As a student who was trained to be an historian with particular emphasis upon American history, I was taught that “conspiracy” entails a plan by an individual who had the capability of carrying it into action. The assumption is the individual demonstrated clear evidence of conspiring to implement of plan of action Tarek Mehanna, a 29 year old American born Muslim was convicted by a Boston jury of conspiring to assist al-Qaeda and kill American troops in Iraq. Central to the case presented by the prosecution is that Mehanna and two friends wanted to go to Yemen, receive terrorist training, and then kill American soldiers in Iraq.
A half dozen “terrorist experts” helped the prosecution to win this case. There was also testimony by friends of Mehanna that he wanted to become a terrorist. The defendant argued he wanted to go to Yemen for religious training. In other words, Mr. Mehanna never went to Yemen, never received any training, never went to Iraq, never aided al-Qaeda, and never killed any American soldiers. No “plan of action” regarding these killings was ever presented in court.
We live in strange times when a “liberal president” has a Justice Department which imprisons individuals for doing nothing. Sorry, what is in my mind is in my mind, and if we placed on trial every person who “thought” about murder, there would not be an empty court room in this nation.