Potus Memo

Topics: Terrorism, Supreme Court of the United States, Bashar al-Assad Pages: 3 (849 words) Published: October 27, 2014

POTUS Policy Memo Project
Fall 2013
Word Count: 649
Title: The US Government violating the US Material Support Statute.


To: Barack Obama, President of the United States
From: Student
Date: November 12, 2013
Subject: The US Government violating the US Material Support Statute.

Since, September 1, 2011, the United States has gone to extreme measures to not only fight terrorism but prevent it too. Under federal law, there are now criminal and civil penalties for anyone giving “material support” to a foreign terrorist organization (FTO). In Holder vs. Humanitarian Law Project, the Supreme Court accepted a very broad definition of what constitutes “material support.” The Court essentially held that one is guilty of providing “material support” if the aid provided to an organization may somehow get into the hands of an FTO. This becomes an issue for the United States government when we give money to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), as we tend to forget these rebels are fighting alongside terrorist organizations. Specifically, we have no way of knowing if the money given to the FSA may somehow get into the hands of an FTO. The United States right now can avoid prosecution in such material support cases unless it explicitly waives its sovereign immunity. The United States should do so in order to send a better message to the world that we are actually trying to prevent terrorism from occurring instead of supporting it.

In 1996 the US Congress created the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA), after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing (Sutherland 237). In section 2339B of AEDPA, the definition of “material support” is mentioned and/or created (Sutherland 237). When Congress passed the USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevent Act of 2004, both acts successfully broadened the definition of “material support” (Sutherland 237-238). Under the...

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Dorrell, Oren. “Deal done for the U.S. to ship arms to Syria rebels.” USA Today. 23 Jul 2013. Web. 4 Nov 13.
LaFranchi, Howard. “Direct aid to Syria’s rebels: Why now – and it is too late?” Christian Science Monitor (2013). Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Nov 2013.
McKee, Erin. “Arrested are the Peacemakers: The Impact of Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project on Conflict Resolution Activists.” Unrest Magazine, Engaging Systems of Violence. 15 Jan 2011. Web. 6 Nov 2013
Price, Michael, Robert Rubenstein and David H. Price. “Material Support: US anti-terrorism law threatens human rights and academic freedom.” Anthropology Today 28 (2012): 3-5. Academic Search Complete. Web. 5 Nov 2013.
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