How to spot a terrorist

Eric Holder went to California to provide an update on the FBI’s terrorist training program. What he has yet to acknowledge is this: if the FBI can’t catch “terrorists” without first providing them with fake bombs, maybe the guys they’re catching aren’t really terrorists.

Doesn’t the criminal process attach as much importance to means as it does to motives? Disregard means, and we are heading into the Orwellian world of thoughtcrimes.

The New York Times, reporting on the Attorney General’s speech to Muslim Advocates, said:

In his remarks, Mr. Holder said that stings had been used for decades against many types of crimes. And he defended the investigation last month in Portland, Ore., in which a young Somali-American man, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested after law enforcement agents said he tried to trigger what he thought was a car bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.

“I make no apologies for the how the F.B.I. agents handled their work in executing the operation that led to Mr. Mohamud’s arrest,” Mr. Holder said. “Their efforts helped to identify a person who repeatedly expressed his desire and intention to kill innocent Americans.”

He added: “But you also have my word that the Justice Department will — just as vigorously — continue to pursue anyone who would target Muslims, or their houses of worship.”

Despite the attorney general’s reassurances, some in attendance were deeply concerned by the federal government’s ongoing undercover sting operations.

“I grew up during the civil rights era and I’m aware how the civil rights community was infiltrated by provocateurs and agents who sought to undermine the legitimate struggles of the movement,” said Abu Qadir Al-Amin, 60, an African-American imam from Vallejo, Calif. “So my antennae are up and I try to educate the Muslim community so that they don’t put themselves in a vulnerable position if someone comes along suggesting they do something illegal.”

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5 thoughts on “How to spot a terrorist

  1. blowback

    Perhaps Holder should go after real criminals first such as Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Yoo, Bybee,…………………… before dredging up potemkin criminals. Maybe then all those young potential criminals might have more faith in the American system as they see no one is above the law.

  2. pabelmont

    blowback is right. this PROSECUTORIAL NULLIFICATION. The refusal of Obama/Holder to investigate and where justified to prosecute (or secure independent prosecutors to prosecute) either current (i.e., their own) or past (as he suggests, those of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Yoo/Bybee) crimes MEANS that those crimes will never be punished, just as if the criminal laws involved had never been written. THIS IS PROSECUTORIAL NULLIFICATION. And, never forget, prosecutors do not like it when juries perform the rather similar NULLIFICATION OF LAWS BY JURY (by letting the guilty off).

  3. Ian Arbuckle

    There are guilty Americans and then there are innocent Americans. Which is worse and what is innocence? Semantics, you might say.

    Innocence; naivety, gullibility, untouched by reality, ignorance, foolishness or a a state manifest of pure choice made in the full clarity of enlightenment. In this, an era in which each of us have a duty to take responsibility for our own actions; our effect on the shared planet and its people and not be led blindly by the propaganda, commercial or political, what is the implication of innocence. Perhaps being innocent enough to accept Mr. Holder’s thesis is in itself the error, as in the ignorance of the law, being one of the masses living in fear and ready to cultivate a sacrificial lamb to “prove” the threat and vindicate our fears? There is relativism about this term, innocent. And a Kafkaesque surrealism about the masses lost in fear and ignorance, while directly doing their Christmas shopping at the mall, but indirectly the same innocents spend billions in Home Land (Vaterland?) Security, the trillions in defence (offence?) and weapons exports….. to protect “the innocent”.

    What is innocent about eating from, living from, building your shelter out of, the civil contracts, the weapons deals, the deaths, the torture, the subjugation, the foreign resources, the economic colonization enforced by hit men, maintained through puppet dictators, the exported insecurity, the displacement, the disaster capitalism, the strategic placing of military threats in 700 plus bases and embassy fortresses in the name of defence, the wars of aggression, the occupations, the nuclear threat, the militarization of space….. the empire.

    Yes, on one end of the scale somewhere there is a silenced crying baby or a little child that has done nobody any harm and sought only to live with love. He or she was the incarnation of innocence, but in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Yemen or Somalia they were just considered “collateral damage” of another drone attack.

    I would hate to have to stand in judgment between the guilt or “innocence” of Mr. Holder and his administrations, present and previous, or the relative guilt or innocence of the young Mohamed Osman Mohamud.

  4. Phil Dennany

    Terror is a product that is created an nurtured by the American’s own security and defense agencies to create profits for their elite manufacturing, war service providers and big banks. Patsy individuals hat fall victim to US government sting operations of course must be prosecuted, but the problem will continue and increase until those federal criminals that authorize and organiuze such terror must be prosecuted with even more stiff penalties for their part in their crimes of treason and terror. The incident of terror would not have come about but through their active roles.

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