As we mentioned earlier this week, there is movement in the U.S. to stem "lawfare," or the use of courts to silence or intimidate critics of radical Islam.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy makes a strong case for proposed congressional legislation that would allow U.S. citizens to counter-sue those who bring libel suits in foreign courts where standards of proof for plaintiffs are far less stringent than American courts.
The most glaring case involves Rachel Ehrenfeld, who was sued in British courts by a Saudi magnate suspected of financing terrorism. Khalid bin Mahfouz won damages against Ehrenfeld for her book, Funding Evil, even though it was never published in England.
It is the government's job to protect American liberties, McCarthy argues. Allowing "lawfare" like bin Mahfouz's to flourish poses a direct challenge to some of our most cherished freedoms. McCarthy puts the issue in a nutshell:
"If information cannot be freely exchanged, if journalists must fear being sued over information reported in good faith on matters crucial to our defense — matters such as the financial networks supporting jihadist terror — then we cannot make sound security policy. We become dependent on government — in all its dysfunction and political correctness — with no means to evaluate its performance or induce it to change. We become reliant on government for our information. In fact, we become hamstrung even in our efforts to learn what little the government is willing to reveal."
Letting Americans fight back in court creates no burden on other nations to conform to our laws and legal standards, McCarthy said. But it could offer a dose of reality to those inclined to shop the globe for the most favorable courts in an exercise dubbed libel tourism:
"We will arm Americans with reciprocal power to sue you for damages in a court far away from your home — albeit in an American federal court that will surely give you a fairer shake than American journalists have gotten in the British court that has become known as "the Club Med for libel tourists.'"
Read the whole article here.