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Tarek Mehanna: punished for speaking truth to power

[I disagree with both Mehanna and Caputi on supporting violence, even as legal resistance, but agree with both that Mehanna should be free and free to speak. --DS]

By Ross Caputi, Guardian

On 12 April, Tarek Mehanna was found guilty of conspiracy and of giving material support for terrorism and was sentenced to 17 years in prison. The prosecution accused Mehanna of translating statements for al-Qaida and of disseminating pro-jihadist material on the internet. Mehanna maintains that he does not support the world view of al-Qaida, though he is unapologetic for supporting the rights of Muslims to defend themselves against their oppressors – in this case, US and British soldiers. The American Civil Liberties Union has said that the verdict against Tarek "undermines" free speech, while the prosecution holds that Tarek was "conspiring to support terrorists" and "for conspiring to kill Americans overseas".

However, if Tarek Mehanna is guilty, so am I. I, too, support the right of Muslims to defend themselves against US troops, even if that means they have to kill them, and I try to give the Iraqi resistance a voice through my website. I have done everything that Tarek Mehanna has done, and there are only two possibilities as to why I am not sitting in a cell with him: first, the FBI is incompetent and hasn't been able to smoke me out; second, the US judicial system would never dream of violating my freedom of speech because I am white and I am a veteran of the occupation of Iraq.

Indeed, Mehanna is being punished for his ideas, and the case against him stinks of a lynch-mob mentality. The Islamophobia that still grips the US has often resulted in a hysterical witch-hunt for "radical" Muslims, of which Tarek Mehanna is the most recent victim. Most Muslims in the US can get by as long as they proclaim their love for this country and keep their mouths shut about American foreign policy, but a Muslim who is vocally critical of US policy is still a very scary thing for many in the US. Mehanna's ideas have been criminalized because they are critical of US policy and advocate for jihad, which, unfortunately, is pitifully misunderstood in the US. In the current political atmosphere, critical ideas are too often equated with extremism, and jihad is equated with terrorism.

Jihad is not synonymous with terrorism, however, and most Americans would be shocked to learn that they share many values with jihadists, such as duty, the importance of self-improvement, and the right to self-defense. Jihad, which literally means "struggle" or "effort", can describe an internal struggle to refrain from sin, an effort to promote Islamic values, or a duty to defend other Muslims when they are under attack. Jihad is not an aggressive war to convert others, nor does it condone terrorism. Yet, jihad is popularly understood in America to be a call for terrorism against infidels.

I found Tarek Mehanna's sentencing statement eloquent and truthful. I agree with him that much of what the US military has done in Iraq and Afghanistan can be characterized as terrorism, and I support Afghans and Iraqis who fight back against us. What I helped do to the city of Fallujah was terrorism, and I lost two dear friends in that operation, but I cannot hate or begrudge the resistance in Fallujah for killing them. They were only doing what I would have done had a foreign army been laying siege to my hometown. We were the aggressors and the terrorists, and I can see that now, eight years too late.

I agree with Tarek Mehanna that when Muslims attack US troops that have invaded and occupied their country, it is not an act of terrorism. It is simply warfare. Just as when George Washington's army attacked British troops in 1776, it was not terrorism, but warfare. However, such a comparison assumes that there is an objective definition of "terrorism" that is used consistently by Americans. But as Tarek Mehanna pointed out in his sentencing statement, the term "terrorism" is subjective in American discourse, because the term is only acceptable when it is used to refer to what the official enemy does to us.

If there were an objective definition, then the same standards by which we condemn the terrorism of others could be used to condemn our acts of terrorism. We could then say that the "shock and awe" bombing of Iraq killed more innocent civilians than the attacks of 9/11, and was also an act of terrorism. We could also say that what we did to Fallujah was an act of terrorism. But such statements are shocking and unthinkable to Americans.

I'm not afraid to profess my support for Tarek Mehanna, or to advocate for his ideas, because I know the law does not apply equally to all in America. My whiteness and my status as a veteran will protect me. But Tarek was brown and he never made the mistake of enlisting in the Marine Corps, as I did. So he will spend the next 17 years in a prison cell.

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If one wants to demonstrate the power of class deforming hierarchies, deforming HUMAN NATURE, throughout class history, such that

much of humanity seems to think, created its own self created delusion and myth, with the help of class elites, that Human Nature is by

nature, "greedy", and "violent" because like the movie 2001 which created another myth, depicting chimpanzees as killer apes. There is  a

cynical, self deluded cutural degeneration going on reflecting both the BETRAYAL of the Enlightenment and social theorists into crippled

class ideologies, where Western Enlightenment became, first crippled, deformed by class hierarchies and then proceeded to DEGENERATE

into Western Fascism, through degenerating class/empire cycles, observed centuries ago by ancient Greeks.   Here are 3 related links,

stories, which focuses on the DETERIORATION of Western class culture into totalitarianism and Fascism.   The process described,

hereafter, is the same crippling, deforming, degenerating class process that began the enslavement of Humanity, linking the enslavement

of women, then humanity into property relations, enslaved class relations and continues with the stark development of Western Fascism,

under the leadership of a BLACK FACE FOR EMPIRE, a servant to both Fascism, that need Racism to thrive:


First They Come For the Muslims


"....Downs calls the process of condemning people before they have committed a crime “pre-emptive prosecution.” The concept of pre-emptive prosecution mocks domestic law as egregiously as pre-emptive war mocks the foundations of international law.

Downs’ awakening to the corruption of the judicial system came in 2006 ...“I was unprepared for the fact that the government would put together a case that was just one lie piled up on top of another lie,” Downs said. “And when you pointed it out to them they didn’t care. They didn’t refute it. They knew that it was a lie. The facts of most of these pre-emptive cases don’t support the charges. But the facts are irrelevant. The government has decided to target these people. It wants to take them down for ideological reasons.”

“In the past, when the government wanted to do something illegal it simply went ahead and broke the law,” he said.....This is different. The government is destroying the legal framework of our country. They are twisting it out of recognition to make it appear as though what they’re doing is legal. I don’t remember that kind of a situation in the past. The opinions of the court are now only lame excuses as to why the courts can’t do justice.”

“The government lawyers must know these pre-emptive cases are fake,” he said... Downs pointed out that if the government was actually concerned about the rule of law it would prosecute politicians and other prominent Americans who have publicly spoken out in support of Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK or People’s Holy Jihadis), an armed group on the State Department terrorism list that carries out terrorist attacks inside Iran. They include former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend, former FBI Director Louis Freeh, former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Hugh Shelton and Gen. James Jones, who was President Obama’s first national security adviser. Some of them voiced their backing in speeches for which they were paid lavishly.

“Their support of MEK is far worse than any of the pre-emptive prosecution cases,” Downs said. “They are literally engaged in material support for terrorism. But of course they’re not being prosecuted..."


Chris Hedges is pointing out that all three branches of government, 4 if you count the corrupt corporate media have DEGENERATED

INTO TOTALITARIANISM, FASCISM, RACISM.  Obama's fascist enabling doubles up as Racism, by corrupt POLICE/CLASS/JUDICIAL

Forces.  Related to this class degeneration, fascist degeneration is the failure to see that WESTERN CLASS HIERARCHIES ROUTINELY,

invert reality through corruption, co option, substitution and false SOCIAL CLAIMS, all class outcomes, deformed outcomes where Obama

democrats, all class parties around the world have embraced WESTERN FASCISM, fascist Nato, and fascist austerity policies.   Here is a

demonstration, like WIKI LEAKS exposed, how Western class hierarchies deform human nature into outright Fascists:


Does Israel Interfere in US Elections?


"....This Ha'aretz headline was followed by a sub headline, stating:

"Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador in Washington, submits letter to the editor to NYT, complaining about an article detailing the close relationship between Netanyahu and likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney."

The problem with Oren's attack is that the Times story did not use the term "interfering." The ambassador denies something the story does not claim...

Of course the Israeli government interferes in US politics and the presidential race is the big kahuna. Israel's domestic UA warriors, led by the heavy-hitters from AIPAC, are deeply embedded in the 2012 elections.  Ambassador Oren knows it; everyone who pays attention knows it. But like the nuclear arsenal Israel has built in the Israeli desert, the media and politicians do not speak of it. They do not want to be branded as anti-Israel....

Steeped in the double speak of US politics, the Ambassador is skilled at the classic political tactic, which Zionist operatives have long utilized, of denying facts that do not exist, and then diverting attention from those manufactured facts to a different topic....

Ambassador Oren has yet to weigh in on the German Nobel prize winning author Gunter Grass episode.

But rest assured, if Time and Newsweek had not adhered to the Zionist script when reporting on the "furor" over the Grass poem, This Must be Said, Oren would have been all over the editors of those leading national weeklies.  The Time and Newsweek stories followed the script by omitting the central point of This Must Be Said, the fact that a prominent German author chose to risk his public reputation by writing and publishing a poem that reveals in public, that which is not to be said.

Israel has built a nuclear arsenal that contains between 200 and 400 deliverable nuclear bombs.

This arsenal was developed in secret with no outside inspection, exactly the same inspection the West is demanding Iran allow as it develops its own power-oriented nuclear program...Ambassador Oren's job in Washington is not as difficult as the task facing Israel's European ambassadors who must explain Israel's conduct to a growing dubious public.

Nicholas Kulish began his New York Times analysis with this description of the growing division between elites and the general German public...The US public is stirring, but remains largely indifferent to the conduct of Israel. That inattention makes it easier for Prime Minister Netanyahu to take advantage of the fact that US public attention is currently diverted to the presidential campaign.

Taking advantage of the diversion, Netanyahu is doing what he always does. He steps up his settlement program in the West Bank..."



The Babylonian Captivity of Washington


"...The summary of the Secret message, which I reproduce in full, is:


"SECRET cable from U.S. Embassy, Tel Aviv, dated 12 December 2009...Read the message any way one wishes, but it would seem clear that Washington is colluding with Israel to shield the latter’s nuclear program from any scrutiny, a successful Non-Proliferation conference being one in which Israel is not discussed at all.  If the US is seriously interested in limiting the spread of nuclear weapons one would think that Israel’s program is part of the problem, but Israel is making clear that any such suggestion is unacceptable and the Obama Administration agrees without pushing any alternative policy.  Tauscher even goes one step further, pledging Washington to never act in any way that would "compromise Israel’s security" (as defined by Israel itself). 

Tauscher and her Israeli interlocutors prefer to shift the narrative to Iran and do it through the back door by ignoring the Egyptian Foreign Ministry and explaining things to President Hosni Mubarak, who is presumed to be sympathetic.  Iran, or course, did not then and does not now have any nuclear weapons and no nuclear program while Israel has hundreds of nukes and both missiles and submarines to deliver them with, but facts shouldn’t intrude into a friendly discussion between friends..." 


Israel's "Grave Incident": And Let's Not Forget All the Other Ones (VIDEO)

"Incredible video of IDF officer Shalom Eisner smashing Danish activist Andreas Ias in the face with his M-16 rifle during a peaceful "Welcome to Palestine" gathering has even Netanyahu backing off. Now what about these grave incidents: The blacklisting and detaining of hundreds of ordinary citizens who wanted to express their views, and the subsequent caving of European airlines to the outrageous demands of Israel; the requirement that tourists coming into Israel vow not to meet or talk to any bad guys - ie: pro-Palestinian elements - and of course Israel's continued, unquestioned expulsion of Arabs from their homes..."






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