Somali men in new ‘terrorism’ cases

Jury selection is underway in the terrorism trial of Mohamed Mohamud, a Somali-American accused of attempting to ignite a "weapon of mass destruction" at Portland's 2010 holiday tree-lighting ceremony, The Oregonian reports Jan. 10. But an NPR report states: "There was no bomb—the defendant was the target of an FBI sting operation… His lawyers are expected to argue their client was entrapped… The car bombing plot—the purchasing of the car, the gathering of explosives, the plan itself—was orchestrated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation." True, the guy came to the attention of the FBI when he started posting to online jihadist forums. But he was only 19 years old when he was arrested, and therefore could try "to convince the jury he was manipulated by the FBI." Good to see the media finally raising some skepticism about a specious terrorism case. Additionally, although no media account has mentioned this angle, we strongly object to calling a conventional explosive a "weapon of mass destruction." Much less one that didn't even exist! What's up with that?

Last month the New York Times reported that a federal trial is about to open in Brooklyn in the case of three men "arrested" in Africa en route to Yemen in August. "They are accused of participating in weapons and explosives training with Al Shabab, a United States-designated terrorist group linked to Al Qaeda, during a four-year period beginning in 2008. Court documents show no connection between the alleged crimes and the United States." Al-Shabab is, of course, the jihadist rebel movement in Somalia. But the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reveals that at least one of the men—Mahdi Hashi, 23, a British citizen of Somali background—was not exactly "arrested," but "rendered" (or, in the Newspeak version, "renditioned") by the US from Djibouti. He was apparently plucked from a jail in Djibouti by US agents in June, and his whereabouts were unknown to his family back in the UK until the indictment against him was unsealed in late December. He had apparently fled to the Horn of Africa after being harassed and spied on by the authorities in Britain. The two other men in the case are of Swedish citizenship, and it is unclear how they ended up in US custody. As even the New York Times account admitted: "Much of the case is shrouded in mystery."


  1. Another specious “terrorism” bust
    This time maybe (the report is ambiguous) the terror plot really did originate with the suspect rather than the infiltrators, but it appears it was still the infiltrators who facilitated it. From the San Jose Mercury News, Feb. 9:

    OAKLAND — Matthew Aaron Llaneza bragged to his accomplice that after blowing up a Bank of America branch in Oakland, “he would dance with joy.” Then after an act of terrorism that Llaneza hoped would be blamed on anti-government militias, federal officials say, he planned to flee to Afghanistan and train Taliban fighters.

    But Llaneza’s co-conspirator was not, as he believed, a member of the Taliban. He was an undercover FBI agent, and that’s why early Friday morning, Llaneza, a 28-year-old San Jose resident and former Marine, was arrested after federal authorities say he attempted to detonate a car bomb that they had secretly rendered inoperable as part of a months-long sting.

    Federal agents swooped down on Llaneza near the bank on Hegenberger Road after he tried to set off the fake bomb using two cellphones.

    Authorities were tight-lipped Friday about the bizarre scheme, which was thwarted by the FBI’s South Bay Joint Terrorism Task Force.

    “It’s a national security matter,” said FBI spokeswoman Roselie Custodio. “That’s why we’re keeping such a close hold on this. But we want to make clear that we went to great lengths to ensure that there was no threat to public safety.”

    Oh “national security,” my ass. Just more FBI manipulation of a mixed-up extremoid to win cheap headlines.

    …In the criminal complaint of the foiled bombing, Llaneza is described as supporting the Taliban and wanting to engage in jihad.

    Authorities allege that Llaneza believed blowing up the bank would “trigger a governmental crackdown, which he expected would trigger a right-wing counter-response against the government followed by, he hoped, civil war.”

    …He met Nov. 30 with the undercover agent who had led him to believe he was connected with the Taliban and mujahedeen in Afghanistan. Llaneza proposed a car-bomb attack on a Bay Area bank, according to authorities.

    Llaneza suggested attacking the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or another unspecified bank in the area. He later decided there would too much security at the Federal Reserve Bank and began scouting Bank of America locations in Oakland…

    On Jan. 26, Llaneza and the undercover agent loaded into the SUV a dozen 5-gallon buckets containing chemicals prepared by the FBI to simulate an explosive mixture. On Thursday night, the complaint continues, Llaneza and the undercover agent took separate vehicles to a Union City parking lot to complete the assembly of the fake device. Llaneza then drove the SUV to the bank, parked next to a supporting column and beneath an overhang in hopes the explosion would bring down the building. The undercover FBI agent met him there, and they walked a safe distance away to set off the bomb.

    Llaneza was arrested after it failed to detonate.

    The same bank, not far from Oakland International Airport, was the site of a bombing more than four decades ago by activists during the Vietnam War. The blast on May 24, 1971, shattered 15 windows, but no injuries were reported. In the early 1970s, three dozen branches of Bank of America were bombed and burned across the country.

    When are people gonna get it? This cynical creation of terror plots by the FBI is making us less safe, not more. It just ups the whole level of paranoia and polarization. As if we don’t have enough already. Thanks a lot, guys.