The Intercept’s Trevor Aaronson joins the show to talk about the travesty of justice in the trial of Hamid Hayat, who has finally been released after nearly 15 years in prison. Hayat was an alleged terrorist, convicted based on a coerced confession he gave to FBI agents under duress, as well as recordings from his conversations with an FBI informant who had pretended to befriend Hayat’s family. Hayat is just one of many such cases of U.S. government entrapment, which make up the majority of supposed terrorism prosecutions.
Discussed on the show:
- “Reporters Questioned His Terror Prosecution. Now He’s Free.” (The Intercept)
- “The Confession Tapes” (Netflix)
- “Lodi Man Describes Terrorist Training” (LA Times)
- “US-led coalition ‘killed 1,600 civilians’ in Syria’s Raqqa” (Al Jazeera)
Trevor Aaronson is a contributing writer for The Intercept and executive director of the nonprofit Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. He is the author of The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism. Find him on Twitter @trevoraaronson.
This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: NoDev NoOps NoIT, by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State, by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com; Tom Woods’ Liberty Classroom; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott; Washinton Babylon; Liberty Under Attack Publications; Listen and Think Audio; TheBumperSticker.com; and LibertyStickers.com.
Following is an auto-generated transcript of the episode.
sorry I’m late. I had to stop by the wax museum again and give the finger that FDR We know Al Qaeda Zawahiri is supporting the opposition in Syria. Are we supporting Al Qaeda in Syria? It’s a proud day for America. Ghad, We’ve kicked Vietnam syndrome once and for all. Thank you Very. I say it. I see it again. Bin These women are trying to simply deny things that just about everybody else except as fact Saud died way Kila, Naor Minh Khaleeq Illing Maale way Bol Cnet like, say, I’m Ain Bin Say it. Say it three times the meeting of the largest armies in the history of the world. Then that’s going to be an invasion Arak hard. You guys on the line. I’ve got Trevor Aronson from the intercept and author of the great book The Terror Factory, which, of course, is a reference to the FBI. Welcome back to the show. How you doing, Trevor? Good God. Thanks for having me. Eso happy to talk to you again and on such an important and positive occasion. Hama Id Hyatt from the big fake Lodi, California terrorism case of I think 2005 has finally been freed from prison. Do tell. Yeah, after after nearly nearly 15 years in prison, my Hama high it was released after US magistrate judge held an evidentiary hearing, realized that the case was highly problematic and recommended Itsu returning, which, ultimately the presiding judge seven months later agreed to and high. It was released earlier this month. Um, it’s a huge thing in the sense that you know, we’ve had more than 800 defendants convicted Awene international terrorism related charges since 9 11 lot of these cases were quite problematic and high. It is really the first that we’ve seen, where we have a full overturning and ultimately released on De no. I think it’s worth noting as I did in the story that, you know, much of this probably wouldn’t have happened were it not for the fact that you know media organizations, you know, I spent 15 years questioning and finding more and more about this case that that was problematic. And in the end, the evidence that the magistrate judge used in recommending Itsu returning, you know, would have been possible in Alexei Kode were it not for this kind of media scrutiny you know. So it’s certainly a travesty of justice that this guy’s Bin nearly 15 years in prison. But, you know, at least you know, the the small comfort is that justice was served even if it took a very long time. Yeah, well, let that be a lesson to young people in the audience to that. If people don’t do the work, the work doesn’t get done. A simple is that people like Trevor and people at the A, C. O. U. And writers for the L A. Times and other people who have been interested in this and decided for their own reasons to make this their issue. As you say, they’re the ones who made this happen. Natta matter of sharing the credit for boasting purposes or whatever, but in, you know, to show that it actually takes people getting up in the morning and making sure that they’re gonna do their part to free this guy or else it just doesn’t happen. He’s still sitting in this cell. Yeah, you know, I mean, I think so many of these terrorism prosecutions after 9 11 in the kind of hell to find, you know, the so called sleeper cells after 9 11 You know, we’re hugely problematic and quite Abusada, you know, Ind highest cage. You know, they found this informant who was working at a fast food restaurant, you know, making $7 an hour. And over the next couple of years, they Haithem nearly $300,000. And he’s the one that always told the FBI that high it was involved in terrorism. They had no had no evidence to support that. And then ultimately, what the FBI did was they interrogated him until a three o’clock in the morning, and he’s complaining that his head hurts. And they kept telling them, Hey, we know you went to the training camp. We know you went to the training camp and he finally just told them what whatever he needed to tell them to get out of that room, you know, not realizing that he was kind of built, you know, digging his own grave. And, you know, ultimately, he was convicted on that really problematic and coerced confession. And you know what came out of the evidentiary hearing and what came out ultimately through the reporting on this case was you know, witnesses were found in Pakistan. Huu Huu basically said, Yeah, he was in Pakistan. But, you know, you know, he just played video games that soccer the whole time we saw him every day. There’s no way he went to a training camp. And, you know, when even in the confession he gave the FBI, you couldn’t even really say where the Camp Wasat. At one point, he said it was Afghanistan. Another time, he said it was Pakistan. During the trial, the government, you know, went so far show satellite images that said, Hey, here’s the camp he went thio. But then it turned out there was an internal memo inside the government where they were talking about how the intelligence analyst couldn’t agree on which can’t be went to. So, you know, the prosecutors knew there was no consensus about what Kampeas went to, and yet they still presented to the jury as if there were a zit Wasat. And, you know, ultimately that’s you know how he was convicted Itsu. It’s really shameful. It’s a 14 years in prison for himto finally finally get free. And now I guess someone mentioned in the Reddit Room that his case is highlighted in Anu Netflix documentary Siri’s all right It is. I wasn’t I wasn’t familiar with it. That would be Neads Mea Gidi t hear more about that? There was something called the confession tapes. It’s a whole series about bad confessions, and apparently his is one of them. Oh, I have heard of this show. I didn’t realise Hijaz case within that. That’s really interesting. Yeah, yeah, even seen it. But I guess in that being too You know what? They might also talk about his father’s confession, too, because they’re really two confessions Hama High. It gave Wone and at the same time Hi. Hi. It was giving Wone. They took his father into an interrogation room and basically were like, you know, hey, your son, he confessed attending this training camp. You know, you you know, you probably visited him, and at first he was saying, No, I didn’t get any training camp. And then they said, Well, you know, if you went to visit this camp, it wouldn’t really be much different than like a You know, a parent in the United States doing a college campus visit further child. And at that point, Boomer, his father, you know, told them the stands. People story where, you know, there were, like, Wone 1000 terrorists or jihad. He’s dressed in a mask like ninja turtles with his term and that they were attacking with swords. These dummies that were made to look like George W. Bush and Colin Powell and Rumsfeld. And, um, you know, of course, immediately after he recanted and, you know, said, kind of rather tellingly that, you know, he based his descriptions on the movie the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which he bought three Sahili. It was clear from his confession that he was basing it on this ridiculous movie Ons. So both of those confessions were ultimately kind of coerced by the government, you know, in large part because Hama did and his father weren’t particularly savvy. Uh, you know, we’re Caucasus Kvit sophisticated about the criminal process and the FBI agents. We’re really going into these Cees interrogation firmly believing that these guys were involved in terrorism when in fact, they wanted Awal Well, okay, so I don’t wantto overstate this or whatever, but it’s really Wone continuum kind of a thing here, I think. And it’s the proof that with so many of these false confessions that torture does work and this is very light. No touch torture. Don’t get me wrong, but a couple of big fat, stinky cops in a small room with a bright hot light for hours and hours and hours demanding that you just admit this or just admit that and then with a bunch of promises that then we’ll let you go. Then you can go home. Then you can see your mom. Then you can have a drink of water. Then everything will be okay again. It’s really just out of 1984 where O’Brien is Winston Smith’s torturer. But he also administers the dose of morphine and says, See, I’m your big brother. I love you. I’m taking care of you. I’m good cop and bad cop at the same time, and what they do is they just shorten people’s time preference down, too. Never mind what happens in court later, and whether I’m facing 35 years or whatever it is. I want out of this room right now, and I’m willing to say whatever they want me to say to get out of this room right now, they promise me as a cold sprite. Yeah, absolutely. And that’s what happened in Hamoud case. That’s what happens in a lot of cases. I mean, you know, that’s what I always tell my friends. And, you know, I tell my wife and my daughter like, you know, even if you get pulled over by the cops, you know, for a traffic violation, you know, don’t volunteer anything you know, just, you know, tell them what they need to know, you know? And I think, like, you know, even if you didn’t get involved in a crime, there’s no upside allowing the Copt to kind of grill you and interrogate you and asking these questions. I mean, you know, the first thing Hama Id should have said and it probably would have prevented his prosecution was, you know, find Mea lawyer, Please. I’m not talking, right. And, you know, they could have him wait there all he wants, but they’re not gonna grill him and, you know, keep him up till 3 a.m. With the questions the way they did on Ge. I think that that is kind of the abusive side of law enforcement. We see that in a lot of cases, especially among people who just black the sophistication about how the process works, where the cops get him in there and they say things to him and they get you know, as you said, they’ll like, you know, you know, Are you thirsty? Like, Well, you, could you just tell us what we want? We’ll get you a drink You know, there’s also it’s also important to realize that you know, it’s a lie. It is a felony offense to lie to an FBI agent. You know, if he asked you, Have you ever been to Pakistan? And you say no and you really have potentially You could be process at the same time. It’s not a felony offense there. It’s not a defence at all for an FBI agent, Alija De you. So the FBI agent could say, Hey, your partner over there in the other room, he said, You did it. Time for you to confess, right? Uh, Eni. That may have not happened, but often that was used in in interrogation. And so the FBI and most law enforcement has this obscene advantage in these kind of settings where, you know, I think people who are unsophisticated ultimately end up saying things that that bury them. And that was definitely case Ind Hama Hyatt prosecution where, you know, the, you know, the single piece of evidence they really had was his confession. And, you know, I think in a lot of cases Juries are willing to believe confessions. I think they’re really they’re not skeptical. I think they should be. And I think there’s a feeling among Juries that you know, Hey, these FBI guys like they’re they’re they’re the white house. There’s a good guys, you know? They’re working on our side and for, you know, for the side of justice. You know, that isn’t always the case. And it certainly wasn’t the case in Hi, it’s prosecution. Hey, guys. Scott here, I got some books you should read. The War State by Mike Swanson A great history of early Cold War. No, Dev, No ops, No. I t by Hussein Badi Aq Chessani How to run your computer business like a good libertarian. Oh, yeah, And don’t forget fool’s errand. Time to end the war in Afghanistan by me. Hey, y’all, Here’s the thing. Donate $100 to the Scott Kortan show and you can get a Q R Kode Commodity disc as my gift to you. It’s a one ounce silver disc with a Q R code on the back. You take a picture of with your phone, and it gives you the instant spot price and lets you know what that silver that ounce of silver is worth on the market in Federal Reserve notes in real time. It’s the future of currency in the past, too. Commodity discs dot com or just go to scott horton dot or Ge slash Donate. Hey, guys, you know you probably need a new website a lot of people do. What you need to do then, is Goa to expand designs dot com, the great Harley Abbott and his team over at expand designs dot com. They’ll hook you up with a great new website for 2019 and in fact, what you really should do. His type Ind expand designs dot com slash scott, and you’ll save $500 Well, and so this is the thing about it, too, and this is one that’s always really stood out among all of the bogus prosecutions, and there’s been so many of them. Uh, and there’s a lot that I can’t just think of off the top of my head. But there’s a solid dozen or more than I can. But in this one, he actually was never really entrapped into doing anything. He didn’t accidentally put his fingerprints. Awene. Cem guns. He didn’t saw off Eni barrels. He didn’t attempt to detonate Eni fake explosives. He never really did anything other than the way I remember. There was a phone call. We’re the informant, and I want to talk more about the foreman in a minute or asking more about the informative Minh. But the informant, Sicily, just browbeat him on the phone that like, Come on, say you love Osamas. You love me, don’t you? You promise we’re friends, and you have to say, Just say you love Osamas. And then this confession, essentially that said that he had been to a camp. But other than that, that was it, right? Material support based on that 25 years or what am I missing? Yeah, that’s pretty much the case, you know? I mean, you know well, a lot of these terrorism thing operations ultimately bring people to the point where they have access to a fake bomb. That, of course, the FBI provided. And the case ends when they try to detonate that bomb. So the FBI has a very clear, you know, this is what he did. And this is why we’re prosecuting him in Hama Gn highest case. Uh, you know, the FBI really didn’t have any proof that he attended a terrorist training camp, other than the conversation he had with the informant where he was basically saying he was going to do that and the conversations that issued the interrogation and confession that he gave to the FBI and in the informant. You know what, this guy who was making tons of money from the FBI and and really had questions about, you know, there were clear questions about his credibility. You know, the reason the FBI came toe enroll him as an informant was that they had gotten a tip that, you know, post 9 11 he was living in Oregon and there were questions about, like, whether he was involved in, you know, some sort of terrorism, and they looked in that claim and it turned out he wasn’t the guy They were looking for. But then when the FBI was there, he was like, Hey, you know, I have some information about Ayn Minh else. Watery. The Al Qaeda number two are Hama Bin Ladens deputy. And so the FBI became very interested. He gave them what information he had, and it turned out it was bogus. You know, the the prosecutors later claimed it was just a case of mistaken identity. You know, a more skeptical version of that might be that he was just feeding them information in the hopes of getting some money. But it works because then the FBI, in this post 9 11 rushed Atto, Sino informants bring him on board. He ends up going to Lodi and getting involved in a relationship or friendship with Hama Id and his father. And over the course of months, you know, like common In these cases, the target of the investigation ends up kind of having this kind of little brother relationship with the informant and the informants in Hama Ds. Case got him on the phone when he was in Pakistan. It was like you’re going right, like, you know, you support a Hama Gilad, and will you you’re going to the training camp and on the phone. You know Hamadeh like, Yeah, yeah, I’m going, I’m going. And it turns out he was just saying that, you know, just kind of satisfy what the informant was wanting him to say with no real intention of going. And so then ultimately, when he returns to the United States, the FBI is working from this information that he had given the informant that he planned to go, and then they interrogate him and get this confession. Well, it turns out we could say definitively nearly 15 years later that you know what he was telling the informant was just crap. He was just telling the informant what he thought the informant wanted to hear. And then ultimately, the confession he mixes his bogus that he was just willing to tell the fbi anything to get out of that room. And you know that that’s what the case was based on. And so, you know, in the spectrum of post 9 11 terrorism cases, you know, this was on the very far side of egregious because, you know, at least in these entrapment cases, you can point to the fact that the guy did do this, right? He did have this fake bomb and he tried to detonate Ind Hamadeh Ioffe case. You know, the government really couldn’t even prove that that he attended this camp and then, you know, when they tried to present to the jury, you know, they ultimately presented pictures of this camp that internally, it turns out, you know, there was even questions of whether that was the real camp, but that’s not something they disclosed the jury at the time. Now refresh my memory. His grandfather’s house in Pakistan that was in Karachi, remember? I believe it was just outside Karaki because it was a very populated area. I have to look up the city, unfortunately, but they will have in front of me. But one of the issues that came up in one of the questions of the case, But it was really urban area. And you know, when he was after that described where one of the terrorist training camps Wasat he described it as being in this, like Fourest Id encampment in the city. Which is ridiculous because there is no way this kind of urban jungle with it would accommodate something like that. And so, you know, there were clear signs that the FBI should have been like, What is this guy talking about? Like, how can there be a camp in this in the city, this air in this more urban area? Andrei, you know, yet, like, there was this kind of suspension of disbelief among the FBI, You know, whether it’s, you know, they want to prosecute this guy and put him in jail, or they just really were kind of true believers that they just thought like, Yeah, this guy’s definitely involved in terrorism. Yeah, well, you know, it’s been a few years now. I’m pretty sure you linked to this L a Times story in your peace. Maybe I just Googled it up. But there’s a l A Times story all about this a few years back, um, that, I guess centered around a former FBI agent who himself saw the confession video and said, This is just a travesty and join the fight on the side of the lawyers here. Um, but nowadays you can’t see the video anymore. But when the L. A Times first published that story, they had the video from the confession. I don’t know the whole thing, but clips of it anyway. And so I didn’t get a chance to check the Netflix thing to see whether they, um, included this stuff or not. And so I am just going essentially by memory. But I had kind of retold the story a couple of times. So I remember it pretty well that you’re part of it Was the FBI agent essentially just leading the kid to say Goa grandfather’s house. It’s in Karachi, Khatt, which is essentially, like the most innocent place you could be in Pakistan, right. Are you sure it wasn’t Int Islamabad? Oh, uh, yeah, sure. Ihsan Islamabad. I don’t know. Yeah, my grandfather’s house. Ihsan Islamabad. And then all of a sudden, a couple of clicks later. And now it’s in Kandahar, right? It’s outside of Kandahar city in the Kandahar province, in Afghanistan, right with Taliban country, you know? Oh, yeah, sure. Yeah, it’s in. It’s in Kandahar, if you say so. That’s why I was training without Kadir Ind Cannes. Jowhar? Yeah, and then And this is support where people are gonna think I’m lying. But the point is that that this is the FBI who came up with this stuff. They say they He says that the training camp is in the basement. That’s how they hide. It is they have an Al Qaeda training camp in his grandfather’s basement. And then So the cop says to him, and what do they do down there? And he holds his hands like he’s pantomime ing holding a stick, right? Like if you were gonna finish his sentence for him, you might suggest Trevor that Oo they like practise stick fighting or something like that. But the the FBI agent says, Pull vaulting. They’re practicing pole vaulting, and the kid says, Yeah, that’s right. Al Qaeda terrorists are practicing pull vaulting in my grandfather’s basement in Kandahar. Take me away sexually, and the FBI Injun is like, Oh, yeah, where you’re going to the penitentiary now, buddy. And you know, I don’t know what to think. That I’m supposed to believe that the f b I agent believed that that this is I thought you had to have ah ah, Non floor Id Ayt Id I Q of at least 100 and something to be an FBI agent. No, I mean this is complete nonsense. And it was so transparent and ridiculous to sit there and watch that. Yeah, no, I agree. I mean, I think the that you’re talking about is a former FBI agent named James Wedeck on Ge. He was He was brought in fairly early, I think, by the defense lawyers after the conviction that Atto look at the confession tape. And, you know, he had been a supervisory agent. He works for the FBI for more than 20 years, and his first instinct was, Well, yeah, that this this confession is is bogus that you clearly Bin Goward clearly Bin off leading questions on Goa. It was highly probable, problematic. And and you’re right. I mean, you know what logical FBI agent would really think that a bunch of Al Qaeda terrorists are training underground, you know, put using and in the tax, they do mention pole vaulting in the text of that l a Times article so people can find that even if you can’t see video of that, Yeah, I mean, and that’s part of what’s interesting. Last confession isn’t it really is all over the place because, you know, as the FBI is giving him cues of what they’re interested in. He’s just kind of like following along, right? I mean, I included a part of the interrogation in the story with her. You know, they asked him, like, you know, three Emmy thing is head is hurting, and they’re like, they’re like, Well, we we really wanted you to know, like we need to know what? What? They told you to target what you’re gonna attack, right? Like so he obviously being told, like, yet provide them something. So he’s like, they Elmi Goa Khattak building. Like, what kind of building? And it’s his response is like a big building and other things like that. Like what else? Like what he says, like store. And like, what kind of stores? Like food stores, right? It’s just, like kind of going with whatever they’re saying. Just adding the most simple adjective, every everything that they want on Goa It it did seem pretty clear that this guy was just telling them, you know, whatever they wanted, but scary enough like, you know, it resulted in a conviction, right? A jury convicted this guy and he got sentenced 24 years in prison. Originally, Manan something else all right, So let’s go back to the dad’s confession a little bit. This is I know much less about this part of the story here, but you you mentioned before and it’s in the article about how they had told him. Listen, if you did go and see your son at this camp, that’s essentially like if you were just visiting him at college. In other words, they were leading him to believe that if you agreed to this narrative that this doesn’t implicate you in any crimes. We would consider this to be innocent behavior, but we’re just trying to get confirmation from you of what we know of this story. But I wonder whether there was a carrot or stick kind of thing There were they threatening his son with a worst charge Or or maybe promising Cem leniency for the sun. If the father would just go along with this part of the narrative or do you know so how they let rumor was that they basically they claim they told Huu Mirwais, Look, your son, you know, is in the other room, and he confessed attending this training camp, and, you know, we don’t think this is a big deal because I’m summarizing their words. You know, in Pakistan it’s part of your culture. Yugo to these training camps. And, you know, I’m sure the parents go and visit the kids at the training camps, and, you know, really not a big deal would be like, you know, if you went to visit him, it would be like, you know, someone here visiting there, their kid at college to check out the campus. And they really just minimized humor, the significance of what had happened. And, you know, we’re basically framed that, like, you know, we think maybe something happened here, But if you can explain it, we could make this all go away. And so at first, Aamer, you know that he didn’t attend the camp, He didn’t know anything about the camp. Um, and then finally, he ends up telling them what they want, and you know what he did. What he said to them is that you know, he you know, there was this large camp and there were these, like, 1000 fighters. And he used the term like warm ass like ninja turtles and and really describe it, like over the top setting Foer this camp and, um, you know, a few days later he recanted and says, Like I said, I didn’t. You know, I made all of this up because that’s what the FBI wanted me to say. And, you know, ironically, the FBI ultimately, um, you know, acknowledged through the Department of Justice that they realized they agreed he made it all up because they charged him with making false statements to the FBI, and he ended up pleading guilty. And I think he served a year or two in prison as a result on Goa and those with false statements. Was him agreeing to their narrative? Exactly. Exactly. And again, this is like another good cautionary tale. Foer like dealing with the FBI, right? Like again, You can lie to you. But if you lie to them, you know, you’re facing a possible felony charge. And so they browse Bayh, browbeat him into saying I pay. You attended this training camp. There you are. You visited this training camp and then when he finally like Okay, Okay, I visited it. And here’s this like description of it. I’m just gonna make up for you. They charge him with a felony of lying to the FBI. Because, in fact, he did lie to the FBI. I mean, under the law, he was guilty. He did lie, but, you know, in in a way that the f b I kind of like Oo worst from him and again, like I mentioned earlier, Like, you know, it really doesn’t benefit Eni defendant whether you’re innocent or guilty to talk to the FBI for this exact reason. You know, Atty humor just said I have nothing to say to you guys call me a lawyer. They would have had any case against, right? I mean, it was entirely prosecutable because he lied during interrogations, charging him with the false confession that they forced him into. I mean, that’s like Sandra Bland pulls over for the cop, and then he pulls her over for not using her turn signal when she pulled over for him. What the hell? Yeah, you know, But that’s that’s what the FBI does mean. Lying to the FBI is among the more commonly filed charges. You saw this kind of commonly in the in the Moler. Prosecution’s right. Like almost everybody charged with charged with, you know, charges, including lines of the FBI. And it’s a way of just kind of either, you know, kind of like throwing one more charge at someone or, you know, in a case like Huu Aamer someone else. But if they’re not able to charge her with anything else, so they’ll charge based on that, perhaps with the hope that you know they’ll cut a deal and say, OK, I don’t want to go to jail, but I’ll give you information on on such and such and other cases, it’s just pure, in my view, like retribution. You know, the FBI pissed this guy, you know, don’t pull their chain with this kind of ridiculous description of a terrorism training site and kind of embarrassed them. And so they’re like, Screw you, man. We’re gonna file, you know, filing lines. The FBI charges. I don’t think, you know, it might be unfair to kind of say it so bluntly, but that’s how I kind of you some of these prosecutions sometimes, Yeah, absolutely. Of course. Uh, that’s exactly how they are. And this is the problem, right? Is like you’re talking about. Hey, man, you just shouldn’t talk to the cops get a lawyer and let your lawyer handle it. That’s his job kind of thing. Um, it’s because you have this weird cross between them being human beings, like literally standing there in clothes and everything, but at the same time, they’re not really humans. They’re agents of the state. And so that means that your interactions with them are an entirely different set of rules for anyone else. So I saw a defense attorney one time say that. Look, for example, whenever you’re talking with anyone else, you try to always give us much credence to what they’re saying is you can just being polite. That’s straight out of Dale. Carnegie howto win friends and influence people, you know. So Seri says to you, Well, did you ever think about doing this or doing that? Well, I don’t know. I might have. You know that. You know, you go ahead, you try to be agreeable, but that’s a really that’s a reason why you should not talk to cops because you’re gonna fall into the habit of being a decent and kind person. But in fact, what you’re doing is you’re giving them rope to hang yourself with whether you again, whether you actually did anything or not. And it turns out they don’t really care if you did anything or not. They have their own incentives for putting you in prison. I have nothing to do with justice whatsoever. This isn’t the Perry Mason show. Yeah. LA Force, in many ways, is a hammer looking for a nail, right? And so, you know, if you kind of are interviewed by the FBI are other law enforcement agents for any reason. And, you know, if you got in trouble, you know, whether it was drugs or you’ve got, like, mental illness issues, Or maybe you weren’t in trouble at all. You haven’t done anything. You know, the FBI is not looking there to help you right there. Not like if you’ve got drug problems, they’re not looking to help you get, you know, get straight. If you’ve got, you know, kind of domestic violence issues the problems at home. They’re not there to sort that out right there, there to figure out if you committed a crime. And if you did, they’re gonna arrest you, right? There is not a social service agency. And so the idea that, like you should provide them with any information. You know, it is incredibly risky because the only purpose for that information is to use it against you on. So there’s absolutely no upside whatever to talk to the law enforcement Awal. And I think you know, I think that’s something Americans really don’t know enough about Andar familiar with with, You know, it’s kind of like, you know, we talked a long Forsa you say you don’t want, you know, they talk like Oo Badi hiding. It’s like, Well, you have every right not to incriminate yourself provide information needed, you know, And I don’t I don’t do drugs, for example, and I’ll drive around with drugs in my car. But if a law enforcement agent stopped me for a traffic issue and was like, Hey, can we search your car? I have nothing to hide, but I’m not gonna let him do it right. You need probable cause like you get just like search my car and, um, you know, and I think that’s you know, I think that, like, you know, if anything, Huu Hama highest cases is a really kind of extreme example of how this could go bad for you, you know, you know, end up volunteering information to federal law enforcer in any law enforcement agency, because Ultima they built the case, You know, almost entirely on what he told them. Yeah, and, hey, you know what? Hypothetical example. There’s some very serious crime or innocent lives at risk, and you have information that they really do need to know. It’s so bad that it’s better to be a rat that not even and I don’t mean turning in your friends on a drug charge or something. But I mean, something really bad is gonna happen. Call a lawyer and have the lawyer call them. You still don’t need to talk to them. That’s what lawyers are. Yeah. Yeah. And you know, if you do want to report a crime like you say, like, hey, I just saw three guys run into a bank with a bunch of guns, you know, call 911 and just leave it at that, you know? You know, examples where, like if the cops come to you and ask you questions about things you’ve done, I mean, generally, that’s not a good place for for anyone. Atto. Bobi, you know. And that highest cases Cravatts great example of how wrong that Bin Goa, you know? I mean, it’s one thing to be cooperative with law enforcement and reporting criminal activity that may be happening. Your neighborhood. It’s another to be cooperative with them when they’re clearly investigating you. And if they’re asking you questions about what you did and where you’ve been, I mean, they’re, you know, make no mistake there. They’re investigating you. Yeah. All right. Now, um, back to the specifics of this case again here real quick. Ah, a couple of important points here, I think. First of all, um, the informant here just infiltrated this family. This father and son. There was no group, right. There was no politics. He just found a father and son and made himself kind of. And this happens. People are familiar with this, like Fonzie or whatever, right? Like the adopted son he calls the dad dad. And then he treats the sun like it’s, you know, like he’s big brothers and Big Sisters of America or whatever, and kind of insinuates himself into coming. Some group of father and son. That’s it. He makes himself part of their family just to put words in this child’s Oo. I guess he wanted Charlie was, like 21 at the time, right to put words Hewitts the young man’s mouth, right, right. Yeah, he was young. He was a fairly sheltered guy. They lived in Lodi, which is the agricultural community that has a very large Pakistani population. And you know, the informant, Aamer Hakan, you know, basically became part of that family over, Of course, of course, of Munther. And that’s not unusual in a lot of the stairs and prosecutions where the informant will will kind of establish this really close and intimate relationship with the target of the investigation. And you know, the reason for that in kind of the the most cynical sense is that the FBI’s paying this guy a lot of money to find terrorists. So, you know, by getting to know these people, he’s able to kind of manipulate them into saying things that he needs them to say in order to kind of bring it to the FBI. And that’s what happened in this case. And so, you know, as Hama Hyatt goes toe to Pakistan, and I believe the initial purpose of the trip was to try to find a potential bride through an arranged marriage situation in Pakistan. Ind. Thean Foer Minh dates back to the United States with his father, you know, and even that he’s talking to his father and he’s talking to Hama Hyatt on the phone and and really trying to get him to say, you know, uh, they want to attend this camp and you know, he’s interested in Al Qaeda. All of these ideas are ultimately coming from the informant, which in turn is ultimately coming from the FBI. And as you said, the kid is on the phone. He’s essentially just b s ing the informant just to get him to leave him alone. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I promise I’ll go to the camp when he had no intention of doing so. And as you say, they’re sworn testimony. He was instead playing video games, right? Right. And I think, you know, I mean, really what? This is something that simple. It’s like, you know, Com Id was a fairly immature guy. You know, if if you think back to your school yard days and you wanted to fit into a group and, you know, you may be mimicked the things that those kids in the other group did and said no, that was really what was happening with Hama Id and the informant, like Com Id was just like, you know, saying the things that the informant, you know, initially brought up and you know, either to kind of fit in because he didn’t have a lot of friends. He wasn’t particularly social or, you know, just to kind of make it go away like Hemat. And I’m sick of you bothering me about this issue like, Yeah, yeah, I’ll go, I’ll go. And that’s ultimately how it came off. But, you know, if you’re being generous to the FBI, the generous view would be that they really expected this guy was involved in something pretty dangerous. And so when he says that, it confirms that, believe, you know, if you’re being more cynical about what the FBI was doing, that they were kind of skeptical. But, hey, they’ve got a prosecutor beautiful case because the guy said this, Um and it really wasn’t a case of like, you know, is this really, you know, involved in terrorism because he just, you know, the evidence shows he clearly wasn’t. And again, I mean, it would be one thing. It would be bad enough, Assn. Case that stand on stands on its own. But keep in mind that Hama High it is One of more than 800 people have been caught up in these post 9 11 terrorism investigations. And indeed, there have been some that have been dangerous and some that may have posed a threat, but a vast majority We’re not involved in terrorism did not have connections. Terrorists. It was really made possible through the actions of undercover informants, undercover agents. And, you know, so you know, what we’ve done is we’ve, you know, really busted a lot of people that really shouldn’t have been busted. And I think what this is also done, you know, kind of bring it forward into the moment we are now. You know, we had all of these largely Muslims convicted and in cases that are very well publicized nationally in these terrorism cases, and, you know, I think we’ve begun to kind of view this as, like, you know, culturally, it became like Awal terrorism is a Muslim thing because ultimately all of these cases inflated the perception in the United States that you know terrorism from Islamicism is incredibly dangerous and prevalent, even though the vast majority of these cases were largely manufactured by the government. And so the time we get to 2016 and Donald Trump is running for Peress United States, you know, he can say things like, You know, we should shut down immigration from Muslim countries until we can figure out what the hell is going on, right? Well, like what he’s referring to are all these, like terrorism prosecutions, that I’ve kind of been in the ether for 15 years? And I think, you know, if you’re if you’re really kind of looking at the long narrative of this, I mean, you could point to the FBI in these cases that kind of setting the mood for the current kind of Islamophobe were now in agree? Absolutely. And you know, I mean, the thing of it, too, is I remember, probably even in our earlier interviews, you know, probably going back to the Bush years where we talked about how, certainly, on my show we talked about this in different contexts. that. You know, they have to fake all the terrorists because Al Qaeda was only 4 500 guys. So they have to come up with all these bogus cases. But then they use the September 11th attack to launch all these other wars, and so is easy to predict it. There will be real blowback, real backdraft, even or in a you know, it’s short term consequences blown up right in your face. Um, like, ah, when you have veterans of America’s jihad in Syria blowing up targets in Europe or you have, you know, um, the Orlando attack and er zat ze and a couple of the others have been I guess what? See, in my book I list about, I guess, 1/2 dozen eight or 10 um, riel terrorists not entrapped by the FBI, but really bad guys. But they all started. When did they start? In the Obama years, right? It was. Fort Hood was the first major Wone. It took years for Bush to really provoke Eni real ones. And in the meantime, Bob Mueller was happy to entrap hundreds of people, As you say here. And these fake ones. Um, now they do both, but, you know, like in the case. Oh, that was you that taught me this. In the case of the Boston attack, when the Russians had said, you need to look out for these brothers, they said, Yeah, yeah, yeah. We’re busy in trapping some stupid kid on the other side of town. Pay attention to the rial Wone going on right there, which is another one we warned about. I know that you and I weren’t about back in history. That as these cops are Awal chasing their tails on these bogus entrapment cases, you’re gonna have real guys slipping through the cracks. Which is then exactly what happens. Yeah. I mean, the FBI is very good at finding these. Like you knuckleheads, too don’t have connections, Atto International terrorists don’t have any weapons and getting them wrapped up in cases and busting them. But the people like Omar, Mateen and the Orlando Attacker and others, you know, these were people that really fell through the fbi’s dragnet, and they weren’t as good at finding these people. And I think you’re right as well. I mean, in addition to these Bayh cases, kind of setting the stage for Foer. You know, Islamophobia we have now. There’s also this really strange kind of narrative in question that we have in this country about terrorism, for Islamist terrorism, which is always just kind of like, Well, I don’t understand why they’re attacking this. Why are they doing this, right? How do we stop it? And if you look, I mean, they actually tell you, right? Like there as an example that there was a guy affiliated with Isis claiming allegiance. Isis, who tried to bomb the bus terminal in New York City. Fortunately, his bomb suicide bomb did not go off. And, you know, he told police that you know the reason he did this. He saw his neighbors wedding in Pakistan, you know, get blown up from a drone, right? And then he’s like, I’m gonna, like, avenged. And so I think one of the things that we don’t really think about is that there is now I’m sorry. You’re referring there to the Times Square attack of 2010. This was This was a couple of years ago, I think in 20 16 17 there was a failed bombing attempt at the at the Port Authority bus terminal in New York, a guy claiming affiliation with Isis dropped the bomb to himself and tried to blow it up. But it didn’t blow up. I think it sparked a little bitty costs. I’m burning to his chest. But ultimately he survived. And he had had told the police that, you know, the reason he did this was, you know, because of this thing drone attack of this wedding Monde. You know, it’s instructive in this sense that, like, you know, part of, you know, we are inspiring terrorism, right? And, you know, after the Iraq war, you know, in our kind of general policies in the Middle East, you know, there’s some of what we’re seeing is a reaction, right? And there was a story recently about how you know, when Tony Blair was being pushed to support the Iraq war, you know, is national security advisers had written a memo that basically said, You know, if you do this, if we’re going to Iraq, we’re gonna destabilized that reason. And what we’re going to ultimately see is attacks in Europe, you know, from, you know, people coming out of that war. And that’s exactly what we’ve seen, right? And so I think you know, this is also kind of part of the narrative on terrorism to it. I think it’s really silly to be having this conversation of like, Well, why do they do this? And, you know, you know, there are certainly people who attack for, you know, you know, just over the ideological or homicidal reasons. But, you know, in some of these cases they are attacking in response to our own policies. Whether that’s whether that air strikes in the Middle East Foer drone attacks. And you know this is their way of of settling that score exactly. And that’s the thing right is you know you can accuse him of war crimes if they’re attacking civilian targets. That doesn’t make their actions legitimate in any way. It just any more than when our side attacks civilian targets or helps the Saudis attack civilian targets or whatever the case is. But it’s just to recognize the reality that the reason that they’re doing this is because they’re in a war. They’re on the other side of Wone, Um, but, ah, as you say, the same thing with virtually all of these guys Moti Gn or the czar, Negev brothers or any of these people going back to the first World Trade Center bombing. They always say exactly what their motive is, and the motive is always Americanflag Gn policy. Yeah, we’re gonna have a conversation about what causes terrorism. You know, I think part of that conversation that we’ve never had it like, What is our role in that right with how how have our unjust wars and how have our our bombing’s? You know, there’s this perception. I think, in the culture that the way the U. S bombs is like, we have these precision bombs and we only kill the targets, right? And like, that’s not that’s not the case at all, right? I mean, air wars more recently documented How, you know, in the in the kind of in the attempt, you know, destroy Isis in Syria, you know, we were carpet bombing lots of eastern Syria. We were killing civilians, right? And so this is you know, we may You know, the irony in all of this, of course, is that maybe we finally brought Isis Isis to its knees in Syria. But you know what other extremism and terrorism are we going to inspire in the future by those sorts of action, like carpet bombing towns and cities. And, you know, I think these are the kind of harder conversations Atto have about the roots of terrorism and back to the entrapments. You know, there’s I don’t think a single case of these entrapments where the rat didn’t say to the mark. Don’t you hate American foreign policy? Get what they’re doing, right? So this isn’t lost on the FBI. The FBI doesn’t have their informants tell these people. Don’t you hate freedom? Don’t you hate it? That blonde girls in miniskirts, Cannes vote in primary elections and blah, blah, blah? No. Don’t you hate rated R movies? No, that’s not it. It’s killing people. That’s what the FBI informants use to manipulate their marks in these fake cases over and over again. No exceptions. I don’t think you told me if you know of any, and you wrote the book on it. No, no, you’re actually right. You know, I mean plenty. Often here, like terrorists are terrorists. Politicians will say about terrorists, like, you know, they hate our freedom, right? That’s why they do this. That’s not why I do this and and and you’re right, even in the even in these terror something cases where the FBI is planting the idea, you know the inspiration that they work with this idea of American foreign policy in the Middle East, whether it’s, um, Armey bases in Saudi Arabia, near Mecca and Medina, or whether it’s bomb strikes in, you know, in Iraq, in other places in the Middle East there drone attacks. And that’s really what they’re working with is this idea that, you know in the United States is killing with impunity in the Muslim world. And you know, they’re what they want to do is offer a way of striking back on that. And, you know, obviously you know, I don’t think, you know it’s right. It all that you know, these terrorists trying to do the things they’re doing. But I do think it’s wrong that we’re not having a more honest conversation about America’s role in inspiring those types of, uh, that type of violence. Absolutely Right now, one more subject Foer let Yugo here, and that is, you know, you mentioned about the FBI agents. If you want to be charitable, you can say, Look, they were scared and then they had all this confirmation bias, pull vaulting. I knew it, whatever you know. Or maybe they really were just being that cynical and they don’t care. Hey, let the jury decide. And what have you, this and that? But here’s the unforgivable port is they told the local news. And, of course, the national news, too. But they told the people of Lodi, California, that we found a terrorist, okayed a sleeper cell embedded in the Pakistani community in your sleepy little town. And this was a community that had lived there for a guest since the 19 eighties, something like that for a while, and had had no problems and got along were well integrated into the society and everything. And all of a sudden, in the most apocalyptic terms are supposed security force. Here are public servants to protect us in all this stuff came and drove this giant wedge between the Pakistani dash American population of that town and everybody else. And you know, who knows what kind of collateral damage came from that. But I bet it’s far worse than we know for sure. So I mean, there’s a couple of things don’t pack there. I mean, one is that, you know, what we’ve seen since 9 11 is the FBI and the Justice Department generally really overplay these cases. And you know, the reason I argue that they do is that, you know, post 9 11 the FBI is an organization that is not only a law enforcement agency, but also in intelligence and counter terrorism agency. But they measure their success. They justify their budget through the old school metric of law enforcement, which is arrest made great. And so it becomes part of their culture to take in large budgets for counterterrorism and counterintelligence and then announce with great fanfare, these cases. And in many cases, that means over stating or blowing the case and at the same time what that ultimately does by making a big deal about these cases as being terrorism cases. When the links for terrorism are at times, 10 us or even not existence is it creates, you know, a lot of suspicion between the targeted communities, mostly Muslim and the other communities where they think well, like, you know, are there terrorists among us. And I think when the average American, you know, beat the news or watches the news. They hear about a terrorism bust in their community involving Muslims. You know their first suspicion. You know, you know, they’re not staying up on the news as you and I are and researching this I mean, there’s, like, you know, Americans trying to get through their day, right? You can’t blame him. And I think, you know, as a result, their their immediate reaction is like home. There must be danger among this, the Muslim community. And I think we’ve seen that drive wedges in communities around the country. And again, I think it’s what feeds into a lot of the Trump policies now and fed into his own election campaign, which is this idea that you know, this this group is very dangerous. Rond we need toe, do something about it, whether it’s to re immigration or even more draconian policies. And, you know, I think that’s the kind of terrible situation we’re in now, where you know, pre 9 11 Muslim communities in the United States were very well integrated into communities. They were among the most affluent of immigrant communities in the United States and So it’s ironic that post 9 11 we then kind of portrayed them largely as a bookie man. And you know, that isn’t to say that Islamist terrorism isn’t really right. Like it obviously is. We talked about the Orlando shooting and others you know, there have been attacks, but, you know, there have not been those on the level that, you know, we see portrayed by the FBI and Lodi is an example of that, right? You have this very well integrated Pakistani American community in Northern California. There was no record of any substantial problems with that community. And suddenly, post 9 11 you’ve got this really traveling that problematic case and the FBI is pouting like, Hey, we found the sleeper cell and you know, ultimately, what does that do for the reputation of that community in California? It largely Impey use it. And I think that’s something that you know Muslim communities around the country are struggling with. Now is like, you know, how do we kind of get past the reputational damage that these kind of cases and policies have have reached on us in our own communities? And I think that’s why more and more. You see, organizations like Khair and others, like trying to hold, you know, kind of meet and greets and, you know, dialogue to kind of show that, like, Look, this is we’re just like you. Here we are. You know, we’ve been rather vilified and we’re trying to figure out, you know, how we could go back to, you know, the time before we were vilified. And, you know, I think you know, I think now we’re also seeing the vilification of other groups now in different ways, right? Look, Hispanic immigrants, you know, Assn. Being sources of economic problems or crime as the current administration is portraying them. And so, you know, it’s troubling to see, you know, kind of the expansion of the policies in different ways toward different groups. Awene. That, of course, is a lot of blowback from America’s drug wars in Mexico and Kode Ayt Ons and support for all sorts of right wing hunters and policies in Latin America and all that, uh, otherwise people of ah Awene Door’s probably Wana live in their hometown where they’re from like everybody else. They’re fully in something and it’s the policies of the last government of course, Bayh Louay. One last thing here, which is simply that it goes without saying always. But I think it’s worth saying We all know there’s no chance that there will be accountability for any of the cops, the prosecutors, the judges, the jurors, the prison officials and all the people involved in conspiring to deprive this innocent man of his liberty for the last 15 years here. Hey, we got qualified immunity. Mistakes happened. Ah, who cares? It’s not at our expense. It never will be. Is this Logan of the federal prosecutor and it? Everybody knows it to such a degree that it’s essentially unthinkable for me to bring up the idea of accountability for these people who did the wrong thing, whether deliberately or not, is preposterous. It makes me the kook for even saying that it’s something that we ought to consider is a thing that should be so. I’m happy to play that role. Yeah, no, I mean, I think you’re absolutely right. I mean, even if you look at Debra Barnes, the magistrate judges a recommendation to have Hama Gheit case overturned, she went out of her way not to directly criticise the government’s behavior right? She pointed out the problems with the case but did not take on the government. And that’s fairly common. Amman. The judiciary Unfortunately, where I don’t think you see the courage. Atto. You know you don’t bring the government, you know, task on some of these issues or take the governor’s task on some of these issues. And, you know, so the prosecutor prosecuted cases. Career won’t be affected. The FBI agents, of course, those confessions, their career won’t be affected. And I think that’s part of the problem that these abuses continue is that there is no accountability. Andrei, separate from the judiciary of the other area where the FBI could be held accountable is Congress, and we all know how that’s going right. Like the Congress isn’t, you know, willing toe really question the FBI about much of anything unless it involves the Moler investigation. And so there’s all sorts of problems that you see in the FBI and unwillingness Atto really address them either Ind Idi, Nashiri or in the Congress. Yeah, well, Greg used to joke about there was ah, Tom Clancy movie with Harrison Ford. You know, one of those from the 19 nineties, where the movie ends with Harrison Ford, takes a stack of documents and marches up Capitol Hill. And then, like the sun sets in the credits roll. And you know that that’s the point when accountability kicked in, right? Just how alien that is to our way of life. That’s not at all how things are around here, but it makes for a fun kind of ah, closer to a movie Hour and 1/2 is up, you know. Anyway, yeah, I worked in Hollywood, but not unrelated. Alright, listen, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all your great work. You’re great. Book the Terror Factory which started out life as an article Foer Ah, Mother Jones magazine Naway Back before David Corn invented Russia Ge Ayt There was something interesting published in that Monde Gn uh there’s the terror factory, the great book and all of your great writing at the intercept dot com, including this one. Reporters questioned his terror prosecution. Now he’s free. Thank you again, Trevor. Great. Thanks so much. Every Bibi Non. All right, y’all. Thanks. Find me at Libertarian Institute dot or Ge at scott Kortan dot or Ge Antiwar dot com and reddit dot com slash scott Horton Show. Oh yeah, and read my book Fool’s Errand Timed and the War in Afghanistan at Fool’s errand dot us.
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Scott Horton has done over 5,400 interviews with military leaders, whistleblowers, and investigative journalists. Avoid being part of the mob that calls for innocent blood by learning from foreign-policy experts, and spread the message of peace to others.