A judge in California has taken under advisement a request by the Council on Islamic-American Relations to dismiss a lawsuit filed by radio talk show host Michael Savage.
The San Francisco-based talker originally accused the organization of copyright violations, but later amended the action to include allegations 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 action 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, in fact, 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.
The lawsuit was the subject of court hearing today, and according to a report from the Associated Press, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston said she was “leaning toward tossing out” the action.
She did say she likely would allow Savage’s lawyer to submit a revised complaint to keep the case alive, the report said.
Savage’s attorney Daniel Horowitz said the copyright claim was valid because CAIR used Savage’s material “for purely commercial purposes,” but the judge said she found free speech arguments persuasive.
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 Horowitz, a celebrity civil rights attorney, are trying 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, then expanding the case.
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 suit against CAIR filed by the estate of John P. O’Neill, the former head of security for the World Trade Center. It alleged 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 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 clip used by CAIR from Savage’s material included: “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.
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.”