Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Assassination of Steve Kerr's Father

By Robert Wenzel

The NBA finals, which start tomorrow night, will pit the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors. It will be Cleveland's LeBron James against this year's NBA MVP, Stephen Curry.

But the most fascinating backstory to emerge out of the best 4 out of 7 series may be the one around rookie Golden Sate head coach Steve Kerr. It's the story of how he ended up with the job of coaching the Warriors to the murder in the Middle East of his father.

Last season the Warriors were coached by Mark Jackson. By all who paid attention, it was clear that it was Jackson who developed a winning basketball attitude amongst the Warriors. But he was fired anyway.

Diamond Leung at the Mercury News reported in December:
While crediting Jackson for changing the Warriors' culture, [Warrior's co-owner Joe] Lacob said he didn't think the team "could be great" without removing a coach he characterized as unwilling to hire better assistants and disliked by many in the organization...
Why was Jackson disliked?

Mark Capra has a theory:
Last May, the Golden State Warriors’ militantly pro-gay front office fired head coach Mark Jackson for preaching Christian values and refusing to celebrate Jason Collins’ revelation that he was gay (news to no one that had seen him play over the years).

Incompetent Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Rick Welts’ top choice to replace Jackson was the twice-fired Stan Van Gundy…

But God intervened.

Van Gundy turned down the Warriors’ offer…

Despite ownership’s best-laid plans, divine providence led to Steve Kerr– who had agreed in principle to coach the New York Knicks– accepting the Warriors’ last-minute offer.
But that is only one part of the Steve Kerr story. In 1984, his father, Malcom Kerr, was killed in Beirut, allegedly by members of Islamic Jihad. He was president of American University of Beirut at the time, which means he was either a high profile American in the wrong place at the wrong time, or a US spook, operative, whatever. Or maybe, he wasn't advancing the agenda of those who don't look kindly on their agenda not being properly advanced.

Curiously, the New York Times on the day of the assassination had a remarkably detailed account of the killing. Here's a snippet from the very long account. Keep in mind this was all written on the day of the shooting:

'Since he was a little boy, all Malcolm ever really wanted was to be president of A.U.B.,'' said one of his oldest friends, Prof. Edwin T. Prothro, head of the Center for Behavioral Research at the university. ''When the time came, he knew his life could be in danger - he talked about it to me several times - but he took the job anyways because he loved this place and he wanted to build it into something special. In the end he was killed not for who he was or what he did, but for what he symbolized to others who never even knew him.''

According to university officials familiar with the events leading up to the killing, Dr. Kerr left his official residence in the heart of the wooded, 73-acre campus shortly after 8 A.M. and was driven by his chauffeur to his bank in West Beirut. Dr. Kerr had been given a bodyguard by the university soon after he arrived in Lebanon, but he quickly dismissed him, arguing that it was not proper for a university president to go around campus with a bodyguard.

At roughly 9 A.M. Dr. Kerr arrived by car back at the university campus - normally an island of serenity in the chaos that has become Beirut - and paid a quick visit to the office of one of his staff members before heading for College Hall, the main administrative building, which houses his office. Crowded for Registration

At around 9:08 A.M. he walked into the courtyard of College Hall, which was crowded at the time with students registering for courses for the spring term, beginning in February. His assailants undoubtedly found it easy to disappear into such a crowd. According to police sources, one witness thought he saw one of the gunmen rushing out of the building and that he was wearing blue jeans and a leather jacket and carrying a zippered briefcase.

At about 9:09 A.M. Dr. Kerr, a tall, lanky man who was never difficult to pick out in a crowd of his shorter students, entered the elevator at College Hall. Two other males entered the elevator with him, according to a student who was about to join them but decided that there was not enough room and that it would not be right to crowd the university president. It is not clear if the other passengers in the elevator were the killers.

About a minute later, Dr. Kerr, carrying his briefcase in one hand and an umbrella in the other, stepped off the elevator on the third floor and walked about 12 paces, heading for his office at the end of the hallway. His secretary, Ann Baasari, was on the telephone at the time with a dean who was waiting for Dr. Kerr. She told the police that she looked up, saw the president coming toward her and informed the dean: ''Oh, here he comes now.'' Then she looked down again.

A split second later the two gunmen stepped forward, either from the elevator or the stairwell just to the right of it, and one of them quickly pumped two bullets into Dr. Kerr's head with a silencer-equipped revolver. When his secretary looked back up again, all she saw was the backs of two men starting to run away.

Abdul Hallab, a dean whose office is between the elevator and Dr. Kerr's office, heard a noise and ran out to see what it was. He found the university president sprawled on the floor in a pool of blood and heard footsteps scampering down the stairs, he told the police.

The body lay on the floor until an ambulance could be summoned, during which time Dr. Kerr's wife rushed in from their house. Students began rushing around the campus interrupting lectures and telling one another that ''President Kerr has been shot.''

Just before 9:20 A.M., Dr. Kerr's body arrived at the nearby American University Hospital, for which he was also responsible.

Within minutes after the shooting, policemen and Lebanese Army soldiers wielding M-16 automatic rifles sealed off all four gates of the university and began a building-by-building search for the killers. But the two men were apparently able to escape before the gates could be shut.

This detailed report was written by none other than  current-NYT columnist Thomas L. Friedman.

Later in the same year that Friedman wrote this account, he was transferred to Jerusalem, where he served as the New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief until February 1988. He later covered Secretary of State James Baker during the administration of George H. W. Bush. Following the election of Bill Clinton in 1992, he became the White House correspondent for the New York Times. And then he moved to his current position as NYT columnist, where he spouts a consistent warhawk line.

Glenn Greenwald, writing for Salon on July 25, 2012, commented: "His status among American elites is the single most potent fact for understanding the nation's imperial decline."  Noam Chomsky has accused Friedman of endorsing and encouraging terrorism by Israeli forces.

Basketball?  With Steve Kerr, not be any actions of his own, it's always circles within circles.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher at and at Target Liberty. He is also author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics


  1. Malcolm Kerr was assassinated during the interregnum that occurred between the Beirut barracks bombing, and the battleship New Jersey bombarding Druse and Syrian gun batteries in Lebanon in early 1984. The fact that the odious political actor Thomas L. Friedman reported on this event so quickly leads me to believe he was warned ahead of time by one of his handlers, and may have been waiting for this event to go down. After watch Mr. Friedman's press conference in March, 2003, where he displayed his joy at joining the grand adventure of invading Iraq, I can only equate his putrid visage with the dance macabre. The man's eyes were bulging, darting, and excited to cover individual deaths, and the dismemberment of a nation as a columnist for the Grey Lady

  2. I call B.S. on Friedman's entire article.

    FWIW, A silencer on a revolver is a Hollywood fiction of the highest order. On all modern revolvers there is a gap between the cylinder and the forcing cone of the barrel and this gap allows the escape of gas and copious amounts of noise, rendering a silencer as pointless.

    It just doesn't wash. Too many details accrued in too short of a time frame.

  3. The way his father was killed reminds me of an almost identical killing that I think took place around the same time but in an American office building. I read about it in the last two years. The man was linked with controversy involving the government. He was also honorable, not the type to sell out due to threat of violence.i remember reading that the police pinned it on a lone nut type deal, but the secretary kept saying it was too professional to be so random.

  4. Silencers (suppressors, really) don't work on revolvers.