Today begins the deportation trial of Youssef Megahed, Democracy Now!â€™s Marxist host Amy Goodman was sad to report. Goodman treated her viewers to a jailhouse exclusive interview with this 23-year-old University of South Florida â€œstudent.â€
For those unfamiliar with the case, here is a brief overview of how Megahed came to find himself facing deportation back to Egypt:
In August 2007, Megahed and a friend named Ahmed Mohamed were arrested in South Carolina in a routine traffic stop. The two were driving around looking at military bases. Sherriffâ€™s Deputies found explosives in the trunk of the car, along with Mohamed’s laptop which contained jihadist videos, including one (produced byÂ Mohamed himself)Â demonstrating the proper use of a remote-controlled detonator for a bomb that he had crafted from a childrenâ€™s toy. Mohamed said he intended the video, which was briefly posted on YouTube, to help “martyrs” fight invaders, including U.S. forces in Muslim countries.
Mohamed and Megahed were put on trial. Mohamed, here on a student visa, pleaded guilty to trying to help terrorists with the video and was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. Megahed, who has a green card, was not implicated in the YouTube video and was acquitted.
Three days after his acquittal, Youssef Megahed was re-arrested, this time by immigration agents, and now finds himself facing the possibility of deportation back to Egypt. His re-arrest, which does not fall under the category of double jeopardy as immigration violations are civil and not criminal matters, has nevertheless been taken on as a cause cÃ©lÃ¨bre by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has called for Megahedâ€™s immediate release, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which maintains that the case against Youssef Megahed sends “the wrong message to American Muslims and the Muslim world.” Both of these organizations have long histories of rushing to the defense of America-hating terror suspects.Â
Goodmanâ€™s interview with Megahed throws around plenty of blame for the situation in which Megahed now finds himself.Â Predictably, Megahed shares none of it.
AMY GOODMAN: Youssef, why do you think the US government is attempting to deport you?
YOUSSEF MEGAHED: Like, to do some action based on my arrest, which happened in August 2007, because I went to trial and won the case, beating the charges. So it would look like the government [inaudible] which was not like just a mistaken arrest.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you explain why did the police pick you up, when you were originally picked up in the car?
YOUSSEF MEGAHED: I think it was racial profiling. Like the expressions the arresting officer gave, I think it was racial profiling.
As you can see, this whole affair, Megahed tells Goodman during the interview, is quite simply the direct result of racial profiling, and now, having lost its case against him in the criminal trial, the government is getting vindictive.
AMY GOODMAN: What message do you have for people in the United States?
YOUSSEF MEGAHED: That Iâ€™m an innocent man who has been [inaudible] in the United States, based on baseless allegations by the US government.
Before you reach for the Kleenex, there are a few things Megahed conveniently forgot to tell Goodman during the interview. He never mentioned, for example, that the government plans to introduce evidence at his deportation trial that just minutes beforeÂ his car was pulled over in South Carolina, MegahedÂ had been viewing, on his laptop, a series of videos that showedÂ jihadists firing Qassam rockets in the Middle East.
Megahed also forgot to mention a most noteworthyÂ excerptÂ of a taped conversation he had with MohamedÂ in the back of the police cruiser, as the pair tried to getÂ their stories toÂ match after theyÂ had beenÂ picked up in South Carolina:
“Did you tell them about the gasoline [in the trunk with the detonators]?” Megahed asks.
“No,” Mohamed answers. “I didn’t know. I told them it’s not yours and that you have nothing to do with it and I was the one who made these fireworks â€¦ Correct? I mean, [unintelligible] and the will of Almighty God, [unintelligible] and God willing, there is nothing on you.”
The credulous Amy Goodman, of course, never uncovered any of this; nor was she inclined to try. But ask yourself one question: Would you, or would you not,Â sleep a little better at night knowing thatÂ Megahed was out of the country?