Felonious Speeches

'Material support' for terrorism

|

Is Rudy Giuliani an accomplice to terrorism? In a December New York Times op-ed piece, Georgetown law professor David Cole noted that the former New York mayor arguably violated the federal ban on providing "material support" to terrorist groups when he spoke at a conference in Paris the previous month. So did his fellow speakers, including former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, and former national security adviser Frances Townsend.

The gathering was sponsored by the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, an Iranian opposition group that the State Department considers a "foreign terrorist organization." Cole, who represented the Humanitarian Law Project in its unsuccessful First Amendment challenge to the material support ban, noted 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, which Mukasey defended as attorney general, it is a felony to challenge a group's designation as a terrorist organization, to file an amicus brief on its behalf, or to advise its members on peaceful tactics for achieving their goals. Hence Giuliani et al. could be prosecuted for providing material support to terrorists by speaking in support of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq. 

Cole, to be clear, does not think the conference speakers should go to prison. He wants Congress to narrow the material support law so that it excludes such speech. 

NEXT: Death Penalty, RIP

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Yeah! We’re talking about the protections enumerated in the First Amendmefftghg…
    [Thump]
    [Muffled scream]
    [Rattling click]
    Now that we have him cuffed and gagged, send him to Gitmo. Oh, and sign him up for a new career. “Waterboarding Test Pilot.”

  2. This is good news. Do we really want to prevent violence and death by teaching others peaceful ways to achieve their goals? What would all the military/industrial complex firms do? Unemployment could go up to…9.001% if we scale back our military presence.

  3. This movie has some nike sb skunk dunks for sale of the same flaws I saw in another attempt at a faithful adaptation of a work of fantastic literature long thought unfilmable, Zach Snyder’s 2009 version of Watchmen…That is, it kobe 7 for sale struck me as a series of filmed recreations of scenes from the famous novel

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.