Did Vice “Support” Terrorism?

Andrew March suggests that the gutsy journalist Medyan Dairieh, who embedded with ISIS militants in Syria to get an inside look at the group’s operations and produced this stunning documentary (trailer above), may have violated the law against providing material support to terrorists, given how nebulously that support is defined:

In the test case that came before the Supreme Court in 2010, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the Court held that it was constitutional to prohibit a group of humanitarian legal professionals (including a retired U.S. judge) “from engaging in certain specified activities, including training PKK members to use international law to resolve disputes peacefully; teaching PKK members to petition the United Nations and other representative bodies for relief; and engaging in political advocacy on behalf of Kurds living in Turkey and Tamils living in Sri Lanka.” The Court rejected the claim that the statute “should be interpreted to require proof that a defendant intended to further a foreign terrorist organization’s illegal activities.” Instead it affirmed that the statute prohibits “‘knowingly’ providing material support” and that Congress was within its rights to choose “knowledge about the organization’s connection to terrorism, not specific intent to further its terrorist activities, as the necessary mental state for a violation.” In short, according to the Court: expert advice + coordination with a terrorist group = federal crime.

That decision means, for example, that Jimmy Carter and his Carter Center could be in violation of federal law for giving peacemaking advice to groups on the State Department’s FTO list. Any private individual who coordinates with a group on that list, or a group that the individual ought to know engages in terrorism, with the purposes of providing it advice or assistance—even on how to pursue an end to its campaign of violence—is guilty of a crime by the logic of the Roberts Court.

Frum, Fallows And The Integrity Of Journalism

Well worth your while. Money quote:

Respect is called for. For all their blind spots and flaws, reporters on the scene are trying to see, so they can tell, and the photographic and video reporters take greater risks than all the rest, since they must be closer to the action. For people on the other side of the world to casually assert that they’re just making things up—this could and would drive them crazy. I’m sure that fakery has occurred. But the claim that it has is as serious as they come in journalism. It goes at our ultimate source of self-respect. As when saying that a doctor is deliberately misdiagnosing patients, that a pilot is drunk in the cockpit, that a lifeguard is purposely letting people drown, you might be right, but you had better be very, very sure before making the claim.