Terror Porn Kills Free Speech

By Andrew McCleese

The U.S. Supreme Court handed down a decision today that marks another blow to the First Amendment.  The Supreme Court upheld the “material support” provision in the Patriot Act that could potentially make it a crime to blog, write or speak in support of any group that the U.S. government deems a terrorist organization.  For some reason none of the branches of government understand the clear, unequivocal wording of the First Amendment which states:

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”

Something about “Congress shall make no law” still escapes the basic comprehension abilities of our lawmakers and enforcers.  Does this mean a blogger who talks about Hamas as a democratically elected entity seeking the liberation of Palestinian homes from Israeli occupiers is a terrorist supporter who can be imprisoned for 15 years for nothing more than exercising free speech rights that supposedly can not be abridged?  Unfortunately many legal scholars fear the ambiguous and broad wording leaves open this very real possibility.

 The US Supreme Court has put international humanitarian workers on notice that any assistance to a US-designated terrorist group could land them in an American prison.

On Monday, the high court upheld a federal law that outlaws providing “material support” to any group on a State Department list of terrorist organizations.

The prohibition extends beyond knowingly facilitating illegal operations. The law – part of the USA Patriot Act – makes it a federal crime to provide any help or support to a terror group – even support designed to teach a violent group how to use legal and peaceful means to achieve political change.

Violators face up to 15 years in prison.

Organizations and individuals involved in international peace and humanitarian efforts expressed disappointment with Monday’s ruling.

“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,” said former President Jimmy Carter, founder of the Carter Center.

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

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2010/0621/Supreme-Court-ruling-barring-aid-to-terrorist-groups-why-some-lament-it

As we criminalize speech and the central government of the U.S. terrorizes its own citizens with incessant fear and propaganda, it may be worth noting that by the U.S. State Department’s own classifications and quantification, there are virtually no terrorist in the world relative to the 6.5 billion population.  Yet the constant rhetoric and war inculcation would have most believing that a terrorist is lurking in every shadow and the threat is existential.  It is the designs of the state to convince the population that peace activists are dangerous ideologues, however as Ben Franklin once said, “there was never a good war or a bad peace.”  This tactic of denouncing peace as dangerous is directly out of the National Socialist playbook:

“Why, of course the people don’t want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; that is understood.

But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship.

Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger. It works the same way in any country.”

– Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials, 18 April 1946

The statistics on terrorist related deaths tell a different story than DHS and the military-industrial complex sells the populous as a pretext for prohibition of expression.  You are 30 times more likely to die from a bolt of lightning than a terror attack, 10 times more likely to die in your bathtub and are about as equally likely to die from an asteroid impact (see here and here for more information).  Do we have laws prohibiting the movement of people in a lightning storm, can we outlaw asteroid impacts too?  Is it necessary to destroy every essential freedom we have as a society due to the actions of an infinitesimal number of people?  The U.S. Constitution simply put is the supreme law of the land for leaders and citizens alike, both in times of war or peace.  The Constitution can not be abrogated simply due to undeclared, perpetual wars or we are forgetting the words and lessons of the Father of the Constitution James Madison.  

“In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defense against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.”  – James Madison speech, Constitutional Convention (1787-06-29), from Max Farrand’s Records of the Federal Convention of 1787

“Since the general civilization of mankind, I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpations; but, on a candid examination of history, we shall find that turbulence, violence, and abuse of power, by the majority trampling on the rights of the minority, have produced factions and commotions, which, in republics, have, more frequently than any other cause, produced despotism. If we go over the whole history of ancient and modern republics, we shall find their destruction to have generally resulted from those causes.” – James Madison Speech at the Virginia Convention to ratify the Federal Constitution.

These words sound quite different than any you hear in the political lexicon of the day.  Instead, as John Adams noted “fear is the foundation of most governments.”  Fear is the only foundation of the central government in Washington D.C.  Fear is death or enslavement.  Fear is killing our most basic human right of free speech and free expression.

I wear many hats but history, economics and political observance have always been a passion. I am a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College of Business with a degree in Information Systems and Digital Business with a minor in European History. I work for a small mom-and-pop IT consulting and software design company. We deal in servicing mostly government funded non-profit mental and behavioral health care agencies in the state of Ohio. In this I deal with Medicaid and Medicare funds and have a little insight on the boondoggles of government there. Thankfully the undemanding nature of my daily profession gives me ample time to read and stay aware of our current state of affairs which I find stranger than fiction in many instances. In addition to being in the IT field, I have also been self employed with a small contracting company so I might know a thing or two about the plight of small business that employs 71% of the American workforce. I however don't draw my knowledge from my day jobs, which I have had a few; I draw it from an intense obsession with facts and observation about the world in which I live. I do have formal education in things such as history, economics and finance particularly as it pertains to global issues, but I have come to find much of what I thought I knew from the formalities of a state university I had to unlearn through much time and independent research. I hope you enjoy what I bring you which is not often heard in the mainstream news outlets. I would like to think my own personal editorializing is not only edifying but thought provoking while not at all obnoxious. That last one may be a hard to achieve.

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