Supreme Court to judge “material support” of terrorism

February 23, 2010

The Supreme Court will hear arguments today in Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder, a case that assesses the constitutionality of banning material support to foreign terrorist organizations (FTOs).

Counterterrorism Blog has linked to a helpful and detailed report by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) on the case.  As they point out, in enacting 18 U.S.C. § 2339B against material support, Congress intended to make FTO’s “radioactive” by allowing no support—whether that support comes in the form of money, safe houses, weapons, or personnel.

But some people just can’t take “no” for an answer, including supporters of the Marxist Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK.  The PKK is the group that likes using IEDs to kill Turkish civilians periodically.

“Material support” is a major category of successful legal prosecutions of terrorist acts.  IPT found that 23 percent of all terrorism cases involve material support.

Chart by The Investigative Project for Terrorism

But that hasn’t stopped the “Humanitarian Law Project” from asserting a constitutional right to provide advocacy for, “peaceful” training for, and “humanitarian” support for the PKK and any other designated FTO’s.

What HLP fails to acknowledge is that the freedom of speech is not an unlimited right.  We routinely prohibit illegal speech such as libel, slander, and incitement.  And HLP isn’t just arguing for the freedom to voice agreement with the causes of FTOs.  They’re fighting for the right to train them (on peaceful efforts, they say), negotiate with them, and make donations toward their humanitarian undertakings.

The concept of providing any type of “charity” to these groups is maddening.  Groups like Hamas use humanitarian aid to win the support of the population for their more violent jihadist activities.  The IPT report points out that many terrorist organizations use humanitarian aid as a way of exercising control over their populations.  And we know that useful idiots in the West believe that zakat is only for poverty amelioration, when it can actually be used in Islamic law for jihad.

We have the right, through our representatives in Congress, to establish limits on the types of support our citizens can provide to our sworn enemies.  The Supreme Court should affirm that right.

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