Following the Supreme Court’s refusal yesterday to hear the appeal of 17 Gulf War POWs seeking compensation from Iraq, Jeffrey Addicott of the Center for Terrorism Law said:

“We send a signal to tyrants that we are not going to hold you responsible if you torture our people.”

And since we now torture their people, all bets are off. More below — only corporations get the spoils of war — and a poll:

Seventeen Americans who were tortured while prisoners of war during the 1991 Gulf War failed to get the Supreme Court to review a ruling that threw out a one billion dollar compensation claim against Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

A lower court awarded the 17 959 million dollars in damages and interest in July 2003 but this was later thrown out by an appeals court saying it was not founded in law.

The Supreme Court gave no reason for its refusal to consider the case again.

Tony Onorato, a lawyer for the 17 ex-soldiers and their families, said the case was launched in April 2002 when the soldiers submitted evidence about the torture they had endured.

A 1996 law gave the US Justice Department the right to examine torture complaints against states on a US list of countries accused of supporting terrorism. A 2002 text gave courts the right to award damages from these countries’ assets frozen in the United States.

The US government had argued against the award to the ex-soldiers saying the money was needed for Iraq’s reconstruction after the US-led invasion in 2003.

“Our position has always been you can do both things, you can rebuild Iraq and hold Iraq accountable,” Onorato told AFP.

“The fact is that there are corporations and countries the world over who have outstanding debt that is owed to them by Iraq. We want to be able to stand in that line at least.”

The lawyer went on: “The difficult part to swallow is that the United States is saying you really shouldn’t be able to stand in that line.” … (AFP)

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