Australia Opinion Human Rights

2012-04-15 How free speech becomes terrorism: The Tarek Mehanna case and the implications for WikiLeaks and Julian Assange

I am indebted to Glenn Greenwald who posted an article here on the Tarek Mehanna case.

Greenwald outlines the case:

Tarek Mehanna, an American Muslim, was convicted this week in a federal court in Boston and then sentenced yesterday to 17 years in prison. He was found guilty of supporting Al Qaeda (by virtue of translating Terrorists’ documents into English and expressing “sympathetic views” to the group) as well as conspiring to “murder” U.S. soldiers in Iraq (i.e., to wage war against an invading army perpetrating an aggressive attack on a Muslim nation)

In a link by Greenwald to Julia Spitz of MetroWest Daily News, further details emerge:

He was a 'serious young man' who wanted to 'exemplify Islam,' said the judge, but became consumed by a fervor that led him to support al Qaeda by translating materials from Arabic into English and 'proselytizing' to recruit others to embrace his views.

Embrace his views or incite others to violence? (one might ask). As I wrote here, about incitement on the subject of certain Americans inciting others to kill Julian Assange:

There is no automatic 1st Amendment protection per Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444 (1969):
Freedoms of speech and press do not permit a State to forbid advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action

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