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Day 7: FBI Agent Boonyasait


Mr. Chakravarty opened today’s session with questions for Mr. Boonyasait in response to Mr. Carney’s thorough cross-examination (see Nov 1 Update). Mr. Chakravarty presented no new exhibits. Instead, he went over all of the same material from yesterday. He asked if Mr. Boonyasait had reviewed all of the messages on the Tibyan forum (no, he hadn’t) and asked about the kinds of views that he saw posted (pro-jihad, Mr. Boonyasait responded). We were all wondering where Mr. Chakravarty was going by asking his witness what the view points of prosecutor-chosen messages were. Mr. Chakravarty then re-read many of the passages that Mr. Carney had presented the day before about Tarek’s belief in a people’s right to self-defense, trying to play on them somehow as evidence for the prosecution. This is criminalizing self-defense, for sure.
He took a cue from Mr. Carney and used the tactic of reading the passages himself instead of having the witness read them. Almost as though he were working for the defense, he read quotes referencing Tarek’s belief in defending one’s nation from invading military forces and his belief that civilians should not be targeted; he even pointed out that Tarek specifically made a distinction between military and non-military personnel when it came to fighting back. Mr. Chakravarty didn’t even move to draw conclusions to make his case from these passages.
Mr. Carney went on to cross-examine Mr. Boonyasait one more time, appearing as confused as the rest of us about where Mr. Chakravarty was headed with his questions. Mr. Carney pointed out that because there were several thousands of posts on Tibyan, and that Mr. Boonyasait only read the posts selected by the prosecutor (except for 5 or 10 posts, replied Mr. Boonyasait), he couldn’t know the full scope of the views on Tibyan. Mr. Carney once again asked, isn’t it fair to say that Tarek’s belief is that Muslims have the right to expel invading military forces? (Yes, he replied) And that Tarek made a distinction between people who were not part of the military, for example, teachers and oil engineers, and people who were, for example, Marines? (Mr. Boonyasait answered yes.) Mr. Carney then tried to proceed in a line of questioning about how the US uses much of the oil that comes from these regions, but it was objected to by Mr. Chakravarty and the objection was sustained by Judge O’Toole. Mr. Carney asked Mr. Boonyasait that Tarek maintained his views in all of the threads that Mr. Boonyasait had read (yes, he replied), at which time he finished his cross-examination.
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