It is a crime in the US to give ‘material support’ to any organization that the US government deems to be a ‘terrorist’ group, where that phrase is defined loosely and can even encompass legal advice. This statute was deemed constitutional by a 6-3 vote in the US Supreme Court in 2010 because these days judges seem willing to allow practically anything as long as you persuade them that it is against terrorism.
These laws can be used to even prosecute individuals who unwittingly engage in otherwise perfectly lawful, and even worthy, activities such as teaching people how to resolve disputes according to international law. As Georgetown University law professor David Cole says:
According to today’s Supreme Court decision, advocating for human rights and peace can be prosecuted as a “terrorist” crime, punishable by 15 years in prison.
It does not matter that the speaker intends to support only nonviolent activity, and indeed seeks to discourage a resort to violence. It does not matter if the speech in fact convinces its listeners to abandon violence.
The decision has deeply disturbing implications. It means that when President Jimmy Carter did election monitoring in Lebanon, and met with all of the parties to the election — including Hezbollah, a designated “terrorist group” — to provide them with his advice on what constitutes a fair election, he was committing the crime of providing “material support,” in the form of “expert advice.”
Of course, in the US such laws only apply to us lowly peons, not the ruling classes, so Jimmy Carter is unlikely to be indicted. The best evidence of the contempt with which the elites treat the law is how so many prominent people in the US openly support the Iranian dissident group known as the MEK which the US State department has on its official list of terrorist organizations, openly lobbying on their behalf and getting fat fees from them. The two tiered justice system in the US is so entrenched that they even joke about being ‘potential criminals’ because of active support for the MEK, so confident are they that the laws will never be used against them.
Why is this support for the MEK ignored? Because the MEK also works with the government of Israel in carrying out destabilizing acts in Iran, such as the murder of its scientists. Now reports have emerged that the US government secretly trained members of the MEK within the US.
But all the rest of us need to do is give a small donation to any charity that does work in an area of the world that requires it to coordinate its activities with any group in that region that the government deems to be terrorist (which is almost inevitable in war-torn regions where the hardship is greatest), and you run the risk of being prosecuted for providing ‘material support’ to that group.