The FBI’s track record with the Muslim American community has been less than stellar to say the least. They have used former criminals such as Craig Monteilh as spies to infiltrate US mosques as “undercover/fake (one might say ‘stealth’) Muslims” who are tasked with finding, at times, even inducing incriminating “intelligence.”
The FBI’s “entrapment” program, in which threats are created and then prosecuted is perceived more often than not to be a ruse, an over zealous attempt to relay an image that they are actively “hunting down bad guys”; to the FBI’s credit they are able to continuously and consistently “foil their own terror plots.”
The FBI has also lied on numerous occasions to Muslim Americans, for example: 1.) about their infiltration program and 2.) about what they were teaching their agents about Islam and Muslims. For quite some time the FBI relied on Islamophobes to teach such things as: mainstream Muslims were “proto-terrorists” and that Prophet Muhammad was a “cult-leader.”
This is just the tip of the iceberg but in light of the murder of Ibragim Todashev it does beg the question: why should Muslim Americans (or any American for that matter) just trust the FBI when it claims to have perpetrated a justified homicide?
We have no way of knowing yet if Ibragim Todashev was innocent or guilty of the allegations leveled against him. What we do know is that the FBI has changed and altered its story multiple times already and Ibragim’s father Abdul Baki Todashev believes that the murder was done “execution-style.”
Here are facts that we do know:
1.) The FBI questioned Todashev and his friend Khusen Tamarnov for several hours. They let Tamarnov go but proceeded to question Todashev in his apartment well into midnight.
2.) There were at least 3-4 law enforcement officers present. 1-2 FBI agents and 2 Massachusetts police officers. There have also been claims that there were up to 5 officials present.
3.) Todashev was shot seven times, including in the back of the head.
“Unnamed sources” first claimed that Todashev attacked the interrogating agent with a knife. This was contradicted by reports that Todashev was unarmed. There were then reports about Todashev using an ornamental “sword” that was hanging on the wall to attack the FBI agent. Today the FBI claims that Todashev was writing down his confession to the killing when he all of a sudden pushed the table over, injuring the FBI agent while simultaneously attacking him with either a “metal pole” or a “broomstick handle.”
The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has called for an independent investigation into the killing, wanting to get to the bottom of whether or not Todashev’s rights were violated. CAIR has also stated that according to information provided to them Todashev was traveling at the time of the Waltham murders and couldn’t have been an accomplice to the murders.
The death while in the custody of law enforcement officials raises questions, Hassan Shibly, executive director of the Tampa, Fla., chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. The civil rights group agrees with the family that an independent investigation is needed.
“We want to make sure his rights were not violated and we want to make sure excessive force wasn’t used against him,” Shibly said by telephone.
The FBI has stated that the incident is under investigating by a shooting incident review group, which includes members of the FBI and the Department of Justice.
“While this internal review process is occurring, we cannot comment regarding investigative details,” the FBI said in a statement emailed to reporters.
The agency has rejected any other investigation, as sought by the family.
“The FBI takes very seriously any shooting incidents involving our agents and as such we have an effective, time-tested process for addressing them internally. The review process is thorough and objective and conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances,” the agency stated.
Todashev was an acquaintance of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the alleged organizer of the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15. Two explosions near the finish line along Boylston Street killed three people and injured hundreds. Tsarnaev, 27, was killed days later in a shootout with police after he and his brother Dzhokhar allegedly had killed a guard at MIT, carjacked a vehicle and then fled to the suburb of Watertown, Mass.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was captured about 20 hours later, hiding in a boat in a backyard in Watertown. Dzhokhar is being held in a federal prison hospital awaiting trial on charges that include using a weapon of mass destruction.
After the bombings, authorities first questioned Todashev who, like Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was a Muslim of Chechen heritage and a martial arts fighter. Todashev moved to Orlando, Fla., after living in Massachusetts for several years.
After the bombing interview, Todashev was questioned again as officials asked about a triple killing on Sept. 11, 2011, in Waltham, Mass. On the night he was shot, Todashev was “primarily” being questioned about those slayings, federal law enforcement sources told the Los Angeles Times’ Washington bureau last week. Officials suspected that Todashev and Tsarnaev had a role in the deaths of three men in Waltham, whose throats were cut.
Shibly, of the Islamic relations council, said his group was gathering expenditure receipts that showed that Todashev was traveling in Atlanta with his wife when law enforcement officials say the Waltham killings took place. Shibly said those records will be made public soon.
“Our issue is that if he [Todashev], is accused of a triple murder, go ahead an arrest him,” Shibly said. “We have an excellent judicial system, so go ahead and arrest him.”
Shibly said his group’s sources say that Todashev was unarmed on May 22. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that two unnamed officials had told the newspaper that Todashev was unarmed when he was shot. (Emphasis added)
There are many more questions that arise from this: why didn’t the FBI arrest Todashev if he was a suspect in the Waltham murders? Why would they kill Todashev? What would their motive be in killing him? Are they covering up something?
Clearly it was an interview gone from bad to worse. Todashev’s widow, Reni Manukyan has stated that Todashev was recovering from a knee injury that would render him incapable of charging the agents.
All of this just heightens the confusion and cloudiness of what actually happened on that day.
Anything short of an independent investigation is going to be flawed. Having the FBI conduct an investigation into what happened that night is like having a child make up his own report card.