Of all the free speech legal battles I am embroiled in, this one is the most absurd. And the most fun, because it is so ridiculous on its face, but it illustrates the crippling submission and capitulation of government authorities to Islamic supremacist demands.
“Federal Judge to Hear Argument Today over Seattle-Area Transit Agency’s Censorship of Anti-Terrorism Bus Advertisement” AFLC, January 27, 2014
David Yerushalmi, Co-Founder and Senior Counsel of the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) is presenting oral argument today in federal court in Seattle, Washington, in support of AFLC’s motion for preliminary injunction, which asks the court to order the King County, Washington, transit authorities to run Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer’s anti-terrorism advertisement “forthwith.” Yerushalmi will be arguing that the County’s refusal to run the advertisement is an unconstitutional prior restraint on free speech.
Here’s a refresher on this case:
The FBI was running a terrorism awareness campaign, featuring bus ads depicting photos of sixteen of the world’s Most Wanted Terrorists. This was a publicity campaign sponsored by the Joint Terrorism Task Force for the State Department’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program. But then the Leftists and Islamic supremacists complained that the ads were “Islamophobic” and “offensive to Muslims” and they came down – and unbelievably, Seattle is refusing to allow my group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), to put them back up.
The RFJ program offers huge rewards, up to $25 million, for information that helps stop jihad terror plots. It has been very successful, helping bag the notorious jihadist Ramzi Yousef, who is now in prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center jihad bombing. This program saves lives.
However, Muslim groups and the politicians in their pockets actually succeeded in pressuring the FBI into removing the ad. As such, we decided that we had to do the FBI’s job for them, in the interest of national security. We took it upon ourselves to alert the public to the nature and magnitude of the terror threat, and submitted the same ad, with minor variations in the color scheme and design to avoid copyright issues, to Seattle Transit.
It’s a spectacular submission to terror. Seattle King County is refusing our ad because they consider it disparaging to Muslims. The ad is a poster for the worst terrorists on the FBI’s most wanted list. Their refusal is devastating, and provides further proof of all that I have been warning about all these many years.
Sharron Shinbo of Seattle Transit wrote that our ad could not be accepted “based on our current advertising policy,” because it didn’t comply with three separate sections of that policy.
Shinbo’s letter explains those three sections. The first was that they claimed that they rejected the ad because it was “False or Misleading”: “Any material that is or that the sponsor reasonably should have known is false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or would constitute a tort of defamation or invasion of privacy.”
How could the ad have been true and good when the FBI submitted it but false or misleading when we submitted it? Remember, Seattle Transit took the FBI ad down because Jeff Siddiqui of American Muslims of Puget Sound claimed that the ad made Seattle-area Muslims “concerned for their safety and because Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) claimed the campaign was “offensive to Muslims and ethnic minorities” and encouraged “racial and religious profiling.”
All that was nonsense, but even if it were true, it didn’t establish that the ad was false or misleading. But Seattle Transit also rejected our ad because it was “demeaning or disparaging.”
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