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  1. #5
    Council Member
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Default "F**k a drone"

    This tidbit started with a Fox News story, US-born former Army vet known as 'The American' fights alongside Al Qaeda (by Greg Tepper and Ilan Ben Zion, March 11, 2013):

    He's a U.S.-trained soldier turned Muslim warrior who moves between America and countries where the winds of the Arab spring blow, fighting alongside jihadists and America-hating terrorists while celebrating his bloody exploits on YouTube videos.

    Eric Harroun, 30, grew up in Phoenix before joining the U.S. Army in 2000. Although Harroun was never deployed during his three-year hitch, he has seen plenty of combat fighting with Syrian rebels and, more recently, Jabhat al-Nusra, a group the U.S. State Department classifies as an alias for Al Qaeda in Iraq. ...
    and then amplified in a Foreign Policy piece, The Jihadist from Phoenix - Eric Harroun claims to have joined up with an al Qaeda-linked group fighting in Syria’s brutal civil war. We tracked him down, but getting the truth was more difficult (by Greg Tepper and Ilan Ben Zion, March 22, 2013):

    In mid-January, a video emerged on YouTube of an English-speaking man, wearing a black-and-white kaffiyeh and surrounded by four bearded Arab men, addressing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad directly. "Your days are numbered, you're going down in flames, you should just quit now while you can," he said. "You're going to die no matter what ... we will find you and kill you."

    The speaker was Eric Harroun, a white American from Phoenix, Arizona, who hails from a Christian family. He has become a self-described Sunni Muslim, fighting in Syria's brutal civil war -- even, he claimed, joining up with Jabhat al-Nusra, which the State Department has labeled an alias of al Qaeda in Iraq. He served nearly four years in the U.S. Army's 586th Engineering Company, but was never deployed overseas.

    In mid-March, a video released by Assad's supporters celebrated the alleged death of "The American" fighting in Syria. But Harroun himself confirmed to us that the rumors were false: In a Skype chat on March 17, he appeared alive and well, and claimed he was staying near the upscale Taksim Square, in Istanbul, Turkey. ...
    That piece ends with Harroun's view of drones - the headline to this post.

    And, no; Harroun was not "droned", in Syria or in Turkey. Instead, he returned to the US, being met by a kinder and gentler Department of Justice face with criminal complaint in hand.

    The present charge (subject to amendment) alleges a violation of 18 USC 2332a(b), which (inter alia) makes it a crime for a US national to conspire, while abroad, to use "weapons of mass destruction". So, what sort of CBRN weapon was Harroun conspiring to use. None; the weapon alleged was an RPG.

    How does one get there ? Here, in material part, 18 USC 2332a(c):

    (c) Definitions ... (2) the term “weapon of mass destruction” means -
    (A) any destructive device as defined in section 921 of this title; ...
    and 18 USC § 921 - Definitions:

    (a) As used in this chapter ...

    (4) The term “destructive device” means —

    (A) any explosive, incendiary, or poison gas —

    (i) bomb,

    (ii) grenade,

    (iii) rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces,

    (iv) missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one-quarter ounce,

    (v) mine, or

    (vi) device similar to any of the devices described in the preceding clauses;

    (B) any type of weapon (other than a shotgun or a shotgun shell which the Attorney General finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes) by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, and which has any barrel with a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter; and

    (C) any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into any destructive device described in subparagraph (A) or (B) and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled. ...
    This could be a very stiff charge, whether or not Harroun killed or aided in killing anyone:

    ... shall be imprisoned for any term of years or for life, and if death results, shall be punished by death, or by imprisonment for any term of years or for life.
    A charge under the Neutrality Act is a relatively minor offense, 18 USC § 960 - Expedition against friendly nation:

    ... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
    and one might argue about whether Syria and the US are "at peace".

    A charge, closely fitting the FBI declaration, would be under 18 USC § 2339D - Receiving military-type training from a foreign terrorist organization; but that again carries a lesser sentence:

    ... shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for ten years, or both.
    From Harroun's viewpoint, no good deed goes unpunished.


    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-30-2013 at 02:07 PM. Reason: Copied from manin Syria tread for the details within

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