The FBI arrested a Somali-born teenager in Portland, Oregon for allegedly planning to bomb a crowded Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.
FBI agents were alerted to 19 year-old Mohamed Osman Mohamud by a family member, who suspected he might be a threat. Agents then set out to catch him in a sting operation; they created a fake jihadists terrorism ring, recruited Mohamed and persuaded him to carry out an attack.
The plan was to detonate a large car bomb, but when Mohamed attempted to detonate the vehicle he was arrested. The vehicle never contained any explosives. It was a plant by the FBI.
Did officials trick and entrap Mohamudto win national security points?
The alleged plotter is a teenager. The bomb he planted, a fake, and the FBI allegedly manipulated him into committing that crime.
“Entrapment is not legal. Entrapment is getting someone to do something that they wouldn’t normally do,” said retired FBI agent James Wedick.
Mohamud’s emails were tracked by authorities while they waited for the right time to get him to act against US national security.
“The FBI was with him every step of the way. He started since he was 15 yrs old,” reported Fox News Channel.
Four years, an unknown amount of money, and hours of effort from the FBI later – the sting operation came to a close.
The language used against Mohamud in FBI records is all too familiar to the sensitive American ear, using phrases like “weapon of mass destruction” in the official affidavit.
And even though the device was a fake, fear spread quickly.
“The threat was very, very real,” said one media report.
Media images were quick to portray what could have and would have happened had the bomb been real.
Becoming, yet again, not a watchdog but an echoing voice of US authorities.
“A lot of this terrorism stuff, it is kind of embarrassing for most of the media, the way the FBI’s official word on whatever is taken as the truth,” said Joe Weisenthal, deputy editor-in-chief of The Business Insider.
The obvious truth to some is what is not addressed by the media at all.
“When it comes to national security and terrorism, it just stops all conversation. It’s chilling conversation. You immediately assume, I want to be protected, the FBI will protect me, and therefore whatever it says is true, when often it isn’t. It’s hard to defend against this, even when there is an obvious element of entrapment,” said media critic and filmmaker Danny Schechter.
“When someone brings them information that someone wants to commit a terrorist activity, they have to make sure that it was the individual’s idea and not someone else’s idea, or not someone’s connect with the government idea,” Wedick commented.
The case dubbed the “Christmas Tree Plotter” is far from the first to bring to light the practice of entrapment in the US. Convincing, pursuing and tricking the eventually accused has become systematic according to some experts.
“They can come after you, they can manufacture crimes against you, and they can make up a whole case and put you through a whole thing, and eventually, if they can persuade a jury that this manufactured case is valid, you can go to jail for a very long time,” said attorney Steve Downs.
With the case being built against Mohamud not just by officials, but the media too, the destiny of the US citizen turned plotter with a little help from the FBI seems clear.
“The problem is that in court cases, people, juries believe the FBI. They are the FBI! We’ve been indoctrinated to believe that the FBI can do no wrong. Of course, there are many cases where the FBI has done a lot of wrong,” said Schechter.
The role of law enforcement is to catch the bad guys so the people feel safer. But when criminals are not only caught by officials, but created, the idea of national security becomes as made-up, as the means of reaching it.
This case is just another in a line of terror fabrication and entrapment practices by US law enforcement, argued Paul Craig Roberts, a former Reagan administration official.
“The FBI recruited the guy, made the bomb and gave him the fake detonator. He obviously was not a terrorist since he didn’t know how to make a bomb and didn’t know how to recognize a face bomb,” said Roberts. “Allegedly, we have real terrorists. But, we don’t ever catch any of them. We only catch ones the FBI has to recruit.”
“Where are the real terrorists?” asked Roberts.
He argued that to keep the American people afraid, the FBI have to go out and create them.
The FBI goes out and puts ideas into people’s minds and coaxes them to engage in acts they may not have done on their own.Roberts said, “There are no real terrorists.”
Money and justification are behind this policy, he argued.
The FBI has to continue to fabricate terrorism in order to keep fear alive, to justify American wars, to push police state propaganda, and continue to make money for scanners and the security business.