Here we go again: what would it take for you to commit mass murder in the name of Allah?
Would you do it for money? For love? Out of a sense of justice? Out of a sense of religious duty? Would you do it because an agent provocateur encouraged you?
Absurd as they may seem, these are serious questions, for as jihad mass-murder plots are being uncovered in the United States more frequently than ever, those accused of perpetrating them, and several Islamic groups, increasingly are charging entrapment: that overzealous FBI agents pushed poor innocent Muslims into taking part in a jihad plot that otherwise would never have existed.
The problem with this line of thinking is that no amount of encouragement could get the average American non-Muslim to participate in a plot to commit mass murder. Mohamed Mohamud must have already been predisposed to this sort of thing.
“Defense: Accused Portland bomb plot teen was coerced,” by Nigel Duara for the Associated Press, May 7 (thanks to Philip):
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Defense lawyers for a Somali-American teen charged with trying to detonate a bomb at a holiday tree-lighting ceremony say a federal agent tried to coerce him into violence.
Attorneys for Mohamed O. Mohamud said in a filing Friday that emails from an agent known only as “Bill Smith” prove the teen’s innocence and show the federal government is not playing fair with the evidence it is supposed to provide.
“The correspondence between Bill Smith and (Mohamud) demonstrates that Smith was acting as an agent provocateur, attempting to encourage (Mohamud) to engage in violent activity in this country,” the defense team wrote….
Mohamud, now 20, has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to ignite a weapon of mass destruction at a Nov. 26 Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Ore. The FBI has said that its agents were acting as his coconspirators as part of a sting and that there was never a real explosive device.
His defense attorneys, Stephen Sady and Steven Wax, appeared to be launching an entrapment defense in their arguments that the agent’s emails show the government shouldn’t have control over what evidence it provides to the defense. They said in the filing that the government had given them “voluminous” amounts of emails with “hundreds of lines of distracting code.”
Sady and Wax argue that the agent initiated discussions about terrorism in the U.S., and that Mohamud didn’t take any action based on that conversation. That, they say, shows that Mohamud wasn’t predisposed to violence.
Mohamud’s predisposition – his will to commit violence – is key to an entrapment defense. If the defense can show that government agents put the idea of a tree-lighting bombing into Mohamud’s head, it enhances their prospects for a successful defense….