Justice by Any Means?

By: Timothy de Valroger Contributing Writer

 

Recently, Jubair Ahmad, 24, a Pakistani legal resident living in Virginia, was arraigned in Federal Court and charged by the FBI with providing “material support” to the designated Terrorist organization, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. His crime? Uploading a YouTube video showing I.E.D. explosions, photographs of US military abuse, and messages about “Jihad.”  He could face up to 15 years in prison for this.

Since when is this a crime?  Whether or not one disagrees with the content of the video, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s freedom of speech and prohibits the government from punishing someone for their political views, even if it advocates violence against the U.S. or the use of force.

This was clearly decided by the Supreme Court in the 1969 trial, Brandenburg v. Ohio, in which a Ku Klux Klan member was convicted of inciting violence against political officials in a speech.  The ruling overturned the conviction, saying the advocating of violence was protected by the first amendment.  The wisdom of the Constitution means that an individual must have the absolute right to free speech, even if it means advocating ideas that are hugely unpopular or espouse violence.

The Obama administration’s aggressiveness in going after and prosecuting individuals who exercise their rights at free political speech is dangerously un-American, and clearly goes against everything the Constitution stands for.

 

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Montgomery Advocate or Montgomery College