Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Natalie Lerner, Dana Gardner

News Feed Item

Chabad Responds to Russia's Misinformation Campaign Concerning A Federal Court's Imposition of Civil Contempt Sanctions Against Russia

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 17, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- On January 16, a U.S. federal court issued civil contempt monetary sanctions in the amount of $50,000 per day against the Russian Federation, Russian Ministry of Culture and Mass Communication, Russian State Library, and Russian State Military Archive for refusing to comply with a July 2010 judgment ordering return of a large collection of sacred religious books and archives to its rightful owner, Agudas Chasidei Chabad of United States. 

This Statement responds to false and erroneous declarations made by Russian authorities in response to entry of the court's order.

(1) Russia claims that United States courts lack "jurisdiction."

Under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act ("FSIA"), U.S. federal courts have jurisdiction over claims against foreign states involving the expropriation of property in violation of international law.  They also have authority to issue civil contempt sanctions against foreign states, as recently confirmed by the D.C. Circuit in the case FG Hemisphere Associates, LLC v. Democratic Republic of CongoRussia's position that yesterday's civil contempt sanctions order was "unlawful" reflects Russia's misunderstanding of American law.

(2) Russia claims that Chabad wants a Russian "national treasure."

Chabad, an international non-profit Orthodox Jewish organization, filed suit in 2004 under the FSIA to recover 12,000 books and manuscripts that were seized from it during the Bolshevik Revolution and Russian Civil War (the "Library") and 25,000 pages of handwritten manuscripts and books seized by Nazis and then looted as "trophy documents" in Poland in 1945 by the Soviet Red Army (the "Archive"). 

Russia falsely asserts that it simply "recovered" property that had been "abandoned" by Chabad.  The truth is quite different.  Russia's Bolshevik government seized the Library from a private warehouse in Moscow in 1917, where Chabad's spiritual leader, the Fifth Rebbe, had sent it for safekeeping as he fled the German forces invading Russia.  The Soviet Union rejected numerous pleas for the return of the Library from Chabad's leaders, but never nationalized the books.  After arresting Chabad's new leader, the Sixth Rebbe, for "counter revolutionary activities" (namely establishing Jewish schools), the Soviets beat him and sentenced him to death by firing squad in 1927, but the sentence was commuted, because of international pressure, to exile. 

The Nazi German invasion of Poland in 1939 forced the Sixth Rebbe to flee yet again.  The Nazi forces seized the Archive and transferred it to a Gestapo-controlled castle in Poland, where Soviet military forces plundered the Archive in September 1945 and transferred it as "trophy documents" to a secret facility in Moscow, where it was hidden from the public for many decades. A document belatedly disclosed by Russia in discovery recites how the Archive was taken by the Red Army "in 1945 as part of German trophy documents." It contradicts the description Russia is giving today to these manuscripts.

(3) Russia claims that the court has treated it provocatively.

Following nearly four years of active litigation between the parties, during which Russia lost in the United States Court of Appeals, Russia and its agencies precipitously stopped speaking with the international law firm that had represented them and withdrew from the case. They stated that "[t]he Russian Federation views any continued defense before this Court and, indeed, any participation in this litigation as fundamentally incompatible with its rights as a sovereign nation." 

Chabad was required by United States law to present evidence to support its claim. The Court entered a judgment in favor of Chabad after finding that "[p]laintiff has met its burden of proving a prima facie case against defendants and has established its right to relief by evidence satisfactory to the Court."  The Court held that "the takings of the Library and the Archive by defendants and their predecessor regimes were not for a public purpose, were discriminatory, and occurred without just compensation to plaintiff."  As a result, the Court ordered Russia and its agencies "to surrender . . . the complete collection of religious books, manuscripts, documents and things that comprise the 'Library' and the 'Archive.'"  Order & Judgment of July 30, 2010. 

(4) Russia claims that it has not received due process of law.

The Court issued an Order to Show Cause in connection with Chabad's Motion for Civil Contempt Sanctions.  Russia failed to respond to the Court's Order to Show Cause within 60 days.  Chabad thereafter voluntarily requested two stays of enforcement of the judgment to create an atmosphere conducive to settlement negotiations.  The stays expired on March 1, 2012.

On January 13, 2012, Russian Culture Minister Alexander Avdeyev announced at a press conference that "A constructive dialogue over the Schneerson Library will be possible only after the U.S. court reverses its decision and the claimant withdraws its lawsuit."  On March 5, 2012, Chabad renewed its request that the Court enter an order finding defendants in contempt of court and issue monetary sanctions against them for refusing to comply with the Court's judgment in favor of Chabad. The Court delayed any action and requested the United States to state its view before issuing any further order.

(5) Russia claims that the sanctions will make settlement difficult.

Chabad has made a good faith effort to negotiate with Russia, including two meetings at the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C.  Unfortunately, Russia has not complied with the Court's judgment. Nor has it agreed to return any portion of the "Schneerson Collection" as a result of diplomatic efforts or as an act of generosity. Only after the Court found Russia in contempt did Russian representatives agree to meet with Chabad's counsel.

(6) Russia asserts that the sanctions will impede exhibition of Russian art in the United States.

Chabad will not seek to enforce the judgment or civil contempt order by seeking to attach any art or objects of cultural significance subject to the immunity protections of 22 U.S.C. section 2459. It made that position clear to the District Court and to Russia long ago, and the Court has re-affirmed the immunity of such art under United States law. Russia's threat is a bogus attempt to turn American public opinion against Chabad.

Chabad is headquartered in Brooklyn, New York with over 4,500 international branches; it is the largest Jewish organization in the world today. 

Chabad is represented by attorneys Marshall B. Grossman and Seth M. Gerber of Bingham McCutchen LLP, and by Nathan Lewin and Alyza D. Lewin of Lewin & Lewin, LLP.

Offering a broad range of market-leading practices focused on global companies, Bingham, www.bingham.com, has approximately 1,000 lawyers in 14 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia. Follow the firm on Twitter @BinghamLaw.

Based in Washington, D.C., Lewin & Lewin LLP– www.lewinlewin.com – specializes in Supreme Court and federal appellate litigation and is available for consultation by lawyers and clients in complex criminal and civil matters in federal courts.  Lewin & Lewin also represents clients and assists attorneys in relations with federal legislative, executive and administrative agencies.

SOURCE Bingham McCutchen LLP

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Connected devices and the Internet of Things are getting significant momentum in 2014. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Hunter, Chief Scientist & Technology Evangelist at Greenwave Systems, examined three key elements that together will drive mass adoption of the IoT before the end of 2015. The first element is the recent advent of robust open source protocols (like AllJoyn and WebRTC) that facilitate M2M communication. The second is broad availability of flexible, cost-effective storage designed to handle the massive surge in back-end data in a world where timely analytics is e...
The Internet of Things will put IT to its ultimate test by creating infinite new opportunities to digitize products and services, generate and analyze new data to improve customer satisfaction, and discover new ways to gain a competitive advantage across nearly every industry. In order to help corporate business units to capitalize on the rapidly evolving IoT opportunities, IT must stand up to a new set of challenges. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, will examine why IT must finally fulfill its role in support of its SBUs or face a new round of...
How do APIs and IoT relate? The answer is not as simple as merely adding an API on top of a dumb device, but rather about understanding the architectural patterns for implementing an IoT fabric. There are typically two or three trends: Exposing the device to a management framework Exposing that management framework to a business centric logic Exposing that business layer and data to end users. This last trend is the IoT stack, which involves a new shift in the separation of what stuff happens, where data lives and where the interface lies. For instance, it's a mix of architectural styles ...
We are reaching the end of the beginning with WebRTC, and real systems using this technology have begun to appear. One challenge that faces every WebRTC deployment (in some form or another) is identity management. For example, if you have an existing service – possibly built on a variety of different PaaS/SaaS offerings – and you want to add real-time communications you are faced with a challenge relating to user management, authentication, authorization, and validation. Service providers will want to use their existing identities, but these will have credentials already that are (hopefully) i...
Cultural, regulatory, environmental, political and economic (CREPE) conditions over the past decade are creating cross-industry solution spaces that require processes and technologies from both the Internet of Things (IoT), and Data Management and Analytics (DMA). These solution spaces are evolving into Sensor Analytics Ecosystems (SAE) that represent significant new opportunities for organizations of all types. Public Utilities throughout the world, providing electricity, natural gas and water, are pursuing SmartGrid initiatives that represent one of the more mature examples of SAE. We have s...
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The Internet of Things will greatly expand the opportunities for data collection and new business models driven off of that data. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Esmeralda Swartz, CMO of MetraTech, discussed how for this to be effective you not only need to have infrastructure and operational models capable of utilizing this new phenomenon, but increasingly service providers will need to convince a skeptical public to participate. Get ready to show them the money!
One of the biggest challenges when developing connected devices is identifying user value and delivering it through successful user experiences. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Mike Kuniavsky, Principal Scientist, Innovation Services at PARC, described an IoT-specific approach to user experience design that combines approaches from interaction design, industrial design and service design to create experiences that go beyond simple connected gadgets to create lasting, multi-device experiences grounded in people's real needs and desires.
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using the URL as a basic building block, we open this up and get the same resilience that the web enjoys.
The Internet of Things is tied together with a thin strand that is known as time. Coincidentally, at the core of nearly all data analytics is a timestamp. When working with time series data there are a few core principles that everyone should consider, especially across datasets where time is the common boundary. In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Jim Scott, Director of Enterprise Strategy & Architecture at MapR Technologies, discussed single-value, geo-spatial, and log time series data. By focusing on enterprise applications and the data center, he will use OpenTSDB as an example t...
The Domain Name Service (DNS) is one of the most important components in networking infrastructure, enabling users and services to access applications by translating URLs (names) into IP addresses (numbers). Because every icon and URL and all embedded content on a website requires a DNS lookup loading complex sites necessitates hundreds of DNS queries. In addition, as more internet-enabled ‘Things' get connected, people will rely on DNS to name and find their fridges, toasters and toilets. According to a recent IDG Research Services Survey this rate of traffic will only grow. What's driving t...
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...