It is naturally assumed that the recent arrest of a former U.S. Air Force veteran, Tairod Nathan Webster Pugh, on terror-related charges offers evidence that America’s “war on terror” declared after 9/11 has been quite successful. 2015 data obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) through the Freedom of Information Act seems to support this assumption.
According to TRAC, U.S. Justice Department records show that during January 2015 alone, 25 new national internal security/terrorism convictions were obtained in the ninety-four federal judicial district across the country—with the District of Arizona, Central District of California, Eastern District of Michigan and Western District of Tennessee leading the way as the top four districts in which these types of convictions were obtained.
The Justice Department data also shows that since 2010, the number of convictions for national security/terror-related crimes is down by 5.9 percent. More significantly, prosecutions for these types of offenses are down by 85.1 percent since 2010.
Forty percent of the 25 convictions from this offense group type obtained in January 2015 were for “domestic terrorism” while the second category was “terrorism related hoaxes” (24%). The FBI was the leading law enforcement agency that developed the evidence that led to these convictions followed by the Department of Homeland Security. The lead charge in the “domestic violence” cases was “use or possession of chemical weapons,” a violation of Section 229 of Title 18, United States Code.
That same month 24 defendants were charged in U.S. District Courts with the lead charge being 1) Explosives – importation and storage of explosive (Section 844 of Title 18); 2) False information and hoaxes (Section 1038 of Title 18); and Mailing threatening communications (Section 876 of Title 18).
On average, the Justice Department has obtained approximately 10 national security/terrorism convictions for every ten million people in the United States. So it would be reasonable to conclude that the declining number of prosecutions and convictions for national security/terror-related offenses illustrate the success of the nation’s “war on terror.”
But at what costs is the victory being secured? Numbers do not always tell the whole story. In an October 2011 edition of Mother Jones, some stunning numbers tell a different story.
As of August 2011, the Justice Department has initiated 508 terror-related prosecutions since 9/11. Of those, 48 percent was targeted through an informant, 31 percent were nabbed in a sting, and 10 percent were led into the terrorist plot by an informant. So nearly six out of ten of these cases involved informants—most of whom were paid handsomely by the FBI to develop these cases.
But what is most striking about these more than 500 “terrorism-related” prosecutions is that the defendants were ultimately convicted (about 65 percent of whom pleaded guilty) of non-terror-related offenses, such as immigration violations. And it is stunning to note that 41 percent of these defendants were not even connected to any terrorist organizations or other Islamist groups.
The ugly reality is that the “war on terror” being led by the FBI has initiated and then orchestrated what has been dubbed “harebrained plots” to demonstrate that 1) there are terrorists in America and 2) there is a need to wage war on them. The FBI not only pays informants to seek out and recruit individuals, mostly Muslims, into ridiculous terror plots (like pipe-bombing the Capitol) but they target individuals who never really had any terrorism motives or resources to fulfill any motives they may have had prior to the introduction of FBI resources.
In a 2014 report, “Illusions of Justice: Human Rights in Terrorism Prosecutions,” published by Columbia University School of Law’s Human Rights Watch, it was pointed out that “ … since the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, DC, the United States government has failed to meet its international obligations with respect to its investigations and prosecution of terrorism suspects, as well as the treatment of terrorism suspects in custody … [this is] too often true with regard to American Muslim defendants investigated, tried, and convicted of terrorism or terrorism-related offenses in the US criminal justice system.”
This report also pointed to the “more than” 500 terrorism-related prosecutions in this country since 9/11. The Human Rights Watch report found that many of these “prosecutions have properly targeted individuals engaged in planning or financing terror attacks. But many others have targeted individuals who do not appear to have been involved in terrorist plotting or financing at the time the government began to investigate them.”
The report added: “Indeed, in some cases the Federal Bureau of Investigation may that facilitated or invented the target’s willingness to act. According to multiple studies, nearly 50 percent of the more than 500 federal counterterrorism convictions resulted from informant-based cases …”
So while it may be said that the “war on terror” has been successful, the costs of that success in human terms cannot possibly be measured. The images and profiles coming out of these terror-related prosecutions reveal, more often than not, that it is the legion of FBI informants who are the real terrorists in this nation.