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Subject: Libel Madness
Jimme    8/9/2007 12:46:29 AM
I read an interesting article in todays NY post, concerning UKs Libel Laws and Saudi's abuse of them to cover up any of there Terrorism financing. *************************** SAUDIS SUE FOR SECRECY By RACHEL EHRENFELD Banned in Britain: Ehrenfeld's book. Banned in Britain: Ehrenfeld's book. PrintEmailDigg ItRedditPermalinkStory Bottom August 8, 2007 -- THE Saudis' efforts to keep a veil of secrecy over their sup port for al Qaeda and Hamas got a shot in the arm last week, as a British publisher opted to suppress a controversial book on the financing of terror. Facing the mere threat of a lawsuit from Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz, Cambridge University Press agreed to pulp all the unsold copies of "Alms of Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World," issue a public apology to Mahfouz and pay his legal expenses and substantial undisclosed damages. The prestigious publisher - the world's oldest publishing house - had carefully vetted the book before publishing it last year. Yet now it has asked more than 200 libraries worldwide to pull the work off their shelves. Bin Mahfouz never sued the authors, J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins, both U.S. citizens, who had provided their publisher with all the sources to back their allegations that bin Mahfouz, his family and his former bank, the National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia, funded Hamas and al Qaeda. Yet Cambridge University Press still caved - and even asked the authors to join its apology to bin Mahfouz. (They rightly refused.) Since March 2002, bin Mahfouz has sued or threatened suit in England at least 36 times against those who've linked him to terrorism, including many American authors and publications. Everyone settled with bin Mahfouz - except me. He sued me in London in January 2004, shortly after my book "Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed - and How to Stop It" was published in the United States. I refused to acknowledge a British court's jurisdiction over a book published here; the court then ruled in bin Mahfouz's favor by default. It enjoined British publication of "Funding Evil," awarded bin Mahfouz $225,900 in damages and expenses and ordered that I publicly apologize and destroy the book. I still refuse to acknowledge the British Court and its ruling. *************************** There are a few very disturbing things with what this article mentions 1. Such need for caution about what authors write about will seriously affect there ability to tell things as they are especialy when exposing the wrong doings of rich powerfull and influencial people. 2. The ability for a court to force books and truthful information off shelves is incredibly troubling, reminds me of the dark ages. 3. The Idea of a UK court thinking it has the authority to do the above to a book PUBLISHED in the US and to demand an apology from its author is INSANE! Especially when doing so would fly in the face of the US First Constitutional Amendment. I have a question, what exactly protects a UK citizens freedom of speech ? How strong is that protection? And lastly, what do you guys think of this?
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paul1970       8/9/2007 5:16:10 AM
probably better to get more than one side of the story.....
5th down for this latest story.
but intially just from reading above initial post........ 35 settled... ie didn't think they could win a case in court. the 36th went to court and lost... so didn't have a good case then...
US law does not overule UK law (not yet) and so to publish in UK you need to follow UK laws....   UK laws on libel are stronger then US? (reaction to our pathetic redtop press) ie you can get away with more in US than you can in UK without proof.
I would be inclined to follow the no smoke without fire theory on this though and think he should be looked into further by the authorities. or has this already been done?
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swhitebull    The Most IMPORTANT Free Speech Case in 25 Years- Shopping Sympathetic Libel Courts Slammed   8/9/2007 7:04:01 AM
This is a case of shopping for sympathetic UK Libel courts to suppress and intimidate freedom of speech. The Ehrenfeld book was published in the United States, Mahfouz bought a copy of the Ehrenfeld book in the UK so that he could sue there, knowing that he would be laughed out of a US court, which he was. How does that give him the right to sue then? Only because of LIBERAL UK Libel laws and sympathetic courts.
Laundry list of articles:
The Fly in the Bin Mahfouz Ointment  
By Alyssa A. Lappen | 8/6/2007


U.K. libel laws and courts have been among Saudi Arabia’s most successful tools to veil its Islamic proselytization and terrorist funding. The Saudi operator is billionaire Khalid Bin Mahfouz, who has sued or threatened to sue some 36 U.S. and U.K. publishers and authors and was given default judgments in all of them.


But there is a new fly in bin Mahfouz’ Saudi ointment—an U.S. legal precedent established by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals on June 8, 2007. In 2003, U.S. investigative reporter and director of the American Center for Democracy, Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, published Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed--and How to Stop It.


Among other things, Funding Evil reported bin Mahfouz’ well-documented terror funding. As always after such reports, bin Mahfouz sued Ehrenfeld for libel in Britain. In the High Court, bin Mahfouz’ attorneys informed Justice David Eady that former CIA director R. James Woolsey had written the foreword for Funding Evil. “Say no more,” declared Eady. “I award you a judgment by default, and if you want, an injunction, too.”


Justice Eady then ordered Ehrenfeld to apologize, retract, pay bin Mahfouz $225,913.37 in damages and destroy copies of her book.


A fearless U.S. citizen, published in the U.S., Ehrenfeld ignored the British default judgement. Rather than respond to false claims of libel, never tried on their merits, Ehrenfeld applied to the Southern District Court of New York to rule the U.K. court judgment unenforceable in the U.S.


On June 8, 2007, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals justices unanimously found that Ehrenfeld’s case merits hearing in an U.S. federal court--and that the case has implications for all U.S. authors and publishers, whose First Amendment rights are threatened by foreign libel rulings.


The Second Circuit justices also took the unusual step of referring the matter of jurisdiction over bin Mahfouz to the New York Court of Appeals, the state's highest court --and underscoring its importance to other New York and

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swhitebull    One More Link   8/9/2007 7:26:47 AM
From the Islamic scholar Islamists Hate, Dr Daniel Pipes:{4E0569F9-9491-45BB-BA81-738175B1B526}
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swhitebull    We Have Our OWN Islamic Groups That Try to Suppress Exposure of their Terrorist Ties   8/9/2007 7:39:38 AM
This is about the attempt by the Council of American-Islamic Relations - an unindicted co-conspirator in a case of funding Hamas, and who claims to speak for all US Muslims - to silence its critics. They would be the equivalent of the UK Muslim Council in London (if I have my orgs correct):
CAIR vs. Robert Spencer  
By Jacob Laksin and Jamie Glazov | 8/9/2007


It is one of the oddities of American politics that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) can describe itself as a "civil-liberties group" while crusading to crush the free-speech rights of its critics. But that's exactly what happened last week when CAIR deployed its legal arsenal in a bid to stop author Robert Spencer from speaking at a conference of the Young America's Foundation (YAF).

In a letter to YAF dispatched by its lawyer, former Democratic National Committee staff counsel Joseph E. Sandler, CAIR threatened to "pursue every appropriate legal remedy" if Spencer were not immediately silenced. In the event, the YAF honorably refused to yield. The moral of the story: If CAIR disagrees with what you have to say, it'll fight furiously to deny your right to say it. To heck with civil liberties.

CAIR is not a first-time offender in this regard. Indeed, Spencer is only the most recent target of the organization's ongoing campaign to strangle free debate, especially when it turns on Islamic extremism. Other recipients of CAIR's wrath have included scholar Daniel Pipes, conservative columnist Cal Thomas, talk radio host Michael Graham, venerable news pundit Paul Harvey, National Review magazine, Fox's 24, and Andrew Whitehead, the proprietor of the website Anti-CAIR. In a telling example of CAIR's bullying tactics, Whitehead's dogged criticism of the organization got him slapped with a defamation suit. When CAIR's suit was decisively dismissed last year, the victory of an independent critic against the 32-chapter group, with its war chest filled by millions in petrodollars from Saudi royals and Gulf sheikdoms, had a certain David-vs.-Goliath resonance.

Not that CAIR's zeal to sue critics into submission has waned. Most recently, the organization has channeled its energies into harassing Zachariah Anani, a Lebanese Islamist turned Christian activist. For the intolerable offense of speaking out against militant Islam, CAIR's Canadian chapter has worked to have Anani, a Canadian citizen, brought up on hate-crimes charges. Offend CAIR's delicate sensibilities and you, too, can expect to hear from their lawyer.

It's bad enough that CAIR has appointed itself unofficial censor of debate about Islam. Equally galling is that the group routinely engages in the kind of sleazy defamation it so righteously claims to detest. In its letter to YAF last week, CAIR smeared Spencer as a "a well-known purveyor of hatred and bigotry against Muslims." If that's true, though, the organization might have been expected to provide some basis for this ostensibly "well-known" charge. CAIR offered not a shred of supporting evidence.

That is because no such evidence exists. Spencer, who heads the site and is the author of a recent biography of the prophet Muhammed, The Truth About Muhammed, is a reputable scholar who draws on Islamic sources to substantiate his work. Contrary to CAIR's objections, Spencer does not engage in theological polemics. He simply reveals what Islamic sources say.

Which calls forth the question: Why would a group that, by its own account, has no truck with Islamic militants, take such heated issue with an authority on Islam who is guilty of nothing more than highlighting those features of that religion that inspire and sanction Islamic terror? If CAIR was genuinely opposed to Islamic terror and wanted to bring Islam into the modern and democratic world, why wouldn't it embrace individuals such as Spencer? After all, Spencer's work equips Muslim moderates and reformers with the knowledge they need to confront the Islamic extremists in their midst. Armed with that knowledge, Islamic reformers who undertake the monumental challen

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swhitebull    A Partial History of Muslim Intimidation/Libel Lawsuits   8/10/2007 1:05:06 PM




More Overlooked History: The Muslim Libel Cases

By Jeffrey Breinholt

Two news flashes on August 1, 2007. First, the lawyers representing the so-called Flying Imams in their lawsuit against US Airways announced that they were not going after the unnamed passengers whose concerns prompted the men to be pulled off the Arizona-bound flight (here). I suppose that is good to know, now that the long-term policy implications of their lawsuit are about to justify (literally) an act of Congress. Second, Cambridge University Press announced that it was going to destroy all copies of the 2006 book Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World, in response to a libel claim filed in England by Khalid bin Mahfouz, a Saudi banker (here).

Connected? Absolutely. Each story involves people who do not like how information flows these days. Each chose litigation as the means to try to get their way.

Should we be surprised? Hardly. History is replete with examples of sensitive people trying to stop communication that is inconvenient to them. When I was a Utah prosecutor in the 1990s, I recall a Mormon DA who drove around Salt Lake City one night stealing all of the copies of the free underground newspaper, which had him in bed (figuratively) with the controversial town mayor. History is also full of cases by Islamic organizations and individual Muslims who try to use Western litigation to stop the fountain of knowledge. When it comes to the legal merits, they almost never win. When the dismissal happens, they try to claim it was all a silly misunderstanding.

The remarkable thing is that my brethren in the civilized legal profession remain willing to lend credence to these controversies by offering their services, given what is in the law books. The only thing more important to lawyers than billable hours is collecting on those bills, and these cases are consistent losers. Rather than explaining why, I will let the law books do the talking.

The Boston Herald reported on community concerns with the generous land deal between the city and the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB), based on suspicions that ISB had connections to terrorists in the Middle East. ISB sues the Herald and various people who provided it information for libel. Islamic Soc. of Boston v. Boston Herald, Inc.,21 Mass.L.Rptr. 441, Not Reported in N.E.2d, 2006 WL 2423287, Mass.Super. 2006.

A sitting U.S. Congressman finds himself having to explain why he has chosen not to run for re-election, after public reports that he and his wife are having marital problems. To redress public concerns, he speaks by phone to a reporter from the Charlotte Observer, and describes how living in Washington no longer appeals to him, especially across the street from the headquarters of the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) after the events of 9/11 and the rumor he heard that CAIR is a fundraising front for Hizballah. CAIR sues the congressman for libel. CAIR v. Ballenger, 444 F.3d 659 (D.C. Cir. 2006)

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL) posts a letter on its website calling for an investigation of Khadja Ghafur, the former superintendent of public charter schools, based on indications that public schools under his supervision are teaching religion and are associated with a controversial Pakistani organization. Ghafur sues the ADL for libel. Ghafur v. Bernstein, 131 Cal.App.4th 1230, 32 Cal.Rptr.3d 626, Cal.App. 1 Dist.,2005.

The New York Times and other news organizations report that Global Relief Foundation (GRF) is the target of an investigation based on suspicions of its terrorist fundraising. GRF sues the news organizations for libel. GRF v. NY Times, 390 F.3d 973 (7th Cir. 2003)

Radio personality Rick Dees makes some on-air statements that are offensive to Muslims. Durkhan Iqraa Jihad Mumin and two other people sue Dees and his station for libel. Mumin v. Dees, 266 Neb. 201, 663 N.W.2d 125 Neb. 2003.

America Online (AOL) permits chat rooms dealing with the the Qu’ran and the beliefs of Islam, and this generates posts that Muslims consider harassing and blasphemous. One Muslim visitor t

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Ehran       8/10/2007 3:21:48 PM
so in short the author sold her book in the UK and then when sued in the UK decided she did not "recognize" the authority of the UK court and decided not to bother defending herself in that court.
well duh if you don't show up in court the court decides in the other guy's favour.  whether or not they can collect the judgement depends on the treaty between the usa and britain on that sort of thing.  given she's gone to a court in the usa to get the uk judgement declared unenforceable it sounds like the treaty says pay the uk judgement.
more to the point to beat the uk charges she just needed to show up with the evidence to support what she said.  her failure to do so sounds more like she was short on evidence to support the book.
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swhitebull    Ehran   8/10/2007 4:59:21 PM

so in short the author sold her book in the UK and then when sued in the UK decided she did not "recognize" the authority of the UK court and decided not to bother defending herself in that court.


well duh if you don't show up in court the court decides in the other guy's favour.  whether or not they can collect the judgement depends on the treaty between the usa and britain on that sort of thing.  given she's gone to a court in the usa to get the uk judgement declared unenforceable it sounds like the treaty says pay the uk judgement.


more to the point to beat the uk charges she just needed to show up with the evidence to support what she said.  her failure to do so sounds more like she was short on evidence to support the book.

Ehran -  you are factually incorrect on several points.
1) the author didnt "sell her book" in England. I can buy a book over the internet regardless of its place of origins via, or other markets on the internet. THAT constitutes exactly what this Saudi sheikh did, thus constituting a transaction, and enabling his case. That is a totally different ball of wax than, say, PUBLISHING and distributing a book in a given country, which was done in the US. I could buy a French-published book online via the same means, read it here ONLINE, then sue in a US court because I read it HERE, even though the book was written and published in France. This Saudi guy did essentionally the same thing, and therefore used the generous British court system.
2) Ive read the book, and her references are open-source CIA, french Intel, etc. sources on this sheikh's activities.  Apparently you havent, nor the references Ive posted given the Saudi guys track record and modus operandi). Given he has billions, and she does not, it is NOT worth the effort to defend oneself and incur the costs of even winning a bogus/intimidation suit in the UK, which is what she chose not to do. Whether her facts are correct or not. THat is not the issue - the issue is INTIMIDATION and SUPPRESSION of FREE SPEECH. A fact to which I'm surprised you have not risen to HER defense, since that is one of YOUR main tenets on these boards.
3) Its a matter of jurisdiction. The US courts have now said - as cited above - that this sheikh has no jurisdiction, and that no US citizen need bend over to the UK court's ruling on an intimidation suit of this nature.
4) Im very surprised you arent chilled by this trampling on Freedom of Speech through intimidation by means of financial ruin. That the Sheikh has been able to find a sympathetic court in ENGLAND-  and that he COULDNT have brought the suit in the United States and won - is telling on the merits of his case. HE would have to have proved that he was libeled here, but in the UK, the burden of proof is on the defendant.
Look up the idea of SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation  or more colloquially, Malicious Public Prosecution) as well - they are illegal in many states here, for the very reason that they are used for intimidation, but they thrive in Europe. That is another tool used in this sheikh's arsenal (it was also used by Holocaust Deniers when people publish books or articles about their nefarious activities  (David Irving and Ernest Zundel  vs Deborah Lipstadt and Stephen Plaut, for example - they lost for filing frivolous lawsuits, btw).
It's all part of the same pattern of suppression of Free Speech by the Muslim financiers of terrorism, and the left in general.  Please say you're not in favor of these things-  it would dissapoint greatly to know that you are defending these despicable practices.
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Jimme       8/11/2007 12:38:38 AM
I believe people are missing the point

What business does a UK court have ordering an American author who wrote and published a book HERE in America, to destroy her book pull it off the selves  pay a  judgment and apologize?

US courts cannot violate a citizens constitutional rights yet this British court thinks it can?

Seriously you British should be concerned over this, not because of what it means for US authors but what it means for British authors.

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swhitebull    How NOT to Back Down From Islamic Intimidation - Go Yale!!! My Better Half's Alma Mater   8/16/2007 1:38:35 PM

A University Press Stands Up — and Wins

Yale University Press on Wednesday announced that a libel suit against it and one of its authors has been dropped, without any changes being made in the book or any payments to the plaintiffs. The book in question is about Hamas and comes just weeks after Cambridge University Press settled a libel case against it over a book about Islamic terrorism by promising to destroy remaining copies of the book.

The cases are notably different in that Cambridge was sued in Britain (where libel protections for authors and publishers are much weaker than those in the United States) and Yale was able to file motions in California courts, which have stronger libel protections for authors and publishers than much of the United States. But the fact that Yale took a strong legal stance on a book about Hamas is likely to cheer scholars of terrorism, some of whom have been deeply concerned that the Cambridge settlement would prompt other presses to back down if sued.

The book over which Yale was sued is Hamas: Politics, Charity, and Terrorism in the Service of Jihad, by Matthew Levitt, who is director of the Stein Program on Terrorism, Intelligence and Policy at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. While some observers have distinguished between Hamas’s terrorist activities and the group’s social service activities with Palestinians, Levitt’s argument is that they are in fact intertwined. Yale’s description of the book says: “Levitt demolishes the notion that Hamas’ military, political, and social wings are distinct from one another and catalogues the alarming extent to which the organization’s political and social welfare leaders support terror. He exposes Hamas as a unitary organization committed to a militant Islamist ideology, urges the international community to take heed, and offers well-considered ideas for countering the significant threat Hamas poses.”

The libel suit was filed in California in April by KinderUSA, a nonprofit group that says it raises money for Palestinian children and families, and Laila Al-Marayati, the chair of the group’s board. They sued over two passages and related footnotes in the book about charitable groups in the United States that the author believes are linked to terrorist groups. The U.S. government has investigated some Muslim charities in the United States for such links, but also said that such probes do not suggest that all Muslim charities have such links. The lawsuit specifically objected to this passage: “The formation of KinderUSA highlights an increasingly common trend: banned charities continuing to operate by incorporating under new names in response to designation as terrorist entities or in an effort to evade attention. This trend is also seen with groups raising money for al-Qaeda.”

According to the suit, suggesting that KinderUSA “funds terrorist or illegal organizations” was “false and damaging” and libelous. The suit also alleged that Yale “did not conduct any fact-checking” for the book. KinderUSA asked the court for an injunction on its request that distribution of the book be halted, and also sought $500,000 in damages.

Since the suit was filed, Yale has indicated that it and its author stood behind the book. (Levitt was out of town Wednesday and could not be reached.) But in July, Yale raised the stakes by filing what is known as an “anti-SLAPP suit” motion, seeking to quash the libel suit and to receive legal fees. SLAPP is an acronym for “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” a category of lawsuit viewed as an attempt not to win in court, but to harass a nonprofit group or publication that is raising issues of public concern. The fear of those sued is that groups with more money can tie them up in court in ways that would discourage them from exercising their rights to free speech. Anti-SLAPP statutes, such as the one in California with which Yale responded, are a tool created in some states to counter such suits.

In Yale’s response, it noted that KinderUSA has been reported to be the subject of investigation by federal authorities, that these investigations have received detailed press coverage (prior to the book), and that the views of the book were legitimate and contained no errors of fact that meet the test for libel. Yale noted that the book was subject to peer review and copy editing and that the author verified that he had fact-checked the book. A Yale editor certified that he had no knowledge that anything in the book was incorrect. Yale’s brief called the suit a “classic, meritless challe

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paul1970       8/16/2007 4:05:52 PM

I believe people are missing the point

What business does a UK court have ordering an American author who wrote and published a book HERE in America, to destroy her book pull it off the selves  pay a  judgment and apologize?

US courts cannot violate a citizens constitutional rights yet this British court thinks it can?

Seriously you British should be concerned over this, not because of what it means for US authors but what it means for British authors.

I think you miss te point that the suing was over publishing the book in Britain.... ie Cambridge Press...
the rules remain the same in Britain in that you have to be able to prove what you write... if Cambridge had thought that the "proof" for the books accusation was strong enough then they would have gone through to court and let the law settle it. their lawyers obviously thought they would lose the case and hence the settled.
I am not sure whether the UK or US has it right here. as much as I want people to say whatever they want in print. I also don't want them to be able to say anything without some burden of proof. if you look at what the UK press does to some people in the quest to sell newspapers then sometimes I think the UK law needs to be tightened up rather than made even more "liberal"
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