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Monday, June 20, 2011

Innovative lawfare: US man sues to take possession of flotilla

From JPost:

Dr. Alan Bauer, an American- Israeli victim of a Palestinian terrorist attack, on Thursday filed a first of its kind lawsuit in an effort to seize ships to be used by Islamic and anti-Israel organizations to try to breach the blockade of the Gaza Strip later this month.

The suit, Bauer v. The Mavi Marmara, was filed in Manhattan federal court, seeking to confiscate 14 ships, which are scheduled to participate in the upcoming flotilla and which were outfitted with funds Bauer says were unlawfully raised in the United States by anti-Israel groups, including The Free Gaza Movement. Over the weekend, however, the Turkish IHH organization said the Mavi Marmara was still too damaged to sail for Gaza.

The plaintiff, a biologist from the Chicago area, and his son Jonathan, then aged seven, were seriously wounded when Palestinian suicide bomber detonated a bomb, packed with metal spikes and nails, in the center of a crowd of shoppers on King George Street in Jerusalem on March 21, 2002.

Three people were killed and 85 other people were also wounded.

Bauer alleges that The Free Gaza Movement and other American-based anti-Israel organizations have raised funds in the United States to outfit the Gaza flotilla ships. The lawsuit contends that furnishing and outfitting the ships, which are being used for hostilities against a US ally, violates American law.

The plaintiff rests his claim upon the rarely used 18th-century “informant” statute (18 USC Section 962) that allows a plaintiff (called an “informer”) to privately seize ships outfitted in the United States for use against a US ally.

The stature states: “Whoever, within the United States, furnishes, fits out, arms, or attempts to furnish, fit out or arm, any vessel, with intent that such vessel shall be employed in the service of any foreign prince, or state, or of any colony, district, or people, to cruise, or commit hostilities against the subjects, citizens, or property of any foreign prince or state, or of any colony, district, or people with whom the United States is at peace; or Whoever issues or delivers a commission within the United State for any vessel, to the intent that she may be so employed – Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

“Every such vessel, her tackle, apparel, and furniture, together with all materials, arms, ammunition, and stores which may have been procured for the building and equipment thereof, shall be forfeited, one half to the use of the informer and the other half to the use of the United States.”

The plaintiff is represented by attorneys Robert J. Tolchin of New York, and by Nitsana Darshan- Leitner of Israel, founder of Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center.

This is the first lawsuit brought to seize the Gaza Flotilla ships.

“We intend to seize the Gaza flotilla ships and turn them over to a victim of Palestinian terrorism.
You can see an interview with Nitsana Darshan-Leitner of Shurat HaDin about this lawsuit and other flotilla news on PJTV.

A copy of the lawsuit can be seen here.