Just last month, Amine El Khalifi, a Moroccan immigrant, was sentenced to 30 years in prison as the result of a sting operation in which FBI agents provided him with a fake bomb and inoperable gun for a staged terrorist act against the US Capitol building in Washington, DC.
Still awaiting trial in Portland, Oregon is Mohamed Mohamud, who was arrested in November 2010, when he was 19 years old, in an FBI sting operation that was almost identical to the one Nafis is accused of in New York City. He is accused of trying to detonate a fake explosive in a van that was parked at a Portland Christmas tree-lighting event. All of the materials involved originated with the FBI, which had apparently been monitoring the youth since he was 17, before drawing him into the fabricated plot.
Among the most infamous of these sting operations was one mounted in New York in 2009 against four black American Muslims from Newburgh who were jailed for 25 years. The Pakistani-American agent provocateur in that case offered one of the defendants $250,000 to convince him to help place fake bombs outside a synagogue. Another defendant was told his dying brother would receive a liver transplant in return for his participation. In this case, as in the others, none of those entrapped had the financial means, knowledge or even intent to carry out these acts before they were instigated by the FBI.
In the Newburgh case, presiding Judge Colleen McMahon declared, "I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that there would have been no crime here except the government instigated it, planned it and brought it to fruition."
More recently, the government has turned these same methods against elements around Occupy Wall Street and antiwar protests, with undercover agents entrapping five young men in Cleveland described as "anarchists" in a plot to blow up a bridge with fake explosives provided by an FBI undercover agent. In Chicago, five men were arrested during the protests at the NATO summit in May 2012 and framed up on terrorism conspiracy charges by undercover police informants.
On the same day that the "terrorist plot" arrest was announced in Brooklyn and reported breathlessly by the mass media, another terror sting operation came to a far quieter close in Manhattan, where Manssor Arbabsiar, a former Texas used car salesman, pleaded guilty to lesser charges in a bizarre government-fabricated plot that supposedly involved the Iranian government in the hiring of a hitman from the Zetas drug cartel in Mexico to carry out the assassination of the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, DC.
"The audacity of the plot should not cause doubt, but rather vigilance," US Attorney Preet Bharara declared in relation to the plea deal, effectively acknowledging that the story is wholly unbelievable.
Why Arbabsiar would seek out a member of a drug gang like Zetas (in this case a US agent posing as one) to carry out a high-level political assassination, much less why the Iranian government would entrust such a mission to the ex-used car salesman, whose mental stability became a serious question in the case, has never been explained. Arbabsiar did make clear in his plea bargain that the proposal to kill the ambassador came from the US agent.
All the elements of the case point to a hapless Arbabsiar being entrapped in a drug case and then used by the government in a provocation aimed at providing justification for US aggression against Iran.
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