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Criminalizing Peacemaking

By The Reverend Published: June 22, 2010

Peacemaking is just so Jimmy Carter, anyway, right?

New ruling yesterday from the hyper-activist Roberts Court....

The Supreme Court upheld the government's authority Monday to ban aid to designated terrorist groups, even when that support is intended to steer the groups toward peaceful and legal activities.

The justices voted 6-3 to reject a free-speech challenge from humanitarian aid groups to the law that bars "material support" — everything from money to technical know-how to legal advice — to foreign terrorist organizations.

The aid groups were only challenging provisions that put them at risk of being prosecuted for talking to terrorist organizations about nonviolent activities.

The McCarthy-like ruling, one more in a 9 year long period of sacrificing basic rights previously guaranteed by the Constitution, motivated Georgetown law professor, John Cole, to respond this way....

David Cole, a Georgetown law professor who represented the aid groups at the Supreme Court, said the court essentially ruled that "the First Amendment permits the government to make human rights advocacy and peacemaking a crime."

The "reasoning" of the ultra-conservative Chief Justice....

The aid groups were only challenging provisions that put them at risk of being prosecuted for talking to terrorist organizations about nonviolent activities.

But Chief Justice John Roberts said in his opinion for the court that material support intended even for benign purposes can help a terrorist group in other ways.

"Such support frees up other resources within the organization that may be put to violent ends," Roberts said in an opinion joined by four other conservative justices, but also the liberal Justice John Paul Stevens.

In dissent.....

Justice Stephen Breyer took the unusual step of reading his dissent aloud in the courtroom. "Not even the 'serious and deadly problem' of international terrorism can require automatic forfeiture of First Amendment rights," he said.

As Digby pointed out yesterday, if free speech equals the Court has ridiculously concluded,....then peaceful free speech directed at officially recognized "terrorist" groups is the same as handing them money, and handing officially recognized "terrorist" groups money is aiding and abetting their "terrorist" activities.

According to the deceitful Chief Justice Roberts, who lied repeatedly under oath during his confirmation hearing claiming his deep and heartfelt respect for precedence in the law, speech equals money, money equals free speech, money is free speech, apparently, is also fungible. Therefore, if a person or group exercises their free speech rights seeking to steer bad people towards peaceful's the same as donating money to the bad people. And donating money to the bad people.....those on the officially recognized bad-guy list.....makes one worthy of treason, you know, siding with the enemy and all that.

Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Sure, unless you're a peacemaker like, say, President Jimmy Carter.....

The decision has deeply disturbing implications. It means that when President Jimmy Carter did election monitoring in Lebanon, and met with all of the parties to the election —including Hezbollah, a designated “terrorist group” — to provide them with his advice on what constitutes a fair election, he was committing the crime of providing “material support,” in the form of “expert advice.”

Professor Cole points out how this extreme ruling by the extremist-right Court will, in effect, criminalize some of the activities of peace and human rights groups....

It means that when The New York Times and The Washington Post published op-eds by a Hamas leader, they were engaged in the crime of providing “material support” to a designated terrorist group, because to publish the op-ed they had to coordinate with a spokesperson from Hamas.

And it means that my clients, a retired judge and an established human rights group, cannot continue to work for peace and human rights without risking long prison terms.

Of course, working for peace and human rights has always been associated with those stinking hippies. And stinking hippies foolishly believed that giving peace a chance was preferable to slaughtering hundreds of thousands of, Americans with foolish thinking like that should be locked up for a good spell anyway.....just on basic principles.

Conservatives who have already given up on America when Commander Codpiece told them "everything has changed", those who are oh-so-anxious to give away as many basic rights as possible to bolster some false sense of security....will say that the peaceful work of Jimmy Carter and the NY Times deserves to be criminalized, anyway, so what's the big deal?

One reason why I have no optimism about the future of America is the current Supreme Court. The single most lasting damage to the U.S. by the Codpiece from Crawford will prove to be the makeup of the Supreme Court. Dyslexic rulings, like the one yesterday, will continue to deteriorate America's social contract for decades to come.....and nothing can be done about it, nothing.

Time and time again, the activist-conservative majority has stood law on it's head, making rulings that are 180 degrees in contradiction to their original intent.

Like ruling that peaceful free speech is, in fact, a crime.



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