Fellow Brooklynite Javed Iqbal, 45, today plead guilty to broadcasting Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV programming to US customers. The charge is “providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization.”
Eric brought this news item to my attention and asked if I wanted to blog about it.
“Not really. What should I add?”
“Add your outrage.”
I paused and thought about it. “But I’m not outraged right now.”
And that got me to thinking — why AREN’T I outraged? Is it that I am so used to this Administration jailing people for absurd and frivolous reasons? Am I now merely bored by the thought of the government spying on American citizens on the basis of nebulous and unlikely threats of terror? Has it become so “whatever” to hear of someone denied an explicit constitutional right because it might help the propaganda arm of an organization our government has declared a terrorist organization but which is not by all legitimate and objective standards a terrorist organization?
The last time I checked, the only time Hezbollah lifted a finger to physically harm Americans was when the latter were occupying Lebanon — and even then, it’s not proven. Israel might consider Hezbollah to be terrorists for daring to challenge the Israeli occupation of Lebanon, but as I live in the United States, I don’t care much to live by the warped standards of Israeli justice.
This was not shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theater. Al-Manar may broadcast distasteful programs, but it doesn’t incite its viewers to commit violence. This case IS an outrage and should outrage anyone who prefers liberty over security — not that anyone is more secure by Iqbal’s certain conviction.
Broadcasting Al-Manar should not be considered a crime in the United States, where the law of the land explicitly declares that it is the exact opposite: the protected activity of expression.