Sunday, November 28, 2010

19-year old Somali teenager stung in Portland, Oregon

This yesterday from the Associated Press:

PORTLAND, Oregon — Federal agents stopped a Somali-born teenager from blowing up a van full of explosives at a crowded Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland on Friday, authorities said.

Mohamed Osman Mohamud, 19, was arrested during a sting operation at 5:40 p.m. just after he dialed a cell phone that he thought would detonate the explosives but instead brought federal agents and Portland police swooping down on him.

Yelling "Allahu Akbar!" — Arabic for "God is great!" — Mohamud tried to kick agents and police as they closed in, according to prosecutors.

The bomb was a dud supplied by undercover agents as part of the sting and the public was never in danger, prosecutors said.

As with most sting operations, the question lies out there to be posed by some defense attorney down the road: Did law enforcement cross the line between a legitimate sting and incitement? A website called comments today:

Notice as the corporate media attempts to paint a picture of a psychotic Arab attacking America in the name of Jihad. This is a 19 year old kid who literally was given fake explosives and we are supposed to believe that without the FBI he could have carried out a major attack?

FBI agents went as far as to test a real explosive with the suspect in Oregon’s back country. Why wouldn’t they just arrest him for planning a terror attack instead of waiting for the fake attack that has scared American’s nationwide? According to Fox News, the FBI was with Mohamud all the way through!

That’s right, the FBI literally made this terrorist. Notice how Fox News pretends that the FBI is just so great, creating terrorism and then looking good from stopping it!

This is an issue that has intrigued me for something like 30 years... ever since I wrote a chapter of my PhD dissertation on the Molly Maguires. The Mollies supposedly were a secret society of Irish terrorists operating in the hard coal fields of eastern Pennsylvania in the 1860s and 1870s. The mine and railroad companies hired Pinkerton detectives to infiltrate the alleged organization and expose it. Detective James McParland, aka Jamie McKenna, supposedly did just that and his testimony was the main ingredient in a serious of successful prosecutions leading to 20 "Mollies" being hanged in Carbon, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties in the mid 1870s.

To this day there are those who contend that McKenna instigated acts of murder, arson and assault in order to implicate Irishmen, such as Black Jack Kehoe, a tavern keeper and politician in Girdsville (PA), in order to bust the fledgling union and political organizing efforts of the Irish immigrants. Without a doubt the trials were miscarriages of justice. For instance, President Franklin Gowen of the Phila & Reading RR took a leave of absence in order to act as lead prosecutor in some of the trials.

On the other hand, it also is undisputed that the coal region was rife with violence in that post-Civil War era.

So... was McParland/McKenna a legitimate informant or an instigator? We may never know.

With regard to yesterday's arrest in Portland, available information leads me to a conclusion contrary to IntelHub's. Sounds as if the FBI nipped a dangerous terrorist in the bud. But until we know more about how the agency got onto this guy in the first place, the jury --- as they say --- is still out.

To read more about the Molly Maguires, try:

Or if you're more of a movie buff, there's:

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