Saturday, March 12, 2016

US Justice in Disrepute. Judge awards S10.5 billion against IRAN over 9/11.

It is not just the American political process that is in disrepute these days.  The justice system is also suffering   We have sadly become accustomed to police officers  killing unarmed (usually black) citizens, and then typically being acquitted of any culpability.   Such killings and acquittals,  like mass shootings, hardly even make it to the front page these days. But now the judiciary is also looking extremely dodgy - well at least one judge in the US District Court. 

As I understand it the findings of the 9/11 Commission stated that 15 of the 19 hijackers involved in the outrages of September 11, 2001, were citizens of Saudi Arabia.  And that the attacks were organized and funded by al Qaeda under the leadership of Osama bin Laden, another Saudi citizen.  Now I am not saying that the Commissions report was the unvarnished truth - many, including one of the commissioners have questioned the accuracy of its conclusions.  And 28 pages, allegedly documenting Saudi complicity in financing the attacks, have been redacted, in spite of many calls for their release.  

But as far as I know, no one has seriously suggested that Iran was behind the outrages.  

Nonetheless on March 9 of this year, U.S. District Judge George Daniels in New York issued a default judgment against Iran for $7.5 billion to the estates and families of people who died at the World Trade Center and Pentagon.  In addition he awarded $3 billion to insurers who paid property damages for claims resulting from the events of 9/11.  A brief summary of the ruling can be found here

The ruling results from a 2011 case referred to as Havlish et al. vs. bin Laden et al.  brought by spouses of some of the victims of 9/11.  Some more details can be found here

Iran apparently did not contest the allegations made against it (although the suit was against al Qaeda, not Iran, unless Iran is included in the et al.).  Maybe this is one of the reasons the judge found against Iran.  But if this is the case should not Saudi Arabia have been deemed to hold some responsibility?   However to complicate things further the same judge (George Daniels) dismissed a case, brought by victims' families against Saudi Arabia in 2005, based on his opinion that Saudi Arabia (and co-defendant Saudi High Commission for the Relief of Bosnia-Herzegovina) were foreign sovereigns immune from lawsuit under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. 

So it would seem that in Judge Daniels' opinion, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a "foreign sovereign" but "The Islamic Republic of Iran" is not a "foreign sovereign"!

I know that Dickens has Mr. Bumble say in Oliver Twist "the law is a ass - a idiot",  but these rulings by Judge Daniels seem to take its idiocy to new heights.  

Although this whole sorry story can be found on the internet, it has not made much news in the mainstream media (although Bloomberg did mention it - see above). I wonder why?  

There are a few possible explanations for Judge Daniels' ruling.  One is that he is an idiot; another he is that completely venal and is in the pay of some group who want to discredit Iran (and exculpate Saudi Arabia). A third is that there are some points of law which could explain the ruling (although I can't imagine what).  And a fourth is that Judge Daniels knows something, which the public at large has not been told - that indeed the whole 9/11 Commission Report was a whitewash and that Iran's complicity was for one reason or another kept secret.  

Which of these would you go for?   For me provided we can rule out the third (recondite points of law) I would go for number two, that Judge Daniels for one reason or other, has an agenda, which involves blackening Iran.  

But as I see it he has only succeeded in blackening the reputation of US justice. 

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