Regular readers of the New Media Journal know that for several years I have been agitating for someone, preferably a 501(c)(3) organization, to fight CAIR (the Council on American-Islamic Relations) in the only forum where it can’t run and hide, and where there are objective rules that CAIR must play by: in the courts of the United States.
At that time CAIR was in the news because it supported the spurious “civil rights” lawsuit engineered by the “flying imams” against US Airways. In essence, the action contends that the airline violated the imams’ “rights” by bouncing them off a flight because of their seemingly threatening conduct.
Just the other day, U.S. District Judge Ann Montgomery—an appointee of President William Jefferson Clinton some ten years ago—ruled in a 41-page opinion that it is “dubious” a reasonable person would conclude from the facts alleged in the complaint that the imams were about to interfere with the aircraft or crew. Accordingly, the judge ruled that the plaintiffs stated a plausible claim that Metropolitan Airports Commission officers violated the imams’ constitutional rights (whatever they were).
Putting aside for another time whether Montgomery’s ruling is defensible and whether a jury should have the power to determine “reasonableness” or “unreasonableness” in the context of national security, this lawsuit must be seen for what it is: yet another move in the national security chess game by which CAIR, using the threat of lawsuits and actually suing, seeks to silence all those in the United States who oppose the Islamic agenda for America.
As I have written before, wrapping itself in the flag, invoking the Constitution, and hiding beneath its veneer of a self-styled “civil liberties” organization—modeled on its anti-American mentor and template, the American Civil Liberties Union—CAIR is the preeminent domestic mailed fist of Islam in the velvet glove of purported civil liberties.
Whatever its other activities, CAIR is using the American legal system to intimidate the exercise of free speech, to undermine our homeland defense, and to advance Muslim cultural infiltration of our domestic institutions by seeking special dispensations concerning dress, national holidays, educational textbooks, the content of books, movies, and television, and more.
In addition to its incessant intimidating complaints about the alleged violation of “Muslim Civil Liberties,” CAIR sued the website Anti-CAIR for $1.35 million for “libelous defamation.” It went after a congressman because of a statement he made to a reporter that the organization was supporting a fund-raising arm of a foreign terrorist organization. The CAIR-supported Global Relief Foundation, Inc. sued media defendants for reporting that GRF was a target of a federal investigation into funding for terrorism.
CAIR sued even the Attorney General of the United States and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, challenging the constitutionality of a Patriot Act document production section. It allowed the FBI to apply to the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court “for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, or other items) for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.”
Making common cause with the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations that allegedly conducted regular international telephone and internet communications, CAIR sued the government in a challenge to the National Security Agency's formerly secret program for warrantless interception of international telephone and internet communications.
CAIR and others sued the Department of Justice seeking information about people who had been detained in connection with the government’s investigation of the September 11, 2001 attacks, and the organization filed a friend-of-the-court brief in a civil case involving a body’s disinterment from a cemetery because, it claimed, the trial judge failed to consider the Islam religion’s bar on disinterment of dead bodies.
In one of its most successful notorious intimidations, CAIR forced Fox TV to insert a mollifying pro-Muslim statement by actor Kiefer Sutherland as a preface to an episode of its patriotic, anti-terrorist hit show “24.”
Now, thanks to a Clinton federal judge, CAIR’s pawns will—unless the defendants chicken out and settle, which would be a shame—get to a jury on whether the airline acted prudently or violated some spurious constitutional right(s) of the misbehaving imams.
It’s obvious that CAIR, with its national headquarters in Washington, 32 offices nationwide and in Canada, national conferences, professional publicists, slick annual reports, and a formidable litigation operation, is receiving substantial financial support from sources that share its agenda of intimidating Americans’ exercise of speech critical of Islam, weakening our homeland defense, and infiltrating our culture.
The considerable funding for CAIR and its dogged determination to push its “Muslim Civil Liberties” agenda to the limit raises the question of how the organization’s well-financed intimidation and litigation operation can be fought, as it must be.
When CAIR first began its program of intimidation and litigation, I proposed that it be countered with a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity that could raise tax-deductible contributions for the sole purpose of fighting CAIR in courts throughout the United States.
Except for a few lawyers who welcomed the idea and volunteered to help, there was no interest. There is still no interest.
My decades-long experience as a practicing constitutional and appellate lawyer told me then, and continues to tell me, that the necessary anti-CAIR, pro-America legal talent is available—and much of it is probably available on a pro bono basis
Why, then, hasn’t this happened?
There are at least two main reasons.
One is simple ignorance. Individuals and organizations that possess the ability to support such an undertaking apparently don’t realize the threat CAIR poses as it uses the American legal system to intimidate the exercise of free speech, to undermine our homeland defense, and to advance Muslim cultural infiltration of our domestic institutions by seeking special dispensations concerning dress, national holidays, educational textbooks, the content of books, movies, television, and more.
The other reason is fear. So far, CAIR’s intimidation/litigation strategy has worked. I know personally individuals and organizations who reasonably calculate that anything they do openly to oppose CAIR will embroil them in a costly, unpredictable legal system. They are, of course, correct.
That said, however, unless enough stalwart Americans — funders and lawyers alike —defend CAIR’s would-be victims, this self-styled “Muslim Civil Rights” organization will continue, unchallenged and successfully, to intimidate and litigate in pursuit of its Islamic agenda.
What CAIR is up to isn’t new, and even a brief look back at how the legal left has tried to
use the American legal system illustrates where the “Muslim Civil Rights” organization
For decades, the legal left tried to use the courts in furtherance of their pro-Communist and anti-American agenda. For example, a gaggle of Congressmen sued over the legality of providing military aid to El Salvador (Crockett v. Reagan). English ladies, joined by American Congressmen Ron Dellums and Ted Weiss, sued to enjoin the deployment of cruise missiles in the women’s town. (Greenham Women v. Reagan). Another group of legislators sued to declare the invasion of Grenada unconstitutional. (Conyers v. Reagan). Still other Congressmen sued to force President Reagan to file status reports under the War Powers Resolution. (Lowry v. Reagan). An “ordinary citizen” sued to block military action in Gulf War I. (Pietsch v. Bush). Traitors like Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, who gave aid and comfort to the North Vietnamese Communists, were counseled by the legal left about how they could travel to Hanoi while avoiding prosecution. Regrettably, they succeeded.
Immediately after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the legal left morphed into a pro-terrorist, anti-American Fifth Column, and aimed their considerable firepower at our government’s attempts to defend America (The Encarta Dictionary defines “fifth column” as meaning “any group of people who give aid and support to the enemy from within their own country.” Those who do are called “fifth columnists.”)
The legal left has now been joined by CAIR’s formidable financing and its ability to purchase all the legal talent it needs to advance its goals. (Some lawyers have no conscience.)
Apart from the Department of Justice, in cases involving the government, who will oppose CAIR?
To be sure, there are some fine conservative and libertarian organizations that litigate on behalf of legitimate personal and property rights issues, among them Judicial Watch and the Institute for Justice. But they have their own defined portfolios, and none of them has the sole mission of fighting CAIR in the courts.
In my earlier article in this Journal, the last point I made was: “This, then, leaves us to paraphrase English King Henry II, speaking of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury (“Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?”): who will rid the American people of this metastasizing ersatz civil liberties organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations?”
Unfortunately, even though radio talk show host Michael Savage has taken on CAIR by suing that agent of Islamic fascism in a California federal court, that lawsuit will probably have no impact on CAIR because the complaint is ill-conceived and ineptly executed.
Before Savage could sue CAIR the organization had to somehow violate his personal rights. Savage had no contractual relations with CAIR, so he had no breach of contract claims. CAIR committed no tort (an intentional or negligent “civil wrong”) against Savage—for example, as a public figure Savage couldn’t successfully bring a claim for libel or slander. There were no violations of Savage’s constitutional rights.
That left it to Savage to find a federal statute to hang his hat on, one that CAIR might plausibly have violated.
Savage’s lengthy and prolix federally-based claim alleges copyright infringement (which the complaint styles as “trademark infringement”).
There are the usual and necessary allegations of who are the plaintiff (“Michael Savage”) and defendants (“Counsel [sic] on American-Islamic Relations, Inc. and Does [as-yet-unnamed defendants] 1-100”).
Although paragraph 6 alleges that “[t]his lawsuit concerns the infringement of the copyright to the October 29, 2007 show wherein a dramatic, meaningful and powerful segment of the Savage Nation was and continues to be expropriated by defendant, CAIR . . . ,” the complaint contains many allegations that have little or nothing to do with a statutory copyright infringement claim.
For example, Savage’s complaint alleges that “CAIR is a tax exempt corporation which is self anointed as the representative of the civil rights of Muslim Americans,” that “CAIR is not a civil rights organization and never has been.,” that CAIR was and is a political organization that advocates a specific political agenda.”
Paragraph 29 of Savage’s complaint alleges that “[t]he conduct of CAIR (in addition to raising money) in violating the copyright interests of Michael Savage was to gain media attention and control so that CAIR would be seen as the ‘moderate’ voice in the media. In fact CAIR is a radical voice that deliberately attempts to be seen as centrist so that media time goes to CAIR and once on the air, CAIR directs its rhetoric to the benefit of its extremist clients. This is a deliberate tactic and the theft of the copyright material was part of a pattern and practice advancing this tactic.”
In addition to the complaint railing against CAIR as a non-civil rights political organization, it raises legal issues that have nothing to do with a federal statutory copyright claim, mixing references to the United States Constitution and the Bible.
For example, paragraph 28 of the complaint alleges that “Michael Savage’s right to speech is protected by both the First Amendment and in Savage’s view is also biblically required. ‘Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy?’ (Amos 3:7-8). It is essence of freedom that voices can be raised strongly and without fear of illegal retaliation. CAIR attempted to silence Michael Savage by stealing his work, misrepresenting it and then seeking to have advertisers drop his show. This is a violation of Michael Savage’s rights to speech and to his religious beliefs.”
There’s more, making Savage’s complaint read more like a hysterical screed than a legal claim propounded in a federal court. (The entire complaint can be viewed at http://www.savage-productions.com/Savage_CAIR_suit.html .) Indeed, reading that document raises the question of how much input Savage himself had into its drafting.
This said, however, if a charitable federal judge can somehow mine out of the morass that is Savage’s complaint, and if the talk show host can survive a CAIR motion for summary judgment grounded in the doctrine of fair use, his lawsuit may have some small value by opening up CAIR to the kind of discovery that might further expose that organization as what Savage and others know it is. For example, I have written previously that “CAIR is the preeminent domestic mailed fist of Islam in the velvet glove of purported civil liberties.”
As well intentioned as Savage’s lawsuit may be, its loud, amateurish, and probably doomed attempt to silence CAIR may well add to the organization’s aura of invincibility. It will be bad enough if that happens, let alone that it was Michael Savage who made it possible.