Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The "legal Jihad" on Freedom of Speech

Brooke M. Goldstein, the director of the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum and the director of the Children's Rights Institute, here, on the legal Jihad on freedom of speech:

THESE SUITS REPRESENT a direct and real threat to our constitutional rights and national security. Even if the lawsuits don't succeed, the continued use of lawfare tactics by Islamist organizations has the potential to create a detrimental chilling effect on public discourse and information concerning the war on terror. Already, publishers have canceled books on the subject of counterterrorism and no doubt other journalists and authors have self-censored due to the looming threat of suit. For its part, CAIR announced an ambitious fundraising goal of $1 million, partly to "defend against defamatory attacks on Muslims and Islam." One of CAIR's staffers, Rabiah Ahmed, bragged that lawsuits are increasingly an "instrument" for it to use.

U.S. courts have not yet grasped the importance of rebuffing international attempts to restrain the free speech rights of American citizens.

This is troubling. The United States was founded on the premise of freedom of worship, but also on the principle of the freedom to criticize religion. Islamists should not be allowed to stifle constitutionally protected speech, nor should they be allowed to subject innocent citizens who talk to other citizens about issues of national security to frivolous and costly lawsuits.

__________

The fact is, I don't really understand enough about how the law in such cases works and what can be done to stem the tide of legal suits. If the plaintiffs' complaints are compatible with the letter and spirit of the law, how can they be curtailed? And isn't the danger in curtailing them greater than having them conclude in whatever manner that is compatible with the law?

I am guessing what will happen is that people will formulate their thoughts with extra care, making sure before writing anything that is hyperbolic or speculative that indeed their facts are irrefutable. This may harm journalists and writers, who have to rely many times on reported stories and verifications, who don't always have direct access to the information. It might actually engender better journalistic ethics. The only thing is, if free speech is suppressed by self-imposed constraints in the subject of Islamist extremes, but remains unhindered in other areas, then the public is being served only part of the picture, and may form positions which are ill-informed and self-damaging.

5 Comments:

At 10:08 PM EST, Anonymous nwo said...

great post Noga.

This tactic was developed by the Left in the US, the ACLU is famous for lawsuit racketeering, as are evironmental groups. The ACLU has been torturing small municipalities in the US with lawsuits of all kinds, especially anti Christian lawsuits. Other municipalities learn quick and get with the ACLU wishes so as to not be next in line at the courthouse, with legal fees they cannot afford. Its racketeering bully thuggery, all the way.

There is nothing you can do to curtail the lawsuits. Tort reform will help limit damage awards. But what needs to be done, which the Christian Right and other groups did in the US, was to take the battle right back at them. Firstly by creating legal foundations to protect free speech, which includes funding source for those without the finances to fight, and lawyers dedicated to the task, willing to champion those who probably wouldnt fight. But beyond that, is to scatter shot the Islamic Supremists and their organizations with lawsuits, so as to divert their resources from the jihad on the west to defending themselves. The best defense is a good offense.

You might be interested in the Michael Savage lawsuit vs CAIR using the RICO statutes, racketeering. He is setting up a free speech legal foundation, with the donations that his listeners have been pouring in.

 
At 10:18 PM EST, Anonymous nwo said...

To further the discussion on Michael Savages lawsuit, with racketeering charges...

Technically, its a weak lawsuit, on strictly legal basis. The trump card, though is a jury of 12 Americans. Additionally, awards against racketeering are not based solely on damages, but punitive as well.

Its a great strategy. This is the beauty of the "jury of your American peers."

 
At 10:50 PM EST, Anonymous nwo said...

"out of context" = PRICELESS!

Savage Vs. CAIR - FOX News Reports - Megyn Kelly

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7b8fE_amVKs

 
At 10:54 PM EST, Anonymous nwo said...

Oops.

I meant to post this video..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvT_QbkjS14

 
At 3:54 AM EST, Blogger Ateizm.org said...

Hi,

Ateizm.org, the most prominent Turkish web site on atheism was closed to its Turkish audience for the second time in December 2007 based on a legal action taken by a Turkish creationist named Harun Yahya.

The ban on ateizm.org in Turkey is yet another example of fundamentalist Islam gaining ground in a country survived as a secular democracy for well over half a century.

Ateizm.org needs your help.

Please help us spread the word to get this ban removed.

You may read the full story in the following blog:
http://creationistsbanatheism.blogspot.com/

Ateizm.org is still accessible outside Turkey at:
http://www.ateizm.org

 

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