Saturday, June 24, 2006

Taking Which Fight To Whom, Precisely?

Another day, another bunch of show arrests. Who remembers the Brooklyn Bridge faux-terrorist, armed with his cutting torch? Beyond merely distracting us all from our continued failure to bring in Osama, I wonder what the larger point of this chicanery might be...

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stressed that there was no immediate threat in either Chicago or Miami because the group did not have explosives or other materials it was seeking.

"This group was more aspirational than operational," FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said.

Nevertheless, Gonzales said Thursday's arrests underscored the danger of "homegrown terrorists" who "view their home country as the enemy."

And there we may have a clue!

An addendum: Another Day In The Empire has more about this group and their engineered downfall, beginning with this early ABCNews report:

An outline of the indictments to be announced later today indicates the men began meeting with an unnamed FBI informant in November 2005.

... And he then spent six months grooming them for this showboat arrest. The wheels of justice grind slow, but exceedingly fine, for better or worse.

As a second addendum: mainstream sources continue to report that these men were Muslims. For whatever reason that's relevant, so is this article by Juan Cole setting them straight.


Blogger Management said...

FBI says suspects sought to form own army

By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press Writer Fri Jun 23, 7:50 PM ET

MIAMI - Seven men accused of trying to blow up the Sears Tower with help from al-Qaida never actually made contact with the terrorist network and were instead caught in an
FBI sting involving an informant who posed as an al-Qaida operative, authorities said Friday.

Federal prosecutors said the men — who operated out of a warehouse in Miami's blighted Liberty City section — took an oath to al-Qaida and plotted to create an "Islamic Army" bent on violence against the United States. Five of those arrested are U.S. citizens.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stressed that there was no immediate threat in either Chicago or Miami because the group did not have explosives or other materials it was seeking.

"This group was more aspirational than operational," FBI Deputy Director John Pistole said.

Nevertheless, Gonzales said Thursday's arrests underscored the danger of "homegrown terrorists" who "view their home country as the enemy."

Those arrested ranged in age from 22 to 32 and included a legal immigrant from Haiti and a Haitian who was in this country illegally. Investigators said all members of the alleged plot were in custody on conspiracy charges.

"We are confident that we have identified every individual who had the intent of posing a threat to the United States," said R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. attorney in Miami.

Five of the defendants, including alleged ringleader Narseal Batiste, appeared in federal court in Miami on Friday under heavy security. They were brought in and out in single file, chained together at the wrists and wearing ankle chains.

"It's an example of the philosophy of prevention. These arrests were made during the talking stage, long before any bomb-making stage," said Kendall Coffey, a former U.S. attorney in Florida. "While they may be seen as bungling wannabes, they are potentially dangerous wannabes who, based on the allegations, were pursuing extremely dangerous plans."

Joseph Phanor, the father of defendant Stanley Grant Phanor, said he did not believe "anything they say about" his son.

"This boy, he's not a violent boy. He never got into trouble. He didn't want to kill people," the elder Phanor said. Court records show that his son was convicted of carrying a concealed firearm in 2002 and sentenced to two years' probation.

Prosecutors said Batiste began recruiting and training the others in November. The FBI learned of the plot from someone the defendants tried to recruit, authorities said. The FBI then arranged for an informant of Arabic descent to pass himself off as an al-Qaida operative.

Batiste met several times in December with the informant and asked for boots, uniforms, machine guns, radios, vehicles and $50,000 to help him build an "Islamic Army," the indictment said.

In February, Batiste told the informant that he and his five soldiers wanted to attend al-Qaida training and planned a "full ground war" against the United States in order to "kill all the devils we can," according to the indictment. His mission would "be just as good or greater than 9/11," it said.

Prosecutors said the men plotted to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower, the tallest building in America, and other buildings such as the FBI offices in North Miami Beach. They were charged with conspiracy to destroy the structures and to wage war against the U.S. government.

Batiste and a co-defendant provided the informant with photographs of the FBI building, as well as video footage of other Miami government buildings, and discussed a plot to bomb the FBI building, the indictment said.

Richard Shultz, professor of International Security at Tufts University in Massachusetts, said that groups such as the one in Miami could pose a threat even if they do not make contact with al-Qaida.

"You don't have to go to
Afghanistan like the internationalists did in the 1980s to join the jihadist movement; you can do it from your computer in Miami," he said.

Relatives described the defendants as deeply religious people who studied the Bible and took classes in Islam. The elder Phanor said that his son went to classes on Islam with a friend but that he read the Bible at his father's house.

Phanor's brother Michael said his brother owned a construction company and had been friends with this group for about a year. He said they were trying to do community service in the area where they grew up, studying martial arts to keep in shape and setting a good example for neighborhood kids.

No pleas were entered during Friday's court hearing. A federal magistrate scheduled another hearing for next Friday on whether to release the men on bail. He appointed lawyers for Batiste and the four others who said they could not afford one.

Batiste told the court he was self-employed, a father of four and earned about $30,000 a year, but he provided no details.

A sixth defendant, Lyglenson Lemorin, was arrested in Atlanta and made a court appearance there. Phanor did not appear in court. He was in custody on what authorities said was an unrelated state charge.

In addition to Batiste and Phanor, the defendants were identified as Patrick Abraham, or "Brother Pat"; Naudimar Herrera or "Brother Naudy"; Lemorin, also known as "Brother Levi" or Brother Levi-El"; Burson Augustin, also known as "Brother B"; and Rotschild Augustine, or "Brother Rot."

Officials at the 110-floor Sears Tower said in a statement: "Law enforcement continues to tell us that they have never found evidence of a credible terrorism threat against Sears Tower that has gone beyond criminal discussions."

John Huston, executive vice president of the Sears Tower, said that it was "business as usual" at the building Friday and that attendance was good at the skydeck on the 103rd floor.

2:57 AM  
Blogger Management said...

Feds Raid Patsy “Terror Cell” in Miami
Friday June 23rd 2006, 8:36 am

In a transparent repeat of the paintball terrorist op in Ottawa (and the absurd bust of innocents in London)—designed to remind American, Canadian, and British subjects they must surrender what remains of their beleaguered civil liberties—the FBI has announced they have raided “a suspected terror cell based in Miami,” according to the Ministry of Hysterical Propaganda, ABC News division.

“The group has been under surveillance for some time and was infiltrated by a government informant who allegedly led them to believe he was an Islamic radical, a Justice Department official said.”

In other words, an FBI agent, pretending to be an “Islamic radical” and a putative “al-Qaeda operative,” convinced a handful of patsies to “discuss” the targeting of the Sears Tower in Chicago and supposedly federal facilities in Miami.

In a repeat of the Ottawa theatrical event, the alleged terrorists, with “possible ties with Al Qaeda” (of course), are “teenagers and young adults,” according to the International Security Research & Intelligence Agency, billed as “analysts and experts at your service to identify, analyse and assess any issue related to your safety and your entreprise’s and/or institution’s (sic).” In short, it appears the FBI has exploited the naiveté of kids, more accustomed to blowing up skyscrapers in video games than in real life.

According to the aforementioned “source,” the dupes in Miami are possibly “Black Muslims,” although this was not mentioned by the corporate media as of this writing (AG Gonzales is scheduled to hold a press conference). “Sources say the arrests reflect the government’s concern about so-called ‘homegrown terrorists.’ It’s a threat FBI Director Robert Mueller discussed during a recent speech in New York,” ABC News continues. Translation: increasingly, the “threat” is domestic, thus a police state becomes more palatable at home, with “Black Muslims” (i.e., the Nation of Islam) and other boogiemen replacing distant and less hysteria-inspiring cave-dwelling terrorists.

“One law enforcement official, who requested anonymity because the investigation was ongoing, said the arrests illustrated how federal authorities were rooting out threats at their earliest stages,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “Televised images of FBI agents swarming a warehouse in the Liberty City area of Miami highlighted the possibility of an unusual homegrown case of domestic terrorism.” Of course, now that the “al-Qaeda” threat is increasingly “homegrown,” such staged events will become less “unusual” and will in fact become cours de rigueur.

“A man identified as a member of the ‘Seas of David’ religious group told CNN on Thursday that five of his fellow members were among those arrested and that they had no connection to terrorists,” explains Reuters. “‘We are not terrorists. We are members of David, Seas of David,’ said the man, identified as Brother Corey. He said the group had ’soldiers’ in Chicago, but reiterated it was peaceful movement. Miami media said the group of men sold hair grease and shampoo in the streets. Some worked on construction crews.”

A Google search on “Seas of David” returns no results. “Perhaps it’s only a Davidian-related threat, a new conflict between ‘Davidians’ who fight with ‘Babylonians’ (federal authorities). It needs a thorough investigation” a US source told ISRIA, linked above. Of course, the word “Davidian” brings to mind the premeditated mass murder of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas.


ABC News reports: “An FBI informant posed as an emissary from al Qaeda and administered oaths of allegiance to the seven Miami men charged today with providing material support to al Qaeda…. An outline of the indictments to be announced later today indicates the men began meeting with an unnamed FBI informant in November 2005. Justice Department officials say the informant provided boots and a video camera so the men could obtain surveillance pictures of government buildings in Miami.”

In other words, this whole affair is a government set-up, engineered to hype the “homegrown” threat of domestic terrorism, that next phase of the neocon effort to trash the Constitution and further militarize society in preparation for World War Four, the generational crusade made in Israel and transplanted in America, the only nation on earth with the required military prowess and a population sufficiently brainwashed and easily frightened by phony terrorists.

4:16 AM  
Blogger Management said...

Friday, June 23, 2006

CAIR: Miami Cult not Muslims

I just saw the spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations on CNN saying that the Miami cult members just arrested are not Muslims. I'd say that is a fair statement.

For one thing, they are vegetarians!

It seems pretty obvious that they are just a local African-American cult which mixed Judaism, Christianity and (a little bit of) Islam. It seems to be a of vague offshoot of the Moors group founded by Dwight York. I heard on CNN that one of them talked of being Moors. And Batiste, the leader, called whites "devils" in the tradition of the original Nation of Islam and York's Moors. Now CNN is saying one member said they practiced witchcraft [likely meaning Haitian voodoo or perhaps Santeria-like rituals]. One former member is called Levi-El, suggesting he might be associated with the Black Hebrew movement or an offshoot. Now a relative of one of the members, Phanor, said that they wore black uniforms with a star of David arm patch and considered themselves of the Order of Melchizadek. I wonder if it is "Seas of David" or "C's of David", with "c" meaning commando or some such?

I define cult as a religious group that has values that put it in a high state of tension with the norms of mainstream society, and that has a leadership that imposes high levels of discipline and demand for control of adherents' lives.

This Seas of David group primarily seems to have been studying the Bible. The mother of one insisted that he is a Catholic. Then there is all that Jewish symbology and terminology, even in their names. Islam was nothing more for them but a set of symbols they could pull into their syncretic local culture. The group drew on poor Haitian immigrants and local indigent African-American youth. If this were the 1960s, they'd have been Black Panthers or Communists.

American folk religion, pursued in small groups with charismatic leaders, is replete with such groups, from Father Divine to Jim Jones of the People's Temple to David Koreish.

The group never got past the stage of talking big, and violently. They talked dangerously, and some sort of intervention was warranted. Since they begged the FBI informant for "shoes," they weren't exactly a well-heeled group that seems very dangerous in actual practice. And, to what extent did the FBI informant press an al-Qaeda connection on these otherwise clueless but imaginative zealots?

But contrast the grandstanding of Alberto Gonzales on this group of poor unarmed ghetto folk with the way in which the Robert J. Goldstein case was treated. He actually had the bombs in his house and was going to blow up Floridians. No press called him a "Jewish" terrorist and no questions were ever raised about his possible international links.

Imagine the horror of an urbane Arab-American professional with university higher degrees, steeped in Islamic culture and contributing to American society, at being lumped in by the American press and officialdom with these cultists who appropriated his religion for their violent religious fantasies.

The other thing to say is that American law is soft on cultic practices, of dirty tricks against and smearing of critics, enforced third-party shunning, manipulation, and group coercion. These things are not protected by the First Amendment and I think one part of our counter-terrorism strategy must be to develop legal strategies to make it easier to disrupt the workings of cults before they accumulate a critical mass for violent action. The practice of just letting the head of the Internal Revenue Service decide if a group is a tax-free religion should also be revisited. In the past, some IRS heads appear to have been blackmailed by cults into granting them that status, which allows them to accumulate more wealth.

Whereas most terrorism is a form of educated, middle class politics, this particular group clearly grew out of the grievances and resentments of race and class inequality in the United States.

The sister of one was just on MSNBC saying that he deeply resented Bush spending money to drop bombs on poor people who could not defend themselves, while depriving the poor in the United States of any support. "We are not capable," she said. This is a theory of class war, connecting the poor of Kut with the poor of Miami's inner city. The city, by the way, has horrific levels of unemployment.

The position of the poor and workers in particular is deteriorating in the US, as more and more of the privately held wealth is concentrated in the hands of a white, privileged, few. The unions have been gutted, the minimum wage is inadequate, and racist attitudes are reemerging on a worrisome scale. Cities such as Detroit, New Orleans and Miami continue to witness enormous strains coming mainly from racist attitudes. In this case, the best counter-terrorism would be more social justice.

4:24 AM  
Blogger No Blood for Hubris said...

Well, if they're extremist vegetarians, then that explains why the Department of defense was spying on vegans. Proves it right there. End of story.

2:24 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home