Monday, January 7, 2013

Portland Christmas Tree bomber goes to trial; attorney claims"entrapment"

What would it take for you to detonate a bomb amidst thousands of innocent holiday revelers?  How heavy the enticement would you bend to in order to push the detonator button?  Is there any amount of prodding that would finally make you kill?

You would make a poor jihadist.

From KATU January 5 by Nigel Duara

Trial set for Portland Christmas tree-lighting bomb plot

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — For more than two years, the only image the public has had of the man accused of plotting to detonate an 1,800-pound bomb at a Portland Christmas tree-lighting ceremony is this: A sullen-faced, sunken-eyed terrorism suspect in a mug shot taken just hours after his arrest.

At the trial that begins Thursday, Mohamed Mohamud's attorneys will attempt to present a different image, one of an impressionable teenager lured by undercover agents with the FBI, which snared one of its youngest terrorism suspects with his arrest in November 2010.

At issue is whether Mohamud was entrapped, as his defense claims, when he gave the go-ahead for the detonation of what he thought was a bomb at the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. The bomb was a fake, provided by FBI agents whom the 19-year-old thought were his jihadist co-conspirators.

It was one in a series of high-profile FBI terror stings dating back to the Justice Department's directive to ramp up its terror prosecutions and informant network after the 9/11 terror attacks.

Based on pretrial filings, one of the avenues Mohamud's attorneys are likely to pursue is based on an undisputed fact: Mohamud was a teenager when he was arrested, and his attorneys allege he was still a minor when the FBI began to focus on him.

This, his attorneys say, made him much more vulnerable to FBI enticements, and a jury should consider him an unwilling pawn of a Justice Department hungry for a conviction that demonstrates its regard for terrorism as its highest priority.

This, too, is not in dispute: Mohamud pushed a button on a cellphone that he thought would set off a bomb placed in a van and kill thousands.

The FBI alleges in court documents — and backed it up with transcripts of conversations secretly recorded by undercover agents — that Mohamud picked the time and place of the detonation. The high school graduate from Beaverton, Ore., knew the area and knew that the event would be well-attended.

"It's gonna be a fireworks show," the FBI says he told undercover agents. "A spectacular show."

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