Fish Wrapper Paints Brandon Mayfield as Victim, Ignores Other Evidence

By now, everyone (or most everyone) knows the sad story of Brandon Mayfield. In the aftermath of the 2004 Madrid train bombings, a fingerprint found on a bag containing detonators similar to the ones used in the bombings. When it was run through the FBI's AFIS fingerprint identification system, a list of 15 possible matches was returned, and Mayfield's was one of them. Three more FBI fingerprint analysts concluded that it indeed did belong to Mayfield. However, the Spanish National Police did not come to the same conclusion. The FBI continued to investigate him, and arrested him and held him for two weeks under a material witness order. Eventually, he was released, and the FBI apologized. The details of the investigation can be found in the US DOJ Inspector General's report on the case. He sued the federal government for violations of his civil rights (among other things), and eventually settled for $2 million.

In today's DFW article Mayfield's home goes from safe to sinister, the Fish Wrapper paints a story of a meek, mild mannered attorney who was unjustifiably traumatized by the government. Mayfield even trots out his favorite line:

Brandon Mayfield continues to pursue his challenge of the constitutionality of the Patriot Act. "This happened because I am a Muslim," he says.

Riiiiight. That computerized system somehow knew he was a Muslim and targeted him because of that.

What the article fails to refer to at all, however, is why the government was really looking at Mayfield. It wasn't just the fingerprint; there were a number of other things that, when added together, painted a much different picture than what is portrayed in the MSM.

Daniel Pipes has two articles here and here that lay out why he was investigated so thoroughly. Here are some high points.

First, his connections to militant Islam and the global jihad:

  • He prayed in the same Bilal Mosque as did several individuals (Maher Hawash, Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal, Muhammad Ibrahim Bilal) who pleaded guilty in 2003 to conspiring to help the Taliban. The mosque's website includes links to militant Islamic organizations, including some "charities" closed down by the U.S. government for funding terrorism. Saudi specialist Stephen Schwartz finds Bilal to be "a fairly typical Wahhabi-controlled mosque."
  • While studying law at Washburn University in Kansas, Mr. Mayfield helped organize a branch of the Muslim Student Association, a group described by analyst Jonathan Dowd-Gailey as "an overtly political organization" espousing "Wahhabism, anti-Americanism, and anti-Semitism … and expressing solidarity with militant Islamic ideologies, sometimes with criminal results."
  • In 2002, Mr. Mayfield volunteered to represent Jeffrey Leon Battle – who subsequently pleaded guilty to conspiracy to levy war against America and was sentenced to 18 years in prison – in a custody dispute over his then-6-year-old son. Strangely (according to Quanell X, national spokesperson for the New Black Panthers and a friend of Battle's), Mr. Mayfield flew to Texas at his own expense for Battle's sake.
  • Someone in Mr. Mayfield 's house was in telephone contact with Perouz Sedaghaty (a.k.a. Pete Seda), director of the U.S. office of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, a number of whose foreign branches have been designated as terrorist organizations. This "charity" was eventually indicted for conspiring to defraud the U.S. government by routing funds to Islamic militants in Chechnya, and then claiming on tax forms that the money was used to build a mosque in Missouri.
  • Mr. Mayfield advertised his solo law practice in a "Muslim" yellow pages run by Jerusalem Enterprises Inc., a company owned by Farid Adlouni. Adlouni is a person "directly linked in business dealings" with Wadih El Hage, Osama Bin Laden's personal secretary in the 1990s and convicted of conspiring to murder U.S. citizens in 2001.

In addition:

  • Mr. Mayfield 's political profile fits that of many disaffected, America-hating terrorists: he strongly opposes the Patriot Act, inveighs against American foreign policy related to Muslim countries, and is "particularly angered," according to his brother Kent, by close U.S. relations with Israel. Mr. Mayfield speculates that the Bush administration knew in advance about 9/11 but chose to let the attacks go ahead so as to justify going to war. And on his release from custody, he compared the U.S. federal government to Nazi Germany.
  • In common with many violence-prone Islamists in the United States (including Maher Hawash, Mohammed Ali Alayed, Zacarias Moussaoui, and the "Lackawanna Six"), Mr. Mayfield went from being a nominal Muslim to one whose Islamic beliefs "got more and more intense."

After he was released, The U.S. Attorney released her "Reply Memorandum in Support of Motion to Amend Order Requiring Destruction of Seized Items," dated Sept. 13, 2004. The memo classifies the evidence found in his house.

A computer in Mayfield's residence had:

  1. been used to research airline schedules for travel from Portland, Oregon to Madrid, Spain, in September and October 2003;
  2. accessed websites marketing rental housing in Spain in the fall of 2003;
  3. accessed a number of websites based in Spain, including a website apparently sponsored by the Spanish national passenger rail system – the target of the March 11, 2004 bombings;
  4. been used to perform a "Google search" regarding the phrase "target practice at home;" and
  5. been used to specifically access a FAQ ("frequently-asked question") contained on "expedia.com" relating to the use of a "credit card with a billing address outside the U.S." for payment for travel services.


    In addition, during the search of Mayfield's home, agents discovered, among other items:
  6. a handwritten notation of a telephone number in Spain;
  7. virulently anti-Semitic articles printed from the internet which appeared to blame Jewish people for various world problems;
  8. pilot training logs showing Mayfield's experience as a small aircraft pilot in the 1980s; [a footnote here adds that "Al-Qaida has in recent years sought to recruit individuals with piloting skills."]
  9. a book chronicling the development of the Al Qaida network;
  10. 2 firearms; and
  11. classified national defense documents relating to a U.S. weapons system.

    In the court-authorized search of Mayfield's office, agents found:

  12. a post-September 11, 2001 letter, apparently written by Mayfield, expressing support for the Taliban. [DP addition: It stated, "Who is America to bomb the Taliban because they don't like Afghanistan's law? All I say that Americans should think twice about the example you are setting on the rest of the countries"]


    In the court-authorized search of Mayfield's safe deposit box, agents found:

  13. $10,000 in cash, all in one-hundred dollar denominations, strapped in five two-thousand dollar increments with straps dated November, 2002. This large quantity of cash seemed inconsistent with the apparently limited income generated by Mayfield's law practice (which appeared to be under $25,000 per year adjusted gross income.) Also found in the safe deposit box were current passports for Mayfield's children and an expired passport for his wife.

    While "there may be innocent explanations for all of these facts," Immergut concluded in the court filing, "this evidence demonstrates that the government and its agents were acting in good faith when they continued the material witness investigation and sought Mayfield's continued detention after his initial arrest."

    Pipe's second article provides the details up through the settlement of the lawsuit on November 30th.

    Isn't it amazing that there are two sides to every story? In this case, looking at the second side reveals that Mr. Mayfield wasn't being quite honest; there were very many other factors that contributed to the FBI's opinion that even if he there wasn't enough evidence to bring criminal charges against him, he certainly knew something.

    But of course, providing both sides to a story isn't something we always expect from the Fish Wrapper, is it?

STILL NOT ANSWERED TO MY SATISFACTION

$10,000 in cash, all in one-hundred dollar denominations, strapped in five two-thousand dollar increments with straps dated November, 2002. This large quantity of cash seemed inconsistent with the apparently limited income generated by Mayfield's law practice (which appeared to be under $25,000 per year adjusted gross income.) Also found in the safe deposit box were current passports for Mayfield's children and an expired passport for his wife.
While "there may be innocent explanations for all of these facts," Immergut concluded in the court filing, "this evidence demonstrates that the government and its agents were acting in good faith when they continued the material witness investigation and sought Mayfield's continued detention after his initial arrest."

DID THE "LAWYER" REPORT THIS "INCOME?"

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