GUILTY – The Fort Dix Five Convicted

The panel of jurors deliberating the Fort Dix Five terrorism trial has found all five defendants guilty of plotting to attack the military base and kill soldiers. The foreign-born Muslims from Cherry Hill Pennsylvania, were charged with conspiracy to kill military personnel, attempted murder and weapons charges. There does not appear to be date set for sentencing, but the men could be sentenced to up to life in prison.

From The Guardian:

The defence called the case against the Fort Dix, New Jersey defendants a big mistake, one that came to court only because of zealous investigators and sleazy FBI informants.

The prosecution said that the defendants were linked by their common belief in radical Islam and a desire to kill American soldiers, and that investigators stepped in before their plot could come to fruition.

"The government was mistaken about these men’s intentions," defence attorney Michael Huff told jurors yesterday. "You have the opportunity to correct that mistake."

In his rebuttal, Deputy US Attorney William Fitzpatrick said the defendants’ words and actions "cry out for guilty verdicts".

Defendant Mohamad Shnewer, for instance, drove to several military bases with an FBI informant, who was recording their conversation. Prosecutors called their trips "surveillance".

"All he’s talking about is picking targets, killing people," he said. "And the defence counsel wants you to believe he doesn’t mean it; he’s a flake." The defence did paint Shnewer, the lead defendant, as an overweight outsider and a screw-up, the butt of his friends’ jokes.

Mike Riley, the attorney for defendant Shain Duka, said the case was built on "the mouth of Mohamad Shnewer and the computer of Mohamad Shnewer".

In addition to his many inflammatory statements about killing soldiers, Shnewer downloaded more than 100 jihadist videos to his laptop, including some created by al-Sahab, the media wing of al-Qaida.

The Guardian article provides a good background on the matter and the different arguments presented by both the prosecution and defense.

It is hard to know the validity of prosecutions like this one with the tattered reputation of the Bush Department of Justice. The habitual practice of oppressive and deceptive prosecutions, and flat out dishonesty, especially on terrorism cases, leaves even jury verdicts open to question. January 20, 2009 cannot come soon enough.

40 replies
    • BoxTurtle says:

      The jury seems to have ruled based on the evidence in this case. It may be that BushCo actually caught and prosecuted the proper people!

      Boxturtle (No, I’m not willing to bet on it)

      • PierceNichols says:

        Dude, have a look at the alleged plan. Half a dozen guys with no/minimal training were supposedly planning to attack a US Army base full of guys training to get shipped to Iraq. What were they planning to do? Bleed on US troops? Because the chance of them killing anyone other than an inattentive sentry was always basically nil.

        To me, it sounds like some FBI goon squad looking to make quota found a bunch of disaffected young men (who happened to be Muslim) and talked them into making up some absurd plan and then arrested them for it.

        • BoxTurtle says:

          I see your point…but Richard Reed fits that same mold and he came within an inch of downing an aircraft. With a shoe.

          The most dangerous terrorist does not look like a terrorist. Women make great suicide bombers. Children make great spotters. And doofus’s (doofui?) will do just about anything.

          Boxturtle (However, this needs to be reviewed like everything BushCo DOJ has done)

          • PierceNichols says:

            I think you’re overestimating Reid’s chances… and even he was significantly of a doofus than the Fort Dix clowns. Generally, successful terrorist attacks on Western targets require competent, clueful actors executing a simple plan in order to succeed.

            Which brings us to the essentially self-defeating nature of suicide attacks: they unavoidably result in the death of the most competent people on the first attack, succeed or fail. For instance, the London bombers were the only effective terrorist cell in Britain not under plod or spook surveillance… and now they’re dead, so they can’t train others in how to plan and execute a successful attack against current UK security measures. Same deal with 9/11 attackers — they were able to live in the US for years without attracting much suspicion and were able to closely coordinate four separate attacks for maximum effect (a much harder trick to pull off than it looks). But they’re dead too, so they can’t teach anyone else how to do it. And so on…

  1. dakine01 says:

    I’m not sure I would trust a prosecution by the Bush DoJ even if I knew for a fact myself that the alleged perpetrators were guilty.

      • dakine01 says:

        I saw something I believe at McClatchy yesterday that there’s a whistle-blower who claims there was a lot of purposeful tanking of the Stevens case.

        • bmaz says:

          I have yet to see any evidence of tanking the case, although that is possible. The much more likely explanation is they were doing whatever it took to convict. Even with the Bush DOJ, I think that is a much more likely explanation in the absence of any direct evidence they were doing it to tank the case.

  2. BoxTurtle says:

    We’re gonna have to review every terror related case that BushCo brought.

    Boxturtle (On second thought, we probably shouldn’t limit it to terror cases.)

  3. WarOnWarOff says:

    “All he’s talking about is picking targets, killing people,” he said.

    Sorta reminds me of when Rummy got his panties in a wad to attack Iraq and not Afghanistan after 9-11. “No good targets.”

    • BoxTurtle says:

      I’m not sure this changes anything for Stevens. He already had plenty of evidence to support a retrial on appeal, this is simply icing on the cake.

      Unless they can connect the botched prosecution back to Stevens or his defense team. I still suspect the prosecution was intentionally screwing things up. I wonder if this whistleblower is able to say the case was intentionally fouled to get Stevens off?

      Boxturtle (Anybody out there that still thinks Stevens will see the inside of a cell?)

  4. nomolos says:

    And the real terrorists, the murders of hundreds of thousands of people, roam free in the WH. The poor dumb dupes from NJ that got caught by the FBI set up/sting were all for show. How many days ’til those pricks are outta here?

  5. Mary says:

    6/10 – the only thing surprising is the spotting of the rare “whistleblower” in a habitat where it was thought to be extinct – the DOJ.

    On a different, but sideways related, issue, has a piece up on Connell that links this piece,
    from epluribusmedia, and which includes the request made by plaintiffs counsel in the Ohio suit in July to Mukasey, trying to get protection for Connell.

    They allege Karl Rove (that wonderful independent media pundit) had threatened Connell and told Connell that if he didn’t “take the fall” for the election fraud in Ohio, the DOJ would go after Connell’s wife for lobby law violations.

    The crash could have had many many causes, including a distracted pilot in a vise, but it’s pretty interesting to know that a formal contact was made with Mukasey alleging the threats.

    Incredible – that the “mainstream” media has glommed onto the likes of Fran Fragos Townsend and Karl Rove as being something worth populating the 24 hour news airwaves.

    • nomolos says:

      The bushies are fond of offing their “enemies” in small planes although recently they have taken to “suiciding” people, the crash was a rare thowback to a bygone method. No doubt there will be a suiciding in the near future.

    • jdmckay says:

      Incredible – that the “mainstream” media has glommed onto the likes of Fran Fragos Townsend and Karl Rove as being something worth populating the 24 hour news airwaves.

      Not so much I think… that was then, this is now. When The Onion is more prescient than MSM news, “incredible” seems an under-Orwellian term.

    • plunger says:

      All of the evidence required to hang mssrs Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of the cabal is posted in the comment thread over on Raw Story:….._1222.html

      Take the time to read the comments and view the links. Enough evidence to hang the entire administration.

  6. BoxTurtle says:

    OT –

    “In light of the complete overhaul of GM’s capital structure that will likely be required to turn the company into a ‘viable’ entity and to comply with the government’s requirements…[for]…the just-agreed-upon $13.4 billion in loans, we think existing equity holders will be largely (if not entirely) wiped out in the process,” said Credit Suisse analysts in a research report.

    Boxturtle (Court is back in session. Judge EW presiding. *BAM*)

  7. Hugh says:

    I don’t think these guys ever represented a credible terrorist threat but the bar is pretty low for a conspiracy charge these days.

  8. nomolos says:

    we think existing equity holders will be largely (if not entirely) wiped out in the process,

    O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!’
    He chortled in his joy

  9. NonCompassionateLiberal says:

    “The foreign-born Muslims from Cherry Hill Pennsylvania” — Cherry Hill is actually in New Jersey.
    I hope they can appeal this. The government practically forced these guys to conspire

  10. skdadl says:

    We’ve had a couple of similar cases here (Toronto), both of which have turned into semi-comedies, mainly because the hyped-up prosecution was messing so obviously with the facts.

    In this case, which is an ongoing embarrassment, three levels of government and 400 police officers conspired in a melodramatic arrest of twenty-some suspects two and a half years ago. Most of those arrested were kids or very young men who had no idea what was going on, as subsequent testimony has made clear — they thought they were playing paintball in the woods. There are two agents provocateurs who have been paid millions for what they did. And the numbers of the accused keep going down, down, down. There may be two or three guilty parties here — I’d include the agents provocateurs, actually.

    The earlier case is mentioned in that article. When it couldn’t be proved, the accused were just deported on immigration charges.

  11. rosalind says:

    the ted stevens’ whistle-blower is a FBI agent.

    “I have witnessed or learned of serious violations of policy, rules and procedures as well as possible criminal violations,” the whistleblower asserted in his complaint to the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.

    ADN’s summary

  12. bell says:

    this is OT – i wonder when the state of california is going to get a federal bailout??? is that the next shoe to drop?

  13. rosalind says:

    the Ted Stevens’ FBI whistle blower’s heavily redacted complaint now up. excerpt fm page 4:

    “The court learned the prosecution redacted information that should not have been redacted. The court openly chastised government. Later that day (REDACTED) advised me that (REDACTED) redacted the information and did so because (REDACTED) wanted the FD-302s (REDACTED) was redacting to fit the Brady/Giglio letter that had previously been provided to the defense.”

    Under “My Motivation to Further Report” (pg. 6):

    “I re-read the FBI’s core values and found they have not been upheld in the areas mentioned throughout this document.”

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