Michael Savage (San Francisco Chronicle)
Talk-radio host Michael Savage has announced he will bring his recently dismissed copyright infringement lawsuit against the Council on American-Islamic Relations to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of making public the Islamic group’s sources of funding.
Savage’s suit – originally filed in San Francisco district court – alleged CAIR illegally published singled-out quotes and audio excerpts from his show regarding Islam, misappropriated his words and used the clips for its own fundraising purposes, damaging the value of his copyrighted material.
CAIR last year waged a public campaign using excerpted Savage remarks to urge advertisers to boycott his top-rated program. CAIR stated its campaign successfully resulted in Savage losing $1 million in advertising.
Part of Savage’s lawsuit alleged CAIR received millions in foreign funding and that it may have been wrongfully acting as a lobbyist or agent for a foreign government, violating the Islamic group’s nonprofit status.
Savage also alleged CAIR was engaged in racketeering, describing the group as a “mouthpiece of international terror” that helped fund the 9/11 attacks, a contention strongly denied by CAIR.
But his lawsuit was tossed last month by San Francisco District U.S. Judge Susan Illston, who argued it is legal to use excerpts of a public broadcast for purposes of comment and criticism.
Illston, nominated to her position by President Bill Clinton, wrote in her ruling that Savage could try to rewrite the racketeering portion of his suit to better fit the specifics of his case.
Savage’s attorney Daniel Horowitz told WND he is reworking the suit to directly address Illston’s “respectful” ruling. He said the new suit includes over 200 pages of supporting documents, including 200 pages of transcripts of the meeting in which CAIR was founded.
On his program last week, Savage announced if Illston again rejects his suit, he will bring the case to the higher 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and then to the Supreme Court.
“I’m going to open up this case. I’m going to sue CAIR. I’m bringing a lawsuit back against them. It’s going to cost me a fortune,” Savage said. “And when Judge Illston rejects it again, which she will do because she’s a minion of the Bill Clinton crowd, I’m going to take it over her head and I’m going to go to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where again I’m going to hit a stonewall. And then I’m going to take it to the Supreme Court until eventually I force CAIR to describe who their funding sources are.
Horowitz said if the suit goes to the Supreme Court, he will seek to procure the representation of attorney Martin Garbus, who has famously won numerous high-profile Supreme Court cases.
Savage pointed to CAIR’s recent complaint against the Abercrombie & Fitch clothing company for not hiring a Muslim woman dressed in a head scarf as evidence the Islamic group is expanding its “targets” beyond talk radio.
The woman applied for a job in Oklahoma City. The local Abercrombie manager allegedly said a scarf “does not fit” the company’s image.
“Don’t you understand what they’re doing to this country?” asked Savage. “How they’re targeting the Midwest, talk radio, one talk show host at a time? One company at a time? Don’t you know that CAIR is going to come for you?”
Continued Savage: “First they came for Michel Savage, and you didn’t raise your voice and you laughed. Then they came after Abercrombie and Fitch, and you didn’t raise your voice because you weren’t in the retail business. Tomorrow they’ll come after you and your business.”
Addressing CAIR directly, Savage warned: “One day you’re going to hit the wrong judge in the wrong city at the wrong time and then the American people are going to find out where your funding is coming from.”
The top radio host urged listeners to make online donations at his website to help fund his lawsuit.
Foreign contributions to CAIR established
In May 2007, CAIR was identified by the government as an unindicted co-conspirator in a case involving the Holy Land Foundation, a charity allegedly affiliated with Hamas. Federal prosecutors in the case listed CAIR under the category: “Individuals/entities who are and/or were members of the US Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee and/or its organizations.”
The government also listed Omar Ahmad, CAIR’s founder and chairman emeritus, under the same category.
CAIR is registered as a nonprofit organization recognized as tax-exempt under IRS codes, which restrict “lobbying on behalf of a foreign government.” CAIR’s website claims it receives no foreign government support.
But CAIR’s headquarters near the U.S. Capitol until recently was owned by the ruler of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and the ruler’s foundation has pledged $50 million to capitalize a long-term CAIR public-relations campaign.
The UAE formally recognized the Taliban, and Dubai reportedly acted as the transit point for cash for the 9/11 hijackers. Two of the hijackers were from the Emirates, and one served in the UAE military.
Until 2005, the Al Maktoum Foundation run by Dubai’s ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid held the deed to CAIR’s headquarters just three blocks from the Capitol. The same foundation reportedly has held telethons to raise money for families of Palestinian “martyrs” during the intifada – or terrorist war – started in September 2000 against Israel. It recently pledged a $50 million endowment for CAIR.
CAIR argues that any assertions it receives money from foreign governments is “disinformation.”
“This is yet another attempt to invent a controversy,” the group said. “CAIR’s operational budget is funded by donations from American Muslims.”
CAIR, however, has never publicly acknowledged $1 million controlling interest that the ruler of Dubai’s foundation took in its national headquarters just one year after 9/11.
The group also received $500,000 from Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, the sheik whose $10 million relief check after 9/11 was rejected by then-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani after he blamed U.S. policy toward Israel for the attacks.
“There is nothing criminal or immoral about accepting donations from foreign nationals,” CAIR asserted. “The U.S. government, corporations and non-profit organizations routinely receive money from foreign nationals.”
“Bin Talal is not a member of the Saudi Arabian government,” the group added in a statement. “He is a private entrepreneur and international investor.”
This may be a distinction without a difference, Savage’s lawyers argue, since bin Talal is a member of the Saudi ruling family.
“CAIR is proud to receive support of every individual,” CAIR argued, “as long as they are not an official of any foreign government and there are no strings attached to the bequest.”
The UAE endowment to CAIR was specifically earmarked for public relations efforts to repair the image of Arabs and Muslims in America after public outrage doomed a Dubai bid to run U.S. ports.
Lawyers for Savage argue that CAIR may have used UAE funds and other foreign support to attack the radio host.