November 15th 2011
By fax to 1-415-436-7234
The Honorable United States Attorney Melinda Haag
The United States Attorney’s Office- District of Northern California
Federal Courthouse, 11th Floor
450 Golden Gate Avenue San Francisco, CA 94102
By fax to 1-408-535-5066
United States Attorney’s Office – San Jose Office
Heritage Bank Building
150 Almaden Blvd. Suite 900 San Jose, CA 95113
Re.: United States v. NetApp – Syria Sanctions
United States v. Blue Coat – Syria Sanctions
Dear Ms. Haag:
I am writing in my capacity as the Chairperson of the Council of United Syrian Americans (CoUSA). Our mission is to support freedom in Syria through promotion of protesters demands that include Freedom of Speech, Assembly, Association and Press. Our organization believes that the equal enforcement of the Rule of Law is of paramount importance regardless of whether it is here in the United States or in Syria.
Kindly accept this letter as a formal demand to investigate the following United States companies for violation of the Federal Laws prohibiting the sale or export of technology to Syria: NetApp and Blue Coat Systems Inc. The address of each of these companies is below. Both of these companies have been copied on this letter in the hope that they will cooperate with your offices and make attempts to retrieve the equipment sold to Syria. Both of these companies produce technology which has aided the Syrian regime in oppressing it’s citizens. The Syrian government was added to the list of terrorist nations by the State Department and Treasury Departments due to President Bashar Assad’s support of terrorism. Since the start of the Syrian revolution in March of this year Syria has engaged in state sponsored killing of Syria’s very own citizens. Many of those citizens are also US citizens. Many US citizens have been victim to the Syrian regime’s illegal arrests, torture, and killing. Because of the dual national status of many of these victims this has become an urgent problem of substantial security risk to US citizens both in the US and abroad. The International Criminal Court has even indicated it’s interest in this matter for prosecution.
Net App makes products to allow storage and archiving of mass emails. These products are restricted from sale to Syria. There are specific emails between NetApp employees and Area SpA of Italy discussing the architecture of the systems to monitor and spy on Syrian Citizens. We believe these emails provide the basis of a prima facie case for criminal violation of the federal laws. Specifically it has been reported that NetApp has engaged in efforts to structure sales to Syria through their Italian office to avoid the laws of the United States. We believe structuring the transaction exposes NetApp to possible criminal prosecution for violation of the sanctions We believe attempts by NetApp to circumvent the laws of this nation are ineffectual and do nothing to make criminal acts lawful. “The NetApp deal was structured in a way that avoided dealing directly with Area, one of the people familiar with the project says. NetApp’s Italian subsidiary sold the equipment through an authorized vendor in Italy which then resold it to Area, the person says.” http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-03/syria-crackdown-gets-italy-firm-s-aid-with-u-s-europe-spy-gear.html. “After the sale of the NetApp equipment, Italian employees of the company and Area e-mailed each other about configuring the equipment, copies of correspondence show.” http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-11-11/netapp-role-in-syria-spy-project-spurs-demands-for-u-s-inquiry.html
Blue Coat Systems, Inc. sells products to companies and organizations around the world to protect and accelerate networks. One of the products, the ProxySG appliance is a Secure Web Gateway solution. It protects users from malicious web threats and prevents access to content and applications that are considered inappropriate for network users on the basis of applicable laws. Please note that it appears that Blue Coat Systems Inc. does not sell to individuals and as such should be able to account for the sale of all devices. It is particularly important to understand that Blue Coat Systems equipment would have to be integrated in to a larger system designed and coordinated with Blue Coat Systems. Although it has been confirmed that Blue Coat Systems hardware is being used to suppress freedom in Syria Blue Coat Systems has amazingly denied knowledge of how that equipment has come under the control of the Syrian regime. I respectfully submit that this is just not a believable denial. The equipment is very specific and requires great technical expertise that could only be obtained from the company directly. Most disturbingly Blue Coat Systems byline of “mess with one of us mess with all of us” seems particularly inappropriate today since they have “messed” with all Americans today by acting contrary to our American public policy of supporting freedom and the Syrian American drive for freedom. I am asking that you immediately investigate and if necessary prosecute Blue Coat Systems, Inc. I am not alone in my cynicism of the Blue Coat Systems response. The United States Senate has joined in our calls for investigation. http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57324674-281/senators-want-probe-of-netapp-blue-coat-devices-ties-to-syria/
US Citizens of Syrian origin expect our American companies to respect the Rule of Law regardless of where the activities are taking place. Immediate action must be taken to protect American citizens of Syrian origin and uphold the Rule of Law. We now call on our United States Attorneys office to proceed with the investigation and prosecution of both sanctions violators.
Please communicate with me to acknowledge receipt by email to CoUSA2011@gmail.com for security reasons. Thank You. With best wishes,
Council of United
By: Hamdi Rifai, Esq.
cc: Tom Georgens
495 East Java Drive
Sunnyvale, CA 94089
Blue Coat Systems Inc.
420 N. Mary Ave
Sunnyvale, CA 94085