By Karin Friedemann, TMO
On December 20, 2011, Tareq Mehanna was found guilty of terrorism support by a Boston jury, despite the fact that the government relied solely on innuendo and prejudice against Muslims to make their case. Mehanna is an Egyptian-American Muslim who was arrested by the FBI in 2009, at the age of 27. Mehanna, who faces life in prison, is accused of translating al Qaeda propaganda into English, as well as seeking terrorist training in Yemen, though he insists he was just traveling for religious study. Mehannaâ€™s sentencing is scheduled for April 12. Richard Hugus, in an article, â€œThe Inquisition Comes to Boston,â€ published on uruknet.info, writes:
â€œThe recent finishing off of the Bill of Rights in the National Defense Authorization Act was actually just a formality. The United States has been able to persecute and convict US citizens for a long time now whether they had a trial by jury or not… Jury trials donâ€™t make any difference when it comes to terrorism cases because the American public is deeply ignorant and long trained to be intimidated by authority.â€
Mehannaâ€™s trial went on for eight weeks.
â€œIt was a circus of prejudicial evidence, government-coerced informers, Patriot Act snooping by the FBI, phony government experts on terrorism, and all-around ignorance about the Muslim religion,â€ writes Hugus.
Americans for Peace and Tolerance, a front group led by Charles Jacobs, demonstrated outside the courthouse. This same group has been spearheading the campaign against the show, â€œAll American Muslim.â€
â€œThe only thing the United States was able to prove in its case against Tarek Mehanna was that he was opposed to the war in Iraq,â€ writes Hugus.
â€œThere was nothing he said in the hundreds of instant messages and online chats, stolen from his computer and introduced absurdly as evidence, which would not have been said by any opponent of that genocidal attack.â€
This case is all the more unfortunate because it could have been prevented. The Roxbury Mosque dropped its charges against Charles Jacobs and the David Project, even after they had clear evidence that they were guilty of the Federal crime of conspiracy against rights, thus allowing the Zionists to continue their plots against other Muslims. I understand that legal proceedings are expensive and stressful, but Charles Jacobs, a Polish immigrant, could have ended up behind bars. Instead, yet another Muslim, innocent of any criminal wrongdoing, faces life in prison just because the Muslim community wanted to finish building their beautiful mosque.
There is so much evidence that the legal attacks against Muslims are purely racist in content. This author was even targeted by Charles Jacobs, Robert Spencer, and their group of anti-Muslim supporters, accused of support for terrorism, due to her pro-Palestine commentaries under the pseudo-name â€œMaria Hussain.â€ Court documents from the Roxbury Mosque defense showed that Zionist prosecutors planned to prosecute me for my opinions. However, according to emails revealed as part of the discovery process, they found out my real name and decided not to prosecute me, because although I profess Islam, they were not sure if my ethnic background might be Jewish.
Glenn Greenwald comments that â€œthis meaningless, definition-free word â€” Terrorism â€” drives so many of our political debates and policies… Itâ€™s a word that simultaneously means nothing and justifies everything.â€
Mehannaâ€™s alleged support for terrorism was based on â€œSawt-al-Jihadâ€ magazine â€“ a document that government witness Evan Kohlmann claimed was found on his computer, even though there was no evidence that the document had ever been opened at all.
Evan Kohmann has a history of being unqualified. He also served for the outrageous prosecution of the honorable Imam Yassin Aref of Albany, NY. During Arefâ€™s trial, the governmentâ€™s expert, Evan Kohlmann, gave totally wrong misinformation about IMK to the jury in order to depict Aref as a terrorist because he was once employed by the Islamic Movement for Kurdistan (IMK), which the US government does not even consider to be a terrorist organization. The â€œexpert witnessâ€ Evan Kohlmann testified to a ridiculous connection between the IMK, the militant Kurdish Ansar al-Islam organization, al-Qaeda, and Saddam Hussein, in order to incriminate the innocent man, who came to the US as a refugee.
Mehanna was fortunate enough to have a real expert on the defense, but it didnâ€™t seem to matter much.
Dr. Marc Sageman, a terrorism consultant and former CIA case agent, a flight surgeon in the U.S. Navy and a CIA case officer in Afghanistan coordinating Americaâ€™s covert operation against the Soviet occupation, testified that the videos on Mehannaâ€™s computer were never used as a recruiting tool for al-Qaida.
This testimony was all the more remarkable, because Sageman has studied al-Qaida from its birth in 1988; he knew and lived with all the major commanders of the mujahideen who were fighting the Soviet army. He consults for the Defense Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the CIA. He has classified security clearance, which the under-qualified government witnesses donâ€™t have.
In response, Evan Kohlmann, merely testified that the kind of videos and documents that Mehanna translated and promoted online were allowing al-Qaida to recruit and incite young men to violence.
â€œHe tells stories,â€ Sageman tried to explain.
Even after questioning, Mehanna continued to praise his trip to Yemen. â€œI didnâ€™t regret it for a second,â€ he said, â€œhow could you? Those are the best two weeks of my life.â€
Some of Mehannaâ€™s old friends testified against him under government pressure, citing his â€œextremistâ€ views, including Daniel Maldonado, a New Hampshire native serving a 10-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to training alongside al Qaeda members in Somalia.
â€œThe government decides if I can hug my children,â€ Maldonado admitted during his appearance at the trial.
Karin Friedemann is a Boston-based freelance writer.