Friday, June 30, 2006

Do US Prosecutors Have a Sense of Humor?

I read in my morning paper that US prosecutors revealed in a hearing designed to get approval for denying bail to one of 7 alleged terrorists arrested on Friday, June 23, 2006 and transferring him to Miami to be with his co-conspirators that the goal of the 7 alleged terrorists was to bomb FBI buildings in 5 major US cities as part of their plan to take over the US government and replace it with an Islamic regime. This is hilarious. I don't think that George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfield, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, plus the top Generals of the Army, Air Force, and the Navy -- call them "The Washington Seven" -- could overthrow the US government were they to try. It was also revealed that the alleged ringleader, one Narseal Batiste, conceded that people would probably think he was crazy (Duh!) but he believed that all things are possible with the help of Allah.

I bring this up because for the prosecutors to cite this in their bail and extradition hearing suggests that they don't have any real evidence of a genuine conspiracy to commit terrorist acts of the sort that should worry us. The prosecutors say that they have video evidence that the group swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden in March. IMO, the combination of this video combined with whatever else the FBI informant who posed as an al-Qaida operative has to say should be used to commit these seven guys to a mental institution, rather than used to try them for a conspiracy to commit terrorist acts. Swearing allegiance to OBL or anyone else is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition to prove someone to be an active terrorist.

I have made clear that I am opposed to terrorists bombing anything anywhere, but the problem in this case has always been the timing. The arrests were revealed the day after it was revealed by the New York Times and other papers that George II of the USA had authorized the CIA's spying on international banking interactions involving US and other citizens. Forgive me for indulging in what is for me a rare instance of conspiracy theorizing when I suggest that the arrests were timed to blunt the force of the revelation of a violation of privacy of Americans as they engage in international banking activities which many ordinary people do every business day. What we really have here is a case of US prosecutors suffering an instance of premature ejaculation in support of the conspiracy. I cite the following from the Boston Hearld of June 23 as evidence supporting my conspiracy theory:
Miami U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta said in a statement that the investigation was an ongoing operation and that more details would be released today. Local media reported that agents were raiding a warehouse in Miami’s Liberty City section.
“There is no imminent threat to Miami or any other area because of these operations,” said Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman in Washington. He declined further comment.
So, there was no great need to arrest these dudes, given that there was an on-going investigation and there was no imminent threat to anyone anywhere. The rush to arrest seems to have benn part a rush to defend the spying on Americans.

One sentence used in the AP story (possibly edited by the Columbus Dispatch) today was quite interesting. It read
The [bombing] plan came from an FBI informant posing as an al-Quaida operative.
This reads as if the FBI agent came up with the idea for the terrorist attack. It will come as to surprise to those familiar with the civil rights movement and anti-war movement in the 60's and 70's that FBI agents might be provocateurs. Whether the FBI guy, who must have been under pressure to come up with something, planted the seed of this bombing plan or the idea that such an action could lead to the overthrow of the US government I don't know. I hope the prosecutors have better evidence than they have so far revealed because any competent defense attorney will suggest such a possibility.

The problem the government has with the war on terror is that if they are successful in preventing attacks we will possibly never hear about it since publicizing the success could reveal methods of investigation the government doesn't want to reveal. One thing the government has done today is reveal to any terrorist cells to be on the look out for moles planted by the CIA or FBI. Maybe they already suspect such a possibility. Now they know it to be a certainty.

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Blogger aim said...

interesting analysis. The whole event smacks of implanting ideas and evidence on the part of the informant, and just plain nuttiness on the parts of the 'terrorists'--their request for combat boots, for example, and a video camera and rental van. And the timing of the announcement is interesting--

1:15 PM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Timing aside, it doesn't make these guys any less guilty just because their idea was stupid. If you were to plan to, say, take over Offutt Air Force Base with a paring knife, and go out to buy that paring knife with a friend who was in on the whole thing, then you're guilty of a conspiracy. If you have enough for a conviction, why wait any longer and possibly risk human life in the process? My only question would be why they didn't act as soon as they had enough for a conviction. Then again, I'm no FBI strategist, and maybe waiting longer would have been more advantageous in the long run for rooting out terrorists.

And in case anyone was wondering, no, there would be no problems with entrapment here, at least from what I know about it.

2:55 PM

Blogger The Language Guy said...

Kelly, you may be right that it doesn't make the dudes less guilty because it was silly. It makes them less convictable unless the government can show drawings or photos of the buildings or other evidence of an actual as opposed to fantasy plan.

As to entrapment, do you really think the government would reveal in public how an FBI agent entrapped these guys if he had. He might as well not draw up an endictment.

I think the government believes is all they have to do these days is hang a placard around the neck of some guy that says "terrorist" and the job is done. The governement appears to have accomplished very little in the area of law enforcement, as opposed to fighting the Taliban and al-auaida in Afghanistan, by way of ferriting out seriusly dangerous terrorists. All the money and all the hype about cooperation has yielded very little.

Cheney can talk all day about how valuable the intelligence has been from gitmo but do you really believe a word that man says? He's still promoting the "Saddam in bed with al Quaida" theory despite the evidence from the CIA that it is false. He will do and say anything that promotes his agenda.

9:27 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

Or perhaps Cheney is really just paranoid, rather than promoting an agenda.

9:20 AM

Blogger Full Metal Attorney said...

I guess it's not like that's really any better, though.

3:44 PM


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