Saturday, June 24, 2006

Oddballs tried mix of creeds & religions

I'm feeling better now. I was in kind of a serious, nearly grim mood the past few days. When looking at the last few entries, I noticed a definite lack of whack-job stories; in their place were angry pieces about the economy and the war in Iraq.

Well, folks, buck up, because thanks to our federal law enforcement authorities I can express my anger at the Bush administration while also satisfying my love of bizarre news stories.

Where do I start? Well, first of all, the indictment. The grand jury indictment against the Miami 7 is only 11 pages long. You can find it here on the Department of Justice website. 11 pages, and not a lot of specifics either.

Every conspiracy needs what's called "an act in furtherance;" it's not enough to sit around talking about doing a crime, one of the conspirators has to actually do something to advance the plot. According to this Houston Chronicle article:
Among the first acts alleged by the conspirators was giving the FBI informant their shoe sizes so he could buy them military boots.
Imagine that conversation: "We want to kill as many devils as we can. But first we must have comfortable yet durable footwear, like military boots. Here is a list of our sizes."

The ringleader of this outfit, Narseal Batiste, also known as "Brother Naz" or "Prince Manna" (those readers who are also expectant parents, take note of these unique baby names!) was influenced by, or formerly a member of, an outfit called the Moorish Science Temple of America. That group splintered in the 50's, and many of its members went on to form the Nation of Islam. You can read more about them here.

Now, bringing it all home to Chicago. Brother Naz was originally from Chicago! This proves once more that the stolid midwest is really no place to grow a grandiose, violence-prone crackpot cult. You gotta have a warmer, swampier climate for that. Brother Naz, with his flowing robes and big stick and staring for hours at the sky, couldn't make it in Chicago:

Their leader, Narseal Batiste, was known in his native Chicago for his large, wooden walking stick, flowing robes and matching headdress - either white or purple.

"He used to stand on the corner for a long time talking up at the sky and holding a big stick," said Sarah Villasensor, 53, who owns the Latina Jewelry store a few doors down from where Batiste used to live. "He would stay for hours right there."

Things are finally back to normal. Thank you.

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