Agema, Saleem Lawsuit Dismissed


Dave Agema, one of Michigan’s representatives on the Republican National Committee, and Kamal Saleem, one of the many fake “ex-terrorists” making a living scaring the hell out of the Christian right, have had a lawsuit they filed against a Michigan city, People for the American Way and CAIR dismissed by a Bush-appointed federal judge. They were represented by the Thomas More Law Center.

In 2012, Agema and Saleem were scheduled to speak at Allegan High School, just south of Grand Rapids, but the local police shut down the event our of concern for potential violence because Saleem claims to have a $25 million price on his head. They sued not only the school and the city but also People for the American Way and CAIR, who had sent a letter to the school informing them that Saleem appears to be a con man selling a false story about being an “ex-terrorist” and that he routinely says absolutely ludicrous things (like claiming that he is descended from the “grand wazir of Islam,” which does not exist and never has).

There were many different claims in the suit against each of the defendants. Against the city and the school they claimed violations of the Free Speech Clause, but against PFAW and CAIR they alleged “Tortious Interference of Contract” for writing the letter. All of the claims in the case were dismissed, but the ones against PFAW and CAIR are particularly interesting. Judge Janet Neff, a Bush appointee, concluded that the defendants were exercising their own First Amendment right to petition the government for action:

Defendants CAIR-MI, Walid, PFAW and Keegan argue that application of the Noerr-Pennington doctrine shields them from liability because they legally and reasonably petitioned the appropriate government official responsible for allowing Saleem to speak at Allegan High School in an effort to cancel his speech.

Defendants CAIR-MI, Walid, PFAW and Keegan’s argument has merit.

The right to petition, as guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, protects “the ability of the people to make their wishes known to their representatives.” The knowing infliction of injury from genuine petitioning does not render the campaign itself illegal because to hold otherwise would be “tantamount to outlawing all such campaigns.”…

Here, accepting as true the factual allegations contained in Count IV of Plaintiffs’ First Amended Complaint, Plaintiffs have stated an example of a claim for which the Noerr-Pennington doctrine grants immunity: private actors petitioning for—and, in fact, receiving—government action. The Court agrees that the petition from Defendants CAIR-MI, Walid, PFAW and Keegan to the school superintendent constitutes an attempt to influence governmental action, a petition that is protected by the First Amendment.

You can read the full ruling here.

Comments

  1. raven says

    ….by the Thomas More Law Center.

    It’s always a good sign when the Saint Thomas More Center, named for a Catholic serial killer, enters a case.

    They usually lose. It’s like hiring the Grim Reaper as your doctor.

  2. jnorris says

    …local police shut down the event our of concern for potential violence because Saleem claims to have a $25 million price on his head.

    Seems like a very reasonable action by the police.

  3. Al Dente says

    So Saleem says: “There are people who want to kill me!” The police act on his self-propaganda so Saleem sues them because they believed him.

  4. Matt G says

    Saint Thomas Moore Law Center, the “sword and shield for people of faith”, who defended IDC in Kitzmiller vs. Dover . Funny how the religious rise to defend IDC, despite the fact that IDC is NOT religious in nature (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

  5. waldteufel says

    Looks like the Thomas More Law Center’s “Sword and Shield” are more like a noodle and fig leaf.

  6. kangxi says

    Dunno about “grand wazir of Islam” but there certainly were Grand Viziers of the Ottoman Empire, which constituted pretty much the most of Islam at the time.

  7. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ ^ kangxi : Yes. Could well be that “Wazir” = Vizier – the words sound very similar an may even be a variant or spelling in another langauge. Not sure if this Kamal Saleem’s claim to being such was stated in written form in which case the spelling error is probably his, perhaps due to poor english skills or recorded from spoken form in which case you can understand how a mishearing perhaps aided by foreign accent could be responsible.

    Either way if Saleem meant “Grand Vizier” then it makes sense and isn’t an unreasonable claim at all. Evidence that Saleem isn’t actually descended from as some Grand Vizier then would be ..what?

    Evidence – not mere assertion – that this Kamal Saleem is actually lying and being dishonest in representing his life would be – what?

    I don’t know.

  8. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    … descended from the “grand wazir of Islam,” which does not exist and never has ..

    Wikipedia tells us otherwise :

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wazir

    Wazir (Arabic: وزير‎) is an official title, meaning Minister in several West and South Asian languages. Its equivalent in English is vizier. … (Snip) .. Vizier, vazir or wazir, a high-ranking official, such as the Chief Minister of Muslim regimes starting with the Abbasid Caliphate.

    That sounds almost exactly like what Kamal Saleem is claiming descent from here.

    So this little piece of literally ten seconds checking seems to make Saleem’s claim credible and contradicts what Ed has written, sorry Ed.

    Wiki-search finds no Kamal Saleem although the surname there has plenty of other Saleems.

    Anyhow, why do some incl. Ed Brayton think he’s definitely a fake? Is it just ideological bias because he’s making statements and relating a personal and perhaps broader history from a perspective that some here disagree with?

    My default assumption is that unless there is good reason to think someone is lying, it makes sense to presume they are telling the truth.

  9. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    PS. To clarify – I’m not claiming Kamal Saleem is telling the truth about everything . I don’t know enough to say.

    I haven’t really heard of him before and, on checking what I can, his claim at least in one respect seemingly stands up to scrutiny.

    I don’t know why he’s supposed to be fake or lying hence my asking for evidence and reason to accept Ed Brayton’s claim here.

    I’m also not claiming Ed Brayton is lying here either – only that what Ed said in at least one statement here is contradicted by the facts as they seem to be from a little research. Surprised now that Ed Brayton made that false “no such title as Wazir” claim without such basic fact-checking.

    Just because a Right-winger says something doesn’t make it necessarily false.

    There are plenty of Muslim terrorists, it doesn’t take too much extrapolation to work out that some Muslim terrorists might change their minds and renounce terrorism and then go on tours talking about their past history. Thus Saleem’s tale is plausible and I’m not sure what reason there is to call it false – especially when the evidence for calling it false that was given turns out to be wrong and the evidence on that claim seems to support what Saleem has apparently said.

  10. grepo says

    StevoR,

    you obviously can’t read. Ed stated that there is no such thing as “the ‘grand wazir of Islam.”‘ Your “literally ten seconds checking” says nothing about the “grand wazir of Islam,” and only about what a Wazir or Vizier is. Saleem may be a descendant of a wazir, but not the Grand Wazir of Islam–that is just ridiculous.

  11. Matrim says

    It’s always a good sign when the Saint Thomas More Center, named for a Catholic serial killer, enters a case.

    Since when is Thomas More a serial killer? Unless you’re referring to the six people that were executed for heresy while he was chancellor, which would be silly.

    And, for the folks saying Saleem’s wasir claims are plausible because easiest existed, grepo has it right. Dude isn’t claiming to be decended from a wasir, he’s claiming to be decended from the “Grand Wasir of Islam,” which would be akin to me claiming to be decended from the Grand Duke of Christianity.

  12. dingojack says

    From FoAW:

    A serial killer is traditionally defined as a person who has murdered two or more people[1][2] over a period of more than a month, with down time (a “cooling off period”) between the murders.[3][4] The motivation for killing is usually based on psychological gratification.[3][4] Some sources, such as the FBI, disregard the “three or more” criteria and define the term as “a series of two or more murders, committed as separate events, usually, but not always, by one offender acting alone” or, including the vital characteristics, a minimum of two murders.[4][5] Most of the killings involve sexual contact with the victim,[6] but the FBI states that motives for serial murder include “anger, thrill, financial gain, and attention seeking”.[5] The murders may have been attempted or completed in a similar fashion and the victims may have had something in common; for example, occupation, race, appearance, sex, or age group.[7]

    So Thomas More might well fit into some of the definitions.

    Dingo
    ——–
    FoAW NOTES:
    1. Holmes, Ronald M.; Stephen T. Holmes (2010). Serial murder (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Sage, California, p. 39.
    2. Reavill, Gil (2007). Aftermath, Inc.: Cleaning Up After CSI Goes Home. Gotham., p. 228 “With only two confirmed kills, Ed Gein did not technically qualify as a serial killer (the traditional minimum requirement was three), but that did not deny him immediate entry into the pantheon of folk”.
    3. Holmes, Ronald M.; Stephen T. Holmes (1998b). Contemporary Perspectives on Serial Murder. SAGE Publications., p. 9 “One of the most famous [geographically stable] serial killers is Wayne Williams. He was convicted of only two killings. However, his probable involvement in more than 30 killings of young black males in Atlanta qualifies him for classification as a geographically stable serial killer”.
    4. Burkhalter Chmelir, Sandra (2003). “Serial Killers”. In Robert Kastenbaum. Macmillan Encyclopedia of Death and Dying 2. New York: Macmillan Reference USA/Thomson/Gale, p. 1.
    5.Morton, RJ (2005). Serial murder multi-disciplinary perspectives for investigators. Federal Bureau of Investigation, p. 4, 9.
    6. Geberth, Vernon J. (1995). “Psychopathic sexual sadists: The psychology and psychodynamics of serial killers”. Law and Order 43 (4): 82–86 “The base population was 387 serial murderers, who killed (under various motivations), three or more persons over a period of time with cooling-off periods between the events. The author identified 232 male serial murderers who violated their victims sexually.”.
    7. Scott, Shirley Lynn. “What Makes Serial Killers Tick?”. truTV.com. Retrieved 2011-01-09.

  13. says

    “he routinely says absolutely ludicrous things (like claiming that he is descended from the “grand wazir of Islam,” which does not exist and never has).”

    Saleem, like many of his ReiKKKwing Cumpatriotz*, can more likely trace his heritage back to his descent from a dog’s anus.

    * Yes, they do have teh orgazmz when dreaming about being heroes in the coming TWAT**

    ** Total War Against Terrariztz.

  14. raven says

    Since when is Thomas More a serial killer? Unless you’re referring to the six people that were executed for heresy while he was chancellor, which would be silly.

    1. Tell that to the 6 people who were killed. I doubt they were too happy about being dead.

    2. Don’t try this at home unless you want to become a Zombie at best. You wouldn’t want to be killed either, even if it was just for being a heretic.

  15. Matrim says

    I’m not saying that heresy is a valid reason to have someone executed, but it’s silly to call someone a serial killer for executions carried out under his chancellorship. If you want to call him a morally bankrupt theocratic bully who approved of the state sponsored killing of people for nothing more than their beliefs I’d totally agree with you. But serial killer doesn’t really fit.

  16. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ 11. grepo :

    you obviously can’t read.

    I can read just fine thanks. You missed the title here from my comment # 9 :

    .. such as the Chief Minister of Muslim regimes starting with the Abbasid Caliphate.

    (Emphasis added.)

    Chief Minister = Grand Wazir “of Muslims regimes” of Muslims / Islam” close enough to make Saleem’s claim sound pretty likely right to me. Especially considering variations on the title and short-hand reference to it.

    Oh and nobody has yet presented any evidence here why we should consider Kamal Saleem a fake or lying.

  17. says

    “Oh and nobody has yet presented any evidence here why we should consider Kamal Saleem a fake or lying.”

    Here? You mean on this thread? Well, gosh, I don’t think Ed is in the habit of making libelous statements. But, maybe he can clear it up.

    Otoh, you could DO a little reading.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/07/09/fake-ex-terrorist-muslims-are-taking-over/

    http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/kamal-saleem-islamist-lobbyists-bringing-billions-dollars-government-buying-politics

    I got 37,000 results with “Kamal Saleem the fake terrorist”.

    Enjoy

  18. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ ^ democommie : Okay thanks for those links, which, er, seem to lead to more political articles & links all strongly slanted one way from a brief look. I will look at them further and research this but, yeesh, you couldn’t provide a simple objective bio from somewhere non-partisan? Right wing watch? Think they may have y’know a small hatchet to grind here?

    (& the Rightwingwatch bit about Muslims thinking the Jesus / Issa was the messiah WTF? Really not sold on that one, mate! Their ideas of Jesus and the Christian one really rather different.)

    You got 37,000 results? Really? I tried to find him on wikipedia and got zero , zilch, nada, nyx*. Not sure how you search or how many of those are really relevant.

    But, well, thanks again for at least providing something to look at here. Its more than anyone else has done and is appreciated.

    *Not Pluto’s moon of that name. Just found nothing on him on wikipedia.

  19. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Okay interesting still not conclusive so far.

    From the MRFF weekly article ‘Apparently, terrorism pays.
    It pays very well.’ By Reza Aslan | February 28, 2008 :

    Here’s a question: if the claims of these three (ex-terrorists : Walid Shoebat, Kamal Saleem & Zacharia Anani, -ed.)

    are true, why aren’t they in Guantanamo?

    Really obvious answer – they’re co-operating with the Western world and fighting terrorism now and as such have been pardoned for past offences. Also they’re no threat anymore.

    f their claims are true, these alleged ex-terrorists should be deported or prosecuted.

    Even if they are now helping our side to fight against the terrorism and redeeming themselve’s that way? Hell,if ex-terrorists have already given the state all the info they have and trying to prevent Muslims from becoming terrorists then they should definitely be kept on – watched as a sensible precaution, sure but still. If they are who and what they say they are they’re doing a good job. Probably. kinda.

    The expert there makes a reasonable point about Annani – although child soldiers are hardly unknown and terrorists do get brain-washed into being that very early and who knows if he even knows how old he really is – but his ‘Wazir’ claim on Saleem is the same one I’ve already debunked (or de-debunked?) in comments 9 & 18.

  20. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Argh. Blockquote fix, sorry that’s meant to be this :

    Here’s a question: if the claims of these three (ex-terrorists : Walid Shoebat, Kamal Saleem & Zacharia Anani, -ed.) are true, why aren’t they in Guantanamo?

    In quotes o’course.

  21. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    PS. If in the Cold War era you turned a former KGB spy and got him or her to defect to the West with vital info and a promise of them using their knowledge to fight their former masters would you then do anything *other* than treat her or him well? Like *really* well? Even if they had done some awful things in the past? Hell, no!

    Was Werner Von Braun ever prosecuted for what he did building V2s before he was employed by NASA and put in charge of the Moon landing program?

    Yeesh, are those two supposedly killer questions asked by Reza Aslan & Mikey Weinstein in that article ever easily obviously answered!

    (Assuming the ex-terorrists are what they claim to be.)

  22. dingojack says

    Setvo – just a couple points*:

    1. “You got 37,000 results? Really? I tried to find him on wikipedia and got zero , zilch, nada, nyx*. Not sure how you search or how many of those are really relevant.” Wikipedia is not a reliable source of information, especially on current, fast-moving or contentious subjects. (Personally I’d give more weight to Right Wing Watch. They keep on top of their subjects, seem researched and are less frequently prone to error).

    2. “Really obvious answer – they’re co-operating with the Western world and fighting terrorism now and as such have been pardoned for past offences. Also they’re no threat anymore.” No the really obvious answer is that they’ve never been anything remotely like a terrorist. The security services aren’t going to ’round-up’ time-wasting fantasists like these fools, they’ve got actual terrorist to find, catch and interrogate.

    3. “(Assuming the ex-terorrists are what they claim to be.)”. Do you really think the various security services (outside the US** anyway) are complete idiots? Don’t you think they would have swept them up if they were even the least bit creditable? Also do you really think Werner Von Braun travelled around the right-wing dinner circuit trumpeting his pedigree as a ex-Nazi? Really?

    Dingo
    ——–
    * I haven’t got a dog in this fight.
    ** and Australia

  23. colnago80 says

    Re StevoR @ #23

    Actually, the charges against Werner von Braun are not because of his V2 activities but because he utilized slave labor from the concentration camps in their construction.

  24. says

    “You got 37,000 results? Really? I tried to find him on wikipedia and got zero , zilch, nada, nyx*. Not sure how you search or how many of those are really relevant.”

    In google search, two minutes ago, “Kamal Saleem, the fake ex-terrorist” yeildsl:

    http://us.search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=vmn&type=zg-search.startnow.com-1_0-zg-rp-rp&p=Kamal+Saleem%2C+the+fake+ex-terrorist

    as of now, 37,200 results.

    relevancy? Hard to say unless I know what to look for. He’s a lying douchebag, that’s not really up for debate.

  25. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ ^ democommie : Okay, that link works and has some new stuff thatdoes cast a lot more doubt on kamal Saleem’s claims.

    @25. colnago80 : Well Von Braun was certainly guilty of both – the V2’s killed a lot of people and were made using Jewish slave labour and he got away with it unpunished because he switched sides and went on to helm the Apollo program. His knowledge and expertise and working for the good guys saved him from serious jail time at best.

    @24.dingojack : Couple = three now does it? ;-)

    1) yeah, Wikipedia is imperfect but its usually a good starting point to other sources. I haven’t found too many problems with it and anything online can be potentially dubious. I always try to find multiple sources at least three or five when researching anything seriously. Books of course are generally best of all because they’ve been through the whole editing publishing process. I take points off for sites being explicitly politically focused because of the tendency towards partisanship and looking only at the one side / perspective. Right wing Watch sounds and seems pretty one-sided and biased in that it takes a very Left wing view of the world. I’ve seen their youtube clips a lot mainly from here and FTB generally, not their main-site often at all till now.

    2) Well that’s another plausible reason but its a subjective judgement.

    3) i) No, of course I don’t think that.

    ii) How do we know they haven’t? It seems unlikely they’d make it public either way. One or two sources note the FBI haven’t clearly stated one way or the other about contact with him. the old ” not ruled out /in” line.

    iii) Again, course not – different era and very different man who worked in a totally different area. VonBraun tried to bury his Nazi past which was a liability to him – focusing on his strengths of his technological expertise and future dreams. For Kamal Saleem his claimed past experiences were /are more valuable,essential, to what he does and how he makes a living. Context.

  26. dingojack says

    Stevo – Leaving aside 1 and 2, firstly, clearly you do, secondly if they were a creditable threat they’d be safely stowed in some unprepossessing gulag somewhere already, not trumpeting how they’re were former terrorists to stooges on the right-wing dinner circuit (see the clause beginning ‘firstly’ above).

    Concerning Werner Von Braun – you made the bad analogy, trying to shoe-horn the wrong context into the unfortunately shaped hole, you’ve got it explain it, not me.

    Dingo

Trackbacks

  1. […] The TMLC, while striking a faux “free speech” pose, was in fact attempting to misuse the law to censor critical comment of Saleem, the most floridly bogus of the Muslim-turned-Christian “ex-terrorists” who make money from telling lurid stories to conservative groups about Islamic conspiracies and Barack Obama. And the judge saw through it, asserting that in writing to the school board the defendants had exercised their First Amendment right to petition their representatives (full ruling here, h/t Ed Brayton). […]

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