Hi. My name is Kiefer Sutherland, and I play counterterrorist agent Jack Bauer on Fox’s ’24.’ I would like to take a moment to talk to you about something that I think is very important. Now while terrorism is obviously one of the most critical challenges facing our nation and the world, it is important to recognize that the American Muslim community stands firmly beside their fellow Americans in denouncing and resisting all forms of terrorism. So in watching ’24,’ please, bear that in mind.
It is not without reason that Fox TV’s hit counterterrorism show “24,” with its take-no-prisoners protagonist Jack Bauer, has captured the imagination of millions of Americans. Year after year, Bauer’s Los Angeles-based “Counter Terrorism Unit” has faced down and bested domestic and foreign terrorists intent on destroying American cities and eventually our nation itself.
Not surprisingly—because while most Muslims are not terrorists, most terrorists are Muslims—Bauer’s principal enemies have been Muslims. Art imitates life.
Although Bauer is smart, resourceful, and ruthless in his patriotic determination to keep America safe, neither he nor Fox TV were tough enough to withstand pressure from the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). It was at CAIR’s insistence that Sutherland make the politically correct statement quoted above on national television.
In its Annual Report—“The Status of Muslim Civil Rights in the Untied States 2006, The Struggle for Equality”—CAIR proudly explains how it successfully intimidated Jack Bauer and Fox TV.
Early in 2005, CAIR met with representatives of the FOX television network and producers of the hit drama “24” to discuss concerns about the depiction of a “Muslim” family at the heart of a terror plot on that popular program.
CAIR was concerned that the portrayal of the family as a terrorist “sleeper cell” would cast suspicion over ordinary American Muslims and increase Islamophobia.
Rabiah Ahmed, spokeswoman for CAIR, said that the show was “taking everyday American Muslim families and making them suspects…it’s very dangerous and very disturbing.” [Quotation’s source footnote omitted].
The FOX series stars Kiefer Sutherland as a U.S. counterterrorism agent based in Los Angeles. At the beginning of the fourth season, the storyline found Sutherland battling a Muslim terror cell with members including a married couple and their teenage son.
CAIR officials requested the meeting with FOX after viewing the first four “24” episodes, which “confirmed our concerns that the story was going in a dangerous direction: casting a shadow of suspicion on ordinary American Muslims.” [Quotation’s source footnote omitted].
At the meeting, which included CAIR and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) representatives, FOX officials agreed to distribute a CAIR public service announcement to network affiliates and ask that it be aired in proximity to “24.” Network officials also agreed to air a disclaimer stating that American Muslims reject terrorism. FOX’s disclaimer, read by actor Kiefer Sutherland [is quoted above].
Although many Americans were rightly enraged at Fox’s capitulation to CAIR, they wrongly complained of “censorship.” The corporate decision by Fox TV to have Sutherland/Bauer humbly mouth a politically correct and factually incorrect apology—“terrorism is obviously one of the most critical challenges” [along with health care?], the American Muslim community stands firmly beside their fellow Americans in denouncing and resisting all forms of terrorism” [it does not!]—was not censorship. Only the government has the power to censor (subject to whatever protection that might be afforded by the federal First Amendment and state constitutions).
Instead, Fox’s capitulation was craven political/commercial cowardice, in the face of yet another successful intimidation by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Wrapping itself in the flag, invoking the Constitution, and hiding beneath its veneer of a self-styled “civil liberties” organization—modeled on its anti-American mentor and template, the American Civil Liberties Union—CAIR is the preeminent domestic mailed fist of Islam in the velvet glove of civil liberties. Whatever its other activities, CAIR is using the American legal system to intimidate the exercise of free speech, to undermine our homeland defense and to advance Muslim cultural infiltration of our domestic institutions by seeking special dispensations concerning dress, national holidays, educational texts, the content of books, movies, television, and more. In addition to its incessant intimidating complaints about the alleged violation of “Muslim Civil Liberties”:
· CAIR sued the website Anti-CAIR for $1.35 million for “libelous defamation.”
· CAIR sued a congressman because of his statement to a reporter that the organization was supporting a fundraising arm of a foreign terrorist organization.
· CAIR-supported Global Relief Foundation, Incorporated, sued media defendants for reporting that GRF was a target of a federal investigation into funding for terrorism.
· CAIR sued the Attorney General of the United States and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, challenging the constitutionality of a Patriot Act document production section. It allowed the FBI to apply to the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court “for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, or other items) for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities, provided that such investigation of a United States person is not conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.”
· CAIR, making common cause with the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations that allegedly conducted regular international telephone and internet communications, sued the government challenging the National Security Agency's formerly secret program for warrantless interception of international telephone and internet communications.
· CAIR and others sued the Department of Justice seeking information regarding persons who had been detained in connection with the government’s investigation of the September 11th attacks.
· CAIR filed an amicus curiae brief in a civil case involving a body’s disinterment from a cemetery because, it claimed, the trial judge failed to consider the Islam religion’s bar on disinterment of dead bodies.
These legal actions and others undertaken by CAIR are always brought in the name of “Muslim civil liberties,” and often invoke quotations from American presidents. For example, CAIR’s 2006 Annual Report quotes George Washington (“Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.”), Thomas Jefferson (“The most sacred of the duties of a government is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.”), and Abraham Lincoln (“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”)
Since Muslims are so quick to accuse others of blasphemy, they need to be reminded that it is they who blaspheme by invoking these presidents’ sentiments on behalf of Islam—the most intolerant religion extant, one which not only considers women and non-Muslims as worse than second-class citizens, but whose authoritative tracts require either the conversion or death of non-believers and the murder of defectors from Islam.
But invoking Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln, and by using buzz words like “justice,” “peace,” and “freedom,” allows CAIR to act out its charade of being a civil liberties organization devoted to the protection and advancement of American constitutional principles.
It is obvious that CAIR, with its national headquarters in Washington, 32 offices nationwide and in Canada, national conferences, professional publicists, slick annual reports, and a formidable litigation operation, is receiving substantial financial support from sources that share its agenda of intimidating the exercise of speech critical of Islam, weakening our homeland defense, and infiltrating our culture.
The considerable funding for CAIR and its dogged determination to push its “Muslim Civil Liberties” agenda to the limit raises the question of how the organization’s skilled and widespread intimidation and litigation operation can be fought.
To answer that question, a distinction must be made between CAIR’s threats and lawsuits against the federal government, and those against everyone else—namely, state and municipal governments, private organizations, and individuals.
The federal government, through the vast resources of the Department of Justice, has done a pretty good job so far of taking care of itself. It will continue to do so.
Everyone else, however, needs help. But they are not getting it.
About a year ago, I made a suggestion about a legal response to the War on Terror. In part, I wrote the following:
By now, most people who pay attention to current affairs in general, and to courts in particular, know that decades ago, when liberals realized they couldn’t achieve their social and economic goals through popularly elected state legislatures, they decided to make their last stand for political dominance through the judiciary. Regrettably, they’ve succeeded. Witness the results, beginning in the days of the Warren Court’s “Living Constitution,” in cases involving prisoner’s rights, capital punishment, affirmative action, administrative regulation, eminent domain, and more.
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For decades, the liberals’ tactics have been emulated by the Legal Left to further their pro-Communist and anti-American agenda. A gaggle of Congressmen sued over the legality of providing military aid to El Salvador (Crockett v. Reagan). English ladies, joined by American Congressmen Ron Dellums and Ted Weiss, sued to enjoin the deployment of cruise missiles in the women’s town. (Greenham Women v. Reagan). Another group of legislators sued to declare the invasion of Grenada unconstitutional. (Conyers v. Reagan). Still other Congressmen sued to force President Reagan to file status reports under the War Powers Resolution. (Lowry v. Reagan). An “ordinary citizen” sued to block military action in Gulf War I. (Pietsch v. Bush). Traitors like Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden, who gave aid and comfort to the North Vietnamese Communists, were counseled by the Legal Left about how they could travel to Hanoi while avoiding prosecution. They succeeded.
Immediately after the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Legal Left morphed into a pro-terrorist, anti-American Fifth Column and aimed their considerable firepower at our government’s attempts to defend America. (The Encarta Dictionary defines “fifth column” as meaning “any group of people who give aid and support to the enemy from within their own country.” Those who do are called “fifth columnists.”)
Prominent among them was lawyer Lynne Stewart, counsel for the incarcerated sheik-mastermind of the first attack on the World Trade Center. Stewart has promoted anti-American causes for years and in 2005 was convicted of aiding the sheik in communicating with his followers while incarcerated [and recently received from a Carter-appointed federal district judge in New York a slap-on-the-wrist sentence].
Former United States Attorney General Ramsey Clark piously defends the likes of Saddam Hussein and the mad ayatollahs of Iran while opposing every attempt by Americans to defend themselves from their Islamofascist attackers.
Stanley Cohen’s incendiary statements, the nature of his clientele, his unbridled animus toward the United States, his identification with terrorists and their cause, and his apparent willingness to do virtually anything in their defense, make clear that he is using the American legal system to advance an anti-American, pro-terrorist agenda.
All of these lawyers can fairly be characterized as members of today’s fifth column.
In a close race with the ACLU for the most pro-terrorist, anti-American organization of the Legal Left is the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR). When the September 11 attacks occurred, it was manna from heaven for the CCR. It attacked the government’s detention of alien detainees, described by the CCR as the “real” victims of September 11. CCR attacked President Bush’s order creating military commissions. CCR attacked the Patriot Act, which arms the present, and all future, administrations—Republican and Democrat alike—with the weapons we’ll need to fight this unconventional war. CCR attacked American cooperation with friendly intelligence services. CCR represented a terrorist named Rasul and squeezed a 5-4 decision out of the Supreme Court of the United States that enemy combatants are entitled to due process of law.
The Left and its platoons of lawyers had their fingerprints all over a recent case in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, asserting that enemy combatants are entitled to Geneva Convention protection, and that the President had no right to create military commissions to try Guantanamo prisoners.
In that case, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the government was supported by only two amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs. The terrorist was supported by briefs from scores of American law professors, hundreds of British and European legislators, and such organizations as Human Rights First, People for the American Way, World Organization for Human Rights USA, and the Urban Morgan Institute for Human Rights.
It is of some consolation that the three-judge panel . . . ruled against the terrorist, but the case is far from over. The Georgetown Law professor who represented the terrorist has proclaimed that he may ask the entire Court of Appeals to rehear the case. Whether or not that happens, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld is headed for the Supreme Court of the United States. And when it gets there, the Legal Left will be out in force, filing dozens of amicus curiae briefs in support of that particular terrorist and, by implication, all other terrorists currently known and to be captured later. [They were. They won. And the Supreme Court invalidated the military commissions that the President had created, forcing Congress into compromise legislation which gave enemy combatants many of the rights enjoyed by domestic criminal defendants.]
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To be sure, there are some fine conservative and libertarian organizations that litigate on behalf of legitimate personal and property rights issues—among them Judicial Watch, the Institute for Justice, and the Individual Rights Foundation. But they have their own defined portfolios, and none of them are devoted exclusively to fighting the War on Terror in the appellate courts of this land.
Sadly, since I wrote these words nothing has changed. None of those groups, nor any other non-governmental organization in America, is devoted exclusively to going head-to-head with CAIR in the trial or appellate courts of the United States—from the Justice Court of the Town of Colonie, New York, to the Supreme Court of the United States in Washington, D.C.
The time is long past for such an organization to be formed: a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity that could raise tax-deductible contributions for the sole purpose of fighting CAIR in court.
When I proposed the anti-terrorism legal project about a year ago, I limited it to the filing of friend-of-the court briefs in appellate courts where terrorist cases were pending. Except for a few lawyers who welcomed the idea and volunteered to help, there was no interest.
My decades-long experience as a practicing constitutional and appellate lawyer told me then, and tells me now, that the necessary anti-terrorist, pro-America legal talent is available—and it is available even on a pro bono basis
What, then, has been lacking? Two things.
Lacking is a thorough understanding, especially by many of those capable of funding an anti-CAIR legal organization, of what the United States is up against from terrorists—and now from CAIR.
Lacking are dedicated lawyers with the desire to meet CAIR on the legal battlefield and there prevent our enemies from using the American legal system to intimidate the exercise of free speech, to undermine our homeland defense, and to advance Muslim cultural infiltration of our domestic institutions by seeking special dispensations concerning dress, national holidays, educational textbooks, the content of books, movies, television, and more.
Unless enough stalwart Americans, funders and lawyers alike, attack CAIR and defend its victims, the self-styled “Muslim Civil Rights” organization will continue, unchallenged, to intimidate and litigate in pursuit of its pernicious goals.
To paraphrase the English King Henry II speaking of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury (“Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest”), who will rid us of this metastasizing ersatz civil liberties organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations?