In a largely symbolic but very real ruling, a federal judge has approved an earlier ruling ordering Iran, as well as the al-Qaeda and the Taliban, to pay $6 billion to victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
Come again? Iran?
If the ruling, by US District Judge George Daniels, wasn't real it would be laughable. After all, Iran had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11. Daniels may as well have thrown Russia, Venezuela, the Galactic Empire-- anyplace Americans don't like-- into his utterly senseless judgment.
Judge Daniels' decision is an affirmation of a July ruling by Manhattan Federal Magistrate Judge Frank Maas in which Iranian leaders were found culpable in the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people because they allowed some of the future 9/11 hijackers to travel through Iran on their way to al-Qaeda training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Neither the Bush nor Obama Administrations has ever kicked up much fuss over this. In 2004, former President George W. Bush announced that he was "digging into the facts" to see if there was an Iran-9/11 connection. It's well known that the Bush folks were scouring the Earth for casus belli to wage war on Iran (even as they were invading and occupying neighboring Iraq on dubious grounds); if any link between the Islamic Republic and that tragic day had been unearthed, they would have shouted it from the rooftops.
Alas, other than allowing men who would later become 9/11 hijackers to travel through its territory-- a tenuous link at best, Bush and the 9/11 Commission found no connection between the Iranian regime and September 11.
Nevertheless, Judge Daniels has ordered Iran to help pay $6 billion to 110 survivors and the estates of 47 people who died on 9/11. That comes out to $38,216,560 for each survivor or estate.
Almost as ludicrous as holding Iran culpable for 9/11 is the hypocrisy inherent in Judge Daniels' ruling. After all, the US has been meddling in Iranian affairs for the better part of a century. The US overthrew the democratically-elected Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadegh, who led the most popular and democratic government Iran has ever known, in a CIA coup in 1953.
Mossadegh, who was deposed because he stood up to Britain and the United States by wresting control of Iran's massive oil resources from foreign corporations, was replaced by the brutal Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi. The Shah ruled over his subjects with an iron fist; his dreaded SAVAK intelligence and security agency, which brutally tortured and murdered thousands of men and women who dared oppose the regime, was trained in torture techniques by the CIA.
After a few decades of the Shah's repressive rule, the Iranian people decided they had enough and rose up to overthrow the US-backed tyrant. It was during these tumultuous times that the US Embassy was seized by Islamic revolutionaries. The sore losers in Washington were livid; the Carter administration cozied up to the monstrous Saddam Hussein in neighboring Iraq and encouraged the dictator to invade Iran. The ensuing war raged for eight bloody years and claimed a million lives.
Hostility and aggression characterized US policies and actions towards Iran during the Reagan years. In 1988, the US Navy accidentally shot down an Iranian civilian airliner, killing all 290 passengers and crew-- including 66 children. President Reagan indignantly attempted to pin the blame on Tehran, and Vice President George H.W. Bush infamously spat, "I will never apologize for the United States of America. Ever. I don't care what the facts are."
To this very day, hostility and aggression form the basis of US relationship with Iran, a country that hasn't started a war with any of its neighbors since the early 1700s. Washington supports the MEK, a Sunni militant group with a history of killing Americans that carries out terrorist attacks targeting the Iranian Shia regime. The United States, Israel, or both have also been conducting a covert war against Iranian nuclear facilities and scientists in which assassinations, bombings, sabotage, and cyber attacks-- along with stinging economic sanctions that harm everyday Iranians-- have been rightfully condemned as acts of war. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta coyly admits that he has "some ideas" who is responsible for these blatant acts of aggression.
And all this against a country who all 16 US intelligence agencies, the International Atomic Energy Agency, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israeli military chief Gen. Benny Gantz all say is not developing nuclear weapons?
Iran's leaders must be shaking their heads in disbelief at Judge Daniels' ruling. Perhaps some judge somewhere in Tehran is tallying up a ruling against the United States for its decades-long role in killing, maiming, exploiting and destabilizing Iran. At $38,216,560 a head, there isn't enough money in the world to settle that bill.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com