Tuesday, February 7, 2012


In a New York Times blog of February 5,2012, professor Steven Nadler wrote: "In 2010…the United States Supreme Court declared constitutional a law that, among other things, criminalized certain kinds of speech. The speech in question … may involve no incitement to action or violence whatsoever; indeed, it can be an exhortation to non-violence. In a troubling 6-3 decision, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the Court, acceding to most of the arguments presented by President Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, upheld a federal law which makes it a crime to provide support for a foreign group designated by the State Department as a 'terrorist organization,' even if the 'help' one provides involves only peaceful and legal advice, including speech encouraging that organization to adopt nonviolent means for resolving conflicts and educating it in the means to do so. [Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, No. 08-1498; see “Court Affirms Ban on Aiding Groups Tied to Terror,” The New York Times, June 21, 2010. The briefs and other documents for this case are available online at Scotusblog.]" [http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/spinozas-vision-of-freedom-and-ours/#ftn1]

I commented, "So the U.S. government does not want its citizens to encourage terrorist organizations to adopt nonviolent tactics. This misguided policy of our government would seem to encourage violence by default and deprives U.S. citizens of a means of supporting nonviolent action. It reminds me of Hugo Chavez's speech before the United Nations in which he upbraided Gene Sharp, the American who has written so much to encourage nonviolence as groups around the world struggle toward democracy" [8:40 A.M. at http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/05/spinozas-vision-of-freedom-and-ours/#ftn1]. Paul Emile Anders

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