United States

Smoke ’Em Out, Freedom Of Speech Be Damned

By Lenore Daniels

“This is not justice. The only reason they put five kids in jail is because they are Muslim.”—Faten Shnewer, mother of Mohammed Shnewer

“Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech.” —Rev. Martin L. King, Jr.

“…When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.” —Pastor Martin Niemoller

I saw a beautiful young boy in three studio photos. In another photo, I saw four brothers, typical young men, smiling at the camera. They could have been photos of my past students.

Then I am told that the brother with the little daughter can not see her. The brother with five children can’t see his children.


Well, the U.S. government has declared them “terrorists.”

The young men are suspicious looking here in America: They are Muslim!

The young men were caught on a video saying “Allah, akbar!” rather than “God is greatest” in English!

Suspicious looks and very suspect language!

The corporate media has labeled this the case of the “Fort Dix 5-Terrorists.”

And, let’s face it, in America, that label announced to the American public, makes them guilty!

I recently had the opportunity to meet the Lata Duka, the mother of three of the charged young men and the sister of Mohammed Shnewer, Inas Shnewer.

One day, the young men entered a Circuit City store with a video. They wanted a DVD copy of the video. The tape shows a family on vacation, swimming, playing paint ball, and pillow fighting. The clerk, however, views a fragment of the tape where the young men were shouting at a firing range at Pocono Mountains, a vacation and recreation site in Pennsylvania. He hears those “strange” words: “Allah, akbar!” He sees young Muslim men standing before him. It’s America! COINTELPRO America! Patriot Act America! Homeland Security and Violent Radicalization laws America! “We’ll smoke ’em out” America!!

So the clerk contacts the FBI.

At Poconos the young men asked for semi-automatics (not automatic weapons as the informants and corporate media have repeated) to use on the firing range. And because they are Muslims, they said “Allah, Akbar” and not “God is greatest” in English as while they had fun at the firing range.

But, you see, this is America.

White children, as soon as they come into the world, have a fishing rod placed in one little hand and a rifle placed in the other. They are taught to fish and hunt—to kill.

I remember college classrooms of white students from rural areas “teaching” me about video games in which they were able to kill and rape—virtually, of course. We remember Charleston Heston’s words, “over my dead body,” when he thought the government would take away his guns.

We live in a country obsessed with violence and the right to own their guns but they remain silent, as the First Amendment is—one citizen at a time—slowly disappearing.

Since the “alert” clerk at Circuit City contacted the FBI in 2005, the young men were under surveillance for 14 months. And more—

Mohmoud Omar and Besnik Bakali went to high school with the young men.

They ate lunch and dinner at the young men’s home and came by the store owned by the family. But what they were not, were members of the community.

Omar, Egyptian, was on probation for entering the U.S. illegally, according to Joseph Piette, “The Fort Dix 5 Convictions: Provocation and Frameup?” in Workers World. Bakali is wanted for “a shooting in Albania.” The FBI approached them and they were grateful!

The informants worked hard over the 14 months to encourage the young men to say the word “jihad.” Finally, one of the young men says “jihad.” Jihad means struggle both personal and political just as we speak of the Black struggle and our daily struggle in America.

Wired to record the Duka brothers, Shnewer, and Serdar Tatar, the informants insisted that it would be a good idea to own a weapon—an automatic—for the next visit to Poconos, said the informants. No, said the young men who were not interested. They work. They have families. Yes, you can bring your own weapons to the firing range, but they work. The Duka brothers are roofers. Mohammed Shnewer is a taxi driver. They have the responsibility of providing for their families. Dritan Duka, 30, has five children. Elijvir Duka, 26, has a daughter. Shain Duka, 26, has a younger brother who needs his guidance. No, said the young men—a semi-automatic!

But isn’t that how it works? It’s the “friend” who brings law enforcement to you and kisses your cheeks. It’s the one who arranges a meeting to settle disagreements on your “turf.”

What were these young men planning to do, according to the informants? They were set to attack a U.S. base at Fort Dix. Sounds like a movie, doesn’t it? The prosecutor’s star witnesses, Omar and Bakali were well paid too. Omar received $240,000 while Bakali took home $150,000 (“The Fort Dix 5 Convictions). Nice “work,” uh?

And this starts with a video of swimming and of pillow fights! But, these are images of distraction to cover up the secret training of “terrorists” at Poconos! These activities concealed plotting young Muslim men planning to destroy the lifestyle of “hard working” Americans! Be fearful of your neighbors with racial and religious differences while, for Islamic Muslims living in America, daily activities are subject to misinterpretation.

What happened to this evidence of terrorism, this incriminating evidence, this videotape?



I looked at the two women, the mother of the Duka brothers and the sister of Mohammad as they gesture…


Yes, the videotape is damaged—as in—end of the incriminating evidence!


Am I surprised?

According to one corporate media report, the five young men were found guilty on December 28, 2008, of “conspiring to massacre U.S. soldiers at Fort Dix [New Jersey].”1 The “investigation” stopped “terrorists” at “the planning stage.” Oh, yes, “an attack was imminent” and the case “underscored the dangers of terrorist plots hatched on U.S. soil.”

Americans are safer because five young Muslim men shouting “Allah, akbar” at a public firing range, are now facing life in prison!

They went to Poconos to have fun and they ran into terror!

“My sons didn’t do anything,” their mother, Lata Duka, told me. “Now, everyone is crying all the time.”


The children who can’t see their fathers and wives, uncles, sisters, and mothers, shouldn’t be alone in crying.

As we have witnessed in the persecution of Rev. Edward Pinkney in Benton Harbor, Michigan and his fight to end the takeover of the Black community with Whirlpool, Inc.’s development scheme, this case represents the government’s violation of the First Amendment—Freedom of Speech and Expression. Rev. Pinkney was given a 3-10 years sentence for “threatening” a judge with a passage from the Bible! ( Now, apparently, if you say “God is greatest” in Arabic and not in English—that’s a threat to U.S. national security!

Your outrage is needed! Your right to justice is at stake! It is YOUR First Amendment right that is being violated if these five men are sentenced to life in prison! And the Dukas, Shnewer, and Tartar families are your family members too!

They need you! Court officials have used fear to silence the Duka’s friends and neighbors. Let the government know that its effort to control by fear is on trial! If I lived in China or even Russia, or any totalitarian country, maybe I could understand the denial of certain basic First Amendment privileges, because they hadn’t committed themselves to that over there. But somewhere I read of the freedom of assembly. Somewhere I read of the freedom of speech.

—, NewsOne, April 28, 2009

1 3 Brothers Sentenced to Life for Holy War Plot at Ft. Dix