His attorneys say it is all about freedom of speech. Sure. There is plenty of freedom of speech for those who want to wage jihad warfare against the United States and the West. Where freedom of speech is in short supply is for those who want to resist that jihad.
“Mehanna spoke of joining jihad, says trial witness,” by Milton J. Valencia and Martin Finucane for the Boston Globe, November 4:
A young man who was a friend of Tarek Mehanna, the Sudbury man charged in federal court with supporting terrorists, testified today under cross-examination that despite their talk of waging jihad, they were not a terrorist cell.
“You were a group of friends?” defense attorney Janice Bassil asked Ali Aboubakr in US District Court in Boston.
“Yes,” Aboubakr said.
“You weren’t a terrorist cell?”
“No,” he said.
Aboubakr testified for the prosecution Thursday under a grant of immunity about his dealings with Mehanna. He said they had spoken of joining jihad, praised the “blood donations” of suicide bombers, and posed in celebratory fashion at the site of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York City.
He also said Mehanna had told him that Osama bin Laden was like a “true father,” that the Sept. 11 attacks were legitimate, and that Mehanna had tried to get terror training overseas….
Prosecutors say the 29-year-old Mehanna, who was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in Sudbury, unsuccessfully sought terrorist training in Yemen in 2004, then returned and began translating and distributing Al Qaeda propaganda.
He faces charges that include conspiracy to support a terrorist organization and a maximum possible sentence of life in prison.
Mehanna’s attorneys have argued that he traveled to Yemen to further his studies of Arabic and Islam. They also say he was critical of US foreign policy, particularly the war on Iraq, and that he could express those views because of his First Amendment right to freedom of speech.