October 27, 2011
On October 27, 2011, Dina Temple-Raston of NPR’s Morning Edition reported on a case regarding a Boston man brought up on charges of terrorism whose trial is expected to begin today (October 27). According to the report, Tarek Mehanna, the defendant, was arrested in 2009 and charged with seven different crimes, including “conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization and conspiracy to kill in a foreign country.”
Mehanna is alleged to have travelled to Yemen and Somalia in search of terrorist training camps, conspired to kill soldiers in Iraq, and, upon his return to the United States, planned to orchestrate a terror campaign involving a shopping mall shooting spree.
When announcing the charges two years ago, acting U.S. Attorney Michael Loucks stated:
It is alleged that there were multiple conversations about obtaining weapons and randomly shooting people in a shopping mall. This mall assault planning consisted of the logistics of a malls attack, the coordination of an assault from different entrances, weapons needed for such an assault and the possibility of attacking emergency responders.It should be noted that Mehanna is an American citizen who was born in Pittsburgh and was raised in an affluent suburb of Boston known as Sudbury. He also holds a doctorate degree from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Although individuals accused of terrorism by virtue of less-than-substantial evidence are no longer a rare sight to behold in the Orwellian America of 2011, many of the cases brought before the courts, such as this one, have gradually moved further and further in the direction of prosecution not only for direct acts (aided and guided by the intelligence agencies as they almost always are), but also for indirect acts and, now, apparently, for pre-crime.