A Muslims view

inkognitoApril 14, 2012

Tarek Mehanna has spent four years in prison he was recently sentenced to another seventeen he was found guilty of supporting Al Qaeda as well as conspiring to "murder" U.S. soldiers in Iraq. Attached is the statement he made at sentencing and it makes for good reading...

Here is a link that might be useful: who are the real criminals?

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I have to wonder if the 17 yr sentence isn't going to cause more of a problem than not - instant, eloquent martyr.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:45AM
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ink while reading the link my impression was this young
man needed counceling.
He filled his mind with nothing but negative and hate.
He needed balance and he evidently wasn't reading anything
to help keep him grounded.
Sad, there are many young guys out there like him. So hate filled.
Skin heads....Black Panthers....White Supremacy...I don't
think this last bunch professes to do anything in the
name of religion but it doesn't matter.
They all have sick filled minds as he did.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 2:43PM
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Which link did you read Citywoman?

The link I followed was to an eloquent statement written by a young man expressing disbelief and disappointment at the double standard of the US Government which equated a people's reasonable defense of homeland against foreign invaders to 'terrorism', and his own political speech (which is supposed to be 'free' - right?) to 'terrorism' and treason.

I saw reasonable outrage, but no hatred. He called for balance, but did not seem imbalanced himself. He saw both sides, but chose to side with the 'underdog' --

Let me be clear that I don't know the whole back-story. But if this young man's statement contains any truth, that back-story is certain to be an inflammatory and biased account. (If a foreign soldier bursts into your home in the middle of the night and attacks your daughter, are you a 'terrorist' if you try to defend her by shooting him?)

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 4:03PM
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That is more or less how I read it Sweeby and I don't understand where "hate" or "sick filled minds" applies as I see quite the opposite.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 4:24PM
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Maybe the interpretation of his work is a right-wing
left-wing view.

What I understood was the literature he filled his mind with from the time of childhood. All negative.

He is an American and turned a traitor to his country.
Ask the families of 9-11 what they think of his statement.

Ask those families if they find his mind sick.
I'm not feeling the love folks.

Maybe I'm missing something here. If I am explain please.
What did you get that I didn't.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 6:15PM
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Sounds to me like Mehanna grew up in an affluent home in Massachusetts. Somewhere along the line he drank the Al Qaeda Kool-Aid and that's where is problems began.
Paul Revere fought against a foreign occupier to whom he owed no allegiance. Mehanna is nothing like Revere. He said he admired Malcolm X but he must not have read the whole story. Malcolm X rejected the bigotry and racism of Nation of Islam and was murdered by them. I would rather compare Mehanna to Nidal Hasan, the Ft Hood murderer.
When he acted as translator for Al Qaeda it was propaganda he was translating, he was also proselytizing to recruit terrorists against his own country. How many of our troops were wounded or killed because Mehanna aided the enemy? That's no less a traitor than Benedict Arnold. Is it true that he tried to join training camps in Pakistan, Iraq, Syria and Yemen and was rejected?
There will always be groupies attracted to people like this, did you know Chas Manson still has followers even after all these years in jail. The pity is that this guy will never wind up in GITMO.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 6:34PM
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Thank you Sam....thats where I am with this.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 6:39PM
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Ah -- Stuff that WAS NOT in the statement linked. The 'back-story' provided to the media by the government who prosecuted him.

Let's ignore that back-story for now, and discuss only what he wrote in his statement:

" When I was six, I began putting together a massive collection of comic books. Batman implanted a concept in my mind, introduced me to a paradigm as to how the world is set up: that there are oppressors, there are the oppressed, and there are those who step up to defend the oppressed. This resonated with me so much that throughout the rest of my childhood, I gravitated towards any book that reflected that paradigm � Uncle Tom�s Cabin, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and I even saw an ehical dimension to The Catcher in the Rye.

By the time I began high school and took a real history class, I was learning just how real that paradigm is in the world. I learned about the Native Americans and what befell them at the hands of European settlers. I learned about how the descendents of those European settlers were in turn oppressed under the tyranny of King George III.

I read about Paul Revere, Tom Paine, and how Americans began an armed insurgency against British forces � an insurgency we now celebrate as the American revolutionary war. As a kid I even went on school field trips just blocks away from where we sit now. I learned about Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, John Brown, and the fight against slavery in this country. I learned about Emma Goldman, Eugene Debs, and the struggles of the labor unions, working class, and poor. I learned about Anne Frank, the Nazis, and how they persecuted minorities and imprisoned dissidents. I learned about Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King,
and the civil rights struggle.

I learned about Ho Chi Minh, and how the Vietnamese fought for decades to liberate themselves from one invader after another. I learned about Nelson Mandela and the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Everything I learned in those years confirmed what I was beginning to learn when I was six: that throughout history, there has been a constant struggle between the oppressed and their oppressors. With each struggle I learned about, I found myself consistently siding with the oppressed, and consistently respecting those who stepped up to defend them -regardless of nationality, regardless of religion. And I never threw my class notes away. As I stand here speaking, they are in a neat pile in my bedroom closet at home.

From all the historical figures I learned about, one stood out above the rest. I was impressed be many things about Malcolm X, but above all, I was fascinated by the idea of transformation, his transformation. I don�t know if you�ve seen the movie "X" by Spike Lee, it�s over three and a half hours long, and the Malcolm at the beginning is different from the Malcolm at the end. He starts off as an illiterate criminal, but ends up a husband, a father, a protective and eloquent leader for his people, a disciplined Muslim performing the Hajj in Makkah, and finally, a martyr. Malcolm�s life taught me that Islam is not something inherited; it�s not a culture or ethnicity. It�s a way of life, a state of mind anyone can choose no matter where they come from or how they were raised.

This led me to look deeper into Islam, and I was hooked. I was just a teenager, but Islam answered the question that the greatest scientific minds were clueless about, the question that drives the rich & famous to depression and suicide from being unable to answer: what is the purpose of life? Why do we exist in this Universe? But it also answered the question of how we�re supposed to exist. And since there�s no hierarchy or priesthood, I could directly and immediately begin digging into the texts of the Qur�an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, to begin the journey of understanding what this was all about, the implications of Islam for me as a human being, as an individual, for the people around me, for the world; and the more I learned, the more I valued Islam like a piece of gold. This was when I was a teen, but even today, despite the pressures of the last few years, I stand here before you, and everyone else in this courtroom, as a very proud Muslim.

With that, my attention turned to what was happening to other Muslims in different parts of the world. And everywhere I looked, I saw the powers that be trying to destroy what I loved. I learned what the Soviets had done to the Muslims of Afghanistan. I learned what the Serbs had done to the Muslims of Bosnia. I learned what the Russians were doing to the Muslims of Chechnya. I learned what Israel had done in Lebanon � and what it continues to do in Palestine � with the full backing of the United States. And I learned what America itself was doing to Muslims. I learned about the Gulf War, and the depleted uranium bombs that killed thousands and caused cancer rates to skyrocket across Iraq.

I learned about the American-led sanctions that prevented food, medicine, and medical equipment from entering Iraq, and how � according to the United Nations � over half a million children perished as a result. I remember a clip from a �60 Minutes� interview of Madeline Albright where she expressed her view that these dead children were "worth it." I watched on September 11th as a group of people felt driven to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings from their outrage at the deaths of these children. I watched as America then attacked and invaded Iraq directly. I saw the effects of �Shock & Awe� in the opening day of the invasion � the children in hospital wards with shrapnel from American missiles sticking but of their foreheads (of course, none of this was shown on CNN).

I learned about the town of Haditha, where 24 Muslims � including a 76-year old man in a wheelchair, women, and even toddlers � were shot up and blown up in their bedclothes as the slept by US Marines. I learned about Abeer al-Janabi, a fourteen-year old Iraqi girl gang-raped by five American soldiers, who then shot her and her family in the head, then set fire to their corpses. I just want to point out, as you can see, Muslim women don�t even show their hair to unrelated men. So try to imagine this young girl from a conservative village with her dress torn off, being sexually assaulted by not one, not two, not three, not four, but five soldiers. Even today, as I sit in my jail cell, I read about the drone strikes which continue to kill Muslims daily in places like Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Just last month, we all heard about the seventeen Afghan Muslims � mostly mothers and their kids � shot to death by an American soldier, who also set fire to their corpses.

These are just the stories that make it to the headlines, but one of the first concepts I learned in Islam is that of loyalty, of
brotherhood � that each Muslim woman is my sister, each man is my brother, and together, we are one large body who must protect each other. In other words, I couldn�t see these things beings done to my brothers & sisters � including by America � and remain neutral. My sympathy for the oppressed continued, but was now more personal, as was my respect for those defending them.

I mentioned Paul Revere � when he went on his midnight ride, it was for the purpose of warning the people that the British were marching to Lexington to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock, then on to Concord to confiscate the weapons stored there by the Minuteman. By the time they got to Concord, they found the Minuteman waiting for them, weapons in hand. They fired at the British, fought them, and beat them. From that battle came the American Revolution. There�s an Arabic word to describe what those Minutemen did that day. That word is: JIHAD, and this is what my trial was about.

All those videos and translations and childish bickering over �Oh, he translated this paragraph� and �Oh, he edited that sentence,� and all those exhibits revolved around a single issue: Muslims who were defending themselves against American soldiers doing to them exactly what the British did to America. It was made crystal clear at trial that I never, ever plotted to "kill Americans" at shopping malls or whatever the story was. The government�s own witnesses contradicted this claim, and we put expert after expert up on that stand, who spent hours dissecting my every written word, who explained my beliefs. Further, when I was free, the government sent an undercover agent to prod me into one of their little "terror plots," but I refused to participate. Mysteriously, however, the jury never heard this.

So, this trial was not about my position on Muslims killing American civilians. It was about my position on Americans killing Muslim civilians, which is that Muslims should defend their lands from foreign invaders � Soviets, Americans, or Martians. This is what I believe. It�s what I�ve always believed, and what I will always believe. This is not terrorism, and it�s not extremism. It�s what the arrows on that seal above your head represent: defense of the homeland. So, I disagree with my lawyers when they say that you don�t have to agree with my beliefs � no. Anyone with commonsense and humanity has no choice but to agree with me. If someone breaks into your home to rob you and harm your family, logic dictates that you do whatever it takes to expel that invader from your home.

But when that home is a Muslim land, and that invader is the US military, for some reason the standards suddenly change. Common sense is renamed "terrorism" and the people defending themselves against those who come to kill them from across the ocean become "the terrorists" who are "killing Americans." The mentality that America was victimized with when British soldiers walked these streets 2 � centuries ago is the same mentality Muslims are victimized by as American soldiers walk their streets today. It�s the mentality of colonialism.

When Sgt. Bales shot those Afghans to death last month, all of the focus in the media was on him-his life, his stress, his PTSD, the mortgage on his home-as if he was the victim. Very little sympathy was expressed for the people he actually killed, as if they�re not real, they�re not humans. Unfortunately, this mentality trickles down to everyone in society, whether or not they realize it. Even with my lawyers, it took nearly two years of discussing, explaining, and clarifying before they were finally able to think outside the box and at least ostensibly accept the logic in what I was saying. Two years! If it took that long for people so intelligent, whose job it is to defend me, to de-program themselves, then to throw me in front of a randomly selected jury under the premise that they�re my "impartial peers," I mean, come on. I wasn�t tried before a jury of my peers because with the mentality gripping America today, I have no peers. Counting on this fact, the government prosecuted me � not because they needed to, but simply because they could.

I learned one more thing in history class: America has historically supported the most unjust policies against its minorities � practices that were even protected by the law � only to look back later and ask: �what were we thinking?� Slavery, Jim Crow, the internment of the Japanese during World War II � each was widely accepted by American society, each was defended by the Supreme Court. But as time passed and America changed, both people and courts looked back and asked �What were we thinking?� Nelson Mandela was considered a terrorist by the South African government, and given a life sentence. But time passed, the world changed, they realized how oppressive their policies were, that it was not he who was the terrorist, and they released him from prison. He even became president. So, everything is subjective - even this whole business of "terrorism" and who is a "terrorist." It all depends on the time and place and who the superpower happens to be at the moment.

In your eyes, I�m a terrorist, and it�s perfectly reasonable that I be standing here in an orange jumpsuit. But one day, America will change and people will recognize this day for what it is. They will look at how hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed and maimed by the US military in foreign countries, yet somehow I�m the one going to prison for "conspiring to kill and maim" in those countries � because I support the Mujahidin defending those people. They will look back on how the government spent millions of dollars to imprison me as a "terrorist," yet if we were to somehow bring Abeer al-Janabi back to life in the moment she was being gang-raped by your soldiers, to put her on that witness stand and ask her who the "terrorists" are, she sure wouldn�t be pointing at me.

The government says that I was obsessed with violence, obsessed with "killing Americans." But, as a Muslim living in these times, I can think of a lie no more ironic."

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 7:53PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Very moving, very intelligent. Too bad we lost an American patriot.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 8:12PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

The mentality that America was victimized with when British soldiers walked these streets two and a half centuries ago is the same mentality Muslims are victimized by as American soldiers walk their streets today. It's the mentality of colonialism.

Very powerful, and very moving.

History will not be kind to the U.S. involvement in the ME in the 20th and 21st centuries.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 8:46PM
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Well said, Sam. Thank you for taking the time to think that out. You are a Patriot.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 8:54PM
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Has anyone here ever seen the movie Khartoum, starring Laurence Olivier & Charleton Heston? It is an excellent, historically accurate depiction of the siege of that city in 1885. The Mahdi believed that he was the chosen leader of all Islam. He based this on the mark on his cheek and the space between his teeth????? The Mahdi saw the Sudanese and Egyptians in the garrison of Khartoum as obstacles in his path and they were mercilessly slaughtered, all 7,000.
And therein lies the hypocrisy Al qaeda propaganda. Historically muslims were at their bloodiest when killing other muslims. Clearly muslims, with their radical, sectarian extremism are their own worst enemy.
The fact that a young man could sit down and produce a well-written letter is testimony to his comfortable upbringing in Sudbury, Mass. I understand that he earned his doctorate at an early age which is to his credit. He was born and raised in a stable, safe, prosperous, democratic country. No one ever kicked down his door and attacked his family members.
I understand that the vast majority of muslims in the US are peaceful, patriotic and hard working. Along comes a traitor like this, who did bin Laden's bidding and brings disgrace on all of them.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 9:40PM
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I haven't seen the movie, Sam, but maybe I will, though I do know some of that history, so need no convincing.

I wonder how many people this guy, Mehanna, has played with his pretty prose?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 10:07PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

This is like living in a parallel universe.

The Tories have won afterall.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 10:34PM
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David, Marshall and Nancy, thank you for your comments.

And thank you Sweeby for bringing the content here, I am so leery of clicking on links, I recently asked my husband to fix this thing with my back up because I started having problems after clicking on a link that I wondered at the time might not be really clean.

You posted a subject which will have me pondering for a long time Ink. The threads you start usually do.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 10:35PM
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And yet his crimes were such that if he'd agreed to be an FBI informant, he'd be off scott free.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:04PM
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David, in order to obtain valuable information that can solve crimes and/or save lives, sometimes prosecution of an informant for crimes they allegedly committed has to be set aside. Even heinoua crimes, like treason.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 11:25PM
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Circus Peanut

It's a terrible thing for a society when freedom of speech comes under arbitrary authoritarian control. Very scary for us all.

What do get when you take America's overly-broad conspiracy and material support laws and mix them with efforts by federal prosecutors to criminalize unpopular speech?

In the short run, you get easy jury verdicts against guys like Tarek Mehanna. In the long run, you get an attack on freedom of speech itself. And that's a threat to all of us.

Mehanna, an Egyptian-American Boston University graduate, was convicted today almost solely on evidence that he espoused and translated documents promoting ideas about jihad.

Like most of you, I find much of what Mehanna is alleged to have translated and shared on the Internet to be offensive and even hateful. Then again, like many of you, I find a lot of stuff on the Internet to be offensive and hateful.

But, as an American, I've been reared not to be afraid of offensive and hateful ideas, and certainly not to criminalize them. To the contrary, we Americans have a duty to defend what Anthony Lewis calls "freedom for the thought we hate", even as we have a parallel duty to use our freedom of speech to call out bad ideas for ridicule and condemnation--a duty that I exercise with some regularity as a blogger and public advocate.

You don't have to be a fan of jihadi videos--and I'm certainly not--to realize that criminalizing a person for espousing and translating unpopular ideas will do far more damage to our democracy than letting Mehanna and his buddies have their virtual shout. After all, unpopular ideas are precisely what the First Amendment was designed to protect--when was the last time prosecutors tried to convict someone of espousing a popular idea?

This verdict threatens prosecution for ordinary people--including writers and journalists, academic researchers, translators, and even ordinary web surfers--who simply show curiosity about controversial and unpopular ideas. It is likely to chill the expression of people who are critical of our government's foreign policy. If the verdict is not overturned on appeal, the First Amendment will be seriously compromised.

The U.S. Supreme Court, which endorses the notion of making it a crime to provide "material support to terrorists," requires that prosecutors show that expressive activity be coordinated with or take place under the direction of a foreign group that the speaker knows to be a terrorist organization in order to be prohibited. [Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 561 US _, 130 S. Ct. 2705 (2010)].

Independent advocacy, by itself, does not constitute material support. Even speech that is "vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp" is protected by our Constitution. Notably, prosecutors in the Mehanna case didn't bother to argue that his speech constituted incitement, nor could they credibly do so based on the facts in this case. Instead, they turned to the easy out--the wildly broad U.S. laws on conspiracy, combined with an overly-broad interpretation of material support.

No doubt, these constitutional issues will form the basis of an appeal under the First Amendment. In the meantime, the Mehanna case serves as a warning to all of us of the dangers posed to American liberty when prosecutors think they can preserve stable government by coercing the silence of the governed.

Such misguided efforts ignore the defining values of freedom of speech and thought, which our Constitution is designed to protect, and open the door to charges of "thoughtcrime". However extreme the statements translated by Mehanna may have been, they are far less dangerous to the United States than the step toward tyranny that the criminalization of his unpopular speech now represents.

ACLU of Massachusetts Executive Director Carol Rose originally wrote this blog for Boston.com.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 12:58AM
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I think the words "architects of the policies" kind of says it all... these are the key words.

We, the American people, by allowing the leaders we've "chosen" to lead, that we thought would continue to support the very policies we set to get out from under tyranny in the beginning, are slowly closing off the various freedoms we did gain, through corruption and greed, HAVE the world the policy architects wanted... not necessarily the policies the people want... certainly not all of us...

But before we look at anything else, we have to realize that not everyone that's different is a "terrorist", a criminal, nor should our government and its various agencies have the power to label us as such for their own reasons, and lock us up without due process, or through bending the rules to suit their needs.

The very worst thing we could have done is looked to our government to allay our fears as a group, as though another amendment to our constitution could automatically protect us all and take away those fears.

We've given up more freedoms through carefully planned agency/government policies than we should ever have allowed to happen.

But we can't look at this as just a local issue... this is the same kind of policy architecture that has had devastating effects on many parts of the globe.

Through corruption, through allowing certain prejudiced and narrow views to foment... this is the world we have now.

It's one I'm not liking very much. We're overrun with bureaucracy, gaps in communication, cronyism and corruption, and we're no different than any other regime that has slowly stifled its people into submission through fear and false accusations of guilt.

In may areas of our own nation, justice is a combination of bent laws and corrupt officials looking to gain a slice of the pie through whatever means necessary.

It boils down to an "our way or the highway" kind of justice, where it's the corruption that wins, and not what's right. It's an elitist setup... where the "haves" win, and the "have nots" will slowly lose everything decent and right we and some of our ancestors fought to get, and come under the same tyranny we fought to get away from.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 4:48AM
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Ah the Hollywood movie as historical fact, how can anyone doubt the accuracy? Sam would have us believe that this movie proves that historically Muslims were at their bloodiest when killing other Muslims but I only have to point to the character Charlton Heston was playing to show that this is not the case. The fact is that the Sudan was on the list of countries the British were attempting to colonize with the help of countries it had already colonized so in truth the movie demonstrates a fictionalized history of exactly what Tarek Mehanna is claiming.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 9:13AM
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Aside from the very important issue of Freedom of Speech, with the ACLU promptly and accurately points out, we also have someone here clearly and explicitly saying why he is doing what he is doing - and it isn't "he hates us for our freedoms" Its because he views the Americans as a force of oppression in the ME.

This isn't some black and white issue - there is indeed a war going on in the middle east between Islamic radicals and the rest of the society. Then we have our invasion of Iraq, Afghanistan, and continuing smaller attacks in Pakistan, then drone strikes elsewhere, with our idea that we are helping the good guys fight the bad guys. This man is telling us that this is not the way that many people perceive our intervention.

90% of Afghans have never heard of 9/11. Iraq had noting to do with 9/11. And I think there is a growing awareness that our massive military presence is making things worse, not better.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 9:59AM
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Hi Ink, I've seen the movie several times and consider it historically accurate. Is there something about it that you don't agree with? The fact is that the British did succeed and considered Sudan a colony. After independence we have seen never ending civil war and genocide in Sudan.
...American soldiers walk their streets today. It's the mentality of colonialism. quoting Mehanna. Let me get this straight, Mehanna is an American born, US citizen right? Someone cite an example where US soldiers are a threat to him, his family, his relatives, etc.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 10:01AM
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This freedom of speech issue gets you 17 years in the federal pen, but its ok for the Westboro church to carry on with what they do.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 10:27AM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Someone cite an example where US soldiers are a threat to him, his family, his relatives, etc.

Very restrictive criteria for one to be able to criticize U.S. foreign policy; so much for the first amendment.

I have no family or relatives in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, or Iran but I am against war/drone strike/covert actions towards those countries. I guess I should just close my mouth so as not to offend the likes of Sam.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 10:31AM
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I can't follow what your objection is based on a movie and an idea that free speech should only be available under certain circumstances Sam. With a current thread here about the brutality during the American Civil War the notion that "Muslims were at their bloodiest when killing other Muslims" seems just a tad disingenuous.

I am not justifying violent terrorism either in the form of colonial wars disguised as liberation or suicide bombing but you must see how one could lead to the other. One way of avoiding such disasters is by allowing people to express their grievances in a truly democratic way and to have those with the power to listen so that neither side need resort to violence. Mehanna protests the hypocrisy and the disconnect between what he learned in school about liberty justice and the pursuit of happiness when compared with how it is played out and when you consider some of the militarized reaction to OWS and NYC spying on Muslims you don't need to go to Iraq for "an example where US soldiers are a threat to him, his family, his relatives, etc."

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 11:35AM
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Yeah, David... I don't get that. It remains a riddle. Corruption and control... whomever they want to seize, for whatever reason they want... but if it echoes THEIR sentiments, well, that's another story.

We have no business in the middle east, in my opinion... unless we are asked specifically to help. Have we been?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 11:54AM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Mehanna protests the hypocrisy and the disconnect between what he learned in school about liberty justice and the pursuit of happiness when compared with how it is played out


You're in Reverend Wright territory. If one calls out the U.S. on its own hypocrisy, then the term 'hater' is used.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 12:27PM
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Circus Peanut

This freedom of speech issue gets you 17 years in the federal pen, but its ok for the Westboro church to carry on with what they do.

And it's also just peachy to run political campaign ads putting folks in gun sights. No incitement whatsoever intended.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 1:19PM
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The reason that I brought up the Mahdi of Khartoum is to me he was the 19th century version of bin laden. Both saw themselves as chosen religious leaders and eliminated anyone who got in their way. Their foes were mostly muslims. In his statement, Mehanna conveniently overlooks this. He was not convicted for his statement posted earlier, instead he was convicted for:
- conspiracy to provide material support to al Qaeda
- providing material support to terrorists
- conspiracy to commit murder in a foreign country
- conspiracy to make false statements to the FBI
- 2 counts of making false statements to the FBI

    Bookmark   April 15, 2012 at 7:45PM
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Gee, Sam, Is that all? Maybe we should cut the guy some slack. You sure it's not a freedom of speech issue or some such thing?

Good riddance to Mehanna :-)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 11:19AM
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There are followers of Islam, Muslims, living all over America... peacefully going about their business just as we all do... actual natural born citizens... why is this thought so frightening to some people?

And just a few other questions I have...

Why would anyone label our President a Muslim when they have no such knowledge? Where does the idea that we'll be under Sharia law come from? Why is our military running all over the Middle East, spending taxpayer monies in untold amounts? Were we asked by any of these nations to come intervene?

Why is it illegal to speak out against something you don't agree with... even if it DOES have something to do with the Middle East? Why are people still dying, both our soldiers and the citizens and military personnel of other nations in the Middle East? Why are we still there? What exactly are we accomplishing?

Let's backtrack for a second... why did we engage in war within the Middle East to begin with? And why, now, because of a single event... one that happens more frequently within other areas of the world... through fabricated information and ignored intel, and stupid ideas combined with greedy persons, are we STILL entrenched in an area of the world we have no business being in?

I claim no expertise in Middle East happenings, but I do know that we are not automatically, by some illusion of omnipotence, the global police. We have no right or entitlement to force our ideals and ideas on the rest of the world.

We are not there "preserving freedom and our way of life". That's an illusion.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 11:46AM
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Why is it illegal to speak out against something you
don't agree with..
We speak out about issues every day here on HT forum, nothing illegal about that. Mehanna was not convicted because of the statement linked above.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 12:53PM
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I stated in my OP that the linked statement was a sentencing statement I have no idea how you assumed anyone thought this was the reason for his conviction. And before this thread moves any further from my original intention let me say that a lot of what he says in this statement rings true, if someone has beliefs like this their conscience might lead them toward many different actions. If the interpretation of those actions is to be interpreted by a hostile agency such as the FBI and labeled by a hostile judiciary who knows where the truth lies?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 1:08PM
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Thank you Sam for your intelligent and well written post. Once again though it seems we are going to hear how Muslims are persecuted only because they are of the Islamic faith. These charges against Mehanna have nothing to do with the Islamic faith. They are charges against a person who committed treason.

Mehanna said "But one day, America will change and people will recognize this day for what it is." I too hope that America opens it's eyes and recognizes this day for what it is before it is too late. That yes we have freedom of speech and freedom of religion in this country but not freedom to be a traitor to this country and that yes, there are Islamic traitors in this country and they should be punished.The radical muslims don't hate America because of what has happened in this war. That hate was there long before Iraq or Afghanistan. These people hate anyone that isn't Muslim. They have made the brag that Muslims will take over the world more than once yet people read this garbage written by Mehanna and agree/sympathize with him.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 1:36PM
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I guess some of want a country where the constitution is the basis of law and others want the country that we have, where FBI or other authorities' suspicions are the rule of law. The FBI methodologies that Tarek describes are eh same employed against middle class Caucasian environmentalists -- after they had been labeled terrorists (or potential terrorists, or accessories or friends or relatives ...)

The US is a police state. People like Sam and lady Brat and CityWoman and the others who support it are my oppressors too, not just Tarek's. The terms of agreement at GW prevent me from expressing exactly how I feel about that here, but suffice to say, I prefer Tarek's attitude and words to those of the haters on both sides

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 2:25PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

The ex-FBI informant with a change of heart: 'There is no real hunt. It's fixed.' Craig Monteilh describes how he pretended to be a radical Muslim in order to root out potential threats, shining a light on some of the bureau's more ethically murky practices.

Fake terror plots, paid informants: the tactics of FBI 'entrapment' questioned. Critics say bureau is running a sting operation across America, targeting vulnerable people by luring them into fake terror plots.

FBI faces entrapment questions over Rezwan Ferdaus bomb plot arrest. Sting operation to arrest physics graduate, 26, raises concerns that US Muslims might be targeted using entrapment techniques.

'Taliban sympathiser' arrest prompts new questions about FBI tactics. Khalifah al-Akili emailed the Guardian shortly before his arrest to say he thought he was the target of an 'entrapment' sting.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 2:33PM
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I don't see any posters on this thread expressing any bigoted points of view. I do see people who have learned the hard way that these terrorist threats need to be taken seriously.

Anyone who thinks differently should remember what those people in the World Trade Center must have been feeling as they jumped to their mercifully self-hastened deaths.

Good intel might have prevented this.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 2:41PM
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Elvis: no one in their right mind would support the destruction of the WTC, certainly no one here is getting anywhere near that. In fact apart from one or two exceptions the thrust has been a revulsion at all violence whoever is in charge of the word 'terrorism'. Furthermore it is evident that the so called 'war on terror' and the general demonizing of Muslims has INCREASED the risk of other strikes and actions such as mindlessly burning copies of the Koran and the secret drone war makes a mockery of our sham reasons for adventurism.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 5:10PM
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I am finding this thread is making me sick to my stomach.

I can't believe anyone born in the USA could have any sympathy or give any credence to anything Mehanna says. He is mentally disturbed.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 5:49PM
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"...Anyone who thinks differently should remember what those people in the World Trade Center must have been feeling as they jumped to their mercifully self-hastened deaths."

And this is thee exact piece of logic that has allowed the US to treat activists, Occupiers, Anonymous, dissenters, wikileakers, anti-SOPA/CISPA campaigners and anyone else the national insecurity state declares about to commit a crime, as "terrorists."

"All that is necessary for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men to do nothing."

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 6:09PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

No one is concerned about the charges that the FBI is using entrapment tactics? In southern California, FBI informant Craig Monteilh trawled mosques posing as a Muslim and tried to act as a magnet for potential radicals.

Monteilh, who bugged scores of people, is a convicted felon with serious drug charges to his name. His operation turned up nothing. But Monteilh's professed terrorist sympathy so unnerved his Muslim targets that they got a restraining order against him and alerted the FBI, not realising Monteilh was actually working on the bureau's behalf.

Muslim civil rights groups have warned of a feeling of being hounded and threatened by the FBI, triggering a natural fear of the authorities among people that should be a vital defence against real terror attacks. But FBI tactics could now be putting off many people from reporting tip-offs or suspicious individuals.

"They are making mosques suspicious of anybody. They are putting fear into these communities," said Greenberg. Civil liberties groups are also concerned, seeing some FBI tactics as using terrorism to justify more power. "We are still seeing an expansion of these tools. It is a terrible prospect," said Mike German, an expert at the American Civil Liberties Union and a former FBI agent who has worked in counter-terrorism.

German said suspects convicted of plotting terror attacks in some recent FBI cases bore little resemblance to the profile of most terrorist cells. "Most of these suspect terrorists had no access to weapons unless the government provided them. I would say that showed they were not the biggest threat to the US," German said.

"Most terrorists have links to foreign terrorist groups and have trained in terrorism training camps. Perhaps FBI resources should be spent finding those guys."

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 6:18PM
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Yes, Nancy, I think we should be concerned about FBI entrapment tactics. I also agree with Sam. Your concerns and his (and mine) are not mutually exclusive.

Nice quote, dicot. Whose is it? I think it works for both sides of this argument. It's a pretty delicate balancing act. IMO.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 7:41PM
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This has nothing to do with sympathy or empathy versus the opposite for anyone. What happened was a terrible tragedy, and no one is denying that.

But why we, the people, allowed our freedoms to dissolve in the face of media manufactured fear of "terrorism" by terrorists", or Muslims, and be replaced by more of a police state, while Bush and Cheney went in search of more income and a regime change because Saddam would no longer play their games... and there we are, still entrenched in the Middle East... with the Patriot Act still hanging over us, allowing the illegal to become legal... is all a big mess... a carefully orchestrated mess that got certain factions exactly where they wanted to be...

I haven't really had a lot of respect for a lot our recent and current authority, and I'm not happy living in a country that's nothing like the one I grew up in.

And, no... I'd rather not run and hide, and I don't want the hands of time turned backward... I'd rather try to help fix it! If it can be fixed.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 8:21PM
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Jodi: "...Saddam would no longer play their games?"

Good grief.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 11:45PM
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elvis you need to aquaint yourself witht the facts

Here is a link that might be useful: USA suport for Saddam

    Bookmark   April 16, 2012 at 11:59PM
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a quote from my link for those who do not like to open them
"The U.S. restored formal relations with Iraq in November 1984, but the U.S. had begun, several years earlier, to provide it with intelligence and military support (in secret and contrary to this country's official neutrality) in accordance with policy directives from President Ronald Reagan. These were prepared pursuant to his March 1982 National Security Study Memorandum (NSSM 4-82) asking for a review of U.S. policy toward the Middle East"

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 12:01AM
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YQ, what do the events in the '80's have to do with what Saddam was up to 20 years later, during Bush/Cheney's tenure? I'm referring to the remark of Saddam being tired of playing Bush/Cheney's games. It's easy to be an armchair quarterback. These were and are very serious times.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 12:16AM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

It's easy to be an armchair quarterback.

Since you were too busy to follow the news at the time, rest assured that these same concerns were raised in 2002 and 2003 during the run up to the invasion.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 12:28AM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Back to the case of Tarek Mehanna - Does Posting Jihadist Material Make Tarek Mehanna a Terrorist? How the outcome of Mehanna's trial could rewrite the line between speech and crime : ...the United States has killed at least two American citizens abroad whose roles, it appears, were primarily as Al Qaeda propagandists. Administration officials convicted them in a court of public opinion rather than law, testifying not on the stand but through anonymous statements to reporters. If the prosecution manages to convict Mehanna over posting and translating extremist materials without showing that he was acting on directions from people he believed to be Al Qaeda members, it could open the door to prosecution based on actions that have traditionally been seen as protected speech.

"Is a propagandist for Al Qaeda someone who works with Al Qaeda, or someone who just says positive things about Al Qaeda, or anyone the government has said is furthering the ends of Al Qaeda?" asks the ACLU's Murray. In the post-Awlaki era, the line between "independent advocacy" and "direction or control" may not matter all that much to a jury. After all, if the government can kill someone for posting extremist sermons on the internet, why can't it put someone in prison for doing the same thing?

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 12:48AM
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"They (the government) must know they're prosecuting people before a crime has been committed based on what they think the defendant might do in the future. They defend what they are doing by saying that they are protecting the nation from people who might want to do it harm."

Stephen F. Downs from the link below

Here is a link that might be useful: first they come for the Muslims

    Bookmark   April 17, 2012 at 8:13AM
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