And Wipe That Smirk Off Your Face

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When we last checked in with alleged jihadist and former blogger Ismail Royer, he had had his pre-trial walking papers delayed pending an appeal by federal prosecutors. The government has since won its appeal, and Royer will stay in the clink until his trial in November. U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema cited, among other things, the glib demeanor Royer demonstrated in recorded phone conversations. Three of Royer's co-defendants are due for a bail hearing of their own Thursday. Brinkema, you may know, is the same judge who is considering throwing out the case against Zacarias Moussaoui—a move that could result in Moussaoui's being tried by military tribunal. Royer is now being represented by Kunstler prot?g? Stanley Cohen; whether that means he's getting top-notch legal advice or tacitly admitting guilt I leave to you to decide.

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NEXT: July 23

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  1. Stephen Fetchet,

    Well, TimC and I disagreed profoundly over this a while ago. Tim’s argument mostly seemed to be that a blogger couldnt possibly be all bad & that he wasnt one of the 19 highjackers. Also, he was inspired by the exploits of the Abraham Lincoln Brigades in Spain & even by the French Foriegn Legion.
    All those who believe that Royer took his cue from “Homage to Catalonia”, “For whom the Bell tills” or the adventures of Hucklenerry Hound in the FFL pleas raise you hands ? Me neither.

  2. SM, you’re flattering yourself if you think you’ve ever done anything “profoundly.” And if you’re going to travesty my argument, at least provide a reference to the original.

    yours in bottomless, topless profundity,

  3. Keep your toupee on. I was being facetious about the seriousness of our exchange – i am aware that this is a blog, not the UN security council. Sheesh.
    On the other hand you seem to have no problem
    taking my figurative arguments literally. So i wonder why you expect anyone to extend you any courtesy vis-a-vis your statements when you wont reciprocate ?
    By the way, should you be urging people to eschew platitudes and then channel “we are the world” as the following excerpt shows ? Citizens of the world !

    “if they do make foreign policy, let them do it as citizens of the world, rather than as representatives of the state, with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.”

  4. First they came for the Al Qaida sleeper cells, and I said nothing.

    Then they came for the radical moslems training to kill Indian troops and stir up nuclear war in the Kashimir, and I said nothing.

    etc.

    etc.

  5. U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema cited, among other things, the glib demeanor Royer demonstrated in recorded phone conversations.

    But the Constitution said he was required to ENJOY his trial!

  6. By the way, should you be urging people to eschew platitudes and then channel “we are the world” as the following excerpt shows ? Citizens of the world !

    “if they do make foreign policy, let them do it as citizens of the world, rather than as representatives of the state, with all the rights and privileges pertaining thereto.”

    Thanks, SM. You’ll recall that this was said in a portion of the exchange in which I was agreeing with you–that taking up arms on behalf of a foreign power is an extremely serious offense. In fact, as stated before, I believe it is so serious that it should be punished in all cases by forfeiture of U.S. citizenship; the only citizenship you should hold if you’re fighting for a country other than your own should be world citizenship–that is, no citizenship at all, unless of course your host country wants to take you in. (Side note: Somebody asked me if I would have included the Flying Tigers in this rule. Though I said I would have, it turns out on further investigation that this wouldn’t have been necessary, as Claire Chennault’s flying men were operating as a liaison group under the auspices of the United States.)

    Anyway, my point was and is that though I take service in a foreign military or paramilitary very seriously, the U.S. government does not. To take an example from this very case, Royer met no federal interference when he went to Bosnia in the 1990s to fight the Serbs. Again, this is not the way I would have it, but it is the way the United States government allows it. His involvement with the group in Pakistan occured at a time when the U.S. had no position on that group: thus the relatively light charge. (If you read the indictment you’ll see that the only charge that carries any serious juice is the weapons violation, and I leave it to our libertarian readers to say how heavily they want to punish a U.S. citizen for bearing arms in the U.S.)

    To clear my name, I did not say or imply that I think Royer is innocent any more than a decent presumption of innocence requires. Nor did I say a nice blogger could not be guilty. I do, on the other hand, continue to believe that seeing somebody who had previously given off the impression of being a reasonable fellow charged with plotting worldwide jihad is, at the very least, an interesting story. And it’s even more interesting when you consider the weird experiences of Royer’s father. Since it’s an interesting story, I’m following it, and I’ll continue to welcome your comments.

  7. I’ve been soul searching all morning, wracked with near-guilt over the snide comment I made above.

    But no, I just can’t get worked up over a defendant whose defense is:

    “But I wasn’t going to commit terrorist acts here, I was going to commit them over there where those two countries are on the brink of nuclear war.”

    I guess I’m a shitty civil libertarian…

  8. I fell strangely complelled to agree with Stephen Fetchet except for the civil libertarian part.

  9. feel, feel not fell …

  10. damn, an avowed terrorist, trying to kill the infidels, does an oj and hires a lawyer who only represents the guilty

    and uday and qsai’s pictures are all over the news…

    its a nice day… zippity doo daa, no one cares about the aclu…

    when’s execution? can we get film?

  11. Last time I checked, he’s in court, represented, getting the full benefit of due process, getting ready for a jury trial, and so on. I fail to see how his rights are being infringed – heavily edited soundbites from Judge Brinkema notwithstanding.

    Considering that Pakistan and India are more or less on the brink of nuclear war over Kashimir, I cannot comprehend how putting this fellow on trial for training to go over to Kashimir with a group of illegal combatants to fight to destabilize the region is a bad thing.

    Perhaps it’s our inalienable right to try to go stir up a nuclear war…

  12. Fair enough, Tim. Couple of points to clear the air and then i’ll shut up.

    1. My original argument was simply that i didnt (& dont) believe Royer’s protestations regarding the virtue or romantic nature of his service in Bosnia/Pakistan etc. The folks he hangs out with range from illiberal to fundamentalist & he strikes me as being a fundamentalist, no matter how gently he may express his opinions to the larger world in a public blog. I can’t think of a single instance where his holy warriors have influenced the situation or country they injected themselves into for the better. These are my prejudices (for instance, unlike you, i have no problem with Americans fighting for the IDF because i see it, perhaps simplistically, in terms of a liberal polity struggling against an illiberal one). But it is not the way i would want the State to work to prove its case against Royer. Presumption of innocence is fine.

    2. For what its worth, my travesty of your agument was meant to be just that. It did look pretty silly after i had hit post – hey, that’s why i like to remain anonymous.

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