Tag Archives: wikileaks

Radioactive Speech

“Congress wants these organizations to be radioactive.”

– DoJ attorney Douglas N. Letter to the Ninth Circuit, oral arguments in Humanitarian Law v. Gonzales, May 1, 2007 (quoted by Adam Liptak in “Right to Free Speech Collides With Fight Against Terror,” New York Times, Feb. 11, 2010)

“The culture of suspicion’s most dangerous feature is the termination of due process after an agency declares a question to be settled by a particular institution’s reading of the security imperative. The fundamental dangers include imprisoning people without recourse to a court and excluding information from a trial that might be important in the creation of a defense.”

– Todd Gitlin, CLS’s “Privacy in the Age of National Security” conference, Nov. 14, 2007

The Obama administration and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle appear to be gearing up to change the course of free speech law as we know it. Under this rapidly emerging paradigm, speech is a potential weapon, and improper use of it can be a crime or even an act of war. They follow their predecessors in wanting the public to see national security as a radioactive zone – one in which the government not only has the exclusive ability to operate in but that the rest of the country dare not enter into. Prosecutions, military decisions, and increasingly pointed rhetoric are being used to mark the limits of this territory.

In June, the Supreme Court, deciding a case that began during the Clinton administration, agreed with the government in finding that advocacy work can be criminal. The Court held that human rights advocates would be committing a crime – material support of terrorism – by providing legal or lobbying advice to groups designated as foreign terrorist organizations, even if that advice is intended to “promot[e] peaceable, lawful conduct.”

Continue reading

Today’s Terrorism News

JFK Bomb Plot Trial Starts Tomorrow

Russel Defreitas, an American citizen, and Abdul Kadir, of Guyana, are about to stand trial for an alleged plot to bomb JFK airport.  This will be the first New York City jury trial of a terror suspect accused of trying to attack the city since that of Shahawar Matin Siraj, convicted in 2006 of plotting to bomb Herald Square. Opening statements are set to begin tomorrow.

Suspected Russian Spies Arrested

Eleven people alleged to be deep-cover Russian spies have been arrested, closing a seven-year FBI investigation into an espionage ring known as the “Illegals Program.”  Their directives allegedly included infiltrating “policy-making circles” and researching “programs on small yield high penetration nuclear devices.” Though officials claim that the operation did not compromise any secret information, the Russian Foreign Ministry declared Tuesday that publicly announcing the details of investigation may have compromised Russo-U.S. relations, which diplomats from both countries have been attempting to restore. New York Times, Telegraph, Wall Street Journal, AP, MSNBC.

Continue reading

Today’s Terrorism News

New Jersey al Shabaab Suspect Said to Be Engaged, Has “Anger Management Issues”

The two young men in last week’s terrorism arrest in North Bergen, New Jersey – one the son of Palestinian immigrants, the other from a Dominican family – showed signs of angry, disruptive behavior in their teens. According to the New York Times, “Their stories began like many others: troubled teenagers who scare and mystify their neighbors; run-ins with the police while still in high school; parents who cannot compete with the sense of belonging or purpose their boys find elsewhere.” Nadia Alessa, mother of defendant Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, said that her son is “stupid” but not a “terrorist” and had seen “16 or 17 psychiatrists for what she called ‘anger management issues,’” according to CNN. Meanwhile Siham Abedar, 19, has come forward to claim that Alessa was traveling to Egypt to marry her as part of an arranged marriage.  His desire to marry her and have children belies any believed terrorist intent, she claims. CNN, NJ.com.

Intelligence and Secrecy

Newsweek reports the newest draft of a bill that would authorize increased congressional oversight of intelligence agencies is likely to pass without a presidential veto and may lessen objections to the nomination of James Clapper as DNI. Foreign Policy notes that inherent to the debate over Clapper’s nomination is a concern with the effectiveness and supervisory competence of both the current nominee and the DNI itself.

Continue reading