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Monday, June 27, 2011

Brilliant lawsuit to stop flotilla

I received this via email from Shurat HaDin:

Israeli human rights group, the Israel Law Center (Shurat HaDin) has now filed a civil action in the Florida State Court in Miami against the UK and US based global satellite company Inmarsat, alleging that it is providing communications services to ships used by suspected terror organizations in the Gaza flotilla planned in the coming days.

The suit was filed by Attorney Isaac Jaroslawicz. The plaintiff, Michelle Fendel, a resident of the southern Israeli town of Sderot, asserts in her complaint that under US law, Inmarsat and is officers have aided and abetted terrorism by providing satellite services to the Gaza-bound ships.

Prior to filing the lawsuit, the attorneys for Fendel sent Inmarsat a warning letter demanding that it discontinue all satellite services to the boats being utilized to engaged in hostile operations against Israel. The letter noted that by providing services during the upcoming flotilla, Inmarsat and its corporate officers were violation of US criminal statutes prohibiting the provision of material support for acts of violence and terrorism (18 U.S.C. § 2339A and § 2339B) and the provision of material support for naval expeditions against U.S. allies (18 U.S.C. § 960 and § 962), and would also be held civilly liable for any damages or harm caused by participants in the flotilla.

Inmarsat provides the communications worldwide for virtually all ships' AIS (Automatic Identification Systems). The systems identify exactly where the vessels are, and are a necessary part of marine traffic. For any ship to receive a country flag, it must be equipped with AIS.

Without Inmarsat, it would be very difficult or impossible for the ships to sail.

Inmarsat UK already said that it does not believe that it is in breach of any laws because Hamas doesn't own the ships, but American anti-terror laws seem to be more stringent. (h/t J. E. Dyer)

Here is the complaint: