The FBI's Make-Believe War on Terrorism

June 14, 2013

There have been relatively few real terror attacks or even plots in the United States. But that doesn't mean there are not many "manufactured" plots. In his book, "The Terror Factory; Inside the FBI's Manufactured War on Terrorism," Trevor Aaronson gives a few examples of real plots (mostly unsuccessful), which in all cases involved terrorists with international connections and the ability to carry out the attacks on their own. Then he details the many FBI sting operations that have led to arrests, which almost universally involve defendants who had no capacity to act alone, no connection to real terrorists, and were encouraged, financed, and even led by FBI informants.

A good example is detailed in Chapter Five of Aaronson's book. James Cromitie worked stocking shelves in Walmart, and he had a history of mental instability. Shahed Hussain, a highly paid FBI informant (some make over $100,000 for entrapping a suspect), introduced himself under false pretenses and went to work encouraging Cromitie's bigotry and hatred, eventually suggesting that he take action against the enemies of Islam. Cromitie, meanwhile, lied about his past, claiming to have firebombed a police precinct and blowing up police cars. He seemed to enjoy the attention he was receiving. During this process Hussain had to leave for two months and he told Cromitie to spend the time recruiting others and to doing reconnaissance on possible targets. Instead, Cromitie spent the time working and watching television, never getting around to the important terrorist work he was so committed to.


When Hussain returned he told Cromitie that authorization for an attack was given by his "superiors," and that now they could teach people a lesson. Cromitie's response was, "Who are we teaching a lesson to?" Hussain had to explain that they were teaching a lesson to people who were killing innocent Muslims. Aaaronson reports that the tapes (or transcripts of the taped conversations) make it apparent that Cromitie did not know what they were doing, or for whom, or why. He needed to be led along every step of the way.

Cromitie was given $1,800 to buy guns. If the terror charges didn't stick the FBI could then charge him for buying weapons illegally. But he didn't buy any. At one point he threw stones at a drug dealer's window, hoping to get the dealer to sell him a weapon. He failed to find anyone to sell him a gun, and so returned the money to Hussain.

Cromitie left New York for two weeks to work at a Walmart that was opening in another state, because he needed to make some money. When he returned, Hussain criticized him for this, and offered him $250,000 to go through with the plot, which was to put bombs in cars in front of synagogues in the Bronx. Hussain also gave him FBI money to cover his rent, and at one point offered to buy him a barber shop business.

With a lot of prodding Cromitie was encouraged to recruit three small-time criminals he knew to help with the plot. Eventually Cromitie put the fake bombs (which he thought were real) into the trunks of cars the FBI had rented for the purpose, while the other three men acted as lookouts. He and the others, soon to be dubbed by the media as, "The Newburg Four," were then surrounded and arrested. Hussain was paid at least $96,000 for his work entrapping them.

This is how we are supposedly "protected" from terrorists. Individuals who are mostly incapable of planning much on their own are convinced to commit a "terrorist act" in order that the FBI can have television-worthy arrests. In one case that Aaaronson reports on the suspect or "target" thought he could cause the Sears Tower in Chicago to fall in Lake Michigan in such a way that it would cause a tsunami which would wipe out buildings along the shoreline. Another target, after some amount of torture or interrogation, "admitted" he had attended an unusual terrorist training camp in Pakistan, later confessing that he had invented the fantasy scenario based on the movie "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles."

When you read Aaronson's book, it becomes clear that few of the suspects the FBI has entrapped (that word choice is mine because it seems objectively correct) could pull off any major terrorist act, even if they had wanted to before they were helped along by informants that provide the plans, the means and the encouragement. These are not people with ties to terrorism, but simply angry or confused men who run into FBI informants who encourage their violent fantasies. Would they have run into real terrorist at some point and so become dangerous anyhow? It's unlikely to say the least. Aaronson points out that, "To date, there has not been a single would-be terrorist in the United States who has become operational through a chance meeting with someone able to provide the means for a terrorist attack."

There are 15,000 official FBI informants in the country now, and possibly several times as many informal ones. This is more than at any time in history. In the past informants were essentially just infiltrating and observing potentially criminal groups. They still infiltrate groups, targeting Muslims more than others, but now they also actively plan terrorist activities in order to recruit individuals who may have never committed such acts, just so high-profile arrests can be made.

Many of the informants are doing the work only because of FBI threats. If a Muslim is here on a student visa, for example, and is short one credit, the FBI can threaten deportation unless that student pretends to be a terrorist and helps them entrap someone. These strong-arm tactics, and the infiltration of many Muslim mosques, has created an atmosphere of mistrust that results in the FBI getting even less information than it would have normally from Muslim communities.

Retired FBI agent Myron Fuller points out that after thirty or forty years of observing Muslim communities in the U.S., there was no evidence that there was any threat there. After the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 a closer look revealed no links. Referring to Muslim communities, he says, "Nothing came out of Dearborn or anywhere else that was remotely connected to the people who did what they did in 1993, or any of the attacks up to and including 9/11." He added, "It's always been my argument that the Muslim communities in the United States haven't been supporting terrorism or sheltering terrorists in any significant way. The response to 9/11 was to use a nuclear weapon to kill a gnat. People suddenly thought that if you're a Muslim you're either a terrorist or a terrorist sympathizer."

Trevor Aaronson sums it up this way:

Congress allocates billions to the FBI to find terrorists and prevent the next attack. The FBI in turn focuses thousands of agents and informants on Muslim communities in sting operations that pull easily influenced fringe members of the communities into terrorist plots conceived and financed by the FBI. The Justice Department then labels these targets, who have no capacity on their own to commit terrorist acts and no connections to actual terrorists, as terrorists and includes them in data intended not only to justify how previous dollars were spent, but also to justify the need for future counterterroism funding. In the end, the tail wags the dog in a continual cycle.

Meanwhile, while billions are wasted for the sake of these show trials, real domestic terrorism is downplayed. In one example cited by Aaronson anti-government conspiracy theorists Jerry and Joseph Kane, after giving seminars in which they advocated violence, murdered two police officers in Arkansas. The FBI had been tracking them for years, and knew they were dangerous, but didn't bother to notify the local police where they lived or traveled, apparently being to focused on trying to convince Muslim loners to put fake bombs in cars. Police departments have been asking for FBI training and information for dealing with domestic terrorists, but the FBI has been almost exclusively focused on Islamic terrorists, and then mostly on creating more of them.

Here is one last quote from Aaronson's "The Terror Factory:"

The FBI currently spends $3 billion annually to hunt an enemy that is largely of its own creation. Evidence in dozens of cases -- involving plots to blow up synagogues, skyscrapers, military recruiting stations, and bars and nightclubs -- suggests that today's terrorists in the United States are nothing more than FBI creations, impressionable men living on the edges of society who become bomb-triggering would-be killers only because of the actions of the FBI informants.

One federal judge has called this a "fantasy terror operation." Of the 500 terrorism defendants prosecuted since 9/11 in the United States, only a few posed actual threats. Around 150 were caught in FBI sting operations (entrapments seems like a fair word to describe these cases), and the rest involved immigration violations, money laundering and other crimes with only the weakest of links to terrorism and no evidence of safety threats to this country.

The idea seems to be to scare us to get money and power, then entrap impressionable men in order to justify the whole process and receive more funding. That is how the "war on terrorism" works inside this country.

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