In mid-November 2014, 200+ military veterans and family of slain soldiers filed a 207-page complaint in federal court alleging conspiracies to violate and violations of the 1992 Anti-Terrorism Act. The suit is unique in that it demands a jury trial and unspecified damages for terrorist acts against soldiers during the Iraqi War.
Brian Freeman and Clay Farr were U. S. soldiers killed in the Iraqi War. Farr was killed by a roadside bomb in 2006 and Freeman was kidnapped and executed by operatives wearing U. S. uniforms and using U. S. weapons in 2007.
Though soldiers and their families understand that soldiers die in war, these incidents were different. Iran, which was not at war with the U. S., allegedly financed, armed and trained militant groups for those attacks with the connivance of a British based subsidiary of Bank Saderat Iran and 5 major European banks: HSBC, Standard Chartered, Credit Suisse, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays. The alleged conspiracy was aimed at Iran’s avoidance of U. S. sanctions, allowing Iranian banks to divert $100+ million to militant groups that attacked U.S. troops in Iraq.
The suit must overcome two major difficulties in using the Anti-Terrorism Act. First, the Act has never been applied to conspiracies. First, the 2nd U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals, having jurisdiction over this case, would not apply the Act to acts of aiding and abetting and may also hold the line at conspiracy claims. Secondly, the Plaintiffs must prove that the attacks were not “by reason of an act of war” because the Act is not meant to give private rights of action to soldiers/relatives of soldiers injured/killed in war.
Another difficulty for the suit is nuts-and-bolts proof. Though all 5 banks have settled with the U. S. Department of Justice for violating U. S. sanctions against Iran by processing wire transfers for Iran, the DOJ did not formally accuse the banks of funding terrorism or make connections between the wire transfers and the militant groups in Iraq and there is supposedly no proof of the wire transfers. Nevertheless, Plaintiffs’ attorneys are overtly confident they can prove the conspiracy and the “deliberate indifference” of the European banks to the consequences of their conspiracy.
While the Plaintiffs certainly hope their case succeeds, they are also very interested in informing the public of the involvement of Iran and the 5 European banks in enabling deadly attacks against U. S. soldiers. The complaint can be accessed here: https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1356608-lawsuit-on-banks-ties-to-iran.html
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