Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

June 23, 2006

The Sting

Filed under: repression — louisproyect @ 2:47 pm

A British citizen who was arrested last August in a sting operation pleaded not guilty Friday to federal charges that he plotted to sell shoulder-fired missiles that he knew were to be used against commercial airliners in the United States, as well as a so-called dirty bomb, to people he believed to be terrorists.

The man, Hemant Lakhani, 69, a London resident of Indian ancestry, entered his plea Friday before Judge Katherine S. Hayden of Federal District Court. The judge ordered that he continue to be held without bail pending an April 26 hearing on pretrial motions.

NY Times, January 10, 2004

In May, a New York cabdriver from Afghanistan was arrested after asking an undercover agent questions about buying enough explosives to blow up a mountain. Prosecutors labeled him dangerous and suggested he might be a terrorist.

Yesterday, the cabdriver, Sayed Abdul Malike, pleaded guilty in Federal District Court in Brooklyn to making false statements to F.B.I. agents when he denied during law enforcement interviews that he had been asking about explosives. But he told the judge that there was an innocent explanation.

NY Times, January 24, 2004

About two years ago, a young man using the screen name "akagunfighter" joined a local Islamic Internet chat room.

His real name was Ryan G. Anderson, and he could hardly have been less welcome.

Anderson was arrested yesterday by U.S. Army officials, who say the 26-year-old National Guardsman attempted to communicate and provide intelligence to the al-Qaida terrorism network…

Several sources familiar with the investigation have said Anderson was arrested following a sting operation and that no information was ever passed to the enemy.

Seattle Times, February 13, 2004

Four men have been arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences following a sting operation organised by a Sunday newspaper, police said last night.

Three men were seized in a "pre-planned" operation by officers from the Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorist branch at a hotel in Brent Cross, north London on Friday. The fourth man was arrested later at his north London home.

The sting was set up after a News of the World reporter, posing as a "Muslim extremist", infiltrated a gang which was allegedly trying to buy radioactive material for an unnamed Saudi Arabian man.

The newspaper's investigations editor, Mazher Mahmood, went undercover after claiming to have received a tip-off that a Saudi sympathetic to "the Muslim cause" was willing to pay pounds 300,000 for a kilogram of powerful, radioactive "Red Mercury". The chemical is said to have been developed by Soviet scientists for "briefcase nuclear bombs", but, said the newspaper, "scientists are divided over whether any actually exists".

The Independent, September 26, 2004

ARMED POLICE with bomb-sniffing dogs guarded the federal courthouse in Newark, New Jersey, yesterday as an Indian-born British businessman stood trial accused of attempting to smuggle surface-to-air missiles into the United States to shoot down airliners.

More than a year after Hemant Lakhani was arrested in a hotel suite close to Newark airport on charges of plotting to sell weapons to an alleged terrorist cell in the US, he faces a trial that may last at least 10 weeks. If convicted, Mr Lakhani of Hendon, north London, could face 25 years in prison.

At the time he was arrested, President George Bush hailed it as an advance in the "war on terror". "We got a significant arms-dealer and a dangerous terrorist," the President said. "This is a major step in the global war against terrorism."

Just how significant a catch 70-year-old Mr Lakhani really was will be a focus of the trial. Apparently, he has no criminal convictions and no known ties to terror groups. Friends in London have described him as an ageing Del Boy, after the character in the TV programme, Only Fools and Horses, with a talent more for bungled business deals than international intrigue.

The Independent, January 5, 2005

A Yemeni cleric and an aide who helped finance terrorist groups are as dangerous as the al Qaeda and Hamas terrorists who commit vicious attacks, a federal prosecutor told jurors Thursday.

"Although these defendants did not strap on bombs or fly planes into buildings, they are indispensable to the people who do," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Pamela Chen in closing arguments in the trial of the two men, who were arrested in an FBI sting. "Without the defendants, the terrorists couldn't exist."

Sheik Mohammed Ali Hassan Al Moayad, 56, and his assistant, Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed, 31, are accused of providing material support to U.S.-designated terrorist groups and of conspiracy to provide material support, among other charges. The white-bearded sheik, who comes to court in long robes, was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany, in January 2003. He traveled there to collect a $2.5 million donation for terrorist groups, prosecutors alleged.

The donor was an FBI agent posing as an American sympathizer, and the meeting was a law enforcement sting.

Washington Post, March 4, 2005

IF a mentally disturbed individual, envisioning a nonexistent technology, offers to sell an imaginary bomb to a lawman posing as a member of al-Qaida, is he guilty of attempting to aid and abet foreign terrorists?

In the case of Ronald Allen Grecula, arrested in Houston by FBI agents last week, the answer will determine whether he faces a 15-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $ 250,000.

Grecula, 68, certainly talked the talk in taped conversations with a federal informant and undercover agent, spinning tales of explosives that could level whole city blocks. He likened himself to the Roman rebel Spartacus and repeatedly said he hated the United States and wanted to help its enemies.

The roots of the terrorism case against Grecula go back to his imprisonment in 2002 on the Mediterranean island nation of Malta, where he was arrested for kidnapping his two children from an estranged wife. Grecula told a cellmate he wanted to sell bombs to make money and hire a hitman to kill the wife. After both were released, the former cellmate stayed in contact and eventually notified authorities of Grecula's schemes. The man lured Grecula to meet with the bogus terrorists in Houston, where he was arrested and charged.

Houston Post, May 28, 2005

A martial arts expert from the Bronx and a doctor from Florida have been arrested on charges that they conspired to train and provide medical assistance to Al Qaeda terrorists, federal and local authorities said yesterday.

The men, United States citizens who were identified by the authorities as Tarik ibn Osman Shah of the Bronx and Rafiq Sabir of Boca Raton, were captured in early morning raids in the Bronx and in Boca Raton on Friday, according to Paul J. Browne, a New York City police spokesman.

The arrests came as part of a two-year sting operation that ended with each man facing a single conspiracy charge. While the authorities said that they had no evidence that either man had actually provided support to terrorists, they said they had taped each man swearing his allegiance to Osama bin Laden, Mr. Browne said.

The New York Times, May 30, 2005

The arrest of 17 terrorism suspects in Canada is part of a continuing, multinational inquiry into suspected terrorist cells in at least seven countries, a U.S. counter-terrorism official confirmed Sunday.

The senior U.S. law enforcement official said authorities were combing through evidence seized during raids in Canada this weekend to look for possible connections between the 17 suspects arrested Friday and Saturday and at least 18 other Islamist militants who had been arrested in locations including the United States, Bangladesh, BosniaHerzegovina, Britain, Denmark and Sweden.

The investigation began as separate probes into what authorities believed were localized cells of militant Muslim young men who shared an interest in radical ideology on the Internet and, to a lesser extent, in local mosques and training camps…

Canadian authorities have charged the suspects with various terrorism-related offenses and allege that they had accepted delivery of three tons of the fertilizer ammonium nitrate, which can be combined with fuel to make an extremely powerful bomb.

The Toronto Star, citing unnamed sources, reported that the fertilizer was delivered to the suspects as part of an undercover police sting. When the deal was completed, the anti-terrorism task force moved in to arrest the suspects, the newspaper said. Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Michele Paradis would not comment on the report.

Los Angeles Times, June 5, 2006


FBI agents backed by state and local law enforcement cordoned off an area of Liberty City, Fla., and made several arrests on Thursday as part of what U.S. officials called a significant terror-related investigation.

There was no immediate threat to Miami, officials said. Formal details on the raid, which apparently focused on a warehouse, were to be released by U.S. officials at news conferences set for Friday in Miami and Washington.

About 20 FBI agents arrived on the scene. They were backed up by state and local police officers.

In a prepared statement, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami said the arrests were made "as part of an ongoing investigation into a terrorist-related matter.

"The individuals arrested posed no immediate threat to our community."

One law enforcement source said authorities arrested seven people who allegedly were conspiring to conduct attacks in the United States _ but that there was no immediate threat.

Five of those arrested are U.S. residents, one is a resident alien and one is an illegal alien, the source told the Miami Herald on condition of anonymity.

Citing an investigation before Thursday's raid, the source said the group talked about an attack on the Sears Tower in Chicago and the FBI building in Miami _ but that they had no "overt explosives or other things."

The group thought that they "were doing (the attacks) in conjunction with al-Qaida" but were really dealing with" undercover law enforcement, the official said.

It was "pretty much talk, we were on top of them," the source said.

Miami Herald, June 22, 2006


  1. Louis, you did a great job on collecting this stories detailing the extent of the police repression being unleashed as well as phoney arrests being carried out by the US. Bravo

    Comment by Nicholas — June 26, 2006 @ 7:00 am

  2. Well, they need a result. Since there does not appear to be any serious terrorist cells out there, or at least not any that are fool enough to leave obvious evidence of their presence, it is necessary to manufacture a few in order to show that DHS & the FBI are doing their job. And also to keep the public in a state of fear, and justify the shredding of the 4th amendment &c. As always, the arrests get the headlines and the later info about the flimsiness of the cases doesn’t.

    Comment by Paul Lyon — June 28, 2006 @ 6:13 am

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