Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing

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Q: I would like to train members of a foreign terrorist group on how to use humanitarian and international law peacefully to resolve disputes, and to teach its members how to petition the United Nations for relief.  Can I?

A: The group will use these skills as part of a broader strategy to promote terrorism.  It will pursue peaceful negotiation as a means of buying time to recover from short-term setbacks, lulling opponents into complacency and preparing for renewed attacks. The group will use the information to threaten, manipulate, and disrupt.  It will acquire monetary aid.

Any government has a compelling interest in combating terrorism.  Our federal law forbids knowingly providing a foreign terrorist group with material support or resources – e.g. training, expert advice or assistance, personnel and service.  This applies to groups that threaten the security of the United States or its nationals, and engage in terrorist activity – e.g. highjacking and assassination, or the use of any dangerous device with intent to endanger individual safety.

Where material support takes the form of money, financial services, lodging, safehouses, false documentation, weapons, lethal substances or explosives, those kinds of aid obviously will help the group’s terrorist activities.

But even a wolf in sheep’s clothing called speech activity can initiate a chain of causation that leads from (1) peaceful advocacy to (2) helping to legitimate the group to (3) increased support for the group to (4) an increased supply of material goods that support its terrorist activities.  In this way, peaceful advocacy amounts to the forbidden material support.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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