Air America Radio has been sued by defense contractor and alleged Abu Ghraib torture-accomplice CACI International, Inc. CACI has alleged defamation per se, according to documents filed last week in federal court. CACI claims material used by Randi Rhodes on her show in late August harmed the company and they are asking for 1 million dollars in damages and 10 million dollars in punitive damages.
While Air America Radio has not elaborated in detail on their litigation strategy, Rhodes made a statement on her show that Air America will fight the suit visorously –a partial transcript of her statement is available here.
Air America Radio will likely counter-sue CACI accusing them of violating the SLAPP suit statute, because CACI , who in all probability has employees who are guilty of torture at Abu Ghraib, is trying to silence a media critic who is focusing on their alleged criminal acts.
To prevail CACI would likely have to prove Rhodes knew she was stating false information and did so with malice. It has been documented widely that employees of CACI were involved in the torture that transpired at Abu Graib in Iraq. In fact, a military investigation, which produced a document known as the Taguba report, has identified CACI employees by name who were involved in the torture. For that reason, CACI has a huge mountain to climb to prove that Rhodes’ statement is false.
Even if CACI could prove that Rhodes’ statement is false, it would be even more difficult for it to show that Rhodes knew it was false, since the abuse by CACI was so well documented, any reasonable person would have thought CACI was deeply involved in human rights abuses in Iraq.
As such, CACI’s case is extremely flimsy. Couple that with the fact that reporters such as Rhodes have broad First Amendment rights to report newsworthy information and you have a heavy-handed, frivolous-litigation strategy by CACI, which is likely to backfire. To boot, CACI may now be giving Air America’s attorneys an opportunity to discover documents and depose witnesses, which might help defeat CACI’s case and/or embarrass the company. Thus, it is likely now that more information will become available to the public about a serious crime against humanity caused, in part, by this US company and the resulting severe damage it has caused to the reputation of the United States of America.
Balletshooz blogs at Alphaliberal.com.