Attorney Larry Klayman
A $150 million lawsuit has been filed against Voice of America alleging the managers at its Persian News Network knowingly advocated anti-American sentiment in their programs and then used sexual harassment to drive out an anchor who objected.
The case has been filed by Larry Klayman, the founder of Judicial Watch and also FreedomWatch USA, on behalf of Elham Sataki, who now suffers serious health problems because of the stress created by the conflict, according to the documentation in the case.
Citing claims under the First, Fourth, Fifth and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, the case references a letter from Congress urging an investigation of VOA over “anti-American rhetoric.” The result has been harm for the dissidents in Iran now seeking to oppose the Islamic regime and expand freedoms there, the letter from earlier this year said.
In Sataki’s case, the complaint cites an alleged “workplace retaliation” scheme that “stems from an unhealthy culture of corruption at PNN, where anchors, such as Ms. Sataki, are punished for their personal political views in favor of more aggressive, pro-Iranian freedom news reporting, particularly during this critical period in Iranian history,” said an announcement by Klayman.
Klayman, author of “WHORES: Why and How I Came to Fight the Establishment,” told WND the plaintiff’s personal political views are that VOA “should be much stronger in further freedom in Iran. Many people in America feel the same way.”
“One has to ask who the managers are really working for,” he said.
Letitia King, a spokeswoman for the organization’s board of governors, told WND, “We don’t comment on the ongoing legal matters, but of course the (Broadcasting Board of Governors) affirms a very strong commitment to its equal-employment-opportunity programs. … We have a policy of zero tolerance for sexual harassment. We have a serious and well-considered process to review any such accusations. We’re following that process.”
But the complaint, filed in court in Washington, D.C., explains that Sataki is “known by all of the defendants to hold strong personal views that VOA/PNN should be more pro-American and supportive of the freedom movement in Iran. Defendants do not hold these views and have mishandled and intentionally propagated anti-American propaganda and supported the Islamic Regime in Iran through their control of broadcast content.”
On its website, the VOA promises it “will present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively, and will also present responsible discussion and opinion on these policies.”
Further, the network promises to present “a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought.”
Faced with her concerns over the content of the report, the managers allowed an atmosphere to develop in which she allegedly was subjected to sexual harassment, the lawsuit claims.
“These malicious and willful acts of the defendants were designed to harm plaintiff, and did severely harm plaintiff Ms. Sataki, based on her national origin, which is Persian, and also because of her personal views concerning Iranian freedom, in order to attempt to silence her, and set an example for other dissatisfied VOA/PNN employees and contractors, from complaining to appropriate authorities about the reporting and general corruption at VOA/PNN,” the complaint said.
Klayman noted “incredibly” after the complaints were filed on behalf of Sataki, the organization denied her the opportunity for a “reasonable medical accommodation to work outside of the hostile workplace environment.”
In a recent column by Klayman on WND, he wrote that nowhere does the fire for freedom burn so bright “as in the Persian people, many of whom, having fled the tyrannical Islamic regime in Iran over the last 31 years, now live in the United States.”
They have watched, he wrote, the effects of Islam on their country, “through barbaric imprisonments, torture and executions in the name of Allah.”
He said if the freedom fighters in Iran ultimately are successful, “it would not only eliminate Iran’s nuclear threat, but change the entire dynamic of the Middle East, and the world. A free and secularized Iran – which is the goal of the Green Movement and other opposition groups – would become a natural ally of Israel (in recent protests, Iranian students chanted, ‘We don’t care about the Palestinians, we care about Iran!’) and the West, and serve as a buffer to the radical Arab states, such as Syria, Libya and Saudi Arabia (yes, Saudi Arabia is radical). This in turn would further the potential for peace between Israelis and Palestinians, as Arab terrorist groups, like Hamas and Hezbollah, could no longer count on Tehran for financial and logistical support. Without the Islamic regime’s backing, these terrorist groups could not effectively wage war against Israel.”
Klayman previously has pursued legal action against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over the death of a freedom protester there and then followed up by serving him notice of the case during a visit to New York.
He criticized President Obama for not aligning with the beleaguered victims of human-rights violations. Instead, he said, “this president and the rest of the West have prostrated themselves at the altar of these neo-Nazis and today it has become clear that these fascists have no respect for either him or American power.”
Klayman’s lawsuit against Iran is a class-action case brought by an Iranian woman now living in Los Angeles whose brother was killed by the Muslim regime in Tehran.
According to the filing in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Akbar Mohammadi was a student at the University of Tehran and a critic of the Iranian regime. He was arrested during protests that followed the closure of a reformist newspaper.
“The protests were nonviolent, but this did not stop the Iranian police and government agents from using violence and force to disperse and punish the protesters. … Akbar was taken into custody,” the earlier lawsuit explains.
“While in prison, Akbar was subjected to repeated bouts of torture and cruel and unusual forms of punishment, causing him to go deaf, and be in a constant state of agony. … It was recommended by doctors that he be transferred to other countries for treatment … but this request was denied.”
Eventually his medications even were denied him, the claim states.
“Finally on July 31st, 2006, Akbar was murdered in Evin prison during a torture session, his long grueling prison term mercilessly ended by the regime,” it states.