Last February 25th, I was sitting in my 11 AM class when the teacher asked: “Any relevant news?” and after a couple of seconds a girl snapped back with an alarming New York Times breaking story: “3 Brooklyn Men Accused of Plot to Aide ISIS’ Fight.” I remember thinking, almost automatically “Oh shit, they’re here.” But my fearful anticipation of getting blown up didn’t last long. As the girl read the article, she revealed that the case against the three men relied, almost completely, on an informant paid by the government. Now that was truly disturbing.
The fact is that of the 508 counterterrorism convictions after 9/11, 243 of the defendants, nearly 50 percent were targeted via an informant, a government-paid spy who infiltrates Muslim communities to snatch people that could get “radicalized.” Of those 243 defendants, 158 were caught via an FBI sting, an operation where the defendant is entrapped by a terrorist plot that the FBI designs, and of those 158, 49 were lured by the informant who also led the presumed plot. Meaning, that a great number of the terrorist plots that the FBI gloriously stopped in the US, were actually manufactured by the FBI itself.
As Trevor Aaronson of The Intercept points out in this article, in numerous cases where a person is entrapped by a sting operation, the person does not have the capacity to actually conduct a terrorist attack, nor at times the willingness, but is instead persuaded by the FBI informant, who also provides the supplies for the attack. In one case, Sami Osmakac, entrapped and further convicted, was suffering from mental illness. In another, the case of the “Newburgh Four”, the lead defendant actually refused to participate in the plot several times before the FBI informant offered him $250,000 dollars to help with what he thought was going to be the bombing of four New York Synagogues. Then there’s the case of the Duka brothers, famously vilified in the media as the “Fort Dix Five” because they allegedly attempted to blow up a military complex in New Jersey.
How the American Dream played out for the Duka brothers
As The Intercept reports in Entrapped, a short film by Razan Ghalayini, what actually happened is that the three Duka brothers, low income Muslim immigrants from Yugoslavia that grew up in Brooklyn and established a successful family business in New Jersey, were not only entrapped, but incriminated, by the FBI, in what was hailed as one of the greatest achievements of counter-terrorism tactics employed in the post 9/11 era.
The FBI paid an informant to ensnare the Duka brothers in a terror sting, but instead of befriending them directly, the informant targeted a young friend of the Dukas who was more gullible, and it was between the two of them that the terror plot to bomb New Jersey’s Fort Dix was planned. What’s especially concerning about this case is that the Duka brothers never even agreed to commit such a hypothetical crime. That’s right, after 300 hours of audiovisual surveillance, the Duka brothers never mentioned or even hinted that they knew about a plot to bomb a military base.
And as if that weren’t proof enough that these men are not terrorists, in a conversation recorded by the FBI, the Duka Brothers, when pressured several times by the informant who deceptively told them that they needed to fight the war of jihad against the US, lashed back at him and told him:
“We can’t … we … the biggest Jihad for us here in America is to spread Islam … That’s the most important thing. That is Jihad. Jihad is not just, like we say, to go fight. No people misunderstand it. … The first Jihad is with yourself, when the devil tells you, do this, you try, you fight with the devil. No, no, no. I won’t do it. Then the second Jihad is with your family. To work. To teach Islam to your children. Then you should spread Islam, to tell others, this is Islam.” (1)
So it is clear that the Duka brothers never planned to commit any act of terror, it is clear that they had no knowledge of any terror plot, that they didn’t even want to be involved in terrorism, and that they were just trying to be good Americans by providing for their families and securing a better future for their kids, but none of that mattered. Right now they are imprisoned in solitary confinement serving a life sentence on terrorism charges, for a crime they didn’t even dream of committing. As I said: this is truly, incredibly, and abhorrently disturbing.
The terror business is booming
One can’t help but think: why? Why would a government be so invested in framing innocent people to such an extent? If these people would not conduct terrorist acts on their own accord, if they wouldn’t even be capable of conducting terrorist attacks on their own, if they didn’t even want to commit terrorist acts in the first place, it begs the question, why then is the FBI so vested in entrapping them, why is the FBI so concerned in protecting the public from terrorists that don’t even exist?
The answer is simple: the FBI is not as concerned about protecting the public as it is about scaring the public. They want to scare the public into thinking that everyone is in the explosion radius of one of those jihadi bombs because they want to be able to say, “Preventing terrorist attacks remains the FBI’s top priority,” or that “the terrorist threat against the United States remains persistent and acute,” to justify their demands for a 47 million dollar increase in their fiscal year budget to play with new gadgets and build more venues for their counter-terror branch (2).
Furthermore, they want to fuel the war propaganda that would benefit the multi-billion dollar industry of weapons manufacturing. FBI Director James Comey would surely know something about that, because guess what he used to do for a living before joining the Bureau? You got it: he was the senior vice president for Lockheed Martin, one of the biggest fighter jet and missile manufacturers in the world. The FBI is giving ISIS a run for its money, in a competition to terrorize people into war.
There is no way out of it: the FBI is in the terror business, and no terror business can function without terrorists. So what do you do as a terror company when you don’t have enough supply of enemies to balance the demand? Easy, you manufacture more, and make everyone believe that the threat is incredibly bigger than what it actually is. Sadly, their terror business is booming.
According to a Gallup poll released this past February, 84% of Americans believe ISIS and International terrorism to be a critical threat to the United States, topping North Korea, Iran’s nuclear capabilities, Russia, and China’s economic power. It doesn’t matter if that’s true or not, it just matters that people believe it, because then the government can hide behind that in order to increase the already excessive military budget it prides itself on and to continue waging wars around the world. In the meantime, the FBI can keep on asking for millions and millions of dollars on the pretense of protecting the nation.
There is simply no way to justify this. As Human Rights Watch explains in this report, the surveillance by informants that usually precedes an FBI sting operation unfairly targets Muslims and other minorities who are only guilty of having been born in the wrong end of the economic pyramid, and are doing nothing to actually protect anyone. This can only be described as deliberate framing and fear mongering at its most depraved. I wouldn’t be surprised if the FBI got the idea straight out of Hitler’s “Handbook on How to Deal with Dissenters.”
Ultimately, the fact that a government institution is willing to intentionally make terrorists out of innocent people just to validate its outrageous budget is stratospherically more terrifying than any fear-mongering campaign trying to convince us that Muslim terrorists are living amongst us.
1) Entrapped. Directed by Razan Ghalayani. The Intercept, 2015. Film. Accessed at https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/06/25/entrapped/
2) Statement Before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies by FBI Director James Comey, March 12, 2015. https://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/fbi-budget-request-for-fiscal-year-2016