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The dissemination of critical information, however, is not the only harm caused by speech in the context of terrorism. Free expression allows organizations to persuade others to support the cause. They can draw attention to their aims and manipulate public opinion to reflect particular religious, political, social, military, and economic goals. The al Qaeda manual reads, "Islamic governments.., are established as they [always] have been by pen and gun[,] by word and bullet[,] by tongue and teeth.


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In Northern Ireland the Progressive Unionist Party and Ulster Democratic Party inject the aims of the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Ulster Defense Association into the political debate. The Provisional Irish Republican Army runs the Irish Republican Publicity Bureau. And left-wing organizations in the U.S. and U.K. in the 1970s issued lengthy, turgid prose that attempted to explain why they were doing what they were doing-an approach mimicked by the Unabomber in his manifesto,

If successful, this persuasive aspect may legitimate violence as a way of redressing grievances-a course of action contrary to the fundamental structure of liberal democracy. And media coverage may be complicit, as efforts to report in a neutral manner provide terrorists with a platform. The power differential between the state and the nonstate actors may encourage the media to go further, presenting those engaged in violence as underdogs in a broader struggle for self determination, freedom of religion, and other claims that resonate within liberal democracy.​

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