Huh. Buying 600 phones...?

Of course they’re entitled to the legal presumption of innocence. But what possible reason would anyone have to buy 600 phones, if not to equip a network of either terrorists or criminals? Or is there an Arab cultural thing that I’m missing here?

I should add, I’m not trying to be snide. I’m just wracking my brains for an innocent explanation for this, assuming these guys aren’t telecommunications gurus who just landed a contract to supply phones for a huge new office park or call center.

And even if that were the case, they certainly wouldn’t go around to lots of different stores and buy them for retail prices.

Maybe they got them on Highway 61?

I know a guy and his girl who bought a lot, probably not 600 but a lot, of phones, in Denmark when the phone-companies ran with some kind of introduction offer where you got the phone for free if you signed up for six months. So they took the phones and went back to Russia and sold them there.

These guys are guilty as shit though. They also had airplane passenger lists and information on airport security checkpoints.

Here’s a later story today.

They are born in the USA kids, from Michicgan. Star football players in High School.

While they were probably ultimately contributing to some nefarious, possibly illegal activity, it’s a good bet they were merely trying to make a good old American buck.

And the airplane passenger lists and information on airport security checkpoints?

Other than what their lawyers said, I have no opinion.

Dearborn has the highest concentration of Arabs outside the middle east. Just a point not part of theme.
I have heard they could buy the phones and sell elsewhere for great profit.
If you needed a cell phone for a plot ,why would you have someone go buy thousands. And would it not be simpler to go to store and pick one up. I cant see how a cell phone is a major cost consideration in a plot. The whole thing is illogical to me.
Unless of course terrorism is being industrialized. Someone buys phones. Spmeone gets tons of explosives. Rent factory and assemble.
At this point it doesn’t add up. I wait for more information.

Well, guilty of buying 600 phones, that’s for sure. For the rest, that’s what we have judicial procedures for. Quaint, I know, but humor us for a little while.

Dollars to donuts this turns out to be nothing. The guys bought them on the cheap, and thought they could resell them and make a profit. This whole business about the Mackinac Bridge seems absurd to me.

Cell phones have been used for years as triggers for IEDs. Both the Mossad and PLO have used them that way too. It is a simple matter to wire a blasting cap to the speaker on one phone and then plant it wherever you want. You can either call it from one of the other phones or set the alarm function. Either way, you now have a remotely detonated explosive device.
Since these phones are being paid for in cash, there is no trace back like there would be for any other type of cell phone. Something tells me bin Laden isn’t going to sign up for the Sprint family pack just so he can blow up a bridge.
With 600 cell phones, they could have planted 600 timed devices on a bridge, in buildings, in airplanes, etc. When you use a phone it generally synchs up the time with the cell network so you are guaranteed to have simultaneous explosions. You could have malls across the Midwest all blowing up at noon on August 22 by setting the calendar alert (my cell phone calendar can be set a year in advance) and placing them in the planters in the food courts.
Alternatively, it is an assassination tool. In 1996 Mossad killed a Hamas leader by putting explosives in his cell phone. Terrorist would most likely just use the IED version by leaving some wired phones along a road (duct taped under a mailbox, for example) and wait for some target to pass by. A big city mayor, a gasoline tanker, a school bus. It doesn’t matter. The terrorist could be a mile away looking through binoculars. Imagine someone at the top of the Sears Tower observation deck placing calls and raining destruction down on Chicago.
Criminals know that they can use a “disposable” phone once to contact another operative/cell member/gangster and then they both throw the phones away. If the phone is used only once, there will never be a repeat hit on the number by investigators. Even if something like Echelon catches them talking about blowing up the White House, the computers will never run across the number again and it will be a dead end, hampering investigations.
So if I see anyone buying a ton of cell phones, I am immediately concerned that something nefarious is going on. Come on, folks! Read your Tom Clancy or watch the crime movies. The threat is real and more pervasive than you would like to believe. I’m not paranoid, but I am nervous. These guys were caught. How much do you want to bet there are others who have not been found yet?

How about PROFIT?

That’s what they say. Personally, I don’t believe a word of it. Investigate all the way down the line, and if it’s even slightly true about the airport lists, send them to Guantanamo. erie774 pointed out all the nasty things that can be done with cell phones. I’m not willing to let this one slide quite so easily.

Apparrently the link between prepaid phones and terrorism is not new. And this is not passing the smell test. These guys new they could not buy more than three at a time without arousing suspicion so they went place to place and had a list of stores they could go to. Plus, the clerk noted that they bought the phones but not the minutes. What do you do with 1000 phones that can’t make calls? Sure they make cute paperweights. They make great timers too.
And before you start saying, “You’re just suspecting them because they are Palestinian-Americans. That’s unfair profiling!” please keep in mind where most of the terror threats are coming from nowadays. If 9/11 had been perpetrated by the IRA then we’d be going after guys with red hair named O’Malley. Chicago’s South Side Irish parade for St. Paddy’s Day would be crawling with feds and the cops would be pulling over anyone with a Notre Dame bumper sticker.
In the 1970’s the FALN did over 100 bomb attacks in the US. If they commited 9/11 then San Juan would have been turned upside down by the Army and some urban neighborhoods would have been experiencing sweeps.
I do believe in innocent until proven guilty. I really, really, REALLY hope that they are innocent. But I’m not willing to bet my or my families life on it.

Does this have any effect on your beliefs?
FBI: No terror ties to men in cell phone arrest

By all means, let’s start sending Americans to Guantanamo based on mere suspicions. It’ll speed up the downfall of a once great country.

Why would you go to the trouble of going all over the place for a few prepaid phones to use as alarm clocks? They already sell alarm clocks. And they’re both cheaper and easier to get than cell phones.

The obvious (legitimate) reason to buy a bunch of prepaid cell phones and not buy any minutes is to exploit a pricing structure that allows them to be sold for profit. Prepaid cell phones are sold at a loss based on the assumption that the carrier will get it back when airtime is purchased, but the phones are then hacked to use another carrier at a cheaper rate.

Did you miss the part about “if even slightly true about the airport lists?” They are of an ethnic grouping that is getting increased scrutiny right now. They should have been smart enough not to do something so suspicious. They weren’t, and are paying the price for it. Shit happens. They just happened to hit every single item on the profile through their own actions.

Doesn’t that undercut your theory that they’re used as remote detonators?

America isn’t about doing only those things which a certain group of people say it’s OK to do. It’s a free country. People get to choose for themselves what they do, within the limits of the law. If that’s no longer the case, then bin Laden succeeded in destroying the nation on 9/11, and what we’re living in now is merely the corpse of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.