Adnan Mirza: Another US War on Terror Victim – by Stephen Lendman
Post-9/11, Mirza is one of legions of war on terror victims – framed, charged, indicted, tried and convicted on bogus terrorism related charges.
On October 22, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas headlined, “Pakistani Student Sentenced to prison for conspiring to support the Taliban and unlawful possession of firearms,” saying:
Adnan Mirza was “convicted in May 2010 (on nine counts) following a jury trial….Senior US District Judge Ewing Werlein (imposed) the maximum applicable prison term for each” one, complying with prosecutors’ request for terrorism enhancements, used when they claim a crime aimed to influence or coerce government policy. Mirza was also fined $1,000 for each count, $9,000 in total.
“An FBI (sting) resulted in (alleged) proof that Mirza and others intended to send funds to the Taliban and had engaged in weekend/training and practice sessions with firearms to prepare for ‘jihad’ on six different occasions beginning in May 2006 at a location on the north side of Houston.”
On May 27, New York Times writer Daniel Cadis headlined, “Texas: Student Convicted of Aiding Taliban,” giving Mirza one paragraph with no explanation on the FBI’s sting, using two paid informants to entrap, its common way snare victims – innocent, yet bogusly convicted and imprisoned.
On the same date, MyHarlingen News.com headlined, “Jury Convicts Adnan Mirza of Conspiring to Support the Taliban and Unlawful Possession of Firearms,” saying he’s a Pakistani citizen, here on student visa to attend college in 2005 and 2006 when arrested and charged.
Born in Kuwait to Pakistani parents, he attended college in Cyprus. On student visa, in August 2001, he came to America, attended the University of Atlanta, then Houston Community College. Living with his aunt and uncle, he performed volunteer services for the Islamic Community of North America (ICNA) and WHYIslam.
Regularly, he collected food from local restaurants, distributed it on weekends to Houston’s homeless and refugees, along with clothes and other non-perishables, continuing his education as a full-time student. Fond of camping, he regularly attended Young Muslim ones, what led to his entrapment and imprisonment. More on that below.
Arrested in November 2006, he was held without bond, remaining in custody until convicted and imprisoned. At the time, a leading Pakistani Urdu-language daily accused the FBI of paying informants to entrap him, Jim Coates and Malik Mohammad. On camping trips, they secretly taped conversations, photographed Mirza and others holding guns, after which prosecutors fabricated charges, unrelated to conspiracy to commit terrorism or other crime.
At Mirza’s Masjid Lel-Farouq mosque, members expressed shock, one identified only as Mohamad saying “He’s the kindest, sweetest person. He would not harm a fly.” Another named Ali called him “a very decent person. Just because he has a beard and you like to go hunting doesn’t mean that you are a terrorist.”
Mirza’s lawyer, David Adler, said his client expressed anger over US war crimes, explained that he collected funds for victims, small amounts sent to families, hospitals, women and children, not the Taliban or supportive groups. At trial, he called him a good student who regularly fed Houston’s homeless, and worked with local police on a public access channel, explaining Islamic religion and culture to area viewers.
Interviewed on Democracy Now on October 21, Mirza explained his volunteer charity work, helping Houston’s homeless and refugee population. Reacting to his conviction and sentence, he said his lawyer:
“did not put up a good defense. I mean, we were not – I mean, I did not spend a whole bunch of time with (him). So (the sentence) wasn’t unexpected. But I still have the appeals process, and hopefully that will come through for me.”
Events unfolded as follows. As explained above, Mirza and others regularly took camping trips, infiltrated in 2005 by two FBI informants, pretending to be Muslim friends. One brought guns for target practice. He later learned that his student visa prohibited even holding one. However, he admitted having a hunting license, saying he took hunting education instruction.
“That’s when I first possessed my – I mean, a firearm. I mean it was under the Texas government program. And after it was confirmed that I could, that’s when I really went ahead and started target practicing, just so that, you know, I could go hunting” with friends. He didn’t know two planned to entrap him and succeeded.
Before trial, pressure to accept a plea bargain was applied, under which he’d be free to continue school. He declined wanting to clear his name, stay in America, and avoid deportation. He gambled, lost, and, unless reversed on appeal, will spend 15 years in prison, though innocent of all charges. Another war on terror victim, Eric Holder prosecutors entrap them as relentlessly as earlier ones under Ashcroft, Gonzales and Mukasey.
A Final Comment
Omar Khadr is another war on terror victim, imprisoned at Guantanamo at age 15, there today at 23, accused of being an “unlawful enemy combatant,” now called an “unprivileged enemy belligerent,” the spurious designation with no legal validity.
Nonetheless, he was accused of throwing a hand grenade in Afghanistan, killing a US soldier. His capture followed a gunfight during which he was shot twice in the chest and blinded in one eye. Seriously injured, he was taken to Bagram air base, interrogated on a hospital gurney, then sent to Guantanamo, held incommunicado, and repeatedly tortured and interrogated to extract a confession.
On October 25, he pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges, including murder for throwing a grenade and spying. Though uncertain, the agreement calls for eight more years imprisonment, most, as a Canadian citizen, perhaps in Canada.
Khadr is one of many others lawlessly treated, Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights calling his plea:
“….a ‘show plea.’ He pleaded guilty to crimes he was never charged with and crimes about which there was almost no evidence, except a confession made under torture including threats of gang rape. So why did he do it?” He faced life in prison “even without a trial. He was being tried in a military commission, not a real court,” with no right of appeal, and no chance for judicial fairness. “Under these circumstances his conviction was almost guaranteed.”
“So why did the US offer him a plea (it if sticks)….that likely includes no more than (another) year at Guantanamo and then he is off to Canada, where it is likely he will soon be freed? The sentencing process going on now is a similar charade; Khadr cannot get more than he agreed to. But it gives the administration a chance to parade out all the horribles – none of which will have much to do with Khadr.”
“The Obama administration is trying to” do the impossible – “save any ‘face’ they have left: this was the first trial of a child soldier by a Western power since World War II….Such charges and trials of juveniles are utterly illegal. Top that off with torture,” inflicted on all detainees at Guantanamo and other US offshore prisons, gulags of the worst kind, operating lawlessly with no letup. Obama uses them as ruthlessly as Bush after promising change.
Imagine, trying to make a 15-year old look like “a really bad guy and guilty. The Khadr case is one of the most disgusting chapters in a post-9/11 detention system that should have long ago been relegated to a trash bin.”
Though little consolation, he’ll fare better than former Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz, the US puppet Maliki government sentencing him to death by hanging, the same barbarism dealt other Saddam Hussein officials, himself included.
As foreign minister, Aziz was a diplomat, who voluntarily surrendered in 2003, believing his credentials and reputation protected him. Instead, though aging and ill, he spent seven years in solitary confinement, most recently in Iraqi custody. In total charge, Washington ordered his hanging, more victor’s justice following kangaroo court proceedings during which he had no legal representation, the verdict a fait accompli to assure truths he knows are buried.
Last August, in his only prison interview, Aziz told the London Guardian:
“We are all victims of America and Britain. They killed our country.” He’s next, joining millions of other Iraqis for nearly two decades, casualties of one of history’s greatest crimes, unpunished and ongoing.
On October 26, The New York Times gave a contemptuous account of his case, calling him a “staunch” regime defender, saying he lived in a “magnificent villa,” who turned himself in for his own safety.
On October 25, The Times was dismissive about Khdar, saying nothing about torture or America’s illegal war and occupation, only (as a concluding afterthought) that “child soldiers are almost never prosecuted for war crimes. That meant that the coverage of Mr. Khadr’s case around the world (but not in America) was dominated by persistent questions about whether the case was appropriate.” It was lawless and “disgusting,” what no Times account suggested.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.