DATELINE-PETER'S NEW YORK. SUNDAY, JUNE 3 2007 -- U.S. prosecutors have accused four men of plotting to bomb targets in the New York Area, but doubt exists as to the authenticity of the charges against the men.

The Justice Department made the charges public at a press conference Saturday. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf said the alleged plotters would have targeted a fuel pipeline from New Jersey to John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens, and facilities at the airport itself.

The government admitted however that no actual explosives were obtained by the four alleged plotters. Statements indicated that the Federal Bureau of Investigation was involved in the plot from its inception, leading to the probability that the charges stemmed from a sting operation. If so, the plot itself was likely designed by the FBI and potential plotters seduced into participation.

The perception created by the wire services that the alleged plotters actually designed the plot would then be generally inaccurate and misleading. These wire services create the public perception that there are real terorists that are hatching plots, which appears not to be the case. The reckless reporting of the wire services also implants an anti-islamic element into the public psyche, since government targets for terrorist sting operations have been exclusively moslems.

The government has prosecuted many such "sting" cases since the moslem cleric, Shiekh Omar Abdul-Rahman, was found guilty in 1995 of of a terrorist plot in a sting operation created by the Feds. The Shiekh is generally cited in the media as having himself created the fantastic plot to take down many New York City landmarks, although such was not the case. The plot was created by the government as part of a sting operation. Unfortunately, the press, perhaps at the government's bidding, or to stem possible government retribution, usually in the form of limiting a reporter's access to government information, fails to report fully the government's role.

In fact, experts indicate that no sizable terrorist threat exists.

Said John Mueller in a recent article in Foreign Affairs, the pre-eminent journal of the foreign policy establishment:

“Although it remains heretical to say so, the evidence so far suggests that fears of the omnipresent terrorist....may have been overblown, the threat presented within the United States greatly exaggerated. The massive and expensive homeland security apparatus erected since 9/11 may be persecuting some, spying on many, inconveniencing most, and taxing all to defend the United States against an enemy that scarcely exists.”

Still, little has been done to oppose such prosecutions as the government announced Saturday, nor has the press chosen to accurately depict the actual state of affairs regarding the origin of the so-called "terrorist" plots that are alleged to have been hatched. Stories by the Associated Press and other wire services are written as if the charges were reality, and did not need to be proven. These reports inevitably come down on the government's side, and represent mere extentions of the U.S. Justice Department's public relations arm, rather than acting as part of a critical force that checks government.

Although sting operations are often upheld by the courts, entrapment occurs when the accused can prove that he or she or they would not have otherwise committed the actions alleged to have taken place, apart from the influence of the sting operation.

Some have accused the government of creating terrorist cases to justify the budgets they have been given to prosecute such cases, in the absence of any real terrorist activity.

Sting operations in England and the United States have led to the perception among some moslem groups, a perception that is perhaps justified,  that men and women convicted under entrapment schemes are being illegally and unjustly detained. Some groups have engaged in kidnappings or similar actions in order to create pressure to free those who have been imprisoned in such entrapment cases.

Many such actions were initiated to free Omar Abdul-Rahman. Rahman's one-time attorney, Lynne Stewart, has claimed Rahman was innocent of the charges against him. More recently, a CNN reporter was kidnapped, and his detention has been linked to the imprisonment of a moslem cleric in Britain.

By publishing uncritically the government's case against the accused, the press does a huge disservice to the public. It fails to imagine that there might be another side to the story. It also influences the way in which defendants tried for so-called terrorist acts will later be seen by jurors. The government, naturally seeking convictions on the cases it initates, plays on the press in order to secure judgment against the defendant by so influencing public opinion. An uncritical press is the deliberate or unwitting tool of an unchecked government power.