Saleh v. Bush
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Saleh v. Bush is a class action lawsuit filed in 2013 against high-ranking members of the George W. Bush administration (including George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, Colin Powell, and Paul Wolfowitz) for their alleged involvement in premeditating and carrying out the Iraq War. In December 2014, the district court hearing the case ordered it dismissed with prejudice. The plaintiffs have appealed that decision to the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit.
The lawsuit alleged that the defendants conspired to wage a war of aggression against the Iraqi people, a violation of the Nuremberg Principles. (The lawsuit was brought to United States District Court in the Northern District of California by lawyer Inder Comar, and the lead plaintiff is Sundus Shaker Saleh, an Iraqi expat.) Specifically, the allegations claim the primary purpose of the Iraq war was to enact regime change in Iraq, as distinct from national self defense. In pursuit of this goal, the defendants are alleged to have: planned the war as early as 1998; capitalized on the September 11 attacks in 2001 to ramp up support for the invasion; utilized fear tactics and intentional misinformation; entered Iraq without fully proper UN Security Council authorization.[a][b] (If successful, the lawsuit would be the first time since the Nuremberg Trials that any U.S. government officials were convicted of crimes against peace whilst waging a war of aggression.[α])
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is arguing the case in favor of the defendants, who are former government officials. The DOJ filed a motion to dismiss the charges on August 20, 2013,[c] and a similar filing was made on November 29, 2013.[d]
On May 19, 2014, the Northern District of California dismissed the case, but with 20 days leave to amend.[e] On June 8, 2014, the plaintiffs filed their second (amended) complaint.[f] The next day the plaintiffs filed a request for an evidentiary hearing, requesting that the court permit them the opportunity to provide the evidence the court had demanded.[g] On August 15, 2014 the DOJ was scheduled to have the ability to respond to the second amended complaint.[h] A hearing date had been set for September 11, 2014,[i] but on August 18, 2014, the Northern District Court reset the hearing date for November 13, 2014.[j] The hearing date was cancelled on November 3, 2014.[k]
On 19 December 2014, the lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice. The court made several rulings, on the motion of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to substitute itself for all of the defendants and thereby dismiss the action with prejudice, as well as on the plaintiff's motion for an evidentiary hearing. The DOJ cited the Westfall Act,[β] claiming that the defendants were acting within their scope of employment when planning and waging the Iraq War, and therefore cannot be held individually accountable for any harm allegedly caused. The Westfall Act rules that harm done within the scope of employment is the responsibility of the employer (in this case the United States federal government), which as a nation-state is protected against all criminal prosecution by sovereign immunity. The court ruled that the burden was on the plaintiff to have already provided evidence that the defendants were not acting within the scope of their employment, and in the absence of such evidence, dismissed the lawsuit.[l]
2015: Amicus brief
A notice of appeal with the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit was filed on January 16, 2015.[m][page needed] On May 27, 2015, the plaintiffs made an appellate opening brief to the 9th Appeals Court.[n] A week later, on June 2, a group of international lawyers (including former Attorney General Ramsey Clark) filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiffs.[o]
On July 22, 2016, the plaintiffs filed a motion for judicial notice, submitting excerpts from the Chilcot Report in support of their claims. The Ninth Circuit judges Susan Graber and Andrew Hurwitz, plus visiting judge Richard Boulware, heard thirty minutes of oral arguments on December 12, 2016.[p][q]
- Iraq War, 2003–present
- Yellowcake forgery, 2002
- 9/11 attacks#Aftermath, 2001
- Project for a New American Century#Calls for regime change in Iraq during Clinton years (PNAC), neoconservative think tank
- Neoconservatism#1990s, political ideology
- Gulf War, 1990-1991
- Criticism of the United States government
- Just following orders
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- "Downing Street Memo, text" (PDF). Retrieved December 31, 2013.
- Isikoff, Michael; Corn, David (September 2006). Hubris: The Inside Story of Spin, Scandal, and the Selling of the Iraq War. New York: Crown Publishers. p. 35.
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- "Remarks by the President at Thaddeus McCotter for Congress Dinner" (Press release). Office of the Press Secretary, White House. October 14, 2002. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
- Jehl, Douglas (November 6, 2005). "Report Warned Bush Team About Intelligence Doubts". New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
- "The Vice President Appears on NBC's Meet the Press". Meet the Press. December 9, 2001. NBC.
- "Interview of the Vice President by Tony Snow". The Tony Snow Show. March 29, 2006. FOX News Radio.
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- Complaint for Conspiracy to Commit Aggression; and the Crime of Aggression, Saleh v. Bush, U.S.D.C., Northern District of California, March 13, 2013
- "Lawsuit Against Bush Administration". Witness Iraq. Retrieved January 2, 2014.
- The United States' Motion to Dismiss, Saleh v. Bush, U.S.D.C., Filed August 20, 2013
- The United States' Motion to Dismiss, Saleh v. Bush, U.S.D.C., Filed November 29, 2013
- "Google Scholar". Scholar.google.com. 2014-05-19. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
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- "The latest update on the lawsuit! (video)". Witness Iraq. 2014-07-24. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
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- "Stipulation and Order". docs.justia.com. Justia. Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- "SUNDUS SHAKER SALEH, Plaintiff, v. GEORGE W. BUSH, et al., Defendants. Case No. 13-cv-01124-JST ORDER VACATING MOTION HEARING Re: ECF Nos. 38, 43., United States District Court, Northern District of California. November 3, 2014. Judge Jon S. Tigar (signed). Via witnessiraq.com.
- "Order denying plaintiff's motion for an evidentiary hearing and granting defendants' motion to dismiss" (PDF). Witness Iraq. Witness Iraq. 19 December 2014. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
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- "Saleh v Bush" (PDF). Witnessiraq.com\accessdate=2017-01-15.
- Jamail, Dahr, "Former US Attorney General Files Brief in Lawsuit Challenging Legality of Iraq War", Truthout, 15 June 2015.
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (2016-12-12), 15-15098 Sundus Saleh v. George Bush, retrieved 2016-12-14
- "Federal Court to Examine Legality of Iraq War Based on Lawsuit Filed by Comar Law" (Press release). PR Newswire. December 2, 2013. Archived from the original on 2014-01-08. Retrieved January 8, 2014.
- Wing, Nick. "Iraqi Mom Faces Justice Department Pushback In Lawsuit Against Bush, Cheney For War Crimes". Huffington Post.
- "Update on Saleh v. Bush about War on Iraq - (N.D. Cal. 2014) – Now in Ninth Circuit Appeals". Dailykos.com. 2015-06-15. Retrieved 2017-01-15.
- Albarazi, Hannah, "Refugee Hopes UK’s Iraq War Inquiry Revives Her Lawsuit Against Bush Administration", sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com, July 28, 2016.
- "Saleh v. Bush, No. 15-15098 (9th Cir. Feb. 10, 2017)"
- Eggers, Dave (2017-03-11). "'These are dangerous times': the man who sued George W Bush and the Iraq war". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-06-20.