Sunday, December 12, 2010

Is Wikileaks Worse Than Hitler Too? [Anthony McCarthy]

Master Card apparently thinks they're worse than the KKK:

MasterCard and Visa have stopped processing transactions for WikiLeaks, due to a "technicality". But anyone who wants to buy "Klan Novelties" like this lovely little ceramic tchotchke [klan figure performing a Nazi salute] for Christmas can visit the official Ku Klux Klan web site and put it on their credit card.

Don't worry, the charging company shows up on your bill as "Christian Concepts," the legal name of the Knight's Party. Christian Concepts is a non-profit in good standing in the state of Arkansas. What a surprise.

And while you're contemplating that really disturbing story about the establishment coddling of violent domestic terrorist groups as they blacklist nonviolent journalism, the Justice Department, under Eric Holder, is targeting anti-war groups, charities and other dissident organizations using a rather awful Supreme Court ruling as an excuse.

Despite the nonviolent, peacemaking goal of the Humanitarian Law Project's speech and training, the majority of the Supreme Court nonetheless interpreted the law to make such conduct a crime. Finding a whole new exception to the First Amendment, the Court decided that any support, even if it involves nonviolent efforts towards peace, is illegal under the law since it "frees up other resources within the organization that may be put to violent ends," and also helps lend "legitimacy" to foreign terrorist groups. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Roberts, despite the lack of any evidence, further opined that the FTO could use the human rights law to "intimidate, harass or destruct" its adversaries, and that even peace talks themselves could be used as a cover to re-arm for further attacks. Thus, the Court's opinion criminalizes efforts by independent groups to work for peace if they in any way cooperate or coordinate with designated FTOs.

The Court distinguishes what it refers to as "independent advocacy," which it finds is not prohibited by the statute, from "advocacy performed in coordination with, or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization," which is, for the first time, found to be a crime under the statute. The exact line demarcating where independent advocacy becomes impermissible coordination is left open and vague.

How dangerous could this line of governmental activity turn out to be?

Under the new definition of "material support," the efforts of President Jimmy Carter to monitor the elections in Lebanon and coordinate with the political parties there, including the designated FTO Hezbollah, could well be prosecuted as a crime. Similarly, the publication of op-ed articles by FTO spokesmen from Hamas or other designated groups by The New York Times or The Washington Post, or the filing of amicus briefs by human rights attorneys arguing against a group's terrorist designation or the statute itself could also now be prosecuted. Of course, the first targets of this draconian expansion of the material support law will not be a former president or the establishment media, but members of a Marxist organization who are vocal opponents of the governments of Israel and Colombia and the US policies supporting these repressive governments.

I've been thinking for a while that Eric Holder might be one of the more unfortunate appointees of Barack Obama. If this situation turns out to be accurate, he could turn out to be the worst of a pretty bad bunch. I wouldn't have believed that a Democratically appointed Attorney General in 2010 would act like A. Mitchell Palmer but I believe it's possible now.

Note: Now that it seems that any hope of overturning of Don't Ask Don't Tell in the Senate is being successfully ended by the Republican roadblock (it's been passed in the House), you might think that Barack Obama would instruct his Justice Department to stop appealing the court ruling declaring it unconstitutional. I would advise you not to hold your breath on that happening, though. Hope might be eternal but it's remarkably difficult to muster these days.