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How Many Amendments Come Before The First?

It appears that America is scared to have people watch Hezbollah TV.  That's the only message that can be taken from the story that the FBI have arrested Javed Iqbal of Staten Island, NY.  He is charged with having economic relations with a terrorist organization because his Brooklyn-based HDTV offered al Manar, a Hezbollah-backed TV station, to satellite TV customers of his in the New York area.

The district attorney was harsh in his desire to hold Mr Iqbal:

“The charge lurking in the background is material support for terrorism,” Stephen A. Miller, an assistant United States attorney, told United States Magistrate Judge Gabriel W. Gorenstein. He said Mr. Iqbal, 42, was a flight risk because he has family in England and Pakistan. “We think there is a strong incentive for him to run,” Mr. Miller said.

Mr Iqbal's defense attorney countered that:

"He’s a fun-loving guy."

Interested by-standers saw the deeper issues at stake:

“It appears that the statute under which Mr. Iqbal is being prosecuted includes a First Amendment exemption that prevents the government from punishing people for importing news communications,” Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement. “Such an exemption is constitutionally necessary, and the fact that the government is proceeding with the prosecution in spite of it raises serious questions about how free our marketplace of idea is.”


August 25, 2006 in America Inc, Bush Administration, Current Affairs, Government Intrusion | Permalink


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