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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘victims’

Shurat HaDin: Obama Secretly Transferred $1.7 Billion to Iran to Keep It Out of Terror Victims’ Reach

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center, representing American the families of terror victims who have won US court judgments against the government of Iran for its support of Palestinian terrorist attacks in Israel, on Tuesday released a letter it sent US Congress members alleging that the Obama Administration kept secret the details of the $1.7 billion in cash payments to Tehran in January 2016 in order to evade efforts by their clients to recover those funds to satisfy outstanding court awards.

In the past, American terror victims have been successful in seizing Iranian bank accounts when those had been located.

The letter, sent by attorneys Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Tel-Aviv and Robert Tolchin of New York, recalls that on January 17, 2016, President Obama announced the settlement of a legal dispute between the United States and Iran over $400 million held by the US in a Foreign Military Sales (“FMS”) program account since 1979. The Obama Administration agreed to pay the $400 million it finally conceded it owed Iran, plus payment of an additional $1.3 million in interest on that amount.

Then, “in recent weeks, the $1.7 billion which was secretly paid out in cash has come under severe scrutiny because the timing and circumstances of the payments appear to confirm the Iranian claim that the White House agreed to pay the money as ransom to Tehran for the release of American hostages.”

However, in light of the recent revelations in a Congressional subcommittee hearing held on Thursday, September 8, 2016, Shurat HaDin is asserting that “it is now clear that the Administration has deliberately kept numerous payments to Iran secret in order to shield Iran from having to forfeit those funds to pay terror victims amounts Iran owes under outstanding US judgments.”

The Shurat HaDin letter cites a “suspicious revelation at the Congressional subcommittee hearing that the United States and Iran did not draft a written settlement agreement or any other formal documentation of the cash transfers, and that Iran specifically directed the Iran-US Tribunal at the Hague, where the claim was to be resolved through arbitration, that it should not record the settlement of the claim for the parties.”

Shurat HaDin asserts that under a legislation passed in 2000, the US was legally entitled to apply the $400 million in the FSM account to satisfy terror victims’ judgments, and this way eliminating the $400 million balance and nearly 16 years of interest claimed by Iran.

Shurat HaDin President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner said in a statement: “We believe that the secrecy in which these cash payments were made was part of an effort by the White House to conceal these payments from the terror victims and to hide the fact that it was effectively canceling Iran’s debt for its terror-related activity. This is a horrible fraud against the terror victims. It appears the secret cash transfers were specifically done as an end run around the ability of the families to attach the money and enforce their federal court judgments.”

Why didn’t the Treasury ever tell the families they were holding these funds?” Darshan-Leitner demanded to know.

Had either the settlement or an award against the United States at the Iran-US Tribunal been entered on the books, and Iran had sought to have the settlement or award confirmed in US court, then terror-victims with judgments against Iran could have legally “attached” any judgment affirming the settlement or award, so that the amount could be applied to satisfy their terror-compensation judgments, Shurat HaDin contends, explaining that “instead, the Administration went to great lengths to ensure that the $1.7 billion purported settlement was shrouded in secrecy, was never reduced to writing or even recorded with the Tribunal in Hague, and was paid to Iran in cash as quickly and directly as possible in order to head off any chance that Iran would be forced to forfeit any amount to pay legal judgments it owes to American terror victims.”

Shurat HaDin urged Congress to continue to investigate these issues, and to take action to guarantee that further payments to Iran do not take place as long as Iran remains a state sponsor of terrorism and a threat to its neighbors, “and until it has paid every judgment it owes to American victims of terror.”

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner addressed her letter to Senator Marco Rubio and Representatives Mike Pompeo and Ed Royce, who have each introduced legislation in response to the $1.7 billion payment to Iran, and to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Sean P. Duffy, whose subcommittee held a special hearing on the $1.7 billion payments last Thursday, September 8, 2016.

JNi.Media

Reflecting on 9-11 and Remembering the Victims and Heroes of 9-11 and their Families

Sunday, September 11th, 2016

Our hearts and thoughts are with the victims and heroes of 9-11 and their families, as we approach this fifteenth anniversary of 9-11 (2001), and the fourth anniversary of the ‘Benghazi 9-11’ (in 2012). We join all those who lost loved ones in grieving for the irreplaceable lives that were destroyed, and pray for comfort for those left behind.

This is also a time for reflection.

In the wake of 9-11, almost the entire nation felt a sense of unity – black, white or red, we were all one. The nation felt overwhelming gratefulness to the firefighters and police officers who risked and in many cases lost their lives trying to rescue citizens trapped in the burning towers, and we were firmly determined to stamp out radical Islamist terrorism. Americans also newly understood the terror that innocent Israeli citizens have been subjected to for decades, since before the State of Israel was reborn.

Where has all this gone? Today, we are beset with divisiveness. There are racial movements that preach hatred of the police – the very same people who risked their lives to rescue fellow citizens on 9-11. As occurred in San Bernadino with fatal consequences, Americans have become afraid to report suspicious terror activities for fear of being accused of bigotry or “Islamophobia.” Israel is condemned on college campuses and even by certain churches for defending her citizens from terror attacks. Al Qaeda offshoots such as ISIS perpetrate terror attacks in various parts of the world almost every day.
Iran planned the 9-11 attacks and then joined in an alliance with al Qaeda to finalize the plot and carry out 9-11; trained the 9-11 terrorists; and provided a flight simulator in Tehran for the 9-11 terrorists’ flight training.

And, we are feeding the hand that bit us. Yesterday’s hearing before the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee on Capitol Hill painfully reminded us that the U.S. administration has been sending billions of dollars to Iran, including extraordinary amounts in cash that will no doubt be used to finance more terror.

ZOA previously summarized and publicized Iran’s key role in and complicity in 9-11, documented by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in its Findings of Fact in Havlish v. bin Laden, et al – a case brought by 9-11 victims against al Qaeda, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Hezbollah and other Iranian and Iranian-backed entities, after years of investigation, prompted by information initially uncovered by the 9-11 Commission.

Briefly, Iran planned the 9-11 attacks and then joined in an alliance with al Qaeda to finalize the plot and carry out 9-11; trained the 9-11 terrorists; provided a flight simulator in Tehran for the 9-11 terrorists’ flight training; along with Iran’s proxy Hezbollah, arranged travel and visas for the 9-11 terrorists and accompanied the 9-11 terrorists on flights; and helped al Qaeda terrorists and their families escape from Afghanistan after 9-11.

On 9-11 this year, let’s pray for comfort for those who were forever bereaved by this tragedy; work towards restoring a sense of unity in our nation; once again honor our police and other first responders; understand and support Israel’s struggle against the same Islamist terror that has too often struck us in America; make sure that no more funds are sent to Iran or any regime that supports terror; and determine to finally stamp out radical Islamist terror.

Morton A. Klein

Defeat For Terror Victims, Windfall For Iran

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

American victims of Iranian terror were handed a $400 million loss with the payment of that sum to the Iranian government earlier this year. Whether it was a ransom payment for the release of hostages or, as defined by the White House, the payment of Iranian claims against the United States that was used as leverage for the hostages release, the fact of the matter is that the Obama administration has turned its back on American victims of Iranian terrorism.

My daughter Alisa, a 20-years old Brandeis University student studying in Israel, was murdered in 1995 by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a client of the Islamic Republic of Iran that was caught red-handed funding PIJ murders. Using the provisions of a 1996 federal law, our family pursued the Iranian government for its role in the attack, and in 1998 was awarded approximately $250 million in damages.

The small feeling of victory that led me to believe we would hold Iran financially accountable was soon dashed to bits by the Clinton administration as it fought to prevent us from collecting money from the Iranians. Every time we attempted to seize an Iranian-controlled asset in this country, we were confronted by a phalanx of lawyers from the departments of Justice, State and Treasury.

Despite our courtroom losses, a number of victims’ families banded together to press the fight in the Congress and in the press. As a result we were able to convince the Clinton administration that something had to be done and President Clinton selected Jacob Lew, then director of the Office of Management and Budget, to act as a sort of mediator in the discussions between the families and the government.

Lew’s efforts were rewarded with an agreement that would allow terror victims to receive payment on a portion of their damage claims. Not wanting to take taxpayer money, I insisted that the money come from designated Iranian assets, the main one being the $400 million of Iranian money in the Foreign Military Sales Program account. Lew assured me the money would have to come through the Treasury but there was that account to reimburse the government for any payments.

With the families in agreement as to the nature of the payments and their source, President Clinton signed Public Law 106-386 on October 28, 2000. Payments were made to my family and others, and the issue of the Iranian money faded into the background until earlier this year when it was revealed that $400 million was paid to Iran. The same amount as in the FMSP account.

At this point I should be beyond being shocked at the treatment of American terror victims by our government, but I am not – as the source of money that was to be used to reimburse American taxpayers for the money I received was used for other purposes.

Notwithstanding the grandiose verbiage used by the White House and the State and Treasury departments to describe the payment and the reasons behind it, I can only view it as a sellout of American victims of Iranian terror and of the American taxpayer.

I have publicly stated that, despite what happened to Alisa, I was never opposed to the restoration of relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran. However, that restoration had a price – Iran had to account for its role in the murders of Alisa and so many others. Indeed, the statute that gave us our payments provides just for that.

No doubt, the White House and other government spokesmen will come up with more platitudes as to just what the statute means. To my mind, they can say what they want; the bottom line is that terror victims have seen their claims pushed aside by a government desperate to bring Iran to the negotiating table. Unfortunately, it’s more of a poker table, and the Iranians hold the cards.

Stephen M. Flatow

Australian Jewish College Director Suing over Claims She Pressured Abuse Victims Not to Complain

Monday, August 22nd, 2016

Nechama Bendet, a former general manager of Yeshivas Oholei Yosef Yitzchok Lubavitch, a.k.a. Yeshivah College, in Melbourne, Australia, is suing for libel a Facebook user who has accused her of pressuring child sex abuse victims not to complain to police, the Herald Sun reported Monday.

Bendet submitted a writ to the Supreme Court seeking damages for five Facebook posts by Bruce Cooke, whom she called a “vocal member of the Jewish community.” Cooke’s Facebook page is extensive, and much of it deals with the Lubavitch institutions in Melbourne and Sydney and the way they are being run (he is critical of the movement’s wholesale “McDonald’s approach” to opening new franchises, for instance).

Bendet, serving nowadays as the Yeshiva College’s director of development, is accusing Cooke of suggesting she attempted to ostracize two victims of the sex abuse scandal the school was mired in by calling them “moisrim” (snitches) because they had complained to police, in an attempt to discourage them from pursuing their complaints. In earlier centuries, a “moiser” would often be found with his throat slit near the river, so the accusation can be quite potent.

According to the Herald Sun, Bendet told the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse that after a former Yeshivah guard had been charged with child sex abuse, her school never entertained a cover-up. Instead the school sought advice from Robert Richter, QC, a prominent Australian barrister, regarding public relations and dealing with the victims.

But, According to Bendet, Cooke’s Facebook posts have been accusing Her of knowing about the abuse and not reporting it, of trying to keep others from complaining, and even of engaging in criminal conduct in an attempt to bury the scandal. Bendet also complained that Cooke had accused her of intimidating staff at the Yeshivah as well as at Beth Rivkah Ladies College.

Bendet is also seeking a permanent injunction restraining Cook from repeating his accusations.

According to Cooke’s attorney, the Facebook maverick is relishing his day in court and is planning to defend the case.

Back on February 11, 2015, the Australian ABC network reported on Nechama Bendet’s testimony to the Royal Commission that day, admitting it was a mistake that Yeshivah College had never apologized directly to Manny Waks, a student who had been sexually abused by a guard:

Victim’s Attorney Melinda Richards: Do you acknowledge, Mrs Bendet, that Manny Waks did nothing wrong by going to the police…

Nechama Bendet: Absolutely.

Melinda Richards: …in 1996…

Nechama Bendet: Absolutely.

Melinda Richards: And again in 2011?

Nechama Bendet: Absolutely.

Melinda Richards: Do you acknowledge that he has done nothing wrong by speaking publicly about his abuse?

Nechama Bendet: Yes.

Melinda Richards: And you would agree that he has in fact done a great deal of good by speaking publically about his abuse?

Nechama Bendet: Yes.

Melinda Richards: Do you agree that his parents have done nothing wrong by supporting him in going to the police and speaking publicly about his abuse?

Nechama Bendet: Yes.

Melinda Richards: And his broader family have done nothing wrong and are not to be blamed by association?

Nechama Bendet: Yes.

Melinda Richards: Do you condemn ongoing harassment and intimidation of Mr Waks and his family?

Nechama Bendet: Yes.

ABC’s Samantha Donovan noted that “Manny Waks wiped tears from his eyes as Mrs Bendet spoke. Outside the hearing room he said her words were empowering.”

JNi.Media

When the Victims of Terror Are Not Jews

Monday, July 18th, 2016

{Originally posted to the Aish website}

Nice has till now been world renowned as the capitol of the French Riviera. Founded by the Greeks long ago, it became a resort for the elite – the cultured, the artistic, the sophisticated, the liberals and the intellectuals who gloried in its symbolic status as paradigm of 21st century paradise.

Today Nice has joined the geographic list of monuments to the tragedy of terrorism. The names of the cities stand as powerful reminders of the universal threat to civilized society. It is no longer just Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. It is Paris and Brussels, San Bernardino and Orlando, Istanbul and Dhaka.

And so we have come full circle.

For years now Europe has been in the forefront of those justifying Palestinian atrocities – terrorist acts of murder of innocents, of slayings of Jews at prayer, children asleep in their bedrooms, mothers in front of their children – all deemed permissible with the torturous logic that people who believe they have no other alternative are morally permitted to carry out brutal and barbaric violence.

Is wholesale murder in fact ever tolerable because the executioners are convinced that their ultimate goal is noble?

But surely now the world needs to ask the question: When does terrorism cease to be terrorism? Is wholesale murder in fact ever tolerable because the executioners are convinced that their ultimate goal is noble? Is there any possible vindication for driving a truck into a crowd of celebrants of Bastille Day, supposedly to distribute free ice cream to the revelers, viciously killing and injuring small children as well as hundreds of others in its path?

I ask because the response to the tragedy in Nice has been notable for the kind of words which its spokespersons previously so often made clear they do not believe.

Listen to the leading Muslim clerics who united in condemning the attack and calling for a joint struggle against extremism because, as they piously exclaim, they are opposed to extremism in any form.

Listen to United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan who said: “This heinous terrorist crime makes it imperative for all to work decisively and without hesitation to counter terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”

Listen to Sunni Islam’s leading center of learning, Al-Azhar which said the “vile terrorist attack” contradicted Islam and urged the world to unite efforts “to defeat terrorism and rid the world of its evil”.

Listen to Iran which also decried the “criminal terrorist incident” in Nice. “As we have repeatedly said before, terrorism is an evil phenomenon that will only be eradicated through international unity and collaboration,” foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said.

Senior Egyptian Muslim cleric Shawki Allam condemned the assailant as an “extremist.” “People who commit such ugly crimes are corrupt of the Earth, and follow in the footsteps of Satan… and are cursed in this life and in the hereafter.”

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi denounced “in the strongest terms the vile terrorist attack,” his office said.

Arab League chief Ahmed Abul Gheit condemned the “craven terrorist attack,” his spokesman said.

What happened in Nice is not nice because it was the kind of violence whose victims weren’t Jews, whose targets weren’t Israelis. But when it is a marketplace in Tel Aviv or a bedroom in Kiryat Arba terrorism appears to lose its obscene stench for all the hypocritical mouthpieces of moderation who would like us to believe they are opposed in principle to murder inspired by fanatic motives and targeted at innocent victims.

It is both strange and appalling that at one and the same time the world could condemn with great fervor the fanaticism of terrorism against some nations while continuing to justify those very crimes against those for whom they share hatred and animosity. And it is precisely because of this hypocrisy – the implicit belief that “my terrorism is not your terrorism” – that civilization is so powerfully imperiled.

How long will the world praise terrorists in one corner of the globe and assume it won’t become victimized everywhere else?

The Jewish calendar long-ago cautioned us about the danger of this approach. The most tragic day of the year for Jews is the ninth of Av, Tisha B’Av. It was the exact day on which both of the temples were destroyed. It is a day of fasting and mourning, meant to ensure we never forget the tragic events it commemorates as well as our spiritual failings which contributed to the terrible events of this day. But what is a remarkable is that three weeks before the ninth of Av, this coming Sunday, we observe an additional day of fasting and mourning. It is the 17th of Tammuz. On that day the Temple was not yet destroyed. Yet it needs to be equally remembered because that is the day on which the walls of Jerusalem were breached. It was the beginning of the end – and the beginning of our downfall needs to be recalled as much as the day of final tragedy.

It is a message of great contemporary relevance. The day when the walls first fell, which allowed for all that followed, was when the world failed to respond to terrorism even though it wasn’t their house that was burning nor their children who were brutalized; when it was Tel Aviv and not Paris, when it was Jerusalem and not Istanbul, when it was just Jews celebrating a Passover Seder in the seaside resort of Netanya and not proud French citizens in the beautiful capital of the Riviera.

Terrorism didn’t appear to be such a terrifying threat when the wall of civilized behavior was first overrun. But inexorably the 17th of Tammuz is followed by Tisha B’Av. Evil un-confronted and un-challenged has taken the first step to victory.

How long will the world fail to understand this? How long will the world continue to praise terrorists in one corner of the globe and blindly assume it will not become similarly victimized everywhere else?

Our fate rests on the correct answer.

Rabbi Benjamin Blech

Shouldn’t We First Help the Christian Victims of Mideast Genocide?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

Before dawn Monday, four suicide bombers killed five and wounded at least a dozen in the Lebanese Christian town of al-Qaa. Later that night, as townspeople prepared to bury their dead, four more suicide bombers hit.

The attacks underscored just how endangered are Christians who live in today’s Muslim world. As the United States debates how many Mideast refugees to accept and who should get priority, the answer is staring us in the face: Those most in need of refuge are Christians and Yazidis who live among Muslims.

On June 19, a suicide bomber killed three people as he detonated himself at a memorial to massacred Christians in Qumishi, Syria. On June 9, a Pakistani Muslim mob badly beat a man merely because he was a Christian. On June 5, two people were killed when Islamists targeted a church with rockets in Syria; the same day, a Christian man was hacked to death at his shop by Islamists in Bangladesh. On June 2, in Nigeria, Muslim youths beheaded a Christian woman for allegedly insulting Mohammed.

And that’s just this month — a typical month, sadly, for the world’s Christians.

In May, similar Muslim attacks against Christians took place in Niger, Turkey, Syria, the Philippines, Uganda, Pakistan and Bangladesh. On March 27-28, a Taliban group murdered 69 Christians and wounded 30 more, mainly women and children, as they were celebrating Easter in a park in Lahore, Pakistan.

The Obama administration has called for massive acceptance of Muslim refugees from war zones.

The list goes on. Yet President Obama seems to value endangered Muslim lives more than the lives of endangered Christians and Yazidis.

In April, America built a temporary “surge” center in Amman, Jordan, to more rapidly process Muslim immigrants from Syria. The vetting process has been “fast tracked,” perhaps in order to meet Obama’s desired number of 10,000 Muslim Syrians to be admitted by September.

The Obama administration has called for an openhearted and massive acceptance of Muslim refugees from war zones. Democratic leaders insist that it would be wrong, morally, legally and politically, to stop Muslim immigration — but concede that it’s currently impossible to identify would-be jihadists among refugees or homegrown radicals among their descendants.

The United Nations has more modestly suggested that Western nations accept Muslim “women and children” first.

Obama has paid no attention to what has happened in Europe, namely the large number of sexual assaults of girls, women and homosexuals by Muslim men, as well as the staggering financial cost of hosting hostile, non-productive immigrants who may have no desire to assimilate to Western customs.

Here’s another suggestion.

Christian refugees are more inclined to assimilate to Western ways, or at least respond to them nonviolently.

If we want to accept refugees in flight from Arab and Muslim war zones, why not start with Christians who are being slaughtered by Muslims in Muslim-majority countries? Although they’re Arabs, Africans or Central Asians, the fact that they’re also Christians might make them more inclined to assimilate to Western ways — and, even if they assimilate imperfectly, they’re more likely to respond to Western freedoms in nonviolent ways.

Why has the pope offered symbolic asylum in the Vatican only to Muslims and not to fellow Christians?

Recently, according to my colleague Ashraf Rameleh, a Coptic Christian advocate, “Pope Francis, who is ‘building bridges to build peace’ around the world, has naturally reached out to embrace Sunni Muslims.” Rameleh notes that the pope has “grieved with the Orthodox of Egypt and offered his prayers over the spilled blood of Christians in Libya, recognizing the Coptic Christian martyrs.”

However, the pope has remained silent about the systematic destruction of the Eastern Christian Church. He hasn’t supported Egyptian President Abdel Fatta el-Sisi, who is trying to break the stranglehold that the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood still has on Egypt.

I have been told by the director of the Hatune Dogan Foundation, Hans Erling Jensen, that Christians stuck in refugee camps in Turkey have arrived penniless; that Muslims don’t look out for them but, instead, continue to persecute them. Most are starving. Many don’t have money to buy food or to pay traffickers to smuggle them out.

Why not bring Christians and Yazidis from the Muslim world here first? Why not bring Muslim dissidents, ex-Muslims, and Muslim homosexuals here second?

Finally, why not bring Muslim girls and women who are already in flight from honor-based violence, including from honor killing here, next — before we extend visas, green cards and asylum to Muslim boys and men?

Phyllis Chesler

Families of Terror Victims Sue Facebook in NY Federal Court

Monday, July 11th, 2016

The horrified, traumatized families of victims of terror who died in Israel filed a lawsuit in an American federal courtroom Monday in an attempt to reach justice for their loved ones.

Five families of American and dual Israeli-American victims of terror are suing the giant Facebook social networking site for failing to curb incitement to terror.

The Israel Law Center filed the lawsuit on behalf of the families Monday morning in New York federal court, citing the U.S. 1992 Anti-Terrorism Act.

The law bans American corporations from providing any and all aid to terrorist groups or their leaders.

The families are demanding one billion dollars in damages over Facebook’s failure to delete and limit the rampant pro-terrorist incitement on the site.

Among the plaintiffs are the families of: – Taylor Force, a U.S. veteran who was stabbed to death earlier this year in Tel Aviv; – 76-year-old Richard Laikin, shot to death on a bus in Jerusalem last year; – little baby Chaya Zissel Braum, murdered in Jerusalem by Hamas in 2014; – Naftali Frenkel, one of the three teens kidnapped and shot to death by Hamas in 2014; – Menachem Mendel Rivkin, who was brutally stabbed in Givat Ze’ev this year.

This is not the first lawsuit aimed at Facebook over its unwillingness to take a stand against terrorism on its social networking site — even though the company says it works “aggressively” to remove terrorist content as soon as it becomes aware of it.

There have been many times users complain that Facebook is not responsive to reports of terrorist content, however. Those reports may now be included in this lawsuit.

The family of 23-year-old Nohemi Gonzalez also sued the internet giant last month, filing the claim in California.

The lawsuit by the Gonzalez family included Twitter and internet search engine giant Google, accusing the Big Three over providing material support to the ISIS terrorist organization.

Gonzalez was murdered in the 2015 ISIS terrorist attack on Paris.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/families-of-terror-victims-sue-facebook-in-ny-federal-court/2016/07/11/

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