Friday, August 7, 2009

Terror in the homeland?

Towards the end of July seven defendants were arrested and charged with "conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists,... conspiracy to murder, kidnap, maim and injure persons abroad... possession of a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence... selling a firearm to a convicted felon... receiving a firearm through interstate commerce, and making false statements in a terrorism investigation." Daniel Patrick Boyd, his two sons, and four others were arrested in North Carolina, and a US attorney said "These charges hammer home the point that terrorists and their supporters are not confined to the remote regions of some far away land but can grow and fester right here at home...."

In the 'General Allegations' the indictment includes this: "In the period from 1989 - 1992 Daniel Patrick Boyd a/k/a "Saifullah" traveled to Pakistan and Afghanistan where he received military style training in terrorist training camps for the purpose of engaging in violent jihad. Following this training Boyd fought against the Soviet Union." OK, let's put aside the counter argument that in 1989 the official position of the U.S. government was not that these were terrorists, but rather "freedom fighters"... it is hard to see how Boyd could have "...fought against the Soviet Union..." following his training in the period cited, given that the final Soviet troops left Afghanistan 0n February 15th, 1989... This being the case one wonders what reason there could have been to include this in the indictment... other than to prejudice the matter!

The main allegations are two counts of conspiracy (to provide material support to terrorism, and to murder, kidnap, maim, and injure persons); three weapons-related counts; and two counts of making false statements. One wonders what is the support for the conspiracy counts, and if it is anything more than these losers mouthing off... Certainly most of the "overt acts" listed are rather anodyne: Traveling to Gaza, traveling to Jordan, and traveling to Pakistan; purchasing tickets to Israel, flying to Israel, then returning from Israel (apparently having done nothing untoward or violent in any of these locations); purchasing weapons; sending an e-mail with literature extolling shahid; etc., etc.

It's also rather circular in logic and reasoning, for example, the purchase of the arms becomes an offense only if the conspiracy charges stick... The bottom line: this seems like a stretch, and more on a par with other recent cases where what starts out as a monstrous plot in the homeland turns out only to be some losers plucked up from their bumbling around and exaggerated by prosecutors as an existential danger...

Arrests in Terror Case Bewilder Associates
Incongruities in NC Terrorism Case
United States of America v. Daniel Patrick Boyd a/k/a "Saifullah"
Judge raises questions in NC terror prosecution
Terror Indictment Filed Against Seven in N.C.
FBI: Seven Charged with Terrorism Violations in North Carolina
The US and Soviet Proxy War in Afghanistan, 1989–1992: Prisoners of Our Preconceptions?

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