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News Blockade Runners Provide Material Support for Terrorists

  1. Jun 21, 2010 #1

    russ_watters

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    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/judicial/2010-06-21-supreme-court-anti-terror_N.htm
    Interestingly, this case was argued by the Solicitor General, Elena Kagan, who argued:
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/judicial/2010-02-23-terrorism-law-appeal_N.htm?csp=obinsite

    The logic should be obvious, but since she doesn't finish the thought, I'll do it for her: if you provide concrete to build homes to Hezbollah, you allow them to build the same number of homes for less money, freeing up resources for them to use to build bombs.

    Hamas is also on the list of such terrorist organizations. What this means for blockade runners is clear: even if you're just providing concrete to civilians in Gaza, you're supporting terrorism and violating US law. And this is a line of logic that if I hadn't explicitly supported in the past (don't remember), I certainly considered and agree with.

    Now, the question is - if American citizens are found among blockade-runners, will they be arrested and prosecuted? That part may be a question of jurisdiction.
     
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  3. Jun 21, 2010 #2

    apeiron

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    Re: Blockade Runners Provide Material Support for Terrorist

    Same as US saying it was OK to sell commercial reactors to India in 2008. And the reason why this week they are wrangling over China's move to sell reactors to Pakistan, with China citing the US as its precedent. Allowing these countries to buy off-the-shell commercial reactors frees up the home effort to focus on weapons projects. Difference is that US wants India as its ally and big business wants the contracts.
     
  4. Jun 21, 2010 #3

    Gokul43201

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    Re: Blockade Runners Provide Material Support for Terrorist

    I don't know how this works in practice, but your argument seems not to differentiate between Hezbollah (or Hamas) and civilians in Gaza.
     
  5. Jun 21, 2010 #4

    russ_watters

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    Re: Blockade Runners Provide Material Support for Terrorist

    Um....you're calling India a terrorist organization??? :confused:

    No, this has nothing to do with the issue of supporting terrorism.
     
  6. Jun 21, 2010 #5

    russ_watters

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    Re: Blockade Runners Provide Material Support for Terrorist

    Yes, that's exactly the point: there is nothing to differentiate them as they are intertwined.

    In practice, I think the key would be the distribution of aid by an internationally recognized/sanctioned aid organization. While not a perfect solution that doesn't escape the logic of the law, it does nevertheless help minimize the aid to the terrorist groups.
     
  7. Jun 21, 2010 #6
    Part of the problem (and both Hamas, Israel, and third parties are to blame for this) is that there has been an inability to satisfactorily ensure that humanitarian supplies are actually going to civilians. Most of the people who want to send cement to Gaza are probably genuinely intending that it be used for civilian purposes, but unfortunately, Hamas has no compunction against appropriating it for their own needs.

    If Hamas, Israel, and third parties were more willing to ensure that these sorts of supplies could be imported for a specific purpose, and guaranteed to actually be used for that stated purpose, the whole debate might be moot.
     
  8. Jun 21, 2010 #7

    russ_watters

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    Yes, one of the issues here is that if you can give the food or concrete directly to the civilians, you not only do not allow Hamas to profit (much) from it, but you also take away the power they gain by controlling it. So while sending aid into Gaza still benefits Hamas, it is much less of a benefit than if they control the aid themselves.

    This was the situation in Somalia in the early '90s when the warlords siezed the aid shipments and used it directly for profit and power.
     
  9. Jun 21, 2010 #8
    In fact Hamas has seized foreign aid for it's own power/profit.
     
  10. Jun 22, 2010 #9

    russ_watters

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    Gokul I may have misread your objection the first time: yes, the law appears intended to target those who provide the aid to the terrorist groups as opposed to providing it directly to the civilians. So the legality of providing aid to Gaza would depend on the particulars of the aid group's actions: who they interfaced with and if they could ensure the aid actually went to the civilians.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
  11. Jun 22, 2010 #10

    OmCheeto

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    The logic is not obvious to me: if you provide food to Palestinians, some of which belong to Hezbollah, you allow them to eat the same amount of food for less money, freeing up resources for them to use to build bombs.

    Where do the lines of "material" and "support" get drawn?

    From what I've just read, the reason this statute went to the supreme court was because a group wanting to bring peace to a region were barred from doing so by this statute.

    But in answer to your question:

    My answer is no. A decision otherwise would imply all Palestinians are terrorists.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Jun 22, 2010 #11

    EnumaElish

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    It's ironic that Turkey has been a supporter of the decision because it applies to humanitarian aid to armed Kurdish rebels, in the form of advice along the lines of "you need to give up armed struggle and concentrate on politics" (at least that's how NPR described it).
     
  13. Jun 22, 2010 #12

    russ_watters

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    The definition was given above, but it was broad: it is essentially any action (such as training or other assistance) or item (goods) that can be put to use by the terrorist organization to further its terrorist goals.
    That organization's logic assumes the terrorist organization wants peace. That's a naive assumption that the law does not make, nor should it. Terrorists love it when naive peaceniks serve themselves up as human shields, propaganda vehicles and distractions.
    Could you please explain why you think the decision implies all Palestinians are terrorists? That type of logic appears nowhere in the law nor in the USSC decison. Since it is your idea alone, it requires you to explain/support it.

    That said, assuming I'm now reading Gokul's point correctly, it is probably not possible to arrest a failed blockade runner under this law because the intent of the blockade runners isn't clear. And I don't mean their stated philosophical intent, I mean the actions they actually intend to make. I rather suspect that most haven't thought through what would happen if they got past the blockade (ie, how they unload the ship and distribute the contents), but without that, it would be hard to show an intent or careless allowance of material support.
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
  14. Jun 22, 2010 #13
    It is very easy to sit in comfort outside the Holy Land and decide that Israel should let more aid flow into Gaza, even if it compromises their security and benefits Hamas or contrarily, that Israel should turn a blind eye to the suffering of civilians in Gaza and do nothing that might compromise their security.

    It is an academic exercise for us. We do not live in bombed out rubble without clean drinking water in Gaza nor do we live within Hamas rocket range in Israel (perhaps I am wrong with that assumption, but I digress). It always amazes me how easily people far removed from the conflict can be so determined that they know exactly what should be done (or conversely, throw up their hands and claim that the violence is not worth concerning ourselves with at all because conflict has raged in the Holy Land for millenia).
     
  15. Jun 23, 2010 #14

    EnumaElish

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    [I'll post this at the risk of carrying the thread somewhat off-topic.]

    Isn't there a fine line between "aiding" terrorists and "nudging" them toward the "negotiation table"? The IRA used to be a terrorist organization until the Good Friday accords in 1998. (http://www.cfr.org/publication/10159/terrorist_groups_and_political_legitimacy.html#p5) Yet the U.S. government was actively engaged in "facilitating" peace talks between Sinn Fein (IRA's political wing) and Britain (same source). Was the U.S. government guilty of aiding terrorists?
     
  16. Jun 23, 2010 #15

    arildno

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    It is immoral to provide "humanitarian aid" when you cannot prevent bullies from taking advantage of it.
    You'll end up financing them, and letting them decide whether your humanitarian project is profitable enough to be continued.

    Not the least, it is deeply immoral to deny reality, and say the boogeymen do not exist, and thus, the above scenario cannot apply.

    However:
    Humanitarian aid, coupled with the threat of deadly force against those parasitizing upon it, might be a deeply moral project.
     
  17. Jun 23, 2010 #16
    i think the tendency is to negotiate with those who have more power, and write off the ones who are smaller and who you think you don't have to negotiate with. i believe the issue with Gaza is a desire to make things as uncomfortable to the people there as possible. lists of restricted items make it clear that there is intent to remove any possibility for the people there to make a living and support themselves. it is a methodical plan to ethnically cleanse the area so that jewish settlers may come in and occupy the land. question is, suppose the palestinians completely abandon hezbollah? then what?

    oh, note also that the US is now "nudging" israel and palestine to the negotiating table.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
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