9/11: The long road to accountability and justice

Families in 9/11 Financing
Case Ask to Have Judge Replaced

By BENJAMIN
WEISER

THE NEW YORK
TIMES

Published: June
14, 2010

Lawyers for families of 9/11 victims have taken the
unusual legal step of asking a federal appeals court in Manhattan to replace a
judge overseeing a group of terrorism-financing lawsuits, saying he is moving
too slowly in resolving key motions.

The judge, George B. Daniels of Federal District Court
in Manhattan, has yet to rule on almost 100 motions by defendants to dismiss
the case, the lawyers said in a petition to the United States Court of Appeals
for the Second Circuit.

The judge’s inaction is “effectively suspending the
litigation,” the lawyers wrote, “and immunizing those alleged to have sponsored
the attacks from having to answer for their conduct in this nation’s courts.”

Judge Daniels has allowed motions to linger in the
past. In 2003, he was found to have 289 motions in civil cases pending for more
than six months, easily the highest total of any federal judge at that time.
But he has since cleared the backlog, leaving fewer than two dozen such motions
pending.

The petition is not related to 9/11 wrongful death and
injury claims by families and rescue and cleanup workers that are before
another judge, Alvin K. Hellerstein, and appear close to resolution.

The lawsuits before Judge Daniels seek to hold
charities, financial institutions and other defendants responsible for
providing money and other support to Al Qaeda and for the 9/11 attacks. The
suits were originally consolidated before another judge, Richard Conway Casey;
after Judge Casey’s death in 2007, the case was transferred to Judge Daniels.

“The simple fact is we put into Judge Daniels’s hands
our most important and urgent life issue,” said a plaintiff, Alice Hoagland of
Los Gatos, Calif., whose son, Mark Bingham, was a passenger on United Airlines
Flight 93 who fought back against the hijackers before the plane crashed in
Shanksville, Pa.

Ms. Hoagland, 60, has submitted an affidavit
concerning the delays. She said by telephone she feared that if Judge Daniels
was not replaced with “someone else who will work faster, I won’t live to see
any satisfactory outcome to this case at all.”

“It’s very frustrating,” she added.

Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics professor at New York
University School of Law, said: “This is, of course, a massive case. The tasks
required would be daunting to any judge. But that’s no excuse. Judges get paid
to decide cases expeditiously. If they have trouble doing that, they should
look for work elsewhere.”

The petition, filed this month, is not the first to
criticize Judge Daniels’s pace in handling civil suits. In 2004, The New York
Times described the judge’s high number of pending motions, as tabulated by the
Administrative Office of the United States Courts. The article said that in at
least eight cases parties had asked the Second Circuit to order the judge to
rule or perhaps send their cases to another judge.

A complicating factor in the terrorism-financing
litigation is that the original judge dismissed certain defendants, including
Saudi Arabia and several Saudi princes, as immune from suit. In 2008, the
Second Circuit upheld those dismissals, and in June 2009, the Supreme Court
refused to hear an appeal, leaving the Second Circuit ruling in place.

Judge Daniels did not personally respond to a request
for comment on the lawyers’ petition, but his chambers provided a three-page
history of the litigation, which suggests that the Second Circuit’s opinion and
other factors contributed to the delays.

The history says that Judge Daniels gave the parties
an opportunity to file additional briefs addressing the Second Circuit ruling,
and that one brief was filed as recently as May 10. The parties also recently
submitted letters on how a recent Supreme Court decision could affect pending
motions.

A court transcript also quotes Judge Daniels as saying
at an April 15 hearing that a ruling would be coming “within weeks.”

Michael K. Kellogg, a lawyer for the defendants, said
any delays had “largely been occasioned by plaintiffs asking Judge Daniels to
hold off on ruling while one or more developments played out in the courts of
appeals or the Supreme Court.”

“We fully expect the majority of those motions to be
granted promptly,” Mr. Kellogg added.

Robert T. Haefele, one of the plaintiff’s lawyers who
filed the petition, said the appeals did not preclude the judge from ruling on
the motions before him. “Both sides have encouraged the court to resolve the
motions,” Mr. Haefele said, “and the court expressed its intention to do so.”

Posted in 9/11, CTF Initiatives, Terrorist Tagged with: , , ,

Another breach in the UN terrorism sanctions regime


ECJ
On April 29, the European Court of Justice ruled
that the
freezing of funds
of persons with suspected links to Bin Laden, Al-Qaeda or the Taliban does not
apply to certain social security benefits paid to their spouses (
ECJ Press Release and ECJ Ruling C-340-08).

The ruling
narrows the notion of “indirect funding” of designated individuals as defined
in the UN Security Council regulations as funds “
owned
or controlled directly or indirectly” by persons “acting on their behalf or at
their direction”.

Following UN instructions regarding the assets exemptions, social payments made to spouses of designated individuals were subject to special regulations in the UK to prevent designated individuals to also benefit from the funds. The spourses of a designated individual challenged the application of these measures before the House of Lords which referred the case to the European Court.

Contradicting
the UN objective
to stop designated persons
gaining access to economic or financial resources of any kind that they could
use to support terrorist activities
, the European Court of Justice ruled that the benefit that a person included in the list might indirectly
derive from the social allowances paid to his spouse does not compromise the objective pursued by the regulation.

By implicitly agreeing that designated individuals could receive funds
from their wives, the European Court of Justice not only weakens the efficiency
of the UN sanctions regime designed to encompass cases of indirect terrorism
financing, it also offers an avenue to provide funding for sanctioned terrorists
within the framework of the UN sanctions regime
.

This
is the second time in two years that the European Court of Justice is
undermining the uniform application of UN regulations adopted under Chapter VII
of the UN Charter. The first time was its ruling in the case of
Yassin Abdullah Kadi and Al Barakaat
International Foundation v Council
and Commission
. This European Court ruling further contributes to
the fragmentation of international law in a way that fundamentally
jeopardizes the international efforts to prevent terror financing and combat
terrorism.

Posted in Sanctions, Terrorist Tagged with: , ,

The Mumbai attacks: Early warnings pointing to Lashkar E Taiba

Early claims from an unknown terrorist group, the Deccan Mujahideen, supposedly an offshoot of the Indian Mujahideen (itself an emanation of the Students Islamic Movement of India –SIMI-), have raised fresh speculations that the Mumbai attacks could have been carried out by Indian “home-grown” terrorists.

Despite the fact that the IM/SIMI group had carried out several attacks in the past on the Indian Territory (mostly bomb attacks), the modus operandi used by the Mumbai attackers was consistent with the Pakistani Al Qaeda affiliated group Lashkar E Taiba (LeT) reported tactics, especially the plot to infiltrate Mumbai by the sea to carry out terrorist attacks.

We can report that in early 2007, a little noticed similar plot has been foiled by the Indian police, leading to the arrest of several LeT members. In March 2007, two Pakistani militants of LeT confessed that they had infiltrated into the Indian Territory in a group of eight through sea route from Karachi to Mumbai. This was the first reported infiltration of Pakistani militants through sea-route. Two Indians were also arrested for providing assistance to the LeT militants.

The same month, on March 8, 2007, A.K. Antony, the Indian minister of Defense publicly admitted before the Parliament that several intelligence reports warned that “terrorists of various organizations have received training for their infiltration through sea routes” and that such infiltrations were “likely”.

Initial details from the Indian investigation indicate that the attackers were heavily armed, that their tactics were “military tactics”. They were also provided with sophisticated communication devices, false IDs and several credit-cards from Citibank, HSBC, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and SBM (State Bank of Mauritius), in addition to cash money.

These sophisticated, well-planned, financed and coordinated attacks were all but expected. The Mumbai attacks demonstrate the growing organizational and financial means of the radical Islamic terrorist groups in the region.

Posted in Misc, Terrorist Tagged with: , , , , , ,

UN: Taliban raising half a billion dollars a year from opium production

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has just released its Afghanistan Opium Survey for 2008.
The report highlights the fact that Taliban-affiliated war-lords, drug-lords and insurgents have extracted “almost half a billion dollars of tax revenue from drug farming, production and trafficking” in 2008. As reported, “not surprisingly the insurgents’ war machine has proven so resilient, despite the heavy pounding by Afghan and allied forces.”
The Hilmand province, the main Taliban operational center, remained the single largest opium cultivating province with 103,500 ha in 2008 (66% of the total cultivation in Afghanistan).
Posted in Misc Tagged with: , , , ,

EU Court orders delisting of PMOI

The Court of First Instance of the European Communities today annulled the European Union Council of Ministers’ decision (2007/868) to maintain the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran (PMOI or MEK) on the EU terrorist list, ruling that the EU had failed to give sufficient reasons to keep the PMOI on the list, following a British judgment of the Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission removing the organization from the national list.

The Court found that “having regard to all the relevant information at the date when Decision 2007/868 was adopted, and taking account of the particular circumstances of the case, (…) the statement of reasons is obviously insufficient to provide legal justification for continuing to freeze the applicant’s funds.”

Earlier this year, on September 3, the European Court of Justice suspended the EU sanctions against Yassin Al Kadi and Al Barakaat International Foundation.

Relevant documents regarding the PMOI case:
Press Release of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities, October 23, 2008
Judgment of the Court of First Instance of the European Communities, October 23, 2008
Judgment of the UK Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission, November 30, 2007
EU Council Decision 2007/868, December 20, 2007

Posted in Legal Issues, Terrorist

U.S. Treasury reports increased terrorist funds blocked in the U.S.

The U.S. Treasury has released its latest Report to Congress on Assets in the United States of Terrorist Countries and International Terrorism Program Designees (known are Terrorist Assets Report or TAR).

The amount of blocked funds pertaining to international terrorist organizations and individuals, totaled over $20.7 million in 2007, compared to $16.4 million in 2006. Of that, over $11.3 million constituted assets of Al Qaeda, an increase of almost 46 percent over the level blocked as of the end of 2006.

In May 2008, the U.N. Monitoring Team reported that $85 million of Al Qaeda related funds had been frozen worldwide by 36 countries.

According to the U.S. Treasury, “The increase in blocked terrorist organization assets in 2007 is due to new or additional blockings, interest paid on blocked funds, and increased share price on certain blocked securities.”

As of December 31, 2007, a total of 478 individuals and entities had been identified or designated and remain listed as “Specially Designated Global Terrorists”, including 42 organizations or groups designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the Department of State.

Posted in Terrorist Tagged with: , , ,

About JC Brisard

Jean-Charles Brisard

Jean-Charles Brisard is an international consultant, specialized in the financing of terrorist organizations.
His biography

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