Jun 7, 2004
On March 11, a bomb exploded on a train near Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people and wounding 2,000 more. On May 6, the FBI arrested Brandon Mayfield, a lawyer from Portland, Oregon and a converted Muslim, holding him for two weeks as a material witness in the Madrid bombing. The FBI claimed it had found his fingerprint on a bag of detonators, similar to those used in the bombing, which was found near the scene.
Spanish officials, however, didn't corroborate FBI lies. In mid-May, they announced that the fingerprint belonged to an Algerian named Daoud Ouhnane whom they were holding for an expired visa. Spanish authorities in fact had notified the FBI as early as April 13 that their own tests had shown Mayfield's fingerprint did NOT match the one on the bag of detonators. That was three weeks before the FBI even arrested Mayfield!
In reality, this case was never about anyone's involvement in a terrorist bombing. The FBI was carrying out a witch-hunt against Mayfield for having defended a member of the "Portland Seven," a group of black Muslims who were railroaded on charges they had supposedly tried to join the Taliban.
This case is part of the U.S. government's broader attempt to terrorize anyone who stands up against them – and to intimidate lawyers who defend people railroaded for opposing government policies. Mayfield was fortunate that the Spanish government didn't back up this frame-up. Others – who have been held for months and years – have not been as lucky.
Democratic rights and freedoms – these are the big words mouthed by U.S. officials as they trample all over them.