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The skyline of Manhattan is pictured early September 15, 2001 with..smoke billowing from the wreckage of the World Trade Center's twin..towers. The towers collapsed after being struck by two hijacked..jetliners on September 11. REUTERS/Chief Brandon Brewe
The Supreme Court has kept 9/11 victims' hopes for accountability alive.

Since the attacks, a small group of lawyers representing the victims of the 9/11 attacks (a group of which I was a part from 2005-11) has been seeking to hold accountable the nation's so-called "charities," financial institutions and individuals which knowingly financed and provided logistical support to Al-Qaeda in the years before the attacks. It's a hell of a story, which I can spend days discussing.  

But let's jump forward. As part of the litigation, which began in 2003, last December the Second Circuit reinstated claims against the Kingdom itself, which had previously been found immune from suit. The Kingdom sought relief from this order from the Supreme Court, and yesterday, it was denied:

"From our perspective, we are looking forward to having the opportunity to finally conduct an inquiry into the financing of the Sept. 11 attacks," said Sean Carter, a partner at the Center City law firm Cozen O'Connor, one of the firms involved in the litigation against the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia has long denied responsibility for the attacks and pointed to a finding by the 9/11 Commission that it had found no evidence that the Saudi government "as an institution" had involvement.

But the issue has refused to go away...

Carter said he expected that discovery of Saudi government documents and depositions would begin shortly.

Unfortunately, as part of its orders list yesterday, the Court simultaneously declined to hear the appeal of the 9/11 victims of dismissals of claims against some financial institutions and individuals, which had been dismissed from the case on jurisdictional and other grounds (relating to the availability of aiding-and-abetting liability for material support for terrorism). While agreeing that the lower court had gotten it wrong, the USDOJ nonetheless urged the Court not to hear the case.  

[Justices Kagan and Sotomayor recused themselves from the first order; Justice Kagan from the second. I know that Kagan recused because she was involved back in 2009, as solicitor general, the first time these claims reached the Court. I am unsure of Justice Sotomayor's reasons.]

In addition to the Kingdom itself, claims remain against a variety of so-called charities which plaintiffs allege were used to funnel money to Al-Qaeda in the decade before the Attacks, as well as certain individuals. The bipartisan Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) provides additional opportunities for relief. I'll keep you posted.

Originally posted to Adam B on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:16 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Wait. (6+ / 0-)

    You mean Iraq's off the hook? INJUSTICE!


    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:30:20 AM PDT

  •  But, but that wouldnt be forward looking (6+ / 0-)

    and everything. Im sure thats what the DOJ is thinking.
    Why relitigate the past? If important people might be inconvenienced?

  •  In your opinion, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gffish, houyhnhnm, cotterperson

    what would be the result of judicially holding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia responsible for the 9/11 attacks?  At a minimum American Muslims would find it difficult to make hajj.  At a maximum, who knows?  What exactly is such a lawsuit designed to achieve?

    The Stars and Bars and the red swastika banner are both offerings to the same barbaric god.

    by amyzex on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:17:07 AM PDT

  •  Thanks, Adam. (16+ / 0-)

    This is the first I've heard of the case, and I'm glad to know it's on-going, at least.

    This is pretty much off-topic, but reading Steve Clemons interesting piece in The Atlantic seems to make it clear that "Bandar Bush" -- one of the private donors as shown in your link -- is in trouble for helping extremists.

    Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah relieved Bandar of his Syrian covert-action portfolio, which was then transferred to Saudi Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef. By mid-April, just two weeks after President Obama met with King Abdullah on March 28, Bandar had also been removed from his position as head of Saudi intelligence—according to official government statements, at “his own request.” Sources close to the royal court told me that, in fact, the king fired Bandar over his handling of the kingdom’s Syria policy and other simmering tensions [your case?], after initially refusing to accept Bandar’s offers to resign. (Bandar retains his title as secretary-general of the king’s National Security Council.)

    ISIS, in fact, may have been a major part of Bandar’s covert-ops strategy in Syria. The Saudi government, for its part, has denied allegations, including claims made by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, that it has directly supported ISIS. But there are also signs that the kingdom recently shifted its assistance—whether direct or indirect—away from extremist factions in Syria and toward more moderate opposition groups.

    It's good news to me that this isn't over and that that you've been among those trying to grind the wheels of justice grinding.

    Also makes me think of The Power of Nightmares, about the concurrent rise of the neocons and radical Islam. May even watch it again!

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:31:46 AM PDT

    •  and that piece in the NY post is damning. (7+ / 0-)

      Anyone here who doesn't think this issue is still important needs to read that article:

      This isn't CT crap, this is serious and needs to be dealt with.

      And in the end, if members of the Saudi gov had "more than casual" involvement in the attack, our best ultimate recourse is to disengage ourselves from Saudi Arabia and our dependence  on Saudi oil, thereby removing the obvious objectivity-compromise from our foreign policy in the region.  Which is also convergent with the steps we need to take to deal with climate change.  

      We got the future back. Uh-oh.

      by G2geek on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 02:16:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Strongly agree! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, OMwordTHRUdaFOG

        A several pieces at Vanity Fair tell  interesting tales about our relationship with the Saudis, many by Craig (NOT Cenk ;) Unger, who wrote House of Bush House of Saud in 2004. A snip about the book:

        House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties is a 2004 book by Craig Unger that explores the relationship between the Saudi Royal Family and the Bush extended political family. Unger asserts that the groundwork for today's terrorist movements and the modern wars that have sprung up about them was unintentionally laid more than 30 years ago with a series of business deals between the ruling Saudis and the powerful Bush family. The Saudis received investments and military protection in exchange for cooperation on lucrative oil deals. The author claims that the result has been a shady alliance between "the world's two most powerful dynasties." Unger writes, "Never before has an American president been so closely tied to a foreign power that harbors and supports our country's mortal enemies."

        There's a an excerpt of the book, called "Saving the Saudis" and a 2011 report by others on the same topic:
        The Kingdom and the Towers

        Americans still haven’t been given the whole story, while a key 28-page section of Congress’s Joint Inquiry report remains censored. Gathering years of leaks and leads, in an adaptation from their new book, Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan examine the connections between Saudi Arabia and the hijackers (15 of whom were Saudi), the Bush White House’s decision to ignore or bury evidence, and the frustration of lead investigators—including 9/11-commission staffers, counterterrorism officials, and senators on both sides of the aisle.

        Don't intend to imply any conspiracies with this comment, just pointing to some interesting articles. Unger seems quite credible to me.

        "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

        by cotterperson on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 03:13:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Regarding those 28 pages (11+ / 0-)


          But earlier this year, Reps. Walter B. Jones, R-N.C., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., were given access to the 28 redacted pages of the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry (JICI) of 9/11 issued in late 2002, which have been thought to hold some answers about the Saudi connection to the attack.

          "I was absolutely shocked by what I read," Jones told International Business Times. "What was so surprising was that those whom we thought we could trust really disappointed me. I cannot go into it any more than that. I had to sign an oath that what I read had to remain confidential. But the information I read disappointed me greatly."

          The public may soon also get to see these secret documents. Last week, Jones and Lynch introduced a resolution that urges President Obama to declassify the 28 pages, which were originally classified by President George W. Bush. It has never been fully explained why the pages were blacked out, but President Bush stated in 2003 that releasing the pages would violate national security.

          While neither Jones nor Lynch would say just what is in the document, some of the information has leaked out over the years. A multitude of sources tell IBTimes, and numerous press reports over the years in Newsweek, the New York Times, CBS News and other media confirm, that the 28 pages in fact clearly portray that the Saudi government had at the very least an indirect role in supporting the terrorists responsible for the 9/11 attack. In addition, these classified pages clarify somewhat the links between the hijackers and at least one Saudi government worker living in San Diego.  

          Former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., who chaired the Joint Inquiry in 2002 and has been beating the drum for more disclosure about 9/11 since then, has never understood why the 28 pages were redacted. Graham told IBTimes that based on his involvement in the investigation and on the now-classified information in the document that his committee produced, he is convinced that “the Saudi government without question was supporting the hijackers who lived in San Diego…. You can't have 19 people living in the United States for, in some cases, almost two years, taking flight lessons and other preparations, without someone paying for it. But I think it goes much broader than that. The agencies from CIA and FBI have suppressed that information so American people don't have the facts."

          Keep reading.
      •  as an aside, we are not dependent on Saudi oil (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, cotterperson

        or any other Middle East oil. We get almost all our oil from Mexico, Canada, and Nigeria.

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:13:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  excellent. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cotterperson, LarryNM

          IMHO we should let Saudi Arabia fail & fall.

          Our major allies in the region are Israel and Turkey, both of which are rational governments with which we can conduct normal business.  

          We should also re-open diplomatic relations with Iran and try to heal up the old wounds.  Iran will eventually modernize, I would say faster than Saudi.

          But in any case the Saudi regime "is not our friend" and we should treat them accordingly.

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:09:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •   not dependent on Saudi oil (0+ / 0-)

          who is this we you speak of kemosabe?

          The worlds economy is most definitely dependent on Saudi oil

          Who is mighty ? One who turns an enemy into a friend !

          by OMwordTHRUdaFOG on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:17:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Sotomayor may have personal connections? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, cotterperson

    I'm just speculating, but as a New Yorker, judge on the 2d Circuit, and teacher at NYU, it seems quite possible that she had close personal ties with some of those killed or otherwise affected by the 9/11 events and may have recused herself on that basis.

  •  Sounds very exiting, hope you write more about it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson, G2geek

    in the future.

    We know a hell of a lot, but we understand very little. Manfred Max-Neef

    by mimi on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 01:57:58 PM PDT

  •  and for al-Awlaki apologists, of whom... (6+ / 0-)

    .... there are many on DK, the following quote from the NY Post article:

    "Bayoumi and another suspected Saudi agent, Osama Bassnan, set up essentially a forward operating base in San Diego for the hijackers after leaving LA. They were provided rooms, rent and phones, as well as private meetings with an American al Qaeda cleric who would later become notorious, Anwar al-Awlaki, at a Saudi-funded mosque he ran in a nearby suburb."

    "In 2001, Awlaki and the San Diego hijackers turned up together again — this time at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, a Pentagon-area mosque built with funds from the Saudi Embassy. Awlaki was recruited 3,000 miles away to head the mosque. As its imam, Awlaki helped the hijackers, who showed up at his doorstep as if on cue. He tasked a handler to help them acquire apartments and IDs before they attacked the Pentagon."

    In other words, al-Awlaki had an operational role in facilitating the 9/11 attacks.

    "Innocent American citizen and victim of evil drone attacks", my ass.

    He was an agent of a hostile foreign entity, and thereby a hostile foreign combatant and legitimate military target.

    We got the future back. Uh-oh.

    by G2geek on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 02:22:33 PM PDT

    •  And I thought it was ok to blow him up.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bush Bites, G2geek, cotterperson

      .....because of the shoe, underwear and copier-cartridge bombs he launched....

      "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

      by leftykook on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 03:30:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  it was OK to blow him up because.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leftykook, cotterperson

        ... a) he had an operational role in the 9/11 attacks which were acts of war by AQ against the US,  b) he declared his allegiance to a hostile foreign entity (AQ) against which the US went to war, and c) his role in AQ (manager of propaganda) was equivalent to that of a comparably-tasked commissioned officer in a hostile foreign military.

        According to international norms and laws of war, each of those items in and of itself was sufficient to designate him as a legitimate military target.

        Obama and the Generals probably considered all of the details of his case and circumstances before giving the order to proceed.  That's quite a bit more consideration than al-Awlaki and his pals gave to any of the people they set out to murder on that morning in September 2001.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:49:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I suppose that depends on how one feels about (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BradyB, aggieric

      the rule of law, and the relative merits of treating "terrorism" as a military matter, or as a law enforcement matter.

      The whole "military" thing doesn't seem to be working out all that well for us, mostly because "terrorism" is not a military matter  . . .  a lesson that the Brits already learned the hard way in Northern Ireland. Sadly, we Americans prefer to learn our lessons the hard way by ourselves, rather than learning by the experiences of others. Just ask the Vietnamese.

      al-Awlaki apologists
      Interesting. I know of nobody here who has ever defended the guy, or has any love for him whatever. Nobody. N-O-B-O-D-Y. Nobody. Of course, I don't think Charlie Manson should be executed without charges or trial either--which doesn't mean I am a Charlie Manson apologist. (shrug)

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:26:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  as we have seen... (0+ / 0-)

        ... from the capture of the Benghazi Guy in Libya, who has already made his first appearance in a US federal court facing terrorism charges:  Obama used law enforcement methods where it was possible to use them.

        Yemen however is a different matter.  Al-Awlaki dug in where there were sufficient numbers of hostiles that it would not have been possible to just send in a half dozen FBI agents protected by a dozen Special Forces, and arrest him.

        For which reason, and the fact that his operational role in 9/11 made him an ongoing operational threat, the drone option was used.

        But keep this in mind.

        It's always preferable to capture than to kill, for one important reason that has nothing to do with "sympathy for the devil."  

        When we capture them alive, we get valuable intelligence.  

        We get whatever belongings they have with them, possibly their computers and cellphones which are treasure troves of good information.  And of course we get interrogation results, which are all the more productive when conducted without torture.  

        Benghazi Guy got interrogated twice.  Once by Marine Corps interrogators seeking military intelligence, for which purpose he did not have a 5th Amendment right because that intel was not to be used in the prosecution.

        The second time by FBI agents, starting with reading him his Miranda rights, and then seeking information that could be used at trial.

        But one of the clever things about doing the interrogation in that sequence is, the person is likely to believe that since they've already given up all the goodies in the first round, they have nothing to lose by giving up the same batch in the second round.  Ha, joke's on them.

        For which reason it would have been enormously preferable to bring al-Awlaki home in handcuffs.  The intel would have been priceless, and a sentence of life w/o parole would have denied him his martyrdom.  

        But since that was not possible, Obama decided to exercise the military option and take him out.  Which in the long run is better than sending ground troops into Yemen or doing nothing.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:04:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  alas, rule of law doesn't apply only when (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          it is convenient.

          Which in the long run is better than sending ground troops into Yemen or doing nothing.
          Executing people without charges or trial is NEVER the better option. Ever.

          In the long run, it destroys democracy and the rule of law.

          In the end, reality always wins.

          by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:28:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  combat != execution. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Al-Awlaki forfeited his US citizenship as of the moment he swore allegiance to Al Qaeda.  Thus he was not entitled to "US person" rights.

            Killing during the course of military operations is not execution, it's the means used to achieve the objective of warfare, which is to defeat the hostile force's will to fight.  Absent a formal declaration of surrender issued by recognized leadership of Al Qaeda, the only way we'll know that we've defeated them for good is when we can't find any more of them.  

            Picking off the hostile force's leadership is a long-understood and legitimate tactic of warfare, and a drone is operationally equivalent to a sniper (sharpshooter).

            For that matter, Benghazi Guy was also not entitled to US person rights.

            And we were under no moral or legal or other obligation to treat Benghazi Guy any differently than Al-Awlaki.

            Obama could as easily and legitimately have decided to take out Benghazi Guy from the air.  But he chose to capture him because it was possible to capture him.

            Say what you like about "convenience," but that's a sophistry and a misleading use of language.  No doubt it would be "convenient" if you could flap your arms and fly to work every day.  But since you can't succeed at flying by flapping your arms, instead you use some form of ground transportation.

            And if you can't succeed at nullifying the threat potential of a hostile foreign combatant by capturing him alive, prosecuting him successfully, and locking him up in a penitentiary for life, instead you use some form of military force.

            We got the future back. Uh-oh.

            by G2geek on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:02:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  ok, so you're of the (0+ / 0-)

              "terrorism is a military issue" school of thought. The one that has failed utterly for over ten years now.

              Carry on, then.  (shrug)

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:39:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  OK, so you're of the... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                .... "binary thinking" school of thought (everything is a 0 or a 1, black or white, nothing in-between), the one that has failed utterly since Schrödinger's cat and the two-slit experiment in physics, almost 90 years ago now.

                It's both.

                Subnational groups have no national sovereignty, so they have no sovereign immunity from criminal prosecution in domestic courts.  For which reason such prosecutions are possible to carry out, and are the logical conclusion once we've captured a terrorist alive.

                Subnational groups that use military weapons and tactics to commit multiple-casualty attacks are considered to be military threats.  This is no different to saying that construction workers who use hammers and saws, and work with wood, are considered to be carpenters.  It's inherent in the definition.  

                All factors equal, purely on the basis of common-sense national security doctrine, that nobody on this site would disagree with, we prefer to capture them alive.  

                We prefer to capture them alive because we get better intel that way.  We prefer to prosecute them and lock them up because it demoralizes their cohorts more than "martyrdom" would.  

                But where that's not possible, we are fully justified in using military means.

                The fact that a hostile foreign actor is both a criminal and a military threat, means we can deal with them by both criminal justice methods and by military methods.  It does not mean that we are morally or legally obligated to deal with them in only one of those ways.  We are free to use whichever means will have the desired effect of neutralizing the actor's further threat potential.

                We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                by G2geek on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:07:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •   the Constitution, the law, requires (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            due process but it doesn't specify what process is due. It does not require trial by jury or even a judge.

            Furthermore, one can expatriate oneself by their actions. It is likely this person was no longer an American citizen.  (The law needs to be updated to specifically deal with non-state declared enemy groups.)

            Executing people without charges or trial is NEVER the better option. Ever.

            It is better than letting them blow you or your family up.

            I'm asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about real change in Washington ... *I'm asking you to believe in yours.* Barack Obama

            by samddobermann on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 04:56:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  (sigh) (0+ / 0-)

              Carry on, then, if you think it's been helping . . . . . .

              In the end, reality always wins.

              by Lenny Flank on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 06:14:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  it's like public health. (0+ / 0-)

                When everyone gets vaccines, nobody gets measles.

                "Gee, where'd all the measles go?"

                When everyone gets weekly refuse collections, nobody gets garbage piles with rats in their alleys.  

                "Gee, where'd all the rats go?"

                "Carry on then, if you think it's been helping," is what you hear from people who don't understand how preventive measures work.

                When we take out terrorists either by criminal prosecution or by military means, planes don't fly into buildings and buses don't go Boom.

                The absence of the event demonstrates that prevention is working.  But the only way to be certain, is to stop preventing and see if more "events" occur.

                And in case anyone here is wondering, I'm also happy to spend an extra half hour at airports and take my shoes off etc., if that means that the guy with the loaded pistol wrapped up in some dirty socks in his carry-on, isn't going to be sitting in the seat next to me.  Given the number of loaded pistols TSA plucks out of bags and passengers every year, that's not insignificant.

                We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                by G2geek on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:35:16 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  yes yes yes, the war on terror has been a (0+ / 0-)

                  smashing success.

                  Good job, and carry on.


                  In the end, reality always wins.

                  by Lenny Flank on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:25:13 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  as a matter of fact, it has been... (0+ / 0-)

                    ... a smashing success.

                    How many airliners have been blown up or flown into buildings since 2001?

                    How many bombing plots have succeeded?

                    Zero, and zero.

                    But funnily enough (or not), every time the FBI intercepts one of those bombing plots, substitutes fake explosives, and arrests the bomber as he tries to detonate the newly-neuterized bomb, the usual crowd around here yells "entrapment! entrapment!"

                    And despite all the guns and knives TSA confiscates from people who are trying to board airplanes, the usual crowd around here yells "security theater!" and "inconvenience!"

                    OK, fine, whatever.  Some people complain about having to move their cars for street cleaning, yelling "it's all about the parking tickets!", ignorant of the history of infestations of disease-carrying rats, flies, and mosquitoes from the bad old days before regular street cleaning.  

                    We got the future back. Uh-oh.

                    by G2geek on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 10:41:00 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  Let's take a cue from Boehner (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    G2geek, samddobermann

    And sue GW Bush.  After all it was his executive negligence that let Bin Laden and the Saudis do as they please. File the lawsuit now, work out the details later.

    She was a fool, and so am I, and so is anyone who thinks he sees what God is doing. -Kurt Vonnegut Life is serious but we don't have to be - me

    by lowt on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 06:57:25 PM PDT

  •  Love that scene in Farhenheit 911.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DavidMS, G2geek, cotterperson

    ....when the Saudis all take off in their jets to get the hell of the U.S. and the soundtrack plays "We Gotta Get Out of This Place."

  •  alas, I remember back in 1995 and 1996 when (0+ / 0-)

    those kinds of laws were passed, targeting charitable donations to groups that were considered as "support" for "terrorists", as parts of Clinton's anti-terrorism bills. The bills were widely criticized as being so broad that even donations of medical or school supplies could, if it went to affiliates or branches of any organization the US didn't like (such as various Irish or Palestinian or Latin American groups), be used to support charges of "material support to terrorists".

    I have zero love for the unelected royal shitheads who own Saudi Arabia (and even have the country named after them), but I was against those laws then, and remain so now.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:11:27 PM PDT

    •  Boim v Holy Land Found. (7th Cir 2008) (en banc) (4+ / 0-)

      I understand your argument; here's the other side, via the Hon. Richard Posner:

      This case is only a little more difficult because Hamas is (and was at the time of David Boim's death) engaged not only in terrorism but also in providing health, educational, and other social welfare services. The defendants other than Salah directed their support exclusively to those services. But if you give money to an organization that you know to be engaged in terrorism, the fact that you earmark it for the organization's nonterrorist activities does not get you off the liability hook, as we noted in a related context in Hussain v. Mukasey, 518 F.3d 534, 538-39 (7th Cir.2008); see also Singh-Kaur v. Ashcroft, 385 F.3d 293, 301 (3d Cir.2004). The reasons are twofold. The first is the fungibility of money. If Hamas budgets $2 million for terrorism and $2 million for social services and receives a donation of $100,000 for those services, there is nothing to prevent its using that money for them while at the same time taking $100,000 out of its social services "account" and depositing it in its terrorism "account." Kilburn v. Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, 376 F.3d 1123, 1130 (D.C.Cir.2004).

      Second, Hamas's social welfare activities reinforce its terrorist activities both directly by providing economic assistance to the families of killed, wounded, and captured Hamas fighters and making it more costly for them to defect (they would lose the material benefits that Hamas provides them), and indirectly by enhancing Hamas's popularity among the Palestinian population and providing funds for indoctrinating schoolchildren. See, e.g., Justin Magouirk, "The Nefarious Helping Hand: Anti-Corruption Campaigns, Social Service Provision, and Terrorism," 20 Terrorism & Political Violence 356 (2008); Eli Berman & David D. Laitin, "Religion, Terrorism, and Public Goods: Testing the Club Model" 7-10 (National Bureau of Econ. Research Working Paper No. 13725, 2008). Anyone who knowingly contributes to the nonviolent wing of an organization that he knows to engage in terrorism is knowingly contributing to the organization's terrorist activities. And that is the only knowledge that can reasonably be required as a premise for liability. To require proof that the donor intended that his contribution be used for terrorism — to make a benign intent a defense — would as a practical matter eliminate donor liability except in cases in which the donor was foolish enough to admit his true intent. It would also create a First Amendment Catch-22, as the only basis for inferring intent would in the usual case be a defendant's public declarations of support for the use of violence to achieve political ends.

      Although liability under section 2333 is broad, to maintain perspective we note two cases that fall on the other side of the liability line. One is the easy case of a donation to an Islamic charity by an individual who does not know (and is not reckless, in the sense of strongly suspecting the truth but not caring about it) that the charity gives money to Hamas or some other terrorist organization.

      The other case is that of medical (or other innocent) assistance by nongovernmental organizations such as the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders that provide such assistance without regard to the circumstances giving rise to the need for it. ....

      •  and I understand your argument, but (0+ / 0-)

        alas the US definition of a "terrorist" seems to be as rubbery as our foreign policy.

        So the law essentially boils down to "you can't give money to anyone we don't like".

        In the end, reality always wins.

        by Lenny Flank on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:29:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  not quite. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          You can give money to anyone you like that is a domestic organization without foreign involvements.

          A wholly domestic organization cannot be declared a terrorist group without judicial process to penalize it by declaring it so, and cutting off its funds.   See also the processes used against organized crime.

          But Americans do not have 1st A or other rights to take actions that contravene American foreign policy.  

          We have a 1st A right to speech about American foreign policy, but speech is not the same thing as actions.

          Unless, that is, you also happen to agree with Citizens' United, that "money is speech."

          We got the future back. Uh-oh.

          by G2geek on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:12:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  what a lot of people here don't understand... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Adam B, LarryNM

        ... is the entire history of the use of civil services as strategic means toward accomplishing military goals.

        The US military does it: "Civil Affairs."  Other nations' militaries do the same thing.

        Every subnational group with sufficient funds does it: Hamas, and now ISIL.  Along the way, these groups produce all the usual propaganda showing them building schools, feeding children, and petting kitty-cats.  And clueless Americans fall for that bullshit, particularly when it's contextualized with "oppressed peoples" memes.

        The other thing people here don't get is "fungibility."  Somehow they manage to convince themselves that their $100 donation to Hamas is buying $100 more worth of food and medicine than Hamas could afford the day before.

        Meanwhile, somewhere in Israel, another Hamas member detonates a suicide bomb on a public transport bus full of innocent people on their way to work and school.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:21:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  where's the Tom Delay laundry defence? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        If Hamas budgets $2 million for terrorism and $2 million for social services and receives a donation of $100,000 for those services, there is nothing to prevent its using that money for them while at the same time taking $100,000 out of its social services "account" and depositing it in its terrorism "account."

        Who is mighty ? One who turns an enemy into a friend !

        by OMwordTHRUdaFOG on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:26:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  SCOTUS SCREWEDUS (0+ / 0-)

    As if anyone believed in the credibility of these 5 white, er, 4 white guys and a white guy wanna be, "justices".  With the nomination of Alito and Roberts moving to chief "justice"- the RIGHT solidified their secret plan unleashed on America.  If you can't win the WH again, they will settle for the supreme "court".  

    Boycott WalMart; Boycott Papa Johns; and Boycott BP

    by truthronin on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:24:39 PM PDT

  •  We don't go to war over the claptrap of 'freedo... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    We don't go to war over the claptrap of 'freedom' for anyone except for corporate freedom to exploit, but of course we're always going to be feed that garbage.

  •  Wait. What?!?! Y'all ignorin' the real issue here! (0+ / 0-)

    Justices RECUSED themselves? Because....ETHICS?!?

    That's just crazy.

    A homo in a bi-national relationship - at 49, I had to give up my career, leave behind my dying father, my family & friends and move to Europe. And I'm one of the *lucky* ones: Immigration Equality

    by aggieric on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:32:28 PM PDT

  •  The Saudis helped create ISIS also (3+ / 0-)

    They can afford to pay damages.

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