This weepy creepy puff piece from the Miami Herald presents Harlem Suarez, who hoped to commit mass murder with a jihad bomb on a Key West beach, as an innocent naif with only a glancing connection to reality, victimized in an entrapment scheme by “Islamophobic” FBI agents. The persistent problem with these claims of entrapment is that no blandishments, no matter how appealing, could get an ordinary person to agree to commit mass murder. One already would have to have the frame of mind of a murderous jihadi to be susceptible to such “entrapment” in the first place, and Harlem Suarez clearly was in that frame of mind.
“Where FBI sees terrorist, Keys family sees naive young man,” by Cammy Clark, Miami Herald, August 7, 2015:
On July 27, news spread quickly around the country that the FBI had just busted another home-grown terrorist inspired by Islamic extremists, this time a 23-year-old Cuban immigrant who bought a backpack “timer bomb” for $100 with plans to blow up, of all places, a sandy beach in Key West.
Residents and visitors of the tourist town were shocked — and relieved that the mastermind of such evil was caught in time and now behind bars, facing life in prison for attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction.
The FBI touted the arrest as foiling another terrorist plot on U.S. soil. But for family, friends and past co-workers of the alleged terrorist, who lives with his parents in a modest apartment on nearby Stock Island, reaction was utter disbelief: “Harlem? A terrorist? No way.”
They say the Harlem Suarez they know is a non-confrontational, happy-go-lucky, hard worker who literally could not hurt even an ant and has the mental aptitude of about a 12-year-old.
He struggles with English and is easily manipulated, eager to please and believes just about everything he sees on TV or the Internet.
Zombies? He believes they are real. Ditto for vampires, werewolves and the blue Smurf comic characters.
He recently watched a show about God being celestial and misinterpreted it to mean God was an extraterrestrial, Suarez’s mother, Vilma Quintana Suarez, said in Spanish through an interpreter. She said she told him he was mixing up his English: “God is not an alien, son. God is the heavenly father. Son, don’t watch the news.”
Suarez’s recent flirtation with the rhetoric of Islamic terrorist organizations — including the existence of his Facebook page under the alias Almlak Benitez that featured postings of pro-ISIL videos with beheadings, according to the FBI — was a surprise to most of his family and friends.
But, they added, “Islamic State sympathizer” most likely was just another of Suarez’s harmless phases.
In the past couple of years he has gone through stages when he has wanted to be black, Mexican, Puerto Rican, a gangster, a vampire, a werewolf, a race boat driver and Key West’s drug kingpin.
“Everyone who knows Harlem knows how he is,” said ex-girlfriend Diane, who wanted her last name to remain anonymous. “Harlem can be anything in his mind. But what he is not is a terrorist or a criminal. He is all talk. And as my friend told the FBI agent, Harlem doesn’t have the balls to do it.”
For all of Suarez’s tough talk among friends, all he has to show on his rap sheet are 24 traffic violations, for offenses ranging from speeding to not wearing eyewear while driving one of his two red and white Yamaha motorcycles….
On Thursday Suarez was indicted for allegedly attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction and attempted provision of material support to a known terrorist group, for creation of an ISIL — also known as ISIS — recruiting video in a Homestead hotel. The second lesser offense is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
Family and friends say the FBI took advantage of a gullible young man with a boy’s mentality, ensnaring him in a questionable counterterrorism sting operation in which undercover employees encouraged Suarez to concoct the plan and then provided him with the inert bomb. One angry family friend told TV reporters camped out in front of the Suarez apartment that the real criminals are in Miami wearing suits and ties.
Suarez’s lawyer, Richard Della Fera, is planning to have his client undergo extensive mental health evaluations….
In April, the FBI had received a report from the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office, which had got a tip about the Facebook page of Almlak Benitez that espoused extremist rhetoric and was recruiting people to join the Islamic State of Iraq and ISIL. Posts included: “Be a warrior, learn how to cut your enemies head and then burn down the body learn how to be the new future of the world Caliphate.”
The FBI also found that on the Facebook page under Harlem Suarez’s real name, his “likes” included “Jihadist,” “Extraordinary Prayer for ISIS, and “Prayers for ISIS: Weapons of our Warfare.”
While the FBI began investing Suarez as a potential terrorist, a good friend and former co-worker of Suarez, who did not wish to be identified because he would lose his job, said when he heard about Suarez’s desire to “join the Muslims,” he saw it as just another phase.
“He told me he wanted to be a Muslim so he could lose weight because he thought he was fat,” the friend said. “He must have seen a new diet that mentioned Muslims. But when I told him he couldn’t eat pork, which is a main part of a Cuban’s diet, he didn’t know that.”
Quintana, who wore a brown cross around her neck and raised her son Catholic, said that Suarez is “curious.”
Somehow, he went from wanting to be Muslim to lose weight to espousing hatred that his lawyer said was likely “cut and pasted” because his English is poor and he certainly does not know what “Caliphate” means.
Suarez also had an obsession with guns. The first time he tried to buy one, he was so nervous he dropped it on the display counter and broke the glass, one friend said. His attempt to buy an AK-47 fell through when he filled out paperwork wrong, according to the federal complaint.
Suarez did buy a Glock, according to Diane, who said he wanted it for protection because his sister had once been robbed in Miami. “And,” she added, “he wanted to be prepared for the zombie apocalypse. He also wanted us to buy canned food so when the world ends, we will have something to eat.”
Diane said she knew of only one time he fired the gun, at a driving range.
He fired a gun at a driving range? Were terrified golfers diving for cover? In reality, he probably fired a gun at a firing range, and this is a case of careless and inept writing.
After watching a YouTube skit involving President Barack Obama declaring martial law and all of California taking up arms against the government, he told another friend they had to start getting weapons ready. “He didn’t understand it was not real,” his friend said….
Jihad is real.
Friends and family have many stories about Suarez’s inability to hurt anything. His father said his son can’t even scale a fish and his mother said one time she swatted away an ant that was carrying a crumb and her son got upset. “He said that ant was working so hard to get that crumb of food.”
Friends say he once saved an injured pigeon and took it to the animal shelter for treatment and never shot at iguanas or got involved in cockfights, as many young men have done living in Key West.
So they couldn’t believe he really meant any of the violent things he told FBI undercover employees or wrote on the Internet, including: “One day I will cook American” … “In cages” … “Flaming.”..
Well, all right. But the Qur’an doesn’t say to wage jihad against ants or injured pigeons or iguanas.