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FBI

The FBI's seal is emblazoned on the J. Edgar Hoover Building, the agency's headquarters, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Gareth Milner/flickr/cc)

The FBI Is Still Targeting Black People for Entrapment

The COINTELPRO era never ended, as Black people bear the brunt of FBI surveillance. The war on terror gave a new rationale for using paid informants to entrap Black people. Romeo Langhorne is the latest victim of a government-created crime.

Romeo Langhorne is the latest victim of an FBI phony terror entrapment scheme. On July 7, 2022 he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for uploading a bomb-making video. Langhorne didn’t make a bomb. He uploaded a video while under the direction of an FBI informant. The video had in fact been produced by the government.

More than 20 years after September 11, 2001 Americans are still being told that they are at risk of terrorist attacks. The color-coded risk assessments, NSA  surveillance of all electronic and internet activity continues. The threat of terror attacks is the justification for encroaching on civil liberties and phony terror schemes concocted by informants still get headlines and give legitimacy to the continued violations of our rights.

Langhorne is a 32-year-old Black man who was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He fits the description of nearly every person whom the FBI has speciously claimed to be a terrorist in the past 20 years. They are Black Americans, Muslims from this country or immigrants who are often vulnerable economically or emotionally. The list of people who were said to have planned acts of terror are victims of intimidation and entrapment from informers who are the ones who lead them to commit the act for which they are convicted.

In this case, Langhorne pleaded guilty to “probably at some point” pledging allegiance to ISIS. The plea is meaningless when no one is ever acquitted. Pleading guilty in this case gets a 20-year sentence, taking the chance of pleading innocent when the prosecutorial deck is stacked against the defendant means risking many more years in prison when the inevitable guilty verdict is reached.

John Leombruno, Langhorne’s attorney described the scenario which occurs in most terrorism prosecutions, "Acting in an undercover capacity, they initiated conversations with Mr. Langhorne and incited the production of a video that would inform individuals on how to make an explosive…To make certain that a prosecution of the defendant would occur, the government produced the actual video in question (and), circled back to Mr. Langhorne when the interactions and conversations between them grew cold."

Langhorne shares the same fate with music Tarik Shah, the Liberty City Seven, and the Newburgh Four. All were targeted by FBI informants. In the case of the Liberty City Seven no crime was committed and the Newburgh Four supposed bombing plot was led by the informant, who created the crime himself.

Little has changed since this Black Agenda Report commentary in 2010, which stated that the true purpose of these entrapments is, “... to terrify the American public, so that they will surrender their civil liberties – possibly the greatest extortion scheme in U.S. history.” Of course, Black targets are the most useful, as they always “fit the profile” when some wrongdoing is being concocted.

In the wake of the September 11 attacks, congress passed the Patriot Act, far-reaching legislation that has impacted civil liberties ever since. At the time it was said to be temporary, yet it has been renewed like clockwork, without opposition or even minimal questioning from members of Congress or the corporate media.

Langhorne was under surveillance from 2014 until his arrest in 2019. We see the usual hyperbolic claims of terroristic intent along with vague assertions of pledges to ISIS or another organization. In all these years there have been no Jihadist terror events in the U.S. Plots are produced by paid snitches and the wheels of injustice grind on and on.

Giving “material support” is a catch-all phrase that can mean anything that prosecutors want. Any statement can be called a pledge of support to ISIS. The end result is that of the 979 terror charges filed since September 11 only 7 individuals have not gone to jail. A guilty plea in cases such as these proves absolutely nothing.

So 32-year-old Romeo Langhorne gets 20 years in federal prison followed by 15 years of supervision. He will be a senior citizen by the time he is truly free from law enforcement. No one had anything to fear from him or the hundreds of others who have been prosecuted. Apparently, there aren’t any real terrorists working in the U.S. If they do exist the feds can’t find them. They can only find hapless dupes to persecute and prosecute so that the people don’t question what their government does in their names.


Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.Com.

Margaret Kimberley

Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly at the Black Agenda Report. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley (at) BlackAgendaReport.com.

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