The recent movement to change British libel laws to allow for greater freedom of expression has its origins in New York City and New York State.
I am a New York-based scholar specializing in research on terror financing and economic warfare. In my book, "Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed—and How To Stop It," I alleged that Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz funded al Qaeda, Hamas and other terrorists organizations through his charitable fronts.
In 2005, Mr. Mahfouz sued me for libel in London, where my book had never been published or marketed. He chose London due to its antiquated libel laws, which are plaintiff-friendly. As recently noted by New York Times correspondent Sara Lyall, London is known as the "Libel Mecca" of the world, and Mr. Mahfouz was the most notorious abuser of the British system. A one-man wrecking crew of Americans' free speech rights, Mr. Mahfouz exploited British libel laws and courts, threatening or suing more than 40 writers and publishers, including many Americans. These cases were never tried on the merits. Mr. Mahfouz's litigiousness and deep pockets helped to silence and intimidate Americans and others who tried to expose his terrorist connections.
Except for me.