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October 13, 2005

Randi Rhodes, Air America sued for defamation; SLAPP suit?

From Wednesday's "Randi Rhodes being sued by CACI [alleged torture contractors]":
She just said this on her show. They are dragging her into Federal Court for material she used in late August. She seems confident she can get around this and read a legalistic satement on her show - indicating that she uses extensive sources.

She can use the discovery phase to expose all sorts of embarassing into on CACI but this can be disasterous very both her and Air America. Stay tuned! [Update] A bit more info: CACI was closely associated with the ABU Ghraib scandal and it has been suggested by many that their employees were involved in torture They are asking 10 million in punitive damages for defamation...
More on this here. A little later in the DK thread comes this alleged transcript:
"On this show, on August 25th and 26th, I discussed with you (our listeners) many issues relating to operations in the ongoing war in Iraq. And on the 25th of August, I read you materials about the treatment of prisoners in Iraq, including excerpts from Marjorie Cohn's interview with Army Reserve Brigadeer General Janis Karpinski, who is now retired as a Colonel, and you might remember that Janis Karpinski was in charge of the Abu Ghraib prison, where prisoners were tortured and mistreated by American soldiers. And in the course of my show, I may have mentioned CACI, a corporation, and on the 26th I talked about the war, and I had an interview with Cindy Sheehan. Remember that? Well, about a month after those broadcasts, CACI PT and CACI International, two multimillion-dollar companies started a lawsuit against me and Piquant, which is the company that owns Air America. In the lawsuit, which they started in federal court in Virginia, CACI PT and CACI International claim we committed defamation per se because I allegedly made 'a number of false and defamatory statements about CACI' on my show, on August 25th and 26th.

"CACI PT claims to be a corporation that 'specializes in intelligence solutions and has provided intelligence services, including interrogators, to the United States military in Iraq, pursuant to contracts with the United States.' CACI International, Inc. claims to be 'an international corporation providing high technology and professional services, specializing in systems integration, managed network solutions, and information assurance.' According to CACI International's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that are posted on CACI's website, the company has about 1.6 billion dollars in revenues in fiscal year 2005. Now you can read more about these companies on their website, caci.com, if you like. These two CACI companies allege that Piquant and I defamed them when I made alleged statements about their work for the US government. They claim that I should pay no less than one million dollars in compensatory damages and no less than ten million dollars in punitive damages. Their lawyers in the suit are Steptoe & Johnson, a major Washington, DC law firm.

"As with all of the shows that I do for you, I prepare thoroughly before I get on the air, and for those shows in August, when I spoke about the events in Iraq, I relied on several sources, including reliable published materials, and I made many of these sources available to you on the website for my show, therandirhodesshow.com, and they are still available at that address. [I believe she's referring to this page, that links to a Guardian, CorpWatch, Truthout article mentioning CACI] I spoke about these things and these events because they're important in the political life of this country. I believe they were newsworthy because of their importance to the war and the future of Iraq and because they involve disgraceful abuses of power. Nonetheless, in their lawsuit, CACI challenges my right to speak out on matters of public interest.

"So I'm fighting back. I'm going to dispute their allegations. I have an unfettered right to free speech protected by the First Amendment. This right includes my right to speak as I did on my show in August, and I believe there is no merit to CACI's allegations against me and Piquant. Moreover, among the many defenses to a defamation claim is the defense that truth is a complete defense. So I look forward to the progress of this lawsuit in which, during the discovery process, I anticipate that CACI will have to provide me with all information they have that disputes anything I said about CACI during my August 25th and 26th shows. And when that information is released, I believe that I, this company Piquant, and the truth will prevail. So now you know."
Note that CACI sent a threatening letter to an antiwar.com partner.

So, what did Randi say? Did she lie? Did she not say enough "allegedly"s or "reportedly"s?

Is this a SLAPP suit (strategic lawsuit against public participation)?

Like it says above, discovery in this case might be a bitch. And, Rhodes and Piquant will probably be able to get some high-profile assistance with this. Of course, it might not even get that far.

JANUARY 2007 UPDATE: Judge: Defamation suit against bankrupt Air America can proceed



Posted in RandiRhodes at October 13, 2005 10:50 PM

Comments

World War II gave us Tokyo Rose, the Japanese radio broadcaster whose job it was to demoralize American troops. Seoul City Sue did the same thing for the North Korean communists during the Korean War. Hanoi Hanna was the Vietnamese communist version. Today we have Baghdad Betty. However, Baghdad Betty can be distinguished from the aforementioned for one very salient reason. Baghdad Betty does not broadcast from Iraq — she broadcasts from
New York.

Baghdad Betty aka Randi Rhodes is one of Air America’s premier talk show hosts. Actually, Randi Rhodes is a nome de microphone. According to a recent Ann Coulter column, her real name is a secret. I first heard Rhodes about a year ago during a trip to Fort Lauderdale. After about twenty minutes of her repeating Bush and Nazi I realized she was incapable of an original thought so I changed the station.

I have not listened to Air America since I wrote about the network when it first began broadcasting. I felt it might be interesting to get their current perspective. So I tuned in recently to listen. I began with the 10 AM show of Lizz Winsted and Rachel Maddow. I skipped the noontime Al Franken show and returned for Baghdad Betty/Randi Rhodes. What I heard was a rebroadcast of her show of several weeks earlier. Listening to Baghdad Betty’s dialogue with a caller named Dave and her subsequent monologue I learned:

“We (the United States) invaded an unarmed country (Iraq).”
“We (US) bombed the hell out of “unarmed country ( Iraq).”
“They (Iraq) had no air force”
“We (US military) are torturing the people we went to liberate (Iraqis).”
“They (the Iraqi people) waited a year for us to take care of them. We didn’t. Then they found out about us torturing people that is what created the insurgency.”
“Every single solitary military guy,” said there were not sufficient troops in Iraq.

Just imagine: all this disinformation was from just one show. One can only imagine what Baghdad Betty says on a regular basis. Her rant was pure propaganda. One only wonders if she is a dupe of the antiwar crowd or intentionally deceiving people.

Whichever it is none of what she said was true. For example:

If Iraq were an “unarmed country” as she said, then maybe she could explain how Lance Corporal Andrew Julian Aviles was killed when an Iraqi artillery round struck his amphibious assault vehicle on April 7, 2003.

If we did “bomb the hell out of an unarmed country” then she should explain the December 1998 CNN report stating, “Iraqi forces would shoot at warplanes patrolling the no-fly zones.”

If Iraq did not have an air force as Baghdad Betty says, then why did the December 2002 Daily Telegraph say, “An Iraqi warplane shot down an unmanned US surveillance drone yesterday, threatening to escalate the tension in the region as America builds up its forces for a possible war early next year. Why did a 2001 UPI story claim, “Since December 1998… [there are] more than 160 incidents of Iraqi aircraft violating the zones.”

Baghdad Betty claimed the Iraqi people waited for a year for us to do something to help them then, when we did not help them, and seeing the photographs from Abu Ghraib, the insurgency began. If this were true why is it that the November 13, 2004 New York Times reported, “nearly 18 months after the Iraq insurgency began in May 2003.” (italics mine) Why is it that the nonprofit think tank Jamestown Foundation wrote on June 17, 2004, “insurgency began in May 2003 with the outbreak of violence by the Sunni Arab population.”

According to Baghdad Betty, we are torturing the people we were liberating.

Does she think SSGT Joseph Darby was torturing prisoners? He was the person who told officials about the illegal conduct by guards at Abu Ghraib. What about all the other troops who investigated and prosecuted these abuses? Are they all guilty of torturing innocent Iraqis or Iraqi prisoners.

She also said that “every single solitary military person, “said more troops were needed. Yet, General Tommy Franks was quoted as saying July 7, 2003, “more troops not needed for Iraq.”

Baghdad Betty said we do not have any trouble murdering people in this country, while drawing the parallel to capital punishment here and the snuff films broadcast by the terrorists.

There is a report that she once advocated the assassination of President Bush during her broadcast.

Her biography says she was in the Air Force. If this is to be believed her insulting of the military is outrageous. Her biography also says she is a “smoky-voiced Brooklyn native” (This explains why I thought she was merely doing a bad imitation of Barbra Streisand).

She is completely without credibility. Randi “Baghdad Betty” Rhodes is to talk radio what “Tikrit” Teddy Rall, who said Pat Tillman was an idiot, is to newspaper cartoons. They are fools.

BTW her real name is Randi J Buten

Posted by: Nascarman at December 8, 2005 12:16 PM

YOU MUST FEEL LIKE A DAMN FOOL BY NOW NASCAR SEEING THAT EVRYTHING MS. RHODES HAS SPOKEN OF IS TRUE AND EVERYTHNG THAT THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAS TOLD YOU ABOUT IRAQ, TORTURE IS TRUE AND THAT WE HAVE NOT REALLY FREED THEM MORE THAN PLACED THE ENTIRE POPULATION IN JEOPARDY OF A CIVIL WAR AND...AND THE REPORT IS WE WILL NO LONGER APPROPRIATE MONIES TO REBUILD THE NATION WE BOMBED INTO THE 16TH CENTURY. WHEN I HEAR THE PHRASE "FREEDOM IS NOT FREE" NOW I CRINGE. ITS TRUE OUR FREEDOMS ARE PREDICATED ON THE SUFFERINGS OF OTHER PEOPLE AND THERE ARE THOSE THAT ARE TOO IGNORANT, CARELESS OR SIMPLY DO NOT CARE THAT THIS IS TRUE. ENJOY THE $100/ BBL OIL AND $5.00 GAS AS BUSHCO BLOWS THIS EVEN FURTHER IN SABER RATTLING IRAN AND HIS GROSS HYPOCRISY ON THE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED HAMAS OF THE PALESTINIANS.

Posted by: CIRJAC at January 26, 2006 10:25 PM

Maybe you should study history.

Tokyo Rose was a hero.

http://weeklywire.com/ww/01-20-98/chicago_cover.html

But that's the right's MO. Smearing heros.

Posted by: ducks at March 3, 2006 08:31 AM


Monitoring Air America Radio [TM] so you don't have to.








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