Friday, August 10, 2012

"I am continuing to answer the call of Jihad" - Jason Abdo

"Why I chose to do the things I did'

Waco – Naser Jason Abdo looked bizarre, his head enveloped in a black stocking knotted at the top like the crest of a dark peacock in bondage, his lower face covered by a surgical mask.

His hands in manacles, locked to a chain encircling his waist and attached to cuffs on his ankles, he sat at the defense table surrounded by a phalanx of four Court Security Officers of the U.S. Marshals Service in the Western District Court in downtown Waco, poring over papers he could not reach, which the guards arranged on the table top and passed to him as he needed to refer to them in a rambling, nearly hour-long allocution prior to his sentencing.

Earlier, an Assistant U.S. Attorney objected to the material, telling the Court, “It's really not relevant to anything. It has to do with his conscientious objector status. It came from before the incident.”

Judge Walter Smith sat impassive, his chin in his hand, staring straight ahead as the specter dressed in a striped jail costume mumbled the story of the last few desperate months he spent as a devout Muslim Private First Class in the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.

As he talked, the one-time soldier who was separated from the military because of his religious beliefs painted a picture of a world that was closing in on him following 9 months of investigation into the improper use of a government computer issued to him by the Defense Language Institute at Monterrey, Callifornia, upon which criminal investigators found child pornography.

Mr. Abdo sought to explain “the precipitating circumstances surrounding why I wound up in Ft. Hood.”

Status as a conscientious objector was “stigma enough,” he noted. To be subsequently charged with possession of child pornography was “the violation I knew of.”

He mentioned counseling sessions with his unit's Chaplain, and a visit from FBI agents who told him he had been flagged for investigation during an interview about the preseervation of his civil rights.

His conclusion: “The child pornography charges were rendered as a weapon” to be used against him because of his application for the status of a conscientious objector.

The Secretary of Army overrode a decision by a command review board, which denied his application for the status of a conscientious objector, noting that his decision was rendered because of Mr. Abodo's religious training.

“It was one month later that I decided I would go on Jihad.” That is the term Islamic devotees use when they invoke holy war against infidels, in which their enemies are given the choice either to convert, or to perish by the sword.

“I infected myself with HIV virus.”

When he began to describe his contact with an Associated Press reporter, the chief reason he feels he was not discharged, that criminal charges were leveled against him in an effort to keep him in the Army, Judge Smith became visibly agitated. He wrung his hands, then returned to his previous sanguine pose, chin in hand, after glancing at the clock.

Quoting John Adams, “one of the founding fathers,” who said that the press is the watch dog of the government, Mr. Abdo said “It was this principle I believe that kept me from being discharged.

“Allah, not America, has a monopoly on justice.”

The prosecutor summed up his feeling that the mandatory setencing guidelines on 6 charges including possession of unauthorized firearms, attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempted murder of U.S. Officers or employees, and possession of weapons in furtherance of violence, by reminding the Judge that Mr. Abdo bit his tongue and spit his blood on court security officers in a courthouse elevator.

He also scratched and spit his blood on officers in the McLennan County Jail.

“He believed he was infected with HIV virus.”

Subsequent tests showed that Mr. Abdo is not so infected.

Judge Smith noted that five of the six counts carry a mandatory sentence.

He sentenced Mr. Abdo to two life sentences, to be served consecutively, a 240 month, 60 month, 360 month and 300 month sentence to be served consecutively, and $3,000 in fines - $500 for each of the 6 counts.

“In the unlikely event” that Mr. Abdo should ever be freed from prison, he sentenced him to serve a 5-year period of supervision by federal parole authorities.

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