Movement Watch: RICO Used Against CAIR

by Will Potter on February 25, 2008

in Terrorism Court Cases

Shock-jock talk radio host Michael Savage is suing the Council on American Islamic Relations under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO. RICO was originally intended to go after the mob. This is from a right-wing site applauding Savage for the lawsuit, and his attempts to label CAIR as “terrorists” using racketeering laws:

Savage and celebrity civil rights attorney Daniel Horowitz are attempting to use the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act to make the case that “CAIR and its co-conspirators have aided, abetted and materially sponsored al-Qaida and international terrorism.”

CAIR launched a campaign against “The Savage Nation,” as the program is called, using extended audio clips of the show to make the case that advertisers who supported the talker were actually endorsing “hate speech” against Muslims.

Savage turned the tables on the activist group by initially suing for copyright violation of the show’s material. This week the suit was expanded with some of the strongest allegations ever made against CAIR publicly.

You can read the court filing here.

I’m highlighting this on because using RICO was one of the earlier waves of attacks against animal rights activists, before corporations and the government used “animal enterprise terrorism” charges (this article has much more information on the SHAC 7 case).

As with the grand jury witch hunts against Puerto Rican activists, these government tactics are quite fluid. What is being used against one movement can easily turn into a tool to go after the new enemy of the hour. I’ll be talking more about this, and making connections between social movements, at NCOR next month.

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