American Teen Gets 11 Year Sentence For Pro-ISIS Tweets That Taught People How To Use Bitcoin

from the really,-now? dept

Earlier this summer, the DOJ proudly announced that a Virginia teenager, Ali Shukri Amin, had taken a plea deal for "providing material support to ISIL" (the terrorist organization that everyone outside of the US government calls ISIS). This is back in the news now that Amin has been sentenced to 11 years in prison. Let's get this out of the way: ISIS is clearly a horrific and dangerous organization. But does what Amin did really deserve 11 years in prison? The details of the case against him also seem to raise some serious First Amendment questions about what counts as "material support."

First: the one area where Amin's actions do seem fairly questionable are when he helped another Virginia teen travel to Syria, apparently to join ISIS. That part definitely seems like it stepped over the legal line. But, the rest of the charges against him seem... like a teenager using Twitter and other social media to discuss stuff he's interested in. Amin ran a Twitter account called @AmreekiWitness, which had about 4,000 followers. He tweeted pro-ISIS propaganda, but that still seems to be a form of protected speech, last I checked. And, his big "crime" appears to be linking to an article about why ISIS supporters should use Bitcoin.
The following are examples of the defendant's use of Twitter in furtherance of his conspiracy to provide material support to ISIL:
On or about July 7, 2014, using the @AmreekiWitness account, the defendant tweeted a link to an article he authored entitled "Bitcoin wa' Sadaqat al-Jihad" (Bitcoin and the Charity of Jihad). The link transferred the user to the defendant's blog, where the article was posted. The article discussed how to use bitcoins and how jihadists could utilize this currency to fund their efforts. The article explained what bitcoins were, how the bitcoin system worked and suggested using Dark Wallet, a new bitcoin wallet, which keeps the user of bitcoins anonymous. The article included statements on how to set up an anonymous donations system to send money, using bitcoin, to the mujahedeen.

On approximately August 1, 2014, the defendant showed support for ISIL and his desire to help garner financial support for those wanting to commit jihad. Through @AmreekiWitness the defendant discussed methods to provide financial support for those wanting to commit jihad and for those individuals trying to travel overseas.

On approximately August 19, 2014, the defendant showed support for ISIL and desire to support ISIL. The defendant tweeted that the khilafah needed an official website "ASAP," and that ISIL could not continue to release media "in the wild" or use "JustPaste." Through various tweets, the defendant provided information on how to prevent the website from being taken down, by adding security and defenses, and he solicited others via Twitter to assist on the development of the website.
The defendant also operated an Amreeki Witness page on the website ask.fm. The defendant used these accounts extensively as a platform to proselytize his radical Islamic ideology, justify and defend ISIL's violent practices, and to provide advice on topics such as jihadists travel to fight with ISIL, online security measures, and about how to use Bitcoin to finance themselves without creating evidence of crime, among other matters.

The defendant also created the pro-ISIL blog entitled, "Al-Khilafah Aridat." On this blog, the defendant authored a series of highly-technical articles targeted at aspiring jihadists and ISIL supporters detailing the use of security measures in online communications to include use of encryption and anonymity software, tools and techniques, as well as the use of the virtual currency Bitcoin as a means to anonymously fund ISIL.
Tweeting about Bitcoin and saying that ISIS needs a website is a crime? One that deserves over a decade in jail? Obviously, aiding ISIS in any way is incredibly stupid, but it seems like a pretty slippery slope to argue that teaching people how to use Bitcoin or saying that ISIS needs a website rises to the level of "material support for ISIS" by itself. It seems like such a definition could lead to many, many people at risk. If you disagree with US policy for dealing with ISIS and say so -- at what point does it cross over the line? It seems way too easy to twist this into criminalizing dissent, rather than actually supporting a designated terrorist organization.

I'm all for coming up with ways to stop the spread of ISIS, and to prevent further attacks by the group. But jailing an American teenager over his tweets seems... excessive.
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Filed Under: ali shukri amin, bitcoin, doj, first amendment, isis, material support, terrorism
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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 2:39pm

    At least he wasn't a whistleblower

    The only thing worse than having an opinion different that the officially sanctioned one, is to expose the lies and hypocrisy of those in power. This should have resulted in a slap on the wrist and a warning, not more time than people get for killing others during the commission of a felony.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 4:32pm

      Re: At least he wasn't a whistleblower

      the American government tends to make an example of those that expose their hypocrisy as a warning to anyone else.

      Tyrants hate being made fools of

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DanA, 28 Aug 2015 @ 2:45pm

    I'm pretty sympathetic to first amendment arguments regarding those who endorse the various terrorist groups (or groups the US government has deemed terrorists) without engaging in criminal activity. However, this does seem to pass the line for me in terms of actions because of the specific way it was explicitly stated that the goal was to evade financial tracking. This seems like it would make him a co-conspirator in the same way that someone providing information on how to launder drug money would be.

    While I think that what he did was probably criminal but 11 years seems vastly excessive for what he actually did.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      DCL, 28 Aug 2015 @ 3:17pm

      Re:

      Granted I didn't read all the details above and I will say I am not fond of ISIS but there is not 11 years worth of jail time between these two statements:

      Horrible Organization X should use technology Y so they can move money without being tracked.

      VS

      If horrible Organization X used technology Y they can move money without being tracked.


      Now imagine you said either of the above to stranger Z in a coffee shop and stranger Z ends up being with horrible Org X and the guy in-front of you that over hears it is following stranger Z and is with Government agency ABC... Do you deserve jail time for your comment?

      Does your punishment change because "it is on the internet"?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 3:30pm

        Re: Re:

        If supervillians used bitcoin to transfer funds from their arctic lairs to their volcano bases without being tracked. #teamevil

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 6:29pm

        Re: Re:

        There is quite a difference between talking to 1 stranger and broadcasting to 4000 followers.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          ottermaton (profile), 29 Aug 2015 @ 5:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          There is quite a difference between talking to 1 stranger and broadcasting to 4000 followers.

          There is? From a purely 1st Amendment position I don't think so, but I may be wrong. Please tell us what the difference is.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2015 @ 10:57am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Indeed there is, and the more followers a person has, the more important it is for their 1st amendment rights to be protected, The founders did not intend it to protect the establishment, but rather as an important right for the people to organise to replace the establishment, and in conjunction with their 2nd amendment rights if needs be.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 30 Aug 2015 @ 5:29pm

        Re: Re:

        there is not 11 years worth of jail time between these two statements:

        Horrible Organization X should use technology Y so they can move money without being tracked.

        VS

        If horrible Organization X used technology Y they can move money without being tracked.


        It sounds like what he said was "Hey Horrible Organization X, here is how to do A B and C that will make it easier to do Terrible Thing Y, which I think you should do, without getting caught". If the description here is accurate it kind of sounds like material support for a terrorist organization. I don't know about 11 years but this doesn't sound like a ridiculous prosecution.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 8:20am

          Re: Re: Re:

          How is that material support, though? "Material" rather implies, I dunno, material support -- that is, giving them stuff. Explaining how to do legal activities A, B, and C, doesn't seem like material support to me (particularly considering that all the information is widely and freely available anyway).

          Saying "I think you should do terrible thing Y" sounds like protected speech to me.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 8:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            How is that material support, though? "Material" rather implies, I dunno, material support -- that is, giving them stuff.

            I thought it meant material as in significant or relevant.

            Saying "I think you should do terrible thing Y" sounds like protected speech to me.

            It sounds to me like he did a lot more than that. He gave them specific information calculated to be useful in furthering their plans for terrorism. You could argue that that's protected speech too, but it's not just advocating something terrible.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 3:09pm

    It seems like he got prosecuted for his (seemingly accurately) perceived motive rather than his actual actions.

    That is:

    Write a novel or TV show script that involves terrorists using bitcoin and websites and other modern technology in realistic terms and you're just a writer.

    Write the same information without including the fictional narrative and say that you want terrorists to actually use the information in real life and you're "providing material support."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 3:22pm

    Well look on the bright side. He isnt going to spend it in an US run Iraqi or cuban prison where he would get "sodomized" by the guards daily...
    Nor is he going to have his family wiped out by a drone. Isnt it great to be American!?

    Also, people outside the US call is IS. y'know, they changed their name a while ago. Part of some expansion champaign or whatever.
    They should put an E in their name somewhere, lots of them are coming in Europe as "refugees".


    By the way, is obama still going with the "fighting ISIS would help Assad" line? Because at this point, the IS is way worse than what the syrian government ever did.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    AC (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 3:27pm

    The punishments no longer fit the crimes

    * 11 years for tweeting.
    * Threats of 35 years for violating a website's T&Cs.
    * A lifetime of harassment for whistle blowing.
    * Seven years of legal threats for committing journalism.
    * Drone-killed for "hacking the e-mail of a former aide to British Prime Minister Tony Blair."

    WTF happened to the Land of the Free? To paraphrase a movie, 'You best start believing in a dystopian future ... you're in one!'

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 4:29pm

      Re: The punishments no longer fit the crimes

      people believed "it cannot happen here" and stopped guarding against it happening

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2015 @ 5:25am

      Re: The punishments no longer fit the crimes

      "WTF happened to the Land of the Free?"
      People realized it was a propaganda piece. Seriously, things have never been much better, the only difference is that these days people can easily get informed.

      Like if you mention mkultra you will immediatelly be called a tinfoilhat retard while the government admited to some seriously fucked up shit like drugging and raping kids. oh and destroying evidence, so there were probably worse things.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 3:43pm

    So now that the sentencing is finished, will the details about surespot, the encrypted messenger used, be forthcoming?

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150610/15150231298/encrypted-messaging-service-stops -answering-warrant-canary-questions-suggesting-fbi-others-are-seeking-user-info.shtml

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    connermac725 (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 3:47pm

    Big double standard

    teen talks about support gets 11 years!
    HSBC caught laundering drug money NO jail time????
    Jesus what kind of mad world do we live in

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 3:55pm

      Re: Big double standard

      HSBC has lawyers and donations to play with. The kid only had the tatters of the constitution and the belief that the his rights were still intact.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Almost Anonymous (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 3:56pm

    I've got bad news

    "If you disagree with US policy for dealing with ISIS and say so -- at what point does it cross over the line?"
    You just crossed over the line.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 4:02pm

    And then some

    I'm all for coming up with ways to stop the spread of ISIS, and to prevent further attacks by the group. But jailing an American teenager over his tweets seems... excessive.

    It's not just excessive, it's flat out counter-productive. You fight extremists by showing people that you're better, and showcasing just how bad the other side is. Killing enemy combatants is fine militarily, but keeping them from replenishing their numbers, that is far more effective in the long run.

    By going so over the top in their attempts to 'combat' the murderous thugs, the various governments are just making their message seem more legitimate than it actually is. Hearing about how bad some group in another country is is one thing, but experiencing the government cracking down on it's citizens is quite another, and far more visible to those same citizens.

    Claims of fighting for freedom against oppressive governments doesn't work so well if the people actually living under those governments don't feel oppressed at all. If people can look around and easily show that the claims being made are bogus, the message isn't going to get very far. If however, the government does act as claimed, even if only in part, then the message will likely find a much more receptive audience.

    You beat extremism in the long term by using military force only when absolutely necessary, with your primary tactic that of showing people that your side is the better one, and highlighting just how bad the other side is. Combating it by also acting extremist is just doing the other side's recruiting for them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Justme, 28 Aug 2015 @ 6:31pm

      Re: And then some

      I strongly agree, for long term success it is vital that the difference's between their actions and ours are easily discernible! And far to often our leaders actions have been inconsistent with the principles we claim to uphold.

      And if their major concern is the creation of domestic terrorist's, then creating an environment were people feel under a microscope 24/7 is not the solution, it's a recipe for creating domestic terrorist's.

      Our leaders swore an oath to protect and defend the constitution and the more they ignore that oath, the harder it becomes to tell the them from the terrorists.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Wyrm (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 8:04pm

      Re: And then some

      For me, that sounds like advocating pacifism by punching anyone who states that violence is good. You're just proving them right.

      In a war of ideas (here "democracy versus terrorism"), the means are not important than the stated idea you fight for. Physically winning the war by using the opponents ideas just makes you lose the actual was: you end up proving that your beaten enemy was right.

      It's different than a war for simple survival, where any mean is right as long as you're the one standing in the end, obviously... But the "war on terror"is not of this kind.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Wyrm (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 8:05pm

        Re: Re: And then some

        Typo there: the means are more important than..

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 9:22pm

        Re: Re: And then some

        I... have no idea what you just said. I really can't tell if you're agreeing with my post or disagreeing with it. Mind rephrasing your comment?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Wyrm (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 11:10pm

          Re: Re: Re: And then some

          Short version is that I agree with your comment.

          I'm saying that the attitude of the US government and law enforcement is in contradiction with their stated purpose, which gives their opponents - here ISIS - more conviction and supporters. Even if US manage to nuke ISIS, other terrorists will rise and the US themselves will have validated terrorism as a legitimate strategy.

          The only way to stop terrorists is the long term is to show them another way. To show them that there is another way to live with people of different opinions than simply crushing them with violence.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      radix (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 8:19pm

      Re: And then some

      Ah, but your argument rests on this one passage:

      "Killing enemy combatants is fine militarily, but keeping them from replenishing their numbers, that is far more effective in the long run."

      But you have to ask yourself, 'more effective' at what? Winning the War on Terror? Yes. But if the actual goal is perpetual war, and all the power and money that comes with it, then winning is counter-productive, politically.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        David, 29 Aug 2015 @ 1:58am

        Re: Re: And then some

        You can only win the War on Terror by defeating your opponents, military style. If you are fine with making terror become insignificant instead, that's quite a different endeavor with nothing to show off. You are not going to win a primary by making potential terrorists feel silly rather than afraid.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 29 Aug 2015 @ 3:21am

          Re: Re: Re: And then some

          First define 'War on Terror', in particular what or who is the opponent. Does the opponent in the 'War on terror' have a pulse? Is it something that can be killed? Because if the answer is no, completely, then no, you're not going to be beating it militarily any time soon.

          You might be able to defeat the living half, the lesser half, but if the ideology that powered it is left intact(and you can't kill an ideology with guns), then at most you've bought yourself a reprieve, a bit of calm before more people replace the ones you killed and the cycle starts anew. 'Endless war' is not a victory for anyone but the ones selling the guns.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 29 Aug 2015 @ 3:46am

          Re: Re: Re: And then some

          Hit enter too soon once more...

          You are not going to win a primary by making potential terrorists feel silly rather than afraid.

          The point of the non-military aspect to the 'fight' isn't to make them feel 'silly', it's to remove even the 'potential' from 'potential terrorists', and keep those sitting on the fence from joining the opposing side in the first place.

          Decimate recruitment for terrorist groups, keeping them from renewing or increasing their numbers or even better causing them to lose members, eliminate any support they might have had from the public by showing people just how bad they are, and you remove a huge chunk of their staying power. At that point you can basically just wait them out, use the military to contain them, and they'll lose as the core fanatics die out and aren't replaced.

          Now, some might argue that you can do this via purely or primarily military force, by killing the ones in the groups and inflicting enough fear in the public such that they can't renew their numbers, but I'd argue that's a failed strategy, utterly ignoring basic human psychology. Fear transitions to hatred and anger very easy, especially if you put someone in a position that they think they have nothing to lose or have to act if they want to defend themselves or others.

          Sure you can kill one enemy, but if doing so convinces five other people that were undecided that you are the enemy, you've failed spectacularly if you're looking for something other than endless 'Side A kills people on side B, Side B kills people on Side A, Side A kills people on Side B...' If you want to deal with the problem for good, you have to get the public on your side, and you cannot do that with force and threats.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 30 Aug 2015 @ 5:33pm

          Re: Re: Re: And then some

          You can only win the War on Terror by defeating your opponents, military style.

          I don't think it's a war that's possible to win militarily.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 31 Aug 2015 @ 8:24am

          Re: Re: Re: And then some

          "You can only win the War on Terror by defeating your opponents, military style"

          You can't win the "war on terror". It's logically impossible. The only winnable wars are ones against a well-defined enemy, with well-defined victory conditions. "Terrorists" are not a well-defined enemy, and the "war on terror" has no victory conditions defined at all.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2015 @ 7:49am

        Re: Re: And then some

        which is why governments support and fund terrorism on 1 hand while saying that very same terrorism is behind why they must remove citizens rights and freedoms in the name of safety and security on the other hand

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 4:27pm

    he isn't a general leaking sensitive info to his mistress or a president providing material support to terrorists for political gain so of course he gets prosecuted

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 4:49pm

    I'd Say He's Guilty

    I'm usually on board with the 1st amendment editorial position here, but not in this case.

    If he had posted an article titled: "How to use bitcoin to avoid gov't snooping", I'd agree that his speech is protected. ISIS may use that information, but he'd have plenty of plausible deniablity, like a gun maker, that the tool is not to blame for its use.

    But he specifically linked his instructions to ISIS, making it tactical for a specific purpose. He overtly indicated funding for ISIS as the objective of his lesson.

    Intent matters, and he made his intent clear, and a matter of record.

    I have no idea what the appropriate sentence is, but it's somewhere between nothing and whatever they give you for treason. If he's not a US citizen, then deportation.

    You know, the same punishment we gave to Reagan and Oliver North for funding the Contras.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 4:58pm

    and what about roll-playing trolls?

    Since the early days of the internet, many people have amused themselves by "trolling" -- taking extreme positions and saying things and they don't really mean (often anonymously) just to shock, disgust, offend, or annoy others.

    Some trolls take roll-playing to an elaborate level by setting up numerous personal blogs and websites, as if to prove that they're not 'obvious' run-of-the-mill trolls but are actually serious about everything they say.

    But at what point does devil-advocacy roll-playing become a crime - a felony offense - when police authorities fail to see through the act (or even if they do, don't find it the least bit funny)? Would including a legal disclaimer ("for entertainment only") legally absolve them?

    Or how about creating an alter-ego sockpuppet to argue against? In other words, if you can prove to police that you've simultaneously taken positions on both sides of a forbidden topic, would that automatically grant you a get-out-of-jail-free card? (or conversely, might having two sock-puppets agree with each other convict the person behind them of "conspiracy"?)

    One thing for sure, claiming to be an amateur detective trying to infiltrate an illegal organization virtually never works , as only the police are allowed to pretend to be criminals to catch criminals. It's no secret that most 'jihadest' sites are government traps set up to ensnare the gullible, and are best left alone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      PRMan, 29 Aug 2015 @ 9:59am

      Re: and what about roll-playing trolls?

      I don't think your argument is working.

      I, for one, would be perfectly happy with putting most trolls in jail.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 4:58pm

    It's the land of the "free".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 5:05pm

    To the United States and others, funding Wikileaks was also terrorism.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    a coward, 28 Aug 2015 @ 6:55pm

    huh?

    I don't understand. What law was broken? Material support is bullshit. As per congress we aren't at war with anyone. 11yr? Was there a lawyer involved for this guy?

    Are we to the point of hunting down the authors of the Anarchist Cookbook and putting them in jail? Could be used by , lock it up. Lock them up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ottermaton (profile), 29 Aug 2015 @ 5:17am

      Re: huh?

      I don't understand. What law was broken?

      Hahaha. You're funny!

      That you ask that question indicates (to me) that you've never run afoul of the US "justice system." That you _actually_ break an _actual_ law is completely beside the point. All you need to do is annoy a person in power. They'll throw every charge in the book at you safe in the knowledge that they can make at least one of them "stick."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techflaws (profile), 28 Aug 2015 @ 10:38pm

    (the terrorist organization that everyone outside of the US government calls ISIS)

    The German government calls it IS.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    thechez (profile), 29 Aug 2015 @ 4:56am

    I would call his intentions criminal as free speech does not entitle you to support terrorism or help someone travel to Syria to fight for a vile terrorist group!. He was clearly and bluntly telling people of a way to make anonymous 'donations' to a vile, disgusting terrorist group. Sorry but I agree with the sentence. Play with fire get burned. He could have shown people how to donate to a charity for injured US/UK troops, you don't need 'bitcoin' for that!. This 'teen' sounds like a very dangerous individual and will be even more dangerous after 11 years in prison. Lets hope he NEVER possesses a passport. In my eyes he IS a terrorist, he became one when he helped someone get to Syria.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2015 @ 11:02am

      Re:

      The intent of the founding fathers was that free speech enables people to seek support for a vile terrorist group, as after all that is what they were, and they recognise that sometimes that it is necessary for political change.

      P.S. I do not support ISIS, but if free speech is have have any meaning, it means allowing those whose views you hate to have their say, and countering it with more speech.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 30 Aug 2015 @ 5:35pm

      Re:

      Sorry but I agree with the sentence... This 'teen'... will be even more dangerous after 11 years in prison.

      Interesting.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2015 @ 6:18am

    but it shows how much the DoJ is going to defend everyone, and can twist lesser things into those almost akin to 9/11, so that the punishment they wanted to dish out to the perpetrators of those horrendous crimes, can still be given to someone.
    as is the case with so many sentences in the USA, they are so far over the top, they defy sense! it's like throwing someone to the wolves for howling

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Shill, 29 Aug 2015 @ 7:12am

    "ISIS is clearly a horrific and dangerous organization"

    So now mike supports ISIS

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 29 Aug 2015 @ 8:36am

      Re:

      That's because cutting off a person's head with a knife, by hand, is clearly a terrible crime of the worst magnitude, while launchng cruise missiles (or nuclear bombs) on a population is a perfectable acceptable act -- no matter how many thousands (or millions) of innocent people are killed, as long as their deaths are branded with the magic words, "collateral damage."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Big Brother, 29 Aug 2015 @ 6:53pm

    DON'T CROSS THAT LINE!! GET BACK IN LINE!!

    Anything that I disagree with crosses the line as far as I'm concerned!! Tread carefully!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2015 @ 11:05am

    Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project

    See "Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project"

    The Supreme Court ruled against the Humanitarian Law Project, which sought to help the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey and Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam learn how to peacefully resolve conflicts. It concluded that Congress had intended to prevent aid to such groups, even if for the purpose of facilitating peace negotiations or United Nations processes, because that assistance did fit the law's definition of material aid as “training”, “expert advice or assistance”, “service”, and “personnel”.

    Former President Jimmy Carter criticized the decision.
    ...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    nasch (profile), 30 Aug 2015 @ 5:41pm

    Mischaracterization

    Tweeting about Bitcoin and saying that ISIS needs a website is a crime? ...it seems like a pretty slippery slope to argue that teaching people how to use Bitcoin or saying that ISIS needs a website rises to the level of "material support for ISIS" by itself... If you disagree with US policy for dealing with ISIS and say so -- at what point does it cross over the line? ...
    But jailing an American teenager over his tweets seems... excessive.


    Whether intentional or not, I think you've badly mischaracterized this person's actions.

    - By describing it as tweeting you imply that it was just short messages, and how bad could that be? But the tweets weren't the problem, the blog post was.
    - You summarize the post as "teaching people how to use Bitcoin" while leaving out the fact that he was specifically teaching ISIS how to use Bitcoin to further their terrorist agenda.
    - Then you throw in some (apparently) completely unfounded speculation that this could be used to criminalize dissent, which is not what this case was about.

    I'm glad you wrote about this and I certainly respect your position, but I found your summary very slanted. However in Techdirt fashion you provide extensive excerpts and links to documents so readers can judge for themselves, so well done there as always.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2015 @ 7:30am

    Citizens United case

    The Supreme Court has ruled that money is speech. Doesn't that make laws against material support unconstitutional?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Justme, 1 Sep 2015 @ 12:58pm

      Re: Citizens United case

      Your comment may not be completely on point, but it very concisely demonstrates the absurdity of the Citizens United decision!

      Paying taxes = limiting free speech

      There a 1000 ways to abuse that legal precedent!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    db (profile), 4 Sep 2015 @ 4:42am

    This brat used his abilities to assist the crazies to set up a lethal website. Maybe 100 years of solitary confinement?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Sep 2015 @ 2:15am

    If "limited time" is 50 to 70 years after death, 11 years is nothing

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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