Pre-crime Reports

  • The Sting: How the FBI created a terrorist

    Source: The Intercept. Sami Osmakac was the target of an elaborately orchestrated FBI sting that involved a paid informant, as well as FBI agents and support staff working on the setup for more than three months. The FBI provided all of the weapons seen in Osmakac’s martyrdom video. The bureau also gave Osmakac the car bomb he allegedly planned to detonate, and even money for a taxi so he could get to where the FBI needed him to go. Osmakac was a deeply disturbed young man, according to several of the psychiatrists and psychologists who examined him before trial. He became a “terrorist” only after the FBI provided the means, opportunity and final prodding necessary to make him one.

     
  • Portland man: I was tortured in UAE for refusing to become an FBI informant

    Pre-crime Reports March 16, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The Guardian Portland man: I was tortured in UAE for refusing to become an FBI informant By: Chris McGreal When Yonas Fikre stepped off a luxury private jet at Portland airport last month, the only passenger on a $200,000 flight from Sweden, he braced for the worst. Would the […]

     
  • Boston Marathon bomb trial: FBI agent mistakes Grozny for Mecca in Twitter photo

    Source: The Guardian (3/10). Sparks flew in a federal courtroom in Boston on Tuesday in the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – the younger and only survivor of two brothers accused of perpetrating the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing – as the testimony of an FBI agent and witness for the prosecution collapsed under cross-examination by the defence. Tsarnaev’s defence attorney Miriam Conrad surgically deconstructed testimony given late on Monday by an FBI agent that looked at Tsarnaev’s Twitter accounts – and embarrassed the FBI by showing them to have misidentified a picture of a mosque in Grozny, Chechnya, as the Muslim holy site of Mecca. The exposure of that mistake was just part of a long morning of embarrassment for the FBI, as Conrad poked gaping holes in their investigation into Tsarnaev’s online persona. Kimball was forced to admit that he did not know that several of the tweets the prosecution had highlighted yesterday – to damning effect – as pointing towards Tsarnaev’s radicalisation and violence were actually lyrics from pop songs.

     
  • 3 Brooklyn men accused of plot to aid ISIS’ fight

    Source: The New York Times. Two young men living in Brooklyn were arrested on Wednesday and charged with plotting to travel thousands of miles to fight under the banner of the Islamic State, the terrorist organization that has seized a wide expanse of Syria and Iraq. A third Brooklyn man was charged with helping organize and fund their activities. The case against the three men relies in part on a confidential informant paid by the government, court documents show. Defense lawyers have criticized the government’s use of informers in similar cases, saying they may lure targets into making extreme plans or statements. And in some cases, the threat has turned out to be overstated.

     
  • Plot foiled? Sundance doc lifts lid on FBI stings

    Source: Daily Mail. The type of news item is all too familiar: US authorities have foiled a plot to blow up an airliner, or bomb the Capitol, or kidnap the president. Something along those lines. But how do we know there really was a plot? That’s essentially the question behind a documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this week which gained unprecedented access to a real-time FBI counter-terrorism “sting” — and found some disturbing answers. The documentary tells the real story of “Shariff,” a 63-year-old informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) who is tasked with monitoring a Muslim convert, Khalifah al-Akili, in Pittsburgh.The FBI wants him to assess Akili’s interest in attending a terrorist training camp abroad. We see “Shariff” — real name Saeed Torres, a former black revolutionary turned school canteen cook, and practising Muslim — as he befriends Akili through a local mosque. The unprecedented part? The FBI doesn’t know its informant has agreed to be filmed for the documentary.

     
  • Yemen unrest will not derail plans to close Guantánamo Bay prison

    Pre-crime Reports January 26, 2015 at 1 comment

    Source: The Guardian. Ongoing instability in Yemen should not derail plans to close the Guantánamo Bay detention facility, Barack Obama’s former envoy for the closure urged on Monday. Clifford Sloan, who resigned on 31 December as the State Department’s special envoy for shuttering the infamous detention center, said the 47 Yemenis currently approved for transfer would not be returned to their home country. “The focus with regard to the Yemenis at Guantánamo has been on resettling them to other countries, because of the perilous security situation in Yemen. That was true before the very recent events as well as since the very recent events,” Sloan told the Guardian in an interview on Monday.

     
  • Counter-terrorism is supposed to let us live without fear. Instead, it’s creating more of it

    Source: The Guardian. People think that catching terrorists is just a matter of finding them – but, just as often, terrorists are created by the people doing the chase. Since 9/11, as Human Rights Watch and others have documented, the FBI has routinely used paid informants not to capture existing terrorists, but to cultivate them. Through elaborate sting operations, informants are directed to spend months – sometimes years – building relationships with targets, stoking their anger and offering ideas and incentives that encourage them to engage in terrorist activity. And the moment a target takes a decisive step forward, crossing the line from aspirational to operational, the FBI swoops in to arrest him.

     
  • Lawyer for former Australian Guantanamo detainee says U.S. agrees he is innocent

    Source: Reuters. The United States has agreed that Australian David Hicks, jailed on terrorism charges for five years at Guantanamo, is innocent, his lawyer said on Friday. Hicks pleaded guilty in 2007 to providing “material support for terrorism” but his legal team claimed that he did so under duress and filed an appeal in late 2013. Lawyer Stephen Kenny said the legal team arguing the appeal has been told the U.S. government did not dispute Hicks’ innocence and also admitted that his conviction was not correct.Kenny said he expected to hear within a month whether the Court of Military Commission Review in Washington would quash his conviction.

     
  • Informant role raises questions over thwarted Capitol Hill attack plot

    Source: Aljazeera America. A plot by an alleged Islamic State sympathizer to attack the U.S. Capitol with pipe bombs and automatic rifles may sound dramatic, but the FBI hastened to reassure the American public after the Jan. 14 arrest that it had never been in any real peril. That’s because the FBI had been monitoring 20-year-old suspect Christopher Cornell from the very outset of the plot — a revelation designed to reassure anxious citizens, but which also raised the perennial question of entrapment that faces law enforcement when undercover personnel or informants become involved in a criminal conspiracy. Cornell’s parents certainly believe their son was incapable of drawing up the attack plan and assembling the requisite logistics on his own; they allege their son had been set up by the FBI.

     
  • Man convicted of environmental terrorism is freed

    Pre-crime Reports January 8, 2015 at 0 comments

    Source: The New York Times. A man serving a 19-year prison sentence for environmental terrorism won an early release from prison on Thursday, with a California judge approving a settlement between defense lawyers and prosecutors that acknowledged that the authorities had withheld documents during his criminal trial. The man, Eric McDavid, 37, was convicted in 2007 of conspiring to bomb several targets near Sacramento as part of a radical environmental campaign. Mr. McDavid’s lawyers had asked that his conviction be vacated, saying that the federal authorities had withheld information that could have bolstered his defense at trial, including a request by officials for a polygraph examination of the informant, code-named Anna, and various messages between her and Mr. McDavid.