October 13, 2022
Speaking in court on October 7, 2022, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema expressed concern that the case against Libyan presidential candidate General Khalifa Haftar in which he is being sued under the under the Alien Tort Claims Act in the Eastern District of Virginia (CASE #: 1:20−cv−01038−LMB−JF) is being used for political purposes. Specifically, she cited the fact that plaintiffs and their attorneys misrepresented her earlier default judgement against the General for not yet giving a deposition as an evidentiary finding that he was “guilty of war crimes.” This, as we reported earlier, was simply untrue.
Said Judge Brinkema: “I will say this to the plaintiffs’ counsel, I am concerned, and I’ve taken seriously some of the representations by former defense counsel that there may be a political agenda to this case beyond just getting compensation for victims. I’m concerned about that because I believe that there was a clear misrepresentation of the extent of the Court’s last decision on the default. This Court has not made a finding, an evidentiary finding, that this defendant is a war criminal, and yet that ruling was being represented that way.”
“Previously we have seen our own senior elected officials, such as Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff, and senior intelligence officials, such as James Clapper and John Brennan made many wild and unsubstantiated allegations against President Trump that were amplified in the press for months before the truth became known,” said AMCD co-chair, John Hajjar. “It’s no wonder they thought they could get away with saying something like that when our highest officials show so little regard for the truth. Everything is just a narrative now.”
“This incredibly serious allegation was picked up by the press, reported by AP, and published in numerous outlets all over the Arab world,” added AMCD co-chair Tom Harb, who often appears as a commentator on Arab television. “I was asked about it a number of times. And just like similar cases worldwide, people remember the allegations, but not the correction that comes much later and is barely reported. Those who oppose General Haftar’s candidacy for President of Libya made sure the allegation was amplified in the press so that it will be remembered when voting takes place. They will do anything to derail his candidacy, and this was an explosive allegation meant to do just that.”
The judge further ordered that General Haftar’s deposition be “under seal” meaning no part of it may be discussed in public or leaked to the press without severe consequences for the case.
Over the past few months, many outlets in the Arab media had accused the Muslim Brotherhood of trying to politicize the legal case by pretending that a US court has “ruled” that Haftar was a “war criminal,” cited falsely as a court decision. The Egyptian press had accused the Ikhwan of masterminding a propaganda campaign in the US to support policies to destroy the Libyan National Army and establish a Jihadi regime in Libya — an ally of Hamas.
The American Mideast Coalition for Democracy supports the creation of a truly free, peaceful and democratic Libya and opposes the Ikhwan’s plans to establish another Islamic theocracy there. Therefore, we will continue to monitor this case and report on its impact on the presidential race.