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Why Are Jewish Groups, (Which In Turn Get’s The USA Involved) Backing A Somali War Criminal?

Why Are Jewish Groups, (Which In Turn Get’s The USA Involved) Backing A Somali War Criminal?


On March 3, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Samantar v. Yousuf et al., an appeal of a case involving Mohamed Ali Samantar, who served as minister of defense and prime minister of Somalia during the bloody dictatorship of Siad Barre.
Dictator Siad Barre was successfully courted by US imperialism in the 1980s
In his last year in office, President Siad Barre promised reforms to introduce multi-party democracy.
In June 1990, a hundred prominent citizens signed a declaration called the Mogadishu Manifesto, calling for his resignation and the appointment of a transitional government pending free elections.
He called the manifesto “destructive,” and jailed 45 of those who had signed it, but about a month later he ordered their release. He agreed to multi-party parliamentary elections to be scheduled in February but later canceled them and the civil war took its course.MORE
Americans who were raped, tortured or imprisoned by the Barre regime, and the Supreme Court is reviewing the legality of the lawsuit. As is customary in such high-profile cases, many groups with concerns over the ramifications of the court’s decision have filed “amicus” or “friend-of-the-court” briefs, which urge the Supreme Court to rule one way or the other. Samantar’s defenders are few in number, but, surprisingly, they include four of the largest Jewish communal organizations in America: the American Jewish Congress (AJCongress), the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the Orthodox Union (OU), and Agudath Israel, as well as the government of Saudi Arabia. None of these parties were required by the court to offer their opinion — amicus briefs are submitted voluntarily — and the Jewish groups’ decision to participate in such an unholy alliance speaks volumes about their distorted priorities.
These groups are not alone in their interest in the case — the Somali victims’ supporters include a range of human rights organizations, legal scholars, retired U.S. military officials, as well as the United States government — and some background information is necessary to understand why so many different organizations have chosen to get involved.
The challenge that went before the Supreme Court is whether Samantar, who currently resides in Fairfax, Va., can be sued in a U.S. civil court under the Torture Victims Protection Act, which permits lawsuits against government officials who commit torture, murder and the like.  Samantar’s lawyers maintain that he is protected by the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which grants legal immunity to foreign governments. The question before the court is whether that immunity extends to individual officials of a foreign government, especially officials who are no longer in power.
To be clear about the scope of the case: the Supreme Court will not be deciding whether Samantar authorized, or was complicit in, war crimes.  Indeed, that is hardly open to question; there is incontrovertible evidence that, during the 1980s, the Somali government committed widespread human rights abuses, including torture, massacres, forced disappearance, and extrajudicial imprisonment. Whether or not the Supreme Court decides that Samantar, as a former Somali government official, is immune from being sued in U.S. courts, there is little doubt that he has blood on his hands.
Why then would four major Jewish communal organizations choose to enter the fray and defend so despicable a figure? Their answer is that they are concerned about how the broader legal aspects of the case relate to Israel’s welfare. As the jointly filed ZOA/OU/Agudath Israel amicus brief argues, allowing Samantar to be sued in a U.S. court would “encourage the institution of many unfounded lawsuits in the United States courts against present and former government officials of the State of Israel.”

Thank you Ken


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