Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Miami Seven: How Dangerous are They Really??

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Jon Stewart takes a look at the case known to many as "The Miami Seven." He examines the careful and decisive evidence told to us by Alberto Gonzales:

"Terror plot" against Chicago skyscraper? Farcical.

by Adam Harvey, Herald Sun [Melbourne, Australia]

June 25, 2006
Unknown News.org

The plot sounded menacing: a group of home-grown terrorists with sinister code names seek help from al-Qaida to attack the tallest US building, the 103-storey Sears Tower in Chicago. But as more details emerge of a supposed terror plot interrupted by US authorities, the plotters and their half-baked plan seem less than deadly and more than a little ridiculous.

The seven alleged plotters were mostly unemployed men from a poor suburb of Miami who had no weapons, explosives or money, and were so disorganized they asked their "al-Qaida" contact for uniforms and boots for their "Islamic army", and a camera to take pictures of their target.

A man the plotters thought was an al-Qaida representative turned out to be an undercover agent who helped them: he took their shoe sizes and gave them boots, but failed to provide other items allegedly requested: guns, vehicles, $70,000 cash and bullet-proof vests.

While relatives said they were harmless and not even Muslims, an indictment released by the US Attorney-General, Albert Gonzales, said the men had sworn an oath of allegiance to al-Qaida. Ringleader Narseal Batiste had promised to wage "a full ground war" against the US to "kill all the devils we can" in a mission "just as good or greater than 9/11".

It is unclear whether the Sears Tower attack was suggested by the suspects or the undercover agent. The plotters also wanted to attack FBI buildings, the indictment said, and Batiste used the informant's camera to photograph the FBI building in North Miami Beach and other Miami government buildings.

That was as far as the plotters got.

"It was more aspirational than operational," said John Pistole, the FBI's deputy director.

Neighbors of the warehouse in an area of Miami called Liberty City described the men as a militaristic group, in their teens and 20s, that did not seem threatening. Relatives said the men were part of a community group that had tried to start a local restaurant. A neighbor said they seemed "brainwashed".

"They'd come out late at night and exercise," said Tashawn Rose, 29.

"It seemed like a military boot camp that they were working on there. They would come out and stand guard."

The indictment said the men used code names like "Brother Naz" and "Brother Sunni."

Security at Sears Tower was already tight after previous bomb threats.

"Federal and local authorities continue to tell us they've never found evidence of a credible terrorism threat against Sears Tower," said building managing director, Barbara Carley.

Meanwhile Florida Islamic leaders said the men were not Muslims, not linked to the local Islamic community and were members of a cult.

"As far as we are concerned they have no relation with our community their ideology has nothing in common with the ideology of Islam and they should not be called Muslim," said Ahmed Bedier of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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