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Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Court Victory in Texas!

Court Orders Release of Qatar Documents About Funding Texas A&M
Judicial Watch Sues FTC for Information on Targeting of Twitter Owner Elon Musk
Biden’s Migrant Policy Creates “Meaningless Line in the Sand,” Judge Declares

 


Court Orders Release of Qatar Documents About Funding Texas A&M

The nation of Qatar has aligned itself with Islamic terrorists and extremists, which has placed it at odds with the United States, Israel and other U.S. allies in the Middle East.

Nevertheless, it managed to establish financial ties with an American university, and we’re helping to reveal the details.

We filed a petition in the District Court of Texas for Travis County on behalf of Zachor Legal Institute under the Texas Public Information Act (TPIA), seeking information about potential influence of the Qatar government’s funding of certain Texas A&M University programs and a Texas A&M campus in Education City, Al Rayyan, Qatar (Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development v. Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General (No. D-1-GN-18-006240)).

Now the court has sided with us, ordering the release of the pertinent documents.

The court was right to reject the arguments of Qatar that sought to hide information about the foreign government’s funding of Texas A& M. This case has been a multi-year court battle against a foreign government entity tied to Islamist terrorism – so this latest victory is sweet.

Zachor Legal Institute is a U.S.-based advocacy group dedicated to combatting the spread of anti-Semitism. Zachor made requests under the TPIA for information about the funding or donations made to Texas A&M by the government of Qatar and agencies and subdivisions of the government of Qatar.

Zachor’s initially pursued information related to the funding of the Texas A&M campus in Qatar in 2018. Zachor sought to determine how Texas A&M was able to establish a degree-conferring campus in Qatar without the Texas legislature’s permission or involvement.

In 2018, Qatar filed a lawsuit to prevent disclosure of its funding information. We countered with the argument that neither the Qatari government nor any of its agencies are protected by exceptions under Texas law and that federal law “expressly makes the requested information public.”

Texas A&M claimed making the records public would reveal confidential donor information. We countered this argument by pointing out the law only protects private donors, not donations from a foreign government body, specifically the Qatar Foundation. The Qatar Foundation “was created by the Emir of Qatar, is Chaired by his consort, and is sponsored and supported by the government of Qatar, a monarchy. At no point did the Qatar Foundation demonstrate that it is not an agency or subdivision of the government of Qatar.”

After reviewing the briefing, the arguments, and the evidence, including the documents submitted by the Qatar Foundation, Judge Amy Clark Meachum ruled in favor of Judicial Watch and the Zachor Legal Institute and ordered that the documents be made public.

“Zachor Legal Institute is grateful for the incredible support and skill of the entire Judicial Watch team,” said Marc Greendorfer, President of Zachor Legal Institute. “We now look forward to receiving the records that Qatar has spent the last four-plus years blocking from public review. While Qatari agents have a history of refusing to comply with lawful orders in the United States, such as Al Jazeera’s continuing refusal to comply with the Department of Justice’s 2020 order to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, we will not stop our inquiries into what Qatar is doing in the United States. We hope that Qatar will end its interference with American institutions now that Judicial Watch has once again compelled transparency in government.”

 

Judicial Watch Sues FTC for Information on Targeting of Twitter Owner Elon Musk

Lina Khan, nominated to lead the Federal Trade Commission by President Biden in March 2021, has gone on the attack with others on the Left against Twitter and its new chairman Elon Musk.

We filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for records and communications maintained by its leadership, including Chairman Lina Khan, about Twitter and its owner Elon Musk (Judicial Watch Inc. v. Federal Trade Commission (1:23-cv-00692 (ABJ)).

We sued after the Federal Trade Commission failed to respond to a November 14, 2022, FOIA request for:

Records and communications maintained by Lina Khan, Chairperson, U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) including memoranda, reports, briefings, hand-written notes, email communications, email chains, email attachments and other forms of records or communications exchanged regarding or referring to Mr. Elon Musk, CEO, Twitter, or the company Twitter with the below named individuals:

(a)  Commissioner Noah Joshua Phillips

(b) Commissioner Christine S. Wilson

(c) Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter

(d) Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya

Federal Trade Commission document demands to Twitter obtained by the House Judiciary Committee show onerous requests for all documents about Elon Musk and documents concerning Twitter’s work with journalists to disclose to the public the details about the government’s and Twitter’s censorship of American citizens. A House report titled “The Weaponization of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): An Agency’s Overreach to Harass Elon Musk’s Twitter” details:

Twitter allowed … journalists, as part of their reporting on government censorship by proxy, to review internal communications and correspondence between Twitter employees and federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

[T]he FTC’s first demand in its letter sent after the initial installment of the Twitter Files did not concern what private user information may have been at risk. Instead, the FTC demanded that Twitter “[i]dentify all journalists and other members of the media to whom” Twitter has granted access to since Musk bought the company. The FTC even named some of the specific journalists— “Bari Weiss, Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger, [and] Abigail Shrier”—with whom Twitter has engaged on the Twitter Files. The FTC also demanded to know any “other members of the media to whom You have granted any type of access to the Company’s internal communications” for any reason whatsoever.

***

On November 10, the FTC sent two demand letters asking for voluminous information about Twitter’s personnel actions—terminations and resignations—and about the Twitter Blue service. To date, the FTC has submitted nearly 60 requests related to Twitter Blue. Some of the FTC’s demands about Twitter Blue—such as when the service was “first conceived”—appear to serve little purpose other than to pile on to the already burdensome requests. One such demand came just two days after Twitter reactivated President Trump’s account. In this letter, the FTC demanded nearly twenty additional categories of information about Twitter Blue.

The Biden FTC is abusing power to retaliate against Elon Musk for supporting free speech on Twitter. And now, as our lawsuit shows, the FTC is trying to cover up this attempt to silence and punish Musk.

We are heavily involved in countering government and Big Tech censorship.

In February we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for records of communication related to the work of the Election Integrity Partnership that could detail coordinated censorship activities.

In a separate lawsuit, we are suing the DHS for all records of communications between the Cybersecurity and Information Security Agency (CISA) and the Election Integrity Partnership (EIP), which was reportedly active during the 2022 midterm elections. Among the news outlets flagged by EIP were websites for Just the News, New York Post, Fox News, Washington Examiner, The Washington Times, The Epoch Times and Breitbart.

We recently sued the DOJ for records of communications between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and social media sites regarding foreign influence in elections, as well as the Hunter Biden laptop story.

In September 2022, we sued the Secretary of State of the State of California for censoring a Judicial Watch election integrity video.

In April 2021, we published documents revealing how California state officials pressured social media companies (Twitter, Facebook, Google (YouTube)) to censor posts about the 2020 election.

In May 2021, we revealed documents showing that Iowa state officials pressured social media companies Twitter and Facebook to censor posts about the 2020 election.

In July 2021, we uncovered records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which revealed that Facebook coordinated closely with the CDC to control the COVID narrative and “misinformation” and that over $3.5 million in free advertising given to the CDC by social media companies.)

 

Biden’s Migrant Policy Creates ‘Meaningless Line in the Sand,’ Judge Declares

By Biden’s design, we effectively have no border with Mexico. It’s little more than a “speedbump,” a federal judge says. Yet another federal lawsuit further reveals the Biden administration is breaking the law on immigration, as our Corruption Chronicles blog reports.

The Biden administration has turned the southwest border into a meaningless line in the sand and little more than a speedbump for aliens flooding into the country, according to a scathing federal court order blasting the president’s controversial catch-and-release policy. Known as Parole Plus Alternative to Detention (Parole+ATD) the program released over a million illegal immigrants in the U.S. in a year, supposedly tracking them with technology and other tools. Florida officials filed a lawsuit in 2021, accusing the Biden administration of violating immigration laws with policies that freed illegal aliens from detention after entering the country via the Mexican border. The state alleged that releasing illegal immigrants impacts it because about 100,000 ended up in Florida, increasing healthcare, education, and criminal justice costs.

A federal judge agreed with officials in the Sunshine State, ruling this month that the Biden administration is responsible for the southwest border crisis and that it is to blame for the influx of migrants. In his 109-page order the judge, T. Kent Wetherell of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, writes this: “Defendants have effectively turned the Southwest Border into a meaningless line in the sand and little more than a speedbump for aliens flooding into the country by prioritizing “alternatives to detention” over actual detention and by releasing more than a million aliens into the country—on “parole” or pursuant to the exercise of “prosecutorial discretion” under a wholly inapplicable statute—without even initiating removal proceedings.” Rejecting the government’s rationale for the outrageous policy, the Trump-appointed jurist likens it to “a child who kills his parents and then seeks pity for being an orphan.”

The lashing continues in the lengthy decision, which was delivered after a weeklong trial in January. Biden’s open border policies are akin to posting a flashing “come in, we’re open sign on the Southern border,” Judge Wetherell writes. “The unprecedented ‘surge’ of aliens that started arriving at the Southwest border almost immediately after President Biden took office and that has continued unabated over the past two years was a predictable consequence of these actions.” The judge cites Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz’s testimony revealing that the current surge in migrants differs from prior surges he has seen over his lengthy career in that most of the border crossers are turning themselves in to federal agents rather than trying to escape. “It is reasonable to infer (and just plain common sense) that aliens are doing this because they are aware that they will be expeditiously processed and released into the country,” the order states, adding that “indeed, on this point, Chief Ortiz credibly opined based on his experience that the aliens are likely turning themselves in because they think they’re going to be released.”

Ruling that Biden’s catch-and-release policy is unlawful, Judge Wetherell gives the administration seven days to comply with federal immigration law. Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who filed the lawsuit, said the ruling affirms what we have known all along, that Biden is responsible for the border crisis and his unlawful immigration policies make the U.S. less safe. “A federal judge is now ordering Biden to follow the law,” Moody said in a statement, adding that “his administration should immediately begin securing the border to protect the American people.” A former state judge and federal prosecutor who tried drug, firearm, and fraud crimes, Moody and her legal team presented the court with evidence that the Biden administration purposely reduced Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) holding capacity and narrowed removal pathways to force the release of hundreds of thousands of migrants into the U.S.

Besides recently being ruled illegal by a federal court, a former senior advisor at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says the ATD program has proven to be a “costly failure” and thousands of illegal aliens disappear from monitoring every year. “The goal should be to quickly determine whether these individuals have a valid case, and if not, to quickly deport them,” the former DHS advisor, Jon Feere, says in a news article. In the same story former acting ICE director Ron Vitiello says that ATD is popular among the left and sounds great, but the reality is illegal immigrants in the program will likely never be deported.

Until next week …


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