Miami “terror”: a government project


Richard Moore

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Miami "terror" arrests-a government provocation By: Bill Van Auken
(8975 bytes) [c]

There are many incongruities surrounding the arrest of seven men from 
the impoverished Liberty City neighborhood of Miami on charges of 
conspiracy to "wage war on the United States" that suggest it, like 
so many previous "terrorist plots" announced by the Bush 
administration, is a government-inspired provocation mounted for 
reactionary political ends.

None of the claims made by the government and repeated uncritically 
by the media concerning the arrest of these young working-class men 
can be accepted as good coin. Both the flimsiness of the criminal 
indictment and the lurid headlines surrounding it mark this event as 
an escalation in the anti-democratic conspiracies of the Bush 

There is every indication that this latest purported terrorist 
threat-described by some media outlets as "even bigger than September 
11"-was manufactured by the FBI, which used an undercover agent 
posing as a terrorist mastermind to entrap those targeted for arrest.

While the Justice Department declared that the arrests had foiled a 
plot to blow up the tallest building in the US, the Sears Tower in 
Chicago, authorities in that city assured its residents that there 
had never been any threat to the structure.

The four-count indictment presented by the Justice Department in a 
Miami federal court on Friday contains not a single indication of an 
overt criminal act or even the means to carry one out. The brief 
11-page document consists almost entirely of alleged statements made 
by the defendants to the FBI informant, referred to in quotes 
throughout the indictment as "the al Qaeda representative."

The government chose to consummate its entrapment plan by unleashing 
dozens of combat-equipped federal agents, dressed in olive drab 
fatigues and carrying automatic weapons, on the predominantly 
African-American Liberty City neighborhood, one of the poorest in the 
country. Liberty City was the scene of riots that broke out in 1980 
after the acquittal of white police officers for the beating death of 
a black motorist.

On Thursday, the government's paramilitary squads confronted 
residents with pictures of the accused, demanding to know their 
whereabouts. The seven defendants are representative of the 
impoverished working class population of Miami, including Haitian 

It appears they were targeted by the FBI because they had formed a 
religious group, calling themselves the "Seas of David," which 
reportedly incorporated elements of Christianity and Islam. One of 
their crimes, according to the FBI's deputy director, John Pistole, 
was that the Seas of David "did not believe the United States 
government had legal authority over them."

According to some residents of the neighborhood, the group lived 
together in the warehouse that was raided by the FBI, using it for 
religious worship and as a base of operations for a construction 

Elements of the federal indictment are so self-incriminating as to 
border on the ludicrous. Among the charges are that the defendants 
"swore an oath of loyalty to al Qaeda." Who administered this oath? 
The "al Qaeda representative," AKA, the paid informant of the FBI.

Aside from this "loyalty oath" solicited by the FBI, only one of the 
seven defendants is accused of any overt act, outside of driving the 
FBI informant to meetings.

The only action with which this one individual is charged-all else is 
words-is taking pictures of the FBI headquarters in Miami. Who 
supplied the camera? The "al Qaeda representative"-i.e., the FBI 
agent provocateur.

The indictment further charges two of the accused with driving "with 
the 'al Qaeda representative'" to a store in Dade County, Florida to 
purchase a memory chip for a digital camera to be used for taking 
reconnaissance photographs of the FBI building. The document does not 
say who paid for the chip, but there is hardly room for doubt.

In one of the more curious sections of the indictment, one of the 
accused, Narseal Batiste, is accused of asking the FBI informant to 
provide various items for his group, including footwear, for which he 
provided a "list of shoe sizes." Apparently the FBI delivered the 

Pistole, the FBI deputy director, admitted that the supposed plots to 
blow up buildings had been "more aspirational than operational." In 
the raids carried out by the FBI squads, no weapons and no explosive 
substances were found.

"We preempted their plot," declared Pistole. But the indictment and 
the facts of the case indicate that the alleged plot would never have 
existed had the government not planned and instigated it in the first 

At a Washington press conference, US Attorney General Alberto 
Gonzales acknowledged that the alleged plot had posed no actual 
danger. He claimed this was because the authorities had intervened 
"in its earliest stages."

So "early" was the preemption that officials associated with the 
supposed targets of the plot dismissed the government's indictment. 
Barbara Carley, the managing director of the Sears Tower, told the 
press, "Federal and local authorities continue to tell us they've 
never found evidence of a credible terrorism threat against Sears 
Tower that's ever gone beyond just talk."

Her remarks were echoed by Chicago Police Superintendent Phil Cline, 
who said, "There never was any credible threat to the Sears Tower at 

In his press conference, Attorney General Gonzales asserted that the 
Miami group represented a "new brand of terrorism" created by "the 
convergence of globalization and technology."

What these words mean is anyone's guess. There is no indication that 
those charged, who were living in a warehouse in the poorest city in 
America, had access to any technology, and their supposed contact to 
the wider world was an informer planted by the FBI. The suggestion 
that the seven men were a "home-grown" terrorist group inspired by 
contact with Al Qaeda elements over the Internet is supported neither 
by evidence nor the charges contained in the government's own 

R. Alexander Acosta, the United States attorney in South Florida, 
told the media that the defendants had "lived in the United States 
for most of their lives, but developed a hatred of America." This is 
presented as though it constituted evidence of a crime.

It is hardly surprising for someone living in Liberty City to hate 
the poverty and oppression that prevail there, or for Haitian 
immigrants to despise the imprisonment and repression that Washington 
metes out to those attempting to escape the brutal conditions imposed 
by US imperialism upon their homeland.

What is highly noteworthy is that the federal government decided to 
intervene in this situation to concoct a phony Al Qaeda connection 
and trumped up "terror plot."

What is the government's motive in manufacturing such a plot? Whose 
interests are served? Under conditions in which the majority of the 
American people have turned against the Iraq war and support the 
withdrawal of American troops, the Bush administration is desperately 
attempting to once again link its neo-colonial venture in Iraq with a 
supposed "global war on terror" waged to defend the American people 
against another 9/11.

To sustain such a fiction, fresh evidence of terrorist threats is 
periodically required. And it has been forthcoming on a regular 
basis. Every several months another "conspiracy" is unveiled, 
invariably involving an FBI informant and hapless individuals 
ensnared in a plot orchestrated by the government.

Until now, these "sting" operations have been targeted at Muslim 
immigrants. Last month, for example, Pakistani immigrant Shahawar 
Siraj in New York City was found guilty of plotting to blow up the 
Herald Square subway station in a "plot" that the evidence indicated 
was based entirely on suggestions from an FBI informant. The FBI 
agent provocateur taunted the defendant with photographs of Abu 
Ghraib torture victims and demanded to know how, as a Muslim, he 
could fail to take action.

Similarly, in Albany, New York two years ago, the FBI recruited a 
Pakistani immigrant, promising him leniency on minor fraud charges, 
to ensnare two other immigrants in a fictitious scheme to help a 
non-existent person buy a weapon for a fake terrorist plot.

These provocations and conspiracies are symptomatic of a government 
that is both ruthless and desperate. Confronting a population that is 
increasingly hostile to its political agenda of reaction at home and 
war abroad, it is driven to manufacture an endless series of 
terrorist threats aimed at disorienting and intimidating public 

See Also:
Political crisis mounts over FBI raid on Congress
2 June 2006
Constitutional crisis over FBI raid on US congressman
26 May 2006

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