgun at a news conference disrupted by Kahane’s followers, said under cross examination that he recorded the conversation with a tape recorder concealed in an eyeglass case. But, also with the jury out of earshot, the security chief earlier told the court that he was mistaken when he told Thomas he saved and gave to prosecutors the videotapes made by security cameras focused on the cashier’s desk and the back door for the Midtown hotel. ”The tapes were not given to the District Attorney. They were rewound and taped over,” said Robert Anderson, the security chief, who on the tape played in court was unequivocal about his turning the tapes over to prosecutors.30
In a heavily accented statement earlier to the court, Nosair said, ”I first of all would like to say that I am innocent. All that is happening to me is based on that I am Muslim.” Nosair went on to say, ”I would like to extend my condolences to the families and friends of Carlos Acosta, Irving Franklin and Meir Kahane.” He invited them to visit him in jail, prompting a shout, ”That’s an insult!”31
Mr. Nosair vehemently defended himself yesterday in his first statement given in court. “I’m innocent,” he exclaimed. “I had nothing to do with it.” Waving a notebook from which he read, he said: “The police did their best to convict me and all that has happened to me is on their hands. “Witnesses said the murderer had curly hair,” he said as he removed his Islamic skullcap and showed a slicked-back head of black hair to the court. “Does this look like curly hair?”32
William Kunstler, who represents the 36-year-old defendant, said that Rabbi Kahane was engaged in a “terrible dispute” with some of his followers over “missing funds of the Jewish Defense League” and that Mr. Nosair had met with him on friendly terms, once in Mr. Kahane’s car. When the rabbi was shot to death at close range in a hotel meeting room, Mr. Kunstler said, Mr. Nosair was sitting well in the back of the room. “You’ll have to decide who shot Meir Kahane,” Mr. Kunstler said. Mr. Kunstler said that a Kahane aide had invited Mr. Nosair to the meeting on Nov. 5 and that a videotape made “up to seconds” before the shooting will show that the defendant was “nowhere near” the rabbi. Mr. Kunstler said Mr. Nosair, who believed he was “the only Arab in the audience,” was chased from the hotel by armed Kahane supporters and ran toward Mr. Acosta, the postal guard. “Someone shot Carlos Acosta but it wasn’t El Sayyid Nosair,” Mr. Kunstler said, telling the jury that “this case is not cut and dried.”33
After 3 1/2 days of deliberations, the state Supreme Court jury in Manhattan found Nosair not guilty on murder and attempted-murder charges in the Nov. 5, 1990, shootings of Kahane and a Postal Service officer who was wounded in the aftermath. But jurors convicted him of criminal possession of a weapon, assault on the wounded postal officer and another man, and coercing a cab driver by pointing a gun at his head in a getaway attempt.34
Juror Alexia Barre, savoring a morning at home with her family after a five-week trial and four days of sequestration for deliberations, said she believed strongly in the jury’s decision,,, “If they want to be angry at someone, I think they can look at the police,” Barre said. “They destroyed evidence, they obliterated fingerprints, they never did a trajectory test, they never did a paraffin test. They simply didn’t give us enough evidence to convict.”35
(h) Nosair’s alleged confessions
Defense lawyer Michael Warren complained to Judge Harold Beeler that police had failed to respond to three subpoenas he has secured. He is seeking Nosair’s hospital records, a videotape of his hospital stay and any blood or tissue samples taken from the defendant. Outside court, Warren said he intended to prove Nosair was heavily sedated when police took a written statement from him on Nov. 7. He said the subpoenaed information would prove police did not question him at noon as they claimed, but rather later in the day when he was under medication. Police said Nosair handed them a written note that read, ”I did not shoot the Rabbi.” He also told police he was wounded in a shootout between a U.S. Post Office police officer and a man ”in a yarmulke,” a law enforcement source said.36
According to an Appeal by the U.S. government from 1999, Nosair told a physician who treated him after Kahane’s assassination at the prison ward of Bellevue Hospital that it was his “duty” to kill Kahane. This alleged statement to the physician was not cited by the Prosecution in his trial. The same Appeal informs us that after Nosair was moved from Bellevue to Rikers Island, “he began to receive a steady stream of visitors” to whom he “suggested numerous terrorist operations including the murder of the judge who sentenced him and of Dov Hikind, a New York City Assemblyman.” Nosair also allegedly “tape recorded messages while in custody” that celebrated the killing of Kahane. After he was transferred to Attica prison, “[t]he visits by members of the group continued […] as did Nosair’s calls to arms.”37 It is not explained why a person suspected of murder was permitted to “receive a steady stream of visitors” and disseminate tape recorded messages from prison, let alone messages inciting murder.
According to the Jerusalem Post of August 15, 2010, Nosair confessed at some date to the FBI to have killed Kahane and that he did so with two co-conspirators, one of whom also had carried a gun.38
In an exclusive interview with Richard A. Serrano of the Los Angeles Times in 2013, Nosair said that killing Kahane was justified but despite the confession he made to the FBI “he now says he really didn’t kill Kahane, but was only present at the slaying.”39
(i) Nosair’s alleged admirers
The so-called Abu Nidal organisation allegedly announced it would pay for Nosair’s defense. #745. And according to New York’s District Attorney’s Office, the Palestinian organisation Al-Fatah “would be willing to put up any amount of bail” for Nosair. (Lance, pp. 61-2) Were these entities trying to gain popularity by such a move?Or was this an attempt by their adversaries to link Nosair to these organisations?
According to the Los Angeles Times, Nosair was hailed a martyr by supporters carrying placards outside the courthouse where his trial took place. Many were followers of Osama bin Laden, who contributed $20,000 for Nosair’s defense.40
Osama bin Laden helped pay for the legal defence of the man who shot militant Jewish leader Meir Kahane in a New York hotel in 1990, officials have revealed. The Federal Bureau of Investigation had never heard of bin Laden at the time, and New York police were saying Kahane’s killing by El Sayyid Nosair was the work of a lone gunman with no affiliation to terrorist groups.
The revelation surfaced this week in a report by Eleanor Hill, staff director of a U.S. congressional inquiry into pre-Sept. 11, 2001 intelligence failures. During that trial, the FBI learned one of Nosair’s relatives travelled to Saudi Arabia “to obtain money” to pay for his defence, Hill wrote. “He received funds from a wealthy Saudi – Usama Bin Ladin (sic),” she wrote. An FBI agent handling the Nosair case told U.S. Senate investigators, “this was the first time the FBI’s New York office heard bin Laden’s name.” One of Nosair’s lawyers in the 1991 state case, Ronald Kuby, said Tuesday a cousin of Nosair paid for some of the legal expenses with money he said was raised by “family and friends.” “We never got any cheques signed ‘Osama bin Laden,'” Kuby said. “We just barely got paid. We barely covered expenses.”41
(j) Nosair’s second trial
On October 1, 1995, after a nine-month jury trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, Nosair was convicted of seditious conspiracy, two counts of attempted murder, murder in furtherance of a racketeering enterprise, attempted murder of a federal officer, three counts of use of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm with an obliterated serial number.
As for motive, Judge Mukasey claimed that Nosair murdered Kahane and assaulted Mr. Franklin “in order to maintain or increase his position in the Jihad Organization.”42
(k) Nosair’s unsuccessful attempt to have Ali A. Mohamed testify
After spending almost eight years in the “supermax,” Nosair demanded that his conviction be overturned and he be set free. He claimed that prosecutors improperly blocked his trial lawyers from gaining access to a witness – Ali A. Mohamed – who would have supported his claim of innocence. He asked for a new trial. The government argued that because Ali A. Mohamed had become an Al Qaeda operative, “the only way he could have provided exculpatory testimony for Mr. Nosair would have been to lie on the stand.” Yet, at the time Ali A. Mohamed provided military training to Nosair, he was on active duty at Fort Bragg with the U.S. Army and was cooperating with the FBI and the CIA.43 Ali A. Mohamed’s very existence was concealed from the court. Nosair’s request to have Ali A. Mohamed testify on his behalf and have the trial reopened was denied. In 2012 Nosair requested a new trial, claiming that he could not have been convicted of conspiring against the United States because he was in fact being trained by the United States government to fight the Soviet forces in Afghanistan.44
(l) A larger conspiracy?
Much evidence suggests that Nosair was not acting on his own. It is not necessary to rely on his alleged (belated) confession to draw this conclusion. The following indices support the view of a larger conspiracy:
• Several witnesses said they heard two successive shots at Kahane, indicating that two shooters were at work;
• During the night of the murder, police arrived at Nosair’s house and found there a pair of Middle Eastern men named Mahmud Abouhalima and Mohammed Salameh, who had previously been monitored by the FBI.45
• Within hours of Kahane’s murder, two investigators, Lou Napoli and John Anticev, “went over the FBI’s surveillance photos from [the] Calverton [shooting range in Long Island] and spotted the shooter’s picture. They had already identified Nosair as a member of the radical Islamic Group” led by Sheikh Rahman; (Lance, 72 and Appendix II to Lance’s book)
• Nosair’s lawyers mentioned that Nosair’s car had been shifted from where it was parked initially and later found. It was not revealed who moved the car. (Lance, p. 58) William Greenbaum, chief prosecutor of the Nosair case, told Peter Lance: “We sensed a much bigger conspiracy and we were sure that more than one person was involved…When we looked at Nosair’s keys, we asked ourselves, where is his car? It was a green Olds. We looked for it in Manhattan. The first piece of the puzzle fell into place when a really great detective named Jose Rosario informed us that he had gone down Second Avenue at a certain point looking for the car and it had not appeared and then later it got ticketed and towed from a location he’d already checked. Which means somebody mover it for him.” (Lance, p. 59)
On his webpage, Peter Lance wrote (undated): “The New York Police Department initially labeled him a lone gunman. I have argued that it was much more than that: an unsolved murder with dire implications for the war on terror.” After talking to Emad Salem, he came to the conclusion that “it’s clear for the first time that the rabbi’s death was directly linked to Osama Bin Laden” and that a second gunman named Bilal Alkaisi was involved in that murder. Alkaisi, originally indicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, “was cut loose by the feds in 1994 and presumably remains at large.” http://peterlance.com/wordpress/?p=106
(m) The mail boxes at Sphinx Trading
El Sayyid Nosair had a mailbox there before he was arrested in 1990. But so had some of the alleged 9/11 hijackers. The mailboxes are located in Jersey City, New Jersey, four doors down from the mosque where Abdul-Rahman was imam in the early 1990. Sphinx Trading is owned by Waleed al-Noor, who was named an unindicted co-conspirator at the ‘Landmarks’ bomb plot trial. The alleged hijackers will later obtain fake IDs from al-Noor’s partner, Mohamed el-Atriss. The names of the alleged hijackers who had mailboxes there are never given, but in the summer of 2001 el-Atriss interacts with Nawaf Alhazmi, Abdulaziz Alomari, Khalid Almihdhar, and Hani Hanjour at least.46
Elements of cover -up in relation to Kahane
1. Refusal of the FBI to follow the thread of two shots
2. Accepting without fight Kahane’s family refusal of an autopsy
3. Very early decision to stick to the lone gunman theory
4. FBI had photographic evidence showing Nosair training in shooting
5.FBI knew the identity of Nosair’s trainer Ali Mohamed
6. Ali Mohamed was working for the Army, CIA and FBI
7. Nosair’s car was moved by an unidentified accomplice
8. The FBI released Mohammed A. Salameh and Mahmud Abouhalima soon after the event, although they were found in Nosair’s home in the night of the murder and were previously monitored by the FBI in a shooting range with Nosair.
9. Within hours of the the murder, investigators Lou Napoli and John Anticev spotted Nosair on FBI’s surveillance photos from the Calverton shooting range in Long Island. Their discovery was disregarded by the court.
10. The FBI did not engage in efforts to translate documents in Arabic found in Nosair’s home in order to discover motive and contacts.
11. No efforts were made to determine bullet trajectories
12. There was evidence of a second gun at the scene of crime, which was not accounted for
13. Videotapes made by hotel security cameras went missing
14. The police failed to respond to three subpoenas by defense counsel: Nosair’s hospital records, a videotape of his hospital stay and blood or tissue samples taken from him.
15. The government blocked access by Nosair’s lawyers to Ali Mohamed, who Nosair said could vouch for his innocence. His very existence was concealed from the court.
16. According to an FBI informant, Emad Salem, a second gunman named Bilal Alkaisi was involved in Kahane’s murder. His name did not appear at all in the first trial.
Elements pointing out to Nosair’s innocence
1. Nosair in open court pleaded his innocence in the murder, extended condolences to the victims and invited them to visit him jail. He said furthermore “I had nothing to do with it.”
2. Nosair claimed that the gun was placed near to him as a frame-up
3. From 51 witnesses only one, Mr. Gottesman, identified Nosair as the gunman who shot Kahane (this is contradicted by another statement in which 16 witnesses said they saw him walk up to Kahane and shot him)
4. In a police-arranged lineup, only three of nine witnesses identified Nosair.
5. The existence of a second shooter
6. No one in Nosair’s environment considered him as an extremist or as a likely murderer
7.A committed militant would claim to have eliminated a hate-preacher. He claimed, on the contrary, to have been partly in agreement with Kahane
8. There were no fingerprints or evidence of paraffin tests or bullet-trajectories to show that Nosair fired the weapon
9. The jury was convinced of Nosair’s innocence in the murder of Kahane
10. Nosair claimed he witnessed a shootout between a U.S. Post Office police officer and a man “in a yarmulke” (a Jew).
11. Dubious entities emerged with the proposal to pay for Nosair’s defense: Abu Nidal organisation, Al Fatah and Osama bin Laden. None of these had any connection to him. And none was authenticated. Promoting such “supporters” indicates an intent to incriminate him in the public mind.
12. The judge who later sentenced Nosair, Mukasey, a Zionist Jew, was predisposed against him.
Elements pointing out to Nosair’s guilt in the murder of Kahane
1. He exercised in shooting, a fact mentioned much later by his adult son
2. His presence at the site of murder (that he did not deny)
3. Munitions and implicating items were found in his home (but could have be placed there by police)
4. Some of his companions were later sentenced in relation with the bombing of the WTC
5. At least one witness recognized him as shooting on Mr. Franklin on his flight from the scene
6. Nosair was taking Prozac
7. According to an Appeal by the U.S. government from 1999, Nosair had told an unidentified physician who treated him at Bellevue Hospital that it was his duty to kill Kahane. Yet the statement was not cited by the prosecution as evidence in his trial. In the same Appeal it was also alleged that Nosair received a steady stream of visitors in prison to whom he allegedly suggested terrorist operations. These allegations were not either proven in trial.
It is possible, though not proven, that Nosair shot Meir Kahane. That led the jury to free him from this accusation. As he admitted to have been present at the scene of crime, it is likely that he played a role in the murder, such as an accomplice or a patsy, particularly as he could not provide a credible explanation for his presence there.
Pursuant to the following classification, Nosair would have to be considered as an operator while his mentor, Ali Mohamed, as a handler.
On the receiving end of authentic terrorism we have three classes of victimized actors: (a) The immediate (physical) victims of attacks and their families; (b) the terrorized general population; and (c) the political leadership which the terrorists attempt to coerce into specific conduct.
While this three-class division at the receiving end may be represented by a star with three branches, the perpetrators’ end is represented by a chain with four links.
At the head of the perpetrators’ chain we find those who conceive, plan, organize and finance the terrorist operation. For them the terrorist operation represents one of several methods of achieving strategical aims. We designate this class of actors as the strategists.
The next link in the perpetrators’ chain are those who search for candidates for a terrorist operation, prepare them ideologically, induce and animate them and provide them all necessary logistical assistance. We designate these as the handlers.
The third link are the foot-soldiers or patsies, i.e. who are doing the actual dirty work, such as placing a bomb or shooting at the public. They generally act after being sufficiently animated, induced and/or fanaticized. We designate these as the operators.
The last link in the perpetrators’ chain are actors who transform raw information about a localized criminal act into a national or international traumatic event. While the operators commit a common law crime, only members of the fourth link in the chain possess the means to traumatize entire populations. We designate this class of actors as the terrorizers. In common parlance we designate them as mass media.
(a) Why would Nosair at all kill Rabbi Kahane?
The most obvious answer would be that he would have wished to “eliminate” Rabbi Kahane, a notorious rabble-rouser and a danger for the security of Palestinians. But Nosair was no Palestinian and there is no evidence that the plight of the Palestinians bothered him existentially. One of his alleged accomplices, Mohammad Salameh, was of Palestinian origin, but grew up outside Palestine (his family fled the West Bank in 1967) and did not personally experience the trauma of Israeli occupation. Neither Nosair nor Salameh were members of any Palestinian resistance organisation. Nosair himself did not clarify his motives in court. In an interview by Nosair with the Los Angeles Times in 2013, Nosair allegedly justified the murder [of Kahane] because Kahane called for war against Muslims and “openly advocated genocide and ethnical cleansing.” He also allegedly told the journalist that when he was a youth his family was driven from their Egyptian village by “Israeli aggression,” and his anger over that banishment ultimately led him to prison.47 If his personal trauma was Nosair’s main motive for the murder, why didn’t he tell that to the Court? In any case, we only have the words of a paid journalist to rely upon.
According to the U.S. Government, Nosair wrote in a notebook found during the search of his apartment that one of the goals of the jihad group was to allow “Muslims to repossess their sacred lands in the hands of the enemies of God.” According to the Government, this was a “clear reference to Israel.” In one of the covertly recorded conversations between Nosair and Sheikh Rahman, Nosair allegedly lamented the Jewish emigration from Eastern Europe to Israel. The Government thus drew the conclusion that “[k]illing Kahane [was] related to the fulfillment of these goals.” From this conclusion the Government inferred that by killing Kahane, Nosair “was motivated by a desire to maintain or elevate his position in the organization.”48 None of these explanations, based on secret evidence, suffice to explain the motivation of a person to commit murder and risk his own life. This means, in turn, that he either did not engage in murder but played a role that he is not willing to disclose in fear for his life, or was motivated to engage in murder by persons, whose identity the government wishes to conceal.
(b) Why did the authorities insist to treat Kahane’s murder as that of a lone gunman?
Author Peter Lance attributes the failure to treat the murder of Kahane as a conspiracy to “two investigators who failed to follow through once they’d connected the Calverton photos [of Ali Mohamed training Nosair and his accomplices] to Nosair and his cell.” (p. 75)
At various instances through his book, Lance attributes such failure to “management interference, incompetence or sheer lack of will” (p. 72). At one point, he nevertheless concludes “that the FBI’s failure to prevent the African embassy bombings in 1998, the deadly assault on U.S.S. Cole in 2000, and the 9/11 attacks themselves, went beyond gross negligence.”(p.xxii) He then offers the following explanation for this unusual conduct: “I believe that their motive was to sanitize the record and thus prevent the public form understanding the full depth of the FBI/DOJ missteps in the years leading up to September 11.” (p. xxiii, emphasis added). Lance does not explain why the U.S. Congress and virtually all media would continue till today to cover-up what would have merely been “missteps.”
Lance nevertheless suggests a wider connection but fails to see the deeper meaning of that connection: “[T]he failure [of the Kahane investigation] to zero in on Ali [A. Mohamed] back then would cost the Bureau its first chance to interdict Osama bin Laden when he was most vulnerable. By 1991, he had decided it was time to leave Afghanistan for the Sudan – and the man he trusted to get him there was none other than [Ali Mohamed].” (p. 75) To understand the deeper meaning of this alleged failure, it is necessary to understand the role played by Ali A. Mohamed and Osama bin Laden in U.S. strategy.
It appears for the officials important to insist on the lone-gunman theory. UPI published a report entitled « Kahane assassin may be loner » and cited Chief of Detectives Joseph Borrelli, saying: ”What I know right now is we have a lone gunman who committed a homicide.” Referring to the gunman’s frantic and disorganized attempt to flee after the shooting, Borrelli said, ”It doesn’t look like a professional job.” He added: ”Everybody is trying to determine what was the motive, but we haven’t come up with it yet.”
The author adds: “The conventional wisdom, as expressed in several books dealing with the Kahane murder, is that Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau simply acquiesced to Borelli’s hasty assessment. The Congressional Joint Inquiry tasked with examining intelligence failures leading up to 9/11 concluded that ”The NYPD and the DA’s office …reportedly wanted the appearance of speedy justice and a quick resolution to a volatile situation. By arresting Nosair, they felt they had accomplished both.” [footnote 19]. As I noted in 1000 Years for Revenge, the prosecutors were eager to avoid a “show trial”, especially after Nosair lawyered up with celebrated attorney William Kunstler. “ (Triple Cross. p. 58)
Because 9/11 was a government operation and the alleged 9/11 hijackers were patsies acting with government knowledge, their and Nosair’s use of mailboxes at Sphinx Trading, indicates that Nosair was also acting under government auspices, through a handler, such as Ali Mohamed or others. If Nosair did kill Rabbi Kahane, he must have done so as because his handler (and the strategists of government) so desired. It is, however, possible that he made it clear in his latest statement, namely that he did not “really” kill Kahane but was present at the site of murder, insinuating that he played some role, but did not kill Kahane. His silence is most probably the result of mortal threats.
There is no reliable evidence to the effect that Nosair felt any particular hat towards Kahane or that he planned to kill anyone with regard to Israeli politics. It does not make any sense for him to have done so. And there is no hard evidence that he did.
The role of the USG in prosecuting Nosair and/or in ensuring his presence at the Kahane lecture, seems to be premeditated. The FBI knew of Nosair from his participation in the training. And the FBI deliberately did not act against Nosair’s accomplices nor examined the materials found at his home. All of this cannot be attributed to negligence but to a strategical decision related to the preparation of 1993 WTC.
2 Bill Hewitt, J.D. Podolsky and Mira Avrech, “After a career of preaching hatred for Arabs, Rabbi Meir Kahane is cut down by an assassin’s bullet”, People Magazine, November 19, 1990, #737
37 “United States of America, Appellee, v. Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel Rahman, et al, Defendants-Appellants”, 189 F.3d 88; 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 18926; 52 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. (Callaghan) 425, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, January 14-15, 1998, decided on August 16, 1999, #749, p. 5
38 Gil Shefler, “Sharon was Kahane killer’s target”, The Jerusalem Post, August 15, 2010, #736
39 Richard A. Serrano, “An early terrrorist in U.S. condemans today’s jihad”, Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2013, #752
42 “United States of America, Appellee, v. Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel Rahman, et al, Defendants-Appellants”, 189 F.3d 88; 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 18926; 52 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. (Callaghan) 425, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, January 14-15, 1998, decided on August 16, 1999, #749, p. 34
43 Benjamin Weiser, “Convicted Militant Seeks Retrial in ’95 Case”, The New York Times, June 13, 2011, #751
47 Richard A. Serrano, “An early terrrorist in U.S. condemans today’s jihad”, Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2013, #752
48 “United States of America, Appellee, v. Omar Ahmad Ali Abdel Rahman, et al, Defendants-Appellants”, 189 F.3d 88; 1999 U.S. App. LEXIS 18926; 52 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. (Callaghan) 425, US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, January 14-15, 1998, decided on August 16, 1999, #749, p. 23