We are a little late in commenting on this story, but it is significant enough to warrant even a belated post.
Two Pakistani brothers were arrested in Florida on Friday on terrorism and material support of terrorism charges. The Feds went out of their way to point out that these two Pakis were NOT arrested as a result of a sting operation. This is probably because armchair intelligence agents in the hard Leftist, Islamist and libertarian communities are fond of calling every arrest of a potential Jihadi in a sting operation “entrapment,” even though just about every case has resulted in a conviction and no one has successfully defended themselves in such a case by claiming entrapment.
Still, the fact that this was not a sting operation does hold some significance because it indicates that these two (Raees Alam Qazi, 20 and Sheheryar Alam Qazi, 30) had some sort of plot going on and it was discovered by law enforcement and/or intelligence officials after it was conceived, i.e. it was not dreamt up by a FBI agent.
There are no details as to what the plot involved as of yet, but federal prosecutors say the men, both U.S. citizens, provided money, housing, communications equipment and transportation as part of a conspiracy and that the brothers’ goal was “to use a weapon of mass destruction (explosives) against persons and property within the United States”.
We don’t like the use of the term “weapon of mass destruction” here. The US criminal justice system bastardized the term several years ago and it causes a great deal of confusion. A “weapon of mass destruction” should not refer to conventional explosives, but only to chemical, biological or radiological weapons. Nevertheless, the term “weapon of mass destruction” is commonplace in cases that involve items as lowly as a single hand grenade.
Note also another sore spot in this case: “If convicted, each could face a potential sentence of 15 years in prison on the charge of conspiring to provide material support to terrorists.”
Fifteen years for someone who is providing support to an organization like Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, HAMAS, Lashkar e Taiba, etc. is ridiculously light. Such sentences should be lengthened substantially. A Jihadi who takes part in this activity and spends 15 years or less in prison is not likely to be rehabilitated in the process. In fact, there is ample evidence to indicate that prisons are fertile recruiting grounds for Jihad. When one considers that the man in charge of the Muslim chaplains for the federal prison system is now in federal prison himself for financing Al Qaeda (Abdurahman Alamoudi), it should give us little comfort that a committed Jihadi will spend 15 years in federal prison. We should have no expectation that these types of people will be peaceful and tolerant when they are released.
Fortunately, in this case, the conspiracy to blow someone or something up carries a life sentence, which is much more appropriate…
The fact that these two Jihadis were arrested in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the same place where some of the 9/11 hijackers spent time, is probably just a coincidence. Nevertheless, Florida can only be described as a hotbed of Jihadi activity in the US given the numerous cases that have surfaced there over the past decade or so.
Perhaps most important is the fact that the FBI is not releasing any details about this case because the investigation is ongoing. This suggests that other plotters could still be at large here in the US or abroad. It could even be that these two were but two players in a much larger plot. We just don’t know, but this requires careful watching.