bye bye free speech in US?

Sundue, Michael MSundue at NYBG.ORG
Thu Mar 25 19:57:13 CST 2004


As currently interpreted, the act of editing is a "service," and therefore
conflicts with the economic sanctions that are imposed upon "rogue" nations.
As I understand, the American Chemical Society (ACS) and its affiliated
journals have decided to disregard this legislation.  They made the news a
couple of weeks back for their decision.

Michael Sundue
Milne Fellow
The New York Botanical Garden
200th St. and Fordham Rd.
Bronx, NY 10458-5126
718-817-8643

> -----Original Message-----
> From: carabid at MPM.EDU [SMTP:carabid at MPM.EDU]
> Sent: 24 March, 2004 5:56 PM
> To:   TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU
> Subject:      [TAXACOM] bye bye free speech in US?
>
>                   I was flabbergasted to recently learn from a colleague
> that the US government has decided that people in the US need a special
> license to edit or otherwise provide peer review for scientific articles
> produced by colleagues in various other countries such as Iran.
>
>                   Below is some information about this ruling from
> National
> Coalition for History notifications article at
> <http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=H-Announce&month=04
> 03
> &week=d&msg=DFGFHb2Kyf7OBzL23yD3kQ&user=&pw=>.
>
> The official U.S. ruling is at
> <http://www.ustreas.gov/offices/eotffc/ofac/rulings/ia100203.pdf>.
> Letter from Rep. Berman to Richard Newcomb, Director of OFAC to object to
> government rulings is at
> <http://www.house.gov/apps/list/speech/ca28_berman/newcomb_letter.html>.
>
>  My personal view is that this and possible further limitations on free
> speech will have a chilling effect upon science and indeed of course upon
> our right to speak as we please.  I believe we should be contacting our
> representatives and senators.
>
> Gerald R. Noonan Ph.D.
> Curator of Coleoptera
> Editor of Insight
> Milwaukee Public Museum
> 800 West Wells Street
> Milwaukee WI 53233
> e-mail: carabid at mpm.edu
> office telephone: (414) 278-2762
> fax: (414) 278-6100
> WWW homepage: <<http://www.mpm.edu/collect/gary.html>>
> Insight Publication Series homepage:
> <http://<http://www.mpm.edu/cr/insight/insighthome.html>>
>
>
> info about ruling-------------------------------------------------------
>
> Recently, the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)
>
> rendered a series of decisions concluding that peer reviewing and
>
> editing of works by authors who live or work in embargoed countries by
>
> U.S. publishers is against the law.  The decisions have significant
>
> First Amendment implications and already appear to be having a chilling
>
> effect on the publication of journal articles and books by authors
>
> living and working in such countries as Iraq and Iran. In a nutshell,
>
> the rulings and policy procedures they create makes the government the
>
> ultimate arbiter of what scientific and cultural information may be
>
> made available to the American public.
>
>
>
> In 1977, Congress enacted the International Emergency Economic Powers
>
> Act (IEEPA),  legislation that enables the president to impose
>
> sanctions on countries whose actions threaten American national
>
> security and to establish guidelines to regulate trade with hostile
>
> nations.  The law seeks to insure that when economic and other
>
> sanctions are imposed by the government, actions by American citizens
>
> will not assist enemies of the United States.  The penalties for
>
> violating the law are steep: fines up to $1 million and prison terms
>
> for up to ten years may be imposed.
>
>
>
> In 1988, Congress passed "the Berman Amendment" to IEEPA.  The
>
> amendment stipulates that transactions involving "information and
>
> informational materials" (i.e. printed materials including scholarly
>
> journal articles, videotapes, CD-ROMS, and other modern communications
>
> media) are generally exempt from such sanctions.
>
>
>
> Now though, the Treasury Department has taken the position that the
>
> Berman amendment does not exempt from regulation certain types of
>
> information.  For example, OFAC maintains that editors of publications
>
> may not edit or alter the works of a scholar who resides in a
>
> sanctioned nation (i.e. Iran, Cuba, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and the
>
> Sudan) as such revisions constitute a "substantive enhancement" to the
>
> originating author's work and thus create a "benefit" to a sanctioned
>
> nation. Critics maintain that on its face OFAC's interpretation of law
>
> is unconstitutional. Representative Howard Berman (D-CA), who wrote the
>
> amendment exempting informational materials, characterized the Bush
>
> administration's position as "patently absurd" (see
>
> http://www.house.gov/apps/list/speech/ca28_berman/newcomb_letter.html).
>
>
>
> According to OFAC, the government is to make a distinction between
>
> "works in being" and "works in progress."  Scientific, technical,
>
> scholarly, and popular works originating from sanctioned countries may
>
> be published provided manuscript materials do not deviate from a
>
> camera-ready version of an article or manuscript supplied by a
>
> scholar.  If a manuscript is edited or receives any "substantive
>
> enhancement," the work may not be published in an edited form unless it
>
> is approved and sanctioned under license from OFAC.  The agency also
>
> has determined that peer review of journal articles is permitted,
>
> provided that not even a comma is altered in the original
>
> document.  Critics declare this policy "makes a mockery of the
>
> editorial and peer review process."
>
>
>
> Academic publishers also assert that OFAC's interpretation of the law
>
> (especially the provision regarding the government's asserted licensing
>
> authority) "flaunts the freedom of the press guarantees provided by the
>
> First Amendment."  According to Peter Givler, executive director of the
>
> Association of American University Presses, "No publisher should ever
>
> be forced to seek government permission to make scientific and cultural
>
> information available to the American public."  Furthermore, Givler
>
> notes the irony that the ruling does not restrict what people in
>
> sanctioned countries may learn about the United States (information
>
> that arguably may have national security implications) but rather, what
>
> people in America may learn from historians, scientists, philosophers,
>
> poets, and novelists in other countries "are to be monitored and
>
> perhaps even banned."
>
>
>
> So what is being done?  One publisher known to have applied for a OFAC
>
> license in October 2003 -- the Institute of Electrical and Electronics
>
> Engineers -- has yet received a determination on its license request
>
> (for more information on the IEEE request, tap into http://www.ieee.org
>
> and click on the OFAC ruling news in the "IEEE News" section of the
>
> webpage). Congressman Berman continues to press the administration for
>
> a "reconsideration" of the ruling and publishing and scholarly
>
> organizations are considering their options, including filing suit in
>
> federal court to force a retraction of the policy.  We will keep
>
> readers posted on this issue as the situation develops.




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