Friday, Dec 12, 2008
Lawyers in a case relating to a much vaunted 2007 terror plot have concluded that FBI informants were the key figures behind the operation and that the accused, six foreign-born Muslims, were merely bungling patsies.
Defense attorneys have denied there was any plot, arguing two FBI informants concocted and encouraged the conspiracy because they were being paid and promised legal immigration status, reports the New Jersey Star-Ledger.
“The only terrorist conspiracy was one planted and nurtured by the informant” argued attorney, Rocco Cipparone as he highlighted exchanges between the informant, Mahmoud Omar, and defendant Mohamad Shnewer in a conversation after the two men drove to the Fort Dix Army base 25 miles east of Philadelphia last year.
At the time the incident was hyped by the mainstream corporate media as a major coup for Federal authorities as they announced that they had foiled a complex radical Islamist terrorist plot to attack Fort Dix and kill “as many soldiers as possible” at the heavily fortified Army base.
Five of the men who were arrested were born in Jordan, Turkey, and the former Yugoslavia. It soon became apparent, however, that none of them had any ties to international terrorism.
One of the defendants is accused of giving the informant a map of the Fort Dix cantonment area, which he took from his father’s pizzeria, which delivered food inside Fort Dix.
The supposed plot involved getting into the military installation disguised as pizza deliverymen with three AK-47 automatic assault rifles and four semi-automatic M-16 rifles, going up against hundreds of trained soldiers and shooting as many soldiers and Humvees as they could, then retreating without losses to fight again another day.
Critics were quick to point out that the chances of this being in any way possible were somewhat slim. Indeed, even some of the suspects themselves indicated the idea constituted a waste of time and money.
The FBI says it learned of the supposed plot when the suspects went to a Circuit City store and asked a clerk to transfer a “jihad training video” of themselves onto a DVD. The accused also reportedly asked a police officer where they could obtain more maps of the army base.
Despite such bungling activity, the men were described by authorities as “well organized and nearly ready to strike.”
In addition, it later emerged that the extent of the suspects’ supposed military-style “training” turned out to be trips to a firing range in the Poconos and playing paintball in the woods.
Further reports, quietly admitted “there is little indication that they were devout–or even practicing–Muslims.”
Indeed, the defense attorneys have also pointed out that the Poconos trip was a regular vacation for some of the suspects.
“The attorney for Dritan Duka… played a videotape of the defendants riding horses in the snow outside the rental home, noted that the group swam in an indoor pool, loaded up on steaks, brought video games and rented the movies ‘Scarface’ and ‘Eddie Murphy Raw’ from a local Blockbuster.” reports The Star-Ledger.
The defense attorneys have argued that the self-serving FBI informants, described as small-time criminals, concocted and fueled the conspiracy plot, aiming to fool the suspects, and that FBI agents accepted it be cause they were eager to claim a terrorism victory.
By the end of the year, one of the of the informants, Omar, will have received nearly $240,000 for his role in the operation – $185,000 in payments plus reimbursement for $25,000 in expenses and nearly $29,000 in rent.
Sentencing is scheduled for Monday.