Sunday, November 28, 2010

Spy vs. Spy: Beaver State Fathead Edition

So it turns out that I now know a total of something like a dozen people who were in Pioneer Square in downtown Portland when this fucking idiot thought he was committing an act of guerilla violence.

The following couple of days my Facebook page was littered with posts to the effect of "OMG! I was there! Thank you, FBI!" and appended with comments praising God and the solder (or FBI agent) whom we adore.

Perhaps it was because I hadn't the slightest interest is watching the lights go on a big fir tree so I was at home playing Jenga. Or perhaps its because I'm a nasty, cynical SOB by nature. But you'll excuse me if I beg off the universal congratulations to my government for catching the next Khalid Sheik Mohammad.

Because from what I understand;

1. This idiot did everything but wander around Corvallis wearing a T-shirt with a picture of Osama and the legend "I'm With Stupid".

2. Ignoring the First Rule of Internet Hookups ("The chance that the hot sixteen-year-old soliciting for no-holds-barred wild monkey sex over the Internet is actually either a vice cop trolling for morons or a 42-year-old pervert looking to get you to post pictures of your pecker approaches unity the longer you keep searching the Net for loli-porn") the idiot splattered the Web with his jihadi spam until the FBI was unable to continue to ignore him.

3. The feds then:
a. contacted Mohamud in a June 2010 e-mail under the guise of being a jihadi.
b. met with the guy multiple times, where he pushed them to help him with his nefarious plans. Supposedly the agents "cautioned Mohamud several times about the seriousness of his plan, noting that there would be many people, including children, at the event"
c. pretended to help him with logistics, including "assembling" the bomb and testing a smaller version somewhere in backass Lincoln County, Oregon.
d. appeared in a video with him to record his "mission statement".
e. picked up Mohamud to travel to Portland to finalize details of the attack.
f. set him in the seat of his bomb-van with several fake drums of pretend explosives in the back (which the idiot failed to check, proving that he was a no-go at the first performance test of walking-while-breathing, "You need to be smarter than your equipment") which he dropped off near the tree-lighting spot
g. let him make the detonating phone call - twice - and then busted him.

So excuse me if I'm not celebrating the takedown of the greatest criminal mastermind since Professor Moriarty. This moron Mohamud sounds like he might have spent the next five years in his bedroom playing the jihadi version of "Call of Duty" and eating cheetos if the FBI hadn't pretty much handed him the color-by-numbers handbook for would-be jihadi truck bombers. This wasn't fucking Tim McVeigh. This wasn't even your basic Palestinian pay-for-kaboom suicide bomber. This was a fucking idiot who didn't have the basic common sense to check the equipment his suddenly confiding new "friends" procured, engineered, assembled, transported, and emplaced for him.

Don't get me wrong. I'm glad this guy didn't kill anyone. I'm GLAD he is a fucking idiot.

But I'm reading the skittish Facebook responses from the people who were in the square that evening, and wondering what will happen the next time someone proposes some sort of additional security theatre, or profiling the Somali immigrant community, or loosening the entrapment laws, or some other sort of exchange of liberty for "security".

And, of course, demands that all response to the nose-led idiot be based on panic fear and reflexive condemnation rather than skepticism and the Rule of Law.

Or, even better, turns into lynch mob counter-terror and attacks on American muslims because...well...because, y'know, they're terrists!

Because if the study of history and politics has taught me anything, it has taught me that there is no practical limit to the damage to a society that the society can do to itself when prodded by a single idiot.

Update 11/28 p.m.: Greenwald has more, including the vexing details that the FBI 1) may not have actual evidence that the moron chose his moron path and was not entrapped in some form, 2) paid him as part of smoothing his path to Pioneer Square, and that 3) "Here we find one of the great mysteries in American political culture: that the U.S. Government dispatches its military all over the world -- invading, occupying, and bombing multiple Muslim countries -- torturing them, imprisoning them without charges, shooting them up at checkpoints, sending remote-controlled drones to explode their homes, imposing sanctions that starve hundreds of thousands of children to death -- and Americans are then baffled when some Muslims -- an amazingly small percentage -- harbor anger and vengeance at them and want to return the violence. And here we also find the greatest myth in American political discourse: that engaging in all of that military aggression somehow constitutes Staying Safe and combating Terrorism -- rather than doing more than any single other cause to provoke, sustain and fuel Terrorism."


  1. Why do you assume he is an idiot - simply because he got caught before the FBI got wind of his intentions? McVeigh did a lot of stupid things yet his attack was successful. Left alone, this guy probably would have killed people sooner or later and in that case, the "panic fear and reflexive condemnation" and "lynch-mob counter-terror" would be a lot worse.

  2. Andy: Read the article. He WAS an idiot. Doing everything but renting a billboard on I-5 appealing for jihadi assistance and posting personal ads "SW Somali ISO hottt Islamic bombmaker to help me smite great Satan - texting skilz a plus!". Immediately jumping at all the help the feds offered him without a moment's suspicion. Never checking the supposed bomb he was provided.

    Left alone, this guy comes off as a fairly sad wannabe. The Greenwald piece has even more troubling questions about the extent to which this gomer was led by the hand through "Truck-bombing 101".

    Look, the dumbass was a vicious little bastard, and he will spend the rest of his like being waterboarded in secret prisons and buggered by criminals, so although all indications poibnt that way it's not really material whether he's an idiot or not at this point.

    What IS important is that instead of asking questions - since we know nothing of this supposed "plot" other than what the FBI has told us (and $20 bucks if you think they would use their press release to highlight the more questionable aspects of their case) - the panic fear and reflexive condemnation, and the lynch-mob mentality has already kicked in. You note that you assume without any more evidence than what the FBI has provided you with that "this guy would have killed people sooner or later".

    Why would you assume that? Because if the FBI arrested someone they have to be an Evil Jihadi Mastermind? Remind me to have Brandon Mayfield ( drop you a line...

  3. Though I should note that the "fearful panic and reflexive condemnation" is largely coming from Faux News, which is surprising like finding cow shit in a cow pasture is surprising.

    Let's keep the main point in mind here if we're going to discuss this; the crux of this biscuit is NOT whether this guy is a Mean Person who wants to kill adorable American wimmen and kids.

    It's about whether this was a genuinely competent attempt at mass murder or may have been partially - or even largely - turned from some sadass wannabe's bedroom fantasy into another Scary Terrorist News Item with the assistance of the federal government. The extent to which the publicity surrounding it is about alerting the public to the successful defense of our country by alert federal agents or frightening them with the shadow of a mouse blown up to look like a werewolf as part of a climate of fear and paranoia.

    I honestly don't know for sure, since the inside information on how competent this guy really was is still secret.

    But from the first reports it sure looks like this guy was a rabid Shi-Tzu rather than a scary shapeshifting predator. And it looks rather like the most appropriate way to announce his arrest would have been one of those tiny paragraphs on the inside of the Metro section where they publish the arrest of bank robbers or counterfeitors instead of the national news headlines with film at 11.

  4. Ok, we don't know the counterfactual - we can't say whether he would have turned into a real threat or not. But I don't think you can ignore the steps he took before the FBI got involved (emailed jihadi's overseas, tried to go to Yemen to meet them) nor can you ignore his actions as described. The FBI didn't make him want to kill a bunch of people. Do I trust the FBI version 100%? No, but it's got to have some basis since this is a criminal case which will go to trial, so the FBI version can't be complete bullshit.

    I truly don't understand why you and others (See Glen Greenwald) seem so upset about this. What should the FBI have done differently?

    And I should admit my bias here. I grew up near Columbine High School and one of the victims was a relative of my closest lifelong friend. Watching what those murders did to his family greatly affected me. As a result I err completely on the side of the precautionary principle concerning the homicidal tendencies of teenagers. This guy, by all accounts, wanted to kill as many people as he could. I'm not going to cry if the FBI gave him some rope to hang himself.

    Of course, we don't know all the facts. I understand that. If it turns out this guy was some semi-autistic dupe who played too many video games and was pushed by the FBI at every turn toward the idea of killing, then I will happily and publicly retract it all.

  5. I read this and all I could think was, "really? the local Police dept didn't just beat down his door, and say, "hey, asshole, guess what...yeah, sunshine, you're getting the attention that your mommy didn't give you, cut with the boo-f'ing-hoo with your sad and pathetic life and shut the f##k up about going all jihadi-stupid, or else we will come back and drop the beat-down on your whiny nobody-loves-me ass."

    Anyway, that was how it was done in my day, and we all flew straight after Mr. Officer explained the rule of law to our...uh...wandering ways.
    Lord, the FBI must have been seriously bored.

  6. "What should the FBI have done differently?"

    1. Start with the assumption that the gomer is 19. Remember how fucked up you were at 19? I remember that I was. Don't make it EASY for the idiot to be an idiot. How about notify the dope's family? Rope in a couple of the old heads in the Somali community who could tell him how fucked up Puntland is after twenty years of "Islamic" rule? Instead of handing him the Anarchist's cookbook? If that was YOUR nineteen-year-old all messed up in the head, wouldn't you rather have they started with the assumption that he needed his headspace and timing adjusted, rather than a quick ride to jihadiland?

    2. Make damn sure you have covered your ass regarding entrapment. You may not remember the shit the FBI pulled back in the Sixties, COINTELPRO, the shenanagains with the Panthers, the secret spying on people like MLK and political figures, but I do. It doesn't really make a difference whether the "enemies" are domestic troublemakers or foreign jihadis - my default position on the FBI is that unless they make it clear that they were further above reproach than Caesar's wife I will suspect that they have been fiddling around the edge of legality.

    3. And then, if the dope is insistent on his course, how 'bout you pull the moron in after he's committed to his moronity and, as sheerah suggests, scare the living piss out of him? Maybe try and impress on him how stupid it is to run around advertising yourself as a future mass murderer?

    4. But if you've gone to the lengths of basically teaching this dumbass how to be an islamic terrorist, how about arresting him on the downlow, rather than splashing the results of your collaborative effort all over Fox and MSNBC as some sort of great example of what a terrific job you're doing and, as a bonus, making the rubes all scared of the scarey islamic killer you've essentially enabled?

    Did I say the FBI account was complete bullshit? The fact that the FBI account appears to leave quite a bit of room for suspicion doesn't make it complete bullshit. But it sure does make me suspicious. Remember how our system of government was set up to provide checks on those in political power? When those in power tell me a story that appears prima facie to have so fairly serious holes in it, it makes me suspicious enough to ask questions.

    My question would be - why are you so spooked by Columbine that you DON'T want to ask questions?


  7. (con't from above)

    In fact, your Columbine example points out the huge difference between these cases. Harris and Klebold never solicited any assistance in their killing spree. In fact, the contact they had with the law enforcement community attempted to realign their shot groups. They had no political purpose; they were, frankly sociopaths. Our criminal justice system is set up to accept that there will be Harrises and Klebolds who will act, and we accept that as the price of social freedom. We get to act like assholes so long as we restrict our acts to mere assholery. You can't arrest me for talking shit unless its a direct threat.

    The FBI's version of this story seems to suggest the opposite; this guy started out with some sort of vague anger and desire to see America suffer and kill Americans, and the FBI seems to have gone to great lengths to make the guy's evil dream a reality. This isn't Harris and Klebold; this is like the Columbine guys going online and finding a local cop who shows them how to make bombs and buy their weapons, teaches them steady hold factors, while covering his ass by suggesting the two "talk to a counselor".

    The idea that we accept that this is OK because this guy was a scary bastard who wanted to kill people just like Harris and Klebold seems to me to be a direct contradiction of the basis of our system of government, where the danger isn't from the criminal but from those in power who should always be suspected of an intent to misuse it unless they take pains to prove otherwise.

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not weeping over this idiot.

    But he's just that; one idiot. In terms of destruction and damage to the U.S. he couldn't have done more than a month's worth of traffic accidents would have. He was no more an existential danger to the U.S than Harris and Klebold were.

    But the notion that anyone the FBI arrests is an Evil Terrorist? The idea that we should accept everything our law enforcement people say, immediately, at face value, regardless of the quantity of suspicious facets involved in the case?

    That seems more dangerous than an entire busload of angry 19-year-old jihadis.

  8. "...if this guy was some semi-autistic dupe who played too many video games and was pushed by the FBI at every turn toward the idea of killing..."

    I don't doubt that this guy was, as advertised, a nasty young man with a streak of angry. That would also fit a lot of the dopes who swaggered about this year at the tea party rallies with their semiautomatic dildoes making vague menaces about using the Second Amendment rights to "take their country back".

    The nasty part of entrapment, though, is that it can be as blatant as throwing a wad of cash down on the sidewalk or as subtle as a persistent whisper.

    Again, I say to you; try and think outside the "War on Terror" box. Factor in the history of the FBI (COINTELPRO, dirty tricks, internal spying, prior fuckups like the Mayfield arrest). Square by the republican ideas of the Founders, who insisted that the most fundamental basis for a government of laws was a rational skepticism of the intentions of the people in power as anything but a perpetuation of their own power.

    To my mind, that should lead you to the (what seems to me to be the) large number of questionable aspects of this man's case, from the initial setup through the fake jihadiscam to the arrest.

    You ask why Greenwald and I have questions about this?

    My question to you would be - why don't you have MORE?

  9. After reading through the comments, there seems to me to be some similarity about the story the son of the So. Carolina veteran who wanted to shoot/kill Obama gave.

    Would the FBI pulled that old fellow along like the Somali kid?


  10. FDC,

    Good post and good questions all. I completely agree with you that questions should be asked and nothing should be taken at face value.

    To attempt to answer a few of our questions, my personal opinion (and I am in no way linked to this op) is that we won't learn much more about this operation because it is likely linked to other ongoing operations. As we've seen in previous FBI arrests over the past couple of years, there is a lot of attention (and rightly so) on Somalia connections to home grown, wanna be terrorists like this guy.

    You ask why they let him go so far before rolling him up. My bet is that they were betting/hoping that he would somehow make coms with other people with similar ideas/plans so the investigators could further exploit the network. I SERIOUSLY doubt the FBI claim that this entire investigation was triggered by an unnamed source allegedly close to the suspect who was "concerned." Although, this has happened, it happened a couple of times with some Minnesota kids who ran off to Somali to fight the jihad, in this case, I am wiling to bet there is much more to the story that will not be told to protect on-going ops.

    Does that answer any questions? No, not really. You and I have two different perspectives on the FBI. You have the 60's and other historical facts of their actions, and I have my own personal relationships with a few FBI agents that I worked with vicinity of Somalia. I don't claim that either perspective is right or better, just different and therefore lead to different views on the situation.

    Here is a possible positive result of this event, and more importantly, of how the FBI handled the news release. One of the effects (most likely intended) will be that if any lone wolf angry kid wants to join the greater jihad, he/she will have to doubt anyone who offers them help. If the next Army MAJ who decides he is going to go postal contacts someone on a internet site, and thinks he is talking to Al Alauqi or some other legit jihadi, maybe that would-be bomber won't trust the true bad guy out of fear that it is an FBI agent. It will probably only be as effective as having police officers dressed up like hookers/johns, but it is a proactive way to deter and disrupt those with intent. It won't stop the crime, but it will deter and disrupt.

  11. Excellent posts on all side, gentlemen. Please keep up the good work.

  12. Fabius Maximus has a good article on this topic.

  13. Chief,

    You make some good points:

    #1 seems quite practical and reasonable although I think after 9/11 the their fuckups the FBI isn't going to take any chances. Also, going this route will make it a lot harder to get him in a sting since he'll know he's being watched. The Feds are undoubtedly doing some ass-covering as they don't want to risk the shit storm if this guy managed to hurt/kill someone after they knew what his intentions were. The Feds could continue to surveil him, but, as I'm sure you're aware, they can't do that forever (cointelpro and all).

    Since, as you suggest, this guy wasn't exactly shy about his intentions, it could very well be that the community tried to rein him in. Maybe they even tipped the FBI to begin with. I suspect we'll find out more about that as time goes on.

    #2 I'm not very worried about. I don't think your comparison to COINTELPRO is apt. This is a case where the FBI is going to put the guy on trial, not endlessly and illegally spy on and harass him. Assuming they want a conviction, they could not have played any of those shenanigans. Time will tell on that score.

    #3 While probably a good idea, this sounds more like COININTELPRO than what actually happened. There's a fine line between trying to scare someone straight and harassment. Somehow I think if it got reported that the FBI was threatening people - American Muslims no less - who hadn't committed any crimes, the Glen Greenwalds of the world would be up in arms about that too - and with some justification.

    #4 True, I don't agree with the media fanfare at all.

    On Columbine, yes, they were sociopaths. However, that is only plainly obvious now that they and their victims are dead. Things which are obvious in hindsight are usually not so obvious before-the-fact. My point is that if you get a hint that someone might be up to something one shouldn't simply blow it off or, as the case may be, assume the guy is too stupid to do any harm. That's what I think you're doing with this guy in Oregon. Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem be assuming that he was too dumb to be any real danger so he wasn't a threat and therefore the FBI over-reacted. I'm saying that's a risky assumption to make though I think you have a point in suggesting the Feds or someone else perhaps should have done some kind of "intervention" short of setting the guy up to go away for life. And hey, who's to say this guy, who apparrently liked the idea of killing a lot of children, isn't just as much of a sociopath as Harris and Klebold? After Columbine, I take people who want to commit murder at their word and I find it difficult to downplay the threat such people pose - even the dumb ones.

    Finally, yes, I remember what I was like when I was 19, which was basically an idiot. I don't think I fully matured until about probably about 30. I did a lot of dumb things but they usually involved trying to get a piece of ass, drive too fast, or drink too much. I don't recall having fantasies about killing as many people as possible. Yes, he's a 19 yo kid, but wanting to kill a bunch of random people is not, in my view, normal.

  14. I should add several points for the record:

    1. Regardless of how stupid and fucked up this guys is, regardless of what part the Bureau played, the guy DID want to commit mayhem. If he had been more intelligent - possibly older and less trusting (think Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber) - he might well HAVE commited mayhem. The overall result - the prevention of said mayhem - was a good thing, and I more than willingly give the Bureau props for that.

    2. I think part of what is making me extremely skeptical and skittish regarding this is that it just seems like the outlyier of these "American jihadi" arrests. They seem like small-time wannabe crooks, the publicity always seems disproportionate to the actual danger, and the context - the legacy of idiotic overreactions we've made to Islamic provocations - is toxic.

    As much as anything, these jihadi stings remind me of the Red Scare of the late Forties through the Sixties with an extra toxic twist.

    As with the Reds, we're being encouraged to see jihadis under the bed. We're being hammered with news items suggesting that the Islamic Fifth Column is lurking everywhere, and we need to take "extraordinary measures" to root them out.

    The Red Scares did a hell of a lot of damage; they pretty much destroyed the State Department by running off a lot of the experienced Asia Hands, starting a problem we're still dealing with today. A lot of individual lives were fucked up. The careers of a pantsload of truly toxic assholes got a jumpstart; remember Tricky Dick Nixon and his attack flier on Helen Gahagan Douglas - printed on pink paper!!! OMFG, she's a PINKO! Can't have that in our government!

    The difference between then and now is that at least the political climate in D.C. and elsewhere was relatively sane. Yes, you had the Taft/McCarthy GOP ready to pinko anyone who disagreed with them, but you also had a fairly liberal wing of the GOP ready to turn on the McCarthyites once they jumped the shark.

    Now a hell of a lot of the GOP is just bugfuck insane and ready to go seriously authoritarian if they thought for a moment it would "fight terrorism". And the Dems are so pussified that the mere mention of a Scary Brown Person makes them terrified to defend simple, basic, civil liberties.

    So when this sort of thing pops up - again - it's like becoming allergic to bee stings. The first couple of stings are just annoying. But after a while it just seems to get more and more toxic.

    So what's going on here isn't so much my reacting to this particular case or being sympathetic to this particular idiot, but the perception that these sorts of cases are doing us no good in a larger, political sense by pandering to the worse instincts of the moronic faction of the U.S. public. And a wise old platoon sergeant once told me (in context of riot control training) that the best way to anticipate what a crowd will do is take the IQ of the dumbest sonofabitch in the crowd and divide by the number of people around him.

    Not good.

  15. "but wanting to kill a bunch of random people is not, in my view, normal"

    No, but I have to tell you honestly, that if you had given me an RPG-7 and told me that I wouldn't get punished for it, there were some sonsofbitches in my high school class that wouldn't have made it past second period.

    Nineteen...hell, twenty, a volitile age. You love insanely, you hate immoderately, you do everything in ways that range from inappropriate to insane.

    This guy sounds like he's out there at the end of the range of nineteen. But let's just say that he's not THAT far out there:

  16. Andy-

    Good points, but the final paragraph is significant. Killing people has become the solution to a lot of problems, both in the eyes of the "bad guys" as well as a lot of other folks. It has been popularized (just read a Vince Flynn novel) and glorified. It's not the sole province of terrorists, but all to promoted as the action of choice toward anyone with whom one has serious disagreement.

    I have no idea what grade school kids play at today, but in my day, we played "Cops and Robbers" a lot. Would often end up in a gun ballle in which the cornered robber pointed his gun at the cop, the stock in trade response was, "Pull that trigger, and you will get the chair", which generally resulted in the robber surrendering. I doubt that kids have that image ingrained in their heads today. It would be more like my childhood experience in "Cowboys and Indians", and we all know how that turns out. The "cowboy" ideal has taken over, from John Q. Public, all the way to the White House.

  17. Chief,
    If this is the face of the threat, then we can sleep soundly knowing that the FBI have us covered.
    The whole episode can be summarized as -he couldn't pour piss out of a boot IF...
    Nice post.

  18. Here's a comment from Fabius Maximus about our discussion so far that I think bears repeating.

    "Most of the folks commenting ignore the key datum: that this is the latest in a series of almost identical ops: invitment or even entrapment by agents provocateurs. The pattern is the signfiicant evidence."

    I agree with him. There is a very real (but unanswerable) question as to what this young man would have done with his life if the FBI hadn't needed him to justify their budget for the war on terror. Furthermore, we see this time and again. It's kind of like our society's persistent effort to lose weight by only eating certain types of food. If we only lock up the right kinds of people we'll all be safe.

    But as the Chief points out there are a lot of emotionally volatile young men out there and it seems to me that the FBI is essentially harvesting some of them for its own needs.

    I'm not in favor of letting these loose cannons go off with the attendent property damage and loss of life but I'm also against putting people in jail (at an annual cost of 35k+ per inmate) just so the FBI can get a pay increase.

    There MUST be a happy medium where the needs of the individual and the community are both served well enough.

  19. "it is a proactive way to deter and disrupt those with intent. It won't stop the crime, but it will deter and disrupt."

    And yet, the age old equation still holds; women with pussy and no money will meet men with money and no pussy. People with money and no weed will meet people with weed and no money.

    We ignored this simple logic during Prohibition and ended up with only one enduring result; we vastly strengthened the criminal networks that moved in to supply people with booze. We're STILL dealing with that one.

    Meanwhile, other societies have tried other approaches than entrapping johns and hookers. Some a flat-out legalized prostitution. Others have tried a sort of Nevada-cathouse approach, where the trade is strictly regulated.

    In this case, the thing we haven't tried is NOT running all over the Middle East and central Asia 1) using military force to try and solve political/economic/social/religious problems, 2) bankrolling every tinpot dictator and strongman because he promises to sell us cheap oil and keep the jihadis under control, and 3) blowing kisses to Israel regardless of what the hellever the buggers do.

    The only real national interests we have in the middle East and central Asia are passage through Suez and cheap petroleum. Somehow we've managed to bury ourselves ass-deep in this pre-Enlightenment Islamic swamp. ISTM that the resulting potential for harm to our own polity should have us thinking seriously about alternatives to Drones Over Pakistan and the Everlasting Payday of the Israeli Mind, but I seem to be in an underwhelming minority here.

  20. Let me add this, though: if we jerked every single GI out of the Middle East tomorrow, cut off Israel without a cent, and sent candy and flowers to every Muslim between Gibralter and Singapore I believe that we will be dealing with these damn jihadis for a generation.

    Bin Laden sowed the wind; we got suckered into reaping the whirlwind.

    Hmmm. Maybe this fucking idiot Mohamud isn't the biggest fucking idiot in the room...

  21. Very good blog post and response to comments. I'm glad the Columbine thing came into discussion. That is what this kid is, a genuine, Oregon Kip Kinkle. An angry loser that wants to go out in a blaze of glory. Not the first to come out of Oregon, nor the last. Oregon is chockful of hot heads with lots of real guns and have done more than send few emails and write some web articles.
    Question: Suppose I say, "wish I had a gun", then the FBI comes and hands me a rifle and says, "Here is gun, but you don't have to shoot anybody you know", "I say, I know but I really want to do this", so I point the gun at the neighbor and pull the trigger, but the gun is loaded with blanks. Did I commit attempted murder? Also, to be charged with WMD, don't you have to, you know, actually have an actual bomb? I mean, the kids next door play war sometimes and blow up pretend bombs.
    In anycase, I think there is plenty, PLENTY for his defense attorneys ($20 its Brandon Mayfield) to use against the FBI.

  22. Anon; the offense is covered in the Oregon Revised Statues, Ch. 4 Section 161.405

    "Attempt" described

    (1) A person is guilty of an attempt to commit a crime when the person intentionally engages in conduct which constitutes a substantial step toward commission of the crime.

    (2) An attempt is a:

    (a) Class A felony if the offense attempted is murder or treason."

    So in this case the gomer is definately within the statutory bounds to be charged with about a jillion counts of attempted murder.

    The WMD stuff is bullshit; Jason at "Armchair Generalist" does a perfectly good job of dealing with this idiotic federal charge.

    And unless the Bureau comes up with better stuff than I've seen so far, I have to agree that in a rational world they might well have a hard time making all of the charges stick. But this is the "War on Terror" U.S. we're talking here; hard to say. But certainly they've lost some of the other of these they've brought because of the dopey way they entrapped their suspects...

  23. Chief,

    I agree the WMD stuff is nonsense, but it can't be avoided because it's written that way in federal law. The Feds can't change that - only Congress can.

  24. Andy: Agreed. It's not this case that's the issue, really. The feds in general have a real semantic problem with "What is a WMD?". Right now the law as written verges on nonsensical; it's as if the legal term "motor vehicle" included evrything from mining dump trucks to electric wheelchairs. That's the thing that Jason over at A/G keeps beating them up on.

  25. Chief,
    When a hand grenade is defined as a wmd, we have entered into fantasyland.
    Why don't we call this latest case -THE GRINCH WHO WANTED TO BOMB CHRISTMAS?
    The unagrinch?
    My question is- if these people hate the US so much , then why not just deport them?
    This is smarter than entrapment like law enforcement, and resolves the issue without lifetime jail sentences.
    Put a scarlet T on their fore heads.

  26. From Jesus' General:

    The Opinion "The FBI would never spend months nurturing the murderous fantasies of an angry, disenfranchised Somali-American teenager" has died from a self-inflicted gunshot. Friends of the Opinion have stated off the record that 'it was only a matter of time before it expired.' Meanwhile, X Box's "Kill Everyone Over and Over Again, and Do It In 3D" continues to make a nice buck.

    Former President George W. Bush, whose violent, destructive fantasies had also been channeled by advisers to ultimately kill, wound and displace hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens, refrained from comment while on his book tour. Had Bush been recruited by the FBI instead of major corporations billions of taxpayer dollars would have been saved as his invasion would have been fake, but white people don't want to talk about that. It's much, much better to be angry and afraid of a menacing, alienated black Muslim. Had Mohamed Osman Mohamud directed his juvenile, apocalyptic machismo toward Iran instead of a city in the United States we would be singing 'For He's a Jolly Good Fellow.' Remember: Bush stood in front of a banner that read "Mission Accomplished" after his bombs went off. I guess it all boils down to who you know.

    One last thought: if you give a man a bomb you help him blow something up for a day, but if you pretend to help him kill thousands of civilians at a Christmas Tree lighting you blow him up for the rest of his life. Or words to that effect.

    A Celebration of Manipulated Mayhem will be held in Portland in February because, well, we're talking about February, and nobody really gives a shit in February, so if you want to have a public event by all means go ahead, do it in February. Except not on Valentine's Day--don't hold some namby-pamby event on Valentine's Day. But now that I think about it, exploding chocolates would be cool.

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