Wednesday, January 02, 2008

UNDER BLACK LEAVES: Incoherent nickname for Usama bin Laden alleged to show terror plot

"FBI's 'idiot dude' fails to boost US Navy terror emails" in today's edition of The Register continues DD's coverage of the criminal case being mounted against Hassan Abu-jihaad.

It is one of considerable effort, aimed at convicting a former Navy signalmen who still seems to be only guilty of loose, aggravating talk and extremely poor judgment in trivial matters.

Hassan Abu-jihaad was originally banged up for sending Babar Ahmad and Azzam Publications in England information on when his surface action group was transiting the Strait of Hormuz in 2001. Another alleged crime was buying a few Chechen jihadi videos and tipping the web company five dollars in overpayment.

These actions eventually resulted in Abu-jihaad's arrest and indictment in 2006 on charges of materially aiding terrorists and disclosing information said to be of use to terrorists. However, it has now become plain that the US government has been nursing its case against Abu-jihaad. It had started running surveillance on him in 2004, employing wiretapping and an informant. The government accumulated as much talk as possible, coming up with a thirty-three page list of excerpts which the prosecution has submitted for consideration as further evidence in advance of the defendant's trial.

Prior to the surveillance transcript's filing in the on-line US criminal court case index, the government leaked the document to newspaper reporters. The Los Angeles Times appeared to be one leak recipient, reporting that an FBI affidavit had Abu-jihaad praising Osama bin Laden and that a government official, who asked to remain anonymous, had promised more evidence against him was in hand.

The evidence in the actual transcript remains dodgy, although there is quite a bit of it. If the US government cannot get someone on quality, it is willing to flood one with volume, hoping the quantity will make up the difference. For instance, readers learn Hassan Abu-jihaad called Osama bin Laden "Under Black Leaves."

The picture that subsequently emerges, one the government is obviously keenly interested in painting, is that of Abu-jihaad as a man with contempt for his country, someone who reads seditious materials and tales of someone called "Juba," a sniper alleged to have learned his trade from a book sold by Amazon. Such things, while perhaps interesting to law enforcement, are not yet entirely illegal.

Read the entire analysis here. Links to the government's surveillance findings are included and readers are invited to have a look-see for themselves.

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