Appeals Court Upholds Life Prison Sentence For Iraqi 'Terrorist' Caught In One Of The FBI's Own Terrorist Plots

from the make-up-your-own-plots dept

Over the past few years, we've reported over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again, that the FBI's "anti-terrorism" strategy appears to be setting up its own fake terrorist plots, convincing gullible young men to "join", and then arresting them for participating in a terrorist plot where there was no chance of any actual terrorism happening, because all of the weapons were fake and all of the other participants were with the FBI. Defenders of these programs argue that they're "flushing out" potential terrorists, but many of us worry about where this crosses the line into entrapment and a sort of "pre-crime" rather than stopping any actual crime. In many cases, the deeper you look at the details, the more you realize how much the FBI really led the charge, and even coaxed participants into taking part.

Either way, in one such case, Iraqi refugee Mohanad Shareef Hammadi, was arrested and sentenced to life in prison -- and that sentence was just upheld by the 6th circuit appeals court, though much of it on the basis of procedural issues. It appears that Hammadi, without a plea deal in place, agreed to plead guilty, thereby foreclosing many of his entrapment arguments. Given how much pressure the DOJ likely put on him to plead guilty (this is where the DOJ really puts the squeeze on people), Hammadi may have felt he had no choice. Now, Hammadi may be a very bad person. He may even have done terroristic things in Iraq and perhaps eagerly wanted to do more in the US. If some of the government's claims about him are true, you could see where it would make sense to have some surveillance over him. But it seems to be stepping over the line to then set up an entirely fake plot, involving shipping fake weapons to fake terrorists -- and then choosing a combination of "weapons" that allowed the feds to give him the highest possible sentence: life in prison, which is what he got.

The appeals court doesn't really see a big deal in all of this, suggesting that his history, his eagerness to take part in this fake scheme, and a variety of other side points make all of this okay. I have a lot of trouble with that, because it's easy to portray someone taking part in such an effort as "eager" when that might not actually be the case. The ability for the DOJ to misrepresent Hammadi's involvement is very high here, but the court seems to accept basically all of it. Other courts have found the same way, so this isn't surprising or outside of precedent. It just seems troubling that the DOJ can go around setting up fake plots, encouraging people to take part in them, often pushing them further and further, and then use all of that as evidence of anyone being involved in a real plot.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Jasmine Charter, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 5:57am

    First...

    For people who don't speak out on this sort of government entrapment, remember these words...

    "First they came for the Communists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Communist.

    Then they came for the Socialists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me."

    Remember when real criminals did real crimes and got caught and punished for it? Now, made up criminals do made up crimes with made up weapons and made up terrorists...

    I don't know about you, but I feel no safer knowing my own government is the one edging on terrorists.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 6:00am

    when was the last time the USA actually relied on something 'REAL' to get what it wanted? it's built around make believe, which is protected more than the most endangered species on the Planet, so why would this be any different? the troubling thing, as mentioned, is that judges on an appeal bench, who are supposed to have above average intelligence to even become a judge in the first place, let alone progress to this auspicious position, can simply go along with what the prosecution supplies as real, using completely manufactured evidence from a completely manufactured situation! quite unbelievable, in my opinion!

     

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  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    AJBarnes, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 6:04am

    Doesn't bother me a bit

    The muslims are in an overt war against us. These are enemy combatants. If they are willing and able to take up arms agasint us, then they should be shot as war criminals. Save the court time, the appeals time. Just march them in back of the court and deliver a brass verdict.

     

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    Bruce, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 6:35am

    Good...arrest them all!

    So the FBI sets up a sting operation to lure in potential wannabe terrorists and to no ones surprise except apparently Tech Dirt they find a whole lot of people who want to kill people and arrest them.

    And TechDirt has a problem with people wanting to maim and murder people. Great.

     

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  5.  
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    Dirkmaster (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 6:42am

    People who think this is okay...

    who are fine with our government entrapping people because they might be terrorists, are in for a rude awakening when they suddenly find themselves targeted. An unrestrained government is tyranny, pure and simple.

    They are the same people who think it's okay for police to throw a bag of weed or a gun into the backseat of a car, because the driver looked like a hippie.

    Depressing.

     

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  6.  
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    Liz (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 6:59am

    Re: Doesn't bother me a bit

    And so the witch hunt begins. Will you protest your own execution when someone points the finger at you?

    Your viewpoint bothers me because it goes against the U.S. Constitution when it comes to Due Process. It goes against the Geneva Conventions when it comes to processing POWs. It goes against the International Human Rights Campaign when it comes to treating suspects in criminal activities.

    And more importantly, it goes against the basic, simple human morality of giving someone the benefit of the doubt before you decide to end their life.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 7:08am

    Re: First...

    I agree 100% , On the same note we have the NSA with endless amounts of Our data ..Which could be cherry picked in the NSA's favor or passed along to other agencies to create such a case against anyone anywhere anytime..

     

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  8.  
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    art guerrilla (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 7:10am

    Re: Doesn't bother me a bit

    The conservatards are in an overt war against us. These are enemy combatants and traitors to the Constitution. If they are willing and able to take up arms agasint us, then they should be shot as war criminals. Save the court time, the appeals time. Just march them in back of the court and deliver a brass verdict.

    there, fixed that for ya', sparky...

    *sigh* another propaganda victim who denies the humanity of all non-amerikans...

    ps libtards got brass in pocket, too, psycho-killer...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    art guerrilla at windstream dot net

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 7:15am

    Re: Doesn't bother me a bit

    Even if we accept your assertion at face value - it doesn't merit your conclusion. Even if they were in an 'overt war', it doesn't mean even a majority support the action.
    Reality is, most people, when plied with sufficient pressure and means can be brought round to an extreme position. This could have been anyone.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 7:20am

    Officer - This guy is crooked
    Officer 2 - Yes he is he's never had a speeding ticket Officer 1 - lets change that
    Officer 2 - ok ..how? Officer 1 ..We change the signs and make his 30 mph 40 then you change it back after I pull him over
    Officer 2 -- you sir are brilliant ..

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 7:21am

    Re: Doesn't bother me a bit

    The muslims are in an overt war against us.


    If 1.57 billion people were in an overt war against us, it would have been a nuclear World War III years ago.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 7:24am

    The real horror is lawyers and their deliberate tricks.

    I suppose that by now everyone knows appeals courts don't look at the merits, facts, or the justice of a case, only the procedural bits. So long as procedure is followed -- starting from corporatized premise where if persons don't explicitly claim a right, then it's lost -- then though evidence is entirely fabricated and result clearly violates basic human rights, lawyers think it's fine. -- And that's why I despise all lawyers: they're trained to be robots and serve ONLY the legal machine and their medieval guild.

    2nd problem here is rabid idiots who believe Muslims are any sort of threat. Sheesh. First, that says your faith in own religion is weak, second that you're a loony in practical terms: Muslims just don't have the arms to overcome the US; third says you're a gullible fool, fell for an obvious FAKED ATTACK that brought in military dictatorship.

    Lawyers invented legal fictions called corporations precisely so that crimes can be committed without personal responsibility, only money fines.

    03:24:46[d-577-1]

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 7:34am

    Re: Good...arrest them all!

    Would he have hurt anyone if he wasn't entrapped? Could he have just been setup at a time that he was angry and the FBI helped fuel that anger? You don't put alcohol in front of an alcoholic trying to quit or place something valuable next to someone known for stealing. If the FBI was so worried about this person, then just keep track of him and stop him before he does something violent. Maybe then they can actually catch real terrorist that would really cause problems.

     

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  14.  
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    ThatFatMan (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 7:35am

    Pre-Crime is not an Actual-Crime

    Defenders of these programs argue that they're "flushing out" potential terrorists, but many of us worry about where this crosses the line into entrapment and a sort of "pre-crime" rather than stopping any actual crime.

    This feels very "Minority Report" to me. Except this is real life, not the movies.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 7:53am

    Re: Re: Doesn't bother me a bit

    Your main problem is that you assume there is a large difference between conservatives and liberals in this country. Once you realize they're the same thing (wolves in sheep's clothing) you'll find that the hatred, bile, corruption, anger, and retardation exists on both sides, just directed in slightly different locations.

    However, I remember being 10 years old and thinking my ideology was right and everyone else was a 'tard too, so I understand where you're coming from.

     

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  16.  
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    allengarvin (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 8:05am

    Looks like a pretty straight-forward case, not even vaguely approaching entrapment. They didn't entice someone uninclined to commit a crime to do so. It's not like he was a mentally retarded high school kid who wanted a girlfriend who texted him 40 times begging him to buy her a single joint. They dangled an illegal act in front of him and his partner, and he not only jumped for the idea, but made an overt act to carry it out.

    And, course, he plead guilty. Everyone has the right to an appeal, unless waived, but without a trial, there's almost no avenue for appeal.

     

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  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 8:31am

    Re: Doesn't bother me a bit

    If there IS an attack, I hope that they kill you first. You're too stupid to deserve the privilege of living on my planet.

     

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  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 9:19am

    Re: First...

    Wow damn, thank god I'm not you.

    Jokes aside, fake terrorist do not scare me, but people that's twisted enough to make them scare the living shit out of me.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 11:23am

    This reminds me of the Salem witch trials. Only this time we're hunting terrorists, instead of witches. I guess the FBI agency is still stuck in the 1600's.

     

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  20.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 11:37am

    Re: Doesn't bother me a bit

    The muslims are in an overt war against us.


    You have that backwards.

     

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  21.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 11:41am

    Re: Good...arrest them all!

    Good lord. people with sociopathic tendencies are all around you, and 99.999% of the time they will never attack anybody -- but there's a percentage of them that can be manipulated into doing so. Those are the people these "stings" are grabbing.

    It's a complete waste of time and resources. Without the cops convincing people to blow stuff up, those people would never have done so. Removing them from society doesn't increase security at all.

     

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  22.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 11:44am

    Re:

    It's the same old, same old. The witches used to be the communists. Then it became hackers. Then it became terrorists. Now it's going to become hackers again.

    What do these groups have in common? They are a convenient boogyman to trot out scare the public into giving them ever more power.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    PRMan, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    Yeah, but there's reasonably good evidence that the Salem Witch Trials were caused by the Ergot fungus (a hallucinogen) growing on the barley crop.

    http://www.damninteresting.com/bad-rye-and-the-salem-witches/

     

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  24.  
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    PRMan, Dec 18th, 2013 @ 1:07pm

    Re: Re:

    The FBI has no such excuse...

     

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  25.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re:

    They are a convenient boogyman to trot out scare the public into giving them ever more power.


    Yes. Also, though it may just be a movie reference, but I believe that the spooks even have a name for these types of setups: fundraisers.

     

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  26.  
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    John85851 (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Doesn't bother me a bit

    You're absolutely right. We need to keep this "war" going by finding and accusing Muslims before they become "terrorists". After all, this is WAY more easier than trying to figure out why so much of the Middle East hates the US. Could it be because of our foreign policy and imperialism in the area? Nah. Could it be because we invade sovereign countries and topple their leadership in an attempt to force our values on a section of the world that's descended from empires that are thousands of years old? Nah. All Muslims are bad and they should be killed. End of discussion.

    And where do we get the idea that all Muslims are bad? There are around 1 billion Muslims in the world yet we judge all of them based on the actions of a few terrorists. That would be like saying all Catholics are evil because of the Spanish Inquisition or that all Christians are evil because of the Crusades.

    What would happen if this issue happened in Iran or Iraq? People in the US would lose their minds about how the "evil government" had ensnared an innocent American. Yet over here, many people are fine with the idea, as long as it catches an evil Muslim.

     

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  27.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Dec 18th, 2013 @ 9:53pm

    Re: Re: First...

    Real terrorists shouldn't scare you, as even if they upped their game ten-fold, there would still be dozens, likely hundreds of things in your everyday life more likely to kill you than them.

    Terrorists have never been a real threat to the population in any country that they weren't in charge of, it's just their methods of apparently random, highly visible killings makes them seem far more dangerous than they really are(which is exactly the point behind such methods).

    Put plainly, terrorism only works when the target lets it, a test of courage a sad number of countries(or the governments in those countries at least) seem to be failing these days.

     

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  28.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Dec 19th, 2013 @ 1:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    'Fundraisers', 'Job security', however you call them, the result is the same, where they trot out a 'horrible'(yet incredibly vague) threat that requires them to be given more money, and more power, otherwise the new 'threat' will win and end civilization as we know it.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 4:21am

    Re: Re:

    Isn't that where LSD comes from? So they were all freaked out on acid, and that's why they went postal on imaginary witches? Dayyyyummm!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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