Friday, April 13, 2012

Greenwald gets his due process...and still complains

A little over a month ago, Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech outlining the legal justification for the President's use of "lethal force" against al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated forces. Of course folks like Glenn Greenwald didn't buy it for a minute. They continue to insist on a judicial frame for the "war on al Qaeda" - an argument that would have had some merit prior to Congressional approval of the Authorization for Use of Military Force in 2001.

That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

But leaving all that aside for a minute, now Greenwald wants to complain because this week Tarek Mehanna, an American Muslim, was convicted in a federal court in Boston. Even Greenwald admits to the charges brought against Mehanna:

He was found guilty of supporting Al Qaeda (by virtue of translating Terrorists’ documents into English and expressing “sympathetic views” to the group) as well as conpsiring to “murder” U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

As is often the case, Adam Serwer does a much better job of explaining the case and pointing out some of the difficult challenges it poses to our notion of free speech. But he also provides the precedent.

In the 2010 case Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, which decided whether or not providing nonviolent aid (such as legal advice) to terrorist groups constitutes material support for terrorism, the Supreme Court ruled that even protected speech can be a criminal act if it occurs at the direction of a terrorist organization.

While I share some of Serwer's concerns about the slippery slope that kind of precedent might lead to, we've always known that there are limits to the idea of free speech as is captured in the analogy about not screaming "fire" in a crowded theater.

So I'd just like to note that we now have a case where the kind of due process folks like Greenwald have been advocating was implemented...and yet not a word about that other than to continue their complaints.


  1. They don't want due process. They want the end result to be as they say it should. So they'll complain about whatever provides a good cover story.

    After their cover story fails, they'll move on to simply whining about the result itself.

  2. Maybe if Glennie Boy hadn't been a cheerleader for Bush's war in the first place, I'd pay more attention to whatever the fuck he squalls about: