Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Another terror plot implodes

Prosecutors in Michigan have asked that the terrorism case against three Palestinian-Americans be dropped. The three Texas Muslims were arrested and held for several days immediately after the UK plane bomb scare. The reason they were held? They had dozens of prepaid cell phones and they had taken a photo of Michigan's Mackinac Bridge. Oh my God! Where are their martyrdom tapes!!??

This development comes after another terror case in Ohio, also involving oodles of pre-paid cell's, was dismissed. Are we seeing a Republican effort to spread fear of "Islamic fascists" throughout America? Both of these cases are similar to the previously debunked "master plots" in Miami and New York that were - as these were - originally billed as textbook Al Qaida mega-attacks that could have killed hundreds of people.

Media reports viewed the two cases as a "wave of terror", with terror experts pointing out how pre-paid phones can be used for "terror" and calling for bridge security to be upped. If not for the Mideast cease-fire taking over the news, mass paranoia surely would have spread throughout the nation.
Take a look at this piece from the Detroit Free-Press on Monday:

If the hundreds of prepaid cellular telephones found in the minivan seemed odd, the pictures of the Mackinac Bridge were downright troubling to Tuscola County law enforcement officials who have charged three Texas men with terrorism-related crimes.

The phones plus photographs and videos of the 5-mile-long bridge led authorities to believe that the men -- two brothers and a cousin, all of Middle Eastern heritage -- were targeting the iconic structure linking the Upper and Lower peninsulas, according to a law enforcement official familiar with details of the case.
While the bridge pictures might have been vacation images taken by any tourists, they took on potentially sinister significance because of the men's bulk purchase at a Caro Wal-Mart of 80 talk-and-toss cell phones that have been used by terrorists to detonate bombs, the official said Sunday, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation.

Considering these folks were from Texas, why not take a photo of an iconic bridge? Is not that what tourists do? What is the threat from dozens of cell phones anyhow? I thought you only needed one to blow up a bomb. The fact that they had a large amount of them shouldn't have raised suspicions.
What did, obviously, was the fact that they were Muslim. It's abundantly clear that religious profiling is now the norm in terror cases, as all of the recent "uncovered plots" attest to. What is not clear is how useful this ridiculous practice even is. Were any of these guys in Michigan or Ohio the "real deal"? Were they actually trying to blow up a bridge? No, they weren't. All these arrest did was to once again spread fear across the country. Wait...I guess that's the point.



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