Sunday, December 02, 2007

Megahed and Mohamed's "Roadtrip on a Budget" Defense

Remember the case of the two South Florida students who were detained near a military base in South Carolina after pipe bombs were found in their car? You've may have forgotten about this terrorism trial because our mainstream media's "pro journalists" haven't seen fit to cover the story.

As a quick refresher, the pair of USF students were traveling on a lonely highway, just miles from a sensitive military installation. In the car with them: pipes filled with fertilizer, Karo syrup, kitty litter, bullets, fuses, a laptop with a history of web searches on Jihadist martyrdom, Hamas and Qassam rockets and video instructions for turning remotely controlled toy cars into detonators.

In July, Mohamed (pictured at right) had posted the YouTube video on the use of toys as detonators. The video's narrator says that it was intended "to save one who wants to be a martyr for another day in battle."

Authorities were also concerned about Megahed's recent love affair with firearms. He had purchased a rifle with a telescopic sight, discussed buying a Beretta handgun, and had joined a shooting range. Megahed also possessed "multiple Egyptian passports" under different names and visited a Sears photography center in July to acquire additional passport-sized photos. Megahed's recent travel to Egypt, Canada, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria had also raised prosecutors' fears.

The apologists

In August, shortly after their arrests, the usual suspects -- CAIR and MAS ("Guilty Until Proven Innocent is Not American Justice") -- claimed that "racial profiling" was to blame.

In a perfect storm of racial profiling and shoddy police tactics, several cases have evolved throughout North and South Carolina where unnecessary arrest detainment has given way to a racial profiling study conducted by ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation, and headed by attorney Azadeh N. Shahshahani, Muslim/Middle Eastern Community Outreach Coordinator...

Although due process has not been as timely as it should have been MAS Freedom-NC is pleased to announce the pending release of Youssef Megahed and Ahmed Mohamed...

MAS is still awaiting the "pending release" of the pair.

Latest news: the defense strategy

The strategy of the defense team is becoming more apparent. Yesterday, an AP article ("Student Says Supposed Bomb Was Fireworks") stresses the fun-loving innocence of the pair:

[Mohamed was] charged with trying to aid terrorists [and] says the supposed explosives found in his possession were just cheap fireworks that could only travel a few feet, according to a court filing.

Ahmed Mohamed said he made the fireworks, called "sugar rockets," because it was cheaper than buying fireworks at a roadside stand, the defense filing said.

Mohamed told investigators that he became interested in fireworks just before July 4, public defender Adam Allen wrote...

In a similar vein, the St. Petersburg Times' synopsis of the defense ("Two road-tripping college kids on a budget") characterizes the pair as tourists on a shoestring budget.

In a pleading filed Friday, Megahed's attorney, Adam Allen, said Mohamed and Megahed were headed to Sunset Beach, N.C., the cheapest way possible.

They bought a global positioning system at Wal-Mart in Ocala, he wrote, so that they could find the cheapest gas prices at Wal-Marts and Murphy Gas Stations along the way.

When a deputy stopped the pair near a naval base on Aug. 4, Mohamed, 26, volunteered that he had "fireworks" and fuses in the car, Allen wrote, but Megahed, 21, didn't know about them.

According to the pleading, Mohamed, who had been in the United States only six months, became fascinated with fireworks before July 4, when he learned they were widely available. But after visiting several fireworks stands, he decided they were too expensive.

So, he turned to YouTube for instructions on how to make "sugar rockets" with stump remover, sugar and cat litter. Mohamed brought the fireworks on the beach road trip with his buddy in hopes he could find an open field to try shooting them off again, Allen wrote...

Reviewing the 'road-trip on a budget defense'

The price of a Garmin eTrex GPS at Wal-Mart ranges from about $105 to $260. And let's say the GPS magically allows you to find gas stations where fuel is a whole 10 cents-a-gallon cheaper than normal.

Thus, to pay for the $105 GPS, the pair would have had to consume over 1,000 gallons of gas. At 24 miles-per-gallon, that's roughly around the world: 24,000 miles.

I'm not sure I would've gone with the "I had to buy a GPS to find cheap gas" argument.

And you can buy one heck of a lot of fireworks for $105 -- the price of the GPS.

This is just a hunch, but I'm guessing the defense team doesn't consist of Louis Nizer, Samuel Leibowitz, or Clarence Darrow.

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