Ex-US diplomat pleads innocence over anti-Arab slurs

A retired US diplomat who served in the Middle East has pleaded not guilty to two charges of making threats against Lebanese and Arabs, sources close to the case said.

Ex-US diplomat pleads innocence over anti-Arab slurs

A retired US diplomat who served in the Middle East has pleaded not guilty to two charges of making threats against Lebanese and Arabs, sources close to the case said.

Patrick Syring was indicted August 15 for willful intimidation and making threats by allegedly delivering derogatory voicemail messages and emails to the Arab American Institute (AAI) in Washington last year.

Syring, who, according to US media reports had served 20 years in the foreign service, including a 1994 stint in Lebanon, entered his plea Thursday after a judge read him the two-count indictment, the AAI said.

In a series of voicemails and emails made during the war in Lebanon last year, Syring uses profane language about Arabs, while praising the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the charge sheet said.

"This is Patrick Syring," he said in a voicemail to the institute July 17, 2006 at around 11:17 pm, according to the indictment.

"The only good Lebanese is a dead Lebanese. The only good Arab is a dead Arab. Long live the IDF. Death to Lebanon, and death to the Arabs."

Minutes later, an email from a Pat_1425 was sent to AAI president James Zogby and another employee.

"Zogby's anti-Semitic, anti-American statements [and those of the AAI in general] are abhorrent, repulsive, and disgusting.

"F--k the Arabs and f--k James Zogby and his wicked Hezbollah brothers. They will burn in hellfire on this earth and in the hereafter."

In another email, days later, to another female employee, Syring writes: "You are a f--king anti-Semitic Arab-American stooge who sympathizes with Hezballah [sic] terror.

"You and your Arab American Institute f--kers should burn in the fires of hell for eternity. The IDF is bombing Lebanon back into the stone age, where it belongs. Arabs are dogs. Long live the State of Israel. Death to Arab American terrorists."

The Arab American Institute is a civic group that promotes voting among its community, and conducts polls and policy research, according to its Web site.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said August 16 that Syring had retired a month earlier, but otherwise would not comment on the ongoing legal matter.

He stressed, however, that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would not condone any "discrimination or hateful language."

AFP

Last Mod: 31 Ağustos 2007, 14:50
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