Graphic Novel Declared A Terrorist Operation By US Government, Advance Money Seized (Techdirt)
Friday December 21st, 2012
This story is almost too bizarre to believe. Journalist David Axe wrote a graphic novel about "the Lord's Resistance Army" rebel group in the Democratic Republic of Congo (which many people may be aware of due to the controversial viral "Kony 2012" story from earlier this year). No matter what you think of the situation with Kony, it seems bizarre that the book itself (which is just about Kony) should be declared a product of a terrorist organization and the money associated with it frozen. But... that's apparently what happened.
In 2010 I went to the Democratic Republic of Congo to report on the Lordís Resistance Army rebel group. In 2011 I wrote a graphic novel script based on my reporting and artist Tim Hamilton agreed to draw it. Cartoonist Matt Bors edited the story and early this year the Dutch Website Cartoon Movement serialized the art online, following which book publisher Public Affairs acquired the paperback rights. And last month, the federal Office of Foreign Assets Control confiscated the majority of the advance payment, claiming that we were laundering the money for onward transfer to a terrorist organization. This seems like a massive overreaction by the US government (and, perhaps, a First Amendment violation). The graphic novel appears to be a journalistic account of Joseph Kony's actions in central Africa:
Yes, you read that right: the feds believe Tim and I are terror financiers.
In the press release that Axe and Hamilton sent out about this, they were told that book's title, Army of God, "threw up a red flag." You would think that once that red flag went up, some bureaucrat somewhere would then have looked at the damn book and realized that it's not some terrorist conspiracy. I guess that's too much to ask.