A 2008 story that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine entitled “The Fear Factor” stated that the FBI use of informants in their recent terrorist conspiracy cases “is a radical departure from the way the FBI had traditionally used cooperating sources against organized crime or drug dealers, when a pattern of crime is well established before the investigation begins.

“Now in the new-age terrorism cases, the Joint Terrorism Task Force [agents] simply want to establish that suspects are predisposed to be terrorists–even if they are completely unable or ill-equipped to act on that predisposition.”

In other words, can you say “agent provocateur” three times without taking a breath? And so, the reader may not become predisposed in their thinking that only Muslims are crying foul over the use of undercover agents in snaring unsuspecting Muslims in these terrorist conspiracies. Let’s look at what a 1984 report from the U.S. House Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional Rights concluded: “Because federal agents create crime, rather than merely detect it, they hold the power to create the appearance of guilt–many of the values reflected in our Constitution are directly threatened by these operations.” By the way, the Rolling Stone writer wasn’t a Muslim either!

All that having been said, many, many people believe that the “New- burgh Four”–James Cromitie, 44; David Williams; 28, Onta Williams, 32; and Laguerre Payen, 27 (three Black men born in America and one Haitian immigrant)–were set up by the FBI. Imam Salahuddin Mustafa Muhammad, the leader of the Islamic Learning Center of Orange County, told the AmNews he believed the informant, who has been named by every daily in the city as one Sahed “Malik” Hussain, was the driving force behind the plot.

Activist attorney and radio talk show host Ron Kuby on his Air America webpage stated, “The real question, which certainly will not be addressed in this case, is but for the snitch, would these guys ever have done anything besides talk about stuff?”

Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid, leader of the Harlem-based Mosque of the Islamic Brotherhood Inc. and deputy amir of the Muslim Alliance in North America, told the AmNews that it is important to understand that “this entrapment strategy has become a major part of the government’s approach to these types of cases.” “Muslims in general, and African-American Muslims in particular, need to be aware that these types of entrapment are out there,” the imam added.

Calls to the New York City field office of the FBI were not returned by press time. The alleged plot, according to the charges filed in the Southern District of the U.S. federal court system, suggests the “Newburgh Four” conspired to use weapons of mass destruction in the United States and conspired to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles–charges that carry a maximum of life in prison.

While the weapons provided to these men were fake, “the defendants thought they were absolutely real,” stated acting U.S. attorney Lev L. Dassin in a press release. “No one was in danger of being injured,” added NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “This latest attempt to attack our freedoms shows that the homeland security threats against New York City are sadly all too real.”

Gov. David Paterson said, “This case clearly illustrates that the threat of terrorism in New York is persistent.” Again, we turn to Kuby, who appeared at a symposium on “homegrown terrorists,” which was sponsored by the neo-con think tank the Manhattan-based Council for Foreign Relations on May 8. “On balance, the [Justice Department] is doing a poor to mediocre job. Most terror cases against American Muslims consist of vastly overblown charges–cases that exist where investigators or informants have actually induced suspects to say stupid or ugly things,” Kuby said.

Getting back to Hussain, an alleged Pakistani, according to reports, the FBI recruited him back in 2003 after busting him for making phony licenses for illegal immigrants. This guy’s first snare involved an imam in Albany and a Muslim owner of a pizza parlor. Remember what Kuby said earlier in this story, that the issue of the informant’s behavior may not ever come up in the case of the “Newburgh Four”? Well, the judge in the “Pizza Parlor Case,” as it is now known, pushed aside jurors’ questions concerning why the FBI thought these men were suspected of being terrorists in the first place.

“The FBI had certain suspicions,” the judge reportedly told the jury. “But why they did is not to be any concern of yours.” Both men in Albany were convicted of attempting to provide material support to terrorists.

On May 12, five men, all Haitian immigrants, and none of them Muslim, were convicted of conspiring to help al-Qaeda blow up Chicago’s Sears Tower and other buildings in the U.S. The defendants were known as the “Liberty City Six.” One of the men won an acquittal; and it took the government three trials to convict the other five.

In 2006, the FBI video-taped these men swearing their allegiance to an FBI undercover agent, who posed as an al-Qaeda operative. We have been informed that much of the prosecution’s evidence against the “Newburgh Four” consists of taped conversations between them and an FBI informant. One of the “Liberty City Six” told the court that he had never planned to blow anything up. “I just wanted the $50,000 the man said he had.” Observers say the informant in Newburgh was sporting a whole lot of cash and fancy new cars.

There have been several of those “why can’t we all just get along” press conferences since the arrest of the four men. During the press conference on May 21 at the Riverdale Jewish Center, one of the bombing sites, Imam Rashid spoke sternly to the audience, saying: “We want to make sure there are no recriminations against the Muslim community. We are against being probed, against having our houses of worship surveilled, and against the use of our weak-minded for these setup operations.”

Unfortunately, the “Newburgh Four” are men who have been in and out of jail on various drug-related charges, etc.; and one of them is clinically schizophrenic, according to reports. It seems that Imam Rashid spoke without fear of being contradicted.