The pattern is so old that it would be boring if not for the damage done. The FBI latches onto a loser who faces significant charges and gets them to work for the government, “infiltrating” a group to incite grand plans of domestic terrorism with weapons of mass destruction. Then, the FBI arrests those entrapped and pats themselves on the back in the subsequent press release informing us that the public never had been in danger because the bad guys were under surveillance the entire time. Detailed reading of the indictment almost always shows that the “perpetrators” were nothing close to real terrorists, had zero chance of producing a real weapon of mass destruction and never even would have made the attempt without the prodding of the FBI infiltrator.
Future historians likely will point to the Waffle House Four plot as the archetype of this pattern. These poor schmucks were hangers-on with a poorly organized “militia” in north Georgia who, without FBI intervention, would never have done anything more dangerous than sit around Waffle House grousing about the government. But the FBI had Joseph Harold Sims in their grasp and he offered to bring evidence against the group in return for reduced charges in the massive child sex case against him. In the end, these “terrorists” were arrested while in possession of a few castor beans. The deadly toxin ricin is made from castor beans, but the beans themselves are weapons of mass destruction in much the same way that a lump of uranium ore is a nuclear bomb.
In addition to ruining the lives of the entrapped “terrorists”, though, we now have evidence of just how depraved this process of WMD theater has become. The sentence for infiltrator Sims was announced Thursday, and the ridiculously light sentence he has received is jaw-dropping:
More than 100 sex-related charges have been dropped against an FBI informant in a case involving four Georgia militia members accused of plotting terrorist attacks.
As part of a plea deal reached Thursday in Anderson, Joseph Harold Sims will serve less than five months in prison for possession of child pornography. He pleaded guilty to 21 counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor. According to indictments, Sims had stored images on a computer showing minors engaging in sexual activity.
But the 47-year-old Iva man will not stand trial on charges of incest, indecent exposure and disseminating obscene material to a person under 18 years of age. He also had been charged with two counts of attempting or committing a lewd act on a child under 16 years of age and dozens of additional counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, court records show.
I guess they just couldn’t drop those child pornography charges since that is one of the most important areas for prosecution for the Department of Justice. But dropping over 100 charges? Really? And dropping the incest charges, along with lewd act on a minor charges? Only because he had been on the government’s side in WMD theater did Sims get all those charges dropped. And that five month sentence, well the judge had to know how ridiculous that is, so there were a few maneuvers involved in getting it that low:
At a hearing Thursday in the Anderson County Courthouse, Sims received a 10 year suspended sentence from Judge Alex Macaulay. He also was ordered to spend one year behind bars, with credit for 219 days of time served in jail, according to court records.
Boy, that ten year suspended sentence is really going to sting.
Compare Sims’ sentence with that of Scott Ritter, who played for the other team in a much earlier version of WMD theater. Continue reading
Marcy will be along later to discuss the shiny
thong thing aspect of David Sanger’s New York Times article where he was awarded today’s transcription prize by the Obama administration and allowed to “break” the story in which the US for the first time admitted its role in cyberwarfare against Iran’s nuclear program. What I want to concentrate on here is how in putting forward the cyberwarfare story, Sanger unquestioningly accepts the administration’s framing that Iran is just a short “breakout” away from having multiple nuclear weapons.
Consider this key paragraph:
These officials gave differing assessments of how successful the sabotage program was in slowing Iran’s progress toward developing the ability to build nuclear weapons. Internal Obama administration estimates say the effort was set back by 18 months to two years, but some experts inside and outside the government are more skeptical, noting that Iran’s enrichment levels have steadily recovered, giving the country enough fuel today for five or more weapons, with additional enrichment.
All Iran needs is “additional enrichment” for “five or more weapons”. That assumption is false on many levels. First, because Iran’s enrichment activities are closely monitored by onsite IAEA inspectors, any activity aimed at above the 20% level which is their current upper bound would be detected quickly. That statement is backed up even by David Albright, who has been busy fanning the anti-Iran rhetoric on the Parchin front. Adding further doubt to a rapid breakout of enrichment is that even in this same article, Sanger notes that Iran’s centrifuge technology is old and unreliable. Albright supports that observation as well, and notes that installation of additional capability has been slowed by technical issues that don’t seem related to cyberattacks.
The second major flaw in Sanger’s transcription above is that more than just “additional enrichment” is needed. The whole cat and mouse game at Parchin is playing out because in addition to enrichment of uranium to weapons grade, Iran will need technology for initiating the nuclear chain reaction that results in the weapon being detonated. Sanger makes no mention at all of this technical barrier for which there is no evidence that Iran has made an appropriate breakthrough.
Heck, the “enough uranium for five bombs” framing requires us to count the material enriched to only 3.5%. That makes it surprising the US and Israel aren’t claiming that Iran has enough uranium for an unlimited number of bombs if you count the uranium in the ground that they haven’t mined yet.