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Posts tagged ‘Anti-Defamation League’

Plea to Take Mel Gibson Off ‘Blacklist’ Sparks Hollywood Debate.

Image: Plea to Take Mel Gibson Off 'Blacklist' Sparks Hollywood Debate

Eight years after Mel Gibson’s anti-Semitic rant during a drunk-driving arrest, Hollywood is debating the rehabilitation of an Oscar winner who was once one of the industry’s most bankable stars.

The heated discussion was sparked by a March 12 opinion piece in Deadline Hollywood by Allison Hope Weiner, a freelance writer who covered Gibson’s infamous spiral out of favor and now considers him a friend. Her appeal for an end to what she called a “quiet blacklisting” has generated more than 5,700 comments on’s movie page and more than 800 on the Deadline Hollywood site, which is read by many in the industry.

“He has been in the doghouse long enough,” Weiner wrote. “It’s time to give the guy another chance.”

Gibson’s movies, from “Mad Max” to “Braveheart” and “Apocalypto,” have grossed $3.6 billion, according to Rentrak Corp., providing an incentive for studios and agencies to consider absolution. His particular transgressions, and the number of them over the years, mean it’s unlikely to come easy.

Forgiving Gibson “is not the same thing as forgiving Lindsay Lohan for partying too late,” said Elizabeth Currid- Halkett, author of “Starstruck: The Business of Celebrity” and an associate professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. “Anti-Semitism is not just behaving badly.”

While the 58-year-old still directs and acts — he recently completed production as a co-star with Sylvester Stallone on “Expendables 3” — major studios “are either wary of him or prefer not to work with him,” said Michael Fleming, Deadline Hollywood’s film editor. “I am surprised this has lasted this long. The guy has made a lot of people a lot of money.”

Malibu Tirade

The back-and-forth by commentators on Weiner’s piece boils down to a bygone question in Hollywood: whether what someone says or does off screen, however repugnant, should have any effect on his fitness to make movies.

Gibson is a long-running case in point. The hits to his reputation aren’t limited to those from his tirade about Jews being “responsible for all the wars in the world,” delivered as he was arrested in 2006 in Malibu, California. In 2010, audiotapes of threats he made to his then-girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva — laced with racial epithets — surfaced. The next year he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge after a dispute with Grigorieva, the mother of his youngest child.

In 2004, he came under fire for what the Anti-Defamation League and others saw as anti-Semitism in “The Passion of the Christ,” a blockbuster he directed, co-produced and co-wrote. He reacted to a Frank Rich column about it in the New York Times by telling the New Yorker, “I want to kill him. I want his intestines on a stick. I want to kill his dog.”

‘Harmful Words’

In 1992 he offended the gay community with remarks in a Spanish newspaper interview and later told Playboy that he would apologize “when hell freezes over.”

He did apologize after his Malibu arrest for what he said were his “vitriolic and harmful words,” and after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor drunk-driving charge was sentenced to three years’ probation.

Alan Nierob, a Rogers & Cowan publicist who represents Gibson, said his client should be allowed back in the fold. “People should know that he is now healthy once again, both physically and mentally after suffering a breakdown,” Nierob said. “He is an artistic genius, and the industry should benefit once again from his enormous talent.”

‘Harsh Language’

Weiner, describing herself as an observant Jew, said in Deadline Hollywood that Gibson today “is clearly a different man, one who has worked on his sobriety since that awful night in Malibu.” And the movie industry, she said, is hypocritical, willing to “work with others who’ve committed felonies and done things far more serious than Gibson.”

She cited Mike Tyson, a convicted rapist who has been in the “Hangover” films. Gibson was dropped from a cameo in “The Hangover Part II” in 2010 after “a lot of people” working on the film protested, Todd Phillips told the Hollywood Reporter.

“Gibson has been shunned not for doing anything criminal; his greatest offenses amount to use of harsh language,” Weiner wrote in her more than 3,400-word piece. She said she chose to publish it on the 10th anniversary of “The Passion of the Christ,” which she described as “about an innocent man’s willingness to forgive the greatest injustice.”

The independent release grossed $612 million at the global box office, and Gibson personally made $210 million in 2004, according to Forbes. His fortune was estimated at $850 million by the Los Angeles Business Journal, and People magazine reported that his 2011 divorce halved that.

Befriending Rabbis

In recent years, Weiner said, Gibson has befriended rabbis, attended Passover Seders and donated to Jewish causes. He invited to coffee the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy who took him into custody in Malibu. He was at Weiner’s son’s bar mitzvah, where she said he charmed her family.

“My friendship with Gibson made me reconsider other celebrities whose public images became tarnished by the media’s rush to judge,” Weiner wrote. “Whether it’s Gibson, Tom Cruise or Alec Baldwin, the descent from media darling to pariah can happen quickly after they do something dumb.”

Hollywood is littered with stars who fell from grace — Charlie Sheen after a rant against the producer of “Two and a Half Men,” Robert Downey Jr. after arrests for illegal drug use, Cruise after jumping on Oprah’s couch and admonishing Brooks Shields for treating her postpartum depression with pharmaceuticals — and who bounced back.

Two Oscars

Downey, Gibson’s co-star in “Air America” in 1990, has been among his staunch defenders. He asked that Gibson be on stage to present him with a life-achievement award from American Cinematheque in 2011, and said in his acceptance speech that his friend deserved from Hollywood the same forgiveness it had afforded him. Gibson had helped revive Downey’s career when he was considered uninsurable by paying his insurance bond for 2003’s “The Singing Detective.”

Gibson rose to international fame with the “Mad Max” and “Lethal Weapon” films and won Oscars in 1995 for best picture and best director for “Braveheart,” in which he also starred. He garnered acclaim for “Apocalypto,” about the end of Mayan civilization, which he financed through his Icon Productions LLC; Walt Disney Co. distributed it.

Released five months after the Malibu arrest, it did well at the box office. “Say what you will about him — about his problem with booze or his problem with Jews — he is a serious filmmaker,” wrote New York Times critic A.O. Scott.

Bypassing Theaters

One of Gibson’s big hits as an actor before Malibu was “Signs,” a 2002 thriller by M. Night Shyamalan that grossed $228 million. One of his biggest flops ever was “The Beaver” in 2011 with Jodie Foster, which made less than $1 million in U.S. theaters, according to the Internet Movie Database.

He bypassed theaters with “Get the Gringo” in 2012, releasing it instead on pay-television. Last year he was a co- star with Sheen in “Machete Kills,” which wasn’t a critical or commercial success.

In Hollywood, “there are some who may forgive and some who never will,” said Michael Sitrick, chairman and chief executive of Sitrick Brincko Group LLC, a Los Angeles-based public relations and crisis-management firm that has represented rapper Chris Brown, baseball player Alex Rodriguez and socialite Paris Hilton. “It’s not about spin. It has to be genuine.”
© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


Hagel Orders Same-Sex Benefits for All National Guards.

Image: Hagel Orders Same-Sex Benefits for All National Guards

By Lisa Barron

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the National Guards in all states to issue ID cards that enable same-sex spouses of military members to claim benefits.

Blasting nine states that have refused to do so, Hagel said in a speech to the Anti-Defamation League in New York on Thursday, “This is wrong,” reports The Hill.

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“Not only does this violate the states’ obligations under federal law, their actions have created hardship and inequality by forcing couples to travel long distances to federal military bases to obtain the ID cards they’re entitled to,” Hagel said in prepared remarks.

Following the Supreme Court’s decision in June to strike down a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Pentagon issued a directive that same-sex partners of military members would be eligible for the same healthcare, housing, and other benefits available by opposite-sex spouses.

But some states have refused to offer the necessary Pentagon ID cards on National Guard facilities, arguing that doing so conflicted with their state bans on same-sex marriage.
Hagel did not name those states, but the Pentagon has cited nine: Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia,reports Fox News.

The Pentagon said there are 114 Army and Air National Guard sites in those states that are not providing ID cards to eligible same-sex spouses.

Hagel said he instructed Gen. Frank Grass, who heads the National Guard, to meet with the Guard state leaders in the nine states to resolve the issue.

A senior defense official told The Hill that Hagel is prepared “to take further action” if the states do not comply.

Hagel announced the order in his keynote address for the ADL’s Centennial dinner, which was honoring his predecessor, Leon Panetta.

He also used his speech to announce that he has directed the Marine Corps to expedite the manufacture and delivery to Israel of V-22 Osprey aircraft, hybrids that take off and land like a helicopter and cruise like an airplane, according to Fox.

Urgent: ObamaCare Is About to Strike — Are You Prepared?

Hagel also offered assurances that pursuing diplomacy with Iran over its nuclear program is a way of testing Tehran’s intentions.

“As we engage Iran with our partners, we are very clear-eyed about reality in the Middle East. But foreign policy is not a zero-sum game,” he said. “If we can find ways to resolve disputes peacefully, we are wise to explore them.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Pro-Israel Groups Back Strikes on Syria.

The influential American Israel Public Affairs Committee offered its support Tuesday for President Barack Obama’s plan to attack Syria.

“AIPAC urges Congress to grant the president the authority he has requested to protect America’s national security interests and dissuade the Syrian regime’s further use of unconventional weapons,” the AmericanIsraeli lobbying group said in a statement.

“The civilized world cannot tolerate the use of these barbaric weapons, particularly against an innocent civilian population including hundreds of children. Simply put, barbarism on a mass scale must not be given a free pass.”

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AIPAC stressed the importance of sending a message of resolve to Syria’s allies, Iran and the militant group Hezbollah.

“The Syrian regime and its Iranian ally have repeatedly demonstrated that they will not respect civilized norms,” the statement said. “That is why America must act and why we must prevent further proliferation of unconventional weapons in this region.”

The lobbying group also warned that failure to approve the congressional resolution on Syrian would weaken U.S. credibility in the region in preventing the use of unconventional weapons, a situation that would “greatly endanger” U.S. security interests “and those of our regional allies.”

The Anti-Defamation League, another pro-Israel group, also announced its support Tuesday for Obama’s plan to hit Syria.

“The president has made a decision to use military force against Syria because of their use of chemical weapons. I don’t know what there is to debate about,” Abraham Foxman, ADL national director, told The Hill.

“For us, it’s not a political issue. I know there are people who come with a political agenda. For us, this is above and beyond.”

The liberal-leaning J Street, another pro-Israel lobbying group, hasn’t announced its position on a Syria attack, spokeswoman Jessica Rosenblum, told The Hill.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Dan Weil


Foxman to Newsmax: Internet a ‘Super Highway’ for Racial Hate.

The Internet is a “super highway” for bigots and racially-motivated bullying, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abe Foxman said in an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV.

The co-author of the new book “Viral Hate: Containing its Spread on the Internet,” said that part of why the Internet has become a vehicle racist attacks is due to its inherently anonymous nature.

“[The Internet is] a super highway for good things and bad things. A lot of good things coming out of the Internet – more education, more information, more exchange, people being able to talk to each other, share ideas. But at the same time it provides an underbelly, a dark underbelly of super highway for bigots,” he said.

“Bigots can now communicate their hatred, their prejudice, their racism, their anti-Semitism in nanoseconds globally. They can do it under a veil of anonymity and it never goes away. It’s almost like a tsunami of words and unfortunately many of them, hateful, hurtful words.”

Foxman said minorities of all kinds are victims of cyber bullying and abuse online which has become more widespread and continues to escalate. He said because of its viral nature it can reverberate globally with tragic results.

Foxman added that while there is no easy solution, one step would be to work with Internet providers to help stamp out the abuse, while families and communities also need to be more alert and proactive.

In the wide-ranging interview, Foxman reflected on President Barack Obama’s decision to discuss his personal views on race relations in the wake of the George Zimmerman acquittal.

“The president was right [to get involved.] We have elected an African-American president. That’s a huge step in terms of fighting a racist society but we haven’t eliminated racism and it’s still there,” Foxman said.

He added that the president “legitimized a conversation” and that “the tone he used, that he personalized it is a healthy thing which will help heal rather than exacerbate.”

Foxman also discussed his optimism about the upcoming peace talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

“The dynamics have changed in the Middle East in the last year or two. I’m an optimist in the sense that if both of these parties are sitting down, and they will be sitting down one on one or two on two without intermediaries, the atmosphere is better,” he said.

“Anybody expecting a major breakthrough of end of conflict will be disappointed. But if we can take small steps in the right direction, build trust, build the economy, keep the level of violence down, maybe we’ll get there in our lifetime.”

Foxman played down reports of strained relations between the U.S. and Israel, saying any tension was a result of political differences which have diminished as a result of the president’s recent visit to Israel and the Middle East.

He said he feels the military relationship and the intelligence relationship between the two countries is very supportive and very closely aligned, bound partially by the common objective to neutralize Iran and establish stability in the region.

“I would put the relationship at a much higher level than it’s ever been before, motivated by joint common interests, strategic interests, and I don’t think that what we’re seeing is America pushing Israel in a direction that it is not willing to go,” Foxman said.

He added, however, that he is in no doubt that if Israel feels its existence is threatened by a nuclear Iran, it will likely take military action in the near future, especially if Israel feels the rest of the world is not taking adequate steps to deal with the situation.

On a final point, Foxman said he believed the European Union has always and continues to be biased in favor of the Palestinians, a position the ADL has condemned in the past, but he’s hopeful about the influence the new European states may have, given they tend to have “a more understanding and friendly” approach to Israel.

“But, unfortunately,” he concluded, “the EU has a balance bias towards the Palestinians.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Melanie Batley and Kathleen Walter

ADL Audit: Anti-Semitic Incidents Down 14 Percent in 2012.

The number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States fell by 14 percent in 2012, marking the third consecutive year of decline, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

The ADL Audit of Anti-Semitic Incidents reported that in 2012, there were 927 anti-Semitic incidents across the U.S., including assaults, vandalism, and harassment, down from 1,080 in 2011.

“It is encouraging that in the past few years we have seen a fairly consistent decline in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the United States,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL national director, in a statement.

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“Still, it is disturbing that there are so many incidents in America, and we must remain vigilant in responding to them and in encouraging law enforcement and the public to report these incidents as much as possible,” he said.

At the same time, the group pointed out that despite the overall decline, some types of anti-Semitic abuse — such as online attacks, vandalism, and physical assault — have either remained the same or increased substantially.

Barry Curtiss-Lusher, ADL national chairman, said there has been a “proliferation of hatred online.”

“Unlike years ago, when racists handed out pamphlets on street corners or sent them through the mail, the Internet provides racists and bigots with an outlet to reach a potential audience of millions,” said Curtiss-Lusher.

“This explosion of viral hate is impossible to quantify, but it may have led to a migration of sorts where the haters and bigots are more likely to take to the Internet to express themselves anonymously, rather than acting out in a public setting. The danger, of course, is that these online expressions can inspire and fuel real-world violence.”

The annual audit, started in 1979, includes both criminal and non-criminal incidents reported to ADL in 35 states and Washington, D.C.

Editor’s Note: Weird Trick Adds $1,000 to Your Social Security Checks 

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Melanie Batley

Overcome the Power of Prejudice.

African American, White Woman

Prejudice is sin. It is a form of sin that has kept God‘s people in bondage for generations and has created an unnatural separation among them. But I believe it is time for change. God is looking for a generation courageous enough to climb over every dividing wall.

Isaiah 61:1-3 tells us that the Messiah’s ministry involves delivering people from prisons of various kinds. He was anointed to “preach good news to the poor,” “bind up the brokenhearted,” “proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,” “comfort all who mourn” and to “bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (NIV). Those He delivers, or rescues, will “rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated. They will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations” (v. 4).

We as believers are among those Jesus has “rescued,” and I believe we have a responsibility to cooperate with God in His healing process by rebuilding ruins in our family and cultural heritage that have been devastated for generations. We can be part of creating a new heritage for our descendants.

One of the ruins we need to rebuild is unconditional love and acceptance of others, even those who are different from ourselves—whether the difference is based on race, ethnic background, education, denominational affiliation or any other factor. Generational prejudice—prejudice that has been passed down from generation to generation—has come out of this ruin, and it is the worst form of bondage. It occurs when we not only accept but also propagate the unscriptural, prejudicial ways of thinking that our ancestors espoused.

Let me give you an example from my own family. My grandmother was a godly woman in many ways, and I loved her—but she was also very prejudiced. I want to pass down her godly traits to the next generation, but not her prejudice! So I have made a conscious choice to reject her way of thinking and refuse to propagate it in our family line.

The Bible gives us an early example of prejudice in the book of Exodus. God had delivered the family of Jacob through his son Joseph, who became second in command of all Egypt. But after Joseph’s generation died, a new pharaoh came to power. Because the Israelites were prospering and multiplying, the Egyptians became afraid, “so they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor” (Ex. 1:11).

What was the origin of the prejudice? The more numerous and strong the Israelites became, the more frightened the Egyptians became of them. Prejudice almost always stems from fear and ignorance.

Another contributing factor is low self-esteem. A study done by the Anti-Defamation League determined that people who feel good about themselves and have strong self-esteem are less likely to be prejudiced than those who don’t.

Those with stronger self-esteem, those who know their own identity—especially those who know their identity in Christ—do not need to put others down so that they can feel lifted up. We can be comfortable getting down on our knees in front of one another and—figuratively, if not literally—washing one another’s feet.

Why Prejudice Has a Hold On Us

Generational prejudice has a strong hold on our society for two reasons. First, it is too rarely acknowledged. We aren’t able to discern it in ourselves—or are too proud to admit it.

When was the last time you heard someone say, “I have a problem with prejudice”? How often do you hear a believer admit to having the problem? Even though it is one of the biggest problems we have, if we asked, in a large group, how many people deal with this issue, very few hands would go up.

If I had ever said to my dear grandmother, “Nanny, you are prejudiced,” she would have vehemently denied it. In fact, she might have told me to go cut myself a switch for accusing her of such a thing. She would have been unable to acknowledge it because she didn’t see it in herself.

What I know as prejudice, she saw as simply “the way she was.” We all use this excuse. “This is just the way my people are.” “This is the way my grandmother was, this is the way my mother was, this is the way all my brothers and sisters are, and this is the way I am.”

And God says to us by His Holy Spirit: “And it is sin.”

There are Christian homes all over the United States in which believers use slang and slurs in their home for other races, never thinking for one minute that their behavior in this regard is incongruent with the rest of the way they live their lives. They don’t acknowledge that prejudice is a problem, but it has a big cost.

Because God despises prejudice, I believe that where it is present, it quenches the activity of the Holy Spirit. If people remain prejudiced, they will not experience the abundant life that comes to those who choose to be free.

The second reason prejudice has such a strong hold is that it is too widely accepted—even in the church. In fact, I believe prejudice is more prevalent in the church than outside it! We’re so exclusive in our denominations that we continue to remain separate.

Prejudice is acceptable in the workplace too. You can’t be in a workplace long before it comes up in one way or another, particularly in casual conversations and often through stories or jokes. But we need to face the fact that prejudice is not funny.

Being Part of the Solution

When we begin to see the prevalence of prejudice, we may feel as if we are so much in the minority that we hesitate to speak up. But if we’re going to stand for Christ, we’re going to have to start objecting when we observe prejudicial attitudes or behavior.

Ephesians 4:15 says that a sign of Christian maturity is to be able to speak the truth in love. As mature believers, we have to get more vocal about the wrong and the sin of prejudice.

The time is fast approaching when we can no longer remain silent. To remain silent is to remain part of the problem. I believe we can, through the Holy Spirit, come to a place of speaking the truth in love and exhibiting zero tolerance for prejudice.

What would happen in our homes and at work, in school lunchrooms, in break rooms—wherever we find ourselves—if we began to practice zero tolerance for prejudice? I don’t think we would get fired if we said, “You know, I’m not comfortable with this conversation” or “I don’t agree with that” or “I really don’t want to hear that” when people are making prejudicial comments.

And we can let our children know we mean zero tolerance by modeling it ourselves and instructing them to do the same. We can teach them to say, when they are playing with other children who display prejudicial behavior, “This is a zero tolerance home. We do not tolerate prejudice in this home.”

If we adopted the attitude of zero tolerance, can you imagine how things would begin to change? This is our opportunity.

We can stand back and resist some things and remain silent, but prejudice is not one of them. It’s too big. It’s going to take an aggressive attack, a proactive attack to make the enemy back off from pitting us against one another.

We’ve got to begin to open our mouths and speak the truth in love. We’ve got to break free. The reason we don’t is that we don’t know one another. When we begin to know one another, we’ll know the stereotypes are not true.

Though prejudice may be natural, like other practices of our flesh nature, it is sin. In our lives it has absolutely no place. In the world it will be present until Christ comes because it is a spiritual problem, and the world lacks the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome it. But Jesus has overcome the world and given us the power to conquer all the works of the enemy.

The biggest obstacle in overcoming prejudice is our questioning who is to blame. We ask, “Where does fault lie in this whole situation?” Particularly if we ourselves are not prejudiced, we resist taking responsibility.

The Bible explains the dilemma. Jeremiah 32:18 says of the Lord, “‘You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the fathers’ sins into the laps of their children after them.'”

Prejudice may not have originated in our hands, but it’s in our laps. We didn’t initiate it; our parents passed it to us.

But we can be part of the undoing of prejudice. The Bible calls it “rebuilding the ancient ruins.” God didn’t say we’d move on to a new place; He said we can go back and rebuild what is in disrepair. Beloved, in our country and culture, prejudice is the outgrowth of ancient ruins.

What Can We Do? 

After I came out of the closet as a victim of childhood abuse a number of years ago, people asked me what they can say to others who have experienced that kind of trauma. I told them, “When someone has gone through a terrible time, the most wonderful thing to hear is simply, ‘I am so sorry that happened to you.'”

I believe we can begin the healing process related to prejudice by saying to one another, “I am so sorry this has happened.” Though prejudice is rampant throughout our culture, we can say we’re sorry for the hatred we have perpetuated.



U.S. Militants Jailed for Internet Threats Still Posting from Prison.

American Islamist militants jailed for threatening violence over the Internet are still posting political writings on the Web — while serving time in federal prison.

Jesse Curtis Morton, a convert to Islam who writes under the name Younus Abdullah Muhammed, posted a lengthy tract opposing U.S. drone policy, on May 21, on the website that he launched in 2010.

Morton is serving a prison term of more than 11 years in a Pennsylvania federal prison after pleading guilty in 2012 to conspiring to solicit murder, make threatening communications and “use the Internet to place others in fear.”

Morton, from Brooklyn, New York, and previously a student at Columbia University, was jailed for threatening the writers of the satirical television show “South Park” for their depiction of the Prophet Mohammed in a bear outfit.

Morton wrote in his latest essay that U.S. use of lethal drones against al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Yemen had encouraged homegrown Islamist extremism.

“The drone assassination of Anwar Awlaki in Yemen, an Islamic preacher with tens of thousands of ardent Western followers, has yet to be avenged but his popularity has only risen after death,” Morton wrote, referring to the American Muslim preacher killed in a 2011 U.S. drone strike in Yemen.

Another American militant, Zachary Chesser, who was found guilty of conspiring with Morton to encourage attacks via the Internet on the creators of “South Park,” has also posted material while in prison. His postings appear on another website and mainly air personal grievances, along with some political material.

Chesser is serving a 25-year prison sentence in Marion, Illinois, for the “South Park” case and for attempting to join the Somali militant group al Shabaab.

Neither Morton nor other representatives of IslamPolicy responded to a request for comment sent to an email address posted on the website. A telephone number posted on the site was out of order.

Lawyers for Morton and Chesser did not respond to requests for comment.

Under free-speech guarantees in the U.S. Constitution, federal authorities cannot impose blanket bans on such postings by convicts, although email access is limited for prisoners, and messages inciting violence are prohibited.

Morton and Chesser were involved in running the now defunct website

That was linked to a U.S. affiliate of banned British group Al Muhajiroun, whose followers have included a man arrested for the brutal killing of a British soldier in London last week.

Since federal prisoners are allowed to transmit closely vetted email messages via special channels only to a small list of approved recipients, it is possible that messages and essays by prisoners such Morton and Chesser first went to some of those recipients, who then arranged for posting on the Internet.


Officials said they did not know precisely how Morton and Chesser arranged for the posting of their messages.

“Their communications with the outside are limited to approved contacts only and subject to careful monitoring and review to ensure that they do not facilitate criminal activity or pose a threat to the public or the correctional facility,” said Dean Boyd, a Justice Department spokesman.

“While we may disagree with some opinions expressed by inmates in their limited communications to approved contacts outside prison, we may not prosecute individuals for speech protected under the First Amendment,” Boyd said.

U.S. law enforcement sources said authorities would likely move quickly against Morton if Internet materials posted while he is in prison directly encouraged violence.

Morton apologized after his sentencing in 2012 and his most recent writings are not extremist by Islamist militant standards. They are mostly musings on the role of Islam in Middle Eastern political life.

A senior U.S. law enforcement official said Morton’s current website was still important among U.S. militants, although Morton had toned down his writings.

Older material still accessible on the site includes communiques from Afghanistan’s Taliban group, videos promoting the views of Abdullah al Faisal, a Jamaican imam who was jailed by British authorities in 2003 for soliciting the murder of Jews and Hindus, and exhortations including, “No peace with the Jews!”

“It is surprising and ironic that two individuals, whose extensive online activity influenced and inspired a wide network of would-be jihadists, are still able to reach those audiences from prison,” said Oren Siegel, director of the Center on Extremism at the Anti-Defamation League.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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