Monday, November 29, 2010

Feds Entrap Teen into "Terrorism", Provided Fake Bomb, Drove Him to "Terror" Site, Paid Him Thousands

What an excellent post by Glenn Greenwald on the utterly outrageous set-up of a youth by the FBI, so they can get their "war on terror" candy. This kid was no threat, though after cozening whatever disgruntled adolescent angst he had into "terrorist" expression, they just might have succeeded in birthing a new jihadist. Here's Glenn rationally setting out the case that 19-year-old Somali-American, Mohamed Osman Mohamud was set-up:
All of the information about this episode -- all of it -- comes exclusively from an FBI affidavit filed in connection with a Criminal Complaint against Mohamud.  As shocking and upsetting as this may be to some, FBI claims are sometimes one-sided, unreliable and even untrue, especially when such claims -- as here -- are uncorroborated and unexamined.  That's why we have what we call "trials" before assuming guilt or even before believing that we know what happened:  because the government doesn't always tell the complete truth, because they often skew reality, because things often look much different once the accused is permitted to present his own facts and subject the government's claims to scrutiny.  The FBI affidavit -- as well as whatever its agents are whispering into the ears of reporters -- contains only those facts the FBI chose to include, but omits the ones it chose to exclude.  And even the "facts" that are included are merely assertions at this point and thus may not be facts at all.

It may very well be that the FBI successfully and within legal limits arrested a dangerous criminal intent on carrying out a serious Terrorist plot that would have killed many innocent people, in which case they deserve praise.  Court-approved surveillance and use of undercover agents to infiltrate terrorist plots are legitimate tactics when used in accordance with the law.

But it may also just as easily be the case that the FBI -- as they've done many times in the past -- found some very young, impressionable, disaffected, hapless, aimless, inept loner; created a plot it then persuaded/manipulated/entrapped him to join, essentially turning him into a Terrorist; and then patted itself on the back once it arrested him for having thwarted a "Terrorist plot" which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI's own concoction.  Having stopped a plot which it itself manufactured, the FBI then publicly touts -- and an uncritical media amplifies -- its "success" to the world, thus proving both that domestic Terrorism from Muslims is a serious threat and the Government's vast surveillance powers -- current and future new ones -- are necessary.

There are numerous claims here that merit further scrutiny and questioning.  First, the FBI was monitoring the email communications of this American citizen on U.S. soil for months (at least) with what appears to be the flimsiest basis: namely, that he was in email communication with someone in Northwest Pakistan, "an area known to harbor terrorists" (para. 5 of the FBI Affidavit).  Is that enough to obtain court approval to eavesdrop on someone's calls and emails?  I'm glad the FBI is only eavesdropping with court approval, if that's true, but certainly more should be required for judicial authorization than that.  Communicating with someone in Northwest Pakistan is hardly reasonable grounds for suspicion.

Second, in order not to be found to have entrapped someone into committing a crime, law enforcement agents want to be able to prove that, in the 1992 words of the Supreme Court, the accused was "was independently predisposed to commit the crime for which he was arrested."  To prove that, undercover agents are often careful to stress that the accused has multiple choices, and they then induce him into choosing with his own volition to commit the crime.  In this case, that was achieved by the undercover FBI agent's allegedly advising Mohamud that there were at least five ways he could serve the cause of Islam (including by praying, studying engineering, raising funds to send overseas, or becoming "operational"), and Mohamud replied he wanted to "be operational" by using exploding a bomb (para. 35-37).

But strangely, while all other conversations with Mohamud which the FBI summarizes were (according to the affidavit) recorded by numerous recording devices, this conversation -- the crucial one for negating Mohamud's entrapment defense -- was not.  That's because, according to the FBI, the undercover agent "was equipped with audio equipment to record the meeting.  However, due to technical problems, the meeting was not recorded" (para. 37).
Hm, a missing tape, just when they were to nail down the evidence. What a coincidence! The FBI must think this is a country of morons. Maybe it is. But I'd like to believe that they will get their political comeuppance one of these days.

An entire country needs to wake up and smell the coffee. The FBI and the rest of the government agents drank some evil kool-aid, and, eager to serve their masters, they will do anything to justify their love of police-state tactics. They even think, I believe, they are saving America. That's what makes them so dangerous. How odd that in fighting the "true believers," they became the same themselves, and now threaten to bring us all down to the level of a police state.

1 comment:

Christopher said...

As long as there is neither a media watchdog nor a real justice system based on rule of law these things will go on and increase. Why not? Everything is a propaganda/PR operation. Absolutely everything you read or hear or watch in the MSM is a lie even when it is true because they twist it to fit their ideology.

I used to read Pravda in the old days and saw what they did--the writing was pretty good but certain issues were slanted. The current MSM uses the same techniques and has, in my view, even less relation to the truth than Pravda did.

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