Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Academia, Free Press, MSM, Threats, Loss 

Stanley Kurtz of National Review calls to our attention an insidious practice creeping into academia that has just taken an even more sinister turn. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) one of the bastions of academic publishing, Cambridge University Press, has agreed to destroy its remaining copies of the 2006 book Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World, by Burr and Collins. Kurtz also notes that the book is being pulled from bookstore shelves, and may disappear entirely.

Why? It seems that certain parties worldwide have decided they do not want their funding of terrorism to become to become known. Three other books that discuss terrorism funding have also received libel suits (or threatened libel suits).

Ms. Rachel Ehrenfeld, director of the American Center for Democracy, was threatened with a lawsuit over her book, Funding Evil:How Terrorism is Financed - and How to Stop It. She called Cambridge's capitulation decision "despicable."

In a blog post entitled, "Attention Authors: Be afraid, very afraid... if you write about Saudi support for terrorism," Emory Professor Deborah Lipstadt expands on the risks of self-censorship arising from fear of being sued. Defending even a baseless lawsuit can be very expensive.

It is very interesting that the MSM, dependent for its very existence on western civilization's protection of free speech, remains silent and unwilling to defend against certain attacks on speech. Failure to defend the rights of those who criticize the funding of terrorists risks losing true freedom of speech for everyone.