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FBI Once Again Foils Its Own Islamic Terrorist Plot

Amine El Khalifi

The New York Times recently published an article about how exaggerated the threat of Islamic terrorism is.  I pointed out in my own article that in fact the NYT article understated how truly overstated that threat is: in the last half decade, Muslim terrorists have killed a whopping zero civilians in the United States and Europe.

As the war drums beat against yet another Muslim country, the grave and looming threat of Islamic terrorism must be waved before the American public.  And so, Joe Sixpack must never be allowed to realize that he has a higher chance of being struck and killed by lightning–or being killed by a peanut–than being killed by those scary looking Moozlums.  Instead, the threat must be continually drummed up in order to justify America’s multiple wars in the Muslim world.

Enter the FBI.  This organization, tasked with stopping Islamic terrorism in the United States, will serve the purpose of reminding American citizens that they must be afraid–very, very afraid–of the dark threat of Muslim terrorists.

Spencer Ackerman and others have been diligently exposing and documenting the anti-Muslim bias of the FBI.  Not only does the FBI train using anti-Muslim materials, it has been spying on American Muslim communities and even training local police in the art of doing so.

Worse yet, the FBI has been engineering its own Islamic terror plots: the set-up has been repeated numerous times.  First, they find an impressionable young Muslim male angry at U.S. foreign policy, and then, using undercover FBI agents posing as Al-Qaeda, goad him into committing acts of terrorism, only to foil the ginned-up plot at the very last minute.  They then arrest the young Muslim would-be terrorist and announce to the nation that the FBI has successfully thwarted yet another Islamic terror plot.  What is largely ignored by the media is that the plot, from start to finish, was orchestrated by the FBI.

Glenn Greenwald spoke of this long ago in an article, The FBI successfully thwarts its own Terrorist plot:

The FBI is obviously quite pleased with itself over its arrest of a 19-year-old Somali-American, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who — with months of encouragement, support and money from the FBI’s own undercover agents — allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb at a crowded Christmas event in Portland, Oregon.  Media accounts are almost uniformly trumpeting this event exactly as the FBI describes it.  Loyalists of both parties are doing the same, with Democratic Party commentators proclaiming that this proves how great and effective Democrats are at stopping The Evil Terrorists, while right-wing polemicists point to this arrest as yet more proof that those menacing Muslims sure are violent and dangerous.

[T]he FBI — as they’ve done many times in the past — found some very young, impressionable, disaffected, hapless, aimless, inept loner; created a plot it then persuaded/manipulated/entrapped him to join, essentially turning him into a Terrorist; and then patted itself on the back once it arrested him for having thwarted a “Terrorist plot” which, from start to finish, was entirely the FBI’s own concoction.  Having stopped a plot which it itself manufactured, the FBI then publicly touts — and an uncritical media amplifies — its “success” to the world, thus proving both that domestic Terrorism from Muslims is a serious threat and the Government’s vast surveillance powers — current and future new ones — are necessary.

Such terrorist plots also “prove” the need to bomb, invade, and occupy the Moozlums Over There–we are told that it’s the only way to Keep Us Safe  from Islamic terrorism.

The familiar pattern repeats itself today, as The Washington Post reports:

Federal authorities on Friday arrested a 29-year-old Moroccan man in an alleged plot to carry out a suicide bombing at the U.S. Capitol, the latest in a series of terrorism-related arrests resulting from undercover sting operations.

For more than a year, Amine El Khalifi, of Alexandria, considered attacking targets including a synagogue, an Alexandria building with military offices and a Washington restaurant frequented by military officials, authorities said. When arrested a few blocks from the Capitol around lunchtime on Friday, he was carrying what he believed to be a loaded automatic weapon and a suicide vest ready for detonation.

The gun and vest were provided not by al-Qaeda, as Khalifi had been told, but by undercover FBI agents who rendered them inoperable, authorities said.

ABC 7 notes in passing:

The public nor any members of Congress were ever in danger, police say. Capitol Police say they worked closely with the FBI throughout the entire operation, during which the suspect was closely monitored.

Even though “[t]he public nor any members of Congress were ever in danger”, this same terrorist plot will be used as another proof that Islamic terrorism is a grave danger to Americans.  Indeed, Assistant Attorney General Monaco concluded: “Today’s case underscores the continuing threat we face from homegrown violent extremists.”

Greenwald had written of the 19-year old Somali terrorist arrested in 2010:

Finally, there is, as usual, no discussion whatsoever in media accounts of motive.  There are several statements attributed to Mohamud by the Affidavit that should be repellent to any decent person, including complete apathy — even delight — at the prospect that this bomb would kill innocent people, including children.  What would drive a 19-year-old American citizen — living in the U.S. since the age of 3 — to that level of sociopathic indifference?   He explained it himself in several passages quoted by the FBI, and — if it weren’t for the virtual media blackout of this issue — this line of reasoning would be extremely familiar to Americans by now (para. 45):

Undercover FBI Agent:  You know there’s gonna be a lot of children there?

Mohamud:  Yeah, I know, that’s what I’m looking for.

Undercover FBI Agent:  For kids?

Mohamud:  No, just for, in general a huge mass that will, like for them you know to be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.  And then for later to be saying, this was them for you to refrain from killing our children, women . . . . so when they hear all these families were killed in such a city, they’ll say you know what your actions, you know they will stop, you know. And it’s not fair that they should do that to people and not feeling it.

And here’s what he allegedly said in a video he made shortly before he thought he would be detonating the bomb (para. 80):

We hear the same exact thing over and over and over from accused Terrorists — that they are attempting to carry out plots in retaliation for past and ongoing American violence against Muslim civilians and to deter such future acts.  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 toward 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.

Once again, our Muslim would-be terrorist’s motivations revolve around his anger over U.S. military actions in the Muslim world.  The ABC report notes–once again something that is only mentioned in passing (with very little no critical analysis):

In January 2011, he first met with an undercover agent and stated the “war on terror” was a “war on Muslims,” court records show.

Why on earth would Amine El Khalifi or another Muslim from that part of the world think that the U.S. is waging a “war on Muslims”?  It is so utterly baffling to me.  I mean, why would any Muslim think that?  Is it just because the U.S. is bombing, invading, and occupying multiple Muslim countries?  It couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the fact that the U.S. and its stalwart ally Israel have bombed Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iran, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia, right?

Also of interest is the fact that Amine El Khalifi, at least initially, didn’t want to kill American civilians.  The ABC report says:

El Khalifi told undercover agents that he originally wanted to target a building in Alexandria that contained U.S. Military personal but later changed that plan because he found out the building had non-military civilians.

He then discussed killing U.S. generals and would research where they lived, according to court documents, that added he introduced the idea of targeting a restaurant in D.C. that military officials would frequent.

Were the undercover FBI agents responsible for convincing him to attack civilians instead?  In the end, El Khalifi’s target was the U.S. Capitol, federal employees he believed were responsible for ordering and orchestrating the “war on Muslims.”

It is interesting that even a Muslim would-be terrorist like Amine El Khalifi expressed a dislike for attacking American civilians, even though the United States bombs and kills Muslim civilians with impunity, without a second thought or national discussion, and on an order of magnitude that El Khalifi could never even imagine to have done himself.  Indeed, as Foreign Policy Magazine calculated:

[T]he United States has killed nearly 30 Muslims for every American lost. The real ratio is probably much higher, and a reasonable upper bound for Muslim fatalities (based mostly on higher estimates of “excess deaths” in Iraq due to the sanctions regime and the post-2003 occupation) is well over one million, equivalent to over 100 Muslim fatalities for every American lost.

It goes without saying that Amine El Khalifi’s actions are morally repugnant.  But, to put this into perspective: whereas El Khalife had said he “would be happy killing 30 people”, the United States has killed “well over one million” Muslim civilians.  As George Orwell wrote:

Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them. There is almost no kind of outrage—torture, imprisonment without trial, assassination, the bombing of civilians—which does not change its moral color when it is committed by ‘our’ side. The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them.

*  *  *  *  *

The FBI needs to engineer and then thwart these terrorist threats because there is not enough real “Islamic terrorism” in the United States to justify the War on Terror.  Such FBI-generated terror scares enable not just the stripping away of civil liberties at home, but more importantly, serve to justify America’s wars abroad.  There is a need for Americans to fear being attacked by Muslims in order for them to go along with waging wars of aggression against various Muslim countries.

The media has been beating the drums of war against yet another Muslim country: Iran.  Glenn Greenwald has dubbed CNN’s Erin Burnett the “worst of the worst” in this regard.  (Greenwald’s article and his earlier piece on the subject are must reads.)  Burnett’s reporting on the issue is nothing short of war propaganda.  In it, she warns of “Iran’s threat to the United States in the United States–right here at home.”  Her report asks: “Is Iran planning an attack in America?”

Without any evidence whatsoever, Burnett looms: “[On a] much more real and frightening scale, Iran could attack the United States in a much more fearsome way…Iran’s next target could be here in the nation’s largest city.”  Egypt could attack the United States; South Africa could attack the United States; Canada could attack the United States; does that mean we bomb any of these countries?  Martians could attack the United States–let’s nuke Mars before they get a chance to do that!

American hawks are clearly looking for a smoking gun–an attack on U.S. soil that could justify launching a war against Iran.  There are so few real Muslim terrorists, as Prof. Charles Kurzman argues in his book The Missing Martyrs: Why There Are So Few Muslim Terrorists, that the FBI needs to generate Muslim terror plots.

There is another related point I’d like to address here: Erin Burnett had on her show the fervently anti-Muslim bigot Peter King, who led the congressional hearings against Muslims.  Rep. King warned of the grave Iranian threat and made the case for war against Iran.

From time to time, a few readers have complained that our site, which is designed to expose Islamophobia, has turned “too political”–that we talk about America’s foreign policy too much instead of simply documenting the Islamophobia of the nation’s leading anti-Muslim loons.  I take the full “blame” for this: the Erin Burnett segment shows how intrinsically connected Islamophobia and America’s wars are.  Peter King, a classic anti-Muslim loon, is on a “respectable” news channel–CNN–to discuss why we need to attack another Muslim country.  America’s war cheerleaders and Islamophobes work hand-in-hand.

There is an undeniable link between Islamophobia and American foreign policy: indeed, it is the latter which gave birth to the former, and the former that feeds the latter.  Quite simply, America’s wars are Islamophobic in and of themselves.  Documenting Islampohobia without mentioning the wars would be like talking about American racism against blacks in the 1800’s without ever mentioning the institution of slavery.

*  *  *  *  *

Lastly, I’d like to comment on the ever evolving threat of Islamic terrorism.  First, we were told that Afghanistan was the epicenter of Islamic terrorism.  Then, it was Iraq.  Then, Barack Obama reminded us that it was in fact Afghanistan after all.  Then, the “experts” started saying that “everyone knows that Pakistan is the center of Islamic terrorism.”  For some time, Syria and Yemen were also considered candidates for this title.  And remember when even many anti-war liberals would (ignorantly) argue that in reality it is Saudi Arabia that is the source of Islamic terror (because most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi)?  Now, it seems Iran is back at the top of the list.

The target of American belligerence keeps changing from one Muslim country to another–it’s a Madlibs with the blank reading “name a Muslim country”:  so far, fourteen different Muslim countries have been used to fill in the blank (Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iran, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia).  But why on earth would Amine El Khalifi or other Muslims come up with the absolutely crazy idea that America is at “war with Muslims”!?

Each time the threat changes and a new Muslim country is named the “center of Islamic terrorism” (everyone knows XYZ country is the real source of Islamic terrorism!), few stop to think or ask “wait, wasn’t it ABC country, not XYZ, that was the ‘epicenter of Islamic terrorism’?”  Most Americans acknowledge the War on Iraq was a “mistake” (that’s what it’s called when Western countries commit war crimes–these are “mistakes”–like how failing to stop at a stop sign for a full three seconds is a “mistake”–everyone makes mistakes!–hundreds of thousands of Muslim civilians die and this is called a “mistake”).  Even though the exact same process unfolds against Iran as it did against Iraq just a few short years ago, Americans continue to impress the world with their goldfish-like memories, with a majority of Americans supporting a military strike on Iran.

We will be told that it is all the media’s fault, and yes, the media has the lion’s share of the blame.  But, isn’t there something to be said of the jingoist, nativist, and belligerent attitude that is prevalent among us Americans in general?  One can convince our fellow Americans to bomb just about any country on earth–certainly a Muslim-sounding country.  And yet, at the same time, we are told how warlike those Moozlums over there are.

One thing is for certain: while we Americans continue to expand our knowledge of geography by targeting and bombing various Muslim countries –Muslims in the Muslim world are unified in their belief that it is the United States and Israel that are the greatest threats to their safety and world peace.  It is, I think, difficult to argue otherwise.

Danios was the Brass Crescent Award Honorary Mention for Best Writer in 2010 and the Brass Crescent Award Winner for Best Writer in 2011.

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  • Fumar

    American doctrine and western doctrine needs to fade quick and fast.

    If you think killing Muslims is bad you haven’t seen anything that goes inside the jails … do you ever wonder what happens to those kids that are kidnapped in early years and where they end up? What type of rising they are given the ideas thoughts ideology its purely demonic? Ever understood why so much suicide terrorists attacks are happening? Its not random … there are huge strings of people even in society that are involved in this mess along with mischief makers at the government level (too much politics)… If I had the chance to I’d explain but whats the point? Answers are there no one acts upon them … this idea of hate/envy is too common.

  • juju

    anytime i throw this fact out: in the last half decade, Muslim terrorists have killed a whopping zero civilians in the United States and Europe.

    People don’t believe it.

    I wonder why.

  • Larrius

    @ Young One

    The one case I can think of, is Amir Hekmati, an Iranian-American Marine who was visiting his grandmother in Iran and now is set up on false spying charges and awaiting the death penalty at the hands of the Iranian gov’t. I don’t know why loonwatch (or jihadwatch for that matter) haven’t mentioned his case.

  • Larrius

    I’ve waited a while to post on this. As a non-Muslim, I’m about split on all these issues; I read both jihadwatch and loonwatch, and try to take a nuanced view of these situations. While I think Robert Spencer is right in regards to the supremacist attitudes of extremist Muslims and the violence they carry out in Muslim countries against religious minorities; I’ve had pretty much nothing but positive experiences with the few Muslims I’ve known in America and the UK and in several Arab countries I’ve visited. So I really do try to sympathize with Loonwatch when it comes to the Muslims living here. Yet posts like this that complain about entrapment, well, they make me kind of see where Eric Allen Bell was coming from. One post I commented on on this site several months ago (may have been longer, can’t remember) was about some old “free man in the land” militia types planning to bake a batch of ricin brownies who were caught in an FBI sting. It was one of the “What if they were Muslim?” posts. I’m glad the FBI caught those old men, and I’m also glad the FBI caught this guy. I’m an Appalachian, don’t know if any of you have been in that part of the country, but on the interstates that go down the mountains we have these clay ramps that run away trucks can drive into and sink in. That’s what I like to think of these type of operations. These individuals, who fantasize about violence, may or may not have legitimate grievances. But to portray them, as loonwatch does, as fairly innocent types who were “entrapped” by law enforcement, really does rankle me somewhat. I’d never think that entrapment of the ricin brownie guys or that Hutatree (spelling?) militia was a bad thing: these people were intent on using violence and terrorism, and they made the step of reaching out to others to do so. So when these posts, make it here, I can kind of see where Eric Allen Bell went to the “loonwatch is an armchair jihadi outfit” even if ultimately I think he’s wrong. I just want to offer you an outsider’s perspective on this.

  • deccal

    So foreign policy is justification for terror plots, because Chinese are busy trying to destroy Taiwan and ethnic Russians are trying to blow up US oil pipelines.

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  • Believing Atheist

    LW should cover this double-standard in Israel between Jewish terrorists and a Palestinian ALLEGED terrorist named Khader Adnan who was a member of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, though Blumenthal asserts he was not implicated for violence. There is a great article on this written by Max Blumenthal

  • Nadir

    Abdul-Rahman, that’s nonsense. Paying attention to conspiracy theories is a waste of time and detracts from legitimate arguments such as those presented here in this article. Don’t confuse plain old carpet bagging for a grand conspiracy.

  • Abdul-Rahman

    The FBI and different US intelligence organizations have a long, sorted history being involved with setting up patsies. Just read about former FBI informant Emad Salem who taped the FBI admitting that they gave the already cooked bombs to the 1993 WTC bombers (that’s right the FBI gave them the bombs and Emad Salem the informant was upset the FBI gave the bombers a real bomb). Then you have all sorts of other stuff, one more example read up on Kurt and Lori Haskell who were on the “Christmas Day” flight that the young Nigerian man is said to have been trying to bomb. Kurt Haskell mentions that in the airport in Europe he saw a “well dressed man” (i.e. US intelligence) get the young Nigerian man on the plane (even though the young man did not even have a passport). Also Kurt Haskell and his wife mention they saw an individual videotaping the entire flight and that they got up and continued videotaping as the supposed “attack” was foiled as the plane was nearing Detroit. And the government then put in their naked body scanners (that give off damaging radiation, and wouldn’t have even stopped the supposed attack anyway according to many analysts) that they had been plotting to put in all long (and look up former “Homeland Security” chief Michael Chertoff is heavily invested in and the company making them is hilariously/sickly called “Rapiscan” (i.e. Rapist-scan lol).

    The US military industrial complex and police state in the US is out of control

  • Kaylin

    “Martians could attack the United States–let’s nuke Mars before they get a chance to do that!”

    Soon it will be: “Omg, that person(s) COULD be evil! Quick, kill them!”

  • Nadir

    @Young one: That’s not a good analogy, though that does happen. A good analogy would be for police in a Muslim country to infiltrate an indigenous minority group and target/arrest any members who express a desire to commit what would constitute a crime in that country. This isn’t unusual at all either. The point is, bad foreign policy is driving anti-American and anti-Israeli sentiment, which is in turn perpetuating bad foreign policy and feeding anti-Islamic sentiment (which feeds bad domestic policy like misplaced priorities). Failed foreign policy is the disease, everything else is just a symptom of it. Unfortunatley, we’re spending a good deal of our time and resources combating the symptoms while paying relatively little attention to the disease.

  • Young One

    Since Americans are threat to Muslims, does that mean Muslim countries have to set up American indivituals through courts that could lead to the death sentence.

  • Rajesh

    Very convenient. Another reason why American intelligence organizations cannot be trusted.

  • Franczeska

    “AbuBooBoo” is still Barry Sommer.

  • Franczeska

    Thanks for mentioning that, Truceman.

  • Ahmed

    Strange you don’t mention that this current would be bomber wanted to bomb a Synagogue but hype up the foreign involvement angle behind the motivation of these bombers.

    What is even more strange is that you changed the fact that he considered bombing a Synagogue to wanting to bomb a Synagogue.

    Anyway, this arrest isn’t anything different from the arrests of non-Muslim terrorist suspects. It’s only when Muslim terrorists are caught trying to carry out attacks that Leftists become enraged. Otherwise, those stories of non-Muslim terror suspects are actually used to diminish the current of militarization in the Muslim community.

    No one has said non-Muslims have not been caught in these stings. They have. But the fact remains, the large majority are Muslims. Furthermore, this is a site documenting Islamophobia – so you’d expect it to contain articles on … Islamophobia.

  • Truceman

    in india hindu terrorist kamal chauhan of samjhauta blast fame fancied himself to be a modern day bhagat singh.

  • Ali5


    Sorry, I didn’t realize you posted something on this story!

  • Ali5

    Hey guys, this article shows just how deep Muslims in America have been monitored by the Police!

    I was shocked!

  • mindy1

    Thought provoking

  • Nadir

    The FBI uses these same tactics against other types of extremist groups, drug and weapons cartels, etc… It just doesn’t make the news these days. They’ve used this same tactic against violent white supremacist groups – there are documentaries about it on tv all the time! The FBI is just doing their job, and they do it well. Don’t blame the gun, blame the politicians who are aiming it and pulling the trigger.

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