Wounded troops & Gold Star Families in $10 Billion lawsuit against Iran

 
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Wounded troops & Gold Star Families in $10 Billion lawsuit against Iran

This is something I've been following a while which could be very interesting:

A $10 billion lawsuit brought against Iran for allegedly supplying high-powered explosive devices that killed and wounded U.S. troops in Iraq began Monday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Wounded service members and Gold Star families filed the suit over high-powered roadside bombs called "Explosively Formed Penetrators" (EFPs), which killed a number of service members.

In a statement, Gary M. Osen, managing partner at Osen LLC, said the trial before U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly is "a critical first step in the wider effort to hold Iran accountable for targeting U.S. troops in Iraq for almost a decade with impunity."

With testimony from victims, and documentary evidence, Osen said the trial would show that Iran "conducted a calculated and coordinated campaign to murder and maim U.S. service members in Iraq and drive the United States out of the Middle East."

The US Government has been showing the evidence to people at a base in DC:

In a cordoned-off section of a nondescript hangar at a sliver of a military base that overlooks the Potomac River sits a growing pile of physical evidence of the scale and reach of Iranian-supplied weapons used to further proxy wars against the United States and its allies in the Middle East.

Officials first publicly revealed the room’s contents a year ago when U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley showcased what she called “concrete evidence” that Iran is supplying weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen’s war with a Saudi-led coalition.

Housed at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, home of the Defense Intelligence Agency, the weapons, recovered and on loan from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan, have been seen by more than 1,000 visitors and representatives of nearly 70 nations, officials said.

I know virtually nothing about this type of lawsuit, but it has at least proceeded to the point where they are doing testimony now, as 3 articles from Military Times details:

At some point following the three-day trial, she will make her ruling, as to whether the work that’s been put into this case since its 2016 filing has met the legal standard to hold Iran accountable.

If the victims prevail, it will set them on a path to be eligible for compensation from a fund that collects money related to terror activities from banks involved in related schemes, negotiations between states and fund seizures.

And stating that case will involve at least 19 witnesses, including experts on Iran, explosives, orthopedic surgery, TBI, PTSD, military operations, and victims themselves.

The 3-day trial actually started last week, and there was some interesting testimony:

During the second day of a federal trial in which civilian law firms and hundreds of victims of terrorist bombings and attacks during the Iraq War are taking on the Islamic Republic of Iran, experts on explosives, trauma and brain injuries connected dots between the origin of attacks and the lingering pain and suffering that resulted.

The improvised explosive devices used against U.S. and coalition forces in the early days of the war were often exactly that — improvised.

Often, insurgents and terrorists would simply grab from the stockpiles of old munitions, of which plenty dotted the landscape, and apply simple triggering devices. A common device was an artillery shell wired to explode after a vehicle ran over a homemade pressure plate.

And further:

This is one of a number of lawsuits that seeks to tie Iran to the attacks in court, along with separate lawsuits aimed to hold at least six major international banks liable for funding that attorneys say was laundered illegally through the United States and, part of which, was funneled to the terrorist groups.

There is no jury, and Iran sent no attorneys. The proceedings this past week involved plaintiffs’ lawyers laying out their case to a federal judge, who should issue her ruling, likely with a detailed opinion, in the coming weeks or months.

If successful, the plaintiffs could be compensated from a fund set up for victims of state-sponsored terrorism. More than $1 billion has been paid out so far, and expert estimate as many as 6,000 U.S. citizens could be eligible for assistance.

Again, I know virtually nothing about this type of lawsuit, and it seems odd that Iran sent no attorneys, so not sure how this works exactly, but it is nonetheless interesting, and I look forward to reading the ruling.  But you should definitely go and read the excellent reporting by Todd South of Military Times on this.

 

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.