Twenty-four-year-old Emerson Begolly was sentenced June 16 to more than eight years in prison for using the Internet to solicit others to commit terrorist attacks and weapons charges.
Begolly, of New Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, had been an active member of several jihadist forums, where he pontificated on a range of issues, often praising acts of violence and expressing his “desire to be a martyr.”
Many of his messages, posted on various online platforms between 2008 and 2010, were explicitly anti-Semitic, calling for the death of all Jews and encouraging others to target synagogues, Jewish schools and day care centers.
In response to the Israeli naval operation to stop a flotilla of ships en route to Gaza in May 2010, Begolly wrote and recorded a tribute to the “Activists Who were Martyred, Wounded, and Imprisoned at the Hands of the Zionist Pigs.” The song, which is entitled “When the Jew’s blood reds my knife, then my life is free from strife,” threatens to “throw them [the Jews] in the ovens” and to “shoot and kill Jews one by one.
Begolly, described by authorities as self-radicalized, previously posted several pictures of himself on his MySpace page dressed as a Nazi.
As a moderator on the Ansar al-Mujahideen English Forum (AMEF), a popular jihadist forum where members post and exchange extremist propaganda, media, publications, information and news, Begolly posted comments calling for attacks on U.S. targets, “such as police stations, post offices, synagogues, military facilities, train lines, bridges, cell phone towers and water plants,” as well as “civilian planes, financial institutions… Jewish schools, and daycare centers.”
He used various aliases online, including Asadullah Alshishani, Abu Nancy, Goat Lee and Goatly. In December 2010, writing under one of his pseudonyms, Begolly posted a 101-page instruction manual on bomb-making.
Begolly also communicated with others by instant message. Some of these conversations, which Federal investigators were able to recover, demonstrate Begolly’s militancy and bigotry. During the recovered conversations, Begolly said “if america were not at war with islam i would not hate it but i am angry.” He said that if he were to “act now,” he would “go down like [Oklahoma City bomber Timothy] McVeigh” and asked “have you ever considered shooting up ur schooling and taking revenge on those who wronged u?” He also said “most brothers objected to targeting kids but the reason i am for it is because first they r easy targets and second because the public will want a reaction…plz dont think im a psycho ;).”
Begolly was arrested on January 4, 2011, and charged the next day with assaulting FBI agents and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence. After two FBI agents approached Begolly, he allegedly reached for a concealed loaded gun in his jacket and bit both FBI officers, drawing blood.