Newburgh 4 meeting exposes
Another case of FBI entrapment
Published Jul 2, 2009 7:43 PM
Relatives of the Newburgh 4 spoke on June 18 at a forum in White Plains, N.Y.
Everything they said reinforced charges by the Islamic community that the FBI
is entrapping innocent Muslim men for political reasons.
Sensational headlines in May accused James Cromitie (aka Abdul Rahman), David
Williams, Onta Williams and Laguerre Payen with conspiracy to use weapons of
mass destruction within the U.S., which carries a maximum penalty of life in
prison, and conspiracy to acquire and use anti-aircraft missiles, which carries
a mandatory minimum of 25 years and maximum of life in prison.
All four men were ex-prisoners struggling to make a living.
Alicia McWilliams, aunt of David Williams, asked why his parole officer never
intervened during the year-long government operation. She questioned how a
petty drug dealer like her nephew could suddenly become a terrorist
Explaining that all the defendants were poor, uneducated and Black, McWilliams
compared agent provocateur Shahed Hussain, who used the name Maqsood, to a
“drug dealer preying on poor kids” or a “pimp targeting young
girls right off the bus in Times Square.”
Hussain is the same agent who was used by the FBI in the widely publicized
terrorism case against Albany, N.Y., pizza-shop owner Mohammed Mosharref
Hossain and Yassin Muhiddin Aref in 2004. Instead of wasting taxpayer money on
frame-ups, McWilliams wants the government to “give men coming from jail
something solid,” like jobs they can feel proud of and raise families
McWilliams’ sister, Elizabeth, mother of David Williams, described how
she and her sick son, who needs a liver transplant, were swarmed by an army of
cops. She said both were handcuffed and held for five hours, even though
Homeland Security must have known Williams did not live there. She reported
that Williams had said he knew a man who was soon going to “help with the
medical bills” for his brother. Now she is torn over which son she has to
help the most.
Kathleen Barnes, fiancé of James Cromitie, described how the informant
stalked Cromitie and her family. She said Maqsood showed up often in his
Hummer, BMW or other expensive vehicle, asking for James and offering money to
her and their children. Cromitie avoided him for weeks at a time, telling
Barnes, “Don’t take nothing from him.”
But the agent eventually caught Cromitie at home, and on May 21, five SWAT vans
and a truckload of armed men attacked Barnes’ home, slammed her to the
ground and held a gun to her head. No search warrant was ever shown.
Another speaker at the forum, who was afraid of losing her job, refused to
reveal her name. She had already lost her longtime job as a housekeeper when
her boss found out about the charges against her partner, Onta Williams. She
described Newburgh as an impoverished city, and could not understand why the
FBI picked her town in which to stage this frame-up.
Nada Khader, representing the WESPAC Foundation which hosted the event,
explained that Laguerre Payen, who was unemployed and took medication for
schizophrenia before his arrest, was not represented by counsel because he is
from Haiti and has no family in the New York area.
Pointing to the 50 percent unemployment rate for African-American men in
Newburgh, Khader said targeting these men by the FBI is entrapment and called
the four “victims of capitalism.”
Lynne Jackson of Project SALAM raised the similarities among many of the FBI
entrapment cases, including the use of informants who suggest the crime,
recruit and organize the conspiracy, and finally arrange the purchase of
Ferik Duka, father of three of the Fort Dix 5, spoke on the phony terrorism
cases since 9/11, with many “arrests and convictions despite no
facts.” He explained that by targeting innocent Muslim men here, the U.S.
justifies its “wars against terrorism” abroad.
Mauri’ Saalakhan of the Peace and Justice Foundation ended the meeting by
announcing a July 3 rally in Washington, at which family members of Muslim
defendants are invited to speak. Among the issues to be addressed will be the
relentless targeting of Muslim organizations, the use of agent provocateurs in
Islamic communities, and harsh sentencing of up to life in prison for
convictions in cases in which no one was harmed. For more details, contact
[email protected] or call 301-762-9162.
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