Conspiracy Theories

Myths of Domestic Terror

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Good piece from Rolling Stone reporting on the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTF), and its tenacious battle against something that may or may not exist.

Reporter Guy Lawson finds a history of minor criminal agents provacateur ginning up feckless plans for impossible terror feats, misleading statistics, secrecy behind a veil of "if you knew what we know you'd understand, but we can't tell you" and some truly scary excrement setting off a radiological attack monitor in Chicago.

Some summational excerpts:

The expenditure of such massive resources to find would-be terrorists inevitably requires results. Plots must be uncovered. Sleeper cells must be infiltrated. Another attack must be prevented —or, at least, be seen to be prevented. But in backwaters like Rockford [Illinois], the JTTFs don't have much to do. To find threats to thwart, the task forces have increasingly taken to using paid informants to cajole and inveigle targets like [convicted domestic terrorist Derrick] Shareef into pursuing their harebrained schemes.

……….a closer inspection of the cases brought by JTTFs reveals that most of the prosecutions had one thing in common: The defendants posed little if any demonstrable threat to anyone or anything. According to a study by the Center on Law and Security at the New York University School of Law, only ten percent of the 619 "terrorist" cases brought by the federal government have resulted in convictions on "terrorism-related" charges —a category so broad as to be meaningless. In the past year, none of the convictions involved jihadist terror plots targeting America.

….In most cases, because no trial is ever held, few details emerge beyond the spare and slanted descriptions in the indictments. When facts do come to light during a trial, they cast doubt on the seriousness of the underlying case.

Of course, when there's no threat, that means that the people responsible for keeping us from the threat must be doing something right. Right?

When I ask what kinds of cases his CT squad has made, [Special Agent Robert] Holley cites the example of a local cab driver who came up on the JTTF's radar some time back —he won't say how or why. The man was East African, Holley says, a suspected Islamic extremist "connected to known bad guys overseas." After being interviewed by the JTTF, the cabbie decided to leave the country. Nothing criminal had occurred, and no charges were laid. The cab driver had simply come to the attention of the JTTF, and that in itself was enough to dispose of the matter.

"Can we consider that a success because we didn't put him in jail?" Holley asks. "Absolutely. This guy is no longer here. He is not a threat to one person in the United States."

……….

"Have you ever found a terrorist cell?" I ask.

"That's kind of a vague question," [Master Sgt. Carl] Gutierrez [of the Illinois State Police] says. "There are certain things we can't talk about, because it leads to more."

"Do I believe there's a cell in Chicago?" [Sgt. Paul] DeRosa [of the Chicago Police Department] asks. "I bet you there is. Do I have any direct physical knowledge? No. But I think there is one, and that's why we're here."

The story has more detailed discussions of such supposed terror plots as the JFK jet fuel conspiracy, the "Albany pizza" case, and the "Liberty City Seven" case. Read the whole thing.

I wondered where's the terror? here on 9/11/06.

NEXT: Japanese Mobile Phones Smarter Than Average American

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  1. “Can we consider that a success because we didn’t put him in jail?” Holley asks. “Absolutely. This guy is no longer here. He is not a threat to one person in the United States.”

    Wow.

  2. I don’t remember now whether it was the feds or the local clown college bringing charges, but I seem to recall some time not long ago (a year or so maybe) a local kid was brought up on terrorism charges…

    (Wait for it…)

    For lighting off a couple of firecrackers in a grocery store, as a prank.

    JMJ

  3. Gentlemenm we’ve got to protect our phoney-baloney jobs.

  4. Jennifer | February 11, 2008, 7:08pm | #
    “Can we consider that a success because we didn’t put him in jail?” Holley asks. “Absolutely. This guy is no longer here. He is not a threat to one person in the United States.”

    Wow.

    If not being here = not a threat to one person in the United States, correct me if I’m wrong, but Saddam and Osama and a multitude of others ain’t here now, and ain’t never been here… so what’s the deal?

    “I bet you there is. Do I have any direct physical knowledge? No. But I think there is one, (a threat?)and that’s why we’re here there.”

    Okay, now I get it.

    Wow! … I’m with Jennifer.
    (Well I’m not actally with Jennifer; I’m quite happily espoused to someone else, I’m just sayin’ I agree with Jennifer that’s all.)

  5. I have this rock. It keeps away terrorists.

  6. What struck me about a lot of the cases in the article is that they involved guys who almost needed to be mentored into terrorism. You find some angry loser who mouths off. “Damn, man, I sure wanna do something! Show the world I won’t take it!” But he’s a threat to nobody except those who stand between him and the bag of cheetos. Then some informant comes along and acts receptive and encouraging, and steers him into planning an attack.

    I’ll leave it to the lawyers to decide whether the investigations met the legal definition of entrapment. For all I know, it may very well be that the undercover informant never uttered a word that would cross any of the lines in the law, and only acted as a sympathizer who would go along with the suspect’s ideas rather than instigating. Still, an angry loser might not get off the couch unless he has an eager friend who’s very interested in his ideas.

    I see nothing honorable in talking an angry loser into getting off the couch and trying to take action. Keep an eye on him if you must, but don’t do anything that might encourage him to get off the couch. I’m not a big fan of surveillance, but I’d rather see an angry loser under surveillance than see him encouraged to take action so he can be arrested.

    And then there’s the fact that so many of the informants were criminals seeking the favor of FBI agents. I am highly skeptical that none of these guys ever did anything that might cross legal lines into entrapment territory.

  7. YOU TERRORIST APPEASERS WANT TO SEND YOUR KIDS TO MADRASSAS FINE BUT I SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT KNOWING JACK BAUER IS OUT THERE TORTURING PEOPLE AND NOT BLABBING TO PEOPLE ABOUT IT CAUSE SURE YOU THINK THAT “CABBIE” LEFT HA HA HA IM SURE HES GETTING FISTED BY REAL AMERICAN AGENTS IN GUADALCANAL SAFEHOUSE I HAVE A FEW CABBIE NAMES TO SUBMIT AS WELL I RIDE TAXIS SOMETIMES AND GUYS NAMED ABUL ARE DOING NOTHING BUT CHATTING THERE TERRORIST PLANS ON BLUETOOTH THINGS ALLDAY I TOLD THE CIA THAT THOSE ROBOCOP THINGS WERE SUSPICIOUS AND NOW THEY USE SNEAKY TECH TO LISTEN TO THE CABBIES ALL DAY SO MUCH FOR YOU GUYS WHO THINK THEY DO NOTHING

  8. Psst. Hey!… uh. Anyone like, hate America??? I mean REALLY hate America? COol! Me 2 dood!~ Lets blow stuff up! Call me!!

    1-800-KLL-OSMA
    ———————-
    All Hoo Akbar!!!
    “the song remains the same” – Led Zepp
    1.8Ghz Athlon XP,128MB RADEON BADAZZ2488,500GB Seagate SATA,Secret Encryption Thingy,
    24LBs C4, 4 suicide belts, AK47 MKII (ROOOOLZ!!!!), red kifaya, mad IEDs up in the hizzy 08!!!!!!!!
    ==========================================
    This email was sent to you by the Joint Terrorism Taskforce Operations Center. If you’ve received this mail by accident, please set fire to your home and eat the nearest cyanide pill. Agents in black helicopters will be on hand shortly to stage a suicide based on your secret life as a child pornographer. Thank you for your continued assistance in protecting America.

  9. Lisa, I’ll pay you fifty dollars for that rock!

  10. On the day the Department of Homeland Security was born the terrorists won for sure. Big time.
    End of story.

    Ruthless

  11. Something about this reminds of the Tom Sharpe novel Riotous Assembly, set in apartheid South Africa. The police send ten undercover agents into a small town where they believe that terrorists are lurking. Their goal is to contact the terrorists, join them and collect intelligence on their operations.

    The cops, not knowing each other, start sniffing around and eventually they come in contact with each other. Each one is convinced the other nine are genuine terrorists. The wreck havoc on the town as they blow things up trying to prove to one another they are really with them — lest their cover be blown. The entire terrorist network existed in the minds of the police and their agents who were responsible for the actual terror.

    There is one hilarious episode where they accidentally feed plastic explosives to a bunch of ostriches on a local farm. The birds escape and start running through town randomly exploding.

    Speaking of libertarian oriented books Laissez Faire Books has a new book blog at laissezfairebooks.blogspot.com which reviews books and mentions new titles and special offers.

  12. but I seem to recall some time not long ago (a year or so maybe) a local kid was brought up on terrorism charges…

    (Wait for it…)

    For lighting off a couple of firecrackers in a grocery store, as a prank.

    Something similar happened days ago in Penn.

  13. “Say, how come you’re wearing that garlic in a bag around your neck?”

    “It’s to keep the elephants away.”

    “What? There’s not an elephant within 100 miles of this place.”

    “Works pretty well, huh?”

  14. Good one C. Rabbit. Me, I’m not so clever, so I’ll just question the timing.

  15. reader —

    “that was a Get Smart episode.”

  16. Miche, when my dad was a kid, the cops would have kicked your butt and sent you home to your parents, who would have also kicked your butt for pulling a stunt like that.

    I’m not so sure that was such a bad system.

  17. Here’s an appropo funny:
    http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2716

    It’s funny, I’d laugh, but its not funny.

  18. Years ago my brother set off a smokebomb in high school history class. The cops kicked his butt and sent him home, then my dad kicked his butt.

  19. 1.8Ghz Athlon XP,128MB RADEON BADAZZ2488,500GB Seagate SATA,Secret Encryption Thingy,
    24LBs C4, 4 suicide belts, AK47 MKII (ROOOOLZ!!!!), red kifaya, mad IEDs up in the hizzy 08!!!!!!!!

    Dude, every good terrorist knows you need a combination of hardware and software to ensure security.

  20. Sam-Hec: Interesting, I used to read Sinfest, and it feels it has gotten a.. libertarian edge to it? Or did I just miss it before?

    Stuff like this http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2690

  21. There’s been a handful of home-grown Islamic terrorist plots in Europe, but none in America (so far). This is a testament to how successfully America has integrated its Muslim immigrants into its society compared with Europe.

  22. Al Qaeda’s New Face Of Terror: American?
    Top Counter-Terrorism Official At FBI Tells CBS News Next Attack On U.S. Could Be Carried Out By Americans

    (CBS) U.S. officials are increasingly worried that the next attack on America could be carried out by Americans trained in terror tactics inside al Qaeda’s safe-haven in Pakistan, reports CBS News correspondent Bob Orr.

    Arrests last month in Barcelona underline the fear. More than a dozen trained suicide bombers – many of them European citizens just back from Pakistan – were taken down as they prepared to launch attacks against transit systems in Spain and four neighboring countries.

    “They’ve realized that if they want to operate successfully, they need to have people who look like us, act like us, and are very difficult to find,” said Philip Mudd, a top counter-terrorism official at the FBI.

    cbsnews.com/stories/2008/02/11/eveningnews/main3819364.shtml?source=RSSattr=HOME_3819364

  23. reader – That’s reminiscent of Chesterton’s The Man Who Was Thursday, which features a seven-man Central Council of Anarchists… six of whom are undercover detectives.

  24. So basically, Abdul, they are saying that any one of us could be a terrorist. Time for 24-hour surveillance of everybody!

  25. I believe Britney Spears is covered.

    Who’s next?

  26. If Episiarch was a terrorist, that’s just how he’d act – making a joke like that to throw everyone off the scent.

  27. There are some Americans who would like to see America harmed in the name of radial Islam. Jose Padilla, Adam Yahiye Gadahn, John Walker Lindh, John Allen Muhammad, to name a few. They’ve all demonstrated the will to commit terrorist acts, and in a few cases, they’ve even had the means.

    Do you really think Al Quaeda will turn away an American who has the will and is searching for the means? Don’t you think it is worth some effort on the Government’s part to keep those with the motives away from those with the means to commit terrorism?

    I understand that the Rolling Stone took a week off investigating what’s going on with the Police re-union tour to print the cliche that Dick Cheney manipulates terror alerts to insure his re-election/fulfill his bargain with Satan. However, it’s still worthwhile for law enforcement to discourage those who want to be terrorists from hooking up with those who have the means.

  28. (puts on Groucho Marx glasses and mustache)

    Find me now, coppers!

  29. If Joe was a terrorist, that’s just how he’d act- telling everyone that if Episiarch was a terrorist, that’s just how he’d act- making a joking to throw everyone off the scent.

  30. “Do I believe there’s a cell in Chicago?” [Sgt. Paul] DeRosa [of the Chicago Police Department] asks. “I bet you there is. Do I have any direct physical knowledge? No. But I think there is one, and that’s why we’re here.”

    Geeez. I replaced “cell” with bigfoot and it made as much sense. Also interchangeable with “championship cubbies team.”

  31. “connected to known bad guys overseas.”

    If you believe in 6 Degress of Separation, we are all connected to known bad guys overseas.

    Abdul, I’d appreciate the government not giving Americans or anyone else reason to be pissed off at America, like say, honoring the Constitution and leaving everyone else alone. Since that’s not likely to happen any time soon, the situation will perpetuate itself.

  32. Let’s see:

    1. No attacks = there are terrorsts out there, we just haven’t found them yet, we need more men and money

    2. Attacks = terrorists out there, we need to find them all, we need more men and money

    It seems to all lead to the same result.

  33. Nick,

    This isn’t a question of foreign policy. As you note, America’s foreign policy is unlikely to become isolationist. It’s a question of risk assessment. Is there a risk? All signs point to yes. This leads to the questionof what we should do about the risk. I suggest that minimizing and mocking it is not a realistic strategy.

  34. TWC,
    When I was in Jr. High some boys at the school threw some M80s in the toilets of the boys’ restroom. They were paddled by the principal and sent home with a bill. I’m not sure how their parents handled the situation once they were home. There were stories of the same boys putting Fart in a Can in the ventilation system but I don’t remember how that turned out.

    Being girls, my friends I did nothing more destructive than egging Old Lady Rome’s house. She and her sisters were mean old bitches who would curse children for picking the flowers on the public side of their fence and set poisoned traps for dogs that might’ve wandered into their yard so we used no less than 2 dozen eggs a week.

    Beyond the egging, most of our pranking was done by phone. I remember being caught by our parents once for a particularly mean phone prank and getting a belt across my ass.

  35. “Do I believe there’s a cell in Chicago?” [Sgt. Paul] DeRosa [of the Chicago Police Department] asks. “I bet you there is. Do I have any direct physical knowledge? No. But I think there is one, and that’s why we’re here.”

    This guy oughta be fired for gross incompetence. The fuckin’ El Rukns plotted with Qadhafi and this idiot couldn’t even come up with that as an example??

  36. There are some Americans who would like to see America harmed in the name of radial Islam. Jose Padilla, Adam Yahiye Gadahn, John Walker Lindh, John Allen Muhammad, to name a few.

    There is nothing about any of those people that couldn’t be handled by good plodding old-fashioned police work

    Aside from Adam Yahiye Gadahn, none on your list has any capability to do harm than the thousands of garden variety criminals and psychos that we already have. And that’s only because Gadahn has actual influence in Al Qaeda.

    There is absolutely nothing in the Joint Terrorism Task Force regime that will help in protecting citizens from the likes of petty thugs like Jose Padilla or John Allen Muhammad. or clueless teenagers like John Walker Lindh (I have yet to see evidence of actual harm that he did, except maybe to himself). What use is a JTTF against the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer of Ted Bundy, after all?

  37. “Absolutely. This guy is no longer here. He is not a threat to one person in the United States.”

    Unless, of course, you need to get to work and can’t find a cab.

  38. Abdul said: “All signs point to yes.”

    Do they?

    “”Do I believe there’s a cell in Chicago?” [Sgt. Paul] DeRosa [of the Chicago Police Department] asks. “I bet you there is. Do I have any direct physical knowledge? No.”

    All signs tell me this fucker is full of shit.

  39. Is there a risk from “homegrown terrorism”? Yes.

    What is the magnitude of this risk? Very small indeed.

    Much smaller than the other risks that make law enforcement so difficult.

    And that’s why the feds have to “market” their “counter-terrorism” to local authorities.

  40. There is nothing about any of those people that couldn’t be handled by good plodding old-fashioned police work

    yes but issac that doesn’t involve being able to play SWAT dress-up and throw a GET DOWN GET DOWN POLICE dance party.

  41. Nick,

    Do you really believe that all risk of terrorism is zero? It’s one thing to say that the JTTF is over-rating the risk, it’s another to suggest that it’s all BS.

    Issac,

    There is nothing about any of those people that couldn’t be handled by good plodding old-fashioned police work

    What police force had jurisdiction to go to Afghanistan and arrest John Walker Lindh for providing material support to terrorists?

    John Allan Muhammed may have had less capacity to harm than, say, a serial killer like Richard Kraft in that Muhammed had a lower body count. But who provoked more terror? The sniper who targeted random individuals. Garden variety criminals (and even serial killers) usually don’t have the goal of provoking terror. Terror has collateral effects on society and our behavior. It’s worth some extra effort to to prevent it.

  42. What police force had jurisdiction to go to Afghanistan and arrest John Walker Lindh for providing material support to terrorists?

    How did John Walker Lindh’s providing material support to terrorists in Afghanistan harm any person living in the United States? As near as I can tell he was not committing acts of terror either. He was fighting for the Taliban in defense of that regime which was at that time the recognized government of Afghanistan. That made him a traitor, not a terrorist.

    Yes it’s true that he may have harmed some soldiers in the military force that we sent there (and for that he was prosecuted in a regular US court) but how does that relate to JTTFs.

    And how exactly does a JTTF help with the apprehension of the likes of John Allan Muhammed? He was captured through the combination of painstaking investigation and (to be blunt) happenstance that characterizes most police work.

    And no I don’t know of anyone arguing that terrorism is a zero risk. It’s just a risk that you and the proponents of JTTFs seem to be exaggerating.

  43. Abdul, it’s a lesser risk than the JTTF is saying it is, of that I have little doubt. If there were such a grand risk, I have no doubt they would be on every network all the time talking about how scared we should all be, because that would mean they get more resources. Every politician would be saying we need to do more, more, more.

    Instead they have to resort to arresting kids performing pranks to pad their numbers. I have no problem with law enforcement being vigilant against a real threat, but they shouldn’t falsify anything to make it seem worse than it is. They lose credibility when they do this, and they lose people like me who support our rights to self-defense and would otherwise stand with them in the fight. I don’t trust them when they have a history of exaggeration.

  44. Issac

    How did John Walker Lindh’s providing material support to terrorists in Afghanistan harm any person living in the United States?

    Are you suggesting that someone has to be harmed before they can be arrested for a crime? Most of us consider it better to arrest someone before they commit the harm than afterwards.

    My point about John Allen Mohammed was not that the JTTF might have caught him, but that he didn’t need to rack up a record body count to create terror. Terrorism is a separate category of crime because of the effect of terror. It deserves a different law enforcement approach.

    The JTTF works with local law enforcement to fight terrorism. You seem to suggest that local law enforcment can go it alone. In Mohammed’s case, the local cops worked with the Secret Service and the FBI, as well as other police departments. That’s the kind of cooperation that the JTTF is meant to, and does, provide.

    Furthermore, if there is terrorism with an international connection, how could a local law enforcement agency handle it?

  45. Gee, I wonder why America didn’t go apeshiz when two white guys blew up a federal building killing a bunch of people?

  46. Masshole,
    found in a search of Nichols and Mcveighs personal effects was a koran, subscriptions to Ebony, Soldier of Fortune, Delta Burka Force, and an extensive collection of Soul Train on beta max.

  47. “The expenditure of such massive resources to find would-be terrorists inevitably requires results.”

    You must not be familier with the War on Drugs…

  48. Gee, I wonder why America didn’t go apeshiz when two white guys blew up a federal building killing a bunch of people?

    For some reason, President Clinton’s call for a crackdown on conservative talk radio hosts just didn’t catch fire. Different times, I guess.

  49. Now that I’ve read the article, I gotta ask: If it were your job to prevent terror, how would you do it? My methods would probably differ from those written of only in degree, not kind. I too would dangle bait, I just wouldn’t wiggle it as much.

    However, one method I didn’t see mentioned was to provide phony targets. If we could get them to waste their effort attacking fake events and fake installations, we’d reduce the effectiveness of terror by that much.

  50. Abdul: “Are you suggesting that someone has to be harmed before they can be arrested for a crime? Most of us consider it better to arrest someone before they commit the harm than afterwards.”

    Hence the script for “Minority Report”. It’s better to arrest them only if you can be reasonably certain that they were taking actions that would harm someone. And that the actions you took in getting to that level of certainty didn’t skew the outcome. Which is what people are questioning here with the JTRF and their motives.

    It’s still theoretically legal to Think Bad Thoughts. If you start arresting people for just that – or if you bait them into Doing Bad Things which they wouldn’t otherwise do – then you’ve gotta wonder whether or not your’e actually punishing people for Thinking Thoughts You Don’t Like.

  51. Most of us consider it better to arrest someone before they commit the harm than afterwards.

    What?

    Most of “us” believe that people shouldn’t be arrested until they have actually committed or are currently committing a crime.

    Everything that the JTTF is doing can be handled by the many existing Law Enforcement and Intelligence agencies already in place.

    The bottom line is, that if the risk were really as high as you and the other moron supporters of JTTF and the like say it is, then there would be some real results and some real terrorists being arrested. Not trumped up charges against a bunch of clowns who have to be goaded and cajoled (bordering on entrapment) in order to act.

    You wanna wet your bed in fear of the scary terrorists out there looking to harm us go ahead, but stop trying to scare those of use who can think clearly and rationally and spare us the nonsense about arresting people before they commit crimes

  52. found in a search of Nichols and Mcveighs personal effects was a koran, subscriptions to Ebony, Soldier of Fortune, Delta Burka Force, and an extensive collection of Soul Train on beta max.

    All that funk and no way to play it!?!?!

    It all makes sense now….

  53. “””Terrorism is a separate category of crime because of the effect of terror.”””

    Not true at all. Serial murders create much terror in an area, that’s not terrorism. Many crime invokes terror. A SWAT teams intentional invoke terror when conduting a raid for the purpose of overwelming and forcing the occupants to submit. Are they terrorist?

  54. Abdul,

    You’re arguing a negative. It’s fucking stupid. Your case is that no amount of useless activity is really useless because “you never know”.

    In research it’s called ‘boiling the ocean’. AKA the least effective approach to anything. Going after idiots doesnt “break up rings” of international terrorists. It nets fools. If we cant locate anyone more serious than this, then we’re fucked when someone really does plan something.

    It’s no different than taking shoes off at the airport or confiscating deodorant. The semblance of doing something.

    Mocking and dismissing is absolutely the right thing to do to force people to get their act together

  55. “Is There Still a Terrorist Threat?: The Myth of the Omnipresent Enemy
    – John Mueller”

    http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20060901facomment85501/john-mueller/is-there-still-a-terrorist-threat-the-myth-of-the-omnipresent-enemy.html

    “Summary: Despite all the ominous warnings of wily terrorists and imminent attacks, there has been neither a successful strike nor a close call in the United States since 9/11. The reasonable — but rarely heard — explanation is that there are no terrorists within the United States, and few have the means or the inclination to strike from abroad.”

    read the whole thing, it’s worth it. The last few grafs sum it up nicely.

  56. Terror has collateral effects on society and our behavior. It’s worth some extra effort to to prevent it.

    then you support hate crimes legislation, yes? the entire point of a hate crime is to intimidate and instill fear in a particular community.

  57. ChicagoTom,

    Most of “us” believe that people shouldn’t be arrested until they have actually committed or are currently committing a crime.

    I didn’t say that we should arrest someone before they commit a “crime,” but before they commit “harm.” Do you see the difference?

  58. Gilmore, the same arguement could have been made on September 10, 2001, and the next day prove them wrong. I take a different point of view. Yes, there is always a threat of someone doing you wrong including kill you and many other people. I see that vulnerability as the price for freedom. The more free you are, the more you expose yourself to threats.

    Freedom is for the brave, not the chicken shits that demand protection from everything.

  59. “””I didn’t say that we should arrest someone before they commit a “crime,” but before they commit “harm.” Do you see the difference?”””

    There is no difference. In order to be arrest for harm, that harm must be a crime. How do you know that someone is going to harm anyway? What are the metrics? You have the freedom to think whatever you want, it’s the action which people have a problem. In other words, you could dream about killing me 24/7. I could care less, but once you put that thought into action is when you crossed the line and could be arrested.

  60. Trickyvic,

    Have you ever read about anyone being arrested and convicted for “attempted murder?” How about conspiracy? Or are you of the Sideshow Bob mindset that attempt and conspiracy liability are bunk because “They don’t give Nobel Prizes for attempted chemistry?”

    I never said that we whould arrest people for thought. I said it’s better to arrest people before the harm occurs.

  61. Attempted murder requires action. You can indict a ham sandwich of conspiracy. In either case, conspiracy and attempted murder are crimes for which you can be arrested. When someone commits a crime they are subject to arrest, the willingness to do harm is already implied, be it harm against an individual or the state. We don’t really wait for one’s intent of harm to surface after they commited a crime before we arrest them.

    I do not know Sideshow Bob’s mindset nor do I care, nothing personal Bob. Don’t assume people who take a contra position are birds of the same feather.

    “””I never said that we whould arrest people for thought. I said it’s better to arrest people before the harm occurs.”””

    The harm and the crime are more often the same thing. So how would your idea work?

  62. “”””They don’t give Nobel Prizes for attempted chemistry?””””

    Al Gore begs to differ. 😉

  63. TrickyVic | February 12, 2008, 3:49pm | #

    You sure you were replying to me?

    I think we were on the same basic point. I personally think the JTTF are a bunch of boobs. If we are going to have some kind of security element a la MI5, at least let them not be so fucking stupid and useless.

    like the TSA

  64. Party like it’s 1996 .

    And this.

    On July 1, a dozen citizens of Phoenix were arrested and charged with being members of the “Viper Militia.” The next day, President Clinton stood on the White House lawn. saying. “I’d like to begin today by saluting the enforcement officers who made arrests in Arizona yesterday to avert a terrible terrorist attack.” But as the indictments are made available to the public and more evidence about the Vipers’ activities emerges, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Viper case is merely the government’s latest assault on citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights. No “terrorist attack,” terrible or otherwise, was planned or even mentioned in the charges. In fact, as the indictments show, the Vipers’ supposedly criminal acts consist merely of (a) the day’s work of a “well-regulated militia,” (b) petty tax violations, and (c) ownership of books, magazines, and insignia (shoulder patches) which are, of course, constitutionally protected under the First Amendment. Furthermore, whenever the indictment refers to a plan for a genuinely criminal act, it appears to have been instigated by ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) infiltrators and rejected by the membership.

  65. You guys are absolutely right. One man planning to blow up a mall in N. Illinois and actually seeking weapons to carry out and who was former roommate and friend of islamists. Sure it all seems a bit circumstantial but what real threat could just one guy pose even if he did obtain weapons?

    I mean, I live in DeKalb, Illinios and …oh wait, one man with weapons can do alot of damage- jihadist or not. Glad this one was stopped while in the planning phase.

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