Press Conference and Vigil outside the court house prior to the
Oral Argument for the Appeal of the
8:30 Press Conference
Vigil to follow immediately after.
9:45 - Enter Court House
The oral argument for the Newburgh 4 will be held on
Monday, November 5 at 10:00 AM
at the Federal Court House, 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY
The four men from Newburgh, New York, were entrapped in a sting operation by the FBI, and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Here is an excellent recent article about the case in the Village Voice:
Read the Briefs:
Read more about the case; below is the description of the case from
VICTIMS OF AMERICA’S DIRTY WARS Tactics and Reasons from COINTELPRO to the War on Terror
On May 21, 2009, the FBI announced the indictment of four “Muslims,” Onta Williams, James Cromitie, David Williams, and Laguerre Payen, on charges that they were planning to blow up a synagogue and shoot down military airplanes at Stewart Airport in Newburgh, New York with a missile. The government claimed that they were violent Muslims who hated Jews and wanted to strike back against America for what it was doing in the Middle East. When the facts emerged, it turned out that all of the men were ex-convicts who were only marginally involved with Islam. They participated in the plot only because they were offered large amounts of money to do virtually nothing. The plot was created, financed, and continuously promoted by an FBI agent provocateur, Shahed (“Maqsood”) Hussein––the same person who, a few years earlier as “Malik,” had entrapped Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain.
Pretending that he was a devout Muslim, Maqsood first went to a Newburgh mosque and fished for terrorists by talking about violent jihad. His con was so obvious that the real Muslims would have nothing to do with him, but he was able to attract Cromitie (and later the other three) with offers of money and friendship. Maqsood offered the defendants large sums of money to join his “team”––up to $25,000 each, and $250,000 to one of them––and he provided all of the equipment and plans. The defendants had no money, cars, driver’s licenses, contacts, weapons, training, or interest in jihad, and only went along for the money. At least one of the defendants had a drug addiction; another was unemployed; and another had mental health issues. For $250,000, the FBI could have entrapped similarly frustrated people in virtually any homeless outreach program or religious charitable organization in the country, and it is significant that it targeted only a mosque. It is also significant that the FBI, not the defendants, decided to attack a synagogue (to arouse religious anger in the country), and that the FBI, not the defendants, decided to attack military planes at Stewart Airport (to arouse patriotic anger in defense of the military). Thus the FBI cynically tried to manipulate public opinion into outrage, which would overlook the obvious fact that the men were entrapped.
The defendants clearly had no means of, or interest in, engaging in any terrorist activity, except for the relentless persuasion of Maqsood and his money. Significantly, the lead FBI agent in the case, Robert Fuller, reassured security people at Stewart Airport that Cromitie “would never try anything without the informant with him.” 10
After the defendants were arrested, they were placed in solitary confinement twenty-three hours a day for four months. The corrections officers were told to “go hard” on the defendants, according to David Williams; they called him names and made up lies about him. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a big show of congratulating the FBI on preventing “what could be a terrible event in our city,” even thought the FBI had both created the crime and solved it and the defendants had virtually nothing to do with it except ride around in the FBI’s (Maqsood’s) car.
The defendants turned down a plea bargain offer of fifteen years and decided to go to trial. The presiding judge referred to the case as the “un-terrorism case” and appeared to be highly skeptical of the government’s proof. At the trial, there was a devastating cross-examination of Maqsood, who was shown to be a habitual liar and con man who lied even to his own FBI handlers. Whenever the defendants indicated that they were no longer interested in the plot or wanted to withdraw, Maqsood would offer them more money, even when these offers were not authorized by the government. He also failed to record key conversations and lied about his past, his debts, and his personal life. Although it was difficult to believe anything he said, the jury convicted the four men of terrorism.
After the trial, the defendants explained that they saw Maqsood as a source of money and wanted to con him out of it. They never had any intention to hurt anyone. Away from Maqsood they never talked about jihad or a “plot,” but around him they said what he wanted them to say because he gave them money afterwards. David Williams, who needed to raise money for his brother’s liver operation, told the Village Voice that “[o]ur role in this case was to get over on the [Confidential Informant] and get that money he was offering us...We were always lying to him and he was always lying to us.” 11
It is illegal for the government to entrap people who have no inclination to engage in criminal activity. The government is supposed to stop crime, not create it. Nonetheless, as part of its preemptive prosecution program, the government regularly employs Muslim criminals like Maqsood to entrap innocent Muslims in activities it can claim are criminal.
10 Fuller has been involved in a number of controversial cases that include the detention and illegal rendering of Maher Arar to Syria in 2002–2003, where Arar was tortured for a year before it was decided that he was innocent. Fuller was also handling the Tarik Shah case (see below) when his agent provocateur, Mohamed Alanssi, bizarrely set fire to himself in front of the White House in 2004. Although Alanssi survived, his suicide note was addressed to Fuller. Fuller was also on the team that was assigned to track down two of the 9/11 hijackers in August 2001 and failed to do that. See “FBI Agent on Synagogue Case Has Questionable Record” by Graham Rayman, Village Voice blogs, May 21, 2009, http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2009/05/index.php?page=11.
11 “Were the Newburgh 4 Really Out to Blow Up Synagogues? A Defendant Finally Speaks Out.” by Graham Rayman, Village Voice, March 2, 2011, http://www.villagevoice.com/2011-03-02/news/were-the-newburgh-4- really-out-to-blow-up-synagogues/.