We begin with Foreign Law and the First Amendment by Floyd Abrams, April 30, 2008:
Late in 1941, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an opinion which, for the first time in our history, starkly distinguished American protection of speech from that of England.
Two union members had been convicted of assaulting nonunion truck drivers. The day before they were to be sentenced, the Los Angeles Times published an editorial urging the trial judge not to grant probation, but to punish the transgressors severely: "This community," the editorial asserted, "needs the example of their assignment to the jute mill."
Contempt of court proceedings were brought against the newspaper. California law at the time, like that of other states, was rooted in English law, under which such commentary, aimed at a judge during a trial, constituted contempt. Under English law, both then and today, such speech is punishable by massive fines or even imprisonment.
In reversing the ruling of the California courts holding the newspaper in contempt, the Supreme Court set this country on a different course. "No purpose in ratifying the Bill of Rights was clearer," Justice Hugo Black wrote, "than of securing for the people of the United States much greater freedom of ... expression ... than the people of Great Britain had ever enjoyed."
Today, there are sharp distinctions between U.S. and English law. One difference is that under the First Amendment we provide far more protection for speech that is claimed to be libelous.
There is no need for democratic nations to agree upon such matters. The values of free speech and individual reputation are both significant, and it is not surprising that different nations would place different emphasis on each.
But a serious problem has surfaced. In recent years, English libel law has come to have a disturbing impact on the right of Americans to speak out.
England has become a choice venue for libel plaintiffs from around the world, including those who seek to intimidate critics whose works would be protected in the U.S. but might not in that country. That English libel law has increasingly been used to stifle speech about the subject of international terrorism raises the stakes still more.
As you may have guessed by now, this post is about the Ehrenfeld case. This series, however, will go beyond Dr. Ehrenfeld's epic David-vs-Goliath struggle, and will address the game that is being played out, of which Dr. Ehrenfeld's battle is only a part; beyond even that, we will look at the stakes involved in this game not just for the United Kingdom, but for Europe, and even for the world.
The case against Rachel Ehrenfeld in England by Saudi banker Khalid Bin Mahfouz is illustrative. Her 2003 book "Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Funded and How to Stop It" dealt at length with one of the most significant (and difficult and dangerous to research) topics – the funding of terrorism. The conduct of Mr. Bin Mahfouz as a possible funder of terrorism was one of the subjects discussed in the book, which was published in New York.
Twenty-three copies of the book were sold in England. On that slim basis, Mr. Bin Mahfouz sued there, claiming that his reputation had been gravely harmed.
Ms. Ehrenfeld (on the advice of English counsel) refused to appear before the English courts, and a judgment against her was entered in the amount of $225,000. At any time, Mr. Bin Mahfouz could seek to enforce that judgment. Whether or not he does, the harm to Ms. Enhrenfeld's reputation remains real.
This is a part of the case that never seems to get addressed.
Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is a competent scholar. Her work is thoroughly researched, and well-documented.
Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz has not sought to challenge her work based on its merits in an American court of law, but rather has challenged it in UK courtrooms, where the laws are very different, and where the merits of Dr. Ehrenfeld's research are not examined. Consequently, Shiekh bin Mahfouz won by default in the UK.
The fact that he has a technical legal "victory" -- however hollow and illusory it may be -- does damage to Dr. Ehrenfeld's reputation.
That Sheikh bin Mahfouz funds terrorists is a conclusion supported by a great deal of evidence, evidence documented and interpreted not only by Dr. Ehrenfeld, but by other competent scholars as well. Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz is thus a Financier of Holy Terror.
Beyond that, though, Sheikh bin Mahfouz's legal maneuverings, which were obviously intended to avoid the merits and facts of the case, have the effect, which was also obviously intended, of deterring researchers from exploring how terrorism is funded, and of deterring publishers (and others) from disseminating the results of such research.
Sheikh bin Mahfouz is thus not merely a Financier of Holy Terror, but rather, as his legal maneuverings are intended to terrorize infidels into submission, he is thus a terrorist -- a Libel Terrorist.
That so much effort is being expended to silence Dr. Ehrenfeld and other researchers only confirms the sensitivity of their work. Terrorism is portrayed as a "legitimate" means of oppressed people to strike against their oppressors; the truth is, however, that terrorist acts are diabolically criminal in their deliberate targeting of innocent civilians. Moreover, far from being a tool of "the oppressed", terrorism is in fact a tool of the oppressors -- terrorism can now not be separated from organized crime activities that fund it, so much so that terrorism is big business, and important terrorists are very wealthy men. Yasir Arafat, for example, died a billionaire -- one with enormous power over vast tracts of land via the Palestinian Authority.
Consider these quotes from an interview with Sibel Edmonds, entitled Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Calls Current 9/11 Investigation Inadequate by Jim Hogue, May 07, 2004:
JH: Can you explain more about what money you are talking about?
SE: The most significant information that we were receiving did not come from counter-terrorism investigations, and I want to emphasize this. It came from counter-intelligence, and certain criminal investigations, and issues that have to do with money laundering operations.
You get to a point where it gets very complex, where you have money laundering activities, drug related activities, and terrorist support activities converging at certain points and becoming one. In certain points -- and they [the intelligence community] are separating those portions from just the terrorist activities. And, as I said, they are citing "foreign relations" which is not the case, because we are not talking about only governmental levels. And I keep underlining semi-legit organizations and following the money. When you do that the picture gets grim. It gets really ugly.
JH: Here's a question that you might be able to answer: What is al-Qaeda?
SE: This is a very interesting and complex question. When you think of al-Qaeda, you are not thinking of al-Qaeda in terms of one particular country, or one particular organization. You are looking at this massive movement that stretches to tens and tens of countries. And it involves a lot of sub-organizations and sub-sub-organizations and branches and it's extremely complicated. So to just narrow it down and say al-Qaeda and the Saudis, or to say it's what they had at the camp in Afghanistan, is extremely misleading. And we don't hear the extent of the penetration that this organization and the sub-organizations have throughout the world, throughout their networks and throughout their various activities. It's extremely sophisticated. And then you involve a significant amount of money into this equation. Then things start getting a lot of overlap -- money laundering, and drugs and terrorist activities and their support networks converging in several points. That's what I'm trying to convey without being too specific. And this money travels. And you start trying to go to the root of it and it's getting into somebody's political campaign, and somebody's lobbying. And people don't want to be traced back to this money.
Returning now to Foreign Law and the First Amendment:
She sought a declaratory judgment in New York determining that the English judgment was not enforceable here, and that her work was protected under American law. But the New York Court of Appeals determined that her suit could not be heard under state law. Any change in that law, the court concluded, was up to the New York legislature.
To the surprise of those who denigrate the ability of the New York legislature to act decisively, both the Assembly and its Senate have unanimously passed a bill that would give Ms. Ehrenfeld and other citizens who are sued for libel abroad the right to obtain a declaration here that their works are protected under American law.
Gov. David Paterson has until the end of today to decide whether or not he will sign the bill. Meanwhile, the Ehrenfeld saga has led Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.) to propose federal legislation which would provide similar relief.
The need for such legislation has become very real – all the more so since English libel law is increasingly being used to limit public debate about terrorism. Mr. Bin Mahfouz has personally commenced or threatened to commence at least 30 law suits in England. This tactic has served him well in obtaining libel judgments that would be unthinkable as well as unconstitutional here. The danger is that other American writers and publishers will shy away from this crucial subject, out of fear of being sued far from home.
This is a reasonable concern as a good deal of litigation related to reporting on terrorism has been threatened or started in England by individuals who have limited contact with that nation, but who find its libel law congenial.
England should be free to choose its own libel law. But so should we. It is not too much to ask that American law should protect our people when they speak in precisely the "uninhibited, robust and wide-open" manner that the First Amendment was drafted to protect.
You can learn more about Dr. Ehrenfeld's case, read her work, and contribute financially to counterterrorism by funding her legal counterjihad all at her website, The American Center for Democracy.
Meanwhile, speaking of "uninhibited, robust and wide-open" freedom of speech -- and of freedom of religion -- we have the following from Are Muslim enclaves no-go areas, forcing other people out, asks historian John Cornwell, from March 16, 2008:
Allahu akbar, Allahu akbar (Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest). Ash-hadu alla ilaha illa-llah (I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah).
The call to prayer resounds across the rooftops before dawn, bringing echoes of the Levant to provincial Luton and its 30,000 Muslims. But for infidel locals, the holy wake-up is a curse. "I'd like to pull the plug on that caterwauling," a second-generation Luton Irish woman tells me. "I go to work, and I've got two small kids. It's just not fair on non-Muslim families around here."
It is not only non-Muslims who suffer. While the borders of the Islamic world are bloody and oppressive, the interior of the Islamic world is more so.
From The Gina Khan Interview - Part One January 9, 2008:
Gina Khan lives in Birmingham's Ward End. She is a British Muslim and has spoken out in the past about the problems she and her community faces from extreme Islamists. Described as "a very brave woman" in an article for the London Times, Gina will, over the coming days, be stating her experience to the Westminster Journal as a British Muslim and calling out, especially to the British Government, for help in solving the Islamist problem the West now experiences from within.
Q: So, Gina, tell us a little about yourself, your background and your motivations:
I'm a British Asian Woman from a Pakistani ethnic background; a Sunni Muslim and a lone parent. I grew up in Birmingham in the English Midlands -- in an area with a preponderance of Muslims.
I used to be a victim of psychological aggression. With hand on heart and head, I can say this was just because I was born a female into a Muslim family in the West. (Pain figures in the lives of many Muslim women because of accepted Muslim social practices. I was no exception to the rule).
Today the rhetoric you hear from extreme Islamists or the stories you read in British papers about honour killings or forced marriages doesn't shock me or many others at grassroots level. It's an old story, one that has been repeated for hundreds of years. Just that today the voices are amplified after 9/11 and there are more extreme mosques and more extreme Islamists than ever on the streets of areas like mine.
I was once one of the 'silent majority' who remained silent. I was told silent and good Muslim women are respected and honoured. I was told Islam protects and gives special status to Muslim women/mothers compared to the Western woman.
My life experience proved otherwise.
I have always had an issue with aspects of my religion and culture but was taught never to question. Now I question, seek and acknowledge the truth -- the truth as I see it, as I lived it, and as I observed it from others around me, all of my life.
I am not liked by the Islamists. I've had bricks thrown through the window and I've had family members beaten up. I've been told to move on. But I'm not budging. This is my home and I belong here. The Islamists where I live -- in Birmingham's Ward End -- are an awful scourge.
With my very first post on this blog, I pointed out that Islam is not a religion of peace, but rather an ideology of armed conquest.
Yet, Islam as practiced by people like Gina Khan seems to be very much a "religion of peace", and if the Islamic world were more fully populated with people like Gina Khan, the whole "religion of peace" question would be one very much academic, perhaps debated by people like Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld -- Islamic conquest would certainly not be a subject I would be blogging on.
Instead, in addition to the wonderful, peaceful, law-abiding people like Gina Khan, the Islamic world is also populated with barbarous thugs -- murdering, drug-running terrorists who enslave and torment their own people; criminals for whom no crime is too horrible to commit in the pursuit of their insane goal of forcing humanity to submit to the depravity of their evil god, whom they created in their own image.
Muslims -- of all kinds -- are people, and this is a story as old as mankind.
However, this story has the potential to be the final chapter of Mankind's Story.
Stay tuned to Stop Islamic Conquest as Pride of Lions continues.
"If the freedom of speech is taken away
then dumb and silent we may be led,
like sheep to the slaughter."