Friday, January 25, 2008

Conflicts of Interest

Today an article appeared by Alyssa A. Lappen entitled America's First Amendment Lifeline. The original has many links which I did not reproduce. Also, I underlined the title of Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld's book, and fixed the odd additional or juxtaposed word.

World War II began long before the outbreak of military hostilities, with the Nazi campaign to silence its critics. Yet 63 years after the end of World War II, the U.S. today faces new threats to free speech.

Islamic terrorists and their advocates have increasingly succeeded in silencing critics of hatred and inhumanity, much as the Nazis silenced theirs, through intimidation -- but also now, through the courts.

"Islamic terrorists and their advocates" -- think about that expression for a moment.

The presidential candidates should all speak up, but unfortunately, none have yet addressed the issue.

And they won't.

Anyone who has made it this far has long ago learned the rules.

Hillary Clinton has a gigantic $10 million "conflict of interest," in the form of Saudi donations to the Clinton Library and Foundation, according to former Clinton political consultant Dick Morris and Eileen McGann. But Democrats Barak Obama and John Edwards and Republicans Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Mike Huckabee have also been eerily silent.

There's no conflict of interest.

Hillary & Bill are partners in power, partners in crime -- they're in it for themselves.

The only conflict of interest is when his Slickness sees a girl he likes, and has to lie about it. "I did not have sex with that woman...."

The battle lines are particularly sharp in New York State. There, the Court of Appeals ruled on Dec. 20, 2007 that under current "long-arm" statutes governing business transactions, New York lacks jurisdiction to protect author Rachel Ehrenfeld, whom Saudi billionaire Khalid Bin Mahfouz sued for "libel" in London's High Court of Justice. Mahfouz sued Ehrenfeld after the 2003, U.S. publication of her book Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed--and How to Stop It, which noted that Mahfouz and his family financially supported al-Qaeda and other "Islamist terror groups."

This is an issue Lappen is familiar with. She is a colleague of Dr. Ehrenfeld at The American Center for Democracy, where you can go to learn about this case and make a donation to support the legal counterjihad.

Only 23 copies of Ehrenfeld's book sold in England--over the Internet--but Mahfouz won in the U.K. by default. On learning that former CIA director R. James Woolsey wrote the book's foreword, U.K. Justice David Eady stated, "Say no more. I award you a judgment by default, and if you want, an injunction, too." He ordered Ehrenfeld to apologize, retract, pay $225,913.37 in damages and destroy remaining copies. In a case still pending before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Ehrenfeld asked the Southern District Court of New York to protect the First Amendment and rule the U.K. judgment unenforceable here.

To protect authors, journalists and First Amendment freedoms, Sen. Dean G. Skelos and Assemblyman Rory I. Lancman on January 13 introduced bi-partisan legislation to establish local jurisdiction. This would deter foreigners from suing and imperiling New York writers and the First Amendment, with the obvious intent of changing U.S. libel laws via overseas courts.

What is described here is an effort at the state level.

The law that they need to pass is a federal law saying that any civil suit that has not been tried in a U.S. court is unenforceable in places subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

Any President that was serious about this issue and about the War on Terror would interpret existing Constitutional protections in that light -- especially if such a President was in the habit of making up his own rules anyway (waterboarding "detainees", for starters).

But, that would place such a President on a collision course with powerful interests in Saudi Arabia -- and there goes that conflict of interest, again.

Authors in many states, indeed, nationwide, hope New York will swiftly pass the legislation, and that other states and the U.S. Congress will follow the New York lead. The life blood of Democracy could hang in the balance.

No country has free speech protections as strong as those in the U.S., noted First Amendment attorney Floyd Abrams, who was present Jan. 13 and supports the New York state bill. Moreover, many U.S. federal documents and Congressional testimonies have implicated Mahfouz for terror financing.

But, King George doesn't want to pressure the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia about their spreading of Wahhabi hatred and radical militancy in Saudi-funded mosques that are cropping up all over the world, King George doesn't want to question how it was that such a disproportionate number of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis, King George doesn't want to call attention to Saudi efforts to acquire nuclear weapons... King George just keeps chanting his mantra that Islam is the Religion of Peace, and Saudi Arabia is our ally in the War on Terror.

The gap between what is said and what is done....

A conflict of interest?

Yet in the last decade, the Saudi billionaire has threatened or successfully sued over 40 authors and publishers in the United Kingdom--including numerous Americans--for reports on terror funding that mentioned him. Without trying a single case on its merits, Mahfouz extracted settlements, default judgments, apologies, retractions and fines in all his British "libel" cases--except in the case of Ehrenfeld. Mahfouz' suits, and others like them, have created an enormous "chilling effect" on free speech, says Ehrenfeld's New York-based attorney, Daniel Kornstein.

The threat of lawsuits has so chilled the publishing community that many authors are censoring themselves, and many publishers simply refuse to address terror funding at all.

It isn't just the publishing community.

They're shutting down the bloggers, too, now.

Many in the counterjihad blogosphere are aware of what they are trying to do to Lionheart. They've also been after Israeli bloggers, Finnish bloggers, and so on -- The Gates of Vienna has had pretty good coverage of this all.

To safeguard America's publishing capital, New York legislators of all stripes should rush to co-sponsor and pass the new bill. As Senate deputy majority leader Skelos from Rockville Center and Queens Democrat Lancman noted on Jan. 13 in a news conference outside the New York Public Library, the London ruling against Ehrenfeld opened the door to "assault by foreign nationals seeking to silence public debate in America" despite the U.S. Constitutional guarantee of protected free-speech.

You know, all of this is happening during a U.S. Presidential election year, in the new "home state" of a big-name U.S. Senator who is a leading Democrat contender for the center seat.

Do you think this is important to her?


What is important is that the rich guy wins, but that the little people all think she was really on the side of the little people. You see, it is the little people who vote, so there must be enough of them thought to support this Senator in her bid for power to give her theft of an election some semblance of believability.

Right now, she may be able to plead that she hasn't heard of the issue.

(Hint: contact her campaign about this.)

The Skelos and Lancman bill would amend New York law to give state courts jurisdiction in cases like Ehrenfeld's. Local courts could declare foreign judgments unenforceable unless the foreign country provides free-speech protections equivalent to those of the First Amendment. This would be especially helpful in cases concerning reporting on terrorism--but also in other frivolous libel cases filed to intimidate American writers and publishers.

This is not a theoretical issue. If you are not familiar with the Flying Imams case, Google it and see what kind of an effect it has had.

"Islamic terrorists and their advocates" are determined to commit terrorist acts, and to get away with such acts, and to prevent us from even talking about the matter.

You are not allowed to speak up, even though your life, and the lives of your family, friends, neighbors and even the existence of your country, all depend on speaking up about the danger we face.

The legislation will "protect American authors and journalists from being dragged into kangaroo courts over phony baloney libel charges in jurisdictions that don't respect freedom of speech and of the press as we do here in the United States," Lancman said.

Keep silent in the face of a violent death.

To me, that seems like a conflict of interest.

(Hat tip to my email tipster.)

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