War on Terror

Did Michael Mukasey and Rudy Giuliani Provide Material Support to Terrorists?


Writing in The New York Times, Georgetown University law professor David Cole notes that former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, and former national security adviser Frances Townsend arguably violated the federal ban on providing "material support" to terrorist groups when they spoke at a conference in Paris last month. The gathering was sponsored by the Mujahedeen Khalq, an Iranian opposition group that the State Department considers a "foreign terrorist organization." Cole, who represented the Humanitarian Law Project in its unusuccessful First Amendment challenge to the material support ban, notes that the government says the law applies even to speech advocating legal, nonviolent activities if it is "for the benefit of" a terrorist group. Under that reading of the law, Cole notes, it is a felony "to file an amicus brief on behalf of a 'terrorist' group, to engage in public advocacy to challenge a group's 'terrorist' designation or even to encourage peaceful avenues for redress of grievances." Hence Mukasey et al. could be prosecuted for providing material support to terrorists by speaking in support of the Mujahedeen Khalq. Cole, of course, is not arguing that Mukasey and the others should be punished for their speech. Rather, he wants Congress to narrow the material support law so that it excludes speech like theirs.

I discussed the wide sweep of the material support ban in a column last year.

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  1. Looks like the SCOTUS case was a 6-3 split, with Stevens joining the cons in the majority. He’s been replaced by Kagan, who is probably reliable for free speech on this one. One more liberal on the court, and maybe we can reverse.

    1. One more liberal on the court and the 2nd amendment is gutted for all time.

      1. And without guns how will honest Americans face the looming snowball threat? There are 3 months of winter left people!

        There will be mayhem in the streets! Cats and dogs living together, kids throwing snowballs at cars. ANARCHY!SOMALIA!


        Got an A in DifEq even though I forgot to bring my calculator to the final. Did you know that integrals are hard?

        1. Yes. I knew that.

        2. They let you use CALCU****RS? I thought you were at a college, not a Sylvan Learning Center!

  2. You are probably thinking in terms of that antiquated idea of “equal justice under law” or “blind justice” or such other legends.
    Young people laugh at me too when I talk about “record players”…

    1. Don’t get me started on the dial-tone phones (with actual dials), carburetors/points and condenser car ignitions, and “before there were computers”…..

      *shakes fist at kids on the lawn*


        *slaps knee*

  3. I say go ahead and prosecute them.

    1. I like this. A lot.

  4. I can only imagine if a group of liberals flew to France and met with Hamas the shit storm the right would stir up about this – will we hear any voice of dissent on the right about this or crickets?

    1. No more from the Right as when Reagan and Bush provided support to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden in the 1980s.

  5. I’d love to see Rudy’s fucking face if they charged him under this. Whoops!

    1. I picture him like Col. Jessep – coming out of the chair at the prosecutor.

      That would be AWESOME….

  6. The guy’s name is David Cole. I guess that slid out of Jacob’s “lede.”

    1. The dude who sings the Rodeo Song? Awesome!

  7. Hangin’s too good for ’em; but it’s a start.

    1. Peeled, salted and roasted.

  8. Cole, of course, is not arguing that Mukasey and the others should be punished for their speech.

    Why the hell not?!

  9. Rudy is a national HERO my friends . . . while this provision may have some serious shortcomings, any suggestions that this loyal patriot needs to be prosecuted is sheer nonsense!

  10. Rudy is a national HERO my friends . . . while this provision may have some serious shortcomings, any suggestions that this loyal patriot needs to be prosecuted is sheer nonsense!

    1. Said twice for emphasis!

  11. Stick it up your ass, sanja.

    1. Has to be a spoof, no one actually thinks like that.

      Or do they?

      *worried for humanity*

  12. The guy’s name is David Cole.

    Just as long as he doesn’t keep trying to tell me I made a “profit” bailing out GM.

  13. Very intelligent PB . . . and no thank you, I haven’t joined the free-love gay wing of libertarianism that you enjoy so much!

    1. Let the games begin!

    2. Oh snap!1

      You showed him. Calling him gay an all.

      How you like sanja now gay brooks, ha!?

  14. Do none of you remember 9/11 and Rudy’s acts of courage and strength in a time of great national turmoil? Plus, I always thought libertarians should have been supportive of Rudy. He is a very libertarian conservative . . . and a HERO!

    1. sanja is Dondero’s moronic son!

      1. I’m gonna guess Michelle Malkin.

    2. No way sanja is real.

      We need a way to bet money on these things.

      1. I once doubted that such characters were real, until I met DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! in the flesh. The stench of evil was overpowering, and strikingly similar to that of jalapeno and Astroglide.

    3. Yeah, I vividly remember shots of Rudy holding up steel beams with one hand while helping the First Responders pull victims from the rubble with his other hand. And then the supreme courage he showed by calling out Ron Paul in a nationally televised debate to show how ludicrous it is to suggest maybe the USA government had done something to provoke the terrorists.

    4. Seriously, I mean, you can’t be serious. Can you??? Even Ghouliani wasn’t the crawling, venal piece of shit he is, what heroic thing, exactly, is it he is supposed to have done. And, by the way, you can not me more un-libertarian than Rudy. The man, flat out, despises liberty and has as much as said so. Freedom is about authority – remember that gem???

  15. I feel doubly chastised, considering nobody named “sanja” could possibly be a Real American.

  16. I am more American than you, PB! At least I love my country and have the wisdom to recognize a true HERO when I see one. Go home to your gay house!

    1. Alright, you were doing well, but ‘gay house’ is over the top.

    2. I took a shit in a gay house once.

      1. Is that what you kids are calling ti these days?

  17. OMFG!!111

    Teh kkkorparashinz has outsourced Patriotism.

    1. Can teh corporashunz out Patriot Roody Julie Annie?

      No WAI!

      UR doin it wrong.

  18. Now I see why sane, sensible patriots reject all of you . . . you are full of yourselves and pride. No wonder you are the “crazy uncles” of American politics!

    1. Better a Crazy Uncle than a frigid Soccer Mom

      1. Sweet fancy awesome, Kristen.

  19. We need a way to bet money on these things.

    Gold, or no dice.

    Well, maybe 9mm parabellum.

    1. You can have my 9mm Luger/Parabellum/x19 when you…etc.etc.etc.

    2. A Real American (TM) would know the only acceptable cartridge for settling wagers is .45 ACP.

  20. There’s no need for Congress to narrow the scope of the law to make sure it doesn’t apply here.

    The old “Unequal Application of the Law For the Favored Elements of the Political Class” factor narrows the scope of ALL laws in exactly the manner required to make sure these guys don’t face prosecution.

    There is no law for Mukasey, Guiliani and Ridge already. That means that no changes to the scope of laws applied to the serfs is required to allow these men to do what they will.

    1. I’m afraid the only way to get reform is for someone to go before a grand jury and get an indictment in the case brought up by the op-ed writer.

    2. Look, folks, it’s time to move on and leave those things in the past.

  21. The MEK shouldn’t even be on the list. They are our allies against Tehran.

    1. The fact remains, however, that they *are* on the list, and while they are, the law, as broad and ludicrous as it is, should still apply to them.

      Change the law, repeal the law, or apply the law. That’s all we ask.

      1. You are of course right. The law if far too broad and it should be fixed.

    2. So being an ally of the United States disqualifies a group from being labeled “terrorists”? This group was also an ally of Saddam’s for many years, but I suppose that’s water under the bridge for you?

      I guess we should change the definition of terrorism to “enemy of the United States government.” It makes sense given all of the D.C. criminals calling Wikileaks a “high-tech terror” org.

      1. As far as I am concerned the MEK-Sadaam alliance was water under the bridge once Iraq was liberated. Further, as far as I know, the MEK stopped using terror tactics decades ago.

    3. Personally I think we should put the DEA on the list.

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