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More Make-Believe Terrorism


The federal government is either astonishingly incompetent when it comes to prosecuting terror cases in the US, or it the Ashcroft Justice Department simply doesn’t care because it’s always the allegation headlines that make the front pages while the retractions are relegated to the depths of Section A, if that…

On August 6th, the New York Times decided to stick the story proclaiming victory for the feds (scroll down; I verified on Nexis) in an Albany terrorism case in column 1 of page 1 in the Metro section. Now it turns out that the feds used fake (“mistaken”) evidence in their case against two Muslim men accused not of terrorism but of money laundering for what we’re told was a fake terrorist plot set up by the government. Evidently our government doesn’t have enough real, actual terrorists to go after, so they need to turn otherwise harmless Muslims into assistant terrorists in order to proclaim success in the so-called “war on terror.”

The “fake” evidence was an improper translation which apparently constituted a key part of the prosecution’s case. The word “brother”, used to identify one of the accused on a book found at an Ansar Al-Islam training camp, was translated by the government as “commander.” By mistake, of course. I mean, the word “brother” in Arabic is only used by Muslims about every 5th word or so — one can easily imagine how an inexperienced translator might not know it…

The AP last week jumped at the chance to point out that unnamed US officials were jumping at the chance to point out the first known hint that Ansar Al-Islam has a presence in the United States. Oops.

I’ve only seen the NYT’s front page for the 18th, not the Metro front page, so we’ll see how much play they give the update they’re running, in which they say the “commander” reference was the only link between either defendant an an actual (as in, not make-believe) terrorist organization.

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