The New Jersey jihadists: another strange alleged terrorist plot


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

The New Jersey jihadists: another strange alleged terrorist plot

By Jerry White

Global Research, May 11, 2007 - 2007-05-10

The US Justice Department has charged six immigrants in New Jersey with 
participating in an alleged terrorist plot to attack a heavily fortified US Army
base in the state, according to federal court papers filed Tuesday. FBI 
officials say the accused‹four ethnic Albanians from the former Yugoslavia, one 
Jordanian and a young man from Turkey who had all lived in the US for years‹were
planning to kill scores, if not hundreds, of US soldiers at Fort Dix.

The media and various political figures immediately parroted the government 
charges about a Muslim terrorist plot, adding that the fact the suspects had no 
known connections to a Middle Eastern terrorist organizations, such as Al Qaeda,
made them even more dangerous because they were a ³new breed² of homegrown and 
loosely organized terrorists who were harder to detect. ³This is a stark 
reminder that we cannot let down our guard,² said US Rep. James Saxton, a New 
Jersey Republican and senior member of the House Armed Services Committee. 
³Today is proof positive that terrorists can be among us, even in suburban 
locations like Cherry Hill, N.J., and that Americans must stay vigilant.²

The six‹Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, 22; Dritan ³Anthony² or ³Tony² Duka, 28; Shain 
Duka, 26; Eljvir ³Elvis² Duka, 23; Serdar Tatar, 23; and Agron Abdullahu, 
24‹were ordered held without bail for a hearing Friday in a Camden, New Jersey 
federal court. Five were charged with conspiracy to kill U.S. military 
personnel; the sixth, Abdullahu, was charged with aiding and abetting illegal 
immigrants in obtaining weapons.

Defense attorneys for the accused have yet to present their side of the story. 
The only information about the alleged plot that has been provided has come from
the prosecution and the FBI. From the indictment, however, it is evident that 
the case follows a pattern of similar highly publicized terrorist ³conspiracies²
pursued by the Bush administration, in which the chief instigator of the alleged
plot was a paid government informant and agent provocateur who encouraged the 
operation, made arrangements to secure weapons and pressed ahead in the face of 
the caution and reluctance of the so-called jihadists.

As in a key previous case‹the 1995 conviction of blind Egyptian cleric Sheik 
Omar Abdel-Rahman‹the US government used a former member of the Egyptian 
military to infiltrate the New Jersey group and tape record conversations with 
the alleged plotters and apparently play the central role in the supposed plot. 
While the indictment includes what are alleged to be the taped remarks of 
several of the six men‹in which they declare their determination to kill US 
soldiers‹it does not include what the informant might have said to provoke these

A hint of the relationship, however, is included in what is presented as the 
transcript of recorded remarks, in which one of the defendants, Mohamad 
Schnewer, is quoted as telling the informant, ³I am at your services as you have
more experience than me in military bases and in life.²

All that is known about a supposed conspiracy before the infiltration of the 
FBI¹s man is that several of the six men had engaged in target practice at a 
firing range in Pennsylvania, while shouting ³Allah Akbar!² Although prosecutors
claim the plot had already been hatched, this did not stop one of the accused 
men, in January 2006, from throwing all caution to the wind and taking a 
videotape of their activities to a store where he asked a clerk to copy it onto 
a DVD. The employee, alarmed by a video showing 10 men shooting weapons and 
shouting Arabic slogans, contacted the FBI.

Two months after the FBI had been tipped off about the videotape the informant 
befriended Mohamad Shnewer, a Philadelphia cab driver, who prosecutors claim was
the ringleader. Shnewer introduced the informant to three brothers‹Dritan, 
Eljvir and Shain Duka‹undocumented immigrants from the former Yugoslavia who 
lived in Cherry Hill and ran a roofing company out of their garage. The group 
often held paintball games in the woods near the Dukas¹s home.

The 16-month investigation, which ultimately involved two informants and dozens 
of recorded sessions with the accused, has all the earmarks of a sting 
operation, in which the federal government manufactured a plot in order to 
entrap the six men. Much has been made of the map of Fort Dix, which Sedar 
Tartar retrieved from his father¹s restaurant, which delivered food to the 
military camp. Tatar reportedly expressed his concern for his family if he were 
caught with the map, but the informant insisted that he get it.

Suspect went to police to report terrorist plot

Tatar apparently considered the pressure from the informant so unusual that he 
confronted the government agent and demanded to know if he was a ³Fed,² i.e., a 
federal law enforcement agent. In a move that hardly indicates that he was a 
terrorist plotting to attack a US government installation Tatar then went to the
Philadelphia police department to complain that he was being pressured by 
someone into getting a map of Fort Dix and that he thought this had something to
do with a terrorist plot.

The federal prosecutors acknowledge that this visit to the police occurred, but 
portray it as an attempt by Tatar to determine whether he was under FBI 
surveillance. Point 31 in the indictment states, ³In a possible effort to 
determine whether CW-1 [paid informant] was a law enforcement officer, SERDAR 
TATAR on November 15, 2006 contacted a sergeant with the Philadelphia Police 
Department and stated that he had been approached by an individual who had 
pressured him to acquire maps of Fort Dix. TATAR also told the police officer 
that he did not supply the map and was fearful that the incident was 
terrorist-related. The sergeant telephoned the FBI in TATAR¹s presence.²

Nevertheless the informant pressed Tatar to get the map. He ultimately vowed to 
obtain the map, stating, ³I¹m gonna do it, whether you are [FBI] or not...It 
doesn¹t matter to me, whether I get locked up, arrested, or get taken away, it 
doesn¹t matter. Or I die, doesn¹t matter. I¹m going to do it in the name of 

Another thing the prosecution has yet to explain is why Tatar continued with the
alleged plot months after the FBI contacted him in December 2006 and questioned 
him about being part of a terrorist operation. On March 9, three months after 
being interviewed by the FBI, Tatar was recorded discussing preparing for their 
operation in a military fashion. The next day he said he wanted to join the US 
Army so he could kill US soldiers from the ³inside.²

After the indictment Tatar¹s father, Muslim Tatar, 54, said the accusations 
against his son were hard to accept. ³He is not a terrorist. I am not a 
terrorist,² he told the Star-Ledger of Newark. The elder Tatar told ABC News he 
had no indication his son harbored a deep hatred of the United States. ³I came 
here from Turkey in 1992, and this is my country. I love this country,² Muslim 
Tatar told ABC.

The informant also played the key role in telling the group that he could obtain
fully automatic weapons, including AK-47s and M16s, as well as RPGs and 
grenades, telling them he would get them from a source in Baltimore who would 
deliver the weapons to New Jersey. Once again he apparently reassured several of
the accused men not to worry about purchasing illegal weapons.

In one tape-recorded conversation on April 6, Dritan Duka told the informant, ³I
just want to be safe brother.. I just need to, Œcause I trust you brother, you 
understand? I got five kids so I don¹t wanna go down. People catch me like they 
think I¹m a terrorist.²

The informant also accompanied Shnewer to several other military installations, 
including the Dover Air Force Base, in Delaware, to discuss potential targets.

According to the indictment several members of the group watched what the FBI 
described as ³mujahedeen training videos² at a nearby rented house. When one 
video showed a US Marine¹s arm being blown off, the group burst into laughter, 
the criminal complaint states. In April, the informant arranged a gun buy, and 
Monday night, FBI agents posing as the sellers showed up at the Dukas home with 
an inoperable AK-47. The deal was consummated and arrests were made.

There is no doubt that the actions of the US military around the world are 
provoking a level of disgust and anger that could well produce misguided 
terrorist attacks within the US itself. Nonetheless, the various terrorist 
³plots² exposed by the Bush administration have virtually without exception been
characterized by a similar lack of any real preparation for violence combined 
with the central role of a covert informant/agent provocateur.

In each of these cases, the supposed conspiracy has been heavily publicized in a
transparent bid to justify the ongoing military occupations of Iraq and 
Afghanistan and to create a climate of fear in order to suppress democratic 
rights in the US itself.

The exposure of the latest alleged plot has coincided with an unprecedented 
political crisis for the administration. With the president¹s standing in the 
polls falling to record lows and US military casualties in Iraq increasing as 
the quagmire in the occupied country deepens, the political motive for unveiling
another supposed terrorist threat from within is abundantly clear.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of 
the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on 

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