Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

“Everybody, that is, except the guys who did it.”

Mark Steyn throws down the gauntlet:

Last week the New York Times carried a story about the current state of the 9/11 lawsuits. Relatives of 42 of the dead are suing various parties for compensation, on the grounds that what happened that Tuesday morning should have been anticipated. The law firm Motley Rice, diversifying from its traditional lucrative class-action hunting grounds of tobacco, asbestos and lead paint, is promising to put on the witness stand everybody who “allowed the events of 9/11 to happen.” And they mean everybody – American Airlines, United, Boeing, the airport authorities, the security firms – everybody, that is, except the guys who did it.

According to the Times, many of the bereaved are angry and determined that their loved one’s death should have meaning. Yet the meaning they’re after surely strikes our enemies not just as extremely odd but as one more reason why they’ll win. You launch an act of war, and the victims respond with a lawsuit against their own countrymen.

But that’s the American way: Almost every news story boils down to somebody standing in front of a microphone and announcing that he’s retained counsel. Last week, it was Larry Craig. Next week, it’ll be the survivors of Ahmadinejad’s nuclear test in Westchester County. As Andrew McCarthy pointed out, a legalistic culture invariably misses the forest for the trees. Sen. Craig should know that what matters is not whether an artful lawyer can get him off on a technicality but whether the public thinks he trawls for anonymous sex in public bathrooms. Likewise, those 9/11 families should know that, if you want your child’s death that morning to have meaning, what matters is not whether you hound Boeing into admitting liability but whether you insist that the movement that murdered your daughter is hunted down and the sustaining ideological virus that led thousands of others to dance up and down in the streets cheering her death is expunged from the earth.

(Mark Steyn, “No terrorism, just war?”, Orange County Register, Sept. 9; Anemona Hartocollis, “Little-Noticed 9/11 Lawsuits Will Go to Trial”, New York Times, Sept. 4; also to the point).

Imams: we want to “hit [US Airways] where it hurts, the pocketbook”

Six imams (who had just attended a private conference on imams and the media and politics) were waiting for US Airways Flight 300 and decided to act rather provocatively: they shouted “Allahu Akbar!” loudly while praying in the waiting area, refused to take their assigned seats (instead squatting in the front row of first class and the exit rows—consistent with trying to control the entry and exit areas of the plane), demanded use of a seatbelt extension for the morbidly obese despite being only moderately overweight (and then placed the heavy-buckled potential weapons under their seats instead of on their seatbelts), and started speaking to one another in Arabic (which a fellow passenger translated as angry denunciations of America). They succeeded in the attempt to draw attention to themselves; the captain asked them to leave the plane, they refused, and were then arrested; the plane then underwent a 3.5-hour search for bombs.

“They should have been denied boarding and been investigated,” former air marshal Robert MacLean said. “It looks like they are trying to create public sympathy or maybe setting someone up for a lawsuit.”

Sure enough, the victimizers are now playing victim and threatening to sue under the auspices of the Muslim American Society (which was previously in the news for demanding that Muslim cab-drivers be permitted to refuse rides to passengers carrying alcohol) and the litigious Council on American-Islamic Relations (Apr. 25). The provocation, helped along by new Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), also appears to have its desired effect: “The Minneapolis airport plans to add a prayer room for Muslims, and Democrats plan to hold hearings on Muslim profiling.” (Audrey Hudson, “How the Imams Terrorized an Airliner”, Washington Times/Front Page, Nov. 29; Arizona Republic op-ed, Nov. 29; Debra Burlingame, “On a Wing and a Prayer”, Wall Street Journal, Dec. 6; LGF blog, Nov. 21; “Tale of Fibbing Imams”, Investors Business Daily, Dec. 4 via Powerline blog, Dec. 6).

Update: CAIR using litigation to silence critics?

The Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has settled its Canadian lawsuit against the Web site, the Canadian terrorism expert David Harris, writer David Frum, and the National Post. The settlement is secret, but there was no retraction of the claim that CAIR is a “terrorist-supporting front organization . . .founded by Hamas supporters” that aims “to make radical Islam the dominant religion in the United States.” David Frum has details in the April 25 National Post, and expresses optimism that free criticism of terrorism supporters can now take place.

Update: As Bob B points out in the comments, elsewhere in the blogosphere, Israpundit, LGF, and Powerline. Daniel Pipes also writes with extensive detail. It reasonably appears CAIR dropped the suit, to avoid submitting to discovery: an important lesson for every libel plaintiff. Three cheers for Greenberg Traurig LLP, which did pro bono work that was actually pro bono.

CAIR using litigation to silence critics?

The Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) (Sep. 17) has continued their campaign of suing or threatening to sue for libel in an effort to silence critics who have alleged it to be soft on terrorism because of what Senator Schumer calls the organization’s “intimate links to Hamas.” David Frum comments on the notice he received. (“The Question of CAIR”, National Post, Nov. 23).

California, believe it or not, is in the forefront of tort reform by permitting defendants to recover attorneys’ fees when defamation suits are intended to chill protected free speech. Another twenty-two states have adopted similar laws, with bills pending in eight legislatures. See The California Anti-SLAPP Project, Nov. 11, and Mar. 12.

Nuestros hermanos

For flowers or other expressions of support to the people of Spain, the address is:

His Excellency Inocencio Aris
Spanish Embassy
2375 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037
Phone (202) 452-0100

For a list of Spanish consulates around the United States, click here. (via Dean Esmay, among others). Update: Glenn Reynolds has photos and eyewitness accounts of demonstrations of support for Spain in Washington, D.C. (more net reaction)

Bin Laden’s gift to lawyers

“Say what you like about Osama bin Laden. He’s done wonders for the defamation bar,” says a British barrister. A group of wealthy Saudi businessmen are engaging in “libel tourism,” suing in British courts to silence American critics. British libel law, unburdened by the First Amendment, puts the burden on defendants to prove that their stories are true; the threat of libel suits often acts to deter journalistic inquiries, but now suits are being aimed at American publishers. The Wall Street Journal faces two lawsuits for a February 2002 report on Saudi support for terror that was reprinted in its European edition. (Michael Isikoff & Mark Hosenball, “Libel Tourism”, Newsweek Web, Oct. 22). (via Postrel)