Terrorism

Even Jokes Will Be Taken Seriously

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The trial of the Liberty City Seven, the hapless band of Moorish Science Temple followers in Miami who were encouraged to talk about terrorism by a government informant, ended yesterday in the acquittal of one defendant and mistrials for the rest:

Jury foreman Jeff Agron, a 46-year-old attorney, told reporters outside the federal courthouse that the 12 jurors were split evenly in the four votes they took since they began deliberations Dec. 3.

"People have different takes on what they saw, on what was said and what was meant," Agron said, referring to the clandestinely taped videos and intercepted phone calls presented to the jury.

The most controversial piece of evidence involved a video showing [FBI informant Elie] Assad conducting a ceremony in which [alleged ringleader Narseal] Batiste's six followers swore an oath of allegiance to Al Qaeda. The ringleader already had pledged himself to the terrorist group in an earlier conversation wiretapped by the government.

The pledges were little more than play acting, since the seven men were never actually in contact with Al Qaeda. Assad, who set the whole investigation in motion, pretended to be an intermediary for the organization and suggested attacks for the group to carry out. Although the men talked about blowing up the Sears Tower, they never took any action toward that goal. One defense attorney called the Liberty Seven's alleged plot "a script written, produced, and directed by the government," and prosecutors conceded the group was more "aspirational than operational."

A law professor quoted by the Los Angeles Times says "the government has a dilemma in this kind of situation": If it acts too late, it may fail to prevent an attack; if it acts too soon, it may not have enough evidence to obtain convictions. Fair enough, but these guys were nowhere near carrying out an attack; they did not have the knowledge, the skills, or the equipment to do so, and it seems their aspirations never went beyond loose talk. The government plans to try six of them again anyway. Its approach to this case is reminiscent of the TSA policy regarding airline passengers' allusions to guns or bombs: Even jokes will be taken seriously. 

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  1. The best part, which I heard I on Fox or CNN, is that these hapless morons were actually going along with their “plot” only to rip off the FBI informant. Who’s the moroner moron now?

  2. You would think the FBI has real terrorists to catch. Maybe not.

  3. Maybe I could get the feds to front me the money for a line of “Be a Terrorist! Ask me how.” t-shirts.

  4. I’m sure Dondero will be on shortly to tell us how scary them Muslims really were.

  5. “If it acts too late, it may fail to prevent an attack”
    Um, isn’t the FBI tracking these guys? They know who they are, where they live, and what they look like… and supposedly, even the plan. 1st FBI guy, “They plan to blow it up Monday, Jan 21.” Other FBI guy, “Holy cow – thats a 3 day weekend, and with my upcoming 2 week vacation, plus time to write up the arrest warrant, it will be too late!”

  6. Is it just me or does any one else imagine the pledge of allegiance to be like that scene from Animal House. I hereby pledge allegiance to Al Qaeda and to the terrorism for which it stands one terror group under Allah with liberty and terrorism for all. I probably shouldn’t have written that though.

  7. Sometimes I like to wonder how the government would have reacted if these guys had somehow successfully brought down the FBI Building, thinking that that was what “AQ” wanted from them. Do you think the government would “come clean” if that had happened?

    Or, to put it another way, some refuse to consider, out of hand, the possibility that the US government arranges terrorist attacks. Yet, that is what they did in this case. They were just lucky that there were no McVeighs in this bunch. In 20/20 hindsight, we can see that these guys did not have the will or the wherewithal to do serious harm. Is the government competent enough to make those judgements prospectively?

    Imagine for a second that these suspects were more ambitious than the government realized. One dark day the GOOGLE news frontpage reads: “300 feared dead in Miami Terror Attack.” Meanwhile, the pretend AQ agent gets an email that says: “Thanks for the cameras, but we got tired of waiting for the boots, so we brought the building down just like you wanted and in accordance with our common cause. Which one should we hit next?” How would we, the people, find out about this? What evidence would we look at to exonerate the real AQ? Would your Pro Libertates and your joes and your Johns and and your Lamars and your “Weigs” Weigelses even be inclined to look for evidence to exonerate the real AQ?

  8. What a shame that a few bad apples have to spoil a good time for everyone by breaking the rules.

  9. The best part, which I heard I on Fox or CNN, is that these hapless morons were actually going along with their “plot” only to rip off the FBI informant.

    My thoughts exactly, about the al Qaeda pledge.

    How do you say, “I love you and promise I’ll pull out” in Arabic?

  10. I’d love to have been on that jury. Not that the feds would allow that, but I can dream. It appears that these guys were terrorists the same way that John DeLorean was a cocaine trafficker. Entrapment? Railroading? Us?

  11. Episiarch | December 14, 2007, 11:43am | #

    You would think the FBI has real terrorists to catch. Maybe not.

    There are no real terroristas. Just folks with differing social and political and religious ideoligies that happen to use a means of affirming them that others find distasteful.

  12. I’m a terrorist,
    you’re a terrorist,
    we’re all terrorists,
    wouldn’t you like to be a terrorist too?

    Be A Terrorist!
    Be A Terrorist!

  13. “How do you say, “I love you and promise I’ll pull out” in Arabic?”

    with two hands grasping the back of her head?

  14. Is it wrong that even if these guys aren’t guilty of anything, I still want to kick them all in the nuts?

  15. Log onto this website or call the number on the screen now to start your own home based Terror business now!

    “I got 5 martyrs last week”
    “We got 10”
    “I got 100 martyrs and 72 virgins last month. My goal for next month? 144 virgins.”

    There something Fundamentally wrong with NOT taking advantage of this opportunity!

  16. “How do you say, “I love you and promise I’ll pull out” in Arabic?”

    with two hands grasping the back of her head?

    You understand. Finally someone who does.

  17. Well, you think you are joking… In Russia in 1911 a group of anarchists lead by an Ochrana (secret police) agent assasinated the prime minister…

  18. What a shame that a few bad apples have to spoil a good time for everyone by breaking the rules.

    Put a sock in it, boy, or else you’ll be outta here like shit through a goose.

  19. Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Iraqis bombed the WTC? Hell no!

  20. How do you say, “I love you and promise I’ll pull out” in Arabic?

    It translates to “Mission Accomplished.”

  21. These guys trying to scam an FBI informant posing as an Al Qaeda recruiter give me a great idea:

    De@r Os@m@ B!n Laden,

    My uncle was Minister of Meins in N!ger!@. I need to move the money out of the country, and I would like you’re help. If you give me the information to axes yuor bank account…

  22. “How do you say, “I love you and promise I’ll pull out” in Arabic?”

    I believe it’s, “Just tell me when your butt’s had enough, Mohummad.”

  23. The pledges were little more than play acting, since the seven men were never actually in contact with Al Qaeda….

    Sullum = TERRORIST SYMPATHIZER????

    They said they were the jihad!
    They voted for Osama!
    Are you saying we shouldnt prosecute AlQaeda Acting classes??
    Hey how about they pretend to blow up YOUR tower, huh? What do you think then? Not so pretendy now is it??
    He wanted $50000 from Bin Ladel to start a Moorish Science COnstruction business!
    They plan to blow up buildings and demand contracting jobs!
    Taking away AMERICAN contracting jobs!

    Or maybe they were playing a really cool real-life role playing game, you know like Furries or Renaissance fairs or when I pretend to be a Viking.

    HArrr! Burn the village! Rape the lifestock! By the Frost Giants, pass the mead!!

  24. Dave Woycechowsky | December 14, 2007, 12:09pm | #
    Sometimes I like to wonder how the government would have reacted if these guys had somehow successfully brought down the FBI Building, thinking that that was what “AQ” wanted from them. Do you think the government would “come clean” if that had happened?

    Or, to put it another way, some refuse to consider, out of hand, the possibility that the US government arranges terrorist attacks….

    Well, I just spent some time considering it.

    What the fuck are you talking about?

    That the FBI is often stupid and feckless – i have no doubt.

    That the FBI is trying to foment attacks on our own country in order to strike fear in the citizenry through perpetuation of a illusory enemy…

    Uh, no. Not really. If anything, the FBI is making fools of themselves trying to hang “TERRORIST!” cards on the weirdest, dumbest, most ineffectual people they could find

  25. the FBI is making fools of themselves trying to hang “TERRORIST!” cards on the weirdest, dumbest, most ineffectual people they could find

    No, not quite. The FBI was not trying to hang a card on anyone. Rather, they were trying to encourage people to blow up buildings, and giving them cameras to help them do it. Maybe the FBI was targeting “the weirdest, dumbest, most ineffectual people” so that can be sure to stop the plot in time.

    What happens if one of the gang turns out to be a discreet criminal genius with a contact in the ag supply or demolitions businesses? I don’t think we can trust the FBI to figure this out ahead of time, and I don’t trust the FBI to own up if someone they encourage to blow up a building does.

    I think we agree that the FBI shouldn’t be wasting its time on the weirdest and least effectual. But don’t let that mild criticism blind you to the more disturbing thing that underlies this whole Seas Of David case.

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