Conflict of Interests: a discussion on David Cole’s recent article, “Chewing Gum for Terrorists.”

The main point of the David Cole’s article “Chewing Gum for Terrorists is this: a constant thirst for profit encourages hypocrisy as the US trades with but will not allow discussion of named terrorist organisations. In essence, Cole postulates that the First Amendment is done away with as a newly-defined “humanitarian aid”, including in its new definition, cigarettes, takes its place.

Someone once referred to terrorism as the witchcraft of the twenty-first century. Nowhere is this definition truer than when applied to this discussion. Only in today’s world, whereby “terrorists” can be  defined as such by one “liberal” state, namely the US, and defended by another, the namely EU, may it be deemed acceptable to outlaw the democratically elected right to free speech thus ransacking our marketplace of ideas whilst actively encouraging free trade without any uniform discernment whatsoever taking place.  We are reminded of the words of legal scholar Martti Koskenneimi as he wrote in his paper, The Police in the Temple, of the dangers of militant democracy stating:

“The police are ransacking the temple, searching for criminals and those it calls terrorists. The mind of the police-the security police in this case- is a machine, programmed to believe that history ended and we won it; and what remains is a clash of civilisations and we intend to come up first.”

What exactly, one must demand, is happening when free markets overrule and take the place of free speech? Can it be that a State can think it in the interests of peace and democracy to starve its citizens, its educated, its voice, of dialogue and replace it with a monologue driven by the very motives that starve it while engaging in business as usual with the very “threats” it claims to be protecting its populace against? If so, that State would be wise to reflect upon its actions remembering the solemn warning given by many experts within this area that terrorism’s true strength lies in its ability to provoke previously staunchly democratic governments to employ authoritarian measures on the very people it has been elected to protect.

In the US case of Duncan v. Kahanamoku, 327 U.S. 304, 335 (1946), Justice Murphy, quoting Ex parte Milligan [71 U.S. 2, 120-21, 1866] concurred that “[t]he Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances.” As an American Bar Association paper Task Force on Treatment of Enemy Combatants noted in  2003, this echoes the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling that: “‘war power’ cannot be invoked as a talismanic incantation…Even the war power does not remove constitutional limitations on safeguarding essential liberties.” United States v. Robel, 398 U.S. 258, 264 (1967).’

Another example of the dissent highlighted by the words of former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Tom Ridge, a former homeland security secretary, and Frances Townsend, a former national security adviser discussed by Cole in this paper is the dissenting opinion of Judge Breyer in Holding v. Humanitarian Law Project whereby he argued that “this speech and association for political purposes is the kind of activity to which the Firth Amendment ordinarily offers its strongest protection is elementary.”

What the US seems to be facing is an unmistakable and chilling conflict of interests. In the interest of liberty and democracy let us hope that wealthy discussion outweighs Wrigley’s!

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1 Response to “Conflict of Interests: a discussion on David Cole’s recent article, “Chewing Gum for Terrorists.””


  1. 1 Iain Bryant January 11, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Great piece of writting


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