Prosecuting Our Own Conspiracies

My first reaction when I heard about the case of Eric Harroun — the Army veteran arrested last week on one count of conspiring to use a WMD (in the form of a rocket propelled grenade) — was that we were going to need bigger jails, because we’ll surely be arresting all our Qatari allies who are also conspiring to arm the al-Nusrah Front with things like RPGs.

But his father’s claim he was working for the CIA (which might explain why an FBI officer assigned to the Washington Field Office would file this case in Eastern District of VA, the CIA’s home district) makes the charges all the more interesting. Certainly, the affidavit reads like someone who was trying to set up cover as a terrorist recruit. Moreover, between the multiple videos he posted and the 4 FBI interviews he had before he got a lawyer suggest he wasn’t at all worried about being charged for associating with what he said (in one of those lawyer-less interviews) he knew to be a designated terror organization.

If he had a formal role with the CIA, it also might explain how Harroun managed to reenter Turkey without his passport.

HARROUN stated that he was able to re-enter Turkey on or about February 10, 2013, without his passport.

Is also might explain who is paying for lots of international travel with no apparent means of support. And it might explain why a US Army vet needed to be trained on how to use an RPG.

So if Harroun’s father is right, and he was working for CIA, then why is he in jail?

There are two details I find particularly interesting. First, the affidavit concentrates on Harroun’s condemnation of Zionism.

On or about March 11,2013, published an article based in part on an interview of HARROUN. In the article, HARROUN acknowledged that he had been fighting with Syrian rebels, including the al-Nusrah Front, but stated that he had returned to Turkey. According to the article, HARROUN’s Facebook wall included the quote: “The only good Zionist is a dead Zionist” and HARROUN stated that he intended to travel to Palestine because of Israeli atrocities there.


During the March 12 interview, HARROUN was asked about his comment that “the only good Zionist is a dead Zionist.” HARROUN stated that he equated Zionism with Nazism and Fascism.

And it appears the March 11 Fox article may be what led the FBI in Turkey to start investigating Harroun, which was actually published a month after Harroun had returned to Turkey from Syria. The three earlier things Harroun posted about his involvement in Syria don’t seem to have alarmed the FBI. (Note: I’m not sure when it became a crime to utter anti-Zionist statements, but apparently FBI now treats it as evidence of terrorism.)

Add in the fact that he was associated with a downed helicopter.

On or about February 14, 2013, an individual with access to a Facebook account which uses HARROUN’s name and profile photograph shared a link to a video of a helicopter that appeared to have been shotdown. Based on my review of the public information associated with this account, I believe that this account is HARROUN’s Facebook account. In the post referenced above, the text accompanying the video stated “Downed a Syrian Helicopter then Looted all Intel and Weapons!” The video was publicly available on the Facebook account, and FBI obtained a copy of the video. The video shows a downed Syrian helicopter and depicts HARROUN riding in a jeep with other individuals wearing military-style clothing and in possession of weapons. HARROUN is celebrating in the video and makes statements in English in support of the downing of the helicopter.

That is, Harroun has very publicly performed Israel’s nightmare: anti-aircraft weapons on its northern border wielded by anti-Zionists threatening to head to Palestine next. By prosecuting him, are we pretending that our policy is not one that poses a risk to Israel.

Or maybe Harroun’s just in jail because the Fox article made it clear we’re actually arming the al-Nusrah Front?

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One Response to Prosecuting Our Own Conspiracies

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Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz Also, "terrorism" and "hate crimes" create preferred sets of victims to where all men and women not equal anymore.
bmaz This is spot on. Crime is crime. "Terrorism" and "hate crimes" are just excuses for the govt to leverage defendants
bmaz RT @BostonGlobe: Daily fantasy sports sites tell fans that it’s possible to win big money, but they tell a different story in court https:/…
emptywheel @charliespiering You do know USAF gives the govt MORE data w/fewer restrictions?
emptywheel @MoonofA Not to mention that usually when we're conducting regime change we LOVE to hurt the economy in question.
emptywheel RT @dandrezner: Four tough things columnists should do before writing about universities.
emptywheel @MoonofA Which is why I asked. Can't even think of any way NYT claim could be true except if we acknowledge Kurds have to sell to someone
JimWhiteGNV For Michael Rogers, every Monday is Cyber Monday.
emptywheel How would targeting ISIS' oil business would hurt Iraqi and Syrian economy?
emptywheel @lib_ertarian_ I wish we would too. Q is how we go about doing that.
emptywheel @StephenZimmermn He was more saying that give all other restrictions everyone tackles at knees, no matter where on field.
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