Simon Singh’s win in his libel case was very welcome news.
Elsewhere, lawfare thugs scored a victory this week.
The Express newspaper has paid “substantial damages” and apologised to the trustees of a charity at the High Court this morning after incorrectly linking their organisation to an Al Qaeda commander.
Idris Atcha, Mohammed Idris, Zaker Patel and Muhammad Ahmad Seedat took legal action against the newspaper after it published a story headed “Jet Bomb Ordered by 9/11 Spiritual Leader” on its website on 27 December, linking their charity, the Ummah Welfare Trust, to Anwar al Awlaki.
Representing the trustees, Luke Staiano, of London law firm Carter Ruck, told Justice Eady that al Awlaki is regarded as the “spiritual leader” of those responsible for the 11 September attack and “apparently ordered the attempt to blow up an aeroplane over the US on Christmas Day 2009”.
He said the article claimed that al Awlaki was one of the “favourite speakers” of the charity, which organises emergency relief for developing countries.
Staiano said: “The charity does not have any connections with Anwar al Awlaki and the claimants have never met him and do not support or condone his extremist views or objectives…
Staiano said the article also alleged that the charity has aided the cause of terrorism through connections to Hamas.
He added: “The charity has never funded nor had any links with Hamas or any other terrorist organisation. The same applies to the claimants. The aid distributed by the charity and the claimants has always been applied to wholly charitable purposes.”
The statement from The Express is available here.
The case for the defence looks strong enough to me. Perhaps the newspaper folded only because it preferred not to pay for an expensive defence.
“The charity does not have any connections with Anwar al Awlaki.”
No. The Ummah Welfare Trust did indeed host Awlaki speeches on its “UmmahShop” website, as reported by the counter-terrorist specialists of NEFA here (pdf, see page 9).
At that point Awlaki’s vicious extremism and the City ISOC’s adulation for him were both in plain sight. Was the Ummah Welfare Trust perturbed by such an open connection with Awlaki? Evidently not.
Consider some of the other speakers at events it organises or supports. They include Hamas funder Yvonne “Zionist Tentacles” Ridley, Zahir “Hamas are freedom fighters” Mahmood, and Haitham “Hamas and war are good for Islam” al Haddad. This is not a charity that is shy of supporters of terrorism.
“The charity has never funded nor had any links with Hamas”
No. Here reality has been stood on its head most rudely. The UWT has published photographs on its own website that show it works with the Al Salah Society in Gaza. (That post also recounts some rather interesting materials from the charity’s old website. Didn’t you know that Mossad did 9/11? Will you remember, if you are questioned by police officers, to see them as “filthy human beings in your mind and that will help you win over them”?)
Further photographic evidence of the charity’s activities with Al Salah is available here.
“The Islamic Resistance Movement, better known as Hamas, is less circumspect about the ties it has with the Islamic charities. “Of course Salah and other Islamic foundations are identified with us,” says Ismael Abu Shanab, a senior spokesman who lives in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood. Hamas made huge strides in popularity among the Palestinians at the beginning of the intifada with its hard-hitting attacks against Israelis, but Hamas is clearly worried now that economic pressure may cause most people to abandon the uprising. Hamas may derive some political gain from the works of these organizations, Abu Shanab concedes, but he insists that is not the objective. Even though the tactics have not changed, he says, Hamas considers it prudent to also emphasize its humanitarian work. “We don’t want to derive immediate political benefits,” he explains. “We see it more as a means of extending the life span of the intifada.”
The truth is that you can raise as much money for Hamas as you like in the UK. It is illegal, but you will not be stopped.
If your activities are reported, you can bring your critics to court and take their money if you win, courtesy of Mr Justice Eady.
What an absurd state of affairs.