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Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

Freedom Watch

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Not to be confused with the similarly named Freedom’s Watch, Freedom Watch is an organization led by right-wing activist Larry Klayman, who also founded Judicial Watch, the organization notorious for the many lawsuits it tried to bring against the Bill Clinton administration.

Freedom Watch promotes a hodgepodge of conservative foreign and domestic polices, claiming to be “the only political advocacy group that speaks through actions, rather than just words.” It says that it is “dedicated to not only preserving freedom, but redefining its meaning, from protecting our rights to privacy, free speech, civil liberties, and freedom from foreign oil and crooked business, labor and government officials, to protecting our national sovereignty against the incompetent, terrorist state-controlled United Nations, and reestablishing the rule of law in what has become a very corrupt American legal system, where justice is only as good as your lawyer and judge—most of whom are compromised ethically and otherwise.”[1]

Freedom Watch largely serves as a platform for Klayman and his various agendas. He pursues these agendas by holding press conferences, publishing reports on the Freedom Watch website, and filing lawsuits.

In September 2010, Freedom Watch added its voice to the Islamophobic-driven debate over the “Ground Zero Mosque” when it filed a “class action suit in the Supreme Court of New York in Manhattan on behalf of Vincent Forras, a courageous ‘First Responder’ who was severely injured during his efforts to save innocent lives during September 11, 2001. Mr. Forras has brought suit for ‘nuisance,’ ‘intentional infliction of emotional distress,’ and ‘assault’ against the Ground Zero Mosque and its terrorist-connected Imam, alleging the mosque represents a security threat and is intended to carry out continuing psychological warfare, that is terrorism, against the people of New York.”[2]

In November 2010, Freedom Watch held a joint press “symposium” with the hawkish Foundation for Democracy in Iran at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. entitled “National Security, Freedom, and Iran—Is It Time for U.S. and Western Intervention?” A Freedom Watch press release claimed, “No other foreign policy forum has been bold enough to speak the truth; the Islamic regime of fraudulently-elected President Ahmadinejad must be removed now, before it is too late. Our conference will explain rationally to the world why and how this can be done.”[3] Speakers at the symposium included former CIA director and prominent neoconservative pundit James Woolsey, former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes, Kenneth Timmerman of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

At the symposium, Klayman wildly claimed that President Barack Obama is on a “political jihad promoting Islam around the world.” Repeating common neoconservative talking points, Klayman claimed that the regime in Tehran was the “modern day equivalent of what we saw during World War II.”[4] Woolsey picked up on the meme, arguing “The current situation and the way the West has dealt with it in Iran, sadly to me, rather rhymes with what was taking place in the 1930s.”[5]

According to Klayman, he founded Freedom Watch in 2004, shortly after he lost the Florida Republican Senate primary.[6] He says was inspired to start the group after the show “West Wing” allegedly created a character based on Klayman. His website states “Larry Klayman, Esq. has dedicated his career to fighting against injustice and restoring ethics to the legal profession and government. He became so well known that the NBC’s hit drama series ‘West Wing’ created a character after him; ‘Harry Klaypool of Freedom Watch.’ Mr. Klayman liked the name Freedom Watch so much he sought to register it as a trademark.”[7]

Klayman filed a lawsuit in September 2007 against the neoconservative-led “Freedom’s Watch,” claiming the group was inappropriately using a name that he had been using since 2004. An erstwhile supporter of the Iraq War who eventually turned against many Bush administration policies, Klayman told the Washington Post, “These arrogant political lobbyists and rich Bush ‘yes men’ … are not furthering freedom, but in fact harming it.”[8]

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Please note: IPS Right Web neither represents nor endorses any of the individuals or groups profiled on this site.

Sources

[1]Freedom Watch, “About,” http://freedomwatchusa.org/about.

[2]Freedom Watch, “Cases,” http://freedomwatchusa.org/cases.

[3]Freedom Watch, National Security, Freedom, and Iran—Is It Time for U.S. and Western Intervention?” November 17, 2010, http://freedomwatchusa.org/national-press-club-symposium.

[4]Ryan Reilly, “Judicial Watch Founder: Obama On ‘Political Jihad Promoting Islam.’” Talking Points Memo, November 17, 2010, http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/11/judicial_watch_founder_obama_on_political_jihad_promoting_islam.php#more.

[5]Ryan Reilly, “Judicial Watch Founder: Obama On ‘Political Jihad Promoting Islam.’” Talking Points Memo, November 17, 2010, http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/11/judicial_watch_founder_obama_on_political_jihad_promoting_islam.php#more.

[6]Freedom Watch, “About Larry Klaymna,” http://freedomwatchusa.org/klayman.

[7]Freedom Watch, “Larry Klayman aka Harry Klaypool,” http://freedomwatchusa.org/harry-klaypool-of-freedom-watch.

[8] Paul Lewis, “Legal Battle Brewing over Group’s Name,” Washington Post, September 18, 2007, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/17/AR2007091701575.html.

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Freedom Watch Résumé

CONTACT INFORMATION

Freedom Watch
2020 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Suite 345
Washington, DC 20006
Website: http://freedomwatchusa.org/

 

FOUNDED

2004

 

ABOUT (as of 2017)

“Freedom Watch is the only political advocacy group that speaks through actions, rather than just words. We are dedicated to not only preserving freedom, but redefining its meaning, from protecting our rights to privacy, free speech, civil liberties, and freedom from foreign oil and crooked business, labor and government officials, to protecting our national sovereignty against the incompetent, terrorist state-controlled United Nations, and reestablishing the rule of law in what has become a very corrupt American legal system, where justice is only as good as your lawyer and judge—most of whom are compromised ethically and otherwise.”

 

PRINCIPALS (as of 2017)

  • Larry Klayman, founder

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