[FACT comments: Welcome home, Suwicha! The Aussies didn’t name their Thai elephant after you. We have been told Suwicha was freed on June 27 and had used his time in gaol for meditation. The important point is not the justice of Suwicha’s ‘pardon’ but the injustice of his arrest through the overreaching powers of the Computer Crimes Act to enforce lèse majesté laws.]

Thai blogger gets royal pardon

Bangkok Pundit: June 30, 2010

http://asiancorrespondent.com/bangkok-pundit-blog/thai-blogger-gets-royal-pardon

Thai blogger Suwicha Thakhor was arrested in January 2009 for under the Computers Crimes Act for for some images he created which were deemed insulting to the Thai royal family. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail in April 2009. Also, see this post for some commentary on Suwicha’s case. He has now received a royal pardon. Thammasat University’s Somsak in a comment at New Mandala:

Suwicha was released yesterday by royal pardon. Today he went to Sirirat Hospital to pay respect to HM and gave an interview, thanking HM for showing mercy and urging all Thai to be grateful to what HM has done to the country. Suwicha also called on all those who ‘did wrong’ [on LM issue], either ‘for lack of knowledge/understanding’ [รู้เท่าไม่ถึงการณ์] to change their behaviors.

I’ve made a video clip of news report from Channel 5 military TV (29 June, 20.00). NM readers can download it here.
http://www.mediafire.com/?zmjgmhkynnm [BP: Now, available on YouTube here]

The clip contains the whole report of people going to Sirirat to pay respect to HM for today It’s a regular daily segment on all TV channels nowsaday (part of the ‘Royal Family News’ segment), but only Channel 5 seems to include news of Suwicha’s being there. Suwicha appears at the end of the clip beginning around minute 1.20

BP: Have watched the video clip can confirm Somsak’s description. A reliable source has spoken to someone close to Suwicha and passed on that Suwicha got a pardon and was released on Monday.* Is this a result of the Lese Majeste committee? Or simply the normal course of events for someone who abides by the rules of the game and pleads guilty to lese majeste and shows contrition? Good news regardless.

h/t to PPT

*It would be nice if there was a print media news story to confirm, but well this is Thailand and have googled and can see nothing yet. Then again, the less news about this story, the less trouble for the government from the PAD crowd.

Court to hear red activist’s appeal

The Criminal Court has agreed to hear red-shirt activist Sombat Boonngamanong’s appeal against his detention this Friday, his lawyer Anon Nampa said on Wednesday.

The Ratchada Court agreed on Tuesday to hear from Mr Sombat, who is in custody, and the police officer who arrested him on behalf of the Centre for Restoration of the Emergency Situation (CRES), said Mr Anon.

Mr Anon said he would on Thursday make application to take his client, now in custody at the Border Patrol Police 1st Region Command in Pathum Thani province, before the court on Friday.

If  Mr Sombat is not allowed to appear in person, his client might speak via videoconference, the lawyer said.

The emergency decree permits authorities to hold suspects for a week. Any extension must be approved by a court, up to seven days at a time, with a maximum detention period of  30 days. Mr Sombat’s current detention expires on July 3.

Mr Sombat, president of the Mirror Foundation and a Chiang Rai native, was arrested on  June 26 while tying a red ribbon at Ratchaprasong area in remembrance of the bloody May crackdown against the red-shirt demonstrators.

The police had arrested him under a CRES warrant issued on  May 21 he and other dozens of dovish red-shirt sympathisers gathered under the Lat Phrao expressway to share information and photos of the government’s dispersal that led to scores of deaths during the May 13-19 operation.

In the appeal application to the court, which led to the court hearing this Friday, Mr Sombat argued that his detention was unconstitutional and illegal since the decree was wrongly applied against innocent people who simply had different opinions to the government.

Meanwhile the National Human Right Commission (NHRC) sub-committee on civil rights chaired by  Niran Pitakwatchara would decide on tomorrow  what to recommend to the CRES on the implementation of the emergency decree, which it is claimed has led to a number of unjustified detentions.

The cabinet will decide on July 6 whether to renew decree, which has a life of three months and expires on July 7, in all or some areas.
The subcommittee on civil rights has decided to go ahead with its consideration and forward a recommendation to the government without waiting for the seven-member NHRC board due to time constraints, Dr Niran said.

The subcommittee would also dispatch staff to observe the situation in provinces under the emergency decree such as Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Mukdahan and some northern provinces to see the impact of the detentions and  arrest warrants to the people’s rights.

Asian Human Rights Commission representative Nick Cheesman has told a Hong Kong newspaper that the recent one-year appointment of Thai ambassador to Geneva Sihasak Phuangketkeow to head the United Nations Human Rights Council was a victory for diplomacy over the rights that the council was supposed to uphold.

The Hong Kong-based Cheesman said while Thailand was endeavouring to improve its standing abroad with Mr Sihasak’s nomination, the government at home has persistently undermined the rights of its citizens, with around a third of the country under a state of emergency.

The new president of the Geneva-based U.N. council, said the Hong Kong-based NGO executive, was not a rights defender either. In 2003, Mr Sihasak  was government spokesman during the infamous “war on drugs”. Mr Sihasak described the operation, in which over 2,000 alleged dealers were extrajudicially killed, as being conducted “within a legal framework”.

Since taking up the ambassadorship three years ago Sihasak has denied the extent and systemic character of rights abuse in his country. The government he represents has not made any serious attempts to follow up on recommendations of U.N. committees and independent experts,  Mr Cheesman said, according to a story in today’s  South China Morning Post.

A dubious distinction – blacklisted websites in Thailand

Bangkok Pundit: June 29, 2010

http://asiancorrespondent.com/bangkok-pundit-blog/a-dubious-distinction

The Bangkok Post:

Media watchers FACT Thailand said that the number of blocked and blacklisted websites had passed 100,000, making Thailand the first country in the world to hit that goal; since April alone, said a FACT study, the Ministry of Internet Censorship of Thailand (MICT) and the emergency authorities have blocked 65,000 websites, bringing the total of blacklisted sites to 113,000 by June 15, with sites being added every day; the Orwellian Bureau of Prevention and Eradication of Computer Crime has added another layer of Net censoring, supposedly in the name of protecting the monarchy; one new tactic is to censor any site that mentions actual names such as former PM’s office minister Jak***ob Pe***ir or the Marxist professor G***s Ung***orn – two of 200 such blacklisted names that are to be wiped from Thai memory like a Russian encyclopaedia on Josef Stalin.

BP: Yesterday, Thailand (or perhaps more accurately, a number of ISPs were made an offer that they could not refuse) blocked Wikileaks. Obviously, BP had to check to see why and well, there are a number of documents and other media there that the Thai government would object too….

[FACT comments: Govt may rue its decision to arrest Sombat. He is now able to use his credibility as a platform. His decade of good works gives great public recognition. Why is Sulak Srivaraksa silent???]

Sombat calls on govt to allow dissent

Achara Ashayagachat

Bangkok Post: June 28, 2010

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/39374/sombat-calls-on-govt-to-allow-dissent

Detained social activist Sombat Boonngamanong has asked the government to allow more room for dissenting viewpoints and encouraged the public to speak up against injustice.

Mr Sombat, who heads the non-profit human rights organisation the Mirror Foundation and is also a red shirt supporter, submitted an appeal to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) yesterday.

In it, he asked the commission try to convince the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) to revoke the emergency decree.

“The government must allow those who have differences of opinion some room to express themselves,” he wrote. “As a dovish red shirt, I’d like to call on the public to overcome their fears and express their opinions and continue in the quest for truth and justice.”

The petition was handed to Kessarin Pieawsakul, a secretary of the NHRC subcommittee on civil rights, during a visit to Mr Sombat yesterday at the Border Patrol Police 1st Region Command Office in Pathum Thani.

Anond Nampha, Mr Sombat’s lawyer, also met him at the temporary detention centre to prepare an appeal to the Criminal Court in case the CRES requests the extension of his detention once the initial seven day period elapses.

Niran Pitakwatchara, chairman of the NHRC subcommittee on civil rights, said the NHRC would seek a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban to clarify the situation.

“The government should not invoke the emergency decree to silence different political opinions,” said Dr Niran.

Mr Sombat was arrested on Saturday while tying strips of red cloth to a billboard at Ratchaprasong intersection.

He already faced an outstanding arrest warrant for allegedly violating the decree on May 21 by gathering with dozens of red shirt sympathisers on Lat Phrao Road.

[FACT comments: We are more than pleased to see TNN is taking assertive action to demand govt make its blocklist public and unblock all websites—145,110—censored since the April 7 Emergency Decree.]

จดหมายเปิดผนึกถึงรัฐบาล และ ศอฉ. ให้ยุติการปิดกั้นสื่อ คืนพื้นที่การสื่อสารให้สังคม

Thai Netizen Network: 23 มิถุนายน 2553

http://thainetizen.org/node/2384

เรื่อง ขอให้เปิดเผยรายชื่อเว็บไซต์ที่ถูกปิดกั้นโดยคำสั่งตามพระราชกำหนดการบริหาร ราชการในสถานการณ์ฉุกเฉิน พ.ศ. 2548 และยกเลิกสถานการณ์ฉุกเฉิน

เรียน รัฐบาลไทย

หลังจากรัฐบาลได้ประกาศสถานการณ์ฉุกเฉินที่มีความร้ายแรงในเขตกรุงเทพฯ และปริมณฑลโดยอาศัยอำนาจตามพระราชกำหนดการบริหารราชการในสถานการณ์ฉุกเฉิน พ.ศ. 2548 เมื่อวันที่ 7 เมษายน 2553 และมอบหมายให้ศูนย์อำนวยการรักษาความสงบเรียบร้อย (ศอฉ.) รับผิดชอบหน้าที่ในการรักษาความสงบเรียบร้อยภายในประเทศ ได้มีการปิดกั้นเว็บไซต์เป็นจำนวนมากโดยมิได้ขออำนาจศาลและกระทำโดยปกปิด ประชาชนไม่สามารถล่วงรู้ได้ว่ามีเว็บไซต์ใดบ้างที่ถูกปิดกั้นและถูกปิดกั้น ด้วยสาเหตุใด นอกจากนี้ การประกาศสถานการณ์ฉุกเฉินยังเปิดโอกาสให้รัฐบาลลิดรอนสิทธิเสรีภาพของ ประชาชนในการรับรู้ข่าวสารและการแสดงออกได้โดยที่รัฐบาลไม่ต้องรับผิด

เครือข่ายพลเมืองเน็ตได้คัดค้านการปิดกั้นอินเทอร์เน็ตโดยปราศจากหลักการ ที่ชัดเจนโปร่งใสเช่นนี้มาโดยตลอด เราเรียกร้องต่อรัฐบาลอีกครั้งดังนี้

  1. ขอให้เปิดเผยรายชื่อเว็บไซต์ที่ถูกปิดกั้นโดยคำสั่ง ศอฉ.หรือหน่วยงานอื่นที่ได้รับมอบอำนาจตามพระราชกำหนดการบริหารราชการใน สถานการณ์ฉุกเฉิน พ.ศ. 2548 นับตั้งแต่วันที่ 7 เมษายน 2553 เป็นต้นมาว่ามีเว็บไซต์ใดบ้าง รวมทั้งข้อกล่าวหาที่ชัดเจนว่าเว็บไซต์แต่ละแห่งนั้นถูกปิดกั้นจากสาเหตุใด
  2. ขอให้เปิดเผยจำนวน และ รายละเอียดการจับกุมผู้ใช้อินเทอร์เน็ตทั้งหมด พร้อมทั้งเหตุผลในการดำเนินการ เพื่อความโปร่งใสในการตรวจสอบการใช้อำนาจของ ศอฉ.และรัฐบาลอันจะกระทบต่อสิทธิขั้นพื้นฐานของประชาชน
  3. ขอให้รัฐบาลยกเลิกประกาศสถานการณ์ฉุกเฉิน และยกเลิกการปิดกั้นเว็บไซต์โดยคำสั่ง ศอฉ.หรือหน่วยงานอื่นที่มิได้ขออำนาจศาลตามพระราชบัญญัติว่าด้วยการกระทำ ความผิดเกี่ยวกับคอมพิวเตอร์ พ.ศ. 2550 โดยทันที

ขอแสดงความนับถือ

เครือข่ายพลเมืองเน็ต

23 มิถุนายน 2553

[FACT comments: Although penalties have long been in place to restrict bandwidth or lose operating licences for Thailand’s ISPs failing to fully cooperate with govt directives, this is the first time this fact has been stated so baldly by a high govt official.

The ICT minister also states that Russian hackers wish to hack into the Thai govt’s database. Let’s look at this logically, shall we? Exactly what database does the minister mean? (If those hackers get in, please send FACT a copy of the blocklist!)

And the solution? How about one more govt censor! A task force for suppression and enforcement. It sure must be dark in those govt caves—sheesh!]

Websites face new crackdown

Internet service providers will face legal action and have their licences withdrawn if they refuse to cooperate with the government to block websites deemed to be defamatory to the monarchy, the ICT minister warns.

Juti Krairiksh said yesterday the scheme is part of a new action plan to be implemented over three months.

The crackdown on defamatory websites was agreed upon by the Information and Communication Technology Ministry, the Justice Ministry and the Culture Ministry after a meeting yesterday which was arranged in a concerted effort to implement stricter measures against those who defame the monarchy.

The three ministers later signed a memorandum of understanding for the joint operation that will take place in three months.

Mr Juti said the first priority is to ask the justice minister for cooperation on security matters because the ICT Ministry has no personnel with experience in investigation and suppression.

It might be possible to establish a task force to handle the matter, he said.

The ICT Ministry’s permanent secretary will chair a meeting today of the coordination committee made up of members from the three ministries.

The ministry will ask for 50 staff from the Justice Ministry with experience in information technology to work closely with 30 staff members from the ICT Ministry who keep watch on the internet and propose action when they consider it necessary.He said the 30 existing staff were unable to keep pace with the rise in online crime.

Mr Juti also said Thailand has been a target of internet crime attacks so the task force had to focus on preventing hackers from entering the country’s important databases.

He had learned recently of a wager being made among computer hackers in Russia over who could take the least time to hack into the Thai government’s database.

It was found the hackers needed just 17 minutes to steal important information, the minister said.

Justice Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga said the ministry will seek the cooperation of internet service providers in the next three months to block websites that contain articles that are defamatory to the monarchy.

Those failing to cooperate will be dealt with and have their licences withdrawn, he said.

The ministry has so far shut down 43,000 websites [FACT: That’s actually 145,110 blocked websites, increasing by 500 per day.] deemed to be defamatory to the royal institution.

2010 Asia Declaration on Internet Governance

Thai Netizen Network: June 24, 2010

http://thainetizen.org/node/2390

In response to the first Asia-Pacific Regional Internet Governance Forum (APrIGF) Roundtable in Hong Kong on June 15-16, 2010, we, netizens, journalists, bloggers, IT practitioners and nongovernmental representatives from across Southeast Asia, offer the following observations from the Roundtable:

1. Critical issues of internet governance in Asia should guide future discussions on internet governance policy:

Openness

Open access to information is the right of every individual, a right that servers as a fundamental venue for one’s knowledge- and capacity-building. Access to information ultimately helps foster creativity and innovation, thus promoting sustainable human and economic development. Openness is key to a democratic and open society. Restrictions on freedom of opinion and expression online, such as state censorship which blocks Internet intermediaries, is one of the threats to open societies. Intimidation and state censorship facilitate self-censorship, a hazardous social phenomenon that further undermines democracy and openness.

Access

The internet is for everyone; it is a public good. Yet a Digital Divide between those countries and communities with internet access and those without persists, and has not been sufficiently addressed in discussions on internet governance. Proceedings at the APrIGF indicated a higher priority must be placed on addressing not only the global digital divide, but also regional and national ones. While Singapore enjoys high Internet access rates (70% penetration), countries like Burma and Cambodia are at the other end of the spectrum (0.22% and 0.51% penetration, respectively), ranked the lowest of 200 countries studied in the World Bank.

Internet access is fundamental for progress. Various factors, such as political, economic and social development, poverty levels, and technological infrastructure affect whether and how often people can access the internet. Internationally coordinated efforts must be made to address domestic policies that contribute to the digital divide in Southeast Asia and find solutions to bridge the gap.

We applaud the work of the first APrIGF towards building multi-stakeholder discussion on internet governance. In this vein of inclusive dialogue, we offer the following perspectives and recommendations to the MAG meeting in Geneva at the Palais des Nations on June 28-29, as well as for the fifth annual IGF meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania on September 14-17, 2010.

Cyber Security

Definition of cyber security must include elements that address right to privacy and civil and political freedom.

An individual’s right over his/her own privacy, including personal data and information, must not be sacrificed. Information technology, such as IPv6, ZigBee, RFID, when used without transparent and accountable oversight, could pose threats to individual rights.

Today’s information society connects personal IT devices directly to the outside world, no longer storing personal data on a single server. Given the involvement of the government and businesses (especially state-owned enterprises) in running such technologies, surveillance and identity theft remain a constant threat against Internet users.

In this regard, any national security policy must not deviate from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all international human rights covenants to which states are parties.

[FACT comments: Life gets more Orwellian by the minute! We hope the HRC chair results in international investigation of the numerous human rights violations in Thailand.]

Thai voted chair of top UN rights body for 1 year

Associated Press: June 21, 2010

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/21/AR2010062101203.html

The U.N. Human Rights Council has unanimously elected Thailand’s ambassador in Geneva as its president for the coming year.

Sihasak Phuangketkeow succeeds Belgium’s Alex Van Meeuwen after being nominated as the Asian region’s sole candidate.

Asia is entitled to name the new chair under rules intended to ensure that each region holds the rotating presidency of the 47-member council every five years.

Phuangketkeow’s election Monday follows criticism by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights of the recent violent protests in Thailand.

Navi Pillay last month urged the Thai government to ensure an independent investigation of the street clashes in which some 90 people died and about 1,800 were wounded.

[FACT comments: Royalist fanatics rarely act immediately. Instead, they stew and fume and plot, as in this case over Kasit’s US speech. No thinking person would regard these comments lèse majesté but the power of reason seems to have been squandered on politicians.]

Thai opposition accuses minister of insulting king

Agence France-Presse: June 18, 2010

http://www.asiaone.com/News/Latest+News/Asia/Story/A1Story20100618-222863.html

Thailand’s opposition filed a legal complaint Friday accusing the foreign minister of insulting the royal family – a serious crime in a country where the king is widely revered.

The Puea Thai Party submitted a lese majesty complaint against Kasit Piromya with the Crime Suppression police, calling for him to be prosecuted for remarks he made in the United States in April advocating reform of the monarchy.

Party spokesman Pormpong Nopparit told AFP he had submitted evidence, including recordings of the speech, that showed it was “clear” Kasit breached Thailand’s strict lese majeste rules.

He urged Abhisit to take action against the minister “otherwise it will show that the government practises double standards.”

Insulting the royal family is a serious crime in Thailand, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and Thai politicians rarely dare to speak about the matter overtly.

Anyone can file a lese majeste complaint in Thailand, and police are duty-bound to investigate it.

In his April remarks, Kasit said that any resolution to the political crisis gripping the kingdom might see the role of royalty revamped, with greater involvement in the political arena given to the rural poor.

“It is a process that we have to go through and I think we should be brave enough to go through all of this and to talk about even the taboo subject of the institution of the monarchy,” he said.

The Thai government distanced itself from the remarks, which did not appear in any local newspapers.

King Bhumibol Adulyadej has no official political role but is revered as a demi-god by many Thais and seen as a unifying figure in a country that is frequently riven by political unrest.

The 82-year-old monarch has been hospitalised since September and has not commented publicly on two months of deadly anti-government protests that left 90 people dead and ended in a bloody army crackdown on May 19.

In April, the Thai government said it had uncovered an alleged network of conspirators working to undermine the royals, including “Red Shirt” protest leaders and two former prime ministers.

[FACT comments: A lot of the conclusions here apply to Thailand and far too many other places.]

Is the U.S. a Fascist Police-State?

Tyler Durden

Zero Hedge: June 25, 2010

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/guest-post-us-fascist-police-state

But with yesterday’s Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project decision (No. 08-1498, also 09-89) of the Supreme Court, coupled with last week’s Arar v. Ashcroft denial of certiorari (No. 09-923), the case for claiming that the U.S. is a fascist police-state just got a whole lot stronger.

First of all, what is a “fascist police-state”?

A police-state uses the law as a mechanism to control any challenges to its power by the citizenry, rather than as a mechanism to insure a civil society among the individuals. The state decides the laws, is the sole arbiter of the law, and can selectively (and capriciously) decide to enforce the law to the benefit or detriment of one individual or group or another.

In a police-state, the citizens are “free” only so long as their actions remain within the confines of the law as dictated by the state. If the individual’s claims of rights or freedoms conflict with the state, or if the individual acts in ways deemed detrimental to the state, then the state will repress the citizenry, by force if necessary. (And in the end, it’s always necessary.)

What’s key to the definition of a police-state is the lack of redress: If there is no justice system which can compel the state to cede to the citizenry, then there is a police-state. If there exists apro forma justice system, but which in practice is unavailable to the ordinary citizen because of systemic obstacles (for instance, cost or bureaucratic hindrance), or which against all logic or reason consistently finds in favor of the state—even in the most egregious and obviously contradictory cases—then that pro forma judiciary system is nothing but a sham: A tool of the state’s repression against its citizens. Consider the Soviet court system the classic example.

A police-state is not necessarily a dictatorship. On the contrary, it can even take the form of a representative democracy. A police-state is not defined by its leadership structure, but rather, by its self-protection against the individual.

A definition of “fascism” is tougher to come by—it’s almost as tough to come up with as a definition of “pornography”.

The sloppy definition is simply totalitarianism of the Right, “communism” being the sloppy definition of totalitarianism of the Left. But that doesn’t help much.

For our purposes, I think we should use the syndicalist-corporatist definition as practiced by Mussolini: Society as a collection of corporate and union interests, where the state is one more competing interest among many, albeit the most powerful of them all, and thus as a virtue of its size and power, taking precedence over all other factions. In other words, society is a “street-gang” model that I discussed before. The individual has power only as derived from his belonging to a particular faction or group—individuals do not have inherent worth, value or standing.

Now then! Having gotten that out of the way, where were we?

Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project: The Humanitarian Law Project was advising groups deemed “terrorists” on how to negotiate non-violently with various political agencies, including the UN. In this 6-3 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the Court ruled that that speech constituted “aiding and abetting” a terrorist organization, as the Court determined that speech was “material support”. Therefore, the Executive and/or Congress had the right to prohibit anyone from speaking to any terrorist organization if that speech embodied “material support” to the terrorist organization.

The decision is being noted by the New York Times as a Freedom of Speech issue; other commentators seem to be viewing it in those terms as well.

My own take is, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project is not about limiting free speech—it’s about the state expanding it power to repress. The decision limits free speech in passing, because what it is really doing is expanding the state’s power to repress whomever it unilaterally determines is a terrorist.

In the decision, the Court explicitly ruled that “Congress and the Executive are uniquely positioned to make principled distinctions between activities that will further terrorist conduct and undermine United States foreign policy, and those that will not.” In other words, the Court makes it clear that Congress and/or the Executive can solely and unilaterally determine who is a “terrorist threat”, and who is not—without recourse to judicial review of this decision. And if the Executive and/or Congress determines that this group here or that group there is a “terrorist organization”, then their free speech is curtailed—as is the free speech of anyone associating with them, no matter how demonstrably peaceful that speech or interaction is.

For example, if the Executive—in the form of the Secretary of State—decides that, say, WikiLeaks or Amnesty International is a terrorist organization, well then by golly, it is a terrorist organization. It no longer has any right to free speech—nor can anyone else speak to them or associate with them, for risk of being charged with providing “material support” to this heinous terrorist organization known as Amnesty International.

But furthermore, as per Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, anyone associating with WikiLeaks—including, presumably, those who read it, and most certainly those who give it information about government abuses—would be guilty of aiding and abetting terrorism. In other words, giving WikiLeaks “material support” by providing primary evidence of government abuse would render one a terrorist.

This form of repression does seem to fit the above definition of a police-state. The state determines—unilaterally—who is detrimental to its interests. The state then represses that person or group.

By a 6-3 majority, the Supreme Court has explicitly stated that Congress and/or the Executive is “uniquely positioned” to determine who is a terrorist and who is not—and therefore has the right to silence not just the terrorist organization, but anyone trying to speak to them, or hear them.

And let’s just say that, after jumping through years of judicial hoops, one finally manages to prove that one wasn’t then and isn’t now a terrorist, the Arar denial of certiorari makes it irrelevant. Even if it turns out that a person is definitely and unequivocally not a terrorist, he cannot get legal redress for this mistake by the state.

So! To sum up: The U.S. government can decide unilaterally who is a terrorist organization and who is not. Anyone speaking to such a designated terrorist group is “providing material support” to the terrorists—and is therefore subject to prosecution at the discretion of the U.S. government. And if, in the end, it turns out that one definitely was not involved in terrorist activities, there is no way to receive redress by the state.

Sounds like a fascist police-state to me.

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