No Letup In Political Witch-Hunts Under Obama - by Stephen Lendman
For eight years, the Bush administration relentlessly targeted Muslim, environmental, and animal rights activists as national security or terrorist threats. Shamefully, Obama continues the same practice.
On May 20, the FBI arrested four New York men, claiming they planned to bomb a Bronx synagogue and community center and shoot down Newburgh, New York-based Air National Guard jets with stinger missiles.
The same day Justice Department press release said:
The charges against James Cromite (aka Abdul Rahman and Abdul Rehman), David Williams (aka Daoud and DL), Onta Williams (aka Hamza), and Laguerre Payen (aka Amin and Almondo) include "plot(ting) to detonate explosives near a synagogue in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, New York, and to shoot military planes....with Stinger surface-to-air missiles. In their efforts to obtain weapons, the defendants dealt with an informant acting under law enforcement supervision, and the FBI and other agencies monitor(ing) the defendants' actions up to the time of arrest, including providing an inactive missile and inert explosives to the informant for the defendants."
It's a familiar scheme involving an FBI sting using an informant to entrap unwitting victims, in this case four poor black Newburgh, New York men who'd converted to Islam, two while in prison for unrelated charges. Cromite was called the ringleader. A Pakistani man named Shahed Hussain (aka Malik) was a paid FBI informant facing prison and/or deportation on dozens of fraud counts. He was enlisted to cooperate in return for leniency.
He's the same man used earlier for four separate stings, Yassin Aref among them, an innocent man, entrapped and victimized, now serving a 15 year prison term, and a valued friend of this writer. In post-9/11 America, he's one of many Muslim victims of police state justice. They've been targeted, persecuted, arrested, imprisoned, kept in isolation, denied bail, tried on secret evidence on trumped-up charges, convicted by juries too intimidated to acquit, and sentenced to long prison terms for being Muslims at the wrong time in America. Others for being environmental and/or animal rights activists. It went on under George Bush and continues under Obama. When the Newburgh 4 are tried in late 2009, they'll face 25 year to life sentences if convicted on one or more charges.
They're petty felons, not terrorists, with criminal records on drug-related charges, assault, and Payen's unrelated weapons charge for firing a BB gun hitting two people in the head, then snatching purses from two women the same day. He's a Haitian citizen. The others are Americans, and both Williams men aren't related. They apparently met in prison where two of them were introduced to Islam.
Background on Informant Malik
On FBI instructions, he looked for targets at a Newburgh mosque and found them in four convicted felons, prime candidates to be framed on bogus charges if he could lure them into the trap. He befriended them with offers to pay medical bills, but never did because arrests came first after months of entrapment. His victims were poor, in need of cash, and induced to go along by small gifts and offers of more.
The Justice Department called them "radicalized Muslims," acting out of hatred for Jews and wanting revenge on behalf of Muslims against America.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) uses anti-Semitism for moral cover, but is notoriously Islamophobic in its ideology. Its web site highlighted "Muslim extremists motivated by hatred for Jews and Israel have targeted Jews in the US for many years, an alarming number of post-9/11 plots and conspiracies have involved or been led by" American Muslims "arrested on various terror-related charges (related to) ideologies of extreme intolerance propagated by terrorist movements overseas (and in some cases) jihadist materials on the Internet." The ADL cited alleged quotes about wanting "to get a synagogue" and willingness to die and go to "paradise" as a martyr.
New York police commissioner Raymond Kelly said the men planned to bomb two Bronx synagogues by detonating explosives from a cell phone. After supposedly planting phony devices, given Malik by the FBI, police surrounded their car and arrested them in a carefully planned operation. It involved an 18-wheel police vehicle and armored personnel carrier using NYPD Emergency Service Unit personnel. It came off with military precision and why not. It was a setup.
"It's hard to envision a more chilling plot," said Assistant US Attorney Eric Snyder. "These are extremely violent men." In fact, they're innocent victims of police state justice facing an uphill struggle for vindication against a Justice Department determined to convict with dozens of easily manipulated and/or doctored audio and video DVD recordings of supposedly terror-plotting meetings and conversations.
On June 2, a federal grand jury indicted the four men on eight bogus counts:
-- "Conspiracy to use weapons of mass destruction within the United States"