Submitted by Lawrence Rafferty (rafflaw), Guest Blogger
I realize that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, but when organizations are added to the Federal government’s list of Terrorist Organizations, the Supreme Court has determined that any assistance to that organization is a criminal act. Even a speech in support of that particular group can be a criminal act. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/09pdf/08-1498.pdf http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/opinion/03cole.html?_r=1 It seems that in December of 2010, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey along with former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge and Rudy Giuliani, a former Mayor of New York City and a former Presidential candidate, all spoke at a conference in Paris in support of the Mujahedeen Khalq. The Mujahedeen Khalq is an Iranian dissident group that the State Department has labeled as a terrorist organization. http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/other/des/123085.htm
Why does the fact that some United States politicians gave speeches in support of the Mujahedeen Khalq matter to me? I care because in the case of Holder, Attorney General, et al v. Humanitarian Law Project, et al., the Supreme Court declared that a speech could be considered as indirect support of a terrorist group’s alleged illegal activity. The New York Times article linked above was written by Georgetown Law Professor David Cole and we learn in that article that the kind of activity that Mukasey and Ridge and Giuliani were involved in on behalf of the Mujahedeen Khalq was exactly the same kind of activity that his client was engaged in the Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project case and it was declared illegal.
“It is therefore a felony, the government has argued, 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. Don’t get me wrong. I believe Mr. Mukasey and his compatriots had every right to say what they did. Indeed, I argued just that in the Supreme Court, on behalf of the Los Angeles-based Humanitarian Law Project, which fought for more than a decade in American courts for its right to teach the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey how to bring human rights claims before the United Nations, and to assist them in peace overtures to the Turkish government. But in June, the Supreme Court ruled against us, stating that all such speech could be prohibited, because it might indirectly support the group’s terrorist activity.” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/opinion/03cole.html?_r=1
I just don’t understand why the Federal Government would prosecute one party for assisting a terrorist organization, but not prosecute former Attorney General Mukasey and his associates? Is there a double standard in the Justice Department?
By Lawrence Rafferty, Guest Blogger