Post-9/11, American Muslims became fair game, targeting them for their faith, ethnicity, and at times prominence and charity.
As a result, they've been ruthlessly vilified and exploited as "war on terror" scapegoats for political advantage.
Entrapment is commonly used. Guilt or innocence doesn't matter, just the illusion that America is safer when, in fact, every victim assures greater insecurity and fear. Many are left wondering who's next.
Entrapment occurs when law enforcement officials or agents induce, influence, or provoke crimes that otherwise wouldn't be committed. However, it doesn't apply in cases of willingness to act lawlessly, government merely aiding, abetting, or facilitating a chance to do so.
It involves the following:
• government officials or agents initiate the idea;
• individuals are persuaded to act; and
• they had no previous intent or willingness to do so.
Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that subjects weren't entrapped. Otherwise, due process convictions are prohibited. However, in today's climate, judicial fairness is lost in cases involving anyone for political reasons.
Muslims are especially affected, America's target of choice. They've been hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence, convicted on bogus charges, given long sentences, then incarcerated as political prisoners.
Charged with plotting to blow up the Pentagon and US Capitol, Reswan Ferdaus is the latest victim.
On September 28, New York Times writer Abby Goodnough headlined, "Man Is Held in a Plan to Bomb Washington," saying:
Ferdaus planned to "us(e) remote-controlled aircraft filled with plastic explosives....The arrest was the result of an undercover operation (read sting) that included a cooperating witness with a criminal record (read paid informant)."
On September 28, the FBI Boston Division headlined, "Massachusetts Man Charged with Plotting Attack on Pentagon and US Capitol and Attempting to Provide Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization," saying:
Ferdaus, a Muslim US citizen, "plot(ted to) us(e) large remote controlled aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives."
Of course, civilians have no access to this type firepower without help from authorities that have it.
Nonetheless, he was charged, including "with attempting to provide material support and resources to....al Qaeda, in order to carry out attacks on US soldiers stationed overseas."
"The public was never in danger from the explosive devices, which were controlled (read fake ones supplied) by undercover FBI employees (UCs). The defendant was closely monitored as his alleged plot developed, and the UCs were in frequent contact with him (read manipulated to entrap him)."
"The FBI used an undercover operation (read sting) to conduct this investigation. Undercover operations are used to combat (read entrap) all types of (alleged) crimes and criminals, including in the counterterrorism arena."
The FBI claims Ferdaus "began planning to commit a violent 'jihad' against the US in early 2010. He obtained mobile phones, each of which he modified to act as an electrical switch for an IED. He then supplied the phones to FBI UCs."
They were FBI plants posing as Al Qaeda operatives who likely manipulated him to create an IED without his knowledge.
"In recorded conversations with the CW (paid cooperating witness) that began in January 2011, Ferdaus stated that he planned to attack the Pentagon using aircraft similar to 'small drone airplanes' filled with explosives and guided by GPS equipment."
In April 2011, he "expanded his plan to include an attack on the US Capitol."
The FBI also claimed he surveilled and photographed targets in Washington. Allegedly he "decided to couple his 'aerial assault' plan with a 'ground directive,' " involving six people "armed with automatic firearms...."
If convicted, Ferdaus faces up to 15 years on material support charges, up to 20 for attempting to "destroy national defense premises," and a "five-year minimum mandatory (sentence) and up to 20 years on the charge of attempting to damage and destroy (US) buildings...."
"On each charge, (he) also faces up to three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine."
In other words, if convicted on all charges, he faces up to life in prison unless concurrent sentences are imposed - even though he's likely innocent.
In fact, his alleged plot sounds more like a bad film script than serious scheme, including the FBI saying they'd supply him with an F-86 remote-controlled aircraft, C-4 plastic explosives, assault rifles and grenades.
Maybe they'd throw in a bunker buster for good measure, or perhaps say anything to manipulate another innocent man into making suggestive comments easily twisted to sound criminal.
Hundreds of other entrapped political prisoners like him languish in America's gulag. Moreover, past plots were just as implausible, targeting innocent victims.
They include five Muslim men allegedly conspiring to attack American soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey despite no plot, no crime or intent to commit one.
Other cases involved alleged plans to attack US marines at Quantico, VA, down National Guard jets with stinger missiles, target Pakistan's ambassador with a surface-to-air missile, blow up Chicago's Sears Tower, and others just as preposterous.
They include a fake shoe bomber, fake underwear bomber, fake Times Square bomber, an earlier fake one there, fake shampoo bombers, fake Al Qaeda woman planning fake attacks on New York landmarks, fake Oregon bomber, fake armed forces recruiting station bomber, fake 9/11 bombers, and others to enlist public support for the fake war on terror.
All cases entrapped Muslims. Accusations against them were bogus, yet they were arrested, charged, convicted and sentenced to long imprisonments - for being Muslims in America at the wrong time, not intent or conspiracies to commit crimes.
Notably, none for the past decade were committed. Every alleged plot was foiled. No one outwitted authorities. At issue is whether any were, in fact, planned.
That alone makes charges suspect, yet media scoundrels headline them to convict likely innocent people in the court of public opinion.
In addition, Attorney Holder defends entrapment, using stings involving undercover FBI employees or paid "cooperating witnesses." The latter are usually either convicted or charged felons, well compensated to cooperate for leniency.
Last year, a notable Southern California scheme backfired. It involved Craig Monteilh, a convicted felon, aka Farouk al-Aziz, code name Oracle, paid to entrap Irvine Islamic Center Muslims.
They, however, were alarmed enough by his violent jihad talk to obtain a restraining order against him. Notably, they also reported to the same FBI office that enlisted him.
Working as a paid informant, he built a terrorism-related case against a mosque member that collapsed. The Justice Department had egg on its face. Prosecutors portrayed an innocent man as a dire threat.
They lied like they always do, hyping non-existant threats to create media hysteria, public fear, and justification for war on terror imperial adventurism. It's America's global game against peace, security, and democratic freedom, putting everyone at risk, especially Muslims.
This time, however, Monteilh went public. Revealing secret FBI tactics, he said his "handlers" trained him to entrap Muslims in mosques, their homes and businesses. He's now suing the FBI. Officials declined comment except to confirm he was a paid informant. In fact, court records and other documents showed he got $177,000 tax free in 15 months.
Southern California Muslims were incensed, citing a pattern of pervasive surveillance and covert entrapment, snaring innocent victims for alleged crimes.
Last February, the Southern California ACLU and Council on American-Islamic Relations of the Greater Los Angeles Area (CAIR-LA) filed a class action lawsuit against the FBI for infiltrating and surveilling area mosques, as well as targeting Muslim Americans solely for their faith.
During 2006 and 2007, FBI agents planted informants in Orange County mosques to get information on hundreds of California Muslims. Craig Monteilh was specifically named.
The suit seeks injunctive relief on behalf of everyone bogusly targeted. It also requires the FBI to turn over or destroy all information collected through discriminatory investigations. Moreover, it wants damages for emotional stress caused.
Representing many others harmed, three plaintiffs are involved - Sheikh Yassir Fazaga, Ali Malik, and Yassir Abdel Rahim.
Orange County has a vibrant Muslim community with about 120,000 residents. It's home to America's second largest Muslim population after Dearborn, MI.
They and other Muslims are tired of being targeted for their faith and ethnicity.
Everyone should embrace their struggle at a time government of, by, and for the people applies only to its privileged.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.