Why I Support the Release of Tarek Mehanna
by C-ya (Advocate), Oct-26-11 Op-ed
Why I support the release of Tarek Mehanna.
I am an American citizen. Born right here in The Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I served this commonwealth and country as a soldier in the Army National Guard and am a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. (OEF and OIF) I have worked for the Department of Homeland Security, and been responsible for public safety at the state level as well. I have participated in a 21 gun salute at our State House and have helped bring a dear friend to his final resting place at the National Cemetery in Massachusetts. Those that would question my devotion and affection for this country and its citizens, or accuse me of being anti-American will be thoroughly frustrated and disproven.
Tarek Mehanna is not my friend, he is not my hero, and I am not a Muslim. Tarek Mehanna is a victim of our paranoid and hysterical post 9/11 culture, and a misguided, repressive and corrupt FBI campaign. Locals know that the FBI has behaved illegally, not in any few specific instances but on a regular basis. The Whitey Bulger fiasco proves that the FBI has routinely behaved illegally, immorally, and cannot be taken at their word.
Tarek Mehanna is a young Muslim- American. He was a leader in his community. He has expressed very unpopular views. In the madness and extremes of our culture following 9/11 it is absolutely understandable why a young Muslim may develop anti-American feelings. The Muslim community has been under constant and extreme pressure and scrutiny for the past decade and been constantly attacked, harassed, and treated poorly by law enforcement and our larger society.
The FBI cannot deny that they repeatedly approached Mehanna to become an informant. Their intense and increased pressure on him to work for them would have naturally created a negative sentiment in anyone that has strong convictions. His continued refusal to cooperate with the FBI is clearly the reason that he was arrested and faces trial now.
Initial news reports about Mehanna were Hollywood like tales of a terrorist plot wherein he and friends would take over a suburban mall with automatic weapons and kill innocent citizens in a mass killing spree. Very scary stuff. The media and news loves these stories. They have a fantastic and scary storyline, good guys and bad guys. But it was just an inflammatory FBI technique to make Mehanna appear to be a violent terrorist and gain support for their campaign against him and others.
This fantastic terrorist plot seems more likely to be a story told to the FBI by one of their numerous informants or outtakes of some ridiculous imaginary scenario spoke about in a casual conversation between Tarek and friends. The FBI admits that this terrifying plot was never a real threat to the public. The current charges against him no longer attempt to paint Mehanna as a machine gun wielding terrorist on a mass killing spree, but now he is made out to be the “Media-Wing” of Al Qaeda. Their evidence for this? Recordings and testimony of foolish conversations between Tarek and his friends and the alleged fact that he translated an Al Qaeda handbook? Once again this case heavily relies on FBI informants. Probably the same “friends” that were part of alleged conversations. How much are they being paid?
On top of this a lead prosecutor has already been proven to be someone who will lie to a federal judge under oath and hide evidence from the court.
I support the release of Tarek Mehanna because it is the right thing to do. I support Tarek Mehanna because the Muslim-American community should know that all Americans do not support their harassment and uneven treatment by law enforcement and the popular culture.
I support Tarek Mehanna because he is an American citizen that has been illegally and immorally targeted by zealots in the FBI. I support Tarek Mehanna because I understand that it is mistreatment and abuse as evidenced by this case that can lead Muslim citizens to radicalization and anti-American sentiment. I support Tarek Mehanna because I love and will continue to fight for this country, its citizens, and the rights guaranteed to us by The U.S. Constitution.
I support Tarek Mehanna because I am sick of the growing injustice in our society. I support Tarek Mehanna because being critical of U.S. policy and culture, traveling to the Middle East, and translating Arabic to English are not crimes. I support Tarek Mehanna because I belong to the 99%.
Mehanna’s trial begins on Oct. 27th at 9am at the Moakley Federal Courthouse in Boston, MA.