Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Supreme Court Upholds Ban On Peaceful Aid To Terrorists--Problem For Carter And The New York Times?

You can't provide advice to terrorists--it's the law:
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a federal law forbidding support for peaceful activities to terrorist organizations.

In the case of Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the court on Monday ruled 6 to 3 that Congress and the executive branch could bar all "material support," including training and advice of a peaceful and legal nature, to organizations considered terrorist under the Patriot Act. The court said the action does not violate the free speech rights of the donors.
According to the article, the original law has been invoked about 150 times since 9/11--but rarely in connection with humanitarian aid. The case before the court was brought by aid groups that had been training a Kurdish organization in Turkey how to bring human rights complaints to the United Nations and offered assistance in peace negotiations.

Apparently one of the high-profile people who may be affected by the ruling would be Jimmy Carter:

Former President Jimmy Carter has voiced concern that Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on “material support” to terrorist groups may criminalize his “work to promote peace and freedom.”

Carter, whose advocacy has entailed contact with groups designated by the U.S. government as “foreign terrorist organizations” (FTOs) – notably Hamas and Hezbollah – said he was disappointed by the court decision.

...Arguing that there can be no peace in the region without those groups’ participation, Carter has reached out to Hamas and Hezbollah, rejecting criticism that doing so could be viewed as legitimizing their violent activities. Since the 1980s both groups have killed hundreds of people in suicide bombings and other terror attacks, most of them Israelis and Americans.
Personally, I wonder if Carter is actually willing to see Hamas and Hezbollah designated at terrorist groups, or if he actually believes that they are merely resistance groups. In any case, Carter appears to see no difference between terrorists and any other group bearing arms:
“We are disappointed that the Supreme Court has upheld a law that inhibits the work of human rights and conflict resolution groups.

The ‘material support law’ – which is aimed at putting an end to terrorism – actually threatens our work and the work of many other peacemaking organizations that must interact directly with groups that have engaged in violence.

“The vague language of the law leaves us wondering if we will be prosecuted for our work to promote peace and freedom.”
--and legitimacy.

And that is what brings us to The New York Times. Soccer Dad writes about The Washington Post
and the soap box it has provided Ismail Haniyeh.

There are also the opeds that both The Washington Post and The New York Times provided to Haniyeh's adviser Ahmed Yousef--both on the same day.

Yousef was no doubt thrilled to get the opportunity to broadcast his propaganda for free.

And that's the point.

Media Backspin writes:
In fact, a few years ago, Shurat HaDin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner told HonestReporting:

Legally speaking, it would seem that there is not much difference between outlaw regimes like Iran and Syria, which illegally provide material support and resources to terrorist organizations, and liberal media outlets which provide millions of dollars in free advertising and access to groups like Hamas when they publish their leaders' dangerous messages. The NY Times and Washington Post are every bit the supporters of the terrorist organizations that Tehran and Damascus are when they facilitate the publication of Hamas' messages.
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