His family said Thursday that Nafis was incapable of such actions. “My son can’t do it,” his father, Quazi Ahsanullah, said as he wept in his home in the Jatrabari neighborhood in north Dhaka… Ahsanullah said his son convinced him to send him to America to study, arguing that with a U.S. degree he had a better chance at success in Bangladesh. “I spent all my savings to send him to America,” he said. He called on the government to “get my son back home.”
Bad news for America’s Bangladeshi immigrant community, which was fastest growing group in New York for last decade (that will come to a grinding halt with the visa crackdown that will surely follow this). Expect surveillance, harassment, discrimination to increasingly target Bangladeshi-Americans. No matter how much the community speaks of Congressman Hansen Clarke, Jawed Karim, Monica Yunus or Sears Tower architect FR Khan, in the terror panic gaze, this arrest will leave a mark.
Mohammad Arif Akunjee, a childhood friend, said Nafis wanted to be a businessman. Just a few hours before his arrest, Nafis talked to his mother over Skype to update her on his plans, Bilkis said. “My brother told my mother that he was doing well in studies in the U.S. and was transferring to a college in New York,” said his sister.
From Mother Jones: “The Informants”
- Nearly half the prosecutions involved the use of informants, many of them incentivized by money (operatives can be paid as much as $100,000 per assignment) or the need to work off criminal or immigration violations. (For more on the details of those 508 cases, see our charts page and searchable database.)
- Sting operations resulted in prosecutions against 158 defendants. Of that total, 49 defendants participated in plots led by an agent provocateur—an FBI operative instigating terrorist action.
- With three exceptions, all of the high-profile domestic terror plots of the last decade were actually FBI stings. (The exceptions are Najibullah Zazi, who came close to bombing the New York City subway system in September 2009; Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, an Egyptian who opened fire on the El-Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles airport; and failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad.)
- In many sting cases, key encounters between the informant and the target were not recorded—making it hard for defendants claiming entrapment to prove their case.
- Terrorism-related charges are so difficult to beat in court, even when the evidence is thin, that defendants often don’t risk a trial.
From New York Times: “The plot is the latest to fit a model in which, in the process of flushing out people they believe present a risk of terrorism, federal law enforcement officials have played the role of enabler. Agents and informers have provided suspects with encouragement, guidance, money and even, the subjects of the sting operations are led to believe, the materials needed to carry out an attack. Though these operations have almost always held up in court, they have come under increasing criticism from those who believe that many of the subjects, even some who openly espoused violence, would have been unable to execute such plots without substantial assistance from the government. Both F.B.I. leaders and federal prosecutors have defended the approach as valuable in finding and stopping people predisposed to commit terrorism.”
From Bangladesh Embassy: “At first, we’ll have to be sure about his citizenship. He may not be a Bangladeshi despite carrying a Bangladeshi passport. Rohingyas are also collecting Bangladeshi passports”
Laboni on Facebook: “Do we feel safer as a nation that the NYPD and FBI has entrapped and captured this knucklehead? Or do we feel manipulated to be fearful and suspicious of one another?.. I do not believe that the intention is to weed out dangerous people. I believe very strongly that the intention is to justify racial profiling and domestic espionage. I want the full report on this sting.”
More from NYT: “In a prominent case in 2009, several men, urged by an unusually persistent government informer, planted what they believed to be homemade bombs in front of synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. Four men were convicted, but the judge who oversaw the trial also criticized the law enforcement agents who helped push the plot forward: “The government made them terrorists.””
New York’s tabloids: Daily News ran outdoor photo: first to run a photo. Newsday ran image from Google+ (the suspect’s Google+ account?)
From Press Release:
1) FBI Acting Assistant Director Mary Galligan: “It is important to emphasize that the public was never at risk in this case, because two of the defendant’s ‘accomplices’ were actually an FBI source and an FBI undercover agent. The FBI continues to place the highest priority on preventing acts of terrorism.”
2) Paul J. Browne, deputy commissioner of the New York City Police Department: “Vigilance is our watchword now and into the foreseeable future. That’s why we have over 1,000 police officers assigned to counter-terrorism duties every day, and why we built the Domain Awareness System.”
3) U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch from the Eastern District of New York: “We will use all of the tools at our disposal to stop any such attack before it can occur.”
4. The plot came to light as an FBI undercover agent posed as an al-Qaeda facilitator, federal authorities say.
Washington Post: Man arrested in purported plot
Fox: Man arrested after plotting Federal Reserve bomb
ABC has “video”: Would-Be TerroristMeanwhile over in UK, the Ahsan case is in the news again:McKinnon and Ahsan: a tale of two extraditions
The family of Mr Ahmad, who following an arrest in 2003 won £60,000 from the Metropolitan police after they admitted “a serious, gratuitous and prolonged attack” on him, today hit out at “double standards”.