Judge Richard Casey of The Southern District Court in Manhattan has handed down a decision against Rachel Ehrenfeld, director of the American Center for Democracy, that will have a chilling effect on the fight against Saudis and others financing Islamist terrorism.
Ehrenfeld has written extensively about the Saudi fifth column in the United States that uses its oil wealth to invade American colleges, circulate materials in secondary schools reflecting Wahhabist ideology, and provided lucrative incentives to officials in our state department and politicians in Washington. Her 2003 book, Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It, among other things, revealed connections between Saudi billionaire Sheik Khalid Salim a bin Mahfouz and his sons, and al Qaeda funding. Despite the fact he lives in Saudi Arabia, and that Ehrenfeld's book was published in the United States and not even on sale in Great Britain, the Sheik decided to become what is known as a "libel tourist" and sued Ehrenfeld in the UK—notoriously plaintiff friendly—for defamation and libel.
Had Mahfouz filed in the USA he would have had to prove that the book misstated the facts and was written in malice, a standard he could not have met. Moreover, he would have been subject to a discovery process that would reveal more than the Saudi billionaire wanted the world to know, especially since he'd already been under the microscope for bank fraud and money laundering in a failed Muslim bank he financed, and for which he was forced to make restitution. The Saudi billionaire is ranked the 210th richest man in the world, and his sons are already named as defendant in the US by several of the families whose relatives died on 9/11 because of his links to funding the al Qaeda terrorists who struck that fateful day.
The pretext for filing in a British court was that 26 of Ehrenfeld's books made it into the hands of British citizens who ordered the book via Amazon. A Justice Eady in the UK decided a default judgment against Ehrenfeld, and ordered her to pay the Saudi more than $200,000 in damages plus court costs, and barred her book in the U.K. The judgment rendered by the British court can only be enforced in the United States by legal action. When Ehrenfeld filed in the Southern district court in Manhattan to block the collection process, she knew that more than money was at stake. As her attorney stated to the Court: "The freedom to ferret out and publish facts without fear of expensive lawsuits and huge judgments in foreign countries whose defamation laws negate a commitment to freedom of expression and public discourse are pregnant and antithetical and contrary to our fundamental policy."
But Judge Casey ignored Ehrenfeld's plea for her First Amendment rights, and decided that he had no jurisdiction over the case. Ehrenfeld is filing an appeal and faces a daunting challenge of raising enough money to support a case that she believes will help determine whether or not American writers will be able to continue to expose America's enemies.
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