International Committee Webinar highlights “material support” laws

The International Committee held a webinar with CCR Senior Managing Attorney Shayana Kadidal on Wednesday, November 17 on HLP v. Holder, material support, and international solidarity activism. The webinar audio is now available for listening/download. The webinar may be downloaded here:

Recent events have raised many questions for international solidarity activists whose work challenges U.S. foreign policy. On June 21, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, upholding the applicability of the criminal “material support” statute to a group which sought to train members of a State Department designated “terrorist organization” to use nonviolent dispute resolution techniques and engage in coordinated political advocacy with them. As noted by David Cole, for the first time in its history, the Supreme Court ruled “that speech advocating only lawful, nonviolent activity can be subject to criminal penalty, even where the speakers’ intent is to discourage resort to violence.”

On September 24, FBI raids in Chicago and Minneapolis targeted international solidarity and anti-war activists as part of an investigation of alleged “material support” relating to delegations to Colombia and Palestine. The subpoenaed activists have refused to testify before a grand jury relating to the investigation, and are organizing against the raids.

The implications of the Holder decision and the FBI raids threaten a chilling impact on international solidarity activists, particularly in countries where political and social movements have been labeled with the “terrorist” tag, such as Palestine, Colombia and the Philippines. The webinar discussed the issues raised by the Holder decision and its implications for international solidarity activists, as well as the need for legal and activist work to challenge repression.

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