Tuesday, August 07, 2012
Appeals Court Tosses Jihad Group's Lawsuit
Al-Haramain 'Islamic charity that was actually a front for laundering money to send to the likes of al-Qaeda and Hamas lost in court today, big time.
You might remember the facts on this one.
Back in September, 2007, Al Haramain, a Saudi funded 'charity' was popped for funding things like Hamas,al Qaeda, the Bali Bombings, he 1998 US embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya and a host of other nefarious activities.
The US government got some confidential intel and based on that, tapped the phones of the Oregon branch of Al Haramain and obtained hard evidence of their activities, after which the government then designated the Oregon branch as terrorists, and froze their assets. Al Haramain challenged this in court, unaware of the evidence the Feds had. Unfortunately, during the discovery portion of that litigation, a government employee accidentally gave top secret logs of the tapped phone conversations to Al Haramain's lawyers as part of a stack of documents.
Al Haramain then lawyered up with the likes of the ACLU and the usual lefty suspects to turn this into a case to challenge the legality of the surveillance, and by extension the legality of all secret surveillance in trials of this kind.They were attempting to set a legal precedent to stop the Federal government from conducting surveillance on anybody, to prevent any similar surveillance in the future, and to make inadmissible any evidence gathered by surveillance in the past.
Al-Haramain and their lawyers were forced to return all copies of the classified document, but not before a number of copies made their way overseas. At that point the suit hinged on two questions; did the plaintiff, al-Haramain have the legal right to sue the government? In order to be able to sue, they had to prove the surveillance, and to prove that, they had to use the only evidence which proving it, the logs..which the feds claimed was inadmissible evidence because of national security concerns. Al -Haramin and their lawyers actually wanted to proceed with the case based on the memories and descriptions of the document, using testimony from the various people that saw it before it was given back to the government.
The 9th circuit court of appeals, with a three judge panel consisting of two Clinton appointees and a superannuated Carter appointee ruled mostly in the jihadis favor, but with some interesting twists that guaranteed this would just be punted elsewhere. They ruled the jihadis had standing to sue the federal government, but that the log itself was inadmissible as evidence!
Today, the deal went down in that suit, with a different panel of 9th circuit judges tossing out a previous award of $40,800 in damages and $2.5 million in legal fees in a unanimous ruling, because Congress had never explicitly waived sovereign immunity in these cases:
"It is well understood that any waiver of sovereign immunity must be unequivocally expressed. Section 1810 [of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not include an explicit waiver of immunity, nor is it appropriate to imply such a waiver," Judge Margaret McKeown wrote in an opinion joined by Judges Harry Pregerson and Michael Dawkins. (A copy of the opinion is posted here.
This technicality pretty much finishes the matter, and it is a far bigger deal than most of the stuff you'll read in the media today. At stake was our very ability to use domestic surveillance in the war on jihad.
A case on the constitutionality of the warrantless wiretapping program is due to be heard by the Supreme Court in their next term, but that case relates to the program as it is now, after changes Congress made in 2008 providing statutory authority for the program. It doesn't apply in the Al-Haramain case.
I especially like the fact that treasonous scum conducting lawfare for our enemies ended up not getting paid.They deserve far worse.