T Nation

Joining ISIS / 1st Amendment


#1

I see all these headlines about folks accused of trying to join ISIS and though I certainly don't support someone trying to join ISIS, I wonder what 1st Amendment Freedom of Association rights American citizens would have to join ISIS if they don't actually engage in any terrorist activity. I'm thinking "clear and present danger" might come into play. Thoughts?


#2

[quote]JLD2k3 wrote:
I see all these headlines about folks accused of trying to join ISIS and though I certainly don’t support someone trying to join ISIS, I wonder what 1st Amendment Freedom of Association rights American citizens would have to join ISIS if they don’t actually engage in any terrorist activity. I’m thinking “clear and present danger” might come into play. Thoughts?[/quote]

Interesting. I was have the exact same line of thought earlier this morning before I even logged on. When I read that France is working on a program to block jihadist website, I was thinking the same thing you were.
I would guess that the 1st Amendment goes as far at defending the right for jihadist recruiting as it does to protect the church of satan. It’s not technically illegal, but it’s not supported either.
The problem is recruitment isn’t technically a hostile act. As long as it’s not giving orders to carry out harm on American citizens or on American soil there’s not much we can do about it legally.
However, in as much as it’s legal to encourage recruitment, I would think it’s also perfectly with in the rights of the government to attack and shut down jihadist websites and other forms of internet traffic as a action of the war on terror.
It’s an angle we don’t often think about when we’re talking about military action, but it’s an angle that should be pursued aggressively. These terrorist assholes, particularly ISIS depends heavily on the internet. It’s another angle that we can inflict bloodless damage on them and even save a few lives, even if they are stupid lives. If they cannot get the info, they cannot be influenced by it.
However,


#3

Depends on what you mean by active. If you are recruiting people or helping recruit people to murder people, like what guys like Manson did, seems like a crime to me.


#4

Taking up arms against the United States government is considered treason, and joining the armed forces of another nation is grounds for loss of citizenship. However, joining the French Foreign Legion does not seem to result in American members being stripped of their nationality. The Foreign Legion, inasmuch as it is a mercenary organisation and not the regular armed forces of a sovereign nation, seems to be the practical equivalent of ISIS, if not (obviously) its moral equivalent.

Granted, the Foreign Legion is not at war with the United States, but then neither is ISIS (neither is anybody, actually, officially. Congress has not declared war on any of the…what is it now, sixteen? countries we are currently engaging in hostilities against). Nothing illegal about an Ameican joining ISIS, unless one of their duties in their capacity as a member is threatening or harming an American citizen or government agent, or destroying American property.

EDIT perhaps the Foreign Legion wasn’t the best example, because it is still part of the French Army, whereas ISIS isn’t part of the armed forces of any recognized sovereign nation. With that in mind, maybe ISIS is more like Blackwater.


#5

[quote]JLD2k3 wrote:
I see all these headlines about folks accused of trying to join ISIS and though I certainly don’t support someone trying to join ISIS, I wonder what 1st Amendment Freedom of Association rights American citizens would have to join ISIS if they don’t actually engage in any terrorist activity. I’m thinking “clear and present danger” might come into play. Thoughts?[/quote]

Treason. ISIS is an extension of Al-Qaeda/an outgrowth of it. As such, joining ISIS is tantamount to joining an enemy organization/state.


#6

It just seems to me that aiding murderers is illegal. Or at least conspiracy to commit murder or something.