Companies that want to do business with the state of Ohio must now swear that they don't support terrorists.
Senate Bill 9, which took effect April 14, requires companies seeking state contracts to complete the Declaration of Material Assistance/Non-Assistance to a Terrorist Organization. This document asks whether a company has ever provided money or "communications, lodging, training, safe houses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel, transportation and other physical assets, except medicine or religious materials" to terrorists.
State officials are apparently aware that most people who give explosives to terrorists prefer to keep it a secret. Therefore the declaration doesn't allow for simply skipping a question.
"An answer of 'yes' to any question or the failure to answer 'no' to any question on this declaration shall serve as a disclosure that material assistance ... has been provided," it says.
Poor personnel decisions take on a whole new light under Senate Bill 9. If you've ever thought of giving a job to a deserving young guerilla or future suicide bomber, remember that these are hard times, requiring hard hearts.
"Have you knowingly ... hired or compensated a person you knew to be a member of an organization on the U.S. Department of State Terrorist Exclusion List or a person you knew to be engaged in planning, assisting or carrying out an act of terrorism?" the declaration asks.
Lest you answer too quickly, think of all the foreign militant groups you've given money or explosives to.
The U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations includes more than 100 names. Some, such as the Horror Squadron and the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, might be obvious no-nos.
But a careful review of company records is in order. The terrorist list also includes Al-Hamati Sweets Bakeries and People Against Gangsterism and Drugs. And you thought the government would want people to be against gangsterism and drugs! If only things could be so simple once again. If only a baklava could be just a baklava once more.
CityBeat has never hired a terrorist or given material support, including religious material and medicine, to a terrorist organization, according to Co-Publisher John Fox. CityBeat once gave a five-gallon jug of water to some anti-police brutality protesters camping out at the Hamilton County Justice Center (see "Viva Cincinnatistas," issue of June 7, 2001). But they aren't on the State Department's list.
An examination of the company's contracts, purchase orders, contributions to non-profit organizations and personnel records shows CityBeat is safe to carry advertisements for the state of Ohio. There is no terrorist activity here.
To save time for the state, the paper provides the attached list of other bad organizations that CityBeat hasn't supported. They might not be terrorists, but they're each terrible in their own way. ©