Abetting Terrorism = “Free Speech”?


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In a 6 to 3 decision last week, the Supreme Court upheld a federal law that makes it a crime for Americans to provide “material support” of any kind – be it in the form of cash, weaponry, training, personnel, services, or “expert advice or assistance” – to a foreign terrorist organization, even if that support is for ostensibly peaceful purposes. At issue in the case, known as Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, was the question of whether this restriction violates Americans’ First Amendment rights of free speech and association. Writing the majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts said that “even seemingly benign support” for such an entity “bolsters the terrorist activities of that organization”; “frees up other resources within the organization that may be put to violent ends”; “helps lend legitimacy to foreign terrorist groups”; and strains “the United States’ relationships with its allies.” As to the specific issue of free speech, Roberts pointed out that people “may say anything they wish on any topic”; that they “may speak and write freely about” any organization of their choice; and that they are even free to become members of whatever group they wish to join. Roberts was backed in his decision by Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, and the soon-to-be-retiring John Paul Stevens. Dissenting from the majority decision were Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Sonia Sotomayor, who saw the “material support” restriction as a violation of the First Amendment.

A lead plaintiff in the case was the longtime civil-rights attorney Ralph Fertig, whose professed desire is to help the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) find peaceful ways of advancing its goal: the creation of an independent Kurdish state in southeast Turkey, northern Iraq, and parts of Iran and Syria. Because PKK’s history is replete with bombings, kidnappings, and a violent insurgency responsible for some 22,000 deaths, the U.S. government has designated it as a terrorist organization. Notwithstanding this bloody track record, Fertig and his fellow plaintiffs maintained that with a proper blend of persuasion and education, PKK could be convinced to renounce its violent tactics and to work, instead, within the framework of “various representative bodies such as the United Nations for relief.” By Fertig’s reckoning, the ban against giving aid to PKK and other terrorist groups is “more dangerous than McCarthyism” ever was. After the Court announced its decision last week, a dejected Fertig said: “This is a very dark day in the history of the human rights struggle to assist groups overseas that are being oppressed.”

A look at Fertig’s background and affiliations will help place his disappointment in proper perspective. First and foremost, Fertig is president of the Humanitarian Law Project (HLP), an organization created by Los Angeles real estate magnate Aris Anagnos, who since the early 1970s has bankrolled Marxist causes around the globe — including the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, the Marxist rebels in Chiapas, and the regime of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Over the years, HLP has consistently sided with America’s Marxist adversaries in international disputes; has accused the U.S. of committing “atrocities” in both Iraq wars; has called for the United States to be prosecuted for its alleged war crimes by the World Court; and has identified American disarmament as a chief prerequisite for peace around the world.

Fertig also serves as a supporting member of the Campaign Against Criminalizing Communities (CACC), which complains that the war on terror was concocted by warmongering conservatives to “promot[e] a racist culture of suspicion towards migrant and Muslim communities”; to “generat[e] and manipulat[e] public fears [that will] justify a perpetual state of war”; to plac[e] entire communities under suspicion of associating with such ‘terrorism’”; to “us[e] ‘intelligence’ obtained by torturing detainees abroad”; and to “wag[e] psychological warfare through disinformation and mass-media scares about ‘al Qaeda cells.’” (All scare quotes were in CACC’s original literature.)

Fertig also endorsed World Can’t Wait (WCW), a project of the Revolutionary Communist Party – a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist group calling for the overthrow of the U.S. government and its replacement with a Communist dictatorship. WCW sought to “halt” the Bush administration’s alleged pursuit of “endless wars,” its routine use of “torture,” its indifference to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, and its quest to transform the United States into a Christian “theocracy.”

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  • Peter E. Coleman

    It sure didn't take much time for Sootymeyer to show her leftist ways.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/GOP_Sucks GOP_Sucks

    As much as I have to agree with the ruling — it would suggest activism on a global scale.

    • sflbib

      Are you saying that denying someone the ability to provide “'material support' of any kind … to a foreign terrorist organization, … is judicial activism? If so, then anything could be considered "speech". In fact, impeaching the three dissenting judges could be speech par excellence.

  • Kim Bruce

    "World Can't Wait"
    Isn't that part of Obama's "Change"?

  • Anti-Fascist18

    Another self-hating "Jew" for Hitler…sure wish Soros would get that train for Mr. Fertig. He deserves that ride, along with Medea Benjamin, Adam Gadahn, Emanuel, and a few others.

    Too bad Zinn isnt around anymore – actually make that glad that the Stalinist jerk kicked the bucket.

  • USMCSniper

    Apparanetly the article worshiping at the altar of the pompous bloviating ass William F. Buckley does not allow any negative comments to be posted about him. Buckley itruly had nothing to contribute intellectually. And when faced with a true intellectual like Ayn Rand, all he could do was resort to personal guttersniping. Ayn Rand made the case against the welfare state root and branch. She was the first to make a secular case against Communism and Socialism, and the first to make a fully secular defense of American values. The fact that her ideas were shut out by Buckley hurt the entire cause of Americanism. These days people are flocking to read "Atlas Shrugged." They are not burning a hole in their wallets to buy "God and Man at Yale."

  • sflbib

    Re: “…frees up other resources within the organization that may be put to violent ends”…

    This isn't rocket science, folks. Plaintiff's arguments are as transparent as Saran Wrap and amount to the notion that one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter, which is as ludicrous as saying one man's assault and battery is another's karate practice.

    How this case ever made it to the Supreme Court is beyond me.

  • USMCSniper

    Wars of containment cost American lives for nothing and do more harm to this nation and give credibility to the crazy peace demonstrators and other leftist nutcases.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/hopetotellyou hopetotellyou

    THEIR idea of "peaceful" purposes is
    NOT OUR idea of "peaceful" purposes.
    They should not be allowed support of
    any kind from anyone in the USA.

  • No Comrade

    For the left, none of this is about what our founding fathers intended for this republic to be. None of this is about freedoms individual people should enjoy; to know what it is like to be fully human and experience life and conscience without an arrogant superior (other than god – to the left non-existent) giving or withholding their approval. For the left it is about individual, idealistic themes which have no cohesion with the other utopian themes. In the end it is like mixing several boxes of jigsaw puzzles together thinking that it will create a fabulous picture when pieced together. We keep telling them it won't work but they persist in their fantasy. Some even admit that they know it won't work and that they are really anarchists hoping to see ruination rain down upon sinful mankind. Human beings are not perfect and therefor have no place in the universe. They have a mental disease which requires mankind to conform insane idea of what ought to be. We must either be perfected or terminated.

  • 080

    Yes. But whatever happened to the leftist idea that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. But the truth is that a terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. So is a leftist a leftist. Opinions differ. But some opinions are better than other opinions.

  • To The Idiots

    http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/

    You are all terrorist by the language of the DHS Lexicon, MIAC Report and Virginia Threat Assessment. Careful what you wish for. This engagement in doublethink is quite disturbing to me. Clear language – no laws can be made… i.e. MATERIAL SUPPORT. Who decides this? The same court that narrowly upheld the 2nd Amendment? Well that is a relief.

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances"

  • To The Idiots

    Continued:

    And for the complete and total clueless idiots who claim it is a leftist idea that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." You rejects, you do realize it was Ronald Wilson Reagan who called Al Qaeda – the CIA created Mujahadeen and Osama Bin Laden "freedom fighters" in the 1980s… Saddam was our boy too, we after all supplied him with the chemical weapons to gas the Kurds, but then, oh well… PNAC needed a new enemy for social cohesion after the demise of the USSR.

    Meanwhile… your best buddy nation… free pass for the USS Liberty and the Lavon Affair.
    Learn some history, You are all completely clueless and a total waste of time.

    • USMCSniper

      Iy is you really should learn some history. Zbigniew Brzezinski not long ago revealed that on July 3, 1979, unknown to the American public and Congress, President Jimmy Carter secretly authorized $500 million to create an international terrorist movement that would spread Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and "de-stabilise" the Soviet Union… The CIA called this Operation Cyclone and in the following years poured $4 billion into setting up Islamic training schools in Pakistan (Taliban means "student"). Young Muslim zealots were sent to the CIA's spy training camp in Virginia, where future members of al-Qaeda were taught "sabotage skills" – terrorism. Jimmy Carter not Ronald Reagan you idiot!

  • mrbean

    Those who do not learn some history are bound to repeat mistakes. Zbigniew Brzezinski not long ago revealed that on July 3, 1979, unknown to the American public and Congress, President Jimmy Carter secretly authorized $500 million to create an international terrorist movement that would spread Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia and "de-stabilise" the Soviet Union… The CIA called this Operation Cyclone and in the following years poured $4 billion into setting up Islamic training schools in Pakistan (Taliban means "student"). Young Muslim zealots were sent to the CIA's spy training camp in Virginia, where future members of al-Qaeda were taught "sabotage skills" – islamic terrorism.