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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > Libel Lawfare Conference Probes New Islamist Tactic Of Intimidation Via The Courts

Libel Lawfare Conference Probes New Islamist Tactic Of Intimidation Via The Courts

May 21, 2009

Libel Lawfare Conference Probes New Islamist Tactic Of Intimidation Via The Courts


May 21, 2009 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - On Tuesday May 19th the first "Libel Lawfare" conference was held in Washington DC, organized to call attention to an aspect of the Islamists' stealth jihad in which spurious lawsuits and legal proceeding are used to intimidate its rightful critics.

It was presented by The Federalist Society's International & National Security Law Practice Group, The Legal Project of The Middle East Forum, The Center for National Security Law and The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.

Libel lawfare is defined as "the use of the law and legal institutions to achieve military, political or strategic objectives. In recent years, lawfare has come to include libel litigation aimed at suppressing public dialogue about radical Islam and terrorism. Parties with financial means have been filing lawsuits in American courts and abroad against people who speak out against or write critically about radical Islam. Defendants include authors, researchers, journalists, politicians and human rights advocacy groups."

The conference began with a panel discussing the matter, moderated by Dr. Daniel Pipes the director of the Middle East Forum, also paricipating were Alan Dershowitz, Frank Gaffney, Andrew McCarthy, James Taranto and John J. Walsh.

The attendees also heard testimonies by victims of these threatening tactics, including Joe Kaufman [Chairman, Americans Against Hate] who related how he is being sued by 7 Islamist groups in Texas for the sum of $7 dollars because he staged a 10 person demonstration against the Islamic Circle of North America [ICNA].

Mr. Kaufman stated that the costs to defend himself against even such a nuisance lawsuit have run into tens-of-thousands-of-dollars. Kaufman said that the goal of the Islamists is to "instill fear and create an undue fiscal burden on those who speak out against them so that the truth about their dangerous agendas will never reach the public." He concluded by saying, "now that we have our freedoms we must strive to protect them. That is our right and that is our duty."

According to Brooke Goldstein, Director of the Middle East Forum's Legal Project, "Proponents of Legal Jihad are engaging in a technique called forum shopping or libel tourism where Plaintiffs bring actions in foreign jurisdictions and in foreign courts most likely to rule in their favor."

Ms. Goldstein further stated:

"Last year, Joe Kaufman, an American activist and the chairman of Americans Against Hate, traveled to Texas to lead a peaceful ten-person protest against the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), an organization that has been tied to Pakistani radical Islamic groups. During Kaufman's peaceful protest he was served with a harsh temporary restraining order as well as a suit alleging defamation and harassment. What is particularly troubling about Kaufman's case, is that the suit was not filed against him by ICNA, but by seven Dallas area plaintiffs who had never previously been mentioned by Kaufman, nor had they present at Kaufman's protest. The case is currently being litigated in Texas while Kaufman who lives in Florida is forced to spend his own money on travel and hotel accommodations in order to defend his rights to free speech and peacefully assemble." [source, http://www.campus-watch.org/article/id/5103]

The prospect of this technique being used to advance the Islamist agenda should be of concern to national security planners as the Islamist enemy changes tactics in order to confront new realities and as older, more directly confrontational strategies lose their vigor. http://www.pipelinenews.org/index.cfm?page=lawfareid=5.21.09%2Ehtm

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