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Tag: entrapment

Jury: ATF Entrapped Low IQ Defendant by Encouraging Him to Break Law

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man with a second-grade reading level and a low IQ was acquitted in an ATF sting operation because he was entrapped, a jury decided.

The jury acquitted Alexis Davis on two counts agreeing that the ATF entrapped the man by “pressing” him to break the law.

Had the ATF not encouraged Davis to break the law, he likely wouldn’t have, his attorney argued.

“He never would have possessed the guns if they hadn’t come up with that store,” attorney Sharon Samek said.

To the jury, it was a clear case of entrapment.

“To me, this was not about fighting crime,” said juror Michael Lehman of St. Petersburg Beach. “There is a lot of crime going on in the world, you don’t need to manipulate the circumstances in order to encourage people to do bad things that they might or might not otherwise do.”

Blistering Human Rights Report: FBI Pushed Muslims to Plot Terrorist Attacks

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department used questionable tactics to identify and prosecute terrorism suspects, a new human rights report offers, the Washington Post reports.

Human Rights Watch offered a scathing assessment of the FBI and Justice Department, which are accused of injecting fear into some Muslim communities because of the use of surveillance and informants.

The report, which follows a lengthy examination of U.S. terrorism prosecutions, says feds have targeted people with mental and physical disabilities, using tactics that critics decry as entrapment.

“The report clearly shows, in many respects, the American public is being sold a false bill of goods,” said Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch. “To be sure, the threat of terrorism is real,” she said. “But in many of the cases we documented, there was no threat until the FBI showed up and helped turn people into terrorists.”

The Justice Department defended its record.

“The Department of Justice has been a steadfast ally of our nation’s civil rights groups for decades,” Marc Raimondi, a Justice Department spokesman, said. “The report itself acknowledges that the legal process used in the cases it highlighted is not only lawful but is also specifically approved by federal judges. . . . We do not and cannot target individuals solely for engaging in activities protected by the First Amendment, which includes free speech and religion.”

Documentary, ‘Newburgh Sting,’ Explores Whether FBI Went Too Far in Prosecuting Men for Terrorism

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new documentary, “The Newburgh Sting,” chronicles the story of four New York men who were snared by the FBI in a terrorism scheme, the New York Daily News reports.

The film, which airs today on HBO, tells the story of four Muslim converts who joined an FBI-fabricated plot to bomb synagogues in the Bronx and shoot military planes from the sky.

The filmmakers question the FBI’s decision to create a plot and get the struggling men to go along with it.

The men received 25 years in prison.

“This case is often cited as an example of entrapment, but in making this film, I’ve come to believe it was something much, much worse,”producer David Heilbroner said.

“The FBI committed a fraud on Congress and the American people by taking our tax dollars and creating a terrorist threat that, without the FBI, never would have existed at all,” he added.

 

Washington Times Editorial: ATF Breaks Law to Enforce It

By Washington Times
Editorial Board

When President Obama rewrote inconvenient parts of his very own Obamacare law, he undermined more than health care. The attitude of “we can do what we want” trickles down to the lowliest federal agencies. That’s what several federal judges are saying about the schemes of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

The ATF is the Rodney Dangerfield of law enforcement; among its peers it “don’t get no respect.” So the agency devises creative ways of proving itself, if only to itself. For example, ATF agents posing as cocaine couriers in poverty-stricken neighborhoods of Los Angeles boasted of big plans to steal the narcotics they were supposed to deliver. They did this to goad “small-time crooks” into joining a high stakes fake “stash house” raid to obtain fake cocaine. The hoods would then be arrested.

Agents are allowed to infiltrate a criminal enterprise, but this sting constituted what a federal judge called an outrageous fishing expedition. “In these stash-house cases,” said U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II, “the Government’s ‘participation in the offense conduct’ is what makes them particularly repugnant to the Constitution. Everything about the scheme — and therefore almost everything bearing upon a defendant’s ultimate sentence — hinges solely on the Government’s whim.”

Threatened with stiff drug penalties, few perps challenge the charges, and federal prosecutors add easy convictions to their trophies. No drugs were taken off the street. “That’s the problem with creating crime,” observed Judge Wright, “the Government is not making the country any safer or reducing the actual flow of drugs.” The judge dismissed all charges against defendants, saying: “The time has come to remind the Executive Branch that the Constitution charges it with law enforcement — not crime creation.”

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Opinion: FBI Continues to Target Vulnerable, Psychologically Troubled Muslims

Mercury News 
Opinion by Fadi A. Saba

The Federal Bureau of Investigation  a track record of attacking the undesirables of the time.

In the early part of the 20th century, immigrants from Italy were the focus; in the 1940s, it was Japanese-Americans; in the 1950s, it was Americans who questioned U.S. foreign policy; in the 1960s, civil rights activists. Today, it’s Muslims and people of color. It’s the Arab. It’s the South Asian. And often, the FBI uses entrapment to create a terror case out of thin air and then claim to have foiled it.

San Jose resident Matthew Llaneza, who converted to Islam in 2011, is accused of attempting to bomb a bank building in Oakland. However, many feel that the FBI used entrapment, which, in criminal law, is a legal defense. Essentially it is the act by law enforcement officers of inducing or encouraging a person to commit a crime when the potential criminal is not otherwise predisposed to committing the crime. I believe, given the history of the FBI, that Llaneza’s is a classic case of entrapment.

To read more click here.

Author Speaks Out about New Book That Claims FBI Manufactured Terrorism Cases

Steve Neavling
ticklethethewire.com

Investigative journalist Trevor Aaronson has caused quite a stir since the release of his new book, “The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism.”

Claiming in his book that most terrorism suspects could never have carried out an attack without the help of the FBI, Aaronson spoke at length with The Atlantic about his research.

Trevor Aaronson: The FBI is looking for what they term “a lone wolf terrorist,” which is someone holed up in an apartment somewhere who sympathizes with Al-Qaeda but may lack the specific means to do that. And so the FBI uses sting operations to [find] these people — these people who may want to commit an act of terrorism, are right on that line from moving from sympathizer to operator — and then through these sting operations, lure them out and get them involved in a terrorism plot that they’re ultimately prosecuted for. 

To readmore click here.

FBI Criticized for Handling of Mentally Ill Man Accused in Attempted Bombing in Oakland

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Depending on whom you believe, Matthew Aaron Llaneza was either bent on committing terrorism in the name of Allah or was psychotic and easily manipulated by the FBI, the Mercury News reports.

The 28-year-old San Jose is accused of trying to detonate what turned out to be a phony bomb Friday in Oakland, Calif., and flee to Afghanistan to help train the Taliban.

But civil rights advocates and Llaneza’s former attorney in another case maintain the man was incapable of pulling off a terrorist attack without the government’s help, Mercury News reported.

“My question is whether or not the FBI stopped a crime in this case or had created one,” said Cameron Bowman, who represented Llaneza for a 2011 weapons charge. “Is this a guy who planned the crime and the FBI stopped him, or is he susceptible to being sucked into whatever is suggested to him, getting set up and not fully understanding the consequences?”

In an earlier case, Llaneza is portrayed as a troubled man struggling with psychosis and bipolar disorder, Mercury News wrote.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

FBI: Suspect in Wrigley Field Bombing Case May Have Been Entrapped by Informant

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A month before Sami Samir Hassoun placed what he thought was a bomb near Wrigley Field in Chicago in 2010, the FBI worried the undercover informant had entrapped the suspect and warned the informant to back off, the Associated Press reports.

The AP wrote that Hassoun’s defense attorney disclosed the information in hopes of convincing a judge to order prosecutors to hand over more details on the informant, including how much he was paid.  

The informant was a key witness in the prosecution of Hassoun, who is scheduled to be sentenced on April 12.

FBI notes from March 2012 indicate that agents were worried the informant “is or is close to committing entrapment with Sami.” The informant was taken aside “and it was emphasized not to encourage Sami to get involved in illegal activity,” the AP reported.

The case is under review.