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Finally, a lawyer I admire

There's a great story in the Boston Glob (of all places) today.

Back in 1996, a couple from Brooklyn were stopped in Israel by men wearing Palestinian Authority uniforms. They turned out to be 1) off duty, and 2) members of Hamas, and killed the couple.

An Israeli court appointed a Providence, Rhode Island lawyer to represent the couple's orphaned children in the United States. He sued the Palestinian Authority, and won a judgment worth $116 million dollars.

After winning, he did what any good lawyer would do: he tried to collect. And when the PA refused, he started freezing assets.

Now the PA finds a bunch of its assets in the US, including a $1.3-billion-dollar investment fund, frozen until they settle up with Attorney Strachan and his clients.

It's put the PA in a bit of a bind. If they settle with him, then they establish a precedent that they are liable for terrorist acts. And they can't use the "sovereign nation" defense, because a US court has already ruled that there is no nation of Palestine, and the PA does not constitute a sovereign government.

I've often said that the war on terror is more important than a criminal case, that we need to fight it with warriors, not cops and lawyers. But I think I can make an exception in Attorney Strachan's case.

(Note: I wrote about this this morning, but due to technical issues it got eaten. I've recreated it as best I could.)


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Comments (5)

That's the best news yet fo... (Below threshold)

That's the best news yet for the Palestinian people. Maybe if the criminals in charge couldn't access their unlimited well of money they might actually govern.

Yay. I hope it gets the sa... (Below threshold)
chad:

Yay. I hope it gets the same exorbitant interest the IRS charges too. (Interest, compounded daily, is charged on any unpaid tax from the due date of the return until the date of payment. The interest rate is the federal short-term rate plus 3 percent. That rate is determined every three months.) so for 116 million that would be 166,252,522.69.
(using an average of 1.5% for the short term rate)

Jay: As much as this is a f... (Below threshold)
Jameel Rashid:

Jay: As much as this is a feel good story, I want you to remember what I'm about to write. The US Administration will cave-in and un-freeze the terrorist's assets, and the children will never see a dime. The US has already done this quite a few times; many US citizens killed by PLO/PA terrorists over the past 5 years have sued and won. Yet, none of them have collected, since the US State Deprtment doesn't wan't to embarrass the PA.

I know these kids personally...and wish they would get something. Yet I would wager anything that they won't collect.

It's not State Dept. that u... (Below threshold)

It's not State Dept. that unfreezes the assets. It's the White House. And this White House, as all others before it, are not about to let any courts usurp its sole authority to run foreign relations.

It's a power exclusive to the Executive Branch, which is elected to take longer-term views of matters. There's a law that seems permits the seizure of such assets, but that law also permits the president--of whatever party affiliation--to override it when deemed necessary for the benefit of the country as a whole.

Unfortunately John, even th... (Below threshold)

Unfortunately John, even though the State Dept. is supposed to be an instrument of the Executive Branch (i.e. the White Hhouse), quite often State has its own agenda, and will often try to undermine White House policy. This has been a particular problem during George Bush's tenure in office. One of the reasons he appointed Condoleezza Rice as Sec'y of State is to try to get control of this recalcitrant organization.

Historically, the State Department has been unabashedly anti-Israel and pro-Arab. The lawyer is going to have to figure out how to bypass the Arabists at State and go directly to the WH. I wish him sucesss.




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