Free Ali Al-Timimi

September 7, 2008

The Mafia Retcon

Filed under: Con and Retcon — sandboxarea @ 4:16 am

The Mafia Retcon


When all else fails, blame the mob. Didn’t they whack Kennedy? Or in Ali’s case, hint to everyone that he’s the Don of a Muslim mob family. And since most people only know about the mob from TV shows like HBO’s Sopranos, this con just might work. Or if you’re old school, that would be Brando in The Godfather.


It seems that the government pulled out the Mob Don alternative history for Ali twice. The first time was at the end of the trial when the government made its final statement to the jury:

The snippet is taken from Tim Davis’ analysis of Ali’s conviction. Tim then goes on to state:

“…but the mere mention of mobster dons is prejudicial when a key component of the government’s case alleges that al-Timimi was the ringleader of the “Virginia jihad network.” In fact, there is no evidence that al-Timimi was the “Virginia jihad network” ringleader…”

Tim was in law school during Ali’s trial and studied the case. His thesis was entitled: “The Suffocation of Free Speech under the Gravity of Danger of Terrorism” and it’s an important step in understanding the many aspects of Ali’s case.


The second reference to the mob was in an FBI press release right after Ali’s sentencing. In that press release, the FBI tries to drum up support for one of its legally questionable domestic monitoring programs called Link Analysis. After referencing Sadam Hussein, the DC snipers who terrorized millions in the DC area, and the Paintballers– the government tosses the mob at the reader. Here’s the quote:


In addition to the retcon, I also want you to notice the use of the word “we’ve” in the press release. For those of you who have never issued a press release, the purpose of a press release is to call attention to something which the issuing organization wants the reader to know about. Specifically something that the organization is doing– like Link Analysis– or something that the organization thinks is important to the reader– perhaps global warming for example. In the case of FBI press releases, the target audience is not the ordinary citizen. It’s people of influence: the press, members of Congress, government employees, local officials, and the such.

Switching the style of the address from “us the FBI” to “we the world” is a linguistic technique used to create an emotional bond between the writer and reader. In the case of this press release, it’s about getting the reader to subconsciously agree with the new and alien concept of Link Analysis by referencing the old and familiar concepts of mobs and low level mobsters ratting-out their bosses. 

To learn more about emotive speech techniques, you can read about the “Friends, Romans, Countrymen… lend me your ears” speech by Mark Antony. And though I’m not “hassling the Hoff”, you should be able to find an analysis of Baywatch’s I’m Always Here lyrics… interesting stuff.


The first post in the category retroactive continuity provides a basic introduction on the technique of rewriting history in works of fiction and how the government applies those techniques to Ali’s history. It also cites an example of prejudicing the Supreme Court against Ali.


August 22, 2008

Retroactive Continuity

Filed under: Con and Retcon — sandboxarea @ 10:55 pm


Pick a timeline--they're all fake

Pick a Reality... there're all fake


Retcon– or retroactive continuity– happens all the time in the world of fiction especially in long running stories. It’s happened in the BBC Doctor Who serial, the Superman graphic novels, and the 80’s soap opera Dallas. It’s when the back story of a character needs to be changed because some historical facts don’t add up… or a new writer comes up with a “better history”.

Though it’s just fiction, you feel cheated because you’ve been lied to.

In the fiction of Dallas, Patrick Duffy was never in danger even though his character “Bobby” was dreamt away for a year. But in Ali’s real world story, he has not faired well. The creative writers of Ali’s story are the government’s lawyers who change the events of his case with each retelling of the narrative.

If they can’t con a listener with one version of events, they will conveniently substitute “alternate truths” to make their case. If you explore the alternate versions of the government’s case against Ali, you will realize that either the government has committed a fraud upon the court or that parallel universes actually exist and intersect in the body of Ali.


One con version of events by the story writers government lawyers is found in a Supreme Court brief relating to some of the Paintballers. The brief relates to the mathematics of gun sentencing and whether the government is allowed to charge a person multiple times for using the same gun. Though unrelated to Ali, the fiction writers government lawyers create a new history of Ali which can only be understood as a means to prejudice the Justices in case Ali winds up in their Court. This is an old trick which worked well during the trial of the Paintballers and will be discussed in the post “Judge me, Judge me not“.


A Supreme Con

A Supreme Con


In this timeline, the government fiction writers lawyers claim that Ali was preaching violence in 1999 and this caused the Paintballers to train.


But at Ali’s trial, the government tells a different story: one in which Ali “turned radical after the events of 9/11”.  This version of the story is marginalized in the brief but is still present. You’ll find it just a few paragraphs later as seen in the next snippet:




So why the retcon?


There are 2 major reasons. First, the government wants to create it’s own sentencing rules beyond those established by Congress or in common use by courts across the country. Consequently, they rewrite Ali’s history to scare the Court into believing that if it doesn’t comply with the government’s views, then armed groups will run wild. Do you think that the government really cares if a Paintballer will spend 185 years in prison or just 135 years? 


The second goal of this brief is to make Ali a marked man with the Justices. In the Paintball trial, Ali was mentioned more frequently then some of the Paintballer defendants. This poisoned both the judge and press against Ali to such a degree that the judge kept asking the prosecutors “who is Ali? Who is Al-Timimi”? And when sentencing the Paintballers, the judge proclaimed that Ali was once a moderate but turned into a radical. So when Ali was arrested and he didn’t have a lawyer, that same judge said that she didn’t care and that his trial would begin in a few months anyway. When asked to recuse herself as perhaps being prejudiced against Ali, she refused. 

To see how the press has been biased against Ali, read the posts in the category “Labels and Libel“.

As with previous trials, the government’s goal is to prejudice both judges and the press so that every future outcome is one in which the government has previously pissed on established the truth. No need for investigative journalists. No need for inquisitive judges. The government’s talking points should be sufficient. What’s your fax number?… that’s alright, they already have it.


So even though this brief was about Khan, the government never misses an opportunity to depict Ali as the focal point. All events are described in terms of Ali:

As with all good works of fiction, the reader has to scratch the surface to find the real story. So either Ali is the nexus of all realities or the government is a master of the Con and Retcon.

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