Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Islamic Society subpoenas WTTK in defamation suit

By Aussiegirl

It's beginning -- the wholesale assault on freedom of speech in our country by the Islamic extremists -- read Muslims. These people will not stop until it is forbidden to discuss or otherwise criticize the actions of Muslims. And our stupid government will probably go along with it. Michael Graham is a particular target of these people. They've already had him fired from his local radio show in Washington (one that I particularly enjoyed), and now they are after him and the Boston Herald in Boston.

BostonHerald.com - Local & Regional: Islamic Society subpoenas WTTK in defamation suit

The group building a vast Islamic mosque and social center in Roxbury has subpoenaed a local radio talk station after one of its prominent hosts, Michael Graham, discussed the project on the air.

A lawyer for the Islamic Society of Boston said the subpoena is part of routine evidence gathering for its defamation case against The Boston Herald, WFXT-TV (Fox 25) and advocacy groups that have questioned the mosque, including the David Project, a Jewish group.

Some civil liberties lawyers who reviewed the subpoena, however, expressed concern that it goes too far and could chill free expression.

ISB attorney Howard Cooper said “the appearance for the lawyer of the David Project on the Graham show is directly relevant to the issues before the court in the pending litigation, and this is why a subpoena has been issued simply asking for copies of the broadcast.”

But after reviewing the subpoena, attorney Harvey Silverglate, a Cambridge civil liberties specialist, described it as “extraordinary.” He noted that it also asks for materials used by Graham to support his remarks about the ISB, documents related to David Project lawyer Jeffrey Robbins’ appearance on the show and communications between Graham and other defendants or attorneys involved in the ISB defamation suit.

“Courts have to take seriously their obligation, their duty to protect the First Amendment, because civil litigation can be overwhelming and can really easily turn into harassment,” Silverglate said.

During the mid-August broadcasts on WTTK-FM (96.9), Robbins and Graham discussed the ISB and a controversial Muslim scholar, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, and other issues.

Phil Redo, Greater Media/Boston general manager, said the station will hand over audiotapes of the broadcasts, but not in time for a deadline of tomorrow set by ISB.

Regarding the other materials, “We don’t have any of those of things,” Redo said.

Cooper said the subpoena is a “simple matter” of gathering evidence for his lawsuit.

North Carolina attorney W. Andrew Copenhaver, who is not involved in the defamation suit, said if he was defending WTTK in this matter he would argue the subpoena is a “fishing expedition.”

“They are trying to curtail legitimate public discussion on this matter,” said Copenhaver, who was referring to legal strategy. “They are going to try to punish people for talking about them.”

Graham was fired from Washington radio station WMAL-AM last year after he refused to soften his on-air description of Islam as “a terrorist organization.”


At 11:25 PM, Blogger Cauthon said...

We have the worst of both sides of the litigation problem. Often we can’t win and collect anything when somebody actually does something that hurts someone, but anyone can sue anyone and cause a lot of trouble for them, even if they don’t have a case, like these Muslims. I am concerned that in war, and in politics, and now in litigation, the system favors the terrorists against those who need defense. In Israel, for example, they are supposed to follow some new program of proportional response; so, if terrorists kill one Israeli, then Israel can kill one terrorist, if they can find them. Since Israel is outnumbered about 50 to 1 by its neighbors, if those neighbors are willing to sacrifice 2% of their population they can kill every Israeli and stay within the new rules of war.


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