With the latest arrest of an alleged terrorist, the FBI reminds Americans it will not hesitate to entrap unstable individuals in the name of continuing the War of Terror.
Mateo Ventura, an 18-year-old resident of Wakefield, Massachusetts, has been arrested and charged with knowingly concealing the source of material support or resources for a foreign terrorist organization. The U.S. Department of Justice is accusing Ventura of providing financial support to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
On the surface this story may appear to be another win for the so-called War on Terror, launched by former President George W. Bush in the days after the 9/11 attacks. However, even a cursory look at this case reveals the tell-tale signs of entrapment organized by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
As The Intercept notes, the DOJ’s own criminal complaint indicates that Ventura never funded ISIS, or any other alleged terror group. The only contact Ventura made was an undercover FBI agent who posed as a terrorist and befriended the 16-year old. The agent subsequently convinced Ventura to send him gift cards as donations to the alleged terror group. He also instructed the young man not to tell anyone about their online communications.
Mateo Ventura’s father, Paul Ventura, told The Intercept that his son suffered from childhood developmental issues and left school are being bullied by other students.
“He was born prematurely, he had brain development issues. I had the school do a neurosurgery evaluation on him and they said his brain was underdeveloped,” Ventura said. “He was suffering endless bullying at school with other kids taking food off his plate, tripping him in the hallway, humiliating him, laughing at him.”
The criminal complaint makes it clear that Ventura gave the undercover FBI agent gift cards in increments of just $25. Over a period of two years, Ventura sent small amounts of money via gaming sites Steam, PlayStation Network, and Google Play. Altogether, he sent $965 as a minor, and $705 after he turned 18-years old.
The interaction between 16-year-old Ventura and the FBI began in 2021 after they paid a visit to his family, warning his father he was looking up dangerous websites. In August 2021, an FBI agent starting communicating with Ventura online. The FBI alleges that Ventura was interested in “hijrah,” a migration towards territories controlled by ISIS.
The FBI agent spoke in broken English while pretending to be a member of ISIS, at one point telling Ventura he was “strong” and “Look (sic) like lion” after the young man sent a video of himself with a beard.
Ultimately, Ventura was told he could help ISIS by sending the gift card transactions. However, the FBI agent wanted to convince Ventura to make a trip to travel to join ISIS. However, several times Ventura made up excuses not to go.
The Intercept notes that in September 2022, 17-year-old Ventura told the agent that he could no longer “go for hijrah,” because he had been “hurt very bad in fall and can no longer walk.” The FBI’s own investigation concluded that Ventura made up the injury to avoid taking the trip.
Finally, in January 2023, Ventura reached out to the undercover FBI agent again and apologized for not communicating for months. Ventura claimed to want to travel to ISIS territory to potentially train or fight. Ventura sent another gift card and on April 10 of 2023 booked a flight to Egypt.
However, rather than taking the flight, Ventura called the FBI’s National Threat Operations Center and attempted to turn in the undercover FBI agent impersonating an ISIS terrorist. Ventura spoke erratically and demanded the FBI pay him millions of dollars for information related to terrorism.
Now Ventura has been arrested and is being held under suspicion of being a terrorist. His father told reporters that his son is being “railroaded.”
Clearly, Mateo Ventura was dealing with bullying and mental health issues. He did not have the means to join ISIS or even a contact with anyone in ISIS or another terrorist group. As we have seen time and time again, the FBI manipulates vulnerable individuals and walks them into fake scenarios which they can label as “terrorism,” while the media reports another win for the now-Domestic War on Terror.
A History of FBI Entrapment
It’s worth noting that this practice has been happening for years. In fact, only a decade ago mainstream media outlets acknowledged the controversy surrounding the FBI’s tactics. A decade later and these tactics appear to be accepted or ignored by most Americans.
In 2012, Rolling Stone’s Rick Perlstein wrote a piece entitled “How FBI Entrapment Is Inventing ‘Terrorists’ – and Letting Bad Guys Off the Hook” questioning the motives of the bureau. That same year The New York Times even took a bold stance with David Shipler’s piece, “Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I.” Shipler wrote:
This is legal, but is it legitimate? Without the F.B.I., would the culprits commit violence on their own? Is cultivating potential terrorists the best use of the manpower designed to find the real ones? Judging by their official answers, the F.B.I. and the Justice Department are sure of themselves — too sure, perhaps.
The article details the way entrapment efforts disguised as counter-terrorism usually start: with an individual making comments to friends, or through online postings, before being approached by an informant who encourages them to take their speech to the next level. Since 9/11 these types of stings have become commonplace – so much so that in America today, merely discussing the possibility of violence with an informant can warrant an arrest.
Recorded conversations show, contrary to claims by the Justice Department, that suspects are not always warned about the consequences of their actions and are, in fact, sometimes told by their informants to continue their efforts.
One of many examples of these shady practices involves the group known as the Cleveland 5. In October 2011, the FBI sent an unnamed informant, known as a confidential human source, or CHS, to infiltrate Occupy Cleveland in hopes of finding potential “terrorists.” The FBI sent in a career criminal convicted of at least six charges, including robbery, to investigate the Occupy group and “potential criminal activity and threats involving anarchists who would be attending.” The CHS found five men with anti-government sentiments and began encouraging them to consider various acts of terrorism.
Under the encouragement of the CHS the group plotted to blow up a bridge in Ohio on April 30, 2012. The CHS reportedly took the men from discussing knocking down bank signs to discussing buying C4 explosives, promising them fake license plates and alibis to soothe their fears of being arrested and sent to Guantanamo. The CHS repeatedly pressed the men to consider buying the explosives in the weeks leading up to the arrest. One of the 5, Connor Stevens, was actually recorded rejecting violent tactics, saying, “It’s actually harder to be non-violent than it is to do stuff like that.”
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Eventually, though, the group was persuaded to buy explosives and upon attempting to make use of the dummy explosives, which had been provided by another FBI informant, they were arrested. The men received sentences ranging from six to 11 years.
Yet another example involves the so-called “Christmas Tree Bomber,” Mohamed Mohamud, who was convicted of attempting to blow up a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon in 2010.
Mohamud, a Somali-American student who was 19 at the time of the incident, was told he would be participating in a bombing with two al-Qaida recruiters. The recruiters ended up being informants for the FBI and the bomb was a fake. In 2014 Mohamud would be sentenced to 30 years in prison. The arrest and sentence lead many activists and members of the Muslim community to question whether the FBI had gone too far and possibly created a terrorist out of thin air.
In 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments related to surveillance and possible entrapment of Mohamud. In 2013 Counter Punch reported:
“Almost nothing about this scenario was true. The cell phone wasn’t connected to the toggle switch. The detonation cords weren’t wired to an explosive device. The blue drums weren’t filled with diesel-saturated fertilizer, but harmless grass seed. Mohamed wasn’t a member of al Qaeda. Of Somali origin, he was a troubled college dropout from Beaverton, Oregon, home of Nike. Youssef wasn’t a member of al Qaeda. Hussein was not one of al Qaeda’s top bomb makers. Youssef and Hussein were not really arrested and neither was charged with being part of a terrorist plot. Youssef and Hussein were both federal agents.”
CounterPunch also noted (and court records show) that “Mohamed Mohamud did not seek out the bomb plotters; they found him and seduced the young man into joining their conspiracy.”
We can even look at more recent cases of claimed domestic terrorism, like the alleged attempted kidnapping of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer It was only a matter of time before word got out that the FBI was up to its usual tactics, using criminal informants to attempt to create terrorism.
The reality is that the U.S. government — in an attempt to justify the bloated War of Terror budget and satisfy the Military-Industrial-Complex — has perfected the use of counter-terror strategies. These strategies include infiltration, division, distraction, and entrapment of isolated individuals who otherwise would likely never pose any real threat.
The U.S. government sees its own people as potential enemies because the uniparty is determined to erase individual liberty in their quest for complete Technocratic control. They will use any means — pandemics, terrorism, otherworldly threats, or climate change — to keep the people in a state of perpetual fear while they strip away freedom.
Source: The Last American Vagabond
Derrick Broze, a staff writer for The Last American Vagabond, is a journalist, author, public speaker, and activist. He is the co-host of Free Thinker Radio on 90.1 Houston, as well as the founder of The Conscious Resistance Network & The Houston Free Thinkers.
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Originally Posted at www.activistpost.com
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