Yesterday a Jury found Lynne Stewart a lawyer for blind cleric Abdel Rahman, guilty of providing material support to terrorists when she acted as a conduit for a message by her client to a Egyptian reporter in which her client claimed to not support the cease fire that was agreed to by an organization he was a member of an the Egyptian government. The actual basis for the trial was that Mrs. Stewart had signed a form indicating that she agreed to the administrative ruling that barred Abdel Rahman from communicating with anyone other than his wife and his lawyer.
There are serious problems I have with this whole circus around this Rahman fellow. First, as I wrote about earlier, how did the prosecution even win a case against someone who's "crime" was speaking? I have never been a supporter of criminalized speech, be it religious, racial or whatever. Crimes should involve specific actions. There are many many many people who think George Bush ought to be shot. I know this because I've heard it said. None the less, not a single one of these people can be arrested, much less prosecuted, for such speech. Even if someone actually took a shot at the President, no one could be held responsible if all they did was say that they agree with the act. Getting back to the blind cleric. There was no evidence at all that shows that he gave money too the individuals who attempted ot bring down the WTC. Nor is there any evidence that he himself attempted to do the act. therefore his conviction was for merely doing what any other person in America is free to do, Express his political opinion about the situation he finds himself in and what he thinks could bring about change. Therefore the whole basis of his conviction was bogus and plainly unconstitutional, if popular.
Thus the "gag order" is equaly bogus and unconstitutional. Again the man committed no crime ( regardless of how odius the speech may or may not be), thus the government had no place gaging the man. Abdel Rahman, like it or not was in fact a political prisoner of the US. Lynne Stewart clearly knew this and I suspect it is the reason why she signed the form in the first place. Contract law specifically states that a contract is void if in it's term it requires the breaking of the law.
The jury claimed that it convicted Mrs. Stewart because they felt she broke her contract. That she somehow felt that she was above the law. I suppose that the Judge "mis"-informed the jury about Abdel Rahman's conviction and the "rights" of the government. Notwithstanding the clear bias of the Jury given the prosecutions use of Osama Bin-Ladin video (which should have been ruled irrelevant), it clearly seems to be that the US was attempting to stiffle political speech. by using "adminstrative" rules to blow up into providing material support for terrorists.
Americans have become so complacent about the basic rights that are afforded to them, that they are willing to strip them from anyone that's not them when in reality the defense of those rights is what keeps government transparent.