May 22, 2009
The Nation

Yet Another Bogus 'Terror' Plot

by Robert Dreyfuss

By the now, it's maddeningly familiar. A scary terrorist plot is announced. Then it's revealed that the suspects are a hapless bunch of ne'er-do-wells or run-of-the-mill thugs without the slightest connection to any terrorists at all, never mind to Al Qaeda. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle: the entire plot is revealed to have been cooked up by a scummy government agent-provocateur.

I've seen this movie before. In this case, the alleged perps -- Onta Williams, James Cromitie, David Williams, and Laguerre Payen -- were losers, ex-cons, drug addicts. Al Qaeda they're not. Without the assistance of the agent who entrapped them, they would never have dreamed of committing political violence, nor would they have had the slightest idea about where to acquire plastic explosives or a Stinger missile. That didn't stop prosecutors from acting as if they'd captured Osama bin Laden himself. Noted the Los Angeles Times:

Prosecutors called it the latest in a string of homegrown terrorism plots hatched after Sept. 11.

"It's hard to envision a more chilling plot," Assistant U.S. Atty. Eric Snyder said in court Thursday. He described all four suspects as "eager to bring death to Jews."

Actually, it's hard to imagine a stupider, less competent, and less important plot. The four losers were ensnared by a creepy FBI agent who hung around the mosque in upstate New York until he found what he was looking for. . . .

Despite the pompous statements from Mayor Bloomberg of New York and other politicians, including Representative Peter King, the whole story is bogus. The four losers may have been inclined to violence, and they may have harbored a virulent strain of anti-Semitism. But it seems that the informant whipped up their violent tendencies and their hatred of Jews, cooked up the plot, incited them, arranged their purchase of weapons, and then had them busted. To ensure that it made headlines, the creepy informant claimed to be representing a Pakistani extremist group, Jaish-e Muhammad, a bona fide terrorist organization. He wasn't, of course. . . .


Robert Dreyfuss is a freelance investigative journalist whose work has appeared in The Nation, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, The American Prospect, and other progressive publications.

Michael Meacher, "'This War on Terrorism is Bogus'," Guardian, September 6, 2003

"Terrorized by 'War on Terror'," The Wisdom Fund, March 25, 2007

"Bush Administration Exploited Terror Plots For Political Gain," Huffington Post, February 23, 2008

Sean O'Neill, et al, "All Suspects in UK 'Student Terror Plot' Released," The Times, April 22, 2009

Matthew Weaver and agencies, "Four arrested over alleged New York terrorist bomb plot," Guardian, May 21, 2009

"MPAC Outraged Over NYC Synagogue Plots," Muslim Public Affairs Council, May 21, 2009

"CAIR Applauds FBI for Preventing Attacks on NY Jewish Sites," Council on American-Islamic Relations, May 21, 2009

"MPAC Sends Letter to FBI Director Over Use of Informants," Muslim Public Affairs Council, May 26, 2009

"CAIR Questions FBI Tactics in NY Synagogue 'Plot'," Council on American-Islamic Relations, May 26, 2009

[What they're saying is that he's a Muslim who planned to go overseas at some point in the future and fight in some Muslim cause, such as helping to overthrow the brutal, authoritarian regime in Jordan, which is an ally of the U.S. government. As part of this future plan, Boyd is alleged to have persuaded some other Americans to become Muslims. And apparently he also purchased a variety of weapons to wage his future jihadist campaign - weapons that, if I'm not mistaken, are available for purchase at any gun show in the U.S.--Jacob G. Hornberger, "The North Carolinian Jihadist,", July 30, 2009]

[Mohammed Jawad was as young as 12 when he was arrested by Afghan police in 2002 and accused of throwing a grenade at U.S. soldiers. Although he confessed to the crime after Afghan officials threatened to kill him and his family, his statements were later ruled inadmissible by two U.S. judges because they were coerced.

Now, although the Justice Department has conceded it can't rely on those confessions and can no longer imprison Jawad based on the laws of war, it's said it may file new criminal charges against him based on previously unavailable eyewitness testimony to the crime. Those witnesses, however, according to Jawad's U.S. military defense lawyer, were all paid in gifts or cash in exchange for their testimony.--Daphne Eviatar, "Military Lawyer Claims U.S. Paid Gitmo Prosecution Witnesses," Washington Independent, August 4, 2009]

[That level is "small compared to other violent crime in America, but not insignificant," according to the study, titled "Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans."--"Study: Threat of Muslim-American terrorism in U.S. exaggerated," CNN, January 7, 2010]

[Defense attorneys . . . said the informant chose the targets, supplied fake bombs for the synagogues and a fake missile to shoot down planes. The motion said he also offered to pay the defendants, who attorneys alleged weren't inclined toward any crime until the informant began recruiting them.--Jonathan Dienst and Hasani Gittens, "Synagogue Bomb Suspects: The Feds Put Us Up to It!,", March 19, 2010]

Roger Cohen, "The Real Threat to America,", November 25, 2010

[A Somali-born, American teenager was apparently set up by federal law enforcement officials who posed as radical Islamic fighters and lured the young man into a plot he believed would lead him to detonate a car bomb at an Oregon Christmas tree lighting ceremony.--Stephen C. Webster, "FBI apparently set up US teen blamed for fake car bomb,", November 27, 2010]

Glenn Greenwald, "The FBI successfully thwarts its own Terrorist plot,", November 28, 2010

[ . . . the only terrorist plots the defendants have participated in are those invented by the government.--Wesley Yang, "The Terrorist Search Engine,", December 5, 2010]

Graham Rayman, "Were the Newburgh 4 Really Out to Blow Up Synagogues?," Village Voice, March 2, 2011

[The government's use of surveillance, informants and invented plots fails to enhance public safety and instead prompts human rights concerns, an NYU report says.--Raja Abdulrahim, "Muslims targeted in U.S. terrorism cases, report says," Los Angeles Times, May 19, 2011]

[On Wednesday, a much-publicised FBI terrorism sting concluded when three of four men from Newburgh, New York were sentenced to 25 years in prison . . .

Throughout the sentencing, Judge McMahon remained firm: this case was a government invention. The men in question did not agree to carry out the crime due to ideology. They had no allegiance to, or even knowledge, of the terrorist group Jaish-i-Mohammed, in whose name they allegedly acted. They were not motivated to criminal behaviour by their allegiance to Allah. They were motivated, purely and simply, by money; as such, they were criminals deserving punishment, but not terrorists.--Karen Greenberg, "The FBI's Synagogue Bomb Plot," Guardian, July 1, 2011]

"Terror Probes Have FBI's Informant Numbers Soaring,", August 21, 2011

[Last year, the FBI subjected 19-year-old Somali-American Mohamed Osman Mohamud to months of encouragement, support and money and convinced him to detonate a bomb at a crowded Christmas event in Portland, Oregon, only to arrest him at the last moment and then issue a Press Release boasting of its success. In late 2009, the FBI persuaded and enabled Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a 19-year old Jordanian citizen, to place a fake bomb at a Dallas skyscraper and separately convinced Farooque Ahmed, a 34-year-old naturalized American citizen born in Pakistan, to bomb the Washington Metro.--Glenn Greenwald, "The FBI again thwarts its own Terror plot,", September 29, 2011]

[Counterterrorism experts and model-aircraft hobbyists said it would be nearly impossible to inflict large-scale damage of the sort Ferdaus allegedly envisioned using model planes.--"Could model airplanes become a terrorist weapon?,", September 30, 2011]

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