For the raging ‘patriotic’ citizens of America clamouring for ever-more stringent standards to strengthen national security and win the epic war against ‘terrorism’, the case involving seven Raleigh-area men accused of various terrorism related activities, might be characterised as an utter failure. A failure not for its service of injustice to marginalised voices of America’s Muslim communities, but rather a failure because the defendants were not simply stripped and lynched off of a sturdy, North Carolina oak.
And yet, it seems as though on the other end of the spectrum, the raging patriotic citizens clamouring for ever-more stringent standards to strengthen national security without exploiting the terrorism catchphrase and sacrificing judicial integrity, are as equally dismayed.
With alarming predictability, federal agencies have bypassed constitutional provisions of guaranteeing due process and fair trials, long-standing malpractices only now codified, without the compulsory legal acrobatics, in the NDAA (National Defence Authorization Act). Over a decade’s worth of terrorism trials have taught the American government how to sustain the pretense of upholding law while simultaneously dismantling it.
From its informant ridden inception, the Raleigh case was no different, unapologetically brandishing the hallmarks of a federally manipulated and self-congratulatory conviction. Even before trial, a strategic assortment of media scaremongering, lengthy pre-trial detentions and threats of life sentences secured at least three guilty pleas and potentially damning testimony despite an overwhelming lack of evidence pointing to any crime after 750 hours of video and audio surveillance. The addition of an indifferent and narcoleptic jury with ties to the world’s most powerful military was pure luck; serendipitous icing on the government’s statistical cake.
All said and done, the four defendants who stubbornly maintained their innocence, were generously rewarded for their integrity with heavy sentences ranging from 15 to 45 years in Supermax prisons (whose harsh policies of solitary confinement have been internationally reviewed by human rights groups to be inhumane and a form of torture). One of these defendants was the 24 year old Ziyad Yaghi, who, like his co-defendants, was incriminated by mere circumstances that you, the reader, should beware of.