Crazy jihad troll who threatened Matt & Trey from South Park is so totally busted

A 20-year old guy named Zachary Adam Chesser pled guilty on Wednesday to three federal charges: communicating threats against South Park's writers, soliciting violent jihadists to desensitize law enforcement, and attempting to provide material support to Al-Shabaab, an organization designated by the US as a terrorist group.

Chesser is so busted. He faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison when sentenced on February 25, 2011. He was born Jewish, and converted in his teens to an extremist strain of Islam, adopting the name Abu Talhah al-Amrikee.

Above, from left to right, his high school yearbook photo; a pic in the school paper about his mad breakdancing skills, and Chesser transformed into Abu Talhah al-Amrikee: a violent fundamentalist who will likely spend the next three decades in prison.

Chesser also admitted that in May 2010, he posted to a jihadist website the personal contact information of individuals who had joined the "Everybody Draw Muhammad Day" group on Facebook, with the prompting that this is, "Just a place to start."

Chesser also pleaded guilty to soliciting others to desensitize law enforcement by placing suspicious-looking but innocent packages in public places. Chesser explained through a posting online that once law enforcement was desensitized, a real explosive could be used. Chesser ended the posting with the words, "Boom! No more kuffar." According to court documents, "kuffar" means unbeliever, or disbeliever.

(...) Chesser admitted that he promoted online what he called "Open Source Jihad," where he would direct jihadists through his online forums to information on the Internet that they could use to elude capture and death while maintaining relevance and striking capability. This included linking to the entire security screening manual used by the Transportation Security Administration and hundreds of books that contained information on the construction of antiaircraft missiles, and tactics, techniques and weapons for targeting aircraft such as jet airplanes and helicopters.

Read the Department of Justice press release:
Virginia Man Pleads Guilty to Providing Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization and Encouraging Violent Jihadists to Kill U.s. Citizens.

Seriously! He won awards as a breakdancer in high school! Maybe the poppin' and lockin' was what led him down this sad path.


  1. Wackjob.

    However, I can agree about wanting to leave the innocent looking packages. We need to desensitise police, repeal useless scare-tactic policies, but for different reasons.

    1. Keneke, I really encourage you to re-think your statement that “We need to desensitise police, repeal useless scare-tactic policies, but for different reasons”, lest you also be considered a wackjob. Without endorsing TSA excesses, if what you propose came to pass, and was actually effective at desensitizing police, when a bomb does go off (as one inevitably will – as likely by a McVeigh as a jihad troll – then the blood will also be on your hands.


  2. Ah, wait for the apologists for the ‘religion of peace’.
    Which can (and has largely been) also interpreted as ‘religion of murdering the hell out of unbelievers’ depending on which verses you choose to quote. History has favored the latter largely.

    Ok. So people like this fellow, bin Laden, Al Qaeda etc are the fringe, and Islam is actually a wonderfully peaceful religion that advocates living in harmony and respecting the beliefs of those who don’t worship Allah/Muhammed?

    Well guess what, they’re the ones getting the most publicity when one brings up Islam. The vast majority of Muslims around the world are just content to live their lives without harming anybody, but they need to publicly denounce the crazies.
    People get riled over a bunch of cartoons in an obscure Dutch newspaper, but no one says anything to the fatwas by various clerics who would like nothing better than stuffing women into burqas and making them sit at home, punishment by stoning to death for adultery etc.

    Christianity doesn’t do much better, the Old Testament is full of horrors. Difference being there was a Renaissance in Europe, that greatly reduced the power of the Catholic Church and helped bring about critical thinking and reason and scientific advancement.
    The Islamic world never had anything like that, it regressed from having scientists and philosophers during the 10th century to what it is today.

    There has to be a grassroots movement to reform the way Islam is practiced, to live and let live, otherwise terrorists and crackpots will continue to set the agenda in future.

    1. The vast majority of Muslims around the world are just content to live their lives without harming anybody, but they need to publicly denounce the crazies.

      Maybe all the citizens of NATO nations should get the ball rolling by publicly denouncing the Western world’s terror campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq. Just because you do your bombing from a plane, doesn’t mean you’re not a terrorist.

    2. no one says anything to the fatwas by various clerics who would like nothing better than stuffing women into burqas and making them sit at home, punishment by stoning to death for adultery etc.

      You need to lay off the crack pipe, dude, it’s obviously making you deaf or something.

      The people “no one says anything” about are the violent Christians who are responsible for most of the terrorism in the USA. Bombing abortion clinics, murdering doctors, destroying federal buildings, flying planes into buildings, burning crosses on people’s lawns, that shit gets mentioned once and forgotten.

      Violent Muslims get plenty of coverage, by comparison.

      1. If you can raise your head a little above the problems of the USA, you’ll find that Islamic terror is something the rest of the world really does have to contend with.
        After locking down America after 9/11, it is no longer easy to have anything close to a repeat. Why bother with that when there’s soft targets like India?
        In the last 9 years, there’s been multiple terrorist attacks, the main ones being both in Bombay – the 2006 commuter train blasts, and the 2008 Taj Hotel attack.
        I put this down to the Indian govt.’s inability to take a firm stance or shore up its intelligence gathering.
        Islamic terror is a real problem for the rest of the world, and the US dumping billions of dollars in aid to known abetters of terrorism like Pakistan doesn’t help matters.

        1. Why bother with that when there’s soft targets like India?..Islamic terror is a real problem for the rest of the world

          Please step away from your Islamophobic tunnel vision and look at violence against Muslims in India.

          The Sangh Parivar family of organizations has allegedly been involved in encouraging negative stereotypes of Muslims, and in the 2002 Gujarat violence they were allegedly responsible for encouraging attacks against Muslims in response to the Godhra train burning allegedly by Muslims in which 60 Hindus were killed. Subsequent riots led to the death of several hundred Muslims. Another major incident was at Naroda Patia, where a Hindu mob massacred more than 100 Muslims after an incident sparked by Muslim on Hindu violence had got out of hand. In another incident at Best Bakery, in the city of Baroda, 12 men were massacred and burnt. The Gujarat riots officially led to the death of 1,044 people, 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus. Human Rights Watch puts the death toll at higher figures, with 2000 deaths, mostly with attacks against Muslims by Hindu mobs. These figures are disputed, particularly on the basis that the figure of 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus was reiterated in Parliament by the staunchly anti-Sangh Parivar UPA government. Another 100,000 Muslims became homeless, according to the U.S. State Department’s 2002 human rights report on India. Official figures report 60000 Muslims rendered homeless versus 10000 Hindus. About 20,000 Muslim businesses were destroyed.

          1. Hindus and Muslims have been at each others’ throats for centuries- the hardline Hindus will point to the fact that Muslims invaded India a thousand years ago and ransacked and destroyed temples, forcibly converted the population and imposed taxes on non Muslims.
            The equivalent among the Muslims in turn play the victim card, while ignoring the fact that they’re in one of the most democratic countries in the world, the fact that their Haj pilgrimage is subsidized by the government (which no other country does).

            Yet, the world media (and shamefully, the Indian one as well) only focuses on the persecution of Muslims locally, and reports like this one are glossed over:

            (Summary: Illegal Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh are altering the demographics of a local community, getting citizenship and getting elected(!!) for free, and then turning against the original people who lived there)

            Kashmiri Hindus were evicted from their homeland in 1990, and to this day they’re ignored by successive governments because their votes are too insignificant to matter. The so called freedom movement in Kashmir is entirely led by Muslims – after having successfully purged the rest of them.

            You can hardly take the case of Hindu vs. Muslim in India – both sides have their stacks of riots against one another, but only the attacks against Muslims get international publicity.

          2. only the attacks against Muslims get international publicity.

            Anti-Muslim violence in India gets virtually no international press. Violence by Muslims is front page news every time it happens.

            Frankly, you sound like the BJP hired you away from the Church of Scientology to do PR. Your comments are consistently anti-factual.

    3. Could you please point to an abrahamic religion that is not murderous? For those who don’t know Judaism, Christianity and Islamic faiths are all derived from the teachings of the prophet Abraham and all have gone to war to promote or defend “The word of god”

      Three different Edits of the same slash fiction.

      1. They’re all cut from the same cloth, I’m not claiming any one is better than the rest. Small minded misogynistic religions that evolved amid the scarcity of the desert, their attitudes reflect those of the primitive tribes that thought them up.

        If you want respect for others’ beliefs and true tolerance, look at Hinduism, Buddhism or Shintoism. At least none of these are selectively interpreted to justify killing people of other faiths.

        1. You’re delusional. Hinduism is at least as violent, xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic and oppressive as Islam. Religious violence by Hindus is constant and huge. I’ve just given you a list of religiously motivated acts of barbaric violence by Hindus that have resulted in thousands of deaths, and you just fall back into your mantra about how it’s the religion of peace and respect.

          1. Wow. Really.
            Every Islamic terrorist and right wing Christian anti-abortion nutjob can selectively quote chapter and verse from the Bible/Koran to justify their behavior.
            Show me even one case of a Hindu justifying his acts of violence on the basis of what the religion says, by quoting from the Gita or any of the zillion Hindu religious texts.
            Religious violence by Hindus is a very different thing from religious violence in the name of Hinduism.
            Hinduism was practiced when the bidding was on for the pyramids on the Nile, it is the oldest continuously practiced religion in the world. It did not have to replace anything from before, hence there’s no concept of conversion, and it recognizes the pluralistic nature of the divine.

            “Violence by Muslims gets front page press” – Show me a Hindu sponsored or Hindu ideology driven equivalent of the various terrorist attacks in India over the last 15 years.

            The Congress party in India has been playing Muslim appeasement vote bank politics throughout its existence, look up the Shah Bano case for an example. The BJP decided to do the same with the Hindus by digging up the Ram temple controversy in 1992.
            The result – widespread riots across the country, culminating in the Godhra train burning incident, and the citation of these incidents as a pretext by every terrorist since then.

            Anyway, let that be- it’s not like Hinduism is going to survive much longer with forced conversions, a government sitting idle and the entire world media biased against it.

          2. You’re delusional. Hinduism is at least as violent, xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic and oppressive as Islam.

            I have to disagree, at least as regards homophobia. There’s nothing homophobic in Hinduism. There’s PLENTY homophobic in India, but that’s not the same. As an example of the difference, Nepal is predominantly Hindu, but has none of the Indian traditions of homophobia; they legalized same-sex marriage a couple of years ago.

          3. So is Christianity then not homophobic because it’s not mentioned in the New Testament?

          4. No, because a) the Old Testament is considered holy scripture in Christianity, though the covenants made there are not binding on Christians; and b) the New Testament includes the Epistles, which have some homophobic content.

            By contrast, as far as I know there’s nothing in any Hindu scripture that is homophobic, certainly not to the extent that Leviticus is (yes, I know Leviticus is not binding on Christians). There are certainly HINDUS who are homophobic; most of the Hindus in India are. While they may say it’s against their religion, they have no basis for saying so. The homophobia is part of the culture of India—but not of the culture of Nepal, for example.

          5. I was pretty impressed by Nepal doing that. I’m starting to think that the Vatican will have gay marriage before the US does.

    4. This time it sounds like the people who want to judge Islam by its finest examples were a little slow. Congratulations, person who wants to judge Islam by its worst examples, for getting in ahead of them.

      1. My point was just that the tiny percentage of terrorists and clerics are giving the other 99% a bad name.
        If they sit quietly and don’t protest, the rest of the world ends up forming the mental association of Islam with terrorism.

        Sufism has been around for centuries, but as an alternate movement. Show me one Islamic country(i.e. official state religion=Islam, so Turkey doesn’t count) that isn’t composed of hardliners who impose Sharia law on everybody and forbid practicing other religions.

        Finally, if, according to the majority of Muslims, Islam IS a religion of peace, why don’t any of them take to the streets en masse protesting terrorism as un-Islamic?

        1. Show me one Islamic country that isn’t composed of hardliners who impose Sharia law on everybody and forbid practicing other religions.

          Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, off the top of my head. Many of them use sharia in matters of family law, but it’s not the basis of the national legal system. You have serious misapprehensions about worldwide Islam. Islam as practiced on the Arabian Peninsula or in Iran is not particularly indicative of how it’s practiced elsewhere.

          1. As far as Muslim countries that don’t impose Sharia law on everybody, you can also look at Indonesia (the largest Muslim country), and Malaysia which has a significant Muslim population and Muslim-influenced government. They aren’t without issues, especially in laws aimed at reducing religious/ethnic conflicts, or in laws that not only impose Muslim morality but also Chinese anti-colonialist traditions (executing drug dealers, etc.)

            But they’re much different from the kinds of countries which are “Islamic Republics/Kingdoms/etc.” because they were taken over by groups that wanted to establish religious rule.

    5. “There has to be a grassroots movement to reform the way Islam is practiced, to live and let live, otherwise terrorists and crackpots will continue to set the agenda in future.”

      There has been for centuries, it is called Sufism and is popular in Pakistan and Turkey (where it was founded by Rumi).

      By the way, assuming all Muslims are like this based on only what you see in the press is no better than saying every grown man is a child molester based on your average sensationalist news. So you see a few extremists yet you choose to ignore the MILLIONS of muslims who aren’t extremists in places like Indonesia.

      One last thing, the old testament, if taken literally, commands you to commit genocide against unbelievers.

    6. excellent!

      You’ve got sweeping generalizations applicable to both sides, conditional ad hominems, and rhetoric dismissive of your potential audience.

      you get 4 troll biscuits. well done, gold star.

      1. Over on Making Light, we play Troll Bingo. Spots on the card include “You can’t tolerate my opinions because they’re so controversial,” “I’m just saying what everyone thinks but won’t admit,” “you people” (using that phrase is troll spoor), and so on.

  3. A sociopathic, incompetent, self-hating Jew. Great. As if the sociopathic incompetent self-hating gays weren’t bad enough… well, at least this clown didn’t get elected to office!

  4. This kid became a radical religious fundamentalist because of a girl! The same reason as Glenn Beck. And if the story is true, Bin Laden became a radical against America because an American woman scorned him.

    Heterosexual lifestyle leads to terrorism. And break dancing.

    1. Why couldn’t he do something productive after being scorned by a girl, like create Facebook and try to screw his best friend out of his share of the profits?

    2. That’s really sad. I started listening to alternative rock in high school because of a girl. In college, I took a life-changing trip to the UK because of a girl. Later, I moved to a better part of the country that I wouldn’t have known I would like, all for a girl. Dude should have picked a different girl to have a crush on.

  5. If only he was into guys, I know a few gay Republicans who would be so hot for the beardage. Jewish Muslim dating a gay Republican. It’s like a sitcom on NBC!

  6. For a nice, young man to turn into a terrorist is bad enough, but for a hottie to grow that nasty beard really should be against the law.

      1. Hey, now. No one comments about YOUR personal preferences. If Antinous likes nerdy little Jewish boys, that’s his preference. Some of us, even if we’re not interested, appreciate the compliment.

        Besides, if my daughter and her friends are at all representative, LOTS of people think Elijah Wood is just the bees’ knees. They’re mostly split between Frodo and Legolas. Though all of ’em would throw them either of them over for Aragorn.

        1. I’m really all about Glorfindel, but in my mind, he doesn’t look so much like Liv Tyler.

  7. As if the sociopathic incompetent self-hating gays weren’t bad enough

    So you’re saying that his conversion isn’t so much a philosophical stance as a wide stance?

  8. This brings to mind the utterly fake Adam Gadahn, born Adam Pearlman, a clown who is forever attempting to keep fear levels high about the fake Al-Qaeda scam that sustains our pointless war machine, allowing it to forever suck bucks out of our economy.

  9. Standing in front of the White House with fake beard and manifesto. No, he’s not looking for attention.

  10. This young man was simply fed up with decades of crushing American and Zionist oppression and blood lust for oil causing him to…Wait, what? Matt? Trey? South Park?! Motherfucker!!

  11. I have to say I kinda feel bad for the guy. I wish I knew why he became like this. Also, I would like to point out that the other “Religion of peace” gave birth to this little thing called the crusades. It’s to bad. He gets sent to jail, southpark censored an episode, and the name of the thousonds of non-insane muslims get slandered. It’s sad.

  12. Strongly held religious beliefs can lead to terrorism or the support of terrorism.

    It doesn’t happen in every case.

    civilization only works if everyone agrees to make it work…

    (expletive deleted)

  13. Bigots who hate Muslims are going to find a way to justify themselves no matter what.

    It’s funny that this guy could have become a first class citizen of the State of Israel if he had wanted to.

    1. Bigots are going to find a way to justify themselves no matter what. Doesn’t matter what they’re bigoted against.

      Hate makes you stupid. Or you have to be stupid before you can hate. I’m not sure which.

      1. “Hate makes you stupid. Or you have to be stupid before you can hate. I’m not sure which.”

        I’m pretty sure it’s the latter. Stupid has side effects – like hate, fear and, oh yeah, religion. If religion really is the opiate of the masses, then maybe science is the thorazine.

  14. Since posting stupid shit on the internet is apparently a major crime now, everyone who comments at BoingBoing should be in jail.

    The biggest WTF here is that anybody took this clown seriously in the first place.

  15. blah blah terrorist blah blah jihad blah blah South Park blah blah

    I just wanna know more about his ability to bust the freshest. He’ll be breakin’ & pullin’ mad suicides in the pen now….

  16. Someone angry with my mangling up his right-wing tooletry tagged me in one of those ‘Draw Muhammed’ images from that Facebook group. After seeing the kinds of embarrassingly hateful things said by fellow Americans in the comments, I have to kind of laugh that the authors ended up with their real identities known by the extremist militants they were mocking. It’s poetic justice when hate attracts more hate and karma comes calling. These are the same idiots who throw rocks at hornet nests. Hard to feel sorry for ANYONE attached to this story in ANY way.

  17. He was cute as a Jewish boy. Yucko as a Jihadist. But I would totally do Elijah Wood, so I guess I’m not a good source.

    Only 6% of terrorists are Muslim. The rest?

    The remaining percentage of terrorist attacks on U.S. territory includes: Latinos at 42 percent, extreme Left Wing groups at 24 percent, Jewish extremists at 7 percent, Communists at 5 percent, and other terrorist organizations at 16 percent.

    So don’t be stupid.

    1. Only 6% of terrorists are Muslim.

      References or GTFO. I see the Daily Titan article but it appeals only to “FBI files which can be accessed through” Gotta do better than that.

      On the other hand, even a cursory search for some laid out stats finds that while acts by an unknown perpetrator are by far the most prevalent, when a perp has been identified, Islam is at fault about 50% of the time. When you look at acts precipitated by religions, the figure jumps over 90%. Hindus and Jews are real low on the list, you’ll notice.

      Check out the following I was able to quickly generate from the National Counterterrorism Center website, which incorporates data from September 12, 2001 to December 31, 2009 (dates I picked):

      It appears to be a very powerful database, have at it. Maybe if you sift and subgroup, you can come up with that 6% number, but I don’t see it.

      Oh and another thing: Calling people stupid after appealing to what is actually an editorial with no references only makes you look silly and belligerent.

  18. Great, now there’ll be a holy war between the open source jihadists and the free-as-in-speech jihadists.

  19. anyone threatening matt and trey clearly are breaking the PS “don’t be an asshole” rule…

    in a way I feel sorry for this kid – though i’m essentially a minimalist muslim (Mutazalite Pastafarian Sufi, anyone?), I know the positive influence influence that Islam can bring to youngins’. It provided a lot of meaning and stability to me when I converted at 18 (some 13 years ago), and a wealth of experiences. I met plenty of good brothers and sisters in my local Muslim community from all over the world, of all sorts of creeds and colours. I also met a couple of nutjobs (2 individuals, in fact, who scared the bejeesus out of me), but that was not even 1 in a 100.

    I am fairly confident I know how he fell in with the nutjob-variant of Muslims, as opposed to normal, regular-conservative or other types. Once you grasp the central tenet of Tauheed in Islam, its often easy when a “new” Muslim to accept arch-conservative or Wahhabising interpretations to accompany that, thinking such interpretations are the be all and end all of Islam. Its only with time and study do you realise the Islamic tradition is a heck of a lot larger and diverse than you initially think, and the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran-centric and Wahhabi interpretations are not the mainstream (and that the philosophical foundations of MB and Hisbullah ideology is in part from earlier Arab nationalism/socialism).

    Having said that, Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, Turkestan and the other oppressed Muslim populations make for easier recruitment amongst some Muslims. These oppressed regions do not enjoy the coolness of Tibet, and are ignored by much of the West, whilst the West maintains ties with oppressive Muslim governments. Its easy for new Muslims who feel strongly about such things to accept radical ideas whilst they’re still in the “after glow” of their conversion.

    But as the first commentator said, a liberalising movement is needed. The one reason I rarely go to mosque is that like all religion, the judgemental/hateful element always seems to make an encore every now and again (heck, even Buddhism has its elements – misogyny and a certain dehumanising aspect for the devout).

    I might go listen to Sydney Carter’s Friday Morning now. :(

  20. I don’t understand how anything he’s done warrants these expressions of anger here on Boing Boing nor joy at the punishment he’s facing? Making terroristic threats, if what he said can even be considered such, without taking any steps to carry out any violence? Corresponding online with a known terrorist? Is that even a crime? Posting intolerant nonsense online? What crime is that? Sound like a railroad. Take the pleas or Guantanamo for you.

    1. There are some understandable reasons for an angry response. Personally, my hackles go up any time someone wants to impose strict religious laws that are against basic human rights. I’ve yet to hear of any kind of fundamentalism that was kind or fair to women. And those that oppress women, are as bad to children. And those systems are very ugly to most men too. He was not only advocating violence, he wanted to put in place a system in which over half the population would be enslaved. And hey, I’d be part of that population.

      This youngster may seem amusing to you, or harmless, now that he is in custody, but most acts of violence of the sort he advocates, were perpetrated by someone who would seem just as harmless/misguided, by someone who was just this young, at some point.

      The absurd element here is that the flashpoint was the rejection of this man by a woman. Kudos to her for recognizing what he was. Can you imagine the scenario of being in a relationship with someone like this? Because it is happening all around you. Women’s shelters are full of the victims. And once this sort of person breeds, goodness help the children. Only it usually doesn’t. Because even under our relatively moderate system here in the seemingly-civilized western world, children are chattel. You can’t kill ’em and you can’t do anything that leaves obvious physical marks, but other than that, they’re pretty yours to do with as you wish. And that leaves a lot of leeway that many people, children grown and otherwise, could tell you a great many horror stories of their lives as chattel. I will save my sympathy and compassion for those people, thank you very much. As a person who has been abused herself, I can tell you I have worked very hard to not spend the energy hating people like this creepy beardy kid myself (though I never see a beard like this without my hackles going up. All kinds of patriarchal fundies just love the look.). My motivation is to save my energy and put it in more productive places. None of your bullshitty forgiveness, thank you. I’m not interested in being a turn-the-other-cheek punching bag. Nor am I willing to turn away from this sort of thing and “get on with my life”. Do that and you abandon and betray every abuse victim. But that is what most people do, because it is so very unpleasant to even think about, let alone discuss or confront. So the agony in the house next door gets ignored.

      Like an earlier poster said, it is the banality of evil. And I have to ask, is the evil simply the disordered who act heinously because of their own tangled mental wiring? Or is the evil societal, because we just won’t deal with the root of the problem.

      To me, this is not about terrorism so much as it is about personality disorders. The world seethes as sociopaths (antisocial personality disorder), narcissists, borderlines and their ilk run rampant. And we pay it no mind. Or rather, we look at the results of this mental bad wiring (fundamentalism, terrorism, child abuse, the current economic crisis, violence against women, children, minorities and on and on) as though they were anything but a symptom of mental illness, and severe mental illness at that.

      Personality disorder research should be a top priority. I’m not saying that there would be no violence, no conflict, no war if this could be cured. But it sure as heck would be reduced. Personality disorders cause as much suffering and destruction as any heavily-researched disease you could list. And personality disorders are at the root of much of the social injustice, poverty and such that we see all around us.

      This kid’s creepy story is colorful. But he’s no rarity. This pathology is as common as dirt and it hurts us all.

      1. I fully agree with your well-stated post.

        Hatred of injustice, like a mathematical double-negative, yields a positive result.

  21. Wow. So he’ll be in his 50’s when he gets out.

    Just… wow. I can’t even imagine what it might be like to lose that many years of an already brief life. We’re only given a few loops around the sun before our molecules disperse. Every day you’re given is the only one that will ever be. They will run out one day, and you never know when.

    I read the other day about a lovely, kind and all-around beautiful woman named Gemma Hogg, who developed terminal cancer and was on her way out very quickly. Despite this, she didn’t want to miss her son Thomas’ first day of school, so she checked herself out of the hospice to see her son off. With that milestone behind her, she passed away the very next day. Gemma was only 31.

    I cannot even imagine what would drive a healthy young man, so full of life and potential, to simply forfeit 30 years of his life, all for little more than a philosophy.

  22. Don’t give this pinhead 30 years. A year or so and some counseling should clear this “I hate my parents!” kid’s mind. He isn’t Al Queda, he is a rebelling teen who took his own crap too seriously.

  23. I get feeling so cozy and at home here amongst my fellow like-minded people here at BB and share the autumn flush of a little righteous indignation at the TSA, the HSO, the FBI and CIA. Then someone kicks a little sand in the face of some guys WE like and hip hip hurray for a 30 year sentence for some screwing around on the internet. Posting the TSA manual online and whatnot. 30 years. Giving up people’s identities was bad and dangerous, the kid’s obviously messed up, but where’s the party here? Ah so not just the right-wingnuts have a taste for blood, or am I wrong?

  24. Could you please point to an abrahamic religion that is not murderous?

    Well, there are sects like the Quakers or movements like the Catholic Worker that have no record of murderousness. But human nature being what it is, pretty much anybody who gets into a position of power has the capacity for violence (indeed, it might be a requirement), whether Hindus, Buddhists, Shinto, atheists, or what have you.

  25. Hindus and Jews are real low on the list, you’ll notice.

    Look at the bigger picture. Read the news from India and you’ll see that anti-Muslim terror by Hindus is a very regular occurrence. I won’t even get into the Israel question. I might also mention that when anybody torches a mosque in the US, it never seems to make it into those statistics as a Christian terror attack. Isn’t it possible that the National Counterterror Center might have a teensy, weensy bit of confirmation bias going on?

    1. Look at the bigger picture. Read the news from India and you’ll see that anti-Muslim terror by Hindus is a very regular occurrence.

      I’ll repeat, references or GTFO. I’ve provided numbers, facts, and you reject them and offer in their stead generalities. And no, I don’t think there’s any “confirmation bias” to the NCTC’s numbers and I see the suggestion that there might be as simply obfuscatory.

      But of course you are free to provide numbers. The statement made was 6% of terrorists are Muslim. I’ve cited numbers which you choose to reject. What can you cite?

      1. I’ll repeat, references or GTFO. I’ve provided numbers, facts, and you reject them and offer in their stead generalities.

        What part of my comment at #53 were you unable to read?

        1. Well, I’d put mob violence in a different category from terrorism, but you’d be somewhat justified in saying that they have the same root cause: intolerance and xenophobia.

          Those who want to use religion to justify violence will do so. Those who want to justify violence will always find a way to do so.

          In India’s case, on the one hand you have the Sangh, and on the other, more or less co-operative prayers by both communities ( It’s wrong and unfair to everyone involved to tar with the same brush, whether Hindus, Muslims, Christians or anyone else for that matter. I always find it hilarious when people talk about “the” Hindus, or “the” Muslims, as though everyone were operating under orders from some high command. There’s a world of difference between syncretic Sufism and fundamentalist Wahabbism, as there is between the Sangh Parivar mainstream Hinduism.

      2. Accurate statistics? Depends too much on your selection of years, geographical areas, and definitions of terrorism. The FBI stats probably only cover the US, not the world (which skews who’s attacking whom), and if they show lots of Latinos they’re probably going back to the 1970s Puerto Rican independence activism, but they’re probably not counting the Ku Klux Klan, who gave us over a century of domestic terrorism, but you can’t count KKK terrorism accurately since lots of it was done by people who were also the local police and therefore disinclined to keep accurate records.

        Do you count actions by governments as terrorism? What if they’re against their own citizens, or against civilians in other countries, as opposed to soldiers in other countries? Is it terrorism if you bomb somebody’s water supply instead of their houses?

        Do you count non-masked mob violence as terrorism? Most of the Hindu violence against Muslims and Christians has been that kind. What about political assassinations of people from the wrong ethnic group or party, or of judges and prosecutors? The former’s popular world-wide, the latter’s been popular in Latin countries participating in the US Drug War.

  26. Leaving aside which religions are peaceful (none, really) and which are violent (all, mostly), it might be worth taking a deeper look at this case. Deeper than the WaPo’s regular fear mongering in support of the GWOT.

    I’m not at all afraid that al Qaeda is out to get me, and i’m terribly tired of the simplistic analysis presented in American media. On the other hand, there are good questions to be asked here. Like why young, white suburban kids are drawn to a radical and foreign ideology? And even if it is because they’re mad at their parents or shunned by a girl, that’s a valid beginning of bigger movements. How many 60’s counter-culture types were initially reacting to their parents and the plastic culture of their childhoods? It doesn’t really matter why someone begins a path like this; it matters how deeply they believe in it and act on it.

    In any case, there’s a far more interesting take on the case at Foreign Policy:

    “It is tempting to dismiss Chesser as just another suburban white kid lashing out at the world. But his story is not the irrelevant absurdity it appeared, not merely another terrorist folly like exploding underpants and the undetonated bomb in Times Square. Chesser, in fact, was the real thing: a significant al Qaeda propagandist for a new moment, South Park fatwa and all. In less than two years, under various identities, Chesser had promoted an extensive collection of radical papers, videos, and blog posts to an astonishing array of online outlets, from the hardest-core al Qaeda discussion forums to mainstream Islamic websites to social-networking tools like Facebook and Twitter. He even recorded his own jihadi war tunes.”,0

  27. Born Jewish and converted to extremist Islam in his teens. That’s a hell of a way to say ‘fuck you’ to your parents.

  28. I once dated a girl from Afghanistan, a really wonderful, sweet, and beautiful girl she was.

    But then she asked the questions “Do you believe in love? Would you do anything for love? Would you..convert to Islam for love?”

    Sadly, the answer to the last question was no.

  29. hey let’s get back to what’s important here folks. among those plying the craft, it is known as B-Boying” and NEVER “breakdancing”…

  30. If you want respect for others’ beliefs and true tolerance, look at Hinduism, Buddhism or Shintoism. At least none of these are selectively interpreted to justify killing people of other faiths.

    Plenty of other posters have covered Hindu violence. Ask the Tamils in Sri Lanka if Buddhists are peaceful. And extremist Shinto = WWII Japan. And of course, explicitly atheist countries like the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba don’t exactly have the best records of non-violence and support of human rights, either.

  31. It’s always a pity when someone who is 20 years old goes off to spend the rest of his life in captivity. He obviously did some crazy things, but, above all, I would like to hear his story and his motivation. I hope someone from government services shares my interests in this…

  32. My god the comments here. Let’s just say stories like this don’t exactly bring out the intellectual heavy weights.

    I agree with the poster who surmised that this probably boils down to a kid wishing to greatly upset his mother. I think it’s sad. This kid had so many blessings in life and he’s thrown it all away. He put people in danger. He’s ruined his life and his parents’ lives. Pretty damn sad.

  33. A lot of these crazy Jihadist Trolls are formerly radical Jews. That is interesting, though I dare not speculate details for fear of how I will be labeled.

    “Azam the American” is in the news again too, calling for terrorism acts that could not sensibly be expected to benefit the average Muslim, nor Islam as a crede or religion. Born Adam Pearlman he was a devout Jew and lived for several years with his grandfather Carl Pearlman, retired urologist and former Board member for the Anti-Defamation League. Prior to “converting” to Islam, Adam Pearlman go into a spot of trouble for BEATING Muslims in a Mosque parking lot. Quite an interesting history, and though I might be wrong about it, I am seeing a pattern.

  34. Let those who, in their 20s, did not do something that could have landed them in jail for 30 years, cast the first perjorative witticism. Just saying’, in America it isn’t to hard to fall afoul of the law for this kind of time.

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