Story and interview by Christine Thompson
AND HE’S A TRUMP SUPPORTER, but more on that in the interview below. Uniquely positioned to have a valid opinion on the alarming inflow of immigrants from the Middle East to Europe and America, Adnan Awad, now known as Sami, has an idea of what to do about it.
Sami is the former Captain in the Palestinian Liberation Army who refused to bomb the Noga Hilton Hotel in Geneva, Switzerland on August 31, 1982, but instead fled the scene and later turned himself into the American embassy and claimed he wanted to renounce any terrorist connections. He was turned over to the Swiss, but later returned to the United States to help secure indictment against the 15 May leadership. With his aid, American intelligence agencies determined that it was the 15 May Organization that had constructed the bomb aboard Pan Am Flight 830 to Honolulu, Hawaii. Later, he moved to the United States, where he cooperated with U.S. officials under the Federal Witness Protection Program.
AMFM sat down with this former Syrian Refugee (he lived in a Syrian camp from the age of 7 after his family was relocated from Palestine), Former Captain of the P.L.O., unwilling participant in Sadam Hussein’s scheme to bomb the Geneva Hilton, turned U.S. Citizen and Trump supporter.
Fast Forward 30 years. Today Sami is an artist. He and his wife Mary have an art Gallery on the Missisippi Gulf Coast. When we go to meet him, he is covered in paint, he’s been working all day in his gallery. The colors of the individual art pieces in the gallery are primary colors, bright and beautiful. They are whimsical pictures of sea creatures.
As we sit to discuss Sami’s idea, he wants to make sure that I understand why he is willing to meet and talk about the Syrian refugee crisis. He is no longer under the Federal Witness Protection Program, but Federal Agents still come to check on him every month or so. When I ask if he is afraid to be exposed in this way, he asks “No, why? Saddam Hussein is dead. My enemy is dead.”
Sami has a message to the leaders of the United States. He’s been watching with growing alarm to consider what is happening to Europe and warns that it is going to happen here unless measures are taken to set up a vetting process for the immigrants who are arriving here. As the conversation continued, Mary Awad stepped in to disagree on some of the finer points of Sami’s idea. She is from North Carolina and of Cherokee Indian extraction, and some of her family was interred in camps during the “Trail of Tears;” The infamous Indian Removal Act of 1830 that resulted in thousands perishing along a forced trek to Oklahoma.
Considering Trump’s New Hampshire Primary win today, I’m glad I asked him to explain his support for the presidential candidate.
AMFM: Let’s talk about Trump, why do you think he is the best candidate?
Sami: I believe Mr. Trump has a lot to lose if he doesn’t do what he says. I would vote for him for one reason, he will bring America back. He doesn’t need money or anything, all he is trying to prove is that he can do what he says.
AMFM: What about his issue of not bringing the Syrian refugees over to America?
Sami: He doesn’t want to take a chance, because he doesn’t know exactly who they are.
AMFM: You say you think you have a solution for that?
Sami: : Yes, money and encampment. Do like Turkey and Jordan, we have a lot of land in Texas and Mississippi. Make a camp, 20 or 30 acres, help them with food, water and housing.
They didn’t come here for good, they are here temporarily. And you can watch them 24 hours a day. I come back to Turkey’s example, again. That way, they are happy, we are happy because we can see where they sleep, eat, and drink.
Mary Awad: If there was some way to positively identify what their reason for coming here was, if they were coming for their safety. I don’t like camps, but if you know who they are and what their reason for coming is, then help them. If they are a family who need a place to be safe until they can go back to their country, then help them. If they are good people and want to assimilate.
Sami: : They are not here as tourists, they come here for safety. Then give them the safety only. You don’t have to give them citizenship.
You need to have an expert in middle east, someone with experience, to interview each refugee. Someone who can tell by the way they dress, their accent, their clothing. It would be very easy to identify who is lying.
AMFM: You would be uniquely qualified for that.
Mary Awad: Here’s an example of that. When Sami turned over his bomb, and the Swiss government wanted to know if he was telling the truth, and if he had an accomplice, they put him in a jail cell.
In the jail cell was someone who they had already arrested for terrorism. They asked him to talk to Sami, without him knowing who Sami actually was. To be positive that he was going to be safe, and not say anything wrong, well….Arabic people speak with their hands and their eyes as well as their words. When they had their conversation, this man knew, he could tell, that Sami was not a friend of the government. He was able in this way to get information to tell the Swiss army.
AMFM: So this man then vetted Sami to the Swiss government? The unwritten and unspoken communication that a person of the same culture can use to help identify a persons intent?
Sami: Yes, for example, if you met someone who came from Germany, and they told you, “Oh, I’ve been to Austin,” you say “really, what have you seen?” You ask, have you seen the river? Have you seen this or that? Because you live there, you will quickly tell if they are lying or not. This is the same idea.
In a nutshell, Sami would like to see procedures put into place to vet each refugee who come to American shores. From what he has seen so far on the news, there are a lot of able-bodied men who don’t belong in the refugee ranks. Those that are honestly seeking asylum should be put in a camp not only to protect American Citizens, but to protect the refugees from our culture. They can continue to practice their religion, eat their food, and educate their children without outside interference from two cultures that mix like “oil and water.”
After the danger is over, send them back to the country they came from. “They will remember this kindness,” says Sami.
Accordingly, Awad’s sensational tale exposes much about Middle East terrorism. Take just one episode, his leaving Iraq with a wired suitcase: While Awad expected airport guards to search him, his handler, a man named Mikhail, skirted the security controls entirely. “Mikhail shouted to airport security-officer friends, who in turn waved hello. They smiled at him as he made a face, pointing to the bag Adnan was holding. Then Mikhail motioned with his hands how delicate the bag was, pantomiming the effects of an explosion. Adnan was flabbergasted. It was like one of the Jerry Lewis movies he so enjoyed … The guards laughed and wished Adnan godspeed.”