November 12, 2008

Arrested Blogger Identified: Tarek Mehanna

UPDATE 10/21/2009: Mehanna arrested again! This time for plotting terror on US soil.

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The al Qaeda supporter and blogger arrested by the FBI earlier this week has been identified as Tarek Mehanna. Mehanna was arrested as he attempted to leave the country on charges that he had lied to the FBI about prior knowledge of another Muslim blogger's, Daniel "Al-Jughaifi" Maldanado, plans to travel from Egypt to Somalia to join the jihad. Maldanado is now in federal prison after being convicted of receiving specialized weapons training from an al Qaeda linked group in Somalia.

Like clockwork, Mehanna's family defends him as a nice boy who just completed his graduate work to become a pharmacist. What his family may or may not know is that Mehanna goes by the online handle "Abu Sayaba" and runs the "Iskandari" website which is devoted to promoting the Salafi ideology.

For instance, Tarek "Abu Sayaba" Mehanna has, literally, dozens of posts recounting the words of Abdullah Azzam, the intellectual backbone of al Qaeda. Also among his favorite authors are Sayyid Qutb.

In addition to friends like Maldanado who has been convicted on terrorism related charges, Mehanna's online buddies include:
Shades of Swords, who glorifies the executed Bali bombers as martyrs.
Inshallahshaheed, who we have an entire category devoted to and who claims he personally doesn't go off to fight the jihad because "it's hard" and who recently has set up his own media division in support of terrorist organizations.
Jihad Fields Are Calling, who's name pretty much sums it up.

And so on and so forth. In other words, the people he associated himself with online are either a) actively engaged in violent jihad; or b) actively engaged in supporting violent jihad through the distribution of terrorist propaganda.

You can bet that the FBI arrest on relatively minor charges was taken because there was a reasonable fear that Mehanna was leaving the country to join or further support the jihad himself. His friend Maldanado had also left the country to pursue "religious studies" in Egypt, but ended up in an al Qaeda linked training camp in Somalia.

If any one finds a picture of him, please pass it along. Thanks to Miss Kelly.

Above the fold update: Aaron provides handy box score for FOS (Friends of Sasjamal). If he (or I) had more time he'd also provide more cyber/meatspace scores for several other FOS's currently spending time in the the federal pokey and whatever the Canadian version of the pound-me-in-the-ass prison is. He also voices what several in the comments section also had to say:

(Hey, Samir! How about you book a flight overseas? After all, if Sasjamal can do it, why can't you...)
Indeed.

Boston Globe:

Statements that Tarek Mehanna allegedly made to the FBI two years ago in the midst of a terrorism investigation came back to haunt him last weekend, when the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy graduate was arrested as he was about to board a Boston flight to start a new job overseas.

Mehanna, 26, who was living in a sprawling house in Sudbury with his parents, is charged with lying to the FBI in December 2006 when questioned about the whereabouts and activities of Daniel J. Maldonado, a former Methuen resident who was suspected of training at an Al Qaeda terrorist camp to overthrow the Somali government.

An FBI affidavit unsealed in federal court in Boston Monday alleges that Mehanna told agents on Dec. 16, 2006, that he had known Maldonado for three or four years and that when he last spoke to him two weeks earlier, Maldonado was living in a suburb of Alexandria, Egypt, and working for a website.

But Maldonado had actually placed several calls from Somalia to Mehanna's Sudbury home four days before the FBI interview, urging him to "join him in training for jihad," the affidavit says....

Earlier:
Muslim Blogger Arrested in Boston?

Related:
American al Qaeda Traitor & Blogger Arrested in Texas
Daniel Joseph Maldonado: How the Internet Created a Terrorist
An American al Qaeda Devotee in New York
An American Terrorist in Somalia
Inshallashshaheed Outted: North Carolina Jihadi in the News

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:44 AM | Comments |