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Friday, January 18, 2008

US won't investigate murders of three State Department security officers

Back in October, I blogged the fourth anniversary of the murder of US State Department contractors John Branchizio, Mark Parson, and John Marin Linde by 'Palestinian' terrorists in the Gaza Strip. For those who have forgotten, here's a brief summary of how Branchizio, Parson and Linde met their deaths:
On October 15, 2003, a U.S. embassy convoy was on a visit to Gaza to interview Palestinian candidates for Fulbright scholarship programs in the United States. The convoy consisted of three fully armored but unmarked Suburbans. The first vehicle was occupied by the diplomats on the interview mission. The second vehicle was occupied by American contract protective security specialists: John Branchizio (36), John Linde (30), and Mark Parsons (31). The third vehicle had agents of the Diplomatic Security Service on a “route and area familiarization” trip.

Just after the convoy entered the Gaza Strip from the Erez checkpoint, an explosion totally destroyed the second vehicle in the motorcade, killing the three specialists. A U.S. embassy document states that the device appeared to have been “placed under the road and remotely detonated as the vehicles passed.”
In response to that post, I received an email from Mark Parson's brother, that attached a copy of a letter written by Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) in September demanding that US Secretary of State Rice and the State Department pressure the 'Palestinian Authority' to bring Branchizio's, Parson's and Linde's murderers to justice.

Two weeks ago, Rick Richman wrote an article in the New York Sun in which he updated the 'investigation' such as it was.
On December 28, 2006, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request asking the State Department for all documents regarding the murder of Branchizio, Parsons, and Linde. I sought expedited processing, as a press requester seeking information about an issue of current concern.

The Department denied expedited treatment. They provided a few documents in July and said the search for records in the Tel Aviv Embassy was "continuing." As of last week, it was still continuing, as was a "review" of some documents located elsewhere.

Even a request from a member of Congress has received no response. On September 6, 2007, Rep. William Pascrell of New Jersey, acting on behalf of Mark Parsons' brother — whose own 2005 FOIA request received an unsatisfactory reply — sent a letter to Ms. Rice, urging her to "bring the full weight of the Department of State to bear in this case." As of last week, the Department had not replied.

It has been more than four years since Americans on State Department business were murdered in Gaza; more than three years since Musa Arafat said the PA knew who organized it; and nearly three years since Mr. Abbas assured Secretary Rice that the killers would be brought to justice. In response to that broken promise, the State Department appears to have done nothing.

On the contrary, American aid to Palestinians increased — with another half a billion dollars on tap. Dismantlement of terrorist groups and infrastructure — the explicit precondition to final status negotiations under the "Performance-Based Roadmap" — was waived to "accelerate" Phase III. After four years, the conclusion seems obvious: the Palestinians got away with murder.
On Wednesday, John Parson received the State Department's response to Congressman Pascrell, written by one of Condi's assistants. I am reproducing it below.

In a nutshell, the State Department is saying that it cannot investigate the murders because Hamas controls the Gaza Strip. That response - four months after Congressman Pascrell's letter was sent - fails to explain why for four years no investigation was conducted. It maintains the pretense that there is a difference between the bad terrorists from Hamas and the 'good terrorists' from Fatah, because of which Fatah is excused from doing anything. The United States won't investigate the murders of its own people because it is afraid of what it will find out: that Branchizio, Parson and Linde were murdered by agents of the same 'Palestinian Authority' that the world has just decided to give more than $7 billion at America's urging.

In an email I received from him earlier this week, John Parson, Mark's brother, is understandably outraged:
They have never contacted us with any information on their investigation since telling the family's in Dec 04. That who ever was responsible for the bombing would be brought to justice. And now their using Hamas as a excuse that they taken over Gaza. If you read below the FBI was sent to bombing site the next day. So what ever evidence that was left at the site was probley taken or contaminated. So what does Hamas which took over Gaza a few years later after the bombing have to do with hindering the investigation.
The "below" is an FBI press release dated October 15, 2003:

Washington, D.C. - At the request of the Palestinian authorities, the FBI is sending a small team of forensic experts and investigators from the Flying Squad to assist in the investigation of the bombing that took place today in Gaza that killed three U.S. citizens.
The Bush administration does not want to let the truth out about Branchizio, Parson and Linde, because the truth would spoil the image of Abu Mazen, the 'man of peace.' So it is covering up the murder of three of its own security personnel.

Where is the outrage?


At 6:44 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Maybe it is time for our elected representatives to represent us, and force the issue.

Lets start with defunding, or removing a sizeable portion of the state departments budget.

Once we have their attention, explain to them that, as employees of this countries citizens, and not as ruling elites of this countries citizens, they *will* investigate. By all means at their disposal.

At 8:46 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


As I have discussed in previous posts, there is a bill that has passed the House calling for a report from Rice on what State is doing about this. It's been stalled in the Senate for months.


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