Open letter to the Iranian American Bar Association: Discrimination


Open letter to the Iranian American Bar Association: Discrimination
by CIM

To: The Iranian American Bar Association:  

Re:  Your letter published on 

Cc: By email. 

Equating an Iranian woman being denied the ability to purchase an Apple computer product to the background facts cited in federal civil rights case law intended to combat the lingering societal effects of chattel slavery and segregation, in my opinion, has little to no chance of success in a court of law.  What are the rebuffed customer’s compensatory damages – assuming you are not laughed out of court under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)(failure to state a claim)?  An I-pad's worth of damages?  Remember: punitive damages have to be proportional to a demonstrable injury. BMW of North America, Inc. v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559 (1996) (excessively high punitive damages violate the Due Process clause. For punitive damages to stand, the punitive damages may not be "grossly excessive" – setting aside $2 million punitive damages award).  In federal court the law also requires unanimity of the jurors (they all have to agree) whereas in state court you need a simple majority.  Apple’s lawyers know this, but the Iranian community likely does not.


Apple’s lawyers will view your letter as a paper tiger while the Iranian community (which I assume your letter is intended to play to) may believe you have actually done something by writing a letter filled with ‘fancy’ federal case citations. 


The general counsel of a large business like Apple will not view the citation to federal cases as anything they should seriously fear; and for all the legal costs expended you may get a gift-wrapped I-Pad if they think the publicity is bad enough, or if they find you annoying, but only after they have caused you to hemorrhage tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars in legal fees and expenses.  You will not be able to sue every business that discriminates without depleting your own time and resources.  In other words, your letter may make the Iranian community think that you have actually done something, while you really have done nothing.  You need another strategy. 


Here is what you can do.  Your group, PAAI, NIAC, and all of the other groups that purport to protect the interests of your ethnic group seem to fail to realize that discriminatory attitudes are shaped by sites like this, which day-in and day-out paint a distorted and negative image of the Iranian community and specific individuals within the Iranian community, and in particular Iranians that are practicing Muslims.  Those false light portrayals are often coupled with unlawful threats and gross and deliberate invasions of privacy, among other seriously actionable wrongs.


Here’s what we called to PAAI’s attention, after we posted an online questionnaire regarding this site, and it would seem that your group also needs to see it and (hopefully) respond to it:


[QUESTION ASKED: Do you believe the manner in which content is presented or participants favored on has the intent or effect of causing discrimination against Iranians?]

[ONE OF THE TYPICAL RESPONSES:]  “Yes, without question this is true.  The people that own and operate have shown a history of exploiting the Iranian community for donations and support, while consistently has worked hard to spread as much vitriol against Iranians and to generally engender as much discrimination against the Iranian community as possible.  Ultimately the effects of this betrayal will be felt by Diaspora-Iranians much more so than the government of Iran.  The illusion of support maintains on its website is by strict comment control and choosing who gets their viewpoints featured (If you have something bad to say about Iran or Iranians, you are championed by the Admin).  Essentially,’s business model has been to try and create a culture to encourage Iranians to spread discrimination against other Iranians.  …  If you look carefully at, you will see that the bulk of its supporters are a hodge-podge of MEK members (a terror group), militant Zionist super PACs (AIPAC, The American Enterprise Institute, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, etc.), the Bahai lobby, and every sort of separatist group seeking an excuse to divide Iran into pieces.’s business model is based on the exploitation of the Iranian community without regard to the harm they are causing to ordinary Iranian families.  ….”


*  This website allows the posting of a child’s image – whom nobody appears to know -- while it falsely suggests that the child is HIV positive.  (Compare that to the I-Pad claim.)


*  This website which allows for individual commentators to be threatened with violence for expressing a viewpoint and to be branded  ‘a Muslim terrorist’ without a scintilla of proof. (Compare that to the I-Pad claim.)


*  This website which posts hidden-camera footage of people having sex on its front page while advertisements featuring photographs of users are published next that footage without knowledge of any of the individuals concerned. (Compare that to the I-Pad claim.)  Note: Both websites have the same owner.


If you doubt that operates in this fashion, click this link and look at the facts for yourself.  If you want to get serious about discrimination, you are better off directing your resources to its causes, which often are also accompanied by civil and criminal violations of the law.


Then have a look at California Business & Professions Code section 17200 et seq.  You can be in and out of court in a month or two and actually do something about the problem instead writing letters to Apple computers to make your organization look effective. 


Those persons who have written to CIM about the threats of violence on this site should consult with a lawyer and ask about case law in the State of California.  Thomas v. Quintero, 126 Cal.App.4th 635 (2005)  (“No notice must be given to the person sought to be restrained before the TRO is issued. The TRO requires only that the applicant show ‘reasonable proof of harassment,’ and then only by affidavit.”). Often the legal forms for your lawyer to use are posted  on court websites.  


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