Archive for Lawsuit

Lawsuit contends FBI violated rights of hundreds of Muslim Americans

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on February 24, 2011 by loonwatch

The ACLU and CAIR are suing the FBI.

Lawsuit contends FBI violated rights of hundreds of Muslim Americans

(LATimes)

The FBI violated the 1st Amendment rights of hundreds of Muslims by using a paid informant to target and monitor several Southern California mosques based solely on religion, according to a federal class-action lawsuit filed Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Filed on behalf of three Muslim plaintiffs, the suit accuses the FBI and seven of its employees, including Director Robert Mueller, of paying Irvine resident Craig Monteilh to go undercover, infiltrate mosques and record conversations in order to root out potential terrorists.

Over the course of 14 months beginning in 2006, the FBI used Monteilh to “indiscriminately collect” personal information on hundreds or even thousands of Muslim Americans, the lawsuit alleges.

Through this “dragnet” operation, the agency “gathered hundreds of phone numbers, thousands of e-mail addresses, hundreds of hours of video recordings that captured the interiors of mosques, homes and businesses, and … thousands of hours of audio recordings,” the lawsuit alleges.

Monteilh, who has served prison time for forgery, has previously told The Times that he was recruited by the FBI in 2004 to infiltrate drug-trafficking groups. In 2006, Monteilh said, he was asked to assume the identity of a Muslim convert and go undercover to identify extremists and gather intelligence.

The lawsuit comes a year after Monteilh filed suit personally against the FBI, accusing his law enforcement handlers of endangering his life and violating his civil rights. His claims of working for the FBI in some capacity were confirmed in 2009 when a West Covina judge unsealed court recordsthat showed the agency intervened in 2007 to terminate Monteilh’s parole on a theft charge early.

The FBI declined to comment on the case Tuesday night, citing ongoing legal proceedings. Spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said in an e-mail, however, that the FBI does not target houses of worship or religious groups but does focus on “people who are alleged to be involved in criminal activity, regardless of their affiliations, religious or otherwise.”

ACLU lawyer Peter Bibring said members of the Muslim community grew suspicious after Monteilh habitually asked probing and invasive questions about their religious beliefs, political views, loyalties and became “increasing aggressive about denouncing U.S. foreign policy.”

“Ironically, the operation ended when members of the Muslim communities of Southern California reported the informant to the police because of his violent rhetoric and ultimately obtained a restraining order against him,” the lawsuit alleged.

Bibring dismisses the idea that the FBI may have been targeting individuals already suspected of criminal activity.

“That simply doesn’t fit with the behavior that the entire community observed,” he said. Monteilh “didn’t focus on individuals or small groups of people. He probed a wide range of people.”

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, class-action status and the destruction of all materials that Monteilh collected and handed over to the FBI.

 

$5 million lawsuit targets Jimmy Carter for ‘attacking Israel’

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2011 by loonwatch

Is this Freedom of Speech? What if Muslims were suing for “misleading” statements about Islam, you can be sure that the Islamophobes would be in a tail-spin.

$5 million lawsuit targets Jimmy Carter for ‘attacking Israel’

WASHINGTON – Former President Jimmy Carter has become the target of a class action lawsuit over ostensibly mean things he said about Israel in his best-selling 2006 book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

The lawsuit, filed in New York by an Israeli firm, alleges that the book “contained numerous false and knowingly misleading statements intended to promote the author’s agenda of anti-Israel propaganda and to deceive the reading public instead of presenting accurate information as advertised.”

The five American plaintiffs, two of whom are dual citizens of the US and Israel, seek $5 million in damages over the book (which is being sold for less than $10 on Amazon) on the basis that its criticisms of Israel violated consumer protection safeguards.

The plaintiffs alleged in a press release that the 39th US president and Nobel Peace Prize winner “violated the law and, thus, harmed those who purchased the book” by unfairly “attacking Israel.”

Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said her clients’ lawsuit “will expose all the falsehoods and misrepresentations in Carter’s book and prove that his hatred of Israel has led him to commit this fraud on the public.”

Publishing company Simon & Schuster, which is also targeted in the lawsuit, dismissed it as a frivolous act and a “chilling attack on free speech that we intend to defend vigorously.”

“This lawsuit is frivolous, without merit, and is a transparent attempt by the plaintiffs, despite their contentions, to punish the author, a Nobel Peace prize winner and world-renowned statesmen, and his publisher, for writing and publishing a book with which the plaintiffs simply disagree,” Simon & Schuster spokesman Adam Rothberg told the Washington Post.

A copy of the complaint can be viewed here.

[h/t Matt Yglesias]

 

Supreme Court Will Hear Aschcroft on Unlawful Arrests of Muslims

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2010 by loonwatch

(via. Huffington Post)

Supreme Court Will Hear Ashcroft’s Request to Avoid Responsibility for Unlawful Arrests of Muslims

MARK SHERMAN | 10/18/10 11:02 AM | AP

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will consider an appeal by former Attorney General John Ashcroft to throw out a lawsuit seeking to hold him personally responsible for improperly arresting a Muslim U.S. citizen after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The justices on Monday stepped into a dispute that, at its roots, concerns the Bush administration’s aggressive moves against Muslims and Arabs in the United States following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Abdullah al-Kidd was one of at least 70 people detained under a law aimed at insuring that witnesses would be available to appear in court and testify at trial, according to a study by civil liberties groups. Like many others, al-Kidd was never called to testify before a grand jury or in open court and was not charged with a crime.

He sued Ashcroft, asserting that his arrest in 2003 stemmed from a policy announced by the then-attorney general less than two months after 9/11. At that time, Ashcroft touted the use of material witness warrants to detain suspected terrorists when the government did not have sufficient evidence to hold them on criminal charges.

The suit has not gone to trial and Ashcroft, represented by the Obama administration, says he should be shielded from lawsuits concerning his official duties.

Civil liberties lawyers say no attorney general has ever been held personally liable for official actions. Other federal officials, particularly at a lower level, have been held personally liable for their actions. It is, however, exceptionally rare.

Supreme Court rulings allow high-ranking officials to be held liable but set a high bar: An official must be tied directly to a violation of constitutional rights and must have clearly understood the action crossed that line.

The federal appeals court in San Francisco held that al-Kidd’s case met the high court’s standards.

Rejecting Ashcroft’s bid for immunity, Judge Milan D. Smith Jr. strongly criticized the use of material witness warrants for national security. “We find this to be repugnant to the Constitution,” Smith said in a 2-1 decision. Smith, appointed by Bush, was joined in the majority by a Ronald Reagan appointee.

The Kansas-born Al-Kidd is a one-time University of Idaho football star who converted to Islam while in college. He was arrested at Dulles International Airport in suburban Washington, D.C., preparing to board a flight to Saudi Arabia.

The FBI persuaded a judge to issue a warrant for al-Kidd’s arrest by claiming that he had paid $5,000 for a one-way ticket. Al-Kidd’s lawyers say that was untrue; al-Kidd had a much cheaper, round-trip ticket. In addition, they said, he had cooperated fully with authorities following Sept. 11.

The dispute over the accuracy of the information is not before the Supreme Court. When the case is argued early next year, the justices will consider just whether Ashcroft can be held liable.

Justice Elena Kagan, who reviewed al-Kidd’s lawsuit as a top Justice Department official, is not taking part in the Supreme Court case.

The case is Ashcroft v. Al-Kidd, 10-98.

 

“Muslim Mafia” author Appears to Completely Fold in Lawsuit

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2009 by loonwatch
P. David GaubatzP. David Gaubatz

The insane David Gaubatz has been ordered to return the documents he stole from CAIR and used to write his book Muslim Mafia.

The author of the book Muslim Mafia, which was based on documents taken by the author’s son while he was posing as a Muslim intern at the Council on American Islamic Relations, has agreed to return all documents and recordings obtained during the time at CAIR, according to a draft consent order filed in court yesterday.

The draft order, agreed to by attorneys for CAIR as well as for Dave Gaubatz and his son Chris, was filed along with a joint motion asking the judge to enter the order.

“We’re glad that there’s been an agreement to return all of the property that has been stolen from us,” CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told TPMmuckraker this morning. CAIR says many thousands of pages of internal documents were taken. Now, Hooper said, “we’ll move forward with our legal action,” declining to specify what will come next.

Daniel Horowitz, one of Gaubatz’s lawyers who earlier this month told us in aninterview that he was relishing the chance to butt heads with CAIR, told TPMmuckraker this morning that he didn’t negotiate the agreement. His colleague, the trial lawyer Martin Garbus, did not immediately return a call seeking comment about what happened in the case, and what, if anything, will come next.

Garbus told Politico, which first reported the news, that the Gaubatzs will continue to fight CAIR “in the context of the litigation,” but not over the preliminary injunction.

Muslim Mafia, the foreword of which was written by Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC), prompted Myrick and three House GOP colleagues to pursue a probe of possibly Muslim intern “spying” on Capitol Hill. Gaubatz has made many controversial statements, most recently making, and then retracting, a call for a backlash against Muslims after the Fort Hood shootings.

The order filed yesterday goes well beyond a judge’s ruling earlier this month that Gaubatz had to return a narrower set of documents, including those that contain confidential employee information.

The full order is here.