October 27th, 2011
11:03 AM ET

Charged with terrorism, defendant arguing right to free speech

From Sudbury Police Department

By Tim Lister

It's not often that a terrorist suspect on trial in the United States is supported by a march to the courthouse, a website and a local pastor. But then the trial of 29-year-old Tarek Mehanna, which gets under way Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boston, is no ordinary case.

Prosecutors have charged Mehanna, a U.S. citizen who has lived in Sudbury Massachusetts, since childhood, with conspiring to provide material support to terrorists, conspiring to kill Americans in a foreign territory, and lying to FBI investigators. The prosecution argues that for nearly a decade Mehanna talked with friends about jihad and training as a terrorist.

Mehanna's lawyers say that in collecting and distributing jihadist propaganda he was doing nothing more than exercising his First Amendment right to free expression. They point out that some of the materials he translated involved mujahedeen fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan more than 20 years ago.

Mehanna's supporters plan a march from the site of Occupy Boston to the courthouse to mark the beginning of the trial. They have set up a website in his defense. Mehanna is popular in the local Muslim community and taught children at the school of a local mosque. His father was a professor at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, where Tarek Mehanna earned a doctorate.

But another group, Americans For Peace & Tolerance, is holding a counterdemonstration at the courthouse, describing the online rhetoric of Mehanna's supporters as "exceedingly poisonous." A video posted on the group's website says: "The silence induced by political correctness must be broken in order to deal effectively with the threats posed by Islamic radicalism."

The group's president, Charles Jacobs, told CNN that Mehanna's fate is up to the court, but he takes issue with leaders of Boston's Muslim community for supporting him.

"Who are these people lionizing a man who thinks and says such awful and disgusting things about killing Americans?" Jacobs asks.

Among the videos that prosecutors will show at the trial is a speech by Osama bin Laden to which Mehanna is said to have added subtitles. He is also said to have translated and distributed a tract titled "39 Ways to Serve and Participate in Jihad." Mehanna's blog developed quite a following among English-speaking Muslims.

he defense maintains that at least some of the materials on Mehanna's computer - such as a video of the beheading of U.S. citizen Nicholas Berg - were automatically cached rather than actively downloaded by Mehanna.

At the heart of the case are these questions, according to legal experts: At what point do an individual's behavior, conversations and views amount to "material support" for a terrorist group? When does speech become an instrument to promote terror or recruit for jihad? And when can or should authorities move against someone who is allegedly engaged in "pre-terrorist" activity?

Prosecutors allege that Mehanna set out for Yemen in 2004 with two other men in an abortive attempt to receive terrorist training. They say that trip and his subsequent actions are "consistent with answering the call to act," and that statements to Customs and Border Patrol officers that the group was going to Yemen to visit religious schools were a cover story. "They never made any contact with the school and had no intention of attending," the affidavit says.

Mehanna was first interviewed by the FBI in December 2006 about his trip to Yemen. It's alleged that he made fraudulent statements about the purpose of the trip and the whereabouts of an associate, Daniel Maldonado. The affidavit says Mehanna told investigators that Maldonado was in Egypt, even though he knew he was in Somalia and had received training for jihad.

According to the indictment, phone records showed that a cell phone number he gave to federal investigators had received several calls from Somalia just days before Mehanna's interview with federal agents.

Maldonado was subsequently captured in Kenya and handed over to U.S. authorities. He is serving a 10-year jail sentence after pleading guilty to receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization.

One of those traveling with Mehanna to Yemen was Ahmad Abousamra. He was also interviewed by FBI agents at the end of 2006, but left Boston on a flight to Syria two weeks later to visit his wife. He is thought to still be in Syria. The criminal complaint says he conspired with Mehanna to provide material support to terrorists.

But the third man, described in the affidavit as cooperating witness CW2, is expected to give evidence at the trial. He traveled with Mehanna and Abousamra as far as the United Arab Emirates and then backed out of the trip. Much later, beginning in late 2006, CW2 recorded a series of conversations with Abousamra and Mehanna on behalf of the FBI. In one of them, according to the affidavit, Mehanna said the trip to Yemen "was a failure, in large part because no one was around. Half the people they wanted to see were on hajj and half were in jail."

CW2's evidence may be critical to the prosecution's case that Mehanna was about more than jihadist sentiments. The affidavit, written by an FBI special agent, says that in 2003 there were "multiple conversations, discussions and preparations" involving Mehanna, Abousamra and the co-operating witness about a "plan to obtain automatic weapons, to go to a shopping mall and randomly shoot people. They were inspired by the success of the Washington, D.C., snipers."

But it was CW2 - not Mehanna - who subsequently went to meet Maldonado "in an attempt to acquire the necessary weapons," according to the affidavit. And the plot was abandoned soon afterward.

Mehanna's brother Tamer said his brother "was targeted ... because he refused to become an informant against the American-Muslim community that he grew up in, worshiped in and with whom he shares strong bonds."

"He was not shy about expressing his opinions. Because, being an American, he of course knew that this was his right; he knew that in America we honor freedom of speech," Tamer said. "And the test for the jury will be whether in America a person can still hold strong views and not be punished for them."

Another supporter, the Rev. Jason Lydon of the Community Church of Boston, said the prosecution of Mehanna is an example of "rampant Islamophobia." Lydon says Mehanna's crime was to express views that his government didn't like.

Over the course of the next several weeks, that will be the theme of defense arguments; while prosecutors will assert that Mehanna's travel and electronic paper trail will amply demonstrate that he was about much more than talk.

Mehanna would face up to life in prison if convicted.


Filed under: Al Qaeda • Terrorism • Yemen
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Jamon

    I did like Evangelion 1.0 and want to see the rest of the films in the series (I hope this one did well enoguh that I'll have the chance to see one or more of them in the theater too). The fact that people who haven't seen the underlying series _and_ people who have seen the series enjoyed the movie may be the highest compliment I can pay it.

    November 11, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Reply
  2. Lezlieo Mcananyy

    For the reason that the YouTube video tutorials are posted at this place same like I also embed YouTube video code at my own web site, as it is simple to obtain embedded code.

    August 1, 2012 at 6:53 am | Reply
  3. dean

    TED BUNDYS CAR WHEN HE ASKED FOR HELP WHEN THIS GUY GETS OUT OF PRISON INVITE HIM OVER YOUR HOUSE,IM SURE YOU CAN TRUST HIM

    November 13, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Reply
    • Candy

      lindycurtin on March 25, 2010 Brilliant! Great job but not the most enjoyable for some. My brynoiefd has to make a speech at a wedding next Sat and has subjected himself to solitary confinement in preparation. Wish he's seen this video earlier!

      November 11, 2012 at 2:38 am | Reply
  4. dean

    yes sarah i bet you would have been one those girls who walked over to T

    November 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  5. dean

    the guy is creepie just to look at ..keep him in jail just for that.

    November 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  6. Antiprotester Cop

    What is clear is that we need to cleanse the country of Muslims. They are here to terrorize and kill us so the only answer is annihilation of this mutant race. The sooner we recognize and act on it, the better. We need to construct regional execution firing pits and the transportation and receiveing infrastructure to hold them for processing and dispatch not to mention the ovens to cremate the remains.

    October 28, 2011 at 9:39 am | Reply
    • wade

      What a racist remark, that sounds a lot like something a terrorist would say. Genocide....really...your a deuche....I don't ususally side with Muslims principly because I don't know any but in this case I'll make an exception .........your kind of hate mongering is exactly what is wrong with this country today....I wish I knew your name so I could report you for terrorism. We don't exterminate an entire race of people because of a few bad examples. I'm guessing you are either an ignorant child or and idiot racist. I

      January 7, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Reply
  7. Antiprotester Cop

    We need to send a clear message and let it be known that freedome of speach is fine, but if You talk against our government, we will come after You with all the resiurces in our arsenal. Just let these people get it through their think heads that if they want to make waves, bad things might result. I cant wait to shoot some occupier protesters some day if they put me on a shift to defend my city against these thugs. I will shoot to kill and I am good at head shots as that is how I practice.

    October 28, 2011 at 9:34 am | Reply
  8. Butchie67

    All this talk about first amendment rights is empty without some rudimentary understanding of how cases involving this amendment have been adjudicated and what legal scholars have written over the years.

    The first amendment to the US constitution was ratified in 1791. It had a limited focus. But the Supreme Court ruled in 1925 that the fourteenth amendment applied to the first amendment therefore not only did it include the US government but also the state and local governments.

    The freedom of speech part of the first amendment has been tempered over the years with the utilization of the “harm principle”. If you read “On Liberty” by John Stuart Mill you see where the term “harm principle” becomes relevant.

    In Schenck v. United States, in 1917 the Supreme Court unanimously upheld Schenck’s conviction. And all Schenck did basically was to belong to the Socialist party and he actively opposed the draft during WWI.

    There are many cases where the “harm principle” takes precedence over freedom of speech. The American groups that have been cited by people on this thread have been convicted of crimes when they violated the harm principle.

    Having said that and not knowing the evidence against the defendants it would be prudent to withheld comment until the case has gone completely through the legal system which of course includes the Supreme Court.

    October 27, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Reply
  9. Sarah

    Did he have some kind of plot in action?
    Has he murdered anyone?
    Are his thoughts and wishes now considered crimes?

    I suppose you would rather have people like this keep their ideas hidden where you have no idea what they really think and who you should watch for.

    October 27, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Reply
    • SUNIL SINGH

      MEHANNA NEEDS TO BE EXECUTED LIKE A SICK DOG.

      November 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Reply
  10. DDM

    Agree – "The silence induced by political correctness must be broken in order to deal effectively with the threats posed by Islamic radicalism." Support leaders who stand up against political correctness and call a spade a spade. This man is promoting and supporting terrorism as dictated by his chosen social/political/religious system – Islam! Wake up, America!

    October 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Reply
    • Annatala

      This has nothing to do with political correctness. It's about balancing the most important right our country provides with the very important issue of safety and security. If he didn't openly condone murder, lie to authorities, or slander someone, then it's not a clear-cut crime.

      October 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  11. humtake

    The guy was exercising his right of free speech, and everyone goes nuts. When the government passes laws like the Patriot Act to try to combat terrorists by just giving a little more ease into free speech, everyone goes nuts.

    Americans have no idea what they want. They don't want to help their country by giving the government the opportunity to better fight terrorists but they don't want terrorist spreading information.

    October 27, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Reply
    • paul

      The last I heard, speech that incites violence is a crime

      October 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Reply
    • clearfog

      That's what the guy who wrote the book on how to get away with raping children said.

      October 27, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Reply
  12. Dude

    Sedition is not freedom of speech.
    "Seditious conspiracy (18 U.S.C. § 2384) is a crime under US law.
    If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined or imprisoned not less than 20 years, or both. ” – Wikipedia

    October 27, 2011 at 5:01 pm | Reply
  13. MyTake

    Sometimes we are our own worse enemy. If the prosecution can prove their case to a jury ... then great ... if it's all lies ... it will come out ... The protest are a non-entity in this procedure

    October 27, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  14. sawolf

    Amazing how so many complain about the state of government devised by and implemented by People. Those that attain power usually will do anything to increase their rule over others. I don't know why, maybe we are just hardwired that way. The founding fathers knew this, and said government should fear the people not the other way around. This current president is all lip service to our democratic values while he usurps our liberty. Yet the fact remains. Where is it better???

    October 27, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  15. Fran

    Bitterjack wrote that being against Muslims could be racist. Duh ... Muslims are not a race. Islam is a religion and Muslims are of several races.

    October 27, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Reply
  16. Frank

    People of the United States of American,
    Being the old Vietnam era warhorse that I am,some one needs to enlighten me whether we are really in a state of war with Islamic Fanatic Terrorists or not.Every week I pick up the newspaper and read we caught another Terrorist ploting or having killed more Americans in this country or overseas.At the end of WW II there were still Nazis causing allied casualties in Berlin that would not surrender.When they were found they were just put up against the wall and shot.I am not advocating this without a trial.Executions of these captured Terrorists need to be carried out after a conviction because as in WWII as an example.If you were caugth by the enemy out of uniform behind enemy lines you were considered a spy/sabatour and you were taken out and shot with no trial I might add.To me,
    loss of any American life by a Terrorist after what this country has been through needs to be punished by death.

    October 27, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Reply
  17. bigwilliestyles

    @ pistoya: Wow! Glad you're not in charge of anything important. You probably think that what you're saying sounds concise, logical, well thought out; quite the contrary, you're now most likely beating your hands against the walls of the asylum, claiming to be Henry Kissinger, as the rest of us wonder how you got access to a computer or phone.

    October 27, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Reply
  18. notborncynical

    To The W.C.P. – those are all great ideas, but they will never work in a million years because human beings are self serving, territorial and a sometiimes violent species. That will never change – it's hard wired in our genes. You'll have to work with a differant species or maybe outer space aliens to acheive those dreams.

    October 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  19. Bitterjack

    So if I am a Muslim I have the right to yell "FIRE!!!" in a crowded movie theater. If anybody says otherwise, you're racist.

    October 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Reply
    • Christina Jackson

      Mike Cordell will be the next black president after Obama! Spread the word! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Mike-Cordell/307335665958793

      October 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Reply
      • joe

        Way to spam!!!

        October 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  20. Tom

    Not happy here,leave no one will stop you. I'm sure anyone wouldl pay your fare to any third world dung heap of your choice

    October 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Reply
  21. aMom

    The part where the protesters follow the path of the OWS gang is an indicator that this fellow is up to no good.

    October 27, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  22. White American Male

    Doesn't this guy know that America is perfect, we have God's favored nation status, we have the biggest penises and boobs, we can drink more beers, shoot more guns, and ride more broncos than anyone else? Doesn't he understand that America needs oil? Does he get it that we have bigger bombs than anyone? What is this guy's problem? Has this poor sod not seen FOX News?

    How dare they have our oil! How dare they have those precious metals! How dare they have those strategically located nations! How dare the Iraqis allowed those Saudis to take down our towers! Why did Iraq and Afghanistan not stop those Saudis??? Huh? They are all guilty!

    By golly, if John Wayne were alive today those folks would not be talking all of that mumbo jumbo, the ole' Duke would blow them away with his six shooters, and ya know what? He would not even get his white hat dirty. God Bless America! The land of the..... er..... wel.l.... God bless America!

    Free speech for all white, Christian, Republican, non-bearded and unscary people! Death to the extremists! Healthcare for all...er....uh, um, oops!

    October 27, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Reply
    • ltj

      the old America, the greatest country on earth was founded by white people. This shit hole that america is now is the result of letting brown people have a say and letting them run wilde.

      October 27, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Reply
      • Something anglo sounding

        So are you saying that the White man is somehow superior to others? That reminds me of this guy, he had a funny mustache.

        October 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • Something anglo sounding

      Could not have said it better.

      October 27, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  23. The W.C.P

    The time has come, for the people of the earth to gather together the greatest minds of this planet, and to devise a self governing system that gives all people a voice in their communties, their towns, their cities, there states or provinces, their country and continent and even in the worlds issues, our forefathers have told us whats wrong yet we ignore their words, if a tree is uprooted it dies, government is the root , money is the evil, so to destroy evil, we must uproot government to allow Gods spirit to reighn on the earth, THE WORLD CONSCIOUS PARTY, the selfgoverning system, the solution to the worlds problems.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Reply
    • White American Male

      What? World conscious party? Huh? Compassion? Sanity? Diversity? Kindness? Open mindedness? Global thinking? Sustainability? Peace??????????

      Are you insane? This is AMERICA!!!!

      October 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Reply
      • Hmm

        Look at your rants before you call people insane. The KKK and New Black Panthers get to use free speech, and this swine gets one because those groups haven't openly declared war on the US.

        Please go to your local community college and register once you get your GED. It may be your last hope.

        October 27, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
      • Hmm

        Oops, that's none not one. hehe

        October 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  24. meme

    So I can go back to handing out my KKK literature again if he wins?

    October 27, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • White American Male

      Yes. You get bet! EXACTLY. ! Free speech means that you can be greatly offended by someone else's ideas. Deal with it or be un-American.

      October 27, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Reply
    • Bitterjack

      No, no, this only applies minorities. Or more specifically, non-whites – in case whites ever become a minority.

      October 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Reply
      • MMMMMM

        No, you have the right to say what you want as well, you just don't have the spheres to do it.....

        October 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  25. The W.C.P

    The time has come, for the people of the earth to gather together the greatest minds of this planet, and to devise a self governing system that gives all people a voice in their communties, their towns, their cities, there states or provinces, their country and continent and even in the worlds issues, our forefathers have told us whats wrong yet we ignore their words, if a tree is uprooted it dies, government is the root , money is the evil, so to destroy evil, we must uproot government to allow Gods spirit reighn on the earth, THE WORLD CONCIOUS PARTY, the selfgoverning system the solution to the worlds problems.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Reply
    • Burcu

      that the Indiana theaters iloenvvd will be Showplace East Cinemas 18 in Evansville, Kerasotes Showplace 16 in Schererville, and Kerasotes Showplace 12 West in Indianapolis. That last one sounds like the Traders Point Kerasotes, but on the Thursday night showtimes page for the Indianapolis-area Kerasotes Theatres, the only one with a showing of Stark Raving Black is the Kerasotes Showplace 16 and IMAX on the south side, which has one showing, at 8 PM.The other Thursday night event is an encore presentation of the RiffTrax gang taking on Plan 9 from Outer Space. This will be shown at 7:30 PM, October 8, at the Castleton Square 14, the Kerasotes 16 and IMAX, and the Hamilton 16 in Noblesville, along with theaters in Bloomington, Fort Wayne, Lafayette, Mishawaka, Schereville and Valparaiso. Go to the Fathom Events page for more info on this one.

      November 11, 2012 at 4:41 am | Reply
  26. The W.C.P

    The time has come, for the people of the earth to gather together the greatest minds of this planet, and to devise a self governing system that gives all people a voice in their communties, their towns, their cities, there states or provinces, their country and continent and even in the worlds issues, our forefathers have told us whats wrong yet we ignore their words, if a tree is uprooted it dies, government is the root , money is the evil, so to destroy evil, we must uproot government to allow Gods spirit reighn on the earth, THE WORLD CONCIOUS PARTY, the selfgoverning system the solution to worlds problems.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Reply
  27. Kelly

    Don't know the political leanings of the attorneys (nor do you), but defending the US constitution is an obligation for any US member of the bar.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Reply
    • Sparky

      Yet if an American were to develop and distribute literature detailing how to kill this man and many Americas with his ideals, they would be charged with hate crimes. Free speech and the Constitution would have nothing to do with it. Lawyers only use the Constitution for their convenience. It’s only an obligation if it helps them.

      October 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  28. Joe Sixpack

    If these American Jihadis want to kill Americans, why don't they just step in front of a bus?

    October 27, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Heh. Good one!

      October 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  29. Annexian

    Frankly, as long as there's no real connection to any actual terrorists meaning stuff the FBI would nail him for INSTEAD of this, he should get off scott free.

    We need to be an open society to the point where say a gun toting (non-loaded) nutbag is tolerated till he shoots somebody.

    Simply put, the "Free Speech" and "innocent until proven guilty" and all the other Enlightenment/Revolutionary stuff we have is both a flip of the finger to the King of England but a statement that is meant to push our society apart from the old systems. If we give this up we admit to every king, terrorist, despot etc. that they were right; "Might makes right and ideals are paper thin lies to pretend righteousness."

    October 27, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Reply
    • Jerry

      The United States did not invent the principle of presumption of innocence.

      October 27, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  30. metal head

    Send him back to camel jockey land. He can serve as target practice for US troops, or blow himself up and kill 20 of his own kind in the process. stupid idiot, wtf is he doing here if he hates the USA so much?

    October 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Just to be clear: he's an American citizen. He grew up in Connecticut. Sending him back to his own kind means sending him back to Sudbury.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Reply
    • U.S.Army-OverLord

      Nah send this traitor to somaila. You should lose ALL legal protection once you are convicted of terror crimes.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Reply
      • metal head

        I bet if he went to Somolia, he'd be running around crying with his tail between his legs in no time...lol. Maybe that would make him wish he was back in rich prick Sudbury, MA, USA and he'd realize what an idiot trailor he'd been.

        Oh well, whatever prison time this dude gets, he'll be doing it in protective custody. I'm sure the boys at Shirley Max would chase him out of general pop.

        October 27, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
      • BOR

        so where do we send the militia's and american "freedom fighters"; last I checked they want to overthrow the government and kill people too, but they, along with the KKK, white supremacists and a myriad of other hate groups get protection under the Constitution because they "haven't actually done anything yet except talk and spread pamphlets, etc"

        October 27, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • v_mag

      Metal Head, you've just proven the point of one of my posts. You have called for violence to be done to a fellow American. That makes you guilty of terrorism, if he is.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Reply
      • metal head

        True Americans don't act like this idiot, v-mag. He may have been born in the USA, but he is as Un-American as they get.

        October 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
      • v_mag

        I suggest that what is un-American is the denial of free speech. I am gratified that you are not being prosecuted for calling for violence against this man. A real American upholds the rights of all Americans, because that way, s/he can be sure to have those rights preserved.

        October 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
      • Mark9988

        There is a difference between free speech and conspiracy to commit murder. Political correctness has rendered some incapable of that distinction.

        October 27, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • Llee

      I enjoyed Evangelion 1.0. I'm not crazy about mecha anime, but this one has an intuigring storyline and the animation is quite good. It doesn't surprise me that San Franciscoans have a great movie option like the Viz Cinema (I want!), but I never would have thought I'd feel stirrings of envy towards people who live in South Bend. That workshop on making trailers sounds great!

      November 11, 2012 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  31. Johnson

    There is no doubt in my mind that this guy is guilty of trying to terrorize the people of our country.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  32. Compaq715

    This BOZO and all his freinds needs to be shipped to Iran or Somilia to join the rest of his coharts

    October 27, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  33. Jason

    I'm not so sure it's his views or what he said that got him in trouble so much. It doesn't seem to be a freedom of speech issue. It's the fact that he tried to receive terrorist training. And that at one point he plotted to shoot up a mall. Those are ummmmmmm, well. Bad things. Lying to the FBI ummmmmm another bad thing. It's not rocket science. It's not a grey area. Those are things that are clearly punishable under the law. He had to have known that before he did those things.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Some of those things can be successfully prosecuted. The problem seems to be that actual evidence for those acts is somewhat thin on the ground.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  34. U.S.Army-OverLord

    This is nothing more than a defensive tactic by his lawyers. It will fail. 😉

    October 27, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      If translating and subtitling someone else's words are all the prosecution has, I wouldn't be so sure. It isn't very clear from the article exactly what evidence they have of other possible crimes, but disseminating odious views isn't a crime.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Reply
    • U.S.Army-OverLord

      This guy is toast, it's guys like this that keeps the need for the patriot act around.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Reply
    • Kristal

      defense lawyers r thee scum of the Earth' You should not be able 2 raise a defence if its fabricated as was casey anthonys (tell me why George does not bring charges against Baiz ) there a bunch of snaKES SLITERING on the ground .

      October 27, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  35. v_mag

    The so-called Patriot Act took away many constitutionally guaranteed rights, and now we can't even recognize a clear-cut case of free speech rights violation like this one. We now have corporations that enjoy rights only meant for humans, and we allow that travesty to stand. The people sworn to uphold the Constitution are the ones who've taken away the Bill of Rights, and yet we keep re-electing them. Not too surprising, since they have unlimited funds to promote themselves, thanks to the generous donations of those same corporations. Eventually, the Extreme Court will define our Constitutional rights out of existence, in the name of patriotism and the welfare of the country.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      FWIW, the treatment of corporations as individuals dates back several hundred years, roughly to Italy during the late Middle Ages. It began as and remains a means by which corporations are held responsible for their actions in the same way that individual citizens would be. It is the legal framework which allows criminal prosecution, for example, of Dow Chemical board members for the Bhopal catastrophe, and a thousand other instances in recent years where the anonimity and impersonal nature of a corporation have been swept aside by the law and both criminal and civil charges successfully prosecuted against them. Corporations, in fact, would like nothing better than to bring this ancient framework up for change, which they could manipulate through political ties to their advantage. Be careful what you condemn and what you wish for.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Reply
      • v_mag

        I'm aware that the roots of this odious concept go back a long way, although corporations as we know them today clearly did not exist before the mid-19th century. The idea has been carried to an extreme in this right-wing era, and that's what I object to. It's like the sign said, "I'll believe a corporation is a person when Texas executes one."

        October 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
      • cvg

        corporations in today's world are primarily a means for business owners to protect their personal assets from being claimed should the corporation be held accountable for bad deeds or overextend themselves financially...Limited Liability for the persons actually responsible for criminal behaviour. Granting them citizen status does nothing but provide corporations more protections than individuals in our criminal courts, bankruptcy courts or tax courts...when accountants that pad balance sheets to get preferred loans, creatively show losses while still paying dividends and bonuses and solicit public funds for bad or non-existent research are held PERSONALLY responsible for their activities, they should not have the same protections granted by our constitution to man, woman or child! Its just another sell out by our 2-party leadership...2 heads of the same serpent!

        October 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • Methuselah

      Patriot Act didn't take away your rights...you gave them up if you don't have them. Exercise them, contest any unconstitutional activity against you. Laws are only as good as their legal challenge. I know because I've been successful in suing state government for violation of 4th amendment rights as they were snooping for someone else's wrongs.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Reply
    • George

      Agreed .... unless there is more to this .... it sounds like B....S

      October 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Reply
  36. notborncynical

    What angers me is the fact that this terrorist and all of his Muslim supporters from his neighborhood are essentially spitting in the eye of a country that has given them better lifes and more opportunities than any of their middle eastern countries would have. Some of them may have been receiving US government benefits, and there may be some illegal aliens, but that doesn't matter because they're going to be hypocrites anyway. God rot them.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      The same thing can be said of a lot of KKK members. And of a disturbing number of Congressmen during the McCarthy debacle. It's understandable that you're angry, but sadly this isn't a new phenomenon.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Reply
  37. Reasonably

    If it were up to the ACLU performing terrorist acts would be considered free speech. "I am simply acting on my right to display my political and religious views by blowing up the pre-school full of Zionists!" Free speech, OK, fomenting treason is still treason.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      The issue here, though, seems to be that no actual terrorist acts were committed or even planned. The prosecution's case, at least as outlined in this article, seems a bit thin in that regard, but perhaps there's more to it than is being reported.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Reply
    • eric pollard

      you are typical biggot

      October 27, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Reply
  38. drew

    Who ever is this crazy should be put in a mental ward for life. I can't believe you want the United States to get blow up. You must work for the Right-Wing C.I.A. It's sad that people are actually scared enough to listen and agree with freedom of speech like yours. It's a sad day in America when Nazi's like you run our country and infiltrate a peaceful America. Stop the wars, stop the indescriminate killings that are giving America a baf name in the world. I fell sorry for people like you not enough love in your life. So now you want to blow everyone up. Death and destruction are the only thing that excites people like you. Well just because you live in Hell doesn't mean we all want too. True American's for peace and understanding!

    October 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  39. Paul

    Free speech does not include encouraging or instructing others to commit felony crimes. This man has no case and the people defending him are deluded.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Actually, it does include those things. The latter is only slightly gray in that it would be criminal to actually give instruction as an active participant in a planned crime. But simply distributing the information is not illegal, and trip to Amazon will quickly put this idea to rest, starting with "The Anarchist's Cookbook" which has been in publication for several decades.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Reply
    • v_mag

      I see posts here daily wherein people call for violence against individuals with whom they disagree. Should these posters be tracked down and prosecuted? How many times has some poster here said that so-and-so should be taken out and shot, or worse? That's free speech, buddy. You may not like it when it's directed at your side, but nevertheless, it is a right guaranteed under the First Ammendment. It appears that the subject of this article did nothing but write his opinions and translate some foreign language material. That's protected, and the fact that he's being prosecuted serves to intimidate Americans who wish to express unpopular opinions.

      The thing about unpopular opinions is that they have a way of becoming more popular. I spent considerable time and energy organizing and participating in protests against the Iraq invasion several years ago. We had lots of hecklers, but now, people who think Iraq should not have been invaded are in the majority. Same thing happened with the Vietnam war.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Reply
    • Kelly

      That's the line that the facts have to prove. I hope they put this guy away for SOMETHING, but citizens do have the right to say (but not do) really bad things. The First Amendment guarantees free speech without state interference, but that stops if one is attempting to commit a crime. Encouraging a crime through speech is a little grey under constitutional law. Its the constitution...It defines our country and guarantees our freedom and identity...But sometimes it ends up protecting people who believe in repulsive things. I just hope the feds gathered enough evidence to convict him of a crime.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Reply
      • Wahyu

        Posted on Ok while I would never go to the lengths of aclltuay sticking my kid inside of a turkey when my youngest was born, and ALWAYS ASLEEP, I was terribly tempted to set a big ol' apple in her maw and put her to sleep on the table dressed in pink. Oink oink!

        November 13, 2012 at 1:01 am |
  40. Joshua Ludd

    And yet what do they do about the people conspiring and encouraging others to bomb clinics, assault and kill doctors, etc...? Oh, I forgot... thats not terrorism because they are white christians.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Reply
    • smellarat

      I don't know of a single white Christian who advocates bombing or killing anybody. That's a media myth that you have been sucked into. I can guarantee you that is not a universal or common belief for 99.99% of every real Christian.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Reply
      • SixDegrees

        While many don't consider Evangelicals to be Christians, a disturbingly large number of them hold those very views and have proven that they are willing to act on them.

        October 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
      • m

        Actually every president that has used military action falls into this category. Every member of congress that supports legislation that allows military action falls into this category. Everyone that believes in "smyte thy enemy" from every pulpiit across America falls into this category.

        Each of the above listed groups, in public – proclaim to be christians. It is seen on TV, in the media and at every campaign rally at election time. christiians are one of the most militaristic organizations in the world.

        October 27, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
      • MMMMMM

        The tool drawer is short a rusty knife....

        Being an American citizen, you are responsible for many many murders, bombings, terrorist activites, etc. You just prefer to ignore your involvement, and at the very least complacency, in what the American government has carried out in YOUR name over and over again...

        October 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Actually planning a crime and conspiring with others to commit it is illegal no matter who or what is involved, and there have been hundreds of prosecutions of clinic protestors over the years who have strayed outside the confines of protest into the criminal realm.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Reply
    • SconnieGuz

      Man, people like you are dumber than dirt. You people try to equate christian terrorism with islamic terrorism.....fukin moron. Since 9/11 or even before that, how many abortion clinic bombings were there? I bet you could count them on one hand. Now, in that same time, how many people have died because of islamic terrorism??? Do I need to explain this any clearer Mr. mentally challenged? It's not even a close comparison.

      October 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  41. M.

    Freedom of speech? Try using the n word while addressing a black police officer and see how free you are. Freedom is freedom and accordning to the dictionary defination there is no such thing as freedom in this country or any other.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Freedom of speech comes with no guarantee of agreement with speech. The particular case you're describing is completely legal, and any attempted prosecution of mere utterance would be laughed out of court even before the prelims. That doesn't mean that anyone is going to like it, or the utterer, though. But it isn't a crime.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Reply
    • Kelly

      SixDegrees is correct.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Reply
  42. JomoDaMusicMan

    FREE SPEECH, Why not, when here in America the KKK can come to someone else's home like a black person and burn a cross on that person's lawn and the courts including the Supreme Court calls this exercising their legal rights of expression, or when a group of racist rowdy whites rough up & harass a black family and the judge calls it GOOD OLE BOYS HAVING FUN. How in the hell could this be any worse. Maybe, like when the rich 70 yr old Frenchman rapes the African Maid, but it was not rape simply because she lied on application to enter USA

    October 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • john smith

      you are dumb as fuck

      October 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Reply
      • abc

        Same to u, john smith

        October 27, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
      • U.S.Army-OverLord

        I agree with john, and I'm black. Please STFU. you are making us look bad 😉

        October 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Lee Van Cleef

      tisk tisk. you are stretching the reality of law here in your assessment. the KKK, as vile as they are, do have a right to spew their message of ignorance and hatred under the constitutional rights of free speech and expression. however, lighting fires, harrassment, and disturbing the peace are acts of freedom of expression that violate the law. see the difference?

      October 27, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Reply
    • guest

      Jomo, you're an idiot. Go read some books on the First Amendment and you will see that not all speech is protected.

      October 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Reply
    • SconnieGuz

      Just more crybaby reverse racism that we're all used to and expect from you nigs

      October 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  43. Glades2

    In a strange twist the crazy opinion he's stating is what everyday Americans mention when it comes moral issues like abortion and pornography – so to hear his defense actually isn't anything new and perhaps it serves us right for using "Freedom of Speech" to defend even the most offensive acts...

    October 27, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      We defend freedom of speech because the Constitution holds it to be a fundamental right that is a requirement of a functioning Democracy. The downside is that speech which is odious is every bit as protected as that with which we agree. Crimes, on the other hand, are attributable to actions, not thoughts or opinions.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  44. smellarat

    It's amazing how the uber-liberal lawyers who are defending this guy rationalize their "defense". Not sure how they sleep at night.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Reply
    • abc

      How do u know they r liberals? If u r assuming, u should assume the same for a lawyer using same argument defending kkk or anti us govt extremist like tim mcveigh.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Reply
    • Lee Van Cleef

      it is also amazing you fail to realize that as an American citizen he has the right to representation in his defense, a right that every American citizen has under the protection of our Miranda rights. the day we abandon our core beliefs in the justice system for 'special cases' is more damaging to America than any attack this guy could carry out.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • MMMMMM

      LOL...I'm a lawyer and interact with hundreds of lawyers every week....I will tell you the vast majority are NOT UBER-LIBERAL, in fact, if anything, its quite the opposite

      October 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  45. DAISHI

    Sincerely hope Pistoya's description of that sort of police state is some vague sarcasm.

    October 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Reply
  46. Gimble

    What hope do we have when a Texas DA prosecutes a Border Patrol agent and allows the criminal to go free. We have a disgusting justice system which is matched by our equally disgusting political system.
    Lets first fix those problems and then correct all the other issues that are corrupting America.

    October 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Reply
    • aeowynne

      Awesome post! i agree w/you and what I would like to see is THE PEOPLE TAKIING BACK THE POWER that has been given to congress (or did they just take it?) Anyway I woudl like to see a TOTAL OVER HAUL OF CONGRESS. Everyone of those rep.'s and senators out! PEOPLE WE HAVE THE POWER IF WE EXERCISE IT!! And we exercise it by VOTING ALL OF THEM OUT OF OFFICE!! I don't care what party they are affiliated with OUT OUT OUT!!
      Sorry for getting off base here.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Reply
  47. Tyhouston

    People it's in the constitution...

    Your freedom of speech ends at encouraging illegal activity, Slander, Libal, treason and sedition...

    In other words your free speech ends as soon as you get "Threatening, UnAmerican, or violent."

    October 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • SixDegrees

      Not exactly. But more to the point, he's also claiming the words weren't his, that what he did was translate an al Quaida training manual into English and post it, and that he does not share the sentiments expressed in it. We'll see what the prosecution has to say about that, but if true there's little he's guilty of other than being a jerk.

      October 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Reply
      • aeowynne

        Why would he be translating a (jihad) or al quaida manual?? Do you think he just wanted to show people what they are saying? i don't think so. It seems like he wanted to know what to do as a home grown terrorist. And it is true we will see what the WITNESS has to say at the trial. He was actually there, and we are very fortunate that this person came forward.

        October 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • Nic_Driver

      UnAmerican speech is illegal?

      Did you think before you posted that?

      October 27, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Reply
    • ggsimmonds

      Not exactly. I forget the name involved, but there was a supreme court case where they determined that a KKK member was only exercising free speech when he said that they should lynch black people. Because at the rally he was not taking measures to follow up on those threats, it was protected. Had he been passing out baseball bats and torches it would not have been protected.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Reply
      • aeowynne

        Very GOOD POST!! You have totally shown the difference between the two. On one hand the guy just made a statement, on the other hand the guy WENT TO the middle east w/the intention of JOINING UP W/a jihad group. BIG DIFFERENCE!!

        October 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Jason

      Freedom of speech is restricted when it is threatening, you're speech can be as unpatriotic as it can be and you can even burn the flag and even that won't get you into any trouble.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Reply
      • aeowynne

        Sorry dude that was before and this is B5, it is NOW illegal to burn the American flag. I was not sure if it was passed by congress, but I think it passed when congress was a majority of republicans, with a republican President. Correct me if I am wrong, and I do apologize if I am.

        October 27, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  48. Pistoya

    Our country is infested with terrorists, which is why we need a much more comprehensive militarized police force. We need to depoly drones countrywide instead of just in Houston and allow them to carry hellfire missiles like they do in other theaters. Smart small munitions arent enough. Most importantly, we need to indemnify all or our men and women in uniform who might inadverdently involved in a collateral casualty regrettably as they are sometimes.

    October 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Reply
    • Mjpsych

      I am certain that you just got out of a psychiatric ward. Or atleast you need to be in one.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Reply
    • eric pollard

      You need to see a shrink–You hateful biggot

      October 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Reply
    • Kelly

      No, no, no–Its 3 of the pink pills and 1 of the yellow pills–NOT 1 of the pink pills and 3 of the yellow pills!!!!

      October 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Reply
    • Reichsfurer

      Our government should be able to crush any dissent without accountability. If you disagree with me, you must be a terrorist.

      October 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Reply
      • soican

        Well now that the USA can kill any USA citizen without a trial if suspected of being a terrorist.....it is not the USA anymore.

        October 27, 2011 at 4:03 pm |

Leave a Reply to Dude


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.