A Rochester, New York food store owner charged by the US government with giving “material support” to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and planning attacks against American soldiers, purchased firearms and silencers from a “confidential source” retained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release published Tuesday.
Acting on behalf of his FBI handlers, the informant sold secretly disabled weapons to Mufid Elfgeeh, a 30-year-old Yemen-born owner of the Halal Mojo and Food Mart in Rochester. Immediately after the guns were transferred from an FBI informant known as CS-2 to Elfgeeh, Elfgeeh was arrested by agents of the Rochester Joint Terrorism Task Force.
“Elfgeeh purchased two handguns equipped with firearm silencers and ammunition from a confidential source. The handguns were made inoperable by the FBI before the confidential source gave them to Elfgeeh,” the DOJ wrote in its press release.
Elfgeeh is now facing charges of “providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization” and plotting to kill US soldiers and employees.
Court documents cited by the DOJ state that Elfgeeh began a pattern of support for ISIS when he spoke to two confidential FBI sources (CS-1 and CS-2) about their supposed plans to travel abroad and become jihadists, and subsequently offered to help finance their journey.
“After CS-1 and CS-2 agreed to travel to Syria to join ISIS, Elfgeeh took several steps to prepare them for the trip,” the DOJ press release states.
The government’s final, related charge against Elfgeeh is that he planned to attack US soldiers using the handguns. To substantiate this claim, government court documents cite two discussions between the alleged terror supporter and one of the FBI informants, supposedly occurring in December of 2013 and February of 2014.
Even taking the evidence cited by the DOJ at face value, the government’s entire case against Elfgeeh is the product of an FBI sting operation.
The only actual example of Elfgeeh’s alleged “material support” cited by the DOJ was his alleged transfer of $600 to an unnamed individual in Yemen, supposedly to help with travel expenses for the two informants who claimed that they were going to Syria to join ISIS.
Elfgeeh’s alleged crimes flowed at every step from initiatives taken by FBI agents, who likely selected the store keeper as a hapless target, vulnerable to suggestions from the enthusiastic would-be militants hired by the agency. FBI informants discussed a possible attack against American military personnel with the food mart owner and then supplied him with weapons and illegal silencers, all while posing as committed Islamist militants over a period of six months.
The FBI has once again demonstrated its capacity to conjure up terrorist incidents out of thin air. Such manufactured terror plots have been staged by US government agencies on numerous occasions since the September 11, 2001 attacks, as part of the desperate efforts of the US ruling elite to disorient the public and bolster the catch-all war pretext of the Global War on Terror (GWOT).
In June 2006, seven men were arrested in the destitute working class neighborhood of Liberty City, Miami, and charged with conspiring to “wage war on the United States.” One of the targets was also charged with a crime for taking pictures of FBI headquarters in Miami, when the camera he used was supplied to him by an FBI agent.
In May 2012, five alleged “anarchists” living in Cleveland were charged with planning to blow up a bridge, after a six-month-long FBI sting operation supplied them with fake explosives and egged them on to use them.
In October 2012, the US government charged a 21-year old Bangladeshi student living in New York City with conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction in an effort to blow up the Federal Reserve Bank. Twenty bags of fake explosives, a fake detonator, and a van were supplied to Quazi Mohammad Nafis by agents with New York’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.
Nafis, who does not drive, was then chauffeured in the fake car bomb to the alleged attack site by an FBI agent.
In February 2013, 28-year Matthew Llaneza was arrested for preparing to set off a fake car bomb in Oakland California. The storage unit, SUV and fake explosives used by Llaneza were all supplied to him by the FBI’s South Bay Joint Terrorism Task Force, and Llaneza assembled them into a car bomb under the direction of FBI proxies.
A comprehensive list of terrorist plots instigated by the FBI would fill many pages. As Human Rights Watch (HRW) deputy director Andrea Prasow concluded following HRW’s study of 27 federal terrorism cases, “Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the US. But take a closer look and you realize that many of these people would never have committed a crime if not for law enforcement encouraging, pressuring, and sometimes paying them to commit terrorist acts.”
In its own analysis of these incidents, the World Socialist Web Site has identified the main features of every such plot concocted by the US government. In virtually every case, the accused has no prior history of terrorist acts and do not possess the necessary weapons and means to carry out such actions prior to being supplied with them by government agents. Further, every case features paid undercover assets of the FBI as central players and outright instigators.
Following these guidelines, the Elfgeeh incident qualifies as a model FBI terrorist frame-up operation.
In comments relating to the charges, US Attorney General Eric Holder has already made clear that Elfgeeh’s arrest will be used to justify a further ratcheting up of police-state measures domestically. Holder said this week that the case proves the need for use of “all tools” available in order to thwart terror plots, including surveillance of social media and use of FBI informants.
“As this case shows, our agents and prosecutors are using all the investigative tools at our disposal to break up these plots before individuals can put their plans into action,” Holder said
The timing of the Elfgeeh incident leaves no doubt about the geopolitical agenda it was intended to serve. The offensive of ISIS in Iraq is being used as a pretext by US imperialism to carry out not only a renewed military intervention in that country, but a broader campaign for the military overthrow of the Syrian government, as part of its long-term strategy to dominate the entire Eurasian landmass through military-strategic confrontation with Syria’s main regional ally, Iran, and ultimately with Russia and China.
The government’s relentless promotion of a supposedly ubiquitous threat of terrorism through the outright staging of terrorist plots by paid informants and their ensnared victims is supplemented by a relentless barrage of media propaganda treating these state conspiracies as good coin. One can only understand this politically criminal process as the malignant byproduct of predatory and hegemonic foreign policy pursued by US imperialism in the Middle East and on a global scale.