Cushy Bedroom Jihad. "Feds: Tarek Mehanna was al-Qaeda mouthpiece," by Laurel J. Sweet for the Boston Herald, October 28 (thanks to Kenneth):
As an American-born Muslim of privilege tried to shield himself yesterday with the Constitution he’s accused of betraying, prosecutors began painting for jurors a sinister portrait of a young man the feds said both al-Qaeda and the FBI recognized was becoming a mouthpiece for jihad.
Tarek Mehanna even had all-American code for holy war, prosecutors said: Peanut butter and jelly.
By moderating online chats from the “cushy bedroom” of his parents’ Sudbury home about the monster he thought of as his “real father,” 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, and translating bin Laden’s recorded calls to arms into English subtitles, assistant U.S. Attorney Aloke Chakravarty said Mehanna, 29, “viewed himself as part of the media department of the terror group.
“It meant killing, it meant bullets, it meant martyrdom,” said Chakravarty, noting that in the summer of 2005, al-Qaeda “personally solicited” Mehanna to translate works by leader Ayman al-Zawahri.
And to a large extent, Mehanna’s attorney J.W. Carney Jr. — acknowledging his client was bitter about the war in Iraq — didn’t disagree.
“Yes, he expressed admiration for Osama bin Laden. He didn’t hide his beliefs; he wore them on his sleeve,” Carney said on day one of an anticipated two-month trial, amid extraordinary security in and around U.S. District Court in Boston.
Mehanna’s religious and political beliefs — while perhaps treason to some — are “what make America so great, so strong, so free,” said Carney, who treated Judge George A. O’Toole Jr.’s packed courtroom to boyhood photographs of a chubby Mehanna sitting on a mall Santa’s lap and playing baseball.
Yes, treason makes America great!
Testimony begins today. Star witnesses for the prosecution will include a married father granted immunity to tell jurors how he, Mehanna and a third man flew out of Boston on Super Bowl Sunday 2004 (featuring the New England Patriots [team stats] defeating the Carolina Panthers 32-29) with the intent of traveling to Yemen to enlist in a terrorist training camp.
Carney said he will counter with a Yemen scholar from Princeton University, who will vouch for the rich Islamic education opportunities that Mehanna contends were the real reason for his journey.
Yes, Yemen is world-renowned for the quality of its universities!