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Can I sue the aliens for my probe trauma? 'Cause I know they did it.
May 8, 2003 8:53 AM   Subscribe

Judge, citing al-Qaida-Iraq link, awards $104 million to Sept. 11 families A judge ruled yesterday that lack of evidence should be no barrier to suing people who cannot be found. "The judge wrote that lawyers relied heavily on 'classically hearsay' evidence, including reports that a Sept. 11 hijacker met an Iraqi consul to Prague, Secretary of State Colin Powell's remarks to the United Nations about connections between Iraq and terrorism, and defectors' descriptions of the use of an Iraq camp to train terrorists." --This would hardly be the first documented example of a court being overtly political, but the judge himself has no problem commenting on how shoddy the case was. "The judge noted that the experts provided few actual facts that Iraq provided support to the terrorists." --Apparently, the judge had just been waiting for Saddam to cease to be a diplomatically immune head of state before ruling against him. Is the low standard of evidence needed for civil rulings allowing the courts to begin establishing something that the military and intelligence can't? [more inside]
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly (33 comments total)

 
From Bloomberg: "The opinion testimony of the plaintiffs' experts is sufficient to meet plaintiffs' burden that Iraq collaborated in or supported bin Laden/al-Qaeda's terrorist acts,'' U.S. District Judge Harold Baer said. Even if the plaintiff's experts were lying? Bizarre legal criteria, there. Does anyone know of any indication that this judge ordered a peek at secret intelliegence or anything.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:55 AM on May 8, 2003


Unbelieveable. Will they be suing France next?
posted by salmacis at 8:57 AM on May 8, 2003


No, France has a government, we can't sue them.
posted by zekinskia at 9:02 AM on May 8, 2003


The judge noted that the experts provided few hard facts, but noted that the experts provided a sufficient basis for a jury to conclude that Iraq provided material support to al-Qaida.

If a legal team can provide "sufficient basis for a jury to conclude that" France "provided material support to al Qaida" then sue away! Maybe you forgot this part. So what if much of their evidence was circumstantial as long as they provided enough to make the conclusion, and apparently the judge found that to be true. Iraq never answered the claims against them, even while Saddam was alive. Also:

A 1996 law permits lawsuits against countries identified by the State Department as sponsors of international terrorism.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:21 AM on May 8, 2003


So what if much of their evidence was circumstantial as long as they provided enough to make the conclusion, and apparently the judge found that to be true.

The problem, to me, is that the circumstantial "evidence" was, in part, Powell's UN testimony, which was peppered with falsehood and forgeries.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:29 AM on May 8, 2003


which was peppered with falsehood and forgeries

That may or may not be true, we are yet to have the verdict on that one. Of the 650 sites cited by Powell in his address only 110 have been searched, number 110 turned up the Semi-trailer being tested right now. So, we will have to wait and see about that. Powell's statement was however included in the hearsay category of "evidence" by the judge who still found that Iraq had provided material support.
posted by Pollomacho at 9:37 AM on May 8, 2003


Oh, I think it's entirely fair and appropriate that every bit of money that can be vacuumed out of Iraq go to the victims of 9/11 (who, after all, have no other source of recompense) while the people of Iraq continue to lack food, water, basic medical supplies, and protection from crime, even though as far as can be determined Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. This is America, and if your lawyer can dazzle a judge or jury (whichever may be applicable), you're golden.
posted by languagehat at 9:37 AM on May 8, 2003


How ridiculous... perhaps they can send a process server to wherever they find his dead corpse.

Iraq actually has a well-established record of harboring and providing help to terrorist, which ranges from Abu Nidal and Abu Abbas being found there to their sending large sums of cash to families of homicide bombers in Israel.
posted by clevershark at 9:52 AM on May 8, 2003


Isn't it ironic that the googlesyndication.com ads that appear on the right side of this page are almost all advertising for lawyers? :-)
posted by clevershark at 9:54 AM on May 8, 2003


Pollomacho,

even if number 110, this possible mobile chemical weapons factory, turns out to be substantiated that doesn't in retroactively change the veracity of the administrations previous claims. They're still based on fabricated evidence and shoddy investigation.
  1. 2+2=5
  2. the moon is made of cheese (asiago actually, contrary to what most people believe)
  3. the earth orbits the sun
Reading through the list above, assertion 1 is false, assertion 2 is false and assertion 3 is true. The fact that the third assertion is true does not change the status of the first two assertions.
posted by substrate at 9:56 AM on May 8, 2003


This sort of thing is ridiculous.

I thank god, that this sort of low standard of evidence in courts, making the law and judicial process look a complete ass, would not happen anywhere on the UK's fine shores.

Oh crap.
posted by Blue Stone at 10:10 AM on May 8, 2003


... homicide bombers ...

Stop it! Stop it now!
posted by monju_bosatsu at 10:25 AM on May 8, 2003


America did change on Sept 11. People quit using their brains and Fox RealityTM became the norm. Now quit questioning your political and business leaders, BOGU, and take it with a smile.

Oh, and thank Clinton for the 1996 Anti-terrorism law that allows such a thing to happen.
posted by infowar at 10:28 AM on May 8, 2003


Blue Stone: That link is terrifying. You're welcome.
posted by trharlan at 10:39 AM on May 8, 2003


To paraphrase Ari Fliescher: just because there's no evidence doesn't mean its not true. Judgements based on double and triple speculative hearsay. Huh? This is insane: a new low in American jurisprudence.
posted by psmealey at 10:54 AM on May 8, 2003


One technique of brainwashing is to get the subject to accept to contradictory statements as truth, thereby reducing their ability to resist information. The mind, quite literally, becomes a sponge. I believe if you look at media and politics in this light you will see that all of the doublespeak that is given service to daily is using this tactic. The unaware are subject to this constantly to the point that they will accept almost anything as truth that comes from one of these sources because of their fear of complete confusion that results if they attempt to tackle these issues on their own.

Also, because the U.S. has prevented U.N. inspectors from coming back to Iraq, I won't believe a damn thing that they find there. Not without good reason.
posted by velacroix at 11:15 AM on May 8, 2003


Trharlan - illuminating.

I dunno, if we did that we would be stealing; but then we don't write the laws, do we?
posted by Blue Stone at 11:21 AM on May 8, 2003


Trharlan: Nice link. That info has been on TV news programs before but nobody seems to care much.
posted by infowar at 11:27 AM on May 8, 2003


So, I'm confused:

Even if site #110 tests positive for residue of a possible WMD, folks, they were friggin' disarming, remember? We know they had them - the whole point was supposedly that they allegedly still had them! I don't care if a smear under a cleaned table shows up trace amounts of a chemical - if they can't find a single weapon loaded with a chemical, biological, or nuclear payload, then it's still bullshiat.

This is like claiming a house is unfit for human habitation based on hearsay, throwing out the occupants, then performing a "white glove" test and claiming justification because you found some dust behind the refrigerator.
posted by FormlessOne at 11:27 AM on May 8, 2003


"The judge noted that the experts provided few actual facts that Iraq provided support to the terrorists."

I'd laugh if I could catch my breath, which I've just lost from pure shock. Just replace the images of scales with kangaroos and there you have it.
posted by holycola at 11:36 AM on May 8, 2003


Imagine a court of law in this country rendering a strange, obtuse, perhaps even laughable verdict! Why, it's just unheard of!
posted by UncleFes at 12:01 PM on May 8, 2003


unbelievable. Will they be suing France next?

Nope, Saudi Arabia...for trillions...with a T, trillions of dollars...because the tax funded millionaire status wasn't enough for them, I guess.

So, how about those OK city survivors? Too bad there wasn't anybody to compensate those orphans and families...if only a dark skinned Ay-Rab was responsible, instead of an inbred redneck...well, then they'd have a ticket to riches.

This whole victim compensation thing has taken a turn for the ridiculous.
posted by dejah420 at 12:28 PM on May 8, 2003


Why do you all hate America?
posted by jpoulos at 1:04 PM on May 8, 2003


A 1996 law permits lawsuits against countries identified by the State Department as sponsors of international terrorism.

Is this a US law? Can't Iraq just make their own law that says it's illegal for other countries to sue them?
posted by kirkaracha at 1:06 PM on May 8, 2003


A 1996 law permits lawsuits against countries identified by the State Department as sponsors of international terrorism.

But is Iraq still listed as a terriorist state? I would have thought they would be elevated to ace-homie status, or is that not until Chalabi becomes viceroy?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 1:10 PM on May 8, 2003


A 1996 law permits lawsuits against countries identified by the State Department as sponsors of international terrorism.

Wasn't this suit trying to prove that, not use it as a basis?

What... pretty much everyone else said. This entire ruling is a farce, and with little actual concern for the 9/11 victims. I sense a BIG reward for a certain judge who just allowed the White House to say there's a legally-proven Iraq/Al-Qaeda link during press conferences.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:17 PM on May 8, 2003


Kirkaracha: You're looking at the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996

Some bullet point summaries of the law, A Washington Times "article" about a recent court decision on said law. Some of the measures and proposals Clinton tried.

Sorry if these seem partisan. I'm on a work break ATM

HTH
posted by infowar at 1:17 PM on May 8, 2003


Uh, If you don't show up for court to defend yourself, you'll probably lose.

I'm assuming that the deposed government didn't send a lawyer.
posted by delmoi at 2:11 PM on May 8, 2003


Is this a US law? Can't Iraq just make their own law that says it's illegal for other countries to sue them?

IIRC, isn't this one of the provisions of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, that State Department designated terrorist states are not immune from prosecution? Anyway, it's not like the U.S. can do anything except for what, freezing Iraqi government assets (if there's any left) in the U.S.?
posted by gyc at 2:25 PM on May 8, 2003


I've said it before, and I'll say it again - Might makes right!

The U.S. Government will do whatever it wants, to whomever it wants, whenever it wants, and as often as it wants!
posted by LowDog at 2:30 PM on May 8, 2003


This judge has been the center of controversy before. It looks like he's capable of making rulings out of left field and that he's also sensitive to public opinion.
posted by joaquim at 2:58 PM on May 8, 2003


Meanwhile, "President Bush’s chief lawyer has privately signaled that the White House may seek to invoke executive privilege over key documents relating to the attacks in order to keep them out of the hands of investigators for the National Commission on Terror Attacks Upon the United States—the independent panel created by Congress to probe all aspects of 9-11."
posted by homunculus at 7:24 PM on May 8, 2003


I'm just going to reiterate my earlier point because it still seems to go ignored by those that "read" the article and are not making blanket statements about the Bush administration that have absolutely nothing to do with the FPP:

The judge noted that the experts provided few hard facts, but noted that the experts provided a sufficient basis for a jury to conclude that Iraq provided material support to al-Qaida.

Powell's statements, Fliescher's comments, etc were included in what the judge called circumstantial evidence and hearsay, on top that information, whether credible or not, the legal team also presented sufficient hard evidence, this was the whole point of his ruling. I don't really give a crap if Bush got up and said that the sky is pink and that the plaintiffs used that as hearsay evidence, the judge said that despite the hearsay, the plaintiffs still provided the necessary hard evidence, end of story.

America did change on Sept 11. People quit using their brains and Fox RealityTM became the norm.

I'm afraid you're right, they quit reading the entire article and focused on one person's opinion of the headline because that tends to justify writing a screed about why Ari Fliescher is evil.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:52 AM on May 9, 2003


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