Author Topic: I don't like it  (Read 32392 times)

random axe

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2010, 01:39:14 PM »
Thing is, mo, convincing teenagers to kill lots of people IS the basic process for most terrorist organizations, and it works really well.  It's also the basic process for most military organizations of all time.  I'm not saying all soldiers are terrorists, of course; the targets they're pointed at are chosen by officers, and the wars they prosecute are chosen by politicians.  But blaming a grunt at My Lai is not so different from blaming a 16-year-old suicide bomber.  They were both talked into it by persuasion.


Quote from: hmof
You could take that same person and brainwash them into working for a charity

We have a huge cultural issue with this basic concept.  We have a culture largely based on diminishing personal responsibility and yet worshipping both success and blame.  It's deeply stupid.  One of the many side effects is that as a nation we're all about punishment and scapegoats, even though we tend to assume that anyone who's rewarded somehow deserves that reward.  Threatening people who fail to be good citizens, sure, but actually encouraging people to be good citizens, that's socialism or something.

Another major problem we have here is that we're like sports teams that go through a rough spot and praise the other team.  It's never because we played a bad game; it's because the other team is actually so much better than people think.  Our leaders love to magnify the competence and strength of our enemies because it makes our successes look better and our failures look less important.

Thing is, you can't release 500 tons of scary propaganda daily and then turn around and be merciful and constructive.  It would deflate your propaganda effort.  There are no tools in our justice system in these cases except throwing the book at them.  That's why any random schmoe who initially looked suspicious and got shipped to prison for no good reason, and it's obvious, still they've got to get nailed on some conspiracy charge or something and sent to prison for a damned long time even though they were in prison a damned long time just awaiting charges, much less trial.

The whole house of cards is too fragile to withstand any ambiguity.  It's crap, but it relies on public perception.

Now, in a case like this, I do cut the FBI some slack because I understand the need to tease this out a bit and see if this kid can lead us to some other dangerous, probably more dangerous people.  But he didn't know shit.  And I suspect that after they spent a lot of time and a lot of money investigating him, there was a strong tendency to try to strike gold regardless of how far they had to go to spin it out of straw.

vox8

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2010, 03:34:32 PM »
The US agents, in a 'sting operation', communicated with him as a group and as separate individuals, encouraged him, taught him how to make a car bomb (one that wouldn't actually work), and even helped him load the fake car bomb into the vehicle.  They also messed around with him, such as keeping him from being able to go to Alaska for a summer job program.

This is the part that sticks in my craw. They removed any chance at self determination from this individual. Teenagers are notorious for not going through with things. They love the idea of being in a band and will go as far as playing rock band on their Play Station, but to take the time to actually learn how to play a guitar correctly and work at it - that is considerably rarer than the teen who likes the idea. Now, if the ability to play the guitar falls in their lap - they are going to jump at the chance to be a rock star.

The teen's determination to blow something up might very well have fizzled if he had to figure out how to find the individuals to teach him how to build the bomb himself.

And then, we are sum total of our experiences. If he had the motivation to find a summer job in Alaska that could have indicated a drop in his desire to be a bomber. Maybe if he had gone to Alaska he might have encountered a role model to inspire him towards a different direction for his life. Maybe he would have "found Jesus" maybe he would have been inspired by the awesome (in the true sense of the word) environmental beauty of Alaska and changed his activism towards the environment. Teens have ephemeral passions and had these Feebs not been there to keep him on course, maybe he would have found a constructive, or at least less destructive vent for his ambitions/passions.

But we will never know because they manipulated the course of his life in a direction that they desired. I believe they could have just as easily monitored him to see what he would do. It probably would have been cheaper on the part of the taxpayer. If he was serious about the whole terrorist thing, maybe he would have been able to actually find real terrorists and in doing so lead the FBI into removing a large number of dangerous people off of the street as opposed to one who appears to only be a danger to himself. If he wasn't smart enough to figure out that the bomb they taught him to make wouldn't work - do you really think he could have figured out how to make one on his own?
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mo

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2010, 04:09:03 PM »
From the FBI press release, linked in the article I linked above:

Quote
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, in August 2009, Mohamud was in e-mail contact with an unindicted associate (UA1) overseas who is believed to be involved in terrorist activities. In December 2009, while UA1 was located in the northwest frontier province of Pakistan, Mohamud and UA1 discussed the possibility of Mohamud traveling to Pakistan to engage in violent jihad. UA1 allegedly referred Mohamud to a second unindicted associate (UA2) overseas and provided Mohamud with a name and email address to facilitate the process.

In the months that followed, Mohamud allegedly made several unsuccessful attempts to contact UA2. Ultimately, an FBI undercover operative contacted Mohamud via e-mail in June 2010 under the guise of being an associate of UA1. Mohamud and the FBI undercover operative then agreed to meet in Portland in July 2010. At this meeting, Mohamud allegedly told the FBI undercover operative that he had written articles that were published in Jihad Recollections, an online magazine that advocated violent jihad. Mohamud also indicated that he wanted to become “operational.” Asked what he meant by “operational,” Mohamud stated that he wanted to put an “explosion” together, but needed help.

At a second meeting in August 2010, Mohamud allegedly told undercover FBI operatives he had been thinking of committing violent jihad since the age of 15. According to the affidavit, Mohamud then told the undercover FBI operatives that he had identified a potential target for a bomb: the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square on Nov. 26, 2010.

According to the affidavit, the undercover FBI operatives cautioned Mohamud several times about the seriousness of this plan, noting there would be many people at the event, including many children, and emphasized that Mohamud could abandon his attack plans at any time with no shame. “You know there’s gonna be a lot of children there?” an undercover FBI operative asked Mohamud. According to the affidavit, Mohamud responded that he was looking for a “huge mass that will...be attacked in their own element with their families celebrating the holidays.” Further discussing the attack, Mohamud allegedly stated, “...it’s in Oregon; and Oregon like you know, nobody ever thinks about it.”

So what would you suggest the FBI do in this situation? I mean, assuming it's not all a total fabrication made up by the FBI. If you're working from the assumption that the kid is just some totally innocent scapegoat they used to make it look like they're actually accomplishing something in the war on terror, and that the facts we're reading are false, then we're having a pointless conversation. The FBI could really be aliens from another planet, and they want to take Mohamud back home with them for breeding purposes. I don't have anything to base my alien theory on, but I don't see what you have to base your entrapment theory on either, other than the word of some of the kid's friends saying that he was a "chill dude" and they never suspected he'd do something like this - the same kind of thing you hear from neighbors of serial killers.

Quote
Thing is, mo, convincing teenagers to kill lots of people IS the basic process for most terrorist organizations, and it works really well.  It's also the basic process for most military organizations of all time.  I'm not saying all soldiers are terrorists, of course; the targets they're pointed at are chosen by officers, and the wars they prosecute are chosen by politicians.  But blaming a grunt at My Lai is not so different from blaming a 16-year-old suicide bomber.  They were both talked into it by persuasion.

Yeah, I know this, and even mentioned it above, but one major difference here is that it's not so easy to brainwash someone via email and meeting them once or twice. The military owns you 24/7, Manson kept his family very close, the kids from Mumbai were kept in a camp, and they were all taken care of and provided for. My Lai was a little bit different situation - that was sort of mass hysteria or mob mentality.

Quote
Another major problem we have here is that we're like sports teams that go through a rough spot and praise the other team.

I think that's what's going on here. The feds have done some bad stuff, no doubt, and they may be guilty in this case - there's no way for me to know, but just because they have a spotty past, I'm not going to assume they coerced this kid into doing this.

Warning - while you were typing a new reply has been posted. You may wish to review your post.

 :eyeroll: Doesn't anybody here feel better with this guy off the streets?

Okay, I like vox's points better, but still, it's easy to say "monitor him", but what if he somehow disappears? How are the feds going to look if he got away and actually pulled off something? He's expressed a desire to mass murder, and they let him go on his way?

Also, supposedly, he did contact real terrorists, according to one of the articles I read, and the terrorists didn't believe he was for real - didn't trust him - thought it was a trap.
It's symbolic of our struggle against reality.

vox8

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2010, 04:32:55 PM »
To be completely honest, I was basing my response completely on Axe's summation of the situation - I have read nothing on the situation and did not even know of it's existence until I read it here.

I'm pretty out of touch in that way. I do not read any newspapers, watch any TV and I do not read any news aggregators. It isn't until someone mentions something that strikes my interest - either here or on FarceBook - that I investigate things.

The thing that really bothered me was the implication that he was talked out of a summer job program in Alaska. That is the kind of thing that can really be a pivotal point in a person's development into an adult.

Do I think the kid should have been watched closely? Yes.

Frankly, if they had proof of what you said above, mo then I personally think he should have been arrested immediately as a domestic terrorist. Teaching him to braid and knot a noose so that he can hang himself? A waste of time and money. If he was of legal age when he made the threats and plans - go to jail, go directly to, jail ... do not pass go. If he was below legal age - then commitment to a facility and re-education.

That they did not act on the information directly says to me one of two things.

a) They didn't actually have any proof and it was all hearsay and supposition.
b) Some jackass(s) at the FBI saw this as an opportunity to get a shit tonne of recognition if they turned him into a bigger fish.

Do I feel better that he is off the streets? Yes.

I would have to read a great deal more to form any concrete opinions about the situation, and frankly - I cannot see where it would get me. There is nothing I can do about it and nothing I say or do will make a difference in how it is going to go down. So why stress myself out?
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mo

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2010, 04:44:56 PM »
I would have to read a great deal more to form any concrete opinions about the situation, and frankly - I cannot see where it would get me. There is nothing I can do about it and nothing I say or do will make a difference in how it is going to go down. So why stress myself out?

 :lol: :clap: That's pretty much how I see it too. I don't know why I read so much on the issue other than trying to understand Axe's stance. I had read an article on it yesterday, formed my opinion, and was surprised to see Axe's opinion today, so I read a little more.

And now the wikileaks are out (New York Times has started posting articles), so this little thing will quickly become non-news. It should be an interesting week, and not in a good way.
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random axe

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2010, 08:47:24 PM »
Quote from: mo
So what would you suggest the FBI do in this situation?

If the threat seems credible, pick him up.  Look, a teenager bragging on the internet is barely probably cause for anything.  But if you think it's a serious threat, pick him up right away.  Nip it in the bud.


Quote
one major difference here is that it's not so easy to brainwash someone via email and meeting them once or twice

Yeah, it really can be.  It varies with the person in question, the people doing the influencing, and so on, but, I mean, do you think newbies who drop in to 4chan aren't affected?  Do you think the creepier 'out there' internet groups only attract the like-minded and don't create converts?  I think they make converts like clouds make rain.

One thing sociology will tell you is that strong symbolic rhetoric is fiercely addictive.  Historically, Christianity has been good at supplanting other religions partly because it has the most distilled, strongest, weirdest memes.  It's catchy.  Extremism is catchy, too.

Besides, until the FBI got involved, how do they know how serious this kid was?  Obviously, they don't.  It's the Mother Night problem -- if you pretend to be a leader of the enemy, you might be better at it than the real enemy leaders are, even if you're only pretending.

And I do think this kid needed to be off the streets.  God only knows if he could have / would have built a car bomb on his own.  It's hard to guess how motivated he really was, a year ago, but he's obviously a hell of a lot smarter than the average terrorist.  He's much smarter about choosing targets.  Frankly, that's the really scary part about this.

Look, when I was in junior high and high school, it was perfectly normal (among guys) to play hypothetical games about this kind of thing.  If I were going to kill everyone in the school, how would I do it?  Are the air intakes in the auditorium central to the HVAC system?  If I were a supervillain, would I try to poison the reservoir?  If so, how?  If not, what would I do instead?  If an army invaded the town, what would be the best guerilla response -- or would fleeing be smartest, and, if so, how and to where?  I have no doubt the internet is lousy with kids talking about this stuff.

Nowadays, it's mostly zombie fantasies, but these are normal things for adolescent boys to think and talk about.  The Columbine kids and actual terrorists have obviously changed a lot of people's perspectives, which is perfectly reasonable.  But if you plan some shit out, and someone dares you, or explains how you could actually do it . . . that's a slippery slope.  Especially if your 'friends' (as far as you know) are badass real-life professionals.  Now you have some shit to live up to.

Not really anything more than a comment:  Apparently now some helpful citizen (or, possibly, attention-whoring minority person) has firebombed the mosque the kid allegedly attended.

mo

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #21 on: November 29, 2010, 06:00:14 AM »
Yeah, I saw the story about the fire and was surprised, because one of the articles I read yesterday morning said they had a cop car stationed outside to prevent such incidents.
It's symbolic of our struggle against reality.

Dr. Leonard HmofCoy

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #22 on: November 29, 2010, 09:31:56 AM »
Pfft. The cop probably threw the molotov.
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vox8

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2010, 10:55:06 AM »
OK, I just read a couple of articles and it is pretty clear to me that the individual in question needed a psychologist or a counselor, not the law. From what I have read, his behavior underwent a radical change that coincided with the divorce of his parents.

His father noticed the change in his behavior, towards radicalism, and his solution was to report his kid to the police. Christ, if there is a better recipe for alienation I cannot think of one.
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random axe

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2010, 02:18:49 PM »
This is, unfortunately, certainly a good argument for not trying to help your kid by talking to the police.

:thumbsdn:

I mean, even if you're not in Texas.  (No offense, FP.  But the very worst cases I hear about kids being railroaded are almost always out of TX, with a notable exception in Memphis.)

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #25 on: November 29, 2010, 04:11:38 PM »
Well, I can't really defend our LE or court systems here. There was another similar entrapment type case fairly recently where the kid allegedly planned to blow up that cool mirrored-glass building in downtown Dallas. Ideas like "entrapment" and "paying your dues to society" and "privacy" are just outdated notions from another era now tho, regardless of state. I ain't mad at MI specifically for getting the only alcohol drink I enjoy anymore banned nationally, either...



feffer

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2010, 04:21:55 PM »
But the very worst cases I hear about kids being railroaded are almost always out of TX, with a notable exception in Memphis.)

And that was actually in Arkansas.
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flipper

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #27 on: November 29, 2010, 04:27:02 PM »
West Memphis
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mo

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #28 on: November 29, 2010, 05:07:33 PM »
This is, unfortunately, certainly a good argument for not trying to help your kid by talking to the police.

Yeah, this rarely, if ever, works.

It's symbolic of our struggle against reality.

random axe

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Re: I don't like it
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2010, 05:10:16 PM »
:doh:

You know, I was thinking that I didn't think that was in Tennessee, but I couldn't be bothered to wiki it.  My dumbness.


Yeah, FP, that was just bad legislation up here.  Lazy.  Regulating the marketing of caffeinated booze would've been, you know, complicated.  Time-consuming.  Just ban it, man.  Just give up and go home early.  That shit clearly was being specifically marketed to underage drinkers, but that doesn't mean adults shouldn't be allowed to drink it.  

Still, an identical formulation minus the caffeine would probably taste pretty damned similar, for one thing, and a simple mixed drink of energy-drink-made-for-that plus whatever wouldn't be so tough.  We'll see how long that takes.  Jagerbombs do not count.