Friday, April 13, 2012

Terrorism: Beirut Bombing Victims Ask DTCC to Stop Opposing their Right to Justice

Beirut bombing of the United States Marine Corps Barracks
SOURCE Saylor Company

The following letter was sent to Mr. Donald F. Donahue CEO, Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. by the Beirut victim families.

Donald F. Donahue
President & Chief Executive Officer
Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation
55 Water Street
New York, New York 10041

Dear Mr. Donahue,

I am the national spokesperson for the Beirut Families. We are a group of victims of Iranian terrorism. There are more than 1300 of us who had loved ones either killed or injured in the 1983 Iranian-sponsored Beirut bombing of the United States Marine Corps Barracks. We have been seeking justice from Iran for its terrorism without consequence for almost 30 years, fighting in the courts, in Congress, and in the court of public opinion, with measurable success in all three. In 2007, the US federal court in Washington, D.C. awarded our group a judgment of more than $2.65 billion in damages against Iran. After so many years of fighting for justice against all odds, now that we seem to be in the home stretch in our efforts to collect the judgment, your company is working on Capitol Hill to keep that from happening.

The American military service persons families who have suffered directly from Iran's attack on America in 1983 find DTCC's position on S. 2101 and H.R. 4070 downright unconscionable.

I am a suburban housewife and mom who lost my brother, Capt. Vincent Smith, in the 1983 bombing. The people in my group have similar backgrounds. We are not bankers. We are not globally connected businesspeople. We are simply Americans, whose lives have been forever changed by Iran's wrath of terrorism directed against unarmed members of the U.S. military on a peacekeeping mission and as such, we cannot understand why DTCC is trying to undermine us.

As I understand your opposition to the language we have worked on with Congress, language that passed the Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs unanimously, DTCC, often the uppermost securities intermediary, believes only lower intermediaries have a duty to conduct Iranian anti-money-laundering checks. Why is that, Mr. Donahue? Is due diligence on where money in the U.S. financial system comes from too difficult or inconvenient for DTCC? Or will such due diligence have a negative impact on DTCC's revenue stream? If that is your position, I am appalled.

Possibly, your company needs to protect its business dealing with Clearstream Banking, SA, a company our group is suing for moving Iranian money in and out of the U.S. financial system, so that the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran might avoid having those funds attached to pay part of our judgment. Is that the case? If so, I find that beyond perplexing.

I think the American people and Members of Congress have a right to know your answers to my questions. If you don't provide them, clearly and concisely, my group, and I suspect millions of other Americans, might be forced to conclude that DTCC would rather protect its own interests in closed-door meetings in Congress than stand beside American victims of Iranian terrorism. Surely, that can't be true.

We have been told by experts within the U.S. Government and outside it that DTCC's opposition to our position is specious. Still, our attorneys, government relations professionals, and outside consultants have considered DTCC's points and offered a battery of suggested compromises and alternative language. DTCC has responded with stonewalling that simply goes in circles, accomplishing nothing (which is your company's goal, I fear). Accordingly, DTCC continues to try to thwart us, despite public and private statements to the contrary.

Mr. Donahue, the 1300 members of the Beirut families and survivors I speak for have grit and determination. We have already lost the most precious thing we have, our loved ones, so we will be relentless in our quest for justice. We will do what we have to do, as we have since 1983. We may not be as powerful as DTCC, but that does not mean we are weak or insignificant. Our message is strong, and our wills are steel. I will share this letter with every Member of Congress, as many media platforms as possible, social and traditional, with President Obama, and with anybody else I can think of who might find it as outrageous as I do that DTCC is using its influence to erode what is right.

I am asking you as CEO to stop DTCC's opposition of the Beirut Families. The change in law that we seek is incredibly narrow and applies only to Iranian-blocked assets, assets in which it is illegal to do business already. We are trying to make American law as strong as possible to keep Iran in political and financial check and thus protect Americans against the ravages of the Iranian terrorists who murdered my brother. I don't want this to happen to you, Mr. Donahue. The pain and grief that we have been through the last 30 years is unimaginable and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. The hundreds of U.S. Marines murdered and injured that day, as well as their thousands of family members, have borne the ultimate burden in defense of this country. We are asking DTCC to bear a miniscule burden in comparison. It is time for you to do your share for justice.

Stop and think for a minute about the person you love most in the world, and think what it would feel like if that person were blown into little pieces. And then think what it would be like to have a huge financial institution standing in your way of seeking justice for that murder.

This is what DTCC is doing. I am asking you to stop. I look forward to your reply.


Lynn Smith Derbyshire
National Spokesperson, Beirut Families

This release is distributed by Saylor Company Public Relations Counsel under authority and direction of Thomas Fay, Esq. and Steven Perles, Esq., legal counsel.