Feb 22, 2006

Treacherous Terrorists Or Blundering Bombers?

Left: Mugshot of Mohammad Zaki Amawi, courtesy of FOX News

(Toledo, OH) News of the indictment of three Toledo area men on terrorism charges spread quickly through this Midwestern community. The indictment alleges that one man, Mohammad Zaki Amawi, twice threatened to kill or inflict bodily harm against President Bush while speaking with others in a plot that began in November 2004, while the three also conspired to attack US troops abroad.

Amawi is a citizen of Jordan and the United States. The other men indicted in the plot are Marwan Othman El-Hindi, a US citizen born in Jordan; and Wassim I. Mazloum, who came to the US from Lebanon in 2000.

One wonders, though, just how dangerous these men were if indeed they are guilty of the crimes for which they have been charged.

I do not mean to say that men training with weapons, or studying bomb-making, are not dangerous. Rather, the plot comes across in the indictments as the work of amateurs.

According to the indictment documents, the men visited a local indoor shooting range, used the Internet to download bomb-making instructions, communicated via email with alleged terrorists in the Middle East, and actually traveled to Jordan to deliver five laptop computers to their "brothers" waging jihad.

Now, I am not a counter-terrorism expert, nor do I purport to be. That being said, it seems like these men - if guilty as charged - left electronic and paper trails that would be easy to follow, and which likely raised all sorts of red flags.

We may have been lucky that the indicted men were not seasoned veterans of terror circles; we may not be so fortunate in the future.


Dariush said...


I posted this elsewhere, but I'm reposting it here in the light of the fact that your coverage of this has been way ahead of the curve.


There's a name for guys like "The Trainer."

And, horror of horrors, it was coined by ... THE FRENCH!!!

They're called "agents provocateurs".

Some guy "infiltrates" a "terrorist" cell (the "cell" in question could be nothing more than a discussion group when he joins it) and all of a sudden starts pushing them in some sort of militant direction which they themselves did not at first envision. This way, they can be arrested on "conspiracy" charges.

Similar thing happened with "The Plot to Blow Up the Brooklyn Bridge"(tm).

The technical term for it is "entrapment", but apparently all of that legal mumbo-jumbo has been tossed aside in the name of our Forever War.

The Panthers, AIM and a whole host of groups have been taken down this way.

But all that aside.

The reasons given for arresting these guys were threefold:

1 - One of them downloaded a video which shows how to make a suicide vest.
Such information is readily available from any number of books and military manuals, some of which were authored by folks on Uncle Sam's payroll. Hardly "secret".

2 - Threatening the life of the president.
Wow. How many millions of people across the globe do the same thing daily? In the words of Dave Chappelle "if I see that motherfucker George Bush, I'm gonna kick his fuckin' ass." A credible assassination plot against the president would already have been headline news. This wasn't it. This was just one guy telling an informant "I'm gonna kill the president." BFD.

3 - Desiring to travel to Iraq, join up with the resistance and kill American soldiers.
I guess at this point, the definition of "terrorism" has changed to "when one of THEM shoots back". Very simple, if you don't want people to kill your sons and daughters don't send them off to invade and occupy a country and then insult the people of that country by telling them they've been "liberated".

historymike said...

Thanks, Dariush.

It's a tough call on these men; I am also suspicious that they might have been entrapped or baited into these acts, if indeed the government is developing people to play the Pied Piper and lure out potential terrorists.

We'll have to see when the court cases develop if the accused men sought out "The Trainer," or if he sought THEM out.

I also, like you, think the law about the President is silly and arbitrary. Legitimate threats, hell yes - book 'em, Dan-O.

But some clown spouting off in a bar or locker room about the President? Come on, man...

And we are so selective, too. Why is it I could utter threats about the Governor of Ohio, or the Speaker of the House, but not the President? This is not a monarchy, although some would say we have an oligarchy.

M A F said...

Terrorists? Blundering Bombers?

Blunders. As I first heard of this great terrorist threat in Toledo, (the capital of all great terrorists jihads) I was thinking that the charges sound no worse than some of the statements and plans I heard coming from the mouths of the neo-nazi/skinheads on an A&E program last week.

Of course, I have grown highly suspicious of this administration and wonder if the "terrorists" perp walk is more about drumming up support and drown out criticism of Bush's warrantless survelliance program within the US.

Lisa Renee said...

That's what I thought too, especially given this administrations past record with "terrorist" convictions...

Let's hope they have good legal representation so if they are really innocent? It gets proven.

-Sepp said...

The fact that they filed to get a grant in order to set up a front "charity organization" and one offered to use his business as a front kind of puts a kabosh on the whole "discussion group" idea. As for the aledged killing the prez remarks. BFD. If I had a dime for everytime I heard a liberal mention the president's demise, I would be getting a "top richest Americans" taxcut they always talk about. On another note, these guys could have been plotting to hit hig value targets here in our area rather than travel to the mid east to be guerillas.

Name withheld to protect the guilty said...

I hope they have something more solid that hasn't come out yet. To wit, I myself have gone to a local shooting range and downloaded bomb information off the internet. Although I usually talk about assassinating Cheney, not W.

Also, the color/religion factor.

Anybody notice that when they found two white guys with a couple hundred pounds of explosives, that hardly got a paragraph in the Blade?

Dariush said...


As the pieces of this story are coming together, I now realize what the whole thing reminds me of.

This 2002 William Arkin piece in the LA Times disappeared down the Memory Hole fairly quickly. But perhaps, in light of this and other events deserves to be read in full once again.

Particularly the part about how Rumsfeld wanted to create "a super-Intelligence Support Activity" that will "bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception." And how this new organization – the "Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)" – will carry out secret missions designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.

Here's what Chris Floyd, columnist for the Moscow Times, had to say about this at the time:

In other words – and let's say this plainly, clearly and soberly, so that no one can mistake the intention of Rumsfeld's plan – the United States government is planning to use "cover and deception" and secret military operations to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. Let's say it again: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the other members of the unelected regime in Washington plan to deliberately foment the murder of innocent people – your family, your friends, your lovers, you – in order to further their geopolitical ambitions.

For P2OG is not designed solely to flush out terrorists and bring them to justice – a laudable goal in itself, although the Rumsfeld way of combating terrorism by causing it is pure moral lunacy. (Or should we use the Regime's own preferred terminology and just call it "evil"?) No, it seems the Pee-Twos have bigger fish to fry. Once they have sparked terrorists into action – by killing their family members? luring them with loot? fueling them with drugs? plying them with jihad propaganda? messing with their mamas? or with agents provocateurs, perhaps, who infiltrate groups then plan and direct the attacks themselves? – they can then take measures against the "states/sub-state actors accountable" for "harboring" the Rumsfeld-roused gangs. What kind of measures exactly? Well, the classified Pentagon program puts it this way: "Their sovereignty will be at risk."

The Pee-Twos will thus come in handy whenever the Regime hankers to add a little oil-laden real estate or a new military base to the Empire's burgeoning portfolio. Just find a nest of violent malcontents, stir 'em with a stick, and presto: instant "justification" for whatever level of intervention/conquest/rapine you might desire. And what if the territory you fancy doesn't actually harbor any convenient marauders to use for fun and profit? Well, surely a God-like "super-Intelligence Support Activity" is capable of creation ex nihilo, yes?

Anyhoo, I don't wanna get all Oliver Stone about this. My mind just found its way back to this story and I thought I'd inject it into the discussion here.

liberal_dem said...

"Treacherous Terrorists Or Blundering Bombers?"


I'd say that they were two-bit Islamists who were angry at Bush and his war on Iraq.

Did you see the indictments that Gonzales 'got' on these three? Downloading a tape on suicide bombers, downloading materials on jihadists, thinking of bringing explosives into Iraq, thinking of bringing a laptop into iraq, threatening the president in front of one other person.

Hell, some good Christian teens here in America download more vile and dangerous crap from the net than that.

What a thin set of 'evidence' to try to convict these guys on terrorism. But, it looks good for the Bush foks, and that is all that counts.

Remember, they are protecting us from 'them' at all times. Now, go back to sleep.