January 27, 2016

AP Vaguely Headlines, Selectively Reports Thwarted Islamist Milwaukee Massacre

Barely making the Associated Press’s top 10 U.S. stories list shortly after 11 p.m. Eastern Time is a story about the arrest and indictment of Samy Mohamed Hamzeh in Milwaukee. With informants posing as co-conspirators, Hamzeh intended to carry out a massacre of “at least 30 people” at “a Masonic temple in Milwaukee,” intending to kill “everyone they saw,” and to then “walk away from the scene as if nothing had happened.”

It’s clear from the AP story by Greg Moore and Todd Richmond that the pair read the actual indictment, as they grabbed quotes from Hamzeh found there which are not present in the joint Department of Justice/FBI press release. What’s odd is that they used one of them twice, while they chose to ignore other provocative statements quoted in the indictment.

Let’s go to the AP report for the references to which I’m referring (bolds are mine; also note that though the story is at the AP’s Big Story site, it was nowhere to be found on the wire service’s Big Story home page):

FBI: Man plotted machine gun attack on Masonic temple

(Note the absence of any “where” or “why” information in the headline, or its frightening intended scope. — Ed.)

A Milwaukee man wanted to storm a Masonic temple with a machine gun and kill at least 30 people in an attack he hoped would show “nobody can play with Muslims” and spark more mass shootings in the United States, federal agents said Tuesday after the man’s arrest.

Federal prosecutors charged 23-year-old Samy Mohamed Hamzeh with unlawfully possessing a machine gun and receiving and possessing firearms not registered to him. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney, Dean Puschnig, didn’t immediately respond to a question asking why charges were limited to gun possession. Hamzeh’s attorney, federal defender Ronnie Murray, didn’t immediately return email and voicemail messages left after business hours.

… Hamzeh discussed his plans extensively with two FBI informants. The affidavit said the FBI started recording his conversations with the informants in October.

… Federal agents said that on Jan. 19 and into the early morning of Jan. 20, Hamzeh discussed his plans to attack the temple with the informants, telling them they needed two more machine guns — the group apparently already had one — and silencers. They planned to station one person at the temple’s entrance while the other two went through the building, killing everyone they saw. They then planned to walk away from the scene as if nothing had happened.

“I am telling you, if this hit is executed, it will be known all over the world … all the Mujahedeen will be talking and they will be proud of us,” Hamzeh said, according to the affidavit. “Such operations will increase in America, when they hear about it. The people will be scared and the operations will increase. … This way we will be igniting it. I mean we are marching at the front of the war.”

Hamzeh added that he hoped to kill 30 people, “because these 30 will terrify the world. The (expletive) will know that nobody can play with Muslims.”

He added, “We are here defending Islam, young people together join to defend Islam, that’s it, that is what our intention is.”

The DOJ/FBI press release predictably does not contain the final excerpted paragraph’s reference to Islam.

“Nobody can play with Muslims” clearly isn’t a very kind thought in the context. As seen above, the AP pair used it twice, but chose not to quote two at least equally damning and revealing statements found in the indictment.

Both were included in an earlier report at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which the AP reporters likely used a resource in preparing their writeup:

… “We are Muslims, defending Muslim religion, we are on our own, my dear, we have organized our own group,” Hamzeh said, according to the criminal complaint, adding he was confident it would trigger more attacks in the United States.

… “They are all Masonic; they are playing with the world like a game, man, and we are like asses, we don’t know what is going on, these are the ones who are fighting, these are the ones that needs to be killed, not the Shi’iat, because these are the ones who are against us, these are the ones who are making living for us like hell.”

The somewhat longer Journal Sentinel story didn’t find “nobody can play with Muslims” quoteworthy.

As to the AP’s overall new priorities, two stories about the indictments of the two people associated with Center For Medical Progress were still at positions 3 and 4 at is Top U.S. News listing, well over a day after the charges were filed.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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