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In PLO Lawsuit Plaintiffs Sealed UN Riyad Mansour Deposition, Now Support Sealed Too

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Podcast
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, August 17 – Amid a week and counting of rockets and airstrikes between Israel and Hamas, on May 19, 2021 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge George B. Daniels held an oral argument in a 2004 case against the Palestine Liberation Organization.

(The case seeks damages for a "series of terrorist attacks from 2001 to 2002 in or near Jerusalem).

Inner City Press, as with the UNSC, live tweeted it here: (and, afterward, podcast here)

On August 13, plaintiffs' counsel filed a heavily redacted letter, which cites to their deposition of Riyad Mansour - but the transcript of his deposition is filed "Under Seal."

On August 16 opposition was been filed, seeking unsealing of depositions not only by Mansour, but also Nadia Ghannam and Feda Abdelhady-Nasser. FARA is cited.

Now on August 17 the PLO has purported to reply - but has put the entirety of its submission under seal. We'll have more on this.

From May 19, 2021: Judge Daniels: "They are disputing if the requirements of the statute have been met - what UN activities are going on."

Plaintiffs' lawyer says, "It's not a heavy lift to say, Don't pay people who kill civilians." He cites ATCA, and the Palestinian Authority disputing it, not taking funds that triggered it, but says paying jailed "terrorists" triggers this statute.

 Plaintiffs' lawyer: The Palestinian Authority stamping documents in the US has nothing to do with the UN, or making a speech at the UN - it's consular activity.

Judge Daniels: I think the statute concentrates on places and people, not activities..

Plaintiffs' lawyer: then Congress changed it in 2019. Look at 2334(e)(1)(b)... Continues to maintain consular locations. Romanette 3, any activity....

 Plaintiffs' lawyer: The Trump administration closed the PA office. But they continued their activities, like notarizing.

Judge Daniels: Unrelated to UN business?

Plaintiffs' lawyer: Yes. There's also press appearances.

Plaintiffs' lawyer: There's no dispute Riyad Mansour spoke at Seton Hall. [Note: yesterday Inner City Press covered Mansour's press conference in UN, replete with softball questions from those allowed in: 48 hours after UNSC failed meeting, Palestine PR Mansour in UN briefing room Inner City Press is banned from says, "The UN is the house of the poor." Hardly. "Mansour consulted for companies affiliated with Jesse Maali,  linked to a tax-evasion and fraud case."

Judge Daniels: So what about Fidel Castro coming to the UN in NY then going to a church to give a speech - would that be non-UN business?

Plaintiffs' lawyer: It's definitely not official business of the UN.

 Judge Daniels: If they invited some UN officials to lunch, would that be UN business?

Plaintiffs' lawyer: They sent letters "to the UN General Secretary every month complaining... then they re-transmit it on Twitter. We say those are two different acts. The second is for publicity." He cites, apparently without irony, a tweet about "surfing in Gaza."

Now PLO's corporate lawyer says that the tweet about surfing in Gaza is UN business - on International Day of Sport. Seeking immunity through the UN

Upshot: PLO/PA's lawyer is saying there is no jurisdiction, no accountability, citing the UN Headquarters Agreement 

Plaintiffs' lawyer responds that SDNY Judge Stanton held that pamphlets do not fall into the UN HQ immunity loophole. 

 Judge Daniels says he doesn't need supplemental briefs before ruling, perhaps a letter of less than five pages.

  The case is Sokolow et al v. Palestine Liberation Organization et al., 04-cv-397 (Daniels)


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