From Dr. Hugh Cort:
Journalists, You can help get Freedom of Speech for all journalists, freedom to investigate terrorist activity without fear of overseas lawsuits in foreign courts! Please come meet with us this Tuesday, Feb. 16 at 2:00 PM in the Senate Minority Judiciary Conference room in Dirksen 152, to discuss the Free Speech Protection Act of 2009 (Senate Bill S.449) that will come before the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 24 or sooner. The judiciary staffers of five Senators (Sessions, Coburn, Cornyn, Hatch, and Grassley) will be present, as will Dr. Paul Williams, one of the journalists who inspired the bill, plus Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld’s legal expert.
This is an extremely crucial bill, and is also newsworthy because it has truly bipartisan support, and is a bill all Senators can support, Democrats as well as Republicans. The Washington Post has written editorials in favor of the bill. We are meeting to see if we can get the four undecided Republican Senators (Cornyn, Coburn, Hatch, and Grassley) to get on board.
Please help us pass this important bill, which is vital to protect journalists who are exposing terrorist activity from being sued in foreign courts under foreign law. Senator Sessions, the Ranking Member, and most of the Democrat Senators on the Judiciary Committee are in favor of the bill. We need to get Republican Senators Cornyn, Coburn, Hatch, and Grassley on board as well. This is one bill that truly deserves bipartisan support! Please meet with us this coming Tuesday, Feb. 16. At 2:00PM.
Dr. Hugh Cort
Please see more info about the bill below.
Dr. Paul Williams and Rachel Ehrenfeld have already met with the staffs of several other Senators, including Senator Arlen Specter, Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Leahy, and others who are supporting the bill. I just learned from Dr. Ehrenfeld that Senator Sessions is backing the bill, which is great. I think it is still important to meet with Senator Sessions’ judiciary staffer, and definitely the judiciary committee staffers of the four undecided Republican Senators to discuss the bill.
The Free Speech Protection Act of 2009 (first proposed in Feb. of 2009) will protect authors and journalists such as Paul Williams and Rachel Ehrenfeld (and Joe Sharkey of the New York Times) who have been sued by people in foreign countries in the courts of those countries, under the laws of those countries, which often have no 1st Amendment rights of freedom of speech as we have here in America. For example, Rachel Ehrenfeld wrote the book Funding Evil, about how Islamic extremists in Saudi Arabia are funding Al Qaeda.
Rachel was then sued by a wealthy Saudi businessman in England under British law that does not have free speech protection like we have here in America. The English court awarded him a big judgment against her. She then had to spend thousands of dollars in her home state of New York to fight the Saudi from getting her money. She succeeded in getting the State of New York to pass Rachel’s Law, which protects journalists and authors from foreign lawsuits. Now she wants to pass the Free Speech Protection Act to get such protection nationwide.
My friend and colleague, Dr. Paul Williams, wrote a book about Al Qaeda’s plans for a nuclear attack on America, in which he wrote about some terrorists who the FBI had spotted in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, including Adnan Shukrijumah, who FBI Director Robert Mueller has called, “the next Mohammed Atta”, the man Osama bin Laden has chosen to lead the next 9/11 against America (which may well be a nuclear attack). The terrorists were spotted near McMaster University, home of the largest research nuclear reactor in Canada, where several news reports came out that the terrorists had made off with some nuclear material. For writing about these news reports in his book, Dr. Williams was sued by McMaster University, which has a large number of Islamic students, and is heavily funded by wealthy Saudis. Dr. Williams has thus far had to spend over $50,000 of his own money to fight this lawsuit in Canada, which is being held under Canadian law (which does not protect freedom of speech), for writing a book in America!
If these lawsuits are allowed to have jurisdiction in America, it will have a very chilling effect on journalists who are trying to expose funders of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. However, if Senator Sessions and the other Senators pass the bill, American journalists will be allowed to investigate terrorism issues without fear of foreign lawsuits in foreign courts intimidating their research. In these perilous times, as you may well imagine, it is more important than ever to find out what is happening with terrorist groups!
Dr. Hugh Cort,
American Foundation for Counter-Terrorism Policy and Research