Were the four Newburgh, N.Y. men convicted of plotting to blow up two Riverdale synagogues in 2009 entrapped by the FBI?
A report, “Targeted and Entrapped: Manufacturing the ‘Homegrown Threat’ in the United States,” argues that they were.
Released on May 18 by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University’s School of Law, the 81-page report “examines three high-profile terrorism prosecutions in which government informants played a critical role in instigating and constructing the plots that were then prodsecuted.”
The report also examines Shahawar Matin Siraj’s plot to bomb Herald Square in Manhattan and New Jersey’s Fort Dix Five, who planned to attack an army base. It concludes that by sending paid informants into Muslim communities without any suspicion of criminal activity and offering incentives such as money, the U.S. government is encouraging — even creating — terrorist plots.
“Lax laws and Islamophobic culture, combined with what are no-doubt high pressures on the FBI, NYPD, and prosecutors to create ‘results’ in the war on terrorism, have produced dangerous realities and dangerous incentives for the way that law enforcement is interacting with Muslim communities,” Amna Akbar, one of the authors of the study and a senior researcher and advocate at CHR&GJ, wrote in an e-mail.
The Newburgh Four — David Williams, James Cromitie, Onta Williams (no relation to David Williams) and Laguerre Payen — were arrested on May 20, 2009 in Riverdale for planting what they believed to be explosives outside the Riverdale Jewish Center and Riverdale Temple.