Sunday, December 09, 2007

Libel Tourism as a Tool of Jihad

One of the preferred methods utilized by Islamic front groups to silence critics of Islam is the lawsuit. The deep pockets of the Saudi regime, along with the successful penetration of the governments and legal systems in most Western nations, make it relatively easy for Islamist lawyers to put the fear of Allah into their opponents.

Charles DickensEven if the writers themselves are courageous — and there is no denying the courage of people like Robert Spencer — publishing houses are all too eager to assume the dhimmi position. Since publishers are responsible to their shareholders, and bear the brunt of any legal expenses incurred in a court fight, it’s understandable that they tend to fold in the face of Wahhabi litigation.

Of all the Western nations, British libel laws the most generally favorable to the plaintiff. As a result, several recent successful libel cases originated in the British courts when attempting to target the writers’ works in the United Sates and other countries.

Roger Kimball, writing in his Pajamas Media column, has a fascinating insider’s look at the nature and extent of this “libel tourism”:

Last summer, Cambridge University Press announced that it would pulp all unsold copies of its 2006 book Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World by Robert O. Collins, a professor emeritus of history at the University of California, and J. Millard Burr, a retired employee of the State Department. Why? Because Khalid bin Mahfouz, a Saudi banker, filed a libel claim to quash the book. According to a story in The Chronicle for Higher Education [reg req’d], Cambridge instantly capitulated, paid “substantial damages” to Mr. Mahfouz, and even went so far as to contact university libraries worldwide to ask them to remove the book from their shelves. They seem to have been successful in their request: I have searched high and low for the book in academic libraries and public libraries and have found that, although it is listed as “not checked out,” it is nowhere to be found.

Suppressing books he doesn’t like seems to be a hobby of Mr. Mahfouz’s. His web site lists successful actions against three other books Reaping the Whirlwind: The Taliban Movement in Afghanistan, Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for Bin Laden and Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed—and How to Stop It. As Robert Spencer explained in The Washington Times, one notable feature of Mr. Mahfouz’s legal actions is that he has sued various American authors in Britain, where libel laws favor the plaintiff.
- - - - - - - - -
Britain’s libel laws have given rise to the phenomenon of wealthy “libel tourists,” who sue there on the slimmest British connection [e.g., the fact that a book may be available through Amazon.com] in order to ensure a favorable ruling. Mr. bin Mahfouz had the good fortune of having the case heard by Judge David Eady, who has a long history of strange rulings in libel cases — rulings that generally ran in favor of censorship and against free speech. In connection with another of these rulings in May 2007, British journalist Stephen Glover wrote: “Mr Justice Eady is beginning to worry me. Is he a friend of a free Press? There are good reasons to believe that he isn’t.”

In May 2005 Justice Eady ruled that Miss Ehrenfeld [Rachel Ehrenfeld is the author of the above-mention Funding Evil] must apologize to Mr. bin Mahfouz and pay over $225,000. This fine remains uncollected, and Miss Ehrenfeld sees no reason to apologize. Now she cannot travel to Britain, and her writing and research work has of course been banned there — thus preventing important information from reaching the public.

Miss Ehrenfeld countersued in New York, asking the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals for a declaration that the British judgment was contrary to the First Amendment and hence unenforceable on an American citizen. And on June 8, the appellate court handed down a landmark decision, ruling that Miss Ehrenfeld’s case was valid, and that she could appeal for relief from American courts in order to keep the British court order from being carried out in this country. Said Circuit Court Judge Wilfred Feinberg: “The issue may implicate the First Amendment rights of many New Yorkers, and thus concerns important public policy of the state” He also declared that the case had implications for all writers — since they, like Miss Ehrenfeld, could be subjected to harassment. This decision could also have great impact on the September 11 victims lawsuits, in which Mr. bin Mahfouz is also a defendant.

Mr. bin Mahfouz is not the only player in the libel tourism game, not by a long shot. Just yesterday, I heard that a complaint (scheduled to be heard in June in British Columbia) had been filed against the Canadian magazine Macleans. “London lawyer Faisal Joseph,” reports the London Free Press, “is leading a human rights complaint against Maclean’s magazine for publishing an article he says submits Muslim Canadians to “contempt and hatred.” And what article would that be? Why, an excerpt from Mark Steyn’s brilliant and terrifying book America Alone. Kenneth Whyte, the editor of Macleans, published 27 responses to Steyn’s article, but he was quite right to reject a demand that he publish, unedited, a five-page article by Muslim students. “I told them I would rather go bankrupt than let somebody from outside our operations dictate the content of the magazine.” Let’s hope it won’t come to that.

Mr. Kimball goes on to detail the campaign mounted against Mark Steyn’s writings in Canada. He includes this quote from Mark Steyn.

I can defend myself if I have to. But I shouldn’t have to.

If the Canadian Islamic Congress wants to disagree with my book, fine. Join the club. But, if they want to criminalize it, nuts. That way lies madness. America Alone was a bestseller in Canada, made all the literary Top Ten hit parades, Number One at Amazon Canada, Number One on The National Post’s national bestseller list, Number One on various local sales charts from statist Quebec to cowboy Alberta, etc. I find it difficult to imagine that a Canadian “human rights” tribunal would rule that all those Canadians who bought the book were wrong and that it is beyond the bounds of acceptable (and legal) discourse in Canada.

As I say, I find it difficult to imagine. But not impossible. These “human rights” censors started with small fry — obscure websites, “homophobes” who made the mistake of writing letters to local newspapers or quoting the more robust chunks of Leviticus — and, because they got away with it, it now seems entirely reasonable for a Canadian pseudo-court to sit in judgment on the content of a mainstream magazine and put a big old “libel chill” over critical areas of public debate. The “progressive” left has grown accustomed to the regulation of speech, thinking it just a useful way of sticking it to Christian fundamentalists, right-wing columnists, and other despised groups. They don’t know they’re riding a tiger that in the end will devour them, too.

Mark Steyn’s bestseller status will insulate him from this kind of mau-mauing, but less well-known authors and smaller publishing houses are more likely to cave in.

Mr. Kimball concludes his essay with this:

While everyone is busy humming “Let’s Not Be Beastly to the Muslims,” it is worth noting the word “Islamophobia” is a misnomer. A phobia describes an irrational fear, and it is axiomatic that fearing the effects of radical Islam is not irrational, but on the contrary very well-founded indeed, so that if you want to speak of a legitimate phobia — it’s a phobia I experience frequently — we should speak instead of Islamophobia-phobia, the fear of and revulsion towards Islamophobia.

Now that fear, I submit, is very well founded, and it extends into the nooks and crannies of daily life. Libel tourism is only one face of the phenomenon. It wasn’t so long ago, for example, that I read in a London paper that “Workers in the benefits department at Dudley Council, West Midlands, were told to remove or cover up all pig-related items, including toys, porcelain figures, calendars and even a tissue box featuring Winnie the Pooh and Piglet” because the presence of images of our porcine friends offended Muslims. A councilor called Mahbubur Rahman told the paper that he backed the ban because it represented “tolerance of people’s beliefs.” In other words, Piglet really did meet a Heffalump, and it turns out he was wearing a kaffiyeh.

[…]

Here is the novelty: Our new enemies are not political enemies in any traditional sense, belligerent in the service of certain interests of their own. Their belligerence is focused rather on the very existence of an alternative to their vision of beatitude, namely on Western democracy and its commitment to individual freedom and economic prosperity. Our new enemies are not simply bent on our destruction: they are pleased to compass their own destruction as a collateral benefit. This is one of those things that makes Islamofascism a particularly toxic form of totalitarianism. At least most Communists had some rudimentary attachment to the principle of self-preservation. In the face of such death-embracing fanaticism our only option is unremitting combat.

The problem with maintaining “unremitting combat” against Islam is that we are mainly fighting a cold war. The “hot” part of the war — IEDs in Iraq, Iranian nukes, bombs on buses, sarin in the shopping malls — is easy to see, and we can actually win some of those battles.

But the “cold” part of the war is the information component. Most people are unaware of the depth and scope of that aspect of the conflict, and that we are mostly losing it.

The enemy has penetrated our governments, our security agencies, our media, our lobbying organizations, and our school boards.

Political correctness has acted like the AIDS virus in the immune system of the Western world, leaving us open and vulnerable to the miscellaneous deadly strains of Islamic infection.

There is some cause for optimism, however: “libel tourism” can only silence professional writers. The pajama-clad amateurs, who make no money for their efforts, are immune to this threat.

Eventually other means will be used to shut us up — “hate speech” laws, state control of the internet, the acquiescence to the Islamic agenda by the major commercial blogging hosts, etc.

But we’re not there yet. There’s still a little time left.


Hat tip: LN.

27 comments:

1389 said...

Ever thought of turning the tables and using the UK libel laws to put the kibosh on those who are spreading vicious lies about us?

Alexis said...

1389:

That would require deep pockets. That usually means support from a state or from a billionaire.

Although such an endeavor would effectively become an abridgement of someone's freedom of speech, it may have some limited usefulness if the deep pockets behind Islamist hate literature could be targeted for libel. One of the key problems in Britain, though, is that the anti-hate laws, anti-blasphemy laws, and anti-libel laws are all enforced in a pro-Islamist direction; "anti-kaffir" hatred does not appear to be prosecuted nearly to the extent that "anti-Muslim" hatred is.

I am also a bit concerned that anti-Muslim censorship may become the moral equivalent of the "Beggar's March". (You can start it, but you can't stop it once it is started.) You wouldn't want anyone like a certain "intelligent quiet man of deep principle who is speaking from his conscience" to decide what is or is not "anti-non-Muslim bigotry".

Alexis said...

I don't think the word "Islamophobia" is necessarily an accurate expression of the counterjihad movement. Although the counterjihad movement does include its share of Islamophobes, the proper term ought to be "Islamosceptic".

I am sceptical about the accuracy of official history of early Islam. I am sceptical about Islamic religious claims. I am sceptical about the wisdom of appeasing Islamic imperialism. I am sceptical about any proposed "Caliphate". But am I scared of Islam?

No, I'm not particularly phobic about Islam. I'm irritated at the behavior of many Muslims. I'm angry at Islamists. I'm annoyed at attempts to abridge my freedom of speech. But honest opposition to Islamic imperialism need not be based on phobia; a simple understanding of history will suffice. Islam's legacy of the devshirme should be enough to lead a rational person to become suspicious.

So, while I respect that Baron Bodissey and Dymphna are Islamophobic and proud of it, I regard myself as an Islamosceptic, not as an Islamophobe.

1389 said...

Also see: CVF: Jewish Week: Ehrenfeld and the last stop on the libel tour

1389 said...

Alexis:

See Islamophobia vs. Islamomisia, Islamotedium for more about that...

Homophobic Horse said...

The phobia thing you describe was invented by the Frankfurt school, derived from Psychiatry. It was stipulated that anyone who resists Cultural Marxism be placed in a psychological "Iron Cage", their term not mine, by the use of mass psychology (fear of punishment and social disapproval). The effect is to reduce what a person may say about a subject to the level of perverted personal psychology. Which is entirely in accordance with the Frankfurt school opposition to truth and reality on the grounds of them being "Authoritarian" tools.

heroyalwhyness said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ethelred said...

Islam could very well be the last of the world's evil ideologies that have to be faced down.

Islam is a giant lie. Spend some time at Ali Sina's site. The ex-Muslims are the ones that really know what the 'religion' is about. Listen to them, instead of apologists like Ed Hussein, Karen Armstrong or John Esposito.

There can be no compromise with evil. Give Islam an inch and it wants a foot (or meter).

Charlemagne said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ln said...

> Alexis,

I guess you are an antinazi,
and not only a nazi-sceptic.
You might even be an anticommunist.
Coudn't you then just be an anti-islamist.
Must you speek greek to understand yourself?

Baron Bodissey said...

heroyalwhyness ---

Please don't paste long URLs into the comments; they make the post page too wide and mess up the appearance of the permalink page.

Use link tags; the instructions are at the top of the full post's comment section.

--------------------------

heroyalwhyness said...
from above:

"There is some cause for optimism, however: “libel tourism” can only silence professional writers. The pajama-clad amateurs, who make no money for their efforts, are immune to this threat.

Eventually other means will be used to shut us up — “hate speech” laws, state control of the internet, the acquiescence to the Islamic agenda by the major commercial blogging hosts, etc.

But we’re not there yet. There’s still a little time left."

****


. . .and time is running out rapidly. Between the UN attemting to take control of the web and our own government's profound ignorance of Islam - as demonstrated in the Presidential speech (link) given at the very first Iftaar dinner in 2002:

Tonight's Iftaar also sends a message to all Americans: our nation is waging a war on a radical network of terrorists, not on a religion and not on a civilization. If we wage this war to defend our principles, we must live up to those principles, ourselves. And one of the deepest commitments of America is tolerance. No one should be treated unkindly because of the color of their skin
OR THE CONTENT OF THEIR CREED.
No one should be unfairly judged by appearance or ethnic background, or religious faith. We must uphold these values of progress and pluralism and tolerance.

Baron Bodissey said...

Charlemagne ---

Please don't paste long URLs into the comments; they make the post page too wide and mess up the appearance of the permalink page.

Use link tags; the instructions are at the top of the full post's comment section.

--------------------------

Charlemagne said...
This is totally off topic but I just read this and couldn't help but shake my head at yet another attempt to shame a Western nation by utilizing its past against it:

link

Someone must be trying to open Portugal's doors to immigrants from Africa.

1389 said...

Alexis,

What about simply suing LGF and the assorted few bloggers who are helping CJ to do his dirty work in spreading lies about GOV, 910 Group, and the European counterjihadists?

I think that would be doable, and more than justified.

It might even have the outcome of getting the UK to change its libel laws - who knows?

Dymphna said...

Ethelred said...
Islam could very well be the last of the world's evil ideologies that have to be faced down.


I think the tenets of violence in Islamism will be replaced by some other "ism" -- that is how the world works. The absence of evil creates a vacuum into which some other embodiment of evil steps in and fills. After all, we thought that when the world convened for Versailles, when we did away with most of Nazism, and when the Berlin Wall fell, etc.

Evil is protean. I don't think Islam is evil, but I do think the extremists who have fundamentalised it are. Same goes for the fundametalisms of Christianity in their time.

As for what to call oneself in the battle against the current manifestation of evil, hoaw about "kaffircon"? It has the advantage of being for something rather than against it...

Second best for me, is the skeptic, one who is willing to leave the door open for further evidence.

I know too many Muslims who want the same things all the rest of us do to paint every living soul of them with the tarbrush.

Would I have the courage as a Muslim to try to swim against the flow in a sea of hatred? I doubt it: I'd know my fate ahead of time.

I'm a kaffircon vis-a-vis Islam. I am a goy vis-a-vis Judaism. Eh, so what...

Let us not add to the more than sufficient evils of the day thereof.

Homophobic Horse said...

"Tonight's Iftaar also sends a message to all Americans: our nation is waging a war on a radical network of terrorists, not on a religion and not on a civilization. If we wage this war to defend our principles, we must live up to those principles, ourselves. And one of the deepest commitments of America is tolerance. No one should be treated unkindly because of the color of their skin
OR THE CONTENT OF THEIR CREED.
No one should be unfairly judged by appearance or ethnic background, or religious faith. We must uphold these values of progress and pluralism and tolerance."


Even if the content of someones creed can have a remarkable effect on "the content of their character".

Bush has been taken in by cultural marxism, and by extension, hegelianism. Just like I have been saying now for some months.

Simone de Beauvoir (Cultural Marxism and extra-empirical Utopianist)

[On the elimination of the "category of the oppressed"]

Simone de Beauvoir: "Neither the aged nor women, nor anyone by virtue of their race, class, ethnicity or religion would find themselves rendered inessential.”

By rendered inessential, they mean alienated in its disturbing, anti-individual, Hegelian sense. From which we can reasonably conclude that Cultural Marxists:

1. Rely on the West as a laboratory for their ideas

1a. Deify the West (Deify in a Hegelian sense) by using it to unalienate people (into the grand realization of freedom) by "including" as many as possible (hence multiculturalism and the extra-utilitarian actor replacement being discussed here

2. Yet, despite requiring the West as a platform for their demented scheme, they will end up destroying it, as we have seen with Cultural Marxist BBC openly aiding Islamic terrorists.

Wimbledon Womble said...

I have a feeling that a new area of legal specialization is emerging. It is small, and we don't have Wahhabi/Salafist big bucks, but there are lawyers now who know a good deal about the legal jihadis and their tactics and are not afraid of taking them on. There will be more.

It would be wonderful if there were more who would take cases pro bono, but at least someone or some organization that is the victim of legal jihad can tap into lawyers with existing knowledge of this phenomenon.

There will be in the future more and more lawyers specialized in defending against frivolous Islamist lawsuits. They will know the tactics. They will know the standard arguments and be able to debunk charges of Islamophobia. They will have a database of dirt on CAIR and other Wahhabi subversive groups and be able to turn the tables, without charging the defendant so much for "research."

In a commonsense-based world, the laws would to change to take into account the particular litigiousness of "aggrieved" Muslims and the deep pockets they have either directly or indirectly with all the Gulf State-funded money pouring into Muslim "civil rights" groups.

Since the world is not commonsense-based, the legal field of defense against legal jihad will grow. It still will be expensive, but at least there will be lawyers trained in this area to defend those targeted by legal jihadis.

jeremy said...

So they get us both ways: either riot in the streets, threatening to behead the offenders, while so called police act like a protective cordon around them. Or they sue in courts, using or legal jurist "defenders" to advance their cause in the suppression of freedom. There is nothing phobic about fearing Islam, just look at the string of disaster countries flying the crescent!

Anonymous said...

I don't think Islam is evil, but I do think the extremists who have fundamentalised it are.

Could Dymphna perhaps point to the non-evil parts of Islam and explain how these parts are relevant to our understanding of Islam and whether we should consider it our enemy?

Chalons said...

Yes, I too would like to hear more about how Islam is not evil, for I have not seen what good it has brought to the world over the course of its history. The evidence suggests it's more of a curse on humanity than anything else.

Ethelred said...

To all,

First, the email option is extremely useful since one does not have to continuously monitor the site.

Islam without Muslims would just be a bad dream. The fact that 85% or 90% of Muslims around the world do not engage in active jihadism means nothing.

The same percentage of Muslims do not know Arabic and hence do not really know what is in the Koran, but rather mumble a few words X times per day and follow some rules in the hope Allah sends them to Paradise instead of torturing them infinitely in Hell.

However, as Hugh Fitzgerald has said many times in his erudite, witty and wonderfully long-winded way, we Infidels now have access to translations of the Koran, the Hadith and the Sira by Muslims, ostensibly to spread Islam by showing how wonderful it is.

You do NOT have to get buried in thousands of pages of scholarship, except maybe for someone like Muir who can tell you the chronological order of the surahs and what abrogation means.

When I said Islam is an alien mentality, I meant the word to mean "so different from own as to be incomprehensible." There is no Golden Rule in Islam. Morality as we know it does not exist. Since Muhammad is "The Perfect Man" of the "highest morals" how he lived is taken to be the example FOR ALL TIME and since he consummated his marriage to Aisha when she was 9 years old (for example), this is considered good.

Listen to the ex-Muslims, the apostates. Ibn Warraq says that any achievements that have occurred in Islamic civilization over the centuries is despite Islam not because of it. In Islamic theology, Allah is bound by nothing and hence the sun might rise in the west tomorrow if He so wills it. Thus the universe has no rules, and it is blasphemous to try to understand Nature. What does that do to a mind?

As far as Western compassion goes, Ali Sina has written the "fully believing" Muslims do not qualify as human beings since they lack any compassion AT ALL for the Infidel whom they consider as non-human.

THIS is what we have let into our world. It is obvious that I, as an American, cannot tell Europe how to deal with the problem. The infection in the US is but a minor annoyance at the moment, unless you are an Infidel trying to live in Dearborn, Michigan.

The infection in Europe is reaching the critical stage and it is unclear whether an amputation or a total bone marrow transplant is needed for the cure.

My suggestion of treating Islam as primarily a political ideology rather than a religious ideology was for expedience. Saying NO to the increasing demands of Muslims is going to be increasingly necessary.

In the West, religion is an interior, internal, introspective thing. Islam treats the entire world as a mosque. Everything stops 5 times a day in Saudi Arabia, and Muslims here are ultimately demanding that the same happens here - plus foot baths, toilet direction, and on and on.

This is all well and good in an Islamic land that is a Sharia paradise. Just not here.

If it were not so serious, I would be laughing at people like Ed Hussein, Karen Armstrong and John Esposito, who continually try to tell us that what we can read for ourselves does not mean what it says.

Understand, I am glad that Hussein is no longer a jihadi. What I fail to understand is how he stay sane with the cognitive dissonance he must carry around.

Walid Shoebat is a much better example. He woke up and left Islam, because he realized there is nothing but hate in it.

I cannot say how the problem is going to be solved, but that does not mean that there is not a problem.

The fact that the Counter-Jihad Conference even happened is an encouraging sign. I personally do not see the problem with Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, etc stating that they are proud of their indigenous culture.

Robert Spencer continually says that not acknowledging the substance of Islam will not make it go away.

All I am doing is actually saying the "e" word, because every bit of information tells me Islam is.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 12/10/2007 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

Ed Mahmoud said...

OT

Australian doctor wants tax on new babies to prevent global warming

No, really.


A WEST Australian medical expert wants families to pay a $5000-plus "baby levy" at birth and an annual carbon tax of up to $800 a child.

Writing in today's Medical Journal of Australia, Associate Professor Barry Walters said every couple with more than two children should be taxed to pay for enough trees to offset the carbon emissions generated over each child's lifetime.

Professor Walters, clinical associate professor of obstetric medicine at the University of Western Australia and the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Perth, called for condoms and "greenhouse-friendly" services such as sterilisation procedures to earn carbon credits.

1389 said...

Ed,

These excessive environmentalists are often that way because they hate people.

Back on topic - a different type of litigation jihad:

Big Yellow Taxi: Christian Pastors, Muslims, and Free Speech in Australia

jeremy said...

1389,
and you are a loving humanitarian?

1389 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
1389 said...

Jeremy...

That's an intrusive question!

Are you a TROLL?

1389

1389 said...

BTW... no, I DON'T hate people. That is why I confront injustice and wrongdoing. If I failed to do that, I would be showing indifference to the victims, and the opposite of love truly is indifference, rather than hate.