On July 21st, HBO will begin airing “The Newburgh Sting,” a documentary that focuses on four U.S. citizens prosecuted as “home-grown terrorists.” The movie premiered at this year’s TriBeCa’s Film Festival.
This film is an indictment of the Federal government and its plot to send federal informants into impoverished communities that contain a Muslim mosque and ferret out what it calls “home-grown terrorists.” The problem: without government funding, without government encouragement, without government orchestration and creation of the entire plot, a jihad against anyone or thing in the United States would have been the furthest idea or concept emanating from any of these individual minds.
In the Newburgh case, the federal government prosecuted four black males who can only be described as low-level criminals, drug addicts, small-time petty thieves and the bottom of the chain drug dealers, who live in a devastated community with little or no hope of ever escaping the impoverishment that has settled in over the years. One of the men had a brother who desperately needed a liver transplant, another was mentally disabled, and none of them were practicing Muslims.
The informant started attending the Mosque and eventually was referred to one of these men. By sending in this undercover informant (not an agent) and offering up some $250,000 if this man would recruit the others, the government created a plot to bomb two synagogues and Stewart International Airport (formerly Stewart Air Force base). These four men could hardly put together a drug deal let alone a sophisticated terrorist plot!
Based upon fear and the federal district court allowing into evidence the Stinger missile (obtained by the feds) and video demonstrations of simulated bomb explosions and the consequences, the jury convicted all four men, each of whom were sentenced to 25 years in prison. What glaring deficiencies must exist in the defense of entrapment to allow a conviction under these facts to be sustained.
The movie will make your stomach turn. As will the number of politicians and law enforcement officials who took the press and photo opportunity to laud the federal governments honing in on these so-called “home-grown terrorists.” The only reason this has come to light is because the Newburgh defendants refused a plea negotiation to settle the case for 10-year prison sentences and elected a jury trial. The film directors use much of the film and testimony from the trial to support their position. How many other cases around the country exist like this? In most cases the defendants were so scared by what could happen in American courts of justice that they took the plea deals rather than risk going to trial as the Newburgh men did.
One of the family members of the Newburgh defendants remarked that with all of the money spent on creating this terrorist plot, many unemployed and undereducated Newburgh residents could have been given job training and jobs for many, many years. Several FBI agents left the bureau based upon the disingenuousness of this plan, and their disagreement with the apparent FBI mission to create fictional terrorists. They did not see this as part of their mission.
An independent investigation should take place that informs the American people and takes a look at these so-called “home-grown terrorist cases” around the country. We should learn whether we really broke up existing terrorist plots or created a feel good situation for a public immersed in fear and terror based on 911 at the expense of some petty criminals who no one really cares about except for their own families.
This documentary exposes an investigation and prosecution contrary to the American ideal. When the government sets upon a community and recruits African American men to bomb Jewish temples (who refused to do it when any people were present; what kind of jihad is that!), a notion inconceivable to these men in their daily lives, this kind of government inspired racial, ethnic and faith created divisiveness should be denounced in the strongest possible terms. We urge everyone to watch this documentary and draw your own conclusions.