Malik rides again
By Carl Strock
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Is it possible? Shahed Hussain, alias Malik, possibly the slimiest
character in the history of law enforcement, or at least the slimiest
character I have ever personally observed in law enforcement, is back at work.
Yes, the same dude who on behalf of the FBI tricked two Albany Muslims
into exchanging money in such a way that they could be charged with
supporting terrorism appears to be at the center of this latest
sensational case in Newburgh and New York City.
Maybe you saw the news: Four low-life dope-heads, mental defectives
and ex-cons arrested for terrorism, specifically for scheming to plant
explosives at a synagogue in the Bronx and scoping out an airfield for
possible attacks on Air National Guard planes, employing a surface-to-air
missile thoughtfully provided by the FBI’s own “confidential witness,”
who, if the past is any guide, might better be described as an agent
That’s what he was in Albany a few years ago, not a confidential witness
and not a passive “informant,” as we sometimes called him in the press,
but an active agent making things happen, things that would not have
happened without him. A provoker.
Who is this Shahed “Malik” Hussain? He is a Pakistani immigrant who made
a living in the Albany area by helping other immigrants obtain drivers’ licenses
under false pretenses. A low-level criminal who got caught, pleaded guilty and
was about to be deported when the FBI got hold of him and offered to let him
stay in this country if he would work for them, trapping Muslims on terrorism charges.
It was dirty business, but then, so was falsifying drivers’ license tests,
and it certainly beat going back to Pakistan.
Now here he is again, in the news. At least I guess it’s him. The criminal
complaint against the four low-lifes identifies the “CW” as having pleaded
guilty in 2002 to falsifying identification documents, getting sentenced
to five years probation, having cooperated with the FBI for over six years
and having given information that has proven “accurate and reliable” in
the past, all of which matches Malik’s profile except the last part, since
the information he gave in the Albany trial of Yassin Aref and Mohammed
Hossain was so inconsistent and flagrantly false that the very prosecutors
who put him on the witness stand couldn’t get rid of him fast enough.
But never mind. The guy delivers enough of the goods that with some
courtroom spin and sufficient fear of Muslim terrorism in the atmosphere,
the FBI can come off as saving us from yet another 9/11. Which is what
this is all about — the FBI pretending to catch terrorists.
The tabloid press swallowed the latest one whole. “HATE GANG,” headlined
the Daily News. “Bloodthirsty four’s chilling mass murder plot.” Augmented by
a column inside that was merely FBI handout material translated into tabloidese,
plus an editorial that proclaimed, “Thank heavens and all praise to the agents
and cops who pursued them [the defendants] doggedly.”
Not a doubt, not a question, not the slightest hint of skepticism about
any of the FBI’s claims. Not even an intellegent query about what role the
“informant” had played and to what extent he might have induced the four
low-lifes to do what they supposedly did, which was actually almost
nothing, apart from buying cellphones.
And ditto the Post: “Terror thugs’ sick bloodlust,” and so forth. It made me
ashamed to call myself a journalist.
I would at least like to know if the “surface-to-air guided missile” that
Malik showed the low-lifes at a Connecticut warehouse, for the benefit of
surveillance cameras, was the same one he showed Mohammed Hossain,
the pizza-shop owner in Albany. I’d like to know if the FBI is trucking that
thing around the country like a carnival prop, trying to find new
customers for it, with Malik as their indefatigable front man, talking the
same gibberish about Jaish-e-Mohammed that he talked in Albany.
Jaish-e-Mohammed: That’s a designated terrorist outfit in Pakistan and
Kashmir that Malik tried hard to get Yassin Aref of Albany to endorse,
and when Yassin would not, as surreptitiously recorded on tape, saying he
knew nothing about it, Malik testified that Yassin supported the organization anyway.
I note in this new case that Malik was peddling Jaish-e-Mohammed to
the latest four guys also, so the FBI must figure it’s a winner.
What did they actually do, these four losers, once you get behind the
“SICK BLOODLUST” headlines and once you read with sober attention
the 13-page criminal complaint against them?
Mostly, they “discussed” things with Malik, which sounds familiar. Malik
turns on his tape recorder, or the FBI’s hidden video camera is already
running, and he starts jabbering in his heavy Pakistani accent about
doing jihad, and about how rich he is, and how much influence he has,
and how he knows someone who can get a mizz-AISLE (which is how
he pronounces “missile”), and so forth and so on, all jumbled up, and if
he’s lucky, his customers nod along.
In this case, I guess, he got the four low-lifes to play along with him at
least to the extent of driving to Stewart Airport and eyeballing the
National Guard airfield. And actually going to look at a synagogue and
taking pictures of it. And actually buying cellphones. And actually buying
a handgun. And actually agreeing to certain codewords that he proposed,
which also sounds familiar.
Just enough to support charges of conspiracy, or of trying to employ
weapons of mass destruction, or of providing material support to
terrorrists, which are easy charges to make on account of how broadly
worded the relevant statutes are.
I had hoped that with an Obama administration these farcical “sting
operations,” as they’re called, would have been dropped in favor of
efforts to catch real terrorists, so I was disappointed to see the news of
this latest one, though I do note the operation began last year,
apparently in June, when that master of misdirection, George W. Bush,
was still in office.
Let us see what happens from now on. Let us see if Malik has still
greater investigative heights to scale, and if that old mizz-AISLE of the
FBI’s has any more carnival life in it.