NYPD Informant Exposes Plot to Profile, Entrap MuslimsOctober 23rd, 2012
Ever since the 911 attacks, citizens of the United States have been victimized by a rapid dismantling of civil liberties. Fear of terrorism has been used by authorities as an excuse to cast aside protections for innocent people accused of crimes. In fact, many law enforcement agencies are shifting their priorities away from apprehending real criminals and instead are working to catch terrorists that are not yet known and may not even exist. Terrorist attacks in the US are extraordinarily rare and responsible for fewer fatalities than nearly any other category of violent crime.
To make matters worse, AP is reporting that a paid informant for the NYPD recently quit and came forward with some shocking allegations — that he was asked to infiltrate various Muslim communities, even if no evidence existed that anyone was engaging in terrorism, in an effort to entrap people into making statements that would portray them as terrorists. Could this be true? Is the NYPD engaging in efforts to target and entrap Muslims just for being Muslims?
Profiling and Entrapment of the Worst Kind
According to the Associated Press, 19-year old Shamiur Rahman was allegedly asked to infiltrate local Muslim communities, such as mosques or predominately Muslim neighborhoods, and strike up conversations about jihad. He was then required to report the results to the police. The program itself was dubbed “create and capture” by his NYPD handlers.
First of all, for the NYPD to investigate Muslim communities in which there are no known individuals with ties to terror is textbook profiling. Just because someone worships a particular religion does not mean they are automatically prone to becoming a terrorist. To presume such goes against American constitutional values. Before a person is investigated for a crime, legal tradition requires that there be a crime, at least. In this case, the paid informant, flush with taxpayer dollars, was asked to pursue non-criminals and essentially make statements in an effort to motivate them to become terrorists.
Similarly, a rising number of alternative media outlets have been reporting on FBI entrapment scandals, as the agency is too often accused of being the architect of the terror plots it allegedly foils. The highly-credible news organization Democracy Now pointed out that the recent plot to blow up the Federal Reserve seems to have been motivated originally by encouragement from FBI agents.
Is the NYPD Encouraging People to Become Terrorists?
It would be a bit outrageous to presume the NYPD was purposefully aiming to create new terrorists, but it could be pointed at that this “create and capture” policy might accidentally have that outcome. If it turns out that Shamiur Rahman is just one of many paid informants running around mosques trying to convince people to commit terrorist attacks, any number of them might be inadvertently planting seeds in people’s minds. In a bad economic climate where young males are suffering under high employment, the NYPD does not need to be paying people to run around trying to convince strangers to commit terrorist attacks.
Prior to the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, entrapment was essentially useless to law enforcement. In those days, criminal investigations were focused only on criminals who had committed known crimes. In an era when speech and the possession of certain products are considered criminal, entrapment has taken center stage, often finding its way into new law enforcement programs.
Entrapment has been largely rejected by the US legal system throughout history because it doesn’t work. When a law enforcement agent first suggests to someone that they commit a crime, it’s hard to tell if the person ever would have thought to do that in the first place. Imagine what it might be like for someone who is approached by an individual claiming to be an international terrorist looking for help with a plot. The person may be afraid of the law enforcement officer posing as a terrorist and therefore may cooperate under duress. What if the informant successfully motivates someone to become a terrorist, and a bureaucratic error causes police to fail to stop the resulting attack? In a way, that’s similar to what happened in the Fast and Furious scandal facing the ATF and FBI.
Shamiur Rahman’s allegations have yet to be conclusively proven as this is a breaking story in its early stages. If it turns out that this “create and capture” program exists, then the NYC government is engaging in behavior that is hostile to the Constitution. Rahman was motivated to come forward after considering whether or not the actions he was taking were consistent with America’s constitutional traditions. He appears to have a better understanding of the Constitution than the New York Police Department which is charged with protecting and defending it.
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