I want to share with you a very good article in the Guardian from Glenn Greenwald. The title of the article is ‘Five lessons from the de-listing of MEK as a terrorist group’, but here I want to share a particular section of it:
The past decade has seen numerous ‘material support’ prosecutions of US Muslims for the most trivial and incidental contacts with designated terror groups. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that any Muslim who gets within sneezing distance of such a group is subject to prosecution. Indeed, as I documented last week, many of them have been prosecuted even for core First Amendment activities: political advocacy deemed supportive of such groups.
When they’re convicted – and marginalized Muslims, usually poor and powerless, almost always are – they typically are not only consigned to prison for decades, but are placed in America’s most oppressive and restrictive prison units. As a result, many law-abiding Muslim Americans have become petrified of donating money to Muslim charities or even speaking out against perceived injustices out of fear – the well-grounded fear – that they will be accused of materially supporting a terror group. This is all part of the pervasive climate of fear in which many American Muslims live.
Yet here we have a glittering, bipartisan cast of former US officials and other prominent Americans who are swimming in cash as they advocate on behalf of a designated terrorist organization. After receiving their cash, Howard Dean and Rudy Giuliani met with MEK leaders, and Dean actually declared that the group’s leader should be recognized by the west as President of Iran. That is exactly the type of coordinated messaging with a terrorist group with the supreme court found, in its 2010 Humanitarian Law v. Holder ruling, could, consistent with the First Amendment, lead to prosecution for ‘material support of terrorism’ (ironically, numerous MEK shills, including CNN’s Townsend, praised the supreme court for its broad reading of that statute when they thought, correctly, that it was being applied to Muslims).
Yet other than a reported Treasury Department investigation several months ago to determine the source of Ed Rendell’s MEK speaking fees – an investigation that seems to have gone nowhere – there has been no repercussions whatsoever from this extensive support given by these DC luminaries to this designated terror group. Now that MEK will be removed from the terror list, there almost certainly never will be any consequences (as a legal matter, the de-listing should have no impact on the possible criminality of this MEK support: the fact that a group is subsequently removed from the list does not retroactively legalize the providing of material support when it was on the list).
In sum, there are numerous American Muslims sitting in prison for years for far less substantial interactions with terror groups than this bipartisan group of former officials gave to MEK. This is what New York Times Editorial Page Editor Andrew Rosenthal meant when he wrote back in March that the 9/11 attacks have ‘led to what’s essentially a separate justice system for Muslims’. The converse is equally true: America’s political elites can engage in the most egregious offenses – torture, illegal eavesdropping, money-driven material support for a terror group – with complete impunity.