The subject is the "Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act" which seeks to amend the federal judicial code
"to narrow the scope of foreign sovereign immunity by authorizing U.S. courts to hear cases involving claims against a foreign state for injuries, death, or damages that occur inside the United States as a result of a [b]tort[b], including an act of terrorism, committed anywhere by a foreign state or official."
This a huge hole in a law that also protects America or Americans from being sued by foreign nations. It is huge because the definition of "Tort" is "a wrongful act or an infringement of a right (other than under contract) leading to civil legal liability.". This amendment goes far beyond suing for acts of terrorism in America.
The Act which the law being amended implements the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. Other nations have reciprocal laws which prevent their citizens from suing the United States. If this Terrorism Act veto is overridden, then that throws the door wide-open for foreign citizens to sue the United States in THEIR justice system if they perceive the United States has committed tortuous acts, ANY tortuous act against them.
I think this Act was passed because of group think, just like when Congress gave President Bush the authority to invade Iraq. It was the patriotic thing to do, of course, but a devastatingly stupid decision nevertheless. This Terrorism Act is the same, a feel-good piece of legislation that can do irreparable harm to America.
You are right. It can do irreparable harm. But considering the world we now live in it is legislation long over due.
And America should be held to the same standard. If our government or its officials conduct our affairs in such a way that a citizen of another country can legitimately claim tortuous harm what rationale could be used to claim they have no right to legal recourse?
In a perfect world yes, but it isn't perfect and it never will be. The fact of the matter, if they effectively rescind the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which this override will do, then there is nothing to stop nations who are pissed at us for real or imagined reasons from suing us in THEIR courts, not ares, using their brand of justice or injustice. Congress is opening up, given human nature as it is, legal nightmare and lawyers are going to be the new billionaires.
I wrote my Representatives this;
If you are planning to vote to override President Obama's veto of this legislation I hope you will reconsider. This is the worst piece of legislation, in my opinion, since Congress voted to give President Bush the authority to invade Iraq; the same dynamic is at play - Group think.
This Act is NOT about what its title suggests ... state sponsors of terrorism. It IS about ANY tortuous act committed against citizens of the United States in the United States. Terrorism is but a small subset of those Torts.
Sticking with terrorism for the moment, since the definition of "terrorism" is in the eye of the beholder, anybody in any nation can define it however they want, so that voting for this veto override throws the door wide open for suits against American and perhaps Americans.
Because the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act is reciprocated by most, if not all other nations, you will have permission for any person from a foreign nation who has suffered injury from our War on Terror to sue the United States since their nation will no longer be required to hold up their end of the bargain.
Since this Act pertains to ANY Tort, then your vote against your President, allows foreign citizens to sue America in their foreign court for any and all perceived wrongs ... common sense dictates this outcome.
If it is your intent to leave America vulnerable to this kind of "legal terrorism" then go ahead and vote to override your President.
Otherwise, stand behind common sense and vote again the override.
Thank you for your consideration.
I would still disagree. I honestly believe individual citizens should have the right to ask for justice. I do get what you are saying and I do realize that this will open up a very large can of worms. There will be, what we consider to be, frivolous and fraudulent claims. But, along with those will be reasonable demands for justice.
Clandestine operations such as the one which has driven this bill into the Congress should not be allowed to go unchallenged. Of course, America has its share of dirty, behind the scenes, deny deny deny actions outside of our borders. If these actions cause harm to individuals in foreign nations I see no reason to think they should have less avenues of recourse than had these actions happened within our borders.
LivetoLearn, it isn't clandestine actives behind JASTA, it is the political benefit from pushing through a feel-good, patriotic-sounding piece of legislation which potentially has world-wide, catastrophic downsides. I am not being hyperbolic for I understand human nature. It will be used as a tool to hurt America by our enemies and with a slight potential to lead to conflict. (Probably not between America and another, but between others now that the gloves are off.)
I don't mean to be snarky, but you are proposing to throw the baby-out-with-the-bathwater by allowing a law to be passed where, in American courts, it will be near impossible to prove what the families hope to prove ... the evidence simply isn't there. In foreign courts, it is much more likely to obtain verdicts against America when the evidence doesn't warrant it.
As much as I disagree with this administrations policies , I must say that this WOULD open an incredible" can of worms " , The world courts would be immediately swamped with any and every case known to man , As usual ,t he wrong people would reap the rewards of legal pay outs , The attorneys , the Judges , the politicians !, If anyone thinks any settlement money would make it to the real victims ? Wrong ........
That is what I think, except it wouldn't be the World Courts, they aren't needed. Under the terms of JASTA, foreign citizens can sue America in foreign courts using foreign laws to adjudicate it.
I have to admit I'm a little puzzled by all this. We're going to make it possible to sue foreign governments, operating in foreign countries under foreign laws, as being accountable in the US, in US courts with US laws and trial methods?
Have we really become so self important that we imagine American laws must apply all over the world? And if the sentence is "Guilty" how will we ever impose sentence? Do foreign countries maintain large bank accounts in the US that can be confiscated? Will we grab the funds of private businesses or people to satisfy judgement against a government? Will we close embassies until the bill is paid?
As I think I said somewhere else, Wilderness, it is the same type of patriotic group-think that blinded almost all of Congress and American people (happily I can say I was not one of them) into believing it was necessary to invade Iraq in order to fight terrorism.
ISIS is the (foreseeable, IMO) end result of the vote to authorize Bush to invade Iraq. I think the long-term downside to this decision will be even worse ... not just for America but for the world.
How does the law propose to apply punishment? Ignore that it will never be paid and that no government can be put in jail?
What makes you think Iraq was about terrorism? Afghanistan, yes, but Iraq?
Because that was the entire basis of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld reasoning and sales pitch for going to war with Iraq. I know you were alive then, don't you remember the whole kerfuffle?
This will give you the sourced material on it.
I remember something about WMD's, but nothing that we went to war over terrorism.
Then read the link, it will open your eyes. (Actually, read the sources used in the article since I doubt you believe Wikipedia.
Sorry, that would help, wouldn't it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationale … e_Iraq_War
OK - I read it. We attacked over WMD's and a litany of other, lesser, reasons that included Iraq harboring terrorists.
About what I said, then - we attacked over WMD's. Without that reason the war would not have happened.
But Bush, et all equated WMD with terrorism and sold it under that banner. Also, the Hussein-Bin Laden link was one of the pillars of there reasoning. Working for OSD and the AIr Force in the Pentagon, I had a front row seat to their shenanigans
Their rational and three pillars, 1) WMD, 2) Terrorism, 3) Humanitarianism and some say a fourth was Oil.
This statement can't get much clearer "In addition to claiming that the Hussein government had ties to Al-Qaeda, the Bush Administration and other supporters of the war have argued for continued involvement in Iraq as a means to combat terrorism. President Bush consistently referred to the Iraq war as the "central front in the war on terror."
Consider that "terror" or "terrorism" is mentioned five times in the Iraq War resolution and WMD only twice. Why is that if Iraq didn't have anything to do with terrorism?
No, he didn't equate WMD's with terrorism. That's a stretch for Bush haters and not much else.
One pillar - WMD's - and 5 little sticks to prop it with. All the others were simply add on's, a little something extra in case the WMD's were insufficient. Nor is ISIS the forseeable result of the Iraq war: ISIS is the result of a people that are rebelling against a repressive, religious control and the roots go back long before the Iraq war.
President Bush consistently referred to the Iraq war as the "central front in the war on terror."
Now you can disagree with what Bush said to support your point, but I can't.
From your link:
"For the invasion of Iraq the rationale was "the United States relied on the authority of UN Security Council Resolutions 678 and 687 to use all necessary means to compel Iraq to comply with its international obligations" <disarm>.
"In the lead-up to the invasion, the U.S. and UK emphasized the argument that Saddam Hussein was developing weapons of mass destruction and that he thus presented a threat to his neighbors and to the world community."
"All fifteen members of the Security Council agreed to give Iraq a final opportunity to comply with its obligations and disarm or face the serious consequences of failing to disarm. "
"Shortly after the invasion, the Central Intelligence Agency, Defense Intelligence Agency, and other intelligence agencies largely discredited evidence related to Iraqi weapons as well as links to Al-Qaeda, and at this point the Bush and Blair Administrations began to shift to secondary rationales for the war, such as the Hussein government's human rights record and promoting democracy in Iraq."
"Accusations of faulty evidence and alleged shifting rationales became the focal point for critics of the war, who charge that the Bush Administration purposely fabricated evidence to justify an invasion that it had long planned to launch."
"In January 2002, President Bush began laying the public groundwork for an invasion of Iraq, calling Iraq a member of the Axis of Evil and saying that "The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."
In short, the war was begun over WMD's and all the other reasons were but props to add a little bit to the primary excuse. There were not a significant or convincing reason - that was WMD's. Which is what I said.
I agree with all you said, but WMD was not the only reason given to the public. So I repeat again, from the same link, "President Bush consistently referred to the Iraq war as the "central front in the war on terror." and from my memory, Cheney said it more.
How do you relegate to "minor other" reasons one of Bush's own MAIN theme's? What is the definition of "consistently" to you?
By the way, what is the purpose of WMD? I believe it is to terrorize the world with it, especially since Hussein had a history of using it. By definition, WMD is a weapon of terrorism.
Let's complete the statement:
"In addition to claiming that the Hussein government had ties to Al-Qaeda, the Bush Administration and other supporters of the war have argued for continued involvement in Iraq as a means to combat terrorism. President Bush consistently referred to the Iraq war as the "central front in the war on terror."
So his statement was not made to referring to an invasion, but continued involvement - the war was already started and finished but had created a vacuum that terrorists were happy to fill. They also used it (at least through the world if not in Iraq) as an excuse to create a scapegoat of the US in specific and the west in general. A useful ploy, just as Hitler found with Jews, although it didn't have much to do with reality.
Do you view Hiroshima as a terrorist activity? The virtual eradication of Kurds?
noun ter·ror·ism \ˈter-ər-ˌi-zəm\
Popularity: Top 1% of lookups
Simple Definition of terrorism
: the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal
A WMD is typically used to kill large numbers of people or things, not to simply instill fear. It's goal is not fear but large numbers of dead: the fear that results is a side effect, albeit often a desirable one. The bombs used in Japan were not used to create fear in the Japanese people, but to show that the US could, and would, utterly destroy Japan if they did not capitulate.
Terrorism, on the other hand, us aimed at creating fear among large numbers of people and uses relatively small numbers of dead to accomplish that. The Boston bomber - all the bombers - are trying to create a fearful population. They are not trying to kill millions in order to either destroy the opposition or create religious converts. WMD's do just that - kill as many as possible, and that "possible" equates to tens of thousands to millions or more. It is certainly possible for terrorists to use WMD's, but when the do the goal is not fear but outright killing as many people as possible.
Hiroshima - terrorism? Yes, and it worked; rather Nagasaki did.
Why does the FBI juxtapose WMD and Terrorism in this description of an office dedicated to it?
WMDD’s [Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate] case management responsibilities "fall into two primary categories": WMD terrorism and WMD proliferation. The WMD terrorism cases managed by WMDD involve non-attributed instances involving the threat, attempt, or use of a WMD. These may include anything from the mailing of a letter containing white powder to the attempted fabrication of a chemical weapon. On the proliferation side, WMDD handles all WMD proliferation cases that do not directly involve an intelligence officer from a foreign nation.
I am not sure why you are trying to parse the word "involvement". You were there and I was there. There is no question in hardly anybody's mind that Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld were going to invade Iraq (I was working in DoD for both Iraq wars and was mobilized to attend the first one (I had thought about volunteering to go to get my second campaign medal, but thought better of it and spent the war in my greens in the Pentagon). All they needed was an excuse to sell to the American public and Congress and 9/11 was key.
They brought up the WMD idea since Saddam had already used it to terrorize his own people as showing he had the capability to terrorize the world with it. They (Cheney) linked Saddam with participating in 9/11 (absurd, I know, but I remember the propaganda), they linked Saddam with al Qaeda, ALL in an effort to prove he was a terrorist threat. I have a very clear memory of that. I am surprised you don't.
Further, the whole paragraph you cited goes even more to prove my point that Bush times 3 was using the treat of terrorism to get their way ... and that worked too.
OK - I begin to see the problem here - we have vastly differing views on just what terrorism is. I view it as intentional civilian casualties in order to create fear and terror. Force intended as simple genocide is not terrorism and neither is military action aimed towards military targets.
You view it as any use of force, including military targets in time of war. Saddam trying to kill all Kurds was terrorism, Hiroshima was terrorism, destroying the manufacturing/communications center of Dresden was terrorism, and a soldier firing a rifle at another soldier is terrorism.
With that definition, I can understand why you think Iraq was a terrorist action, why any response from Iraq was terrorism and why any use of force by Iraq, at any time, was considered to be terrorist oriented.
I just disagree with your definition, that's all. And your attempt to put terrorism at the fore of reasons for the Iraqi war, of course.
I agree Wilderness, it is the definition that is at issue. The legal definition is the one I hold to.
International Terrorism is:
(A) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to intimidate or coerce, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum;
18 U.S. Code § 2331
Domestic Terrorism is similar.
As I said, military operations fit very neatly into that definition, and it doesn't matter which side does it or where it happens. Our actions on Okinawa were terrorism, as was shooting down planes over Pearl Harbor. Even our civil war is classified as terrorism under that definition.
I just find a big difference in actions taken against civilian populations in a deliberate effort to create fear and terror as different. Had Saddams gassing of Kurds been designed to quiet them or force them under his control it might be terrorism - when they were designed to kill every Kurd living it is not. Hitlers actions against Jews were not terrorism as they were not designed to frighten Jews - they were designed to kill all Jews and impress Germans with their own superiority an as such were not terrorism.
But I agree with you - if any act of war is deemed terrorism then our invasion of Iraq was terrorist in nature and we invaded in order to be terrorists. And to keep Saddam from terrorist activities such as invading Kuwait.
If the military action is against other military units in a legal or quasi-legal war (Korea, Vietnam) were are not talking terrorism. When we bomb the means for the enemy to carry out the war, that is not terrorism. Neither of those actions are designed to intimidate the citizenry. The bombing of Dresden was terrorism, the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was terrorism. The invasion of Iraq was not terrorism, just wrong. In fact, nothing we did in Iraq could be defined as terrorism, that I can remember anyway; no action was directed at terrorizing the populous, just the enemy combatants.
Do you see the distinction?
Dresden was a major manufacturing and communication center for Nazi Germany. Both Hiroshima and Nagasaki were also highly important to Japan's war effort. Yet they are terrorism while military targets useful to the war effort are not. In addition, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were used to convince military leaders, that destruction was inevitable, not to scare the population. In the time frame Japan was offered to defer further bombings no civilian population could have made any difference whatsoever.
Given that, I confess I do not see a distinction. Particularly as your link plainly says that ANY activity forbidden by local government is terrorism (gang wars, for instance, designed to eliminate competitive gangs): I'm pretty sure that setting off bombs and killing people in Vietnam and Iraq were frowned on by the governments there. It's nice that you added in war as non-terrorist (while saying it was in Japan and Germany), but it doesn't match up very well.
"just like when Congress gave President Bush the authority to invade Iraq. It was the patriotic thing to do, of course, but a devastatingly stupid decision nevertheless." Absolutely. Yes, it will make us feel good in the beginning, but like all the other unintended consequences we have suffered, it will bite us in the end. For once, Congress, just agree with the President on this one.
lol- 1 million Iraqis dead for Cheney's war of deliberate regional destabilization to exploit for war profiteering was 'wrong' you say - and NOT terrorism? 'nothing 'we did' in Iraq was terrorism? Ask all the maimed soldiers and civilians, the creation of ISIS directly from the war, the secular massacres resulting from the war, the horrific birth defects resulting from depleted uranium from US weapons..... kicking in doors of Iraqi families and detaining innocent Iraqis and humiliating them and sometimes murdering them as was the procedure of Cheney's US trained Iraqi death squads; not terrorism you say from your comfy armchair.
It was Bush's war, he was the person who chose to listen to Cheney and Rumsfeld.
Yes, millions of Iraqi people died, but American's didn't kill them, for the most part. The massive majority were killed by religeous and terrorist warfare.
Now would those people be dead if Bush hadn't invaded? Absolutely! Is Bush responsible for all those deaths? Is Bush responsible for ISIS, you betcha. But, when we fought the war, we didn't fight it as terrorists.
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