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Entrapped: FBI Targets Left-Out Youth of Color

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Entrapped: FBI Targets Left-Out Youth of Color
Linda Averill
February 2011
Source: Socialism

As U.S. wars in the Middle East drag on, the Obama Administration is in desperate need of an excuse to clamp down on dissent over U.S. foreign policy there. Enter the war on “homegrown terrorism.”

In the 1950s, communists were the bogeymen used to justify the Cold War against the Soviet Union and a huge U.S. arms buildup. Today, the Department of Justice and FBI are waging a similar witch-hunt, only this time targeting primarily Arab Americans, Muslims, and young men of color. Socialists and anti-war rad-icals, especially in the pro-Palestinian solidarity movement, are also on the line. (See FBI widens witch-hunt.)

In one recent example of this so-called war to root out domestic terrorists, FBI spooks “caught” Mohamed Mohamud, a 19-year-old Somali-American who, they claimed, almost bombed a tree-lighting ceremony in Oregon. In late November, media blared the news that FBI agents had saved thousands of Portlanders from death. But as details emerged, public shock turned to anger. Not only had agents provided the teen the fake bomb, they had groomed him in the plot for months. Said Saba Ahmed, whose brother grew up with Mohamud, “This guy has been framed really badly.”

Dig deeper and the FBI’s repressive political aims and racist methods surface. In a campaign reminiscent of how the government trampled the civil rights of Japanese-Americans during World War II, the FBI is today sending provocateurs into Muslim and Arab American communities, to create terrorist plots where none exist.

The aim of this witch-hunt is to whip up fear and support for the phony war on terror, demonize and marginalize communities with ties to the Middle East, and silence all criticism of U.S. war aims, especially its backing of Israeli imperialism.

The war at home. With direction from the U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Eric Holder, the FBI is dumping tax dollars into a vast domestic spy network. In addition to eavesdropping, raiding homes of anti-war activists, and engaging in other unconstitutional acts, the FBI is sending provocateurs into Muslim and Arab American communities to find young men who can be lured into misdeeds — often using offers of money and goods. In Irvine, Calif., one operative was so aggressive in his methods that leaders of a Mosque sought a restraining order to keep him away.

Another case in December involved Antonio Martinez (also called Muhammad Hussain), a 21-year-old construction worker in Baltimore. Agents provided Martinez with an SUV and fake bomb, as well as months of coaching. In Newburgh, N.Y., four young Black men, all ex-prisoners in their twenties, were lured into a fake bomb plot by an FBI informant who used offers of jobs, food, help with medical bills, and more.

The men now face life in prison. At trial, their overburdened defense attorneys argued the FBI entrapped them. But courts, no matter how outrageous FBI methods, are ruling harshly, thanks to the bipartisan anti-terror hype and hysteria.

Other cases, including the Fort Dix Five and Liberty City Seven, follow similar patterns, where paid provocateurs target men of color, mostly young, poor and disenfranchised as a result of their economic, religious, and/or immigration status.

At one recent forum in New York City to discuss this growing trend, Alicia McWilliams, aunt of a Newburgh Four defendant, summarized the FBI’s modus operandi: “They pick the most vulnerable county in the state. Where there’s no jobs, where there’s no training. Newburgh is where the unskilled live. You can’t tell me these individuals masterminded anything.”

Red Scare redux. Under President Obama, liberal and progressive organizations have too often excused the administration’s attacks on civil liberties. But as the Department of Homeland Security escalates police state measures (airport full body scans, ICE raids, etc.), opposition is heating up. This is especially true in Muslim and Arab communities and the anti-war movement, where the FBI has focused its fire.

To boost support for repressive policies, Attorney General Holder is striving to convince the public that domestic terrorists really are lurking everywhere.

Not to be outdone, Republicans intend to kick the witch-hunt into overdrive. New York’s Rep. Peter King, new chair for the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, plans to hold hearings on the “radicalization of Muslims” and “homegrown terrorism.”

This grandstanding fuels bigotry and real attacks against Muslims and Arab Americans. While the FBI trolls “jihad” chat rooms, the Minutemen, Nazis, Sarah Palin, and Fox News talk of shooting their opponents — and sometimes do, or inspire others, such as Arizona shooter Jared Loughner.

Democrats and Republicans mouth concern over this rightwing violence. But the test is whether they speak up and defend those under attack.

Shortly after the agency sensationalized its capture of Mohamud in Portland, a mosque the teen attended in nearby Corvallis was torched in retribution. Arsons, vandalism, Koran burnings and hate rallies are becoming common. But this kind of terrorism is ignored or whitewashed by the FBI.

Resistance is growing. Clearly, these attacks won’t be going away any time soon. But government dirty tactics are also creating a breed of activists who are not easily intimidated. This is good news.

In Oregon, residents quickly organized a vigil to show their support for the Muslim community. Later, Portlanders spoke against establishing a Joint Terrorism Task Force there.

In New York, Arab Americans, Muslims, and civil rights groups have organized forums to educate about FBI entrapment. Lamis Deek, of the National Lawyers Guild and Al-Awda NY, characterized the attacks as a threat that imperils everyone’s constitutional rights, and called for a collective defense.

Across the U.S., student groups involved in Palestinian solidarity work signed a letter condemning the FBI raids and grand jury summons against anti-war socialists in the Midwest. And in several cities, defense committees are helping victims of FBI entrapment. Readers can learn about these efforts through Project SALAM, Support and Legal Advocacy for Muslims, at

As Obama and both major parties ratchet up repression, the best response is an aggressive and radical offense that educates about who the real terrorists are — the U.S. and global capitalist ruling class.

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Mosque Shuns FBI Informant
December 7, 2010
Al Jazeera

FBI practices draw criticism as a former informant sues the bureau, raising further questions among American Muslims.

Al Jazeera aired this report about Monteilh in 2009

The counter-terrorism practices of the FBI have once more been placed under the spotlight, as a former informant seeks legal action against the bureau, the Washington Post reported.

A story first reported by Al Jazeera 16 months ago; the FBI informant attempted to infiltrate an Islamic community centre located in Irvine, California. Scaring Muslim worshippers to such an extent - with his talk of violent jihad - that they proceeded to take out a restraining order against him.

However, the FBI claims its use of such informants has prevented a host of further attacks since the events of September 11, 2001.

The latest case follows revelations that a man who tried to bomb a Christmas event in Portland, Oregon, did so not only whilst under FBI surveillance, but had been provided with fake explosives by its undercover agents.

Making matters worse for the agency, Craig Monteilh, the convicted fraudster whom the FBI sent into the mosque to spy on its members, has gone public in suing the investigative agency.

Yet its officials have said that they do not target Muslims - an argument that has long been taken with a dose of scepticism by Muslim communities across the length and breadth of the United States.

The two cases are reviving criticisms over the government agency's apparent surveillance of Muslims in the US.

Southern Californian Muslim community leaders have expressed outrage over the FBI's methods, saying it undermines any efforts to build trust.

"The community feels betrayed," Shakeel Syed, the executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, told the Post.

"They got a guy, a bona fide criminal, and obviously trained him and sent him to infiltrate mosques," Syed was quoted as saying. "And when things went sour, they ditched him and he got mad. It's like a soap opera, for God's sake."


Reported elsewhere:

CAIR Representative Speaks about Extremism and Youth Entrapment


Faiz Ahmed


Imam Walid spoke about how certain types of people are being targeted by the FBI for entrapment. "
Muslim from poor backgrounds, from vulnerable groups, refugee communities, are being targeted. Somali Americans are most at risk
" he said.

Muslims are being brought into plots that they were not planning to be a part of, new Muslims, poor Muslims and young Muslims are being entrapped into these plots he explained.

He also mentioned that the people who are being used as informants are Muslims and non-Muslims pretending to be Muslims.
The Muslim who are being asked to act as informants are mainly people who are facing criminal liabilities, who are facing immigration issues, or financial issues

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Why Mainstream Media Refuses to Report the West's Shocking New Colonialism


By Anthony Wile


May 16, 2011 "The Daily Bell" -- To ask the question is to answer it. The Western mainstream media seems entirely controlled and beholden to globalist interests emanating in part from the City of London. Reports and exposes of neo-colonialism are not likely to find a place on the front pages of the great dailies and weeklies of the old-line press – nor even on websites controlled by it.


There is another answer, too, that I will provide at the end of this article. It is simple and blunt. Thus you may skip the article if you want. Or you may read on ...


Democracy is said to be on the rise in the Middle East, yet all democracy is evidently not created equal. Democratic movements in Egypt and Tunisia are said to have won out. Yet similar movements in Bahrain, Yemen and Saudi Arabia – inconvenient by Western standards – are neither encouraged nor widely reported.


This makes sense only when one realizes the truth about what is going on. The world's great, intergenerational banking families have embarked on a new spate of colonialism to disenfranchise their enemies and empower their allies. Those regimes in developing countries that endorse power-elite goals will be allowed to function. Otherwise they will be destabilized.


Hardly a whisper regarding what is evidently and obviously a deliberate policy of "neo-colonialism" has been heard from the West's mainstream media. Thus it was with interest that I read an article in yesterday's online version of The Hindu, India's "national newspaper" entitled The Manufacture of Consensus and Legitimacy. Author M.S. Prabhakara deals with many of the issues raised in these electronic pages in the past few weeks.


Prabhakara has pretty much figured it out – as we have over the past few months. He believes the recent conflicts in the Middle East and Africa raise important questions about the limits of national sovereignty, as United Nations resolutions were used to justify invasions into both Libya and the Ivory Coast. Here's some more from the article:


Foreign armed intervention to save the people from their own governments and leaders became inevitable. The question who decides that there is indeed a mass uprising that is being repressed with such violence by the very state that is supposed to protect its people becomes irrelevant in an environment where the media and 'civil society' exert enormous influence in moulding national and international opinion, and something else called R2P. And thereby hangs a tale.


This new and evolving doctrine that has legitimised foreign intervention to remove leaders like Qadhafi on the ground that they have become 'enemies of the people' was crafted through an 'international consensus' during the 2005 UN World Summit and has come to be known as the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (R2P, in the jargon of the new language order). This consensus was manufactured by NGOs networking with the United Nations and other national and international human rights organisations.


The Preamble [to the R2P doctrine] drips with moral commitment to protect the 'people' against their own governments, even if these were to be elected governments. It also raises many questions. For instance, the mechanisms built in democratic polities to remove elected governments that have become oppressive are not even taken into consideration because the state and its elected representatives have become corrupt beyond redemption, unlike the 'civil society' that is axiomatically seen as immaculate, unstained.


The key point raised in the article is that "above all, this very 'international community' now entrusted with the 'responsibility to assist the states in fulfilling this responsibility,' to protect their population from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing, has itself waged war against their own people, committed genocides."


And, yes, this is the critical issue. Prabhakara catches the heart of it: "Put simply, instrumentalities such as the R2P [we've reported on this previously, along with the under-the-radar abrogation of the Peace of Westphalia] devised by the 'international community,' like the ongoing demeaning of the democratic political process in India by positing against it 'non-political politics,' are yet another weapon being crafted to assist the relentless process of recolonisation under way in many formerly colonised countries."


What Prabhakara doesn't cover – perhaps there is a limit to what can be discussed in one article – is the larger distortion of elite rhetoric when it comes to the new neocolonialism. In Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen, the West, Western elites more and more are justifying torture, illicit imprisonment and outright murder. The decline of civil society is not just rhetorical. Saudi Arabian troops have murdered and maimed hundreds of civilians at home and in Bahrain with the West's implicit blessing.


The myth of al-Qaeda, at least initially an American invention, has been enlarged and elaborated on until the nonsensical War on Terror itself has taken on mythical proportions. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, only a few months ago a dependable Western ally, is suddenly a marked man; NATO bombs his residences with impunity, kills one of his sons and three of his grandchildren and hardly bothers to apologize.


Neocolonialism's New Brutality is evident everywhere. American troops invade Pakistan to attack the residence of a faux bin Laden, and kill, wound or capture whoever unfortunately resides there and then the country's leaders trumpet the raid as a great American achievement. The mind-bending spectacle of Western leaders celebrating the cold-blooded murder ("tapping") of a man who probably died years ago was only exceeded by the next wave of deliberate rhetoric that claimed that "unusual interrogations" – torture – helped reveal his location.


It is all evil and deliberate – a media promotion featuring a complex interweaving of violent dominant and sub-dominant social themes. The world's single super-power has, as Dick Cheney reportedly suggested it should, moved toward the Dark Side, and is taking much of the world with it. Celebrations of killing, justifications of torture, the imposition of the hallmarks of a police state at home and the support of neo-colonialism abroad all inform us that America is changing for the worse.


Yes, it is chilling. When America lies, its allies lie, too. When American leaders tell deliberate untruths and treat human lives as if they are entertainment in so-called snuff-films, those who live in the shadow of the world's super-mono-power are left to mumble in unison or face the consequences. It goes for the media too, of course. These days, instead of celebrating businessmen, America's mainstream media mostly lionizes the military class – its brilliant generals and intrepid warriors.


Instead of profiles of entrepreneurs, the media is filled with stories about America's overseas combatants and courageous soldiers. Such soldiers are courageous but they are also killing others and maiming themselves for what might be considered very questionable objectives.


Two terrible wars and incessant, unnecessary spending have virtually bankrupted the US. Yet war continues, poisoning the land with depleted uranium and killing women and children who get caught in the crossfire or bombed by misguided drone attacks.


Those who oppose them in America seem helpless to stop the violence that is being projected in their name. America's leaders are pressing Iraq to allow American troops to stay in the country in great numbers. In Afghanistan, troop drawdowns have been pushed back from 2012 to 2014 and now beyond.


But the main issue – the most astonishing and unheralded even of the unfolding 21st century – is the West's sudden expansion of neo-colonialism and the accompaniment savage, reprehensible rhetoric by its leaders, especially in America, Britain and France. Afghanistan and Iraq were just an appetizer after all.


To me it seems obvious. Just as with the Gutenberg Press long ago, the elites have lost control of the ability to control society via fear-based promotions because of what we have taken to calling the Internet Reformation. The elites, therefore, are evidently and obviously doing what they can to combat this reformation – this awakening – by causing economic turmoil and military confrontations.


Both tactics have as their goal increased world domination; but these are the bluntest of tools. To watch them being applied by Western leaders is to be astounded by the ability of those who lead the most civilized of societies to endorse the most uncivil and brutal acts.


Here is the answer I promised at the beginning of the article: We seem to be led, unfortunately, by beasts. Is that harsh?


Anthony Wile is an author, columnist, media commentator and entrepreneur focused on developing projects that promote the general advancement of free-market thinking concepts. He is the chief editor of the popular free-market oriented news site, Mr. Wile is the Executive Director of The Foundation for the Advancement of Free-Market Thinking – a non-profit Liechtenstein-based foundation. His most popular book, High Alert, is now in its third edition and available in several languages. Other notable books written by Mr. Wile include The Liberation of Flockhead (2002) and The Value of Gold (2002).


Copyright © 2011 The Daily Bell

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I heard a good news report that reminded me of this thread last week, so this is an update/referal for the folks who may have missed that report.


The Friday before last (9/28/2012), as part of its Faaqidaadda Todobaadka segment, the Somali VOA aired a report about the intense suspicion and surveillance that Somalis have been under in recent years. It addressed the problems associated with traveling as Muslim in the post-9/11 atmosphere, but also revealed the way some people are hounded and harassed by intelligence agencies like MI6--targetted not because they have committed crimes, but because the agencies sought to pressure and coerce into them serving as informants. Several men in the UK and North America related their personal experiences. A lawyer also offered some tips at the end.


Faaqidaadda: Dabagalka Soomaalida Qurbaha


Their stories are a few drops in the bucket. A reminder of how crucial it is to know your rights, speak out, and get legal representation when you need it.


There is sometimes a tendency to excessively particularize the problems Muslim communities face and treat them as though they are totally unique to us. But entrapment, profiling, and unwarranted spying effect and harm both Muslims and non-Muslims. Many nonviolent movements and activists, especially those of ethnic minorities and anti-capitalists, have long been targeted and they still are. The cases of the Cleveland 5 and the NATO 3 (see here and here) are recent examples. Being aware that the experiences of Muslims are part of a broader dynamic of eroding civil liberties and increasing state repression, which threatens everyone, is much more instructive and empowering than thinking that we are in the hot seat alone.


The pamphlets below contain important informant on what to know and how to defend your rights. They are by CUNY C.L.E.A.R., a Muslim civil rights and legal advocacy project based at the City University of New York School of Law.


Know Your Rights: What You Should Know About Informants (PDF)

Know Your Rights: Flying While Muslim (PDF)

Know Your Rights: Charitable Giving (PDF)

Know Your Rights: What to Do in Interactions with Law Enforcement (PDF)


The ACLU's Know Your Rights booklet is another one to check out, as are these two publications:

Targeted and Entrapped: Manufacturing the "Homegrown Threat" in the United States (PDF)

Victims of America's Dirty Wars: Tactics and Reason from COINTELPRO to the War on Terror in the United States (PDF)

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Thanks Warmoog.


Our problem is lack of understanding of the system and absence of any civic responsibilities coupled with deficient leadership, in other words Somali can not come together around an issue that inflicts them all and we lack the good leaders.

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You're welcome walaal.


I don't know if it is a lack of good leaders or that Somalis are just difficult to lead, but our communities are too unorganized, too uninvolved, and we don't do enough to defend our rights. We hear about these cases when they hit the headlines, after gullible teens have been ensnared in criminal activity and arrested, and by then the damage has already been done. All the more reason to raise awareness and prevent the problems before they start.


To correct my typo above, it was MI5, not MI6, that the VOA interviewees in the UK complained about. In 2009, there were other Somali brothers who spoke to the media about that agency's attempts to force them to serve as informants. The Independent wrote this feature article about them. It is inspiring to see the heroism from ordinary people who have the courage and integrity to resist the pressures that are placed on them.

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