WASHINGTON – It’s no longer just a charge of copyright violation in the case of Michael Savage v. Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Now the radio talk star is going for the legal jugular in his battle with the group that bills itself as a Muslim civil rights organization.
The San Francisco-based talker has amended his lawsuit against CAIR for misusing audio clips of his show as part of a boycott campaign against his three-hour daily program to include charges the group “has consistently sought to silence opponents of violent terror through economic blackmail, frivolous but costly lawsuits, threats of lawsuits and abuses of the legal system.”
The amended lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California, also charges CAIR with using extortion, threats, abuse of the court system, and obtaining money via interstate commerce under false and fraudulent circumstances – calling it a “political vehicle of international terrorism” and even linking the group with support of al-Qaida.
The federal government recently named CAIR, based in Washington, D.C., as an unindicted co-conspirator in an alleged scheme to funnel $12 million to the terrorist group Hamas.
And as WND has reported, CAIR has been associated with a disturbing number of convicted terrorists or felons in terrorism probes, as well as suspected terrorists and active targets of terrorism investigations.
“Groups like CAIR have a proven record of senior officials being indicted and either imprisoned or deported from the United States,” said U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., co-founder of the House Anti-Terrorism/Jihad Caucus.
Savage and celebrity civil rights attorney Daniel Horowitz are attempting to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act to make the case that “CAIR and its co-conspirators have aided, abetted and materially sponsored al-Qaida and international terrorism.”
CAIR launched a campaign against “The Savage Nation,” as the program is called, using extended audio clips of the show to make the case that advertisers who supported the talker were actually endorsing “hate speech” against Muslims.
Savage turned the tables on the activist group by initially suing for copyright violation of the show’s material. This week the suit was expanded with some of the strongest allegations ever made against CAIR publicly.
Among the charges is that CAIR is “part of a deliberately complex and deliberately confusing array of related organizations” and that its “organizational structure is part of a scheme to hide the illegal activities of the group, funding, the transfer of funds and to complicate investigation of the group.”
Other highlights of the suit:
- “CAIR is not a civil rights organization and it never has been. … CAIR was and is a political organization that advocates a specific political agenda on behalf of foreign interests.”
- “The copyright infringement was done to raise funds for CAIR so that it could perpetuate and continue to perform its role in the RICO conspiracy set forth in Count Two and to disseminate propaganda on behalf of foreign interests that are opposed to the continued existence of the United States of America as a free nation.”
- “CAIR would have to register as a foreign agent if their activities were not hidden under the false claim that they are a civil rights organization that enjoys tax-exempt status.”
- “CAIR was tied to terror from the day it was formed. The group was incorporated on or about 1994 by Omar Ahmad and Nihad Awad. Both men were officers of a terror organization known as the ‘Islamic Association of Palestine.'”
- “CAIR’s parent group, IAP, was founded in or about 1982 by Musa Abu Marzook. Marzook was IAP’s ideological leader and controlling director from the date of its founding until shortly after his deportation from the United States in 1997. At all time relevant, Marzook was an operative of, and/or affiliated with, the ‘Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah,’ or ‘Hamas.’ Hamas is an international terrorist organization.”
- In 1998, “CAIR demanded the removal of a Los Angeles billboard describing Osama bin Laden as ‘the sworn enemy,’ asserting that this depiction [was] ‘offensive to Muslims.'”
- In 1998, “CAIR denied bin Laden’s responsibility for the two al-Qaida bombings of American embassies in Africa. CAIR’s leader Ibrahim Hooper claimed the bombings resulted from ‘misunderstandings on both sides.'”
- “On October 5, 2001, just weeks after 9/11, CAIR’s New York office sent a letter to The New York Times arguing that the paper had misidentified three of the hijackers and suggesting that the attacks may have been committed by people who were impersonating Arab Muslims.”
- “CAIR further exploited 9/11 as it put on its website a picture of the World Trade Center in flames and below it a call for donations that was linked to the Holy Land Foundation website.” The Holy Land Foundation, the suit charges, is “a terror organization.”
- “CAIR receives significant international funding. For example, in 1999 the Islamic Development Bank gave a $250,000 grant to CAIR to purchase land for a national headquarters. In 2002, the World Association for Muslim Youth, a Saudi government-funded organization, financed distributing books on Islam free of charge and an advertising campaign in American publications. This included a quarter page in USA Today each Friday, for a year, estimated to cost $1.04 million. In 2003, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal donated $500,000 to distribute the Koran and other books about Islam in the United States. In 2005, CAIR’s Washington branch received a donation of $1,366,466 from a Saudi Arabian named Adnan Bogary. In 2006, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai and UAE minister of finance and industry, financed the building of a property in the U.S. to serve as an endowment for the organization. This gift is thought to generate income of approximately $3 million a year.”
- “The role of CAIR and CAIR-Canada is to wage PSYOPS (psychological warfare) and disinformation activities on behalf of Wahabbi-based Islamic terrorists throughout North America. They are the intellectual ‘shock troops’ of Islamic terrorism.”
- “The Council on American-Islamic Relations is a Muslim Brotherhood front organization. It works in the United States as a lobby against radio, television and print media journalists who dare to produce anything about Islam that is at variance with their fundamental agenda.”
- “CAIR has links to both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Terrorism expert Steven Emerson has stated before Congress that CAIR is a front for Hamas.”
Savage’s case also cites another ongoing suit against CAIR filed by the estate of John P. O’Neill, the former head of security for the World Trade Center. It alleges a RICO conspiracy involving CAIR led to the 9/11 attack.
“Throughout this period,” the Savage suit alleges, “CAIR conspired to support terrorism and to obfuscate the roles of the various participants and conspirators in Radical Muslim Terrorism, and/or al-Qaida and/or the International Islamic Front for the Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, which conspiracy culminated in the 9/11 attack.”
It continues: “The pattern of racketeering activity conducted by CAIR is separate from the existence of Radical Muslim Terrorism, and/or the al-Qaida, and/or the International Islamic Front for the Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, but was a necessary component of the 9/11 attack. The RICO enterprise conducts terrorism all over the world; the racketeering activity conducted by CAIR funds that activity, which activity culminated in the 9/11 attack.”
CAIR has refused to comment on Savage’s suit to date. But it has claimed a host of companies have stopped advertising on Savage’s show as a result of its boycott campaign.
However, an investigation by WND shows some of those boycott victories are questionable. In one announcement claiming Universal Orlando Resorts “drops ‘Savage Nation’ ads,” CAIR stated: “Advertisers that have already stopped airing, or refuse to air commercials on ‘Savage Nation’ include AutoZone, Citrix, TrustedID, JCPenney, OfficeMax, Wal-Mart and AT&T.”
But AutoZone told WND the CAIR campaign had nothing to do with its advertising decision, and it had chosen not to advertise on any radio talk shows – of all parts of the spectrum – years before the CAIR effort.
CAIR officials declined to respond to WND queries about why it is listing companies as part of its boycott campaign that say they have not participated in the boycott.
Officials of Talk Radio Network, Savage’s syndicator, confirmed to WND that companies including AutoZone and JCPenney never advertise on such programs.
“We do not sponsor syndicated radio talk shows,” AutoZone spokesman Ray Pohlman told WND. “We have customers of all shapes and sizes and political persuasions. For us to sponsor [any radio talk shows] wouldn’t make any sense.”
But that policy is years old, and wasn’t changed at all by CAIR’s effort, he said.
“What I will tell you is the CAIR organization did, in fact, contact the marketing department [of AutoZone.] We responded with our full advertising policy which clearly states that we do not advertise on radio talk shows,” he told WND.
The announcement about Universal was made by the Hate Hurts America Community and Interfaith Coalition, of which CAIR is a prominent member.
It said Universal Orlando Resorts “has joined a growing list of advertisers that have stopped advertising or refuse to place their ads on Michael Savage’s ‘Savage Nation’ Radio program.”
The campaign also has triggered a lawsuit by Savage against CAIR over its alleged misappropriation of Savage’s radio broadcast material. In the lawsuit, Savage depicts CAIR as a “vehicle of international terrorism.”
CAIR says it is challenging Savage’s “hate speech,” and referenced Savage comments such as:
“I’m not gonna put my wife in a hijab. And I’m not gonna put my daughter in a burqa. And I’m not getting’ on my all-fours and braying to Mecca. And you could drop dead if you don’t like it. You can shove it up your pipe. I don’t wanna hear any more about Islam. I don’t wanna hear one more word about Islam. Take your religion and shove it up your behind. I’m sick of you.”
The Savage suit says comments like that are taken out of context.
Another major company CAIR claims has joined the boycott of Michael Savage is JCPenney. But as with AutoZone, JCPenney officials told WND readers they were not making any special provision in their advertising policy that would make them part of a protest campaign, but officials did not respond directly to WND inquiries.
“JCPenney did not ‘pull’ advertising from the show. JCPenney has had a long standing policy about not advertising on any show that can be construed as controversial. An error in upholding this policy was made by a few local stations, and it has now been clarified,” the company told a WND reader.
“Wal-Mart does not sponsor or advertise on the Michael Savage show. We have asked radio networks to ensure that Wal-Mart ads do not run in programming that we deem controversial and are sending out content guidelines reminders to radio networks and stations,” said that company.
Savage’s lawsuit alleges copyright infringement by CAIR, which the lawsuit says seeks to do “material harm to those voices who speak against the violent agenda of CAIR’s clients.”
Filed in U.S. District Court in California, the suit seeks damages equal to the ongoing donations from CAIR supporters “who expect CAIR to act in this manner in exchange for continuing financial support” as well as “actual damages according to proof.”
A spokesman for Savage indicated the top-rated talk show host would have no further comment, saying the text of the lawsuit itself would answer questions.
The focal point of the lawsuit is a series of audio clips CAIR has been using in its promotions and fundraising efforts.
Those comments from Savage’s show include his criticisms of Islam and Muslims. The lawsuit maintains such comments, taken in context, are Savage’s verbal expression of the feelings of many Americans.