Category Archives: The police as promoter of terror plots

Police forces pay £25million to informants and nearly half is spent by London’s Met 

Police forces pay £25million to informants and nearly half is spent by London’s Met  

By Martin Robinson, Daily Mail, 18 June 2013

Informants have been paid more than £25million for snitching to police in the past five years.
Despite facing massive cuts and thousands of jobs being at threat, new figures show the overall spend by forces has only decreased by £1million a year since 2008.

There are also concerns about safety, after Met informant Kester David, 53, was found burned to death two years ago and another force was fined for losing a memory stick containing a list of their informants.

Scotland Yard has spent more than any other force in England and Wales, with its costs over five years topping £9million.

In total £25,268,798.40 has been spent by England and Wales’ 43 police forces, with more than £4million being spent on average each year.

Police informant Kester David, 53, was found burned to death under railway arches in north London two years ago

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has today defended the practice of paying informants, or Covert Human Intelligence Sources as they are officially known, saying it is ‘vital’ in bringing criminals to justice.
Commander Richard Martin, ACPO lead for covert human intelligence, said: ‘The use of informants to assist in police investigations is one of many covert methods used to gather intelligence to aid forces in defending and protecting the public.

‘Each force has a rigorous chain of command in place to ensure proper management of informants and decide appropriate levels of reward. We are looking to protect our neighbourhoods from harm and to ensure that when and where we use sources, we are tackling the serious crimes that damage our communities.’

In responses to Freedom of Information requests, the forces refused to reveal how much was paid to each individual informant as it may lead to their identification.They said where an informant is identified it can endanger them. 

Other than the Met, West Midlands Police was the only force who spent in excess of £1million over the five year period. In total 11 forces spent more than £500,000. 

Warwickshire Police paid just £63,679.06 over the five years, the least out of all the forces.

Metropolitan Police: £9,098,058.

West Midlands Police: £1,461,311

Greater Manchester Police: £991,681.28

South Yorkshire Police: £893,375

Northumbria Police: £809,416

Thames Valley Police: £764,509

West Yorkshire: £736,684.70

Lancashire Constabulary: £672,678

Nottinghamshire Police: £605,508

Devon and Cornwall Police: £564,352

Last year Greater Manchester Police were fined £120,000 by the Information Commissioner after the details of 1,075 informants on a memory stick was lost.

Police forces are audited on their use of informants and is inspected annually by the Office of Surveillance Commissioners to ensure they’re not breaking the law. 

The family of one informant who was found burned to death under a bridge in North London three years ago said that he was murdered, but the Met Police have stated his death was unexplained.

Kester David, 53, from Wood Green, North London, was killed by a criminal gang after acting as a police informant. 

A new investigation was ordered last year after it was ruled that there were errors in the original police investigation.

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FBI regularly manufactures terrorists

Counter-terrorism is supposed to let us live without fear. Instead, it’s creating more of it

How many ‘terrorism plots’ initiated by FBI informants will the agency interrupt before Congress finally performs some oversight?

Lyric R Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe for Creative Time Reports
The Guardian,  Monday 26 January 2015

Lyric R Cabral and David Felix Sutcliffe’s film, (T)ERROR, is currently screening at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.

People think that catching terrorists is just a matter of finding them – but, just as often, terrorists are created by the people doing the chase.

While making our film (T)ERROR, which tracks a single counter-terrorism sting operation over seven months, we realized that most people have serious misconceptions about FBI counter-terrorism efforts. They assume that informants infiltrate terrorist networks and then provide the FBI with information about those networks in order to stop terrorist plots from being carried out. That’s not true in the vast majority of domestic terrorism cases.

Since 9/11, as Human Rights Watch and others have documented, the FBI has routinely used paid informants not to capture existing terrorists, but to cultivate them. Through elaborate sting operations, informants are directed to spend months – sometimes years – building relationships with targets, stoking their anger and offering ideas and incentives that encourage them to engage in terrorist activity. And the moment a target takes a decisive step forward, crossing the line from aspirational to operational, the FBI swoops in to arrest him.

The targets of FBI stings are almost exclusively Muslim men between the ages of 15 and 35. They also tend to be angry, isolated and impoverished – in other words, eager for companionship and easy to manipulate. Many of the informants are well-remunerated con men with criminal histories, whom the FBI cannot guarantee won’t coerce targets into plots in order to secure their own paychecks. The stakes are high: informants stand to make as much as $100,000 over the course of a single investigation, not to mention considerable bonuses in the case of successful convictions.

A recent example: on 14 January, the FBI announced that it had interrupted an Isis-inspired terrorist plot in the United States. Christopher Lee Cornell, a 20-year-old recent Muslim convert from Cincinnati, was allegedly plotting to attack the US Capitol with pipe bombs and gun down government officials. Cornell was arrested after purchasing two semiautomatic weapons from an Ohio gun store because the man that Cornell thought was his partner was actually an FBI informant. His plot was foiled by the FBI, after they ensured the cooperation of the store owner.

We see the same story repeated over and over: of the domestic terrorism plots interrupted by law enforcement over the past decade, all but four were initiated by an informant-provocateur acting under FBI supervision. Conveniently for the FBI, network news anchors choose to parrot FBI press releases and herald suspects’ alleged associations with radical Islam, and the steady stream of “interrupted plots” provides the government with ample evidence that the terrorist threat is ever-present and that expanded surveillance is essential to national security.

Less than a day after Cornell’s arrest, House Speaker John Boehner praised NSA spying for uncovering the plot – even though the FBI asserts that it learned of Cornell’s alleged activities through the informant. When pressed for details, Boehner refused to elaborate, saying only, “We’ll let the whole story roll out”. He added that lawmakers need to consider this particular plot when discussing amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Although then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales released guidelines governing the FBI’s use of confidential informants in 2006, there is no congressional oversight of these activities. Even though Attorney General Eric Holder recently revised federal law-enforcement guidelines to limit racial profiling, and despite evidence that the FBI engages in profiling when identifying persons of investigative interest, the FBI will be exempt from these revised guidelines in the interests of national security.

As recently as 2011, FBI counter-terrorism training materials explicitly stated that most moderate Muslim Americans support terrorism and erroneously identified Islamic dress, prayer and even speaking Arabic as indicators of potential radicalization. The FBI is also no bastion of employee diversity: of the 13,766 special agents it employs, only 17% are “minorities,” reducing the opportunities for shifts in the bureau’s thinking on Muslims and other minorities.
The cumulative effects of FBI surveillance and entrapment in communities of color have been devastating. Mosques have reported declines in membership as individuals choose to worship at home rather than risk monitoring. Imams have expressed reluctance to discuss the complexities of jihad, a frequently misunderstood tenet of the Islamic faith, for fear that their words may be misconstrued. Many Muslims are wary of donating to Islamic charities, both domestic and foreign, for fear of raising government suspicions. And on campuses across the country, Muslim student associations have banned discussions of politics, terrorism and the “war on terror.” It is unthinkable that a diverse and vibrant American community inundated with agents provocateurs should be prevented from engaging in vigorous and open dialogue. It is also unconscionable that $1.2bn of our tax dollars are being funneled every year into these misguided tactics.

After a recent screening of our film at a New York City mosque, a young African-American convert to Islam, sporting a brown full-body covering with matching hijab, confessed to us that she feels uncomfortable discussing aspects of her identity. She does not speak about her religious conversion in public, for fear of attracting or encouraging informants.

The stated purpose of the FBI’s counter-terrorism mission is to enable Americans to go about their daily lives without fear. But in addition to imprisoning hundreds of Muslim men caught up in the FBI’s informant-led traps, the agency has actively created and encouraged a pervasive climate of fear and suspicion among Americans exercising their constitutional right to freedom of religion. In fact, the FBI’s tactics have profoundly impacted law enforcement’s ability to maintain a relationship of trust with Muslim American communities, much to the detriment to our collective national security. Authorities must rein in the informant program, and institute immediate congressional oversight, if they sincerely aim to defend the liberty and security of all Americans, regardless of race or religion.

• This piece was published in coordination with Creative Time Reports. Read it here.


YEAR 2014
SECTION U.S. Documentary Competition

After working for more than 20 years as a counterterrorism informant for the FBI, ***** has a choice to make. He can stay home to raise his son or do one last high-stakes job for the Bureau. Infiltrating terror networks and befriending suspected terrorists is *****’s specialty. He is one of a growing number of covert operatives in America who straddle the murky line between preventing crimes and inventing them.
Shot over the course of two years and with unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to a counterterrorism sting, (T)ERROR feels like a political spy novel set in your own hometown. A faceless character throughout, the FBI is an omnipresent force, pushing hard for results as ***** slowly closes in on his target. As secrets emerge from his past, ***** is caught between the consequences of his double life and mounting pressure from his handlers.
Taut, stark, and controversial, (T)ERROR illuminates the fragile relationships between individual and surveillance state in modern America, and asks: Who is watching the watchers? —H.C.


Cast & Credits  
Director    •    Lyric R. Cabral
    •    David Felix Sutcliffe
Executive Producer    •    Eugene Jarecki
Producer    •    Christopher St. John
Co Producer    •    Shirel Kozak
Editor    •    Laura Minnear
    •    Jean-Philippe Boucicaut
Composer    •    Robert Miller

Sundance Film Festival, 2015

Why Does the FBI Have to Manufacture its Own Plots if Terrorism and ISIS Are Such Grave Threats?

Why Does the FBI Have to Manufacture its Own Plots if Terrorism and ISIS Are Such Grave Threats?

The FBI and major media outlets yesterday trumpeted the agency’s latest counterterrorism triumph: the arrest of three Brooklyn men, ages 19 to 30, on charges of conspiring to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS (photo of joint FBI/NYPD press conference, above). As my colleague Murtaza Hussain ably documents, “it appears that none of the three men was in any condition to travel or support the Islamic State, without help from the FBI informant.” One of the frightening terrorist villains told the FBI informant that, beyond having no money, he had encountered a significant problem in following through on the FBI’s plot: his mom had taken away his passport. Noting the bizarre and unhinged ranting of one of the suspects, Hussain noted on Twitter that this case “sounds like another victory for the FBI over the mentally ill.”

In this regard, this latest arrest appears to be quite similar to the overwhelming majority of terrorism arrests the FBI has proudly touted over the last decade. As my colleague Andrew Fishman and I wrote last month — after the FBI manipulated a 20-year-old loner who lived with his parents into allegedly agreeing to join an FBI-created plot to attack the Capitol — these cases follow a very clear pattern:

The known facts from this latest case seem to fit well within a now-familiar FBI pattern whereby the agency does not disrupt planned domestic terror attacks but rather creates them, then publicly praises itself for stopping its own plots.

First, they target a Muslim: not due to any evidence of intent or capability to engage in terrorism, but rather for the “radical” political views he expresses. In most cases, the Muslim targeted by the FBI is a very young (late teens, early 20s), adrift, unemployed loner who has shown no signs of mastering basic life functions, let alone carrying out a serious terror attack, and has no known involvement with actual terrorist groups.

They then find another Muslim who is highly motivated to help disrupt a “terror plot”: either because they’re being paid substantial sums of money by the FBI or because (as appears to be the case here) they are charged with some unrelated crime and are desperate to please the FBI in exchange for leniency (or both). The FBI then gives the informant a detailed attack plan, and sometimes even the money and other instruments to carry it out, and the informant then shares all of that with the target. Typically, the informant also induces, lures, cajoles, and persuades the target to agree to carry out the FBI-designed plot. In some instances where the target refuses to go along, they have their informant offer huge cash inducements to the impoverished target.

Once they finally get the target to agree, the FBI swoops in at the last minute, arrests the target, issues a press release praising themselves for disrupting a dangerous attack (which it conceived of, funded, and recruited the operatives for), and the DOJ and federal judges send their target to prison for years or even decades (where they are kept in special GITMO-like units). Subservient U.S. courts uphold the charges by applying such a broad and permissive interpretation of “entrapment” that it could almost never be successfully invoked.

Once again, we should all pause for a moment to thank the brave men and women of the FBI for saving us from their own terror plots.

Sydney Siege: Was Aussie ‘Terror Sheikh’ an Informant or Just Mad?

Sydney Siege: Was Aussie ‘Terror Sheikh’ an Informant or Just Mad?

21st Century Wire

They called it the ‘Sydney Siege’, suggesting it was something much bigger than it actually was.

It ended in rather dramatic fashion: after a near 16 hour ordeal inside, Australian police finally stormed a chocolate shop in Sydney’s Martin Place district in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

As is expected, the media moved to simultaneously paint the event as a ‘heroic act’ by the security services, and a shocking ‘terrorist-related attack’, but was it really?

SYDNEY SELFIE: Australian SWAT officer poses for camera shot during chocolate raid.

Just seconds before the raid finally went down, five to six hostages were seen running out of the Lindt chocolatiers. A flurry of loud bangs could be heard, followed by a hail of bullets as a group of heavily armed police stormed the tiny venue where a gunman was said to be holding an unknown number of people hostage. The end result: one dead mentally ill gunman, and two dead hostages. It’s still unclear who shot whom. 

We are told that the celebrated ‘Sydney Siege’ standoff was the work of a ‘lone wolf’; 50-year-old self-styled, Iranian-born Muslim ‘cleric’, Man Haron Monis (real name Manteghi Bourjerdi).

NOTE: The dramatic scene unfolded shortly after the gunman’s apparent identity was unveiled by local media.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott admitted in the aftermath on Tuesday, that Monis was ‘well known to authorities’ and ‘had a history of extremism and mental instability’.

Just 24 hours later on Wednesday, in PR crisis mode and wanting to distance himself from his earlier statement, PM Abbot suddenly recanted his previous statement, now claiming that Monis was now “not on security watch lists”…

During his confusing follow-up statement on Wednesday, Abbot (photo, above) attempted to regain control of a narrative which had clearly spun out of control. He stated,”Even if this individual was sick and disturbed, had been front and centre on our watchlists, even if this individual had been monitored 24 hours a day, it’s quite likely, certainly possible, that this incident could have taken place, because the level of control that would be necessary to prevent people from going about their daily life, would be very, very high indeed.” 

Fundamental question begin arise like – who was Monis? What was his relationship with law enforcement? Who gave Monis his gun?

When the story first broke, Monis was merely a ‘gunman’, but incredibly, as soon as the media reported that he asked authorities to deliver a fresh al Qaeda flag to the chocolate store – he immediately became an ‘ISIS-inspirred’ or ‘terrorist attack’ – according to the global media. 

For reasons which may forever remain unknown, ‘Sheikh’ Monis was allowed to roam the streets freely – despite being a known potential risk to the public. He had a very long and disturbingly long criminal rap sheep which includes among other things, charged in November 2013 as an accessory before and after the fact to the murder of his ex-wife Noleen Hayson Pal. Earlier this year, he was arrested and charged with a sexual assault involving a woman in 2002 during one of his ‘spiritual healing’ sessions – one of 50 victims who came forward with similar complaints.

An occasion when he was actually disciplined by the justice system – sentenced to 300 hours of community service – was when Monis sent a series of offensive letters to the families of dead Australian soldiers between 2007 and 2009. Because of the fawning media coverage he received from the Australian press over the stunt, Monis was able to achieve a minor celebrity status.

Still, one can only speculate as to why Monis would be able to post such a low bail – instead of being detained in a secure criminal or mental facility – where he clearly belonged.

Media Personality

It’s important to understand the context in which this latest event fits in respect to new international security state’s command-and-control matrix. There are two main prevailing social paradigms at play here – predictable Islamic terror fear-mongering on the right, and on the left there’s fear of wrongly ‘profiling’ all Muslims living within western nation states. Writer Brendan O’Neil explains:

“One side ratchets up fear of Islamofascism, the other spreads panic about Islamophobia. One side frets over foreign-inspired lone wolves, the other agonises over the native masses and their likely response to seeing a brown man doing something bad on the news. Both sides peddle the politics of fear.”

Most of the population are helplessly trapped in these two polar extremes. Both are overly emotive, and highly irrational. A very small minority of population will be looking at this event as a forensic investigator would, devoid of any emotion or prescribed political position, and those few will also be asking the pertinent questions:

1) Why did the Australian media previously choose Monis as their terror mascot? 
2) What was Monis’s relationship with Australia’s security services?
3) Why was Monis allowed to roam free and evade incarceration after so many violations and outstanding charges? 
4) How did Monis gain access to firearms?

Due to his outrageous behaviour, Monis, who emigrated to Australia from Iran in 1996, became a local media darling, the go-to guy, and the local ‘face of terror’, while achieving favoured caricature status for the media’s day-to-day coverage of ‘Islamic extremism in Australia’. He would even show up at press conferences, complete with theatrical props, adorned in chains etc – all for the cameras.

Well known to local press and on social media, Monis dutifully played the role of a self-styled ‘Sheikh’ Haron Monis. Watch this news segment produced by ABC News Australia which aired in 2009:

Sheikh Haron’s lecture for the Muslim community in Sydney Australia, also in 2009:

The following is a modest sample of Sheikh Haron’s many media opportunities – provided by Australia’s top broadcast networks over the last 5-6 years:

Mental Illness

Following official reports that, indeed, Monis had a history of mental instability, critics are right to raise the question as to whether or Sydney police intelligence unit were involved in ‘managing’ Monis as an informant, or whether or not he was being supervised by a government psychologist and taking SSRI anti-psychotic medication.

Monis: An Informant’s Profile

To better understand who and what Man Haron Monis really is, we can compare and contrast him to other similar caricatures, most notably, those in Great Britain.

As an unofficial media ‘terror mascot’, Monis had crafted a media profile not unlike another high-profile British intelligence informant – the one-eyed, hook-handed, radical Egyptian born ‘cleric’, Abu Hamza (photo, below), who became News Corp’s face of terror for over a decade in the UK. Like Man Haron Monis, Abu Hamaz (real name Mostafa Kamel Mostafa) awarded himself the quasi-religious ‘honor’, or title of ‘Sheikh’.

With Monis, a media personality was also cultivated, although he is only ‘Hamza lite’ by lacking the perceived jihadist pedigree of a Hamza or Qatada, but in theory, his private and public roles would be the same.

Abu HamzaHamza’s role as a state instigator and secret custodian of the Finsbury Park’s radical ‘honey pot’, now appears obvious. In a typical honey pot operation, security chiefs will place an outrageously radical character into position in order to attract “the worst of the worst” and then inform on them to authorities. For years Hamza openly preached his overtly radical, over-the-top sermons at Finsbury Park, often praising Osama Bin Laden and glorifying the attacks of 9/11, all the while mocking the police.

The British media helped to fashion Hamza’s mythology, which wasn’t hard to do considering his Quasimodoesque appearance. The British media repeatedly retold the fabricated story that Hamza had his hands blown off while waging jihad in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan in the early 1980′s. In reality, Hamza lost both his hands while working on a road-building contract job in Pakistan.

During the Hamza trial, MI6 was even forced to come out and give an official denial of what many had already worked out – that Hamza’s tenure at the notorious Finsbury Park mosque was mostly theater.

One informant from Hamza’s notorious Finsbury Park Mosque, Reda Hassaine, went on record with British press (although this does not necessarily say much because many of these ‘scoops’ are often intentionally leaked to the media by the security services to preserve aspects of domestic covert intelligence operations, such is the tradecraft of these agencies), explaining how the security services kept quiet even when Hassaine was physically attacked in the Mosque. “My minders begged me not to report the attack to the police – saying any court case would make public that these mosques were under surveillance by the secret services. I obeyed that request.”

Finbury Park Mosque was crawling with spooks of all shapes and sizes, and ages. Hassaine admitted that, “The mosque’s notoriety grew. With the influx of many more worshippers (including spies from other intelligence agencies – I was never under the illusion I was alone)”.

Hassaine, admittedly a career informant whose undercover work began in the 1990′s in his native Algeria, along with the British press, were told that men like Hamza and Abu Qatada (another one of London’s mad clerics) were allowed to stay in Britain and “preach their hate” because of an unwritten deal supposedly forged between British security services and radical Islamists, called the “covenant of security”. According to the UK’s Daily Mail, the arrangement is said to, “allow radical clerics to continue fomenting hatred against the West on condition they didn’t perpetrate terror attacks on British soil”.

The Independent reported:

“In a moment of courtroom drama, Joshua Dratel brandished what he said were 50 pages of reports from Scotland Yard of their meetings with Hamza. Those exchanges would show that the fiery preacher was an “intermediary” who cooperated with MI5 and the police to try to end foreign hostage-takings and defuse tensions within the Muslim community in Britain, he said.”

The jury in New York never heard those details. In a clever move of legal gymnastics, the judge ruled the contents ‘inadmissible‘ – because they did not cover the original terrorism offences with which he was charged. 

Keen to avoid any further embarrassment, both British and American authorities simply brushed the claims aside, and quickly threw Hamza ‘under the bus’. 

“I reviewed all the material before I took the decision to prosecute Hamza and I never saw anything that indicated that he was regarded as any sort of trusted informant or intermediary,” said the judge in charge, Lord Macdonald.

But the evidence suggests otherwise. Earlier this year in May, the Daily Telegraph disclosed how Abu Hamza had at least 12 secret meetings with MI5 and police special branch over a six year period, starting in the late 1990′s. Other testimonies also exist that show both Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada – Britain’s two most celebrated radical Islamists, were both informants.

“It was perfectly normal for the security service and police to have conversations with people like Hamza as part of their intelligence operations. But he would have been nothing more than perhaps a source of occasional information that would have been treated with extreme scepticism.”

In the end, Hamza was extradited to the US and given a trial – in Manhattan of all places, where a jury quickly found him guilty on 11 mixed counts – not of terrorism, but rather “inchoate crimes”, or providing “material support” to al-Qaeda, as well as a kidnapping conspiracy in Yemen, and helping establish a training camp in Bly, Oregon. Not surprisingly, very little, if any real evidence was actually presented which proved Hamza actually helped to carry out a terrorist attack. Instead the prosecution relied on Skype testimonies of other informants like ‘supersnitch’ Saajid Badat. If you consider his role as a British informant, then his NYC show trial was simply a high-profile exercise designed to retire the flamboyant character from service, effectively closing the book on Hamza – for now, while still preserving the details of his true relationship with British security services.

For the most part, both Hamza and Qatada could only really be accused of ‘fomenting hate’, or ‘encouraging’ young unemployed, directionless and mentally unstable Muslim men to go and take up jihad overseas in (western-backed) conflicted theatres like Syria – but absolutely no actual charges of terrorism were made at any stage of their character development.

Abu-QatadaWhile Hamza went through the public show trial process, Abu Qatada (photo, left) got a free ticket to Amman, Jordan, where he is most likely still performing his duties (and being paid) as an informant. Naturally, a Jordanian court acquitted Qatada on all terrorism charges in September 2014, ruling there was insufficient evidence, concluding the case was “weak and inadmissible”. With a clean rap sheet, you can expect that Qatada will make his way back to the UK to continue his informant work and resume his role as a media boogyman.

One prerequisite for any managed informant is a criminal record. As a repeat sex offender and criminal, Monis certainly had the criminal background required to fall into the hands of the security services. It is not unusual for informants to feel ‘above the law’ whilst working as informants, committing various and sundry crimes (including murder) along the way, or they simply feel they are ‘above the law’ during their participation in an operation.

The worst case of this may have been in the US, notorious federal informant, Glen Rogers, was allowed to carry out crimes while protected under his informant status. 

According to Truth in Media Blog, Monis himself seemed to be confused about his radical status: 

“Earlier this month, Monis announced via his website he used to be a Rafidi, one who rejects legitimate Islamic authority and leadership, but “now I am a Muslim” (see “Radical self-styled sheik Man Haron Monis was on bail at time of siege” (see CH9 News).”

In public and on his website,, Monis has long claimed that all the charges against him, particularly those for his letter writing harassment against Veterans’ families – were all politically motivated. The end result of Haron’s previous media antics were political however, just like the Lindt cafe siege, they also helped to sway conservative and right-wing public opinion against Muslims and for overseas wars. 

Now that Haron is dead, we may never know the full story, nor will we know the full extent of his relationship with the security services.

Timing of the Sydney Event

The timing of the ‘Sydney Siege’ is certainly interesting. It took place just 7 days after the controversial release of the US Senate’s ‘Torture Report’. In addition to the two public relations outcomes – hardened public opinion against Muslims in Australia and support of military action in theatres like Afghanistan, the narrative of the event would also shift world opinion towards being in favour of using torture in order to ‘keep us safe’. This is exactly how the debate was played out in the media over the last 48 hours and now the ‘Sydney Siege’ has been added to the list of high profile al Qaeda and ISIS events, even though Monis has no real affiliation with any real international terror organization.

In a grandstanding moment that would make even Tony Blair blush, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot tried to take advantage of the moment by over-selling the event as a ‘pivotal moment’. Abbot announced Wednesday that, “Tens if not hundreds of millions of people right around the world have been focused on the city of Sydney which has been touched by terrorism for the first time in more than 35 years.”

He added, “This is an incident which has echoed around the world.”

Meanwhile, most US media outlets were already reporting the chocolate shop siege as an ‘ISIS-related attack’, including the Washington Post, carried on the fear mongering:

“The long showdown riveted the world’s attention and raised questions over the possibility of another so-called “lone wolf” attack inspired by militants such as the Islamic State.”

The term ‘lone wolf’ seems to be the media’s favourite moniker of the terrorist threat this year. It’s largely an American invention, derived film and television, and based around the popular plot line that somehow and against all odds, a single crazed antagonist can bring a nation or the world to its knees through a single act of terrorism.

“The terrifying tag ‘lone wolf’ gives the impression that individuals, anyone with a Koran and a gun, can hold the West to ransom; but they can’t. They can invade coffee shops and, worse, plant bombs on trains and buses, but they cannot unleash any kind of serious instability. They can harm individuals, which is terrible, but they cannot harm society. Unless, that is, we allow them to,” says Spiked editor Brendan O’Neil.

Most mainstream pro-war (and pro-CIA torture) media outlets  certainly tried very hard to characterize the Sydney chocolate shop siege as an ‘ISIS terrorist attack’. One in the media’s endless line-up of “national security experts” included ‘ex-FBI agent’ Don Borelli who told TODAY that the suspect appeared to be “inspired by ISIS”. 

FOX News spokesmodel Andrea Tantaros even protested on air demanding that Australian authorities classify the Sydney incident as an international “terrorist attack”, and repeatedly referenced ‘ISIS’ when describing the event.

In what looks like a media ‘perfect storm’, 24 hours after the chocolate shop siege, rogue Taliban gunmen killed at least 141 students and teachers in Pakistan, apparently in retaliation for new government policies on homegrown Islamist militants there. Like with the Sydney event, US media are seizing on the school massacre as yet more justification for using torture to extract intelligence.

Martin Place ‘Terror Drill’ followed by ‘Operation Hammerhead’

As it turns out, only 12 months earlier, Australian security services ran a domestic terror drill next to the very same location at Martin Place. The drill included dozens of fully equipped Australian Defence Force counter terrorism soldiers, who carried out a”mock terror drill”.

According to the Sydney Telegraph, officers could be seen with, “… rifles drawn, faces covered in balaclavas and gas masks, and night vision goggles perched on their helmets, about 50 camouflaged soldiers fanned out through Martin Place in near-perfect silence in search of mock terrorists that had overtaken the underground Martin Place train station.”Many are not aware that Martin Place also houses the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Commonwealth Bank, “police officers and an ambulance watched on, soldiers headed for the atrium at the centre of the pedestrian mall beside the old Commonwealth Bank building and hauled their tactical equipment over a glass barrier and descended the steps to the MLC food court.”

 During the drill, Occupy protesters were on hand to give the media the perfect soundbites in response to the military theatrics. Occupy protester “Lance” stated in national media at the time:

“Notice how they didn’t shut the area down; it’s good that they’re getting the public used to this stuff.”

A better boiling frogs line you could not find.

In addition, only three months ago in September, the government launched a major public relations push to acclimate the Australian public to seeing more ‘anti-terror’ police on the streets in what they called, Operation Hammerhead. Patrol activity was also focused on Martin Place. The Sydney Morning Herald reported: 

“The terror threat  “is not going to be solved overnight” Premier Mike Baird warned on Friday as Sydney awoke the day after an alleged beheading plot was revealed. Mr Baird urged the public to be patient as he announced the increased security measures, dubbed Operation Hammerhead. The operation has placed more than 220 police on the beat at transport hubs, popular venues and busy public areas mainly in the Sydney city area, following the largest counter-terrorism operation in Australian history.”

Botched Police Raid or Heroic Tale?

Five people initially escaped as police descended upon the venue, followed by the reminder of living hostages exiting after gun fire was allegedly exchanged between the assailant Monis and police. The raid left two hostages dead, Lindt manager, Tori Johnson, 34, and barrister Katrina Dawson, 38, along with gunman Man Haron Monis.

The outcome of the siege first focused on whether or not the hostages were killed by the gunman Monis, or if indeed, they had died at the hands of police during cross-fire. Initial worries were that the two hostages were shot by hair-trigger police, but that story quickly changed to a heroic but tragic last effort and struggle with Monis. Australian officials maintain that cafe manager  Johnson, was shot after he tried to wrestle the gun from the gunman. Hence, government officials have avoided any heavy criticism or embarrassment over what could have been a botched rescue operation.

Regardless of who shot whom, the event was certainly a tragedy for anyone who lost their lives and their families, and the whole nation of Australia is officially in mourning this week. After the dust settles, that mourning will almost certainly be transformed by right-wing forces into more aggressive government policies towards the ‘threat of terrorism’ and operations overseas.

Putting all of the US reactionary language, exaggeration and hyperbole aside, however, to suggest that Man Haron Monis threatened Australia’s national security is a near joke. 

Brendan O’Neil explains it best, “Monis was certainly a threat to the people in the cafe, but he posed no threat to Australia or its national security or democracy. Even to describe his actions as the ‘Sydney siege’, as if he had the whole city under his command, is to imbue his erratic behaviour with way too much menace and meaning; he should be known as the Lindt loser, the chocolate-shop gunman.”

Still, that will not stop Tony Abbot and government officials from using the legend of Monis to enact new policies in the War on Terror.

Police State USA and the NDAA: Creating American Terrorists

Police State USA and the NDAA: Creating American Terrorists

by Philip Giraldi

Global Research, Council of the National Interest, January 22, 2012

Defenders of the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act, which declares the entire world to be a “battlefield” against terrorism and authorizes the U.S. military to detain indefinitely anyone suspected of being a terrorism supporter, have claimed that the White House will only use its new power carefully and with due process. Opponents note that the White House has never hesitated to use any new authority, no matter how outrageous, and that the trend of law enforcement and security agencies is to expand on powers granted, not to rein them in or limit them.

The track record of the Obama administration on civil liberties is particularly bad, as it has broadened its definition of war powers, reneged on its promise to close Guantanamo Prison, and supported numerous dubious terrorism prosecutions. It has also become adept at silencing critics through the repeated exploitation of the state-secrets privilege, which effectively dismisses any case accusing the government of abuse or malfeasance.

So let us accept that the government now has the power to send a team of military police to anyone’s home in any state in the Union and can demand that that person surrender without any recourse to a lawyer or judicial due process. The military can then detain the individual incommunicado for any length of time and can presumably send him to Guantanamo for special confinement, claiming that the reason for the detention is support of terrorism, which can be almost anything, including a letter to the editor of the local paper complaining about the goonery of the Transportation Security Administration. Once in detention, the suspect only has such options as are granted to him by the military. He cannot see a lawyer, cannot invoke habeas corpus or other constitutional privileges, cannot confront any witnesses against him, and cannot challenge any information prejudicial to him even if it is hearsay or fabricated. In other words, the accused can be arrested for no reason and held indefinitely without any protections that enable him to push back against being detained. Most people would consider a criminal justice system that permits such detention ipso facto a police state.

Now let us accept for a moment that the White House and Justice Department are well-intentioned and will not use their newfound authority to detain anyone in a questionable fashion. The expanded powers will only be used to detain foreign terrorists who are caught in flagrante, more or less. That would be fine, perhaps, but for one small problem. Because the definition of a terrorism supporter has become enormously elastic, it can be stretched to include anything. If the whole world has become a battlefield, speaking out or acting against powerful vested interests can be dangerous because those interests can turn around and exploit the system to label one a terrorist. And once you are labeled a terrorist, your constitutional rights vanish and you might as well sit around and wait for that knock on the door — or, rather, for the door to be kicked in.

That is what House Resolution 3131 is all about. It is titled, in part, “To direct the secretary of state to submit a report on whether any support organization that participated in the planning or execution of the recent Gaza flotilla attempt should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization….” The bill then goes on to assert that the two flotillas in 2010 and 2011 opposing Israel’s blockade of Gaza were terrorist actions. But the only problem is that it relies on information from the Israeli Intelligence and Information Center to do so, meaning that Congress is deferring to a foreign government organization to make a judgment that directly impacts that selfsame government. And the Israelis are not shy about calling someone a terrorist, if it suits the narrative they are trying to present. They describe a Turkish organization involved in the first flotilla in 2010, known by its acronym IHH, as linked to al-Qaeda and Hamas based on evidence that no one else in the world accepts, apart from Congress, that is. The Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara was clearly aiming to take on the Israeli navy, armed to the teeth with “100 metal rods, 200 knives, 50 wooden clubs, and a telescopic sight for a gun.” In reality, the rods were torn from the ships rails when the heavily armed Israeli commandos boarded at night from helicopters. The knives were pocket knives and utility knives from the vessel’s galley, and the clubs were broken from deck chairs to repel the attackers. I will not speculate on the telescopic sight, but there was not a real weapon anywhere on board. The Israelis killed nine Turks, shooting several in the head at close range, including an American citizen. Congress has yet to express its outrage at the Israeli action — quite the contrary — and Hillary Clinton’s State Department has been silent, apart from warning the subsequent 2011 flotilla that the American embassy would do nothing to protect U.S. citizens aboard.

Regarding the second flotilla of July 2011, HR 3131 goes on to state that “Greek authorities boarded ships and took into custody several individuals, including Captain John Klusmire of the ship Audacity of Hope as it violated Greek Coast Guard orders by setting sail without permission.” Klusmire is a U.S. citizen who was not breaking any American law, it should be noted. He was later released by the Greek authorities.

The bill concludes with its “Sense of Congress,” surely an oxymoron if there ever was one: “the secretary of state shall submit … a report on whether any support organization that participated in the planning or execution of the recent Gaza flotilla attempt should be designated as a foreign terrorist organization … [to] include information on … the sources of any logistical, technical, or financial support for the Gaza flotilla ships, including the Audacity of Hope, that were to set sail from Greece on July 1, 2011.”

I personally know a number of organizations that provided material or financial support to one or both of the Gaza flotillas. I also personally know that none of those organizations support violence against the state of Israel and that the people behind them believed then and now that they were exercising their constitutional rights in speaking out and acting nonviolently against what they and most of the world regard as an illegal and immoral blockade of Gaza. But, if the bill passes in Congress, a bureaucrat in the U.S. Department of State will now be able to call those people and their associated groups “terrorists,” and Hillary Clinton will be able to confirm that judgment to Congress. Next step is the MPs at the door.

If people cannot see what a slippery slope all of this is, they not thinking very clearly. HR 3131 is admittedly still sitting in congressional committee, but it has some very powerful sponsors, including Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, who heads the Foreign Affairs Committee and is a rabid supporter of Israel. The bill not only indicts whole groups of people exercising their constitutional rights and labels them “terrorists,” it even names one American who was, at the time, breaking no U.S. law. Klusmire’s only crime was to “set sail without permission” — in Greece. It was clearly a bogus charge manufactured to suit by a vulnerable Greek government desperately needing international loans and under pressure from the United States and Israel.

Klusmire’s real crime was to oppose a powerful interest group, the Israel Lobby. To do so these days is to invite a charge of terrorism support with the option of being arrested by the Pentagon and locked up somewhere at the pleasure of the president of the United States. How low have we sunk, Mr. Obama? You portray yourself as a man of honor and a defender of constitutionalism, but you have opened the gates to lawlessness and authoritarian rule. And even if you are as benign as you depict yourself, you have provided the legal tools for those who might follow you — the Gingriches, the Perrys, the Bachmanns, and the Santorums — to possibly do much, much worse.

Philip Giraldi is the executive director of the Council for the National Interest and a recognized authority on international security and counterterrorism issues. He is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer who served eighteen years overseas in Turkey, Italy, Germany, and Spain. He was Chief of Base in Barcelona from 1989 to 1992 designated as the Agency’s senior officer for Olympic Games support.

How not to catch a terrorist


How not to catch a terrorist

Elaborate, expensive sting operations by the FBI are based on the premise that true terrorists will take the bait. This is not the same thing as preventing an actual attack.

Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2011|By Petra Bartosiewicz

Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, FBI Director Robert Mueller issued a memo to his field offices detailing “one set of priorities” for the agency: Stop the next terrorist attack. This directive marked a new “preemptive” style of law enforcement that has since become the hallmark of our domestic front in the war against terrorism.

Under this system, catching an actual terrorist would constitute a failure because the perpetrators would have committed the act. Instead, we are in effect seeking “pre-terrorists” — individuals whose intentions, more than their actions, constitute the primary threat.

Taking stock of the major “terrorist” prosecutions that this approach has yielded, however, it’s not at all clear we’re safer from another attack.

The government’s marquee post-9/11 terrorism investigations, including cases such as the Miami Seven, the Ft. Dix Six and last year’s Portland Christmas Tree Bomber, have not involved real attacks but, rather, have been sting operations involving plots invented by law enforcement. New York University’s Center on Law and Security, which tracks federal terrorism prosecutions, reports that since 2009, the FBI has escalated its use of stings in which a confidential informant or undercover officer approaches a suspect and “assists him in the planning of an attempted terror crime.”

The defendants in these plots, most of them male Muslim immigrants with no history of terrorism or violence, have become unwitting actors in a disturbing theatrical performance: The FBI scripts the plot and provides the weapons, along with money, cars and any other logistical support needed to carry out the “attack.”

These cases are pursued through lengthy sting operations on the premise that by presenting a potential suspect with the opportunity to commit a crime, true bad guys will take the bait.

But terrorism stings go much further than presenting a likely bad guy with a passing criminal opportunity. The operations last for months and sometimes years, with suspects offered all manner of enticements to participate in a plot they probably would never have come up with on their own. In a case in Chicago last year, for example, the FBI instructed informants to pay a suspect to quit his day job so he could focus on jihad.

To aid them in their efforts, the FBI has deployed paid undercover informants throughout the nation’s Muslim community, particularly in mosques. These informants often act as agents provocateur. At a mosque in California in 2007, for example, one such FBI informant, Craig Monteilh, who says he was paid $177,000 for his services, talked so vigorously about jihad that the mosque sought and received a restraining order against him.

In another high-profile case known as the Newburgh Four — four African American Muslim converts convicted last year of attempting to bomb a synagogue and a Jewish community center and to shoot down military planes — an FBI informant promised the defendants, among other enticements, a BMW and $250,000 to carry out the attack. The details of the plot were choreographed in such detail that the presiding judge in the case chastised the government for its “decidedly troubling” tactics and concluded that the defendants would never have committed the attacks on their own.

“The government made them terrorists,” she said in delivering the minimum sentence for one of the defendants Sept. 7.

Such aggressive tactics are permissible in part thanks to a post-9/11 loosening of rules governing FBI investigations. The burden of proof required to launch an investigation has been lowered so that agents no longer have to demonstrate a “predicate” or reason for the investigation, in effect giving the agency the power to spy on whomever it wishes, for however long it wishes, even if that individual is not suspected of any particular crime. The Obama administration has defended its terrorism stings, which Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. last year called an “essential law enforcement tool.”

Although terror plots staged by the FBI may have succeeded in rooting out individuals willing to commit crimes given the proper enticements, this is not the same thing as preventing an actual terrorist attack. Nevertheless, the government’s sting operations, however dubious, serve to justify the vast and expanding homeland security apparatus. A recent investigation by The Times found that federal and state law enforcement agencies now spend $75 billion a year on domestic security.

But is the expense and effort making us safer? On the contrary, actual terrorist attacks have been averted not because of enhanced law enforcement but the perpetrators’ incompetence and, sometimes, the efforts of regular citizens. The 2002 shoe bomber, Richard Reid; the 2009 underwear bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab; and the 2010 Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, were thwarted primarily because their devices failed to detonate.

FBI’s role in creating terror plots


The Fear Factory
The FBI now has more than 100 task forces devoted exclusively to fighting terrorism. But is the government manufacturing ghosts?


Posted Feb 07, 2008 12:00 PM

Click here to read a history of every homeland-security terror alert and the real news that was buried

So, what you wanna do?" the friend asked. "A target?" the wanna-be jihadi replied. "I want some type of city-hall-type stuff, federal courthouses."

It was late November 2006, and twenty-two-year-old Derrick Shareef and his friend Jameel were hanging out in Rockford, Illinois, dreaming about staging a terrorist attack on America. The two men weren’t sure what kind of assault they could pull off. All Shareef knew was that he wanted to cause major damage, to wreak vengeance on the country he held responsible for oppressing Muslims worldwide. "Smoke a judge," Shareef said. Maybe firebomb a government building.

But while Shareef harbored violent fantasies, he was hardly a serious threat as a jihadi. An American-born convert to Islam, he had no military training and no weapons. He had less than $100 in the bank. He worked in a dead-end job as a clerk in a video-game store. He didn’t own a car. So dire were his circumstances, Shareef had no place to live. Then one day, Jameel, a fellow Muslim, had shown up at EB Games and offered him shelter. Within hours of meeting his new brother, Shareef had moved in with Jameel and his three wives and nine children. Living together, the pair fantasized about targets in Rockford, a Midwestern city of 150,000, with a minuscule Muslim population and the lone claim to fame of being the hometown of Cheap Trick.

The fact that Shareef was a loser with no means of living out his imagination didn’t stop his friend from encouraging his delusions of grandeur. On the contrary, Jameel continually pushed Shareef to escalate his plans. "When you wanna plan on doing this?" he asked Shareef, talking about the plot to go after a government building. "Because we have to make specific plans and dates."

"I wanna case one first," Shareef said. There was only one problem: Jameel’s car was in the garage getting repaired. "We can case one when you get the car back."

"What about time frame?" Jameel prodded.

"I like the holiday season," Shareef said, displaying an ambivalence unusual in a suicide bomber hellbent on murdering civilians. "Hell, we ain’t gotta hit nobody —just blow the place up."

Finding a meaningful target to blow up in Rockford isn’t easy. A hardscrabble town in the middle of America, the place is not much more than an intersection of interstates and railway lines, with little of note that might attract the attention of terrorists. So Jameel suggested the main attraction in town: CherryVale Mall, a sad-sack collection of clothing stores and sneaker shops on the outskirts of Rockford. "The mall’s good," he told Shareef.

"I swear by Allah, man, I’m down for it too," Shareef said. "I’m down for the cause. I’m down to live for the cause and die for the cause, man."

When Jameel got his car back from the garage, the two men went to case the mall.

"If you ever wanna back out . . . ’cause, you gotta let me know," Jameel said. "I’m checking your heart now."

"I’m down," Shareef said.

"We ain’t gonna get caught," Jameel assured him. "Don’t worry."

"I’m not worried about getting caught," Shareef replied. "Not alive."

For all his bluster, Shareef was, by any objective measure, a pathetic and hapless jihadist — one of a new breed of domestic terrorists the federal government has paraded before the media since 9/11. The FBI, in a sense, elevated Shareef, working to transform him from a boastful store clerk into a suicidal mall-bomber. Like many other alleged extremists who have been targeted by the authorities, Shareef didn’t know that his brand-new friend —the eager co-conspirator drawing him ever further into a terror plot —was actually an informant for the FBI.

As Shareef cursed America and Jews, he was under almost constant surveillance by the Joint Terrorism Task Force for the Northern District of Illinois. Since 9/11, the number of such outfits across the country has tripled. With more than 2,000 FBI agents now assigned to 102 task forces, the JTTFs have effectively become a vast, quasi-secret arm of the federal government, granted sweeping new powers that outstrip those of any other law-enforcement agency. The JTTFs consist not only of local police, FBI special agents and federal investigators from Immigration and the IRS, but covert operatives from the CIA. The task forces have thus effectively destroyed the "wall" that historically existed between law enforcement and intelligence-gathering. Under the Bush administration, the JTTFs have been turned into a domestic spy agency, like Britain’s MI5 —one with the powers of arrest.

The expenditure of such massive resources to find would-be terrorists inevitably requires results. Plots must be uncovered. Sleeper cells must be infiltrated. Another attack must be prevented —or, at least, be seen to be prevented. But in backwaters like Rockford, the JTTFs don’t have much to do. To find threats to thwart, the task forces have increasingly taken to using paid informants to cajole and inveigle targets like Shareef into pursuing their harebrained schemes. In the affidavit sworn by an FBI special agent in support of Shareef’s indictment, the co-conspirator who called himself Jameel is known only as "CS" (Cooperating Source). In fact, CS was William Chrisman, a former crack dealer with a conviction for attempted robbery who was paid $8,500 by the JTTF and dispatched specifically to set up Shareef. Like other informants in terrorism cases, Chrisman had been "tasked" by federal agents to indulge and escalate Shareef’s fantasies — while carefully ensuring that Shareef incriminated himself.

"The hope is that they will nab an actual terrorist or prevent a putative jihadi from becoming one," says David Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University and co-author of Less Safe, Less Free, a new book detailing the ways 9/11 has transformed domestic law enforcement. "It makes sense in general —but when you’re pressing people to undertake conduct they would have never undertaken without an informant pushing them along, there is a real question if you’re creating crime, not preventing crime."

In Rockford, "Jameel" repeatedly urged Shareef to dream up gory details of the havoc they would cause at the mall. Chrisman had received a call, he told Shareef, from a man he called "Cap" —a contact willing to sell them weapons. They could buy "pineapples" —code for hand grenades —from Cap for fifty bucks each. Cap, of course, was an undercover agent. Eleven "pineapples" were available, Chrisman said. Walking around the mall —the Dippin’ Dots, the Panda Express —Shareef suggested they toss the "pineapples" in garbage cans to create shrapnel. They would fast for three days beforehand. They would shave their bodies. They would meditate and pray.

"Don’t forget, man, we should get the grenades sometime next week," Chrisman said. "So you should try to get as much flous [money] as you can get."

"I got a little change in the bank," Shareef said.

"All you need is, like, $100. That’s two grenades."

But the resourceless Shareef couldn’t even raise that much money. So with the JTTF determined to push the "plot" forward, Chrisman announced that Cap had agreed to exchange the grenades for some used stereo speakers Shareef owned. On the following Saturday, as snow blanketed Rockford, Chrisman and Shareef engaged in the ritual of suicide bombers, recording video statements of each other reciting their last wills and testaments. The JTTF’s affidavit doesn’t reveal whose idea it was to stare into the camera and swear vengeance against America, but the prejudicial impact it would have on a jury was huge.

"My name is Talib Abu Salam Ibn Shareef," Shareef said, using his self-created nom de guerre. "I am from America, and this tape is to let you guys know, who disbelieve in Allah, to let the enemies of Islam know, and to let the Muslims alike know that the time for jihad is now."

The next Wednesday, the two men met with Cap in a parking lot under the gaze of agents from the JTTF. As Shareef swapped the used speakers for four nonfunctioning grenades and a 9mm handgun with neutered ammunition, he was swarmed by law enforcement. News of the bust traveled the world over. "It had all the makings of a holiday bloodbath," Fox News breathlessly reported. Shareef was charged with the ultimate crime in the so-called War on Terror: attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.

The arrest of Shareef was yet another JTTF success, with the homeland again saved from a savage attack, this time from a man the government branded a "lone wolf."

Or it was an illusion, a fictional plot developed in a self-fulfilling and self-serving cycle of chasing ghosts.

For law enforcement, fear and the politics of fear have entwined to create a radical new paradigm. Even the term "law enforcement" has been rendered quaint by the Bush administration. These days, the term of art is "lawfare" —the confluence of police work and military tactics. With Joint Terrorism Task Forces set up across the country to coordinate the work of federal agencies and local cops, the FBI now devotes nearly two-thirds of its resources —some $4 billion —to waging war on terrorism. The approach today is not the traditional police work of investigating actual crimes but the far more slippery goal of preventing terrorist attacks before they occur.

To hear the Bush administration tell it, the JTTFs have been an unqualified success. The task forces have been credited with uncovering and busting up homegrown terrorist cells in Oregon, Seattle, Detroit, Miami, Buffalo and New Jersey. All told, the Feds have accused 619 people of "terrorist activity" since 9/11 —a record that the FBI insists has made America safer. In 2005 alone, more than 10 million terror inquiries were checked against the JTTF’s Investigative Data Warehouse, a central repository for "terrorism-related documents." Such numbers create the sense that America is indeed under siege —and that the government is on top of the threat. "These extremists are self-recruited, self-trained and self-executing," FBI Director Robert Mueller declared in 2006. "These homegrown terrorists may prove to be as dangerous as groups like Al Qaeda, if not more so."

But a closer inspection of the cases brought by JTTFs reveals that most of the prosecutions had one thing in common: The defendants posed little if any demonstrable threat to anyone or anything. According to a study by the Center on Law and Security at the New York University School of Law, only ten percent of the 619 "terrorist" cases brought by the federal government have resulted in convictions on "terrorism-related" charges —a category so broad as to be meaningless. In the past year, none of the convictions involved jihadist terror plots targeting America. "The government releases selective figures," says Karen Greenberg, director of the center. "They have never even defined ‘terrorism.’ They keep us in the dark over statistics."

Indeed, Shareef is only one of many cases where the JTTFs have employed dubious means to reach even more dubious ends. In Buffalo, the FBI spent eighteen months tracking the "Lackawanna Six" —a half-dozen men from the city’s large Muslim population who had been recruited by an Al Qaeda operative in early 2001 to undergo training in Afghanistan. Only two lasted the six-week course; the rest pretended to be hurt or left early. Despite extensive surveillance, the FBI found no evidence that the men ever discussed, let alone planned, an attack —but that didn’t stop federal agents from arresting the suspects with great fanfare and accusing them of operating an "Al Qaeda-trained terrorist cell on American soil." Fearing they would be designated as "enemy combatants" and disappeared into the legal void created by the Patriot Act, all six pleaded guilty to aiding Al Qaeda and were sentenced to at least seven years in prison.

In other cases, the use of informants has led the government to flirt with outright entrapment. In Brooklyn, a Guyanese immigrant and former cargo handler named Russell Defreitas was arrested last spring for plotting to blow up fuel tanks at JFK International Airport. In fact, before he encountered the might of the JTTF, Defreitas was a vagrant who sold incense on the streets of Queens and spent his spare time checking pay phones for quarters. He had no hope of instigating a terrorist plot of the magnitude of the alleged attack on JFK —until he received the help of a federal informant known only as "Source," a convicted drug dealer who was cooperating with federal agents to get his sentence reduced. Backed by the JTTF, Defreitas suddenly obtained the means to travel to the Caribbean, conduct Google Earth searches of JFK’s grounds and build a complex, multifaceted, international terror conspiracy —albeit one that was impossible to actually pull off. After Defreitas was arrested, U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf called it "one of the most chilling plots imaginable."

Using informants to gin up terrorist conspiracies is a radical departure from the way the FBI has traditionally used cooperating sources against organized crime or drug dealers, where a pattern of crime is well established before the investigation begins. Now, in new-age terror cases, the JTTFs simply want to establish that suspects are predisposed to be terrorists —even if they are completely unable or ill-equipped to act on that predisposition. High-tech video and audio evidence, coupled with anti-terror hysteria, has made it effectively impossible for suspects to use the legal defense of entrapment. The result in many cases has been guilty pleas —and no scrutiny of government conduct.

In most cases, because no trial is ever held, few details emerge beyond the spare and slanted descriptions in the indictments. When facts do come to light during a trial, they cast doubt on the seriousness of the underlying case. The "Albany Pizza" case provides a stark example. Known as a "sting case," the investigation began in June 2003 when U.S. soldiers raided an "enemy camp" in Iraq and seized a notebook containing the name of an imam in Albany — one Yassin Aref. To snare Aref, the JTTF dispatched a Pakistani immigrant named Shahed "Malik" Hussain, who was facing years in prison for a driver’s-license scam. Instead of approaching Aref directly, federal agents sent Malik to befriend Mohammed Hossain, a Bangladeshi immigrant who went to the same mosque as Aref. Hossain, an American citizen who ran a place called Little Italy Pizzeria in Albany, had no connections whatsoever to terrorism or any form of radical Islam. After the attacks on 9/11, he had been quoted in the local paper saying, "I am proud to be an American." But enticed by Malik, Hossain soon found himself caught up in a government-concocted terror plot. Posing as an arms dealer, Malik told Hossain that a surface-to-air missile was needed for an attack on a Pakistani diplomat in New York. He offered Hossain $5,000 in cash to help him launder $50,000 —a deal Hossain claims he never properly grasped. According to Muslim tradition, a witness is needed for significant financial transactions. Thus, the JTTF reached out for Hossain’s imam and the true target of the sting —Aref.

At trial, the judge brushed aside questions about why the government was after Aref in the first place. "The FBI had certain suspicions, good and valid suspicions, for looking into Mr. Aref," he told the jury. "But why they did that is not to be any concern of yours." For their role in a conspiracy confected entirely by the FBI, both Aref and Hossain were convicted of attempting to provide material support to terrorists and sentenced to fifteen years in federal prison.

"I am just a pizza man," the bewildered Hossain said at his sentencing. "I make good pizza."

Despite the rapid and widespread proliferation of JTTFs, very little has been reported about what goes on inside the War on Terror’s domestic front. The FBI building that houses the JTTF for the Northern District of Illinois has been moved from the middle of the city to a more spacious, fortresslike building on the industrial west side of Chicago, a place out of the city’s Loop, literally and figuratively. The glass tower is surrounded by a tall metal fence, and layers upon layers of security inside and out add to the sense of siege. When Special Agent Robert Holley, who supervises the JTTF’s Squad Counterterrorism 1, offers to escort me to his office on the eighth floor, we are stopped by his superior before we even reach the hallway. The entire floor, the supervisor declares, is considered secure — there are classified documents on desks —and therefore off-limits to outsiders.

Holley, an ex-military type who is built like a bullet, rolls his eyes but complies. There is no problem finding another room for a meeting. There are acres of empty offices and cubicles in the eerily futuristic building, the premises far larger than current requirements dictate but ready for expansion should the need arise with another terrorist attack.

Counterterrorism squads like the one overseen by Holley are assigned to monitor distant "Areas of Responsibility" —the Horn of Africa, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Iraq. The six CT squads in Chicago are also divided into two categories: Five "substantive" groups like Holley’s, which gather intelligence and conduct long-term investigations of specific individuals, and another squad that is charged with chasing down leads and determining the "threat profile" of suspects to decide if an investigation is merited. Holley’s squad currently has some seventy-five open investigations — he won’t give the precise number —in nearly every country under his purview. "A lot of our successes you don’t see," he says. "We don’t measure our success by the number of prosecutions."

When I ask what kinds of cases his CT squad has made, Holley cites the example of a local cab driver who came up on the JTTF’s radar some time back —he won’t say how or why. The man was East African, Holley says, a suspected Islamic extremist "connected to known bad guys overseas." After being interviewed by the JTTF, the cabbie decided to leave the country. Nothing criminal had occurred, and no charges were laid. The cab driver had simply come to the attention of the JTTF, and that in itself was enough to dispose of the matter.

"Can we consider that a success because we didn’t put him in jail?" Holley asks. "Absolutely. This guy is no longer here. He is not a threat to one person in the United States."

"Was he ever a threat?" I ask.

"We opened up an investigation."

"But isn’t that a circular argument?"

"Was he a bomb-thrower?" Holley concedes. "Probably not. Did he want to go into a mall and attack? No."

The next morning, I meet with three members of the Field Intelligence Group. The FIGs are designed to create a centralized approach to intelligence, both domestic and foreign. In northern Illinois, the group analyzes information from around the world, as well as that supplied courtesy of Operation Virtual Shield, the surveillance initiative designed to make Chicago one of the most-watched cities in the world. Thousands of cameras deployed on street corners, train platforms and buses now provide a nearly comprehensive visual record of all public movement in Chicago.

The unexceptional-seeming trio from the FIG dodge most of my questions on the grounds of national security. Mike Delejewski, a soft-spoken intelligence analyst, says that every call that comes into the JTTF is passed along to the FIG, which runs down every lead, no matter how improbable. Delejewski mentions a call received regarding the Sears Tower and three suspicious-looking men seen in the vicinity. That was all the report said. The FIG and CT squads responded. The men turned out to be Mexican tourists.

"We get a lot of those calls," Delejewski says with a laugh.

Many of the callers who contact the JTTF are intentionally misleading, hoping to take revenge against a boyfriend, neighbor or co-worker. Such hoaxes are so routine, in fact, that the JTTF’s public-relations officer keeps a separate file stuffed with press reports of invented pipe bombs and unattended suitcases and lunch trucks packed with explosives.

None of the three analysts in the FIG have Arabic-language skills or extensive experience in the countries they are supposed to monitor. To keep informed, they read newspapers and intelligence reports. They then issue bulletins to police departments about perceived threats.

"What is the biggest threat?" I ask.

There is a long pause.

"I think it’s very dangerous if we start to identify that," an analyst named Julie Irvine says.

"The enemy is listening," Assistant Special Agent in Charge Gregory Fowler adds later. "I drill that into my people’s heads every day. Foreign-intelligence agencies and terrorists are listening. The FBI is on a war footing."

When I express skepticism at the nature of the cases being brought by the JTTF, and the wild-goose chases that seem to occupy its time, Fowler says people don’t understand the "threat stream" facing the nation. There are two reasons, he insists, that cases brought by the JTTF end up being discounted. First, defense attorneys manipulate the public to create the impression that the accused are hapless —but since very few cases actually go to trial, this explanation is unlikely at best. Second, Fowler says, the FBI itself minimizes threats to prevent panic. As an example, he cites the case of "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, who pleaded guilty to terror-related charges. Reid, Fowler insists, was a much greater danger to America than is commonly appreciated —a refrain that requires the word of the JTTF be taken on faith.

"The public is never going to see the evidence we have," Fowler says. "We don’t want to reveal our hand or tip our sources. You cannot judge the nature of the terrorist threat to the United States based on the public record."

"But with such strictures," I ask, "how does a citizen become informed about the threat?"

"I have access to the information," Fowler says. "I have a lot of faith in the judgment of the common citizen. A lot of people understand the nature of the threat."

To get a perspective on how the War on Terror is being waged by cops on the street, I meet with two local police officers assigned to the JTTF. Sgt. Paul DeRosa of the Chicago Police Department and Master Sgt. Carl Gutierrez of the Illinois State Police act as liaison officers for their respective forces. Both are on call 24/7 for 365 days of the year. Both are regularly summoned at three in the morning to investigate potential terrorist activity in Chicago.

"This weekend I had two calls," Gutierrez says.

When I ask what the calls were about, all Gutierrez will say is that they involved "suspicious incidents" which "could possibly have a terrorist nexus." An example: People traveling on a train see someone taking photographs and acting suspiciously, and phone the police. "You have to understand we take those sort of calls very seriously," Gutierrez says. "We have to. If we don’t, and something happens, and it comes back to us and lives are lost, who’s to blame?"

To illustrate the kinds of cases the JTTF generates, Sgt. DeRosa cites an incident from three years ago. Two Middle Eastern men boarded a bus on Lake Shore Drive. They were bearded, dressed in traditional Arabic garb and sitting next to each other. As they rode the bus, one man was clicking a counter — the kind used at nightclubs to keep track of the crowd size. A passenger on the bus called 911.

"A report was made, and our CT squad was notified," DeRosa says. "We went and got the film from that bus. We reviewed it. We could see them clicking. We ask ourselves, ‘Are they clicking passengers? Are they clicking when they go past buildings? Are they clicking on how many cars?’ We put out a ‘Bolo’ —Be on the Lookout. We found where they got on the bus, and we did a stakeout. Seven or eight cars set up on the bus stop. On the third day, we spotted the guy. We talked to him." No one was arrested. There was no crime alleged. But DeRosa says proudly that the JTTF succeeded in finding the Man With the Clicker.

"Why was the man clicking?" I ask.

"They had to say a Muslim prayer 50,000 times," DeRosa says. "At first, we thought that was nonsense. Since then we’ve had a few of these incidents. Are these guys terrorists? Probably not. But in three days, they were identified and interviewed by the power of the JTTF — city and state police, FBI, Secret Service. Does that send a message to their community?"

Chicago has one of the largest Muslim populations in the country —some 400,000, DeRosa estimates. "Experts say that between five and ten percent of Muslims are extremists. So you take it down to one percent. What’s one percent of 400,000? Forty thousand? Technically there could be 40,000 —"

"You mean 4,000," I say.

DeRosa pauses. "Right," he says. "Four thousand." He forges on. "Most people who come to America who are Middle Eastern come for a good reason. But there’s still a percentage that may be here that don’t like us. They are with the extremists."

Gutierrez offers another instance of the JTTF at work. A man of apparent Middle Eastern background came into a Chicago police station and said he worked for the Department of Defense and he had top-secret documents in his truck, which had been stolen. He also said his roommate was a terrorist. The man appeared to be a kook. But an allegation had been made. The JTTF was contacted. Gutierrez was called out, and he interviewed the subject. He soon verified that the man was, in fact, nuts. But the matter didn’t end there.

"We interviewed the roommate," Gutierrez says. "He was an Egyptian. We ran his name. He was here illegally. ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] was there within two hours. I’ve never seen ICE react the way they did. They came out and took physical custody of the guy. They kept him until his court hearing, and he was sent overseas."

"Was there any evidence or suggestion that the man was actually a terrorist?" I ask.

"You never know," DeRosa says.

"Have you ever found a terrorist cell?" I ask.

"That’s kind of a vague question," Gutierrez says. "There are certain things we can’t talk about, because it leads to more."

"Do I believe there’s a cell in Chicago?" DeRosa asks. "I bet you there is. Do I have any direct physical knowledge? No. But I think there is one, and that’s why we’re here."

The two officers tell me about a close call at the Taste of Chicago food festival last year. Millions attend the annual street feast, with Chicago-style sausage and pizza and tamales on sale in booths along the lakefront. As with all major public events, the JTTF helped plan the security profile. A JHAT —a Joint Hazardous Assessment Team —set up at the festival, dotting the area with devices that detect signs of a chemical or biological or radiological attack. Suddenly, one of the devices went off: There was a radiological hit on one of the sniffers near a row of porta-potties. For an hour, the JHAT frantically tried to determine if Chicago had been struck by a "dirty bomb" —a weapon that spreads lethal radioactive material mixed with conventional explosives. Finally, after an anxious hour, the hit was traced to a particular outhouse —and the cause of the positive alert was determined.

"Someone who had chemotherapy had just done a poop," DeRosa says.

There is considerable skepticism in local police departments in northern Illinois about the nature and extent of the threat posed by terrorism. There are 415 local law-enforcement agencies in the district, many of which remain unconvinced that the threat is as dire as the JTTF maintains. Many departments refuse to allocate even one or two officers to spend four hours on basic terror training. Rather than consider the idea that the cops closest to the ground might have a better perspective on their communities, the JTTF addressed the problem by forming a TLOC —Terrorism Liaison Officer’s Committee. The point is to merchandise the menace of terrorism to the police.

"It’s a matter of marketing strategy," says Mark Lundgren, a special agent who oversees the TLOC. "These terrorism acts are trending toward the homegrown, self-activated, self-radicalized — the sort of thing that could literally pop up in your back yard. The typical things we would use to detect terrorism don’t work, because these people are off the charts, so to speak. Nine times out of ten, for the next decade, it’s going to be the local cop who stops the terror attacks."

Lundgren, who resembles a young Gary Busey, fairly glistens with certainty about the value of his work. "What are you trying to sell to the local police departments?" I ask.

"Awareness. Motivation," he says. "It’s a very hard sell. You walk into a chief of police in a crime-ridden district. The first thing he’s going to tell you is, ‘The guys in this area are killing people. The guys you’re telling me about —it’s not make-believe, I understand that — but they haven’t killed anyone lately in my district.’ "

"Or ever," I say.


When Derrick Shareef was arrested by the JTTF, the police chief in Rockford complained that his force had been told very little about the investigation. The city has one of the highest murder rates in the state, as well as raging drug and juvenile delinquency woes. Dominic Iasparro is a senior investigator who is working the case of an addict found dead on the outskirts of town. He tells me he has no real leads. There is a small FBI outpost in Rockford, with ten or so agents, but it provides no assistance on a homicide. Local police have scant interaction with the JTTF, and Iasparro doesn’t exactly see terrorism as a top priority in northern Illinois. "We’re not a big enough target," he says.

A thirty-five-year veteran, Iasparro follows JTTF bulletins and updates online, and he doesn’t doubt the good intentions of the agents involved in the task force. But he also understands that the pressure on the federal government to avoid another attack is enormous. To a local cop like Iasparro, the amount of resources the government devotes to the effort is staggering.

"Do you think the JTTF is jumping at ghosts?" I ask.

He shakes his head in wonder. "I have never seen anything like it in my career."

The attitude of local cops frustrates members of the TLOC. They want to train cops to watch out for "suspicious terroristlike behavior," without revealing what such behavior might look like. "We’re teaching police how to approach a suspicious person in a public place," Lundgren tells me. "How to probe that person. How to look at the body language they exhibit, how they answer questions, to determine if they are a threat or not — in a way that doesn’t leave that person feeling they’ve been ill-treated. There are detractors out there that think our cases are without merit. That’s a philosophical question that’s easy to ask until you’re a body part.

"Without getting too philosophical, remember the whole Dick Cheney one percent solution," Lundgren continues. "If there is a one percent chance that a device can be constructed that will kill thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of people, then we have to treat our response as if there were a 100 percent chance. That’s a thing that gets lost in the view of the public when they see the intelligence-gathering of law enforcement. They get concerned about their civil liberties and the Constitution because of the way things are portrayed in the media."

In late November, Derrick Shareef pleaded guilty to attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Because of the video evidence against him, Shareef couldn’t use a legal defense of entrapment. But in court, he said he had been "coerced into doing things and trapped into doing things." In Rockford, not long before his guilty plea, there was a "For Sale" sign on the small house where Shareef once lived. The house was empty, the furniture gone. Members of the JTTF told me that they wished they could reveal the rest of the story, to prove that Shareef was a true bad guy. According to the indictment of another accused terrorist, Hassan Abu-Jihaad, Shareef was involved in a larger conspiracy to attack a military base in San Diego. In pretrial proceedings, however, it emerged that Abu-Jihaad was egged on by none other than William "Jameel" Chrisman, the same informant who set up Shareef. Abu-Jihaad not only refused to participate in the alleged plot but on surveillance tapes can be heard dismissing Shareef as an idiot and a liar. "I ain’t no jihadi," Abu-Jihaad told Jameel.

While real threats undoubtedly exist, what the Bush administration promotes as a nationwide pattern of terrorist activities is largely the result of its own policies in the age of lawfare. Last May, the FBI arrested the "Fort Dix Six," charging the men with conspiring to attack the New Jersey military base. The supposed terror cell was discovered when a clerk at Circuit City was asked to transfer to DVD a video of the men allegedly training for jihad in the Pocono Mountains and shouting, "Allahu Akbar!" [God is great!] As in other cases, the FBI itself proved to be the mastermind behind the plot. The men —who included three roofers, a taxi driver and a former delivery boy for Super Mario’s Pizza — had little money and no connections to real extremists. All were in their twenties and spent their weekends playing paintball. Under the guidance of two informants for the JTTF, the men planned an assault on Fort Dix using rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s —none of which actually existed.

There are signs, however, that judges and jurors are getting fed up with such concocted "threats." In December, the prosecution of the "Liberty City Seven" ended in one acquittal and a hung jury for the rest of the accused. The supposed cell was accused of preparing a "full ground war" against America by bringing down the Sears Tower and other buildings. At trial, however, it emerged that the men had no operational abilities, that the plots were dreamed up at the exhortation of two paid FBI informants while smoking dope and that the group had been provided its camera, military boots and warehouse by the JTTF.

Despite 15,000 surveillance recordings of the men, including one in which they swore allegiance to Osama bin Laden, the jury refused to convict. "This was all written, produced, directed, choreographed and stage-designed by the United States government," Albert Levin, an attorney for one of the accused, said in his closing argument.

Undeterred, the government is taking six of the men back to court. The retrial was scheduled to begin on January 22nd.

[From Issue 1045 — February 7, 2008]

Hunting terrorists using confidential informant reward programs

Hunting terrorists using confidential informant reward programs – Legal Digest

Douglas A. Kash

The FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, April 2002 

The criminal acts of September 11, 2001, resulted in changes to existing U.S. law, including rewards available to confidential informants who provide information on terrorists or terrorist activities. Specifically, on October 26, 2001, the U.S. Congress enacted the Uniting and Strengthening America By Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (PATRIOT Act). (1) Prior to September 11, there were several different venues under which an informant could be eligible for a reward, depending upon which agency received the information. Although the events of September 11 did not increase the types of rewards, they modified the incentives to informants, including those who are noncitizens.

The notion of rewards for information is neither new nor limited to terrorism. Indeed, the U.S. Code provides for several types of rewards for different kinds of information. (2) This article identifies the different reward mechanisms for terrorist-related information and explains the process of each program. While several U.S. intelligence agencies (civilian and military) have internally managed reward programs for confidential informants, these programs and their appropriations are classified for national security purposes and will not be addressed.

Establishment of the Confidential Informant Reward Program for Terrorist Information

Rewards for information involving terrorism were established by the 1984 Act to Combat International Terrorism (1984 ACIT) (3) which provides the following:

With respect to acts of terrorism primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, the attorney general may reward any individual who furnishes information–

1) leading to the arrest or conviction, in any country, of any individual or individuals for the commission of an act of terrorism against a U.S. person or U.S. property;

2) leading to the arrest or conviction, in any country, of any individual or individuals for conspiring or attempting to commit an act of terrorism against a U.S. person or property; or

3) leading to the prevention, frustration, or favorable resolution of an act of terrorism against a U.S. person or property. (4)

Excluding government employees acting within the scope of their official duties, an individual is entitled to a reward up to $500,000. Rewards up to $100,000 can be paid with the approval of the attorney general, while a reward of $100,000 or more requires the approval of the president or attorney general. The rewards are deemed conclusive, and no court has the power or jurisdiction to review it. (5) Additionally, although the identity of an informant is kept strictly classified, informants and their immediate families are eligible to participate in the attorney general’s Witness Protection Program. (6)

When he sent the bill to Congress in April 1984, President Reagan noted the limitations of existing laws, specifically the lack of authority to pay rewards for information concerning acts of terrorism abroad. (7) President Reagan also stated that the payment for rewards in connection with domestic acts of terrorism was appropriately designated to the attorney general, while acts of terrorism outside of the territorial United States raised political and foreign relations issues within the jurisdiction of the secretary of state. (8) Upon signing the bill into law, President Reagan proclaimed that this law would "provide the resources and authorities essential in countering the insidious threat terrorism poses to those who cherish freedom and democracy…. This nation bears global responsibilities that demand that we maintain a worldwide presence and not succumb to these cowardly attempts at intimidation." (9)

The 1984 ACIT law adopted the definition of "terrorism" from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, (10) defining terrorism as violent or dangerous acts that would be crimes if committed in the United States and that appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population or to influence the policy or conduct of a government or political subdivision of a government by intimidation or coercion. The 1984 ACIT was first used in 1985 in connection with the slayings of four U.S. Marines and two U.S. civilians in El Salvador.

Current law, specifically, Rewards for Information Concerning Terrorist Acts and Espionage, (11) employs the same definition for terrorism as the 1984 ACIT. Rewards still are deemed conclusive and no court has the power or jurisdiction to review the reward. Again, informants’ identities can be kept strictly classified, and their immediate families are eligible to participate in the attorney general’s Witness Protection Program. (12)

The recently enacted PATRIOT Act amended the reward program’s authority by increasing the amount of money offered or paid to an informant. Now, a reward totaling $250,000 or more requires the personal approval of the president or attorney general. (13) The PATRIOT Act also mandates that if an award is approved under this section, the attorney general must tender written notice to the chairmen and ranking minority members of the Committees on Appropriations and the Judiciary in the Senate and House of Representatives, not later than 30 days after the approval. (14) The funding for the reward program can come from any executive agency or military department. The attorney general’s refusal to make a reward is not subject to judicial review. (15)

The "S" Visa

In addition to the monetary reward incentive, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), a component agency of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), has the authority under specific limited circumstances to grant special visas to nonimmigrants and their immediate families. On November 29, 2001, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced a new program, the Responsible Cooperators Program, which provides incentives to aliens to provide useful information about terrorists and their activities. (16) The incentives already existed within the U.S. Code, but this program is an effort to reinvigorate cooperative communication between the U.S. Department of State and alien groups regarding any knowledge their members may have regarding criminal acts, particularly terrorism.

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 created a new immigration regulation establishing an "S" visa, which provides for a temporary, and potentially permanent stay within the United States. (17) There are two categories of the "S" visa. The S-1 visa, is issued to aliens who possess "critical reliable information" regarding criminal activity (emphasis added), who are willing to share their information with a U.S. agency or court and whose presence in the United States is necessary for the successful prosecution of the criminal activity. The S-2 visa is available to aliens possessing "critical reliable information" regarding terrorist activity (emphasis added). In addition to the cooperation under S-1, the S-2 informant must be in danger as a result of providing the information to the United States. Only state and federal law enforcement authorities (including federal or state courts and U.S. attorneys) can initiate a request under the "S" category. (18) The alien must be eligible for an aw ard under Title 22 U.S. Code, Section 2708(a), also designated as section 3 6(a) of the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956. (19) The application must contain evidence establishing the nature of the alien’s cooperation with the government, the need for the alien’s presence in the United States, all conduct and conditions that may constitute grounds for exclusion, and all factors and considerations warranting favorable consideration by the attorney general on the alien’s behalf. (20)

The request must be submitted to the assistant attorney general (AAG), Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice. When necessary, the AAG can empanel personnel from the U.S. Marshals Service, FBI, DEA, DOJ Criminal Division, and Department of State to review the applications and prioritize the cases to conform to the statutorily mandated numerical limitations. (21) The application then is forwarded to the commissioner of the INS for final approval. (22) Within their 3-year stay, aliens can apply for permanent resident status ("green card"), which ultimately may result in citizenship.

The U.S. Department of State’s Reward for Justice Program

The Department of State also has the authority to pay rewards for information on terrorism. The Department of State was authorized to establish a rewards program in the Omnibus and Diplomatic Security Act of 1986, (23) funded from the moneys available under section 36(a) of the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956. (24)

Similar to the attorney general, the secretary of state may pay a reward to any individual who furnishes information leading to–

1) the arrest or conviction in any country of any individual for the commission of an act of international terrorism against a U.S. person or U.S property;

2) the arrest or conviction in any country of any individual conspiring or attempting to commit an act of international terrorism against a U.S. person or U.S. property;…

4) the arrest or conviction in any country of any individual aiding or abetting in the commission of an act described in paragraph 1 [or] 2;…

5) the prevention, frustration, or favorable resolution of an act described in paragraph 1 [or] 2), including by dismantling an organization in whole or significant part; or

6) the identification or location of an individual who holds a key leadership position in a terrorist organization. (25)

The PATRIOT Act also amended the maximum amount of a reward under Title 22, Section 2708 (e)(l), U.S. Code, which now provides "No reward under this section shall exceed $5,000,000, except as personally authorized by the secretary of state if he determines that offer or payment of an award of a larger amount is necessary to combat terrorism or defend the Nation against terrorist acts" (PATRIOT Act amendment in italic). (26) The PATRIOT Act appears to give the secretary of state the discretion to offer a reward without a monetary limit.

In an effort to avoid duplication or interference with the payment of informants or obtaining evidence or information, the secretary of state shall consult with the attorney general regarding–

1) [the identification of] individuals, organizations, and offenses with respect to which rewards will be offered;

2) the publication of rewards;

3) the offering of joint rewards with foreign governments;

4) the receipt and analysis of data; and

5) the payment and approval of payment. (27)

However, before making a reward payment for any matter over which there is federal criminal jurisdiction, the secretary of state must secure the approval of the attorney general. (28)

Since the days of the "Wanted" posters, new methods and technologies have contributed to the fight against terrorism. The Department of State, in coordination with several media outlets and other private entities, repeatedly has broadcast ways in which the public can assist the government. The Rewards for Justice Program was created in 1984 and is managed by the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), a component of the Department of State. The director of the DSS chairs an interagency committee that reviews reward candidates and makes recommendations to the secretary of state. Depending upon the type of incident, the committee can include representatives from the National Security Council, Central Intelligence Agency, DOJ, FBI, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service Witness Security program, INS, Federal Aviation Administration, and Department of Energy. (29)

Any individual can furnish confidential information at, or call toll free at 800-USREWARDS. If individuals do not have any information to offer, they can contribute money to, whose sole purpose is to fund Rewards For Justice, a 501(c)(3) (30) nonprofit charity fund from which the awards are paid. was created on December 13, 2001, by Steve Case and Joe Rutledge, two businessmen who were moved to lend their business and advertising expertise after the terrorist attacks. In coordination with the Department of State’s campaign undertaken by Under Secretary of State Cheryl Beers, Case and Rutledge also advised the Department of State to create the toll-free line. At least two states, Connecticut and Florida, have introduced legislation for the creation of "United We Stand" license plates. The proceeds from the sales of those plates will go to the fund.

The availability of rewards have been published in domestic newspapers, such as The New York Times, and internationally in Al Hayat, Paris Match, Die Welt, and Pravda. These announcements comport with the statutory mandate, referred to as the Aviation Security Improvement Act of 1990, (31) requiring the secretary of state to publish the availability of U.S. rewards for information on international terrorist-related activities, which to the appropriate extent, prominently displayed domestically and abroad in international airports. (32)

Secretary of State Powell called the Rewards for Justice Program "an extremely effective weapon in the United States’ arsenal to combat terrorism." David Carpenter, assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, added that the reward program has saved thousands of lives by preempting terrorist attacks. He noted that 22 people have received a total of more than $8 million for information over the past 17 years since the reward program’s enactment. The program generated information that led to the arrest of Ramzi Yousef who was convicted for the World Trade Center bombing in l993. (33) State Department spokesman Richard Boucher stated that the Rewards for Justice Program has resulted in more than 100 telephone calls, 600 letters, 1,200 e-mails and 1.2 million hits on the Web site. (34)

Moreover, in 1990 the Air Transport Association of America (ATAA) and the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) agreed to supplement the rewards paid by the U.S. government for information that prevents a terrorist act against U.S. civil aviation or leads to the arrest or conviction of any person who has committed such an act. (35) Although not a separate fund, this enables the ATAA and ALPA to increase a reward by up to $2 million.


Based upon the aforementioned statutes, there are sufficient tools through which confidential informants can be rewarded for their information regarding terrorism. The PATRIOT Act empowers the president and attorney general to approve rewards. The secretary of state has the apparent authority to offer rewards, without a monetary limit, to provide an incentive to persons with information sought by the United States. Some of those who possess the information have such deeply held religious or political convictions that no amount of money would cause them to contact U.S. authorities. Consequently, the U.S. intelligence community continues to develop its information-gathering techniques and recruit sources who, notwithstanding their religious or political affiliations, are willing to provide confidential information in an effort to avoid attacks on those who cherish freedom and provide for its security.


(1.) Pub. L 107-56, 115 Stat. 272 (2001).

(2.) 18 U.S.C. $ 3095B authorizes the attorney general to reward "any individual who assists the Department of Justice in performing its function"; 19 U.S.C. “? 1619 enables the secretary of the treasury to pay rewards for "information concerning any fraud upon the customs revenue"; 21 U.S.C. “? 881 authorizes the attorney general to pay rewards for "information which leads to the arrest and conviction of a person who kills or kidnaps a Federal drug law enforcement agent"; 26 U.S.C. “? 7623 authorizes the secretary of treasury to pay rewards "for detecting and bringing to trial and punishment persons guilty of violating the internal revenue laws"; and 28 U.S.C. “? 524(c) authorizes the attorney general to reward those who provide "information or assistance leading to a civil or criminal forfeiture."

(3.) Pub. L 98-533, Stat. 2706, codified at 18 U.S.C. “? 3071-77.

(4.) Id. Amended by P.L. 103-359, Title VIII, “? 803 et. seq., Oct. 14,1994,108 Stat. 3438-39 (to include acts of espionage) and substituting heading to Chapter 204 from "Rewards for Information Concerning Terrorist Acts" to "Rewards for Information Concerning Terrorist Acts and Espionage."

(5.) 18 U.S.C. “? 3072 (1984).

(6.) Id. “? 3076.

(7.) 20 Weekly Comp. Pres. Doe. 590 (April 26, 1984).

(8.) Id.

(9.) 20 Weekly Comp. Pres, Doc. 1573 (October 19, 1984).

(10.) 50 U.S.C. “? 1801(c)(1) and (2)(1982).

(11.) 18 U.S.C. “? 3077(1)(2001).

(12.) Id. “? 3076.

(13.) Supra note 1 at Title V, “? 501.

(14.) Id. at “? (b)(2).

(15.) Id. at $$ (b)(3) and (4).

(16.) Dan Eggen, "U.S. Dangles Citizenship to Entice ‘Cooperators,’ " The Washington Post, Al, November 30, 2001.

(17.) "Immigration and Naturalization Act “? 101(1)(15)(S), codified at 8 U.S.C. “? ll01(a)(15)(S) (1994). See also Section 212(d) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which allows the attorney general to waive inadmissibility with respect to a nonimmigrant as set forth in “? 101(a)(15)(S) if the attorney general considers it to be in the national interest.

(18.) 8 C.F.R. “? 2 14.2(t). The application is made on INS form 1-854 accompanied by an I-539.

(19.) 22 U.S.C. “? 2708 amended by Chapter 502 in the PATRIOT Act supra note 1; see also “? 36 State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (Pub. L. 885, August 1, 1956), 70 Stat. 890, as amended by The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, Pub. L. 100-690, 102 Stat. 4181 (November 18, 1988) “? 4602 and the International Narcotics Control Act of 1989, Pub. L. 101-231, 103 Stat. 1954 (December 13, 1989) “? 13.

(20.) Supra note 18 at (t)(4)(i)(C).

(21.) Id. at (t)(4)(ii)(B).

(22.) Id. at (t)(4).

(23.) Pub. L 99-399 (HR 4151) August 27. 1986, 100 Stat. 853. Codified throughout the U.S. Code.

(24.) Supra note 19.

(25.) Id. PATRIOT Act amendments in the italic.

(26.) It is noteworthy that the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution amending 22 U.S.C. [sections] 2708 by increasing, yet limiting, the secretary’s award authority to $25,000,000. H.R. Rep. No. 236(I), to accompany H.R. 2975, 107th Cong. 1st Sess. 2001, 2001 WL 1205861 (Leg. Hist.).

(27.) 22 U.S.C. [sections] 2208 (c)(1).

(28.) Id. at(c)(2).


(30.) 26 Internal Revenue Code [sections] 501(c)(3)(1986).

(31.) 22 U.S.C. [sections] 5501-5513, Pub. L. 101-674, 104 Stat. 3075.

(32.) Id. at [sections] 5512(c). Found under Title 22 at Chapter 64, United States Response to Terrorism Affecting Americans Abroad.

(33.) Tim Johnson, "Ads Stress $25 Million U.S. Kitty For Informants," The Miami Herald, December 14, 2001.

(34.) "Cash Offered, New Strategy Pushed in U.S. Fight to Foil Terrorism," December 14, 2000.


FBI Proposes Building Network of terrorist inducers

ABC News: The Blotter
FBI Proposes Building Network of U.S. Informants

July 25, 2007 1:01 PM

Justin Rood Reports:

Fbiproposesbu_mn_2 The FBI is taking cues from the CIA to recruit thousands of covert informants in the United States as part of a sprawling effort to boost its intelligence capabilities.

According to a recent unclassified report to Congress, the FBI expects its informants to provide secrets about possible terrorists and foreign spies, although some may also be expected to aid with criminal investigations, in the tradition of law enforcement confidential informants. The FBI did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

The FBI said the push was driven by a 2004 directive from President Bush ordering the bureau to improve its counterterrorism efforts by boosting its human intelligence capabilities.

The aggressive push for more secret informants appears to be part of a new effort to grow its intelligence and counterterrorism efforts. Other recent proposals include expanding its collection and analysis of data on U.S. persons, retaining years’ worth of Americans’ phone records and even increasing so-called "black bag" secret entry operations.

To handle the increase in so-called human sources, the FBI also plans to overhaul its database system, so it can manage records and verify the accuracy of information from "more than 15,000" informants, according to the document. While many of the recruited informants will apparently be U.S. residents, some informants may be overseas, recruited by FBI agents in foreign offices, the report indicates.

The total cost of the effort tops $22 million, according to the document.

The bureau has arranged to use elements of CIA training to teach FBI agents about "Source Targeting and Development," the report states. The courses will train FBI special agents on the "comprehensive tradecraft" needed to identify, recruit and manage these "confidential human sources." According to January testimony by FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole, the CIA has been working with the bureau on the course.

The bureau apparently mulled whether to adopt entire training courses from the CIA or from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which like the CIA recruits spies overseas. But the FBI ultimately determined "the courses offered by those agencies would not meet the needs of the FBI’s unique law enforcement." The FBI report said it would also give agents "legal and policy" training, noting that its domestic intelligence efforts are "constitutionally sensitive."

"It’s probably a good sign they are not adopting CIA recruitment techniques wholesale," said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, an expert on classified programs.  U.S. intelligence officers abroad can use bribery, extortion, and other patently illegal acts to corral sources into working for them, Aftergood noted. "You’re not supposed to do that in the United States," he said.

Aliens given incentives to become informants

November 30, 2001

THE INFORMANTS: Immigrants Offered Incentives To Give Evidence on Terrorists

Attorney General John Ashcroft today offered a deal to foreigners — if they provide useful evidence against terrorists, the administration will help them remain in the United States and may even offer a fast track to American citizenship.

''The people who have the courage to make the right choice deserve to be welcomed as guests into our country and perhaps to one day become fellow citizens,'' Mr. Ashcroft said as he described how he hoped to use a little-known seven-year-old program to offer incentives for providing information on terrorism. Officials said it was meant to represent a carrot to go along with the several other recent law enforcement initiatives that were less popular among many immigrant groups.

Civil liberties advocates were uncertain of its impact. Many lauded it as a useful counter to the administration's previous initiatives, including plans to question some 5,000 men in the country who have come from 26 Arab and Muslim nations. Others said it was flawed because illegal immigrants might be reluctant to come forward and make themselves known to the government.

Mr. Ashcroft said immigrants were in an especially good position to learn of terrorist plots or witness unusual behavior among people in their community.

''Terrorist activity rarely goes entirely unnoticed,'' he told reporters. ''Noncitizens are often ideally situated to observe the precursors to, or early stages of terrorist activity.''

The initiative, which Mr. Ashcroft called the Responsible Cooperators Program, was originally put in place in 1994 as part of a law aimed at reducing violent crime. It expired in September, but a bipartisan bill renewing the program was quickly enacted with little notice and President Bush signed it into law on Oct. 1.

In giving the program a public lift today, Mr. Ashcroft signaled that in light of the terrorist investigation, the Justice Department was eager to find people to consider for the law's special benefits.

The law allows the government to award a special classification to people who provide useful information to law enforcement authorities. Aliens who obtain that status may remain in the United States for three years even if they had previously come to the United States illegally.

Mr. Ashcroft said the special status is also available to people outside the country who go to American embassies with useful information and seek to enter the United States. Although the special visa classification expires in three years, Mr. Ashcroft said it could be a smoothed path to eventual citizenship.

''If the information that you provide is reliable and useful,'' he said, ''we will help you obtain a visa to reside in the United States and ultimately become a United States citizen.''

Paul Virtue, a Washington lawyer who is a former general counsel of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, said that although the program has been in use since 1994, ''What seems new is that it was never used in such a concerted effort aimed at one crime.''

Last year, there were 97 applications for the special status. Most were for help in regular criminal investigations and only a handful involved aiding the authorities in terrorist investigations.

One issue that seemed unclear was how an informant would be able to know if the information was useful enough to qualify for the special status. The rules provide that a Justice Department official has to make a recommendation, and the attorney general and the secretary of state both have to agree the information is worthy.

Mr. Ashcroft said the information does not have to lead to a conviction and may even appear insignificant to the informant. ''It might be a missing link in a chain of evidence,'' he said urging aliens to ''give it a try.''

Jeanne Butterfield, the executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, described the move as a welcome step but added that immigrants might be afraid to approach the authorities who they fear might deport them. Ms. Butterfield, a Washington immigration lawyer, said several of her colleagues ''have already told me they wouldn't recommend this to a client.''

Mr. Ashcroft said the program would be organized so that informants are not asked their immigration status, and he added that their status would not be used against them. But in trying to get reliable information, officials face the difficulty that up until today they sent the message that immigration violations would be dealt with harshly.

Lucas Guttentag, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants Rights Project, said, ''Attorney General Ashcroft now makes vague promises that are completely inconsistent with the threat of arrest and detention for any minor visa violation set forth in the existing immigration service memo governing this investigation.''

Nonetheless, Senator Edward M. Kennedy was one of several who applauded the program. Mr. Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat who co-sponsored the bill, said the program ''can be an important part of the ongoing comprehensive effort to track down and prosecute the terrorists responsible for the tragedy of Sept. 11.''

David Cole, a lawyer with the Center for Constitutional Rights and a critic of the administration's anti-terrorist approach, said tonight that he thought the program was a positive development.

''I think we're much more likely to get the assistance of the immigrant community if we offer rewards rather than treat them as suspects based on their ethnicity or country of origin.''

But Mr. Cole cautioned that for the program to be effective, potential informants would have to be assured that their visits to the authorities would not be used against them. He said that in 1986, when amnesty was offered to illegal immigrants who could demonstrate they had been here seven years, Congress required that anybody who applied could not be deported on the basis of the information they provided.

The law provides for the special status to be given to only 50 people a year who help in a terrorist investigation. Another 200 who help in a criminal investigation can be given the status. Mr. Ashcroft said that if the quota was filled, the authorities would be able to help an informant by delaying any deportation proceedings.

Denyce Sabagh, an immigration and civil liberties lawyer in Washington, said she had successfully used the program in the past for a client who provided law enforcement officials with valuable information. In exchange, she said, the individual was able to remain in the United States.

Mistrial in FBI terror entrapment case

Mistrial declared in Liberty City terror trial

Apr. 16, 2008

After 12 difficult days of deliberations, a federal jury on Wednesday deadlocked in the second trial of a Miami group accused of plotting with al Qaeda to overthrow the United States — an unprecedented outcome in the government’s legal war on domestic terrorism since the Sept. 11 attacks.

”At this juncture it is clear to me this jury is unable to reach a verdict,” U.S. District Judge Joan Lenard said in declaring a mistrial. The decision came after the jury’s third note to the judge indicating the panel was unable to reach a verdict.

The judge set a status conference for April 23 for federal prosecutors to decide whether to try the six defendants for a third time.

”The United States will announce its position on this matter at that time,” said Alicia Valle, special counsel to the U.S. attorney in Miami.

The mistrial came after the 12 jurors failed to reach a verdict on the four terror-related conspiracy charges against the six Liberty City defendants. The central charge was conspiring to provide ”material support” to the global terrorist organization for plans to destroy Chicago’s Sears Tower and federal government buildings.

The outcome, which was hinted at in the panel’s first note issued Friday, was like the previous jury’s verdict. In December, it deadlocked on the four charges against the six defendants and acquitted a seventh after nine days of deliberations.

On Wednesday morning, prosecutors urged the judge to make the jurors deliberate further. ”It just seems to me that it’s a little premature to declare a mistrial,” said Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacqueline Arango.

But defense lawyers, who moved for a mistrial, sharply disagreed. ”At this time, at this point, enough is enough,” defense attorney Rod Vereen said, citing the jury’s note saying it was deadlocked for the third time. “I don’t think it’s going to be any clearer.”

The ethnically diverse panel of seven women and five men, which was picked anonymously for the second trial because of the judge’s concerns about potential jury tampering, declined to comment outside the courtroom. The dozen jurors were escorted away from the federal courthouse by U.S. marshals.

The foreman in the original trial predicted the second jury would deadlock. Jeffrey Agron, a lawyer himself, said some jurors would have doubts about the prosecution’s central case — that the six defendants intended to carry out terrorist attacks after taking al Qaeda loyalty oaths in front of an FBI informant posing as a representative of the terrorist group.

He also said that some jurors would believe defense arguments that the Liberty City group’s ringleader only went along with the terrorism plot to con thousands of dollars out of the FBI informant.

Agron also pointed out that no guns, ammunition, explosives or terrorist blueprints were found on the Liberty City suspects after their arrests in June 2006.

”These cases where the government will go after groups that are more aspirational than operational may present problems for the jury,” Agron told The Miami Herald.

The second jury grappled with the same competing theories in the closely watched terrorism trial.

Prosecutors tried to prove the Liberty City group joined forces with al Qaeda in 2006 by taking a loyalty oath to the terrorist group and providing surveillance of target sites such as the FBI building and federal courthouse complex in Miami-Dade County.

Defense lawyers countered that the six men — led by a Messianic-like figure named Narseal Batiste — tried to con up to $50,000 out of an FBI informant who posed as an al Qaeda operative and set them up in a terrorism plot they had no intention of carrying out.

The defendants are Batiste, 33; Patrick Abraham, 28; Burson Augustin, 23; Rothschild Augustine, 24; Stanley Grant Phanor, 32; and Naudimar Herrera, 24.

If they had been convicted on all four terror-related conspiracy counts, each faced up to 70 years in prison.

The case of the Liberty City group made headlines across the country in June 2006 when the FBI arrested the original seven suspects. The Bush administration trumpeted their arrests as “yet another important victory in the war on terrorism.”

Yet the prosecution — relying on FBI wiretaps, phone recordings and videotapes of mainly Batiste — struggled to prove a crime was committed by true terrorists.

After the first two-month trial, jurors interviewed by The Miami Herald said the case was hobbled for a couple of reasons: FBI agents found no explosives, weapons or blueprints for any terrorist activity at the Liberty City group’s warehouse, dubbed The Embassy; those same agents relied on a pair of paid informants who had credibility issues.

During closing arguments in the second trial, which wrapped up on March 28, defense lawyers mocked the government’s case, questioning why the Justice Department targeted these hapless defendants instead of chasing down dangerous terrorists like al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

”This is not a crime of terrorism,” Batiste’s lawyer, Ana Jhones, told jurors in late March. “This is a sad, sad state of affairs.”

She said that Batiste was a ”dirt poor” contractor, father of four children and head of a small religious group who was motivated only by a desperate need for money — not to levy war against the United States.

Batiste attracted the attention of authorities in fall 2005. He began talking with a North Miami shopkeeper about his religious group, anti-U.S. ideology and goal to obtain money to pay for some vague terrorism plans. He actually wanted to form a new nation for his Moorish Science Temple, a religion that combines Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

The shopkeeper, a Yemeni man named Abbas al Saidi, was an FBI informant who considered Batiste a threat. At the direction of FBI agents, the informant introduced Batiste to another Arabic man, who was supposedly going to finance his alleged terror plot — to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago.

In time, the second informant, a Syrian man named Elie Assad, disclosed he was an al Qaeda representative who would help Batiste’s group acquire weapons, explosives and money for the Sears Tower scheme. It was all a front, but Batiste didn’t know it.

In exchange, the informant proposed that Batiste and his followers join al Qaeda in a plot to destroy FBI buildings in Miami and four other cities.

Prosecutors argued that agents introduced Batiste to the second informant to test his will to wage a war against the United States. They cited numerous recorded conversations in which Batiste asked for al Qaeda’s assistance.

The crux of their case revolved around undercover videotapes of Batiste and his men taking pledges to the terrorist group and shooting photographs of target sites such as the FBI building in North Miami Beach and the federal courthouse in downtown Miami. Batiste and some of his men gave the footage to the FBI informant in spring 2006.

Arango, the prosecutor, argued it didn’t matter whether Batiste sought out al Qaeda for financial or ideological purposes.

She also said the defense’s central argument — that Batiste was merely trying to con the FBI informant for thousands of dollars — was “just silliness.”

”If this was a con, you have to believe that the defendants could rip off the deadliest terrorist organization in the world,” Arango told jurors. “Do you think al Qaeda would be OK with that?”

But in the end, jurors struggled to reach an answer to that question — or any other.

Manufactured Terrorism: FBI paid key terror informants $56,000

Manufactured Terrorism: FBI paid key terror informants $56,000

Tactic will outrage jurors, defense says

Article posted Jul 26 2006, 10:43 PM

The FBI paid almost $56,000 to two confidential informants who are key to the case against seven men accused of being involved in a terrorist plot to blow up the Sears Tower and other targets.

According to a document filed by federal prosecutors, the FBI paid one unnamed informant $10,500 and an additional $8,815 in expenses. They also paid a second informant $17,000 with another $19,570 for expenses.

U.S. officials also granted the second informant a "significant public benefit" — immigration parole so he could remain in the country.

While using paid informants is not unusual in criminal cases, defense attorneys for the accused men said the compensation and benefits will help them show jurors the informants are not trustworthy.

"The fact that these are not just good citizens that are cooperating with the government, but that these are opportunists that are trying to earn not only money but other benefits by creating a case is extremely significant," said Gregory Prebish, attorney for Burson Augustin, one of the accused.

The seven men, part of a religious group headquartered in the Liberty City area of Miami-Dade County, are facing various charges in connection with attacks they allegedly planned.

Much of the case hinges on the two informants, one of whom knew the men and participated in the investigation after alerting authorities. The second man posed as an al-Qaida operative at the FBI's direction, according to prosecutors. Secret recordings made by the informants are also central to the case.

ccording to court documents, alleged ringleader Narseal Batiste approached the first informant, an acquaintance who has worked with the FBI since around 2004 and who has previously been arrested for assault, possession of marijuana, and motor vehicle violations.

Batiste allegedly asked the informant whether he knew anyone in Yemen who would be willing to support his mission against the United States.

After he began working with the FBI on the case, the informant introduced Batiste to the second informant, who has been working with the FBI for about six years.

The amount of money paid to the informants does not tell the whole story, defense attorneys said.

The informants also received valuable noncash perks, they said, like the immigration parole.

"That's a priceless benefit," said Albert Levin, attorney for Patrick Abraham, one of the seven.

"You've got to question justice if you've got money being paid to create cases," said Nathan Clark, attorney for Rotschild Augustine. "I think it's clearly going to demonstrate the lack of credibility of the charges against my client."

Levin said jurors would likely be outraged to learn how much was spent investigating a "so-called terrorist organization."

According to prosecutors, the men did not pose an imminent threat.

"I would think that the taxpayers would be outraged that they're paying this kind of money for this kind of information," he said.

The U.S. Attorney's Office declined to comment Tuesday, citing the pending case.

Lawyer Mark Schnapp of Greenberg Traurig, former head of the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's office, said compensating informants is routine in federal investigations.

"It's very rare you're going to find someone actively working undercover as an informant without being paid in some fashion," Schnapp said. "At the end of the day, what's on the tapes will govern."

US school for training terrorist leaders

The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies
Alexandria, Georgia


Informant Development to Fight the War on Terrorism: Jihadist Islamic Doctrine for Law Enforcement Officers

An important seminar for Law Enforcement Officers to learn how to successfully identify, develop and recruit useful informants and sources for the local fight against terrorism.

This course will train Law Enforcement Officers how to:

* Identify, approach and recruit sources to identify, penetrate and report on the potential Jihadist problems within their jurisdiction.
* Provide the tools and tactics required to identify and develop counterterrorist informants/sources.
* Understand the differences between development of general criminal informants/ sources and the development of counterterrorism informants/ sources.

[The term "informants" refers to FBI covert agents who try to induce young and gullible US muslims to prepare terrorist plots by providing them advice, money and equipment]

This course will provide you with an understanding of Jihadist Islamic Doctrine:

* A detailed knowledge of the process of radicalization and training directed against Muslims by Jihadists to recruit them to support or conduct acts of terrorism.
* The Jihadist interpretation of Islamic Doctrine and Law to justify terrorism.
* Tactics to use when talking to people within your community who are in a position to support law enforcement’s fight in the war on Jihadist Terrorism.

[The course teaches FBI personnel how to fake Muslim suicide notes and other such evidence]

Course is taught by:

* David G. Major, President, CI Centre President. Senior FBI Supervisory Special Agent, retired with 24 years of service. Well-known expert in counterintelligence and counterterrorism.

* Dr. Tawfik Hamid, Former member of the extremist Islamic group Jamma’a Islameia, current Islamic thinker and reformer. Provides a unique understanding of the jihadist mindset, how people are recruited into being a terrorist and what LEO's should look out for and do to successfully deal with jihadists in their community. Author of "The Roots of Jihad" and "Inside Jihad".

* and others

All law enforcement officers know that informant/source development and handling is essential to identify, prevent and/or solve terrorist attacks on their community. Law enforcement officers also know it is essential to understand the “mindset” and “belief structure” of any individual they are trying to recruit as a source of information. This seminar is specifically structured to provide these skills to law enforcement officers recognizing that homeland security is local security.

The development of a “terrorist” informant is different in many ways from the development of general “criminal? informants. It is essential that law enforcement officers are provided the tools and tactics to target and recruit informants in this new evolving war with Jihadist terrorism. Accordingly it is essential that the officer have a working knowledge of this belief base threat to understand and discuss the Jihadist justification for their actions based on the Jihadist interpretation of Islamic Doctrine.

Rules of Professional Conduct hold that professionals have a duty to be competent, and this includes the requirement to inform oneself of the subject matter by taking the necessary time to prepare oneself to a standard of preparedness necessary to provide successful responses to situations which may arise. To respond against the Jihadist criminal and active measure operations, we have a professional responsibility to first understand the worldwide modern-day Jihadist movement, their mindset and motivation; and then understand how to fight the enemy.

This important course includes an honest, detailed background discussion of what the radicalization process teaches about Islam to potential jihadist recruits and how Islam is used by extremists to justify the Militant Jihadism. It examines the roots of Islam from its foundation by Mohammed’s first revelations in 610, through the pre-modern Jihadist era ending with dissolving of the Caliphate in 1924, to the modern Jihadist era.

The seminar introduces key concepts to understanding Islam today such as: who was Muhammad, the origins and importance of the Qur?an and the Sunnah, what does abrogation mean, the importance of the Mecca and Medina Suras, what is the meaning of Jihad and salvation, why Islam is more than a religion, the origins and importance of Sharia or Islamic Law, what is Dhimmitude and why is it important.

The course also examines the importance to know about: the first four Caliphs; the difference between Sunni and Shi’a; the importance of the Battle of Karbala in 680 and the significance of the 12th Imam and the Blue Mosque to Shi’a and how it relates to Iran’s threat to the world today. The seminar explores the multiple efforts to spread Islam in order to achieve world domination. This expansion began in 633 as Islam spread throughout the Mecca/Medina region into Africa, Spain, Persia and the Middle East. The questions of what really took place during the Crusades that took place from 1095 to 1204 and how it is important to understand them in relation to the Islamic Threat today are discussed. The expansion of Islam until it was contained at the Battle of Vienna in 1683 is reviewed, and why the date of September 11 has great historical significant to the Militant Jihadist.

This course explains the roots of modern terrorist actions driven by todax’s modern Jihadist era which were revived by the Sunni sect in 1928 and the Shi’a sect in 1979.

The seminar explores the resurgence of the Sunni Islamic terrorist movement in 1928 with the establishment of the Muslim Brotherhood following World War I. The seminar will provide background for the students to understand and interpret events that are currently unfolding in the Middle East and around the world, relating to the Israeli-Arab Conflict and the world wide war on Islamic terrorism. Between 1918 and 1936, the majority of the Middle Eastern countries, such as the Palestine British Mandate, Syria, Transjordan, Iraq, a freer Egypt and Lebanon, were established by Great Britain and France. Most of these countries were granted independence only after terrorist operations were directed against Britain and France in the region. The background behind, and rational for and importance of, the establishment of the State of Israel in the region is also explained in detail.

The significance of the 1948, 1957, 1967, 1973, 1982 and 2006 wars between the Arab countries in the region and Israel and their impact on the Islamic world are explained in detail. These events had a direct impact on the growth of Islamic-based terrorism in the modern era. The importance of the Iran Revolution of 1979 and the emergence of Shi’a based terrorism and the terrorist organization Hezbollah is examined and put in context to understand todax’s Islamic Threat.

The law enforcement officer developing informants must under have a working knowledge of the roots of the terrorist actions observed by todax’s Jihadist such as the phenomena of “taqiyya?

Did informant?s actions aid Fort Dix plotters?

Did informant’s actions aid Fort Dix plotters?

Entrapment defense may be presented in court for alleged plot against U.S.

Associated Press
10 May 2007

CHERRY HILL, N.J. – He railed against the United States, helped scout out military installations for attack, offered to introduce his comrades to an arms dealer and gave them a list of weapons he could procure, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

These were not the actions of a terrorist but of a paid FBI informant who helped bring down an alleged plot by six Muslim men to massacre U.S. soldiers at New Jersex’s Fort Dix.

And those actions have raised questions of whether the government crossed the line and pushed the six men down a path they would not have otherwise followed.

It is an argument ? entrapment ” that has been made in other terrorism cases, and one that has failed miserably in this post-Sept. 11 era.

One defense attorney on the case, Troy Archie, said no decision has been made on whether to argue entrapment, but based on the FBI?s own account, “the guys sort of led them on.”

Rocco Cipparone, a lawyer for another one of the defendants, said he will take a hard look at “the role of paid informants and how aggressive they were in potentially prodding or moving things along.”

The Fort Dix Six were arrested earlier this week after a 15-month FBI investigation that relied heavily on two paid informants who secretly recorded meetings and telephone conversations in which the suspects talked of killing “in the name of Allah.”

U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie defended the government’s handling of the case. He and the FBI portrayed the defendants as Muslim fanatics who were nearly ready to strike. They were arrested Monday night during what the FBI said was an attempt to buy AK-47 machine guns, M-16s and other weapons.

'Really, really solid' evidence
Former FBI agent Kevin Barrows said prosecutors appeared to have done things right.

“They corroborated with surveillance, and they had a gun buy set up,” Barrows said. “That further solidified the case, as opposed to it just being a tape of somebody saying, “Yeah, I want to buy guns.” They worked this for a long time, and the evidence seems really, really solid.”

Prosecutors portrayed the six men ? Serdar Tatar, 23; Agron Abdullahu, 24; Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, 22; Dritan “Anthony? or “Tony? Duka, 28; Shain Duka, 26; and Eljvir “Elvis? Duka, 23 ? as driven by hatred of America, a description disputed by relatives and acquaintances.

Click for related content
Timeline: Unraveling the Fort Dix plot

“I never in my wildest dreams imagined what they?ve been accused of,” said Ismail Badat, trustee of the Islamic Center of South Jersey in Palmyra, where the Duka brothers worshipped.

The same documents that prosecutors used to build a case against the suspects also depict them as somewhat disorganized, lackluster plotters. And clumsy and amateurish, too: The FBI learned of the alleged plot when the men went to a Circuit City store and asked a clerk to transfer a jihad training video of themselves onto a DVD. Also, they mistakenly thought an AK-47 costs $500, instead of $1,500 to $3,000.

Also, one of the men, Tatar, called a Philadelphia police officer in November, saying that he had been approached by someone who was pressuring him to obtain a map of Fort Dix, and that he feared the incident was terrorist-related, according to court documents.

“It could be a defense, that he felt he was being pressured to do things and actually called law enforcement to report it,” Sohail Mohammed, a lawyer and Muslim community leader in New Jersey who is not involved in the case.

Entrapment occurs when law enforcement officials entice others into committing a crime they otherwise would not have committed. Under the law, people cannot be convicted if they were entrapped. But there is no entrapment if a person is willing to break the law and law officers offer to help.

“If the source talks them into committing a crime, that is entrapment,” said retired FBI agent Craig Dotlo, a 32-year veteran. But “if they are predisposed to commit a crime, and you give them the opportunity, that’s fine.”

Hard to win an entrapment defense
Among other things, even before the informant presented the list of weapons he said he could get, Dritan Duka unwittingly asked an undercover federal agent he had seen at a firing range about where he might buy an AK-47 or M-16, according to the FBI.

Archie, the defense attorney, conceded it is difficult to win an entrapment defense. “Basically, if they are just constantly pushing someone to go in a particular direction,” he said. “It’s just got to be obvious, obvious entrapment for it to fly.”

Attorney Henry Klingeman unsuccessfully argued that government agents had entrapped London merchant Hemant Lakhani, convicted in New Jersey in 2005. Lakhani was caught in a sting trying to arrange the sale of at least 50 shoulder-fired missiles for shooting down American airliners. He is serving a 47-year prison sentence.

“In the post-9/11 era, the entrapment defense is basically useless,” Klingeman said. “For a defendant, merely saying he wishes he could do harm to America, the jury has heard enough.”

Failed in 2003 terror case

Entrapment also failed as a defense in the case of Shahwar Matin Siraj, who was convicted in New York City of plotting to blow up the Herald Square subway station in 2003. Authorities had recruited an Egyptian man as an informant.

Siraj’s lawyer, Martin R. Stolar, argued at trial that Siraj had no interest in violence until the informant showed him photos of prisoners being abused at Abu Ghraib and told him it was his duty as a Muslim to retaliate. Siraj was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years.

“The government often overreaches in its zeal to give itself a pat on the back,” Stolar said. “In my case, my position was that they created the crime in order to solve the crime so that they could then claim a victory in the war on terror.”

Vincent Henry, director of the Homeland Security Management Institute at Long Island University and a 21-year veteran of the New York Police Department, said he is convinced that the Fort Dix defendants really were capable of pulling off such an attack.

“I?m sure they were,” he said. “The arrests were made as they were on their way to purchase the weapons, or at least some of the weapons. They had seemed to plan it out very, very well.”

Anna, an FBI provocateur, entraps three gullible anarchists to prepare attack

Conspiracy of dunces
Three would-be eco-terrorists were arrested in Auburn last January for plotting acts of sabotage for the Earth Liberation Front. But would there have been a conspiracy without the prodding of FBI infiltrator Anna?

This article was published July 27, 2006, in the Sacramento News & Review.