Refugee Hopes UK’s Iraq War Inquiry Revives Her Lawsuit Against Bush Administration

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — An Iraqi refugee who filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against former President George W. Bush over the Iraq War has filed an appeal containing new evidence released by the United Kingdom’s Iraq Inquiry Committee.

Iraqi refugee Sundus Skaker Saleh, who fled her home country due to war, and her attorney, Inder Comar, the legal director of San Francisco-based Comar Law, submitted excerpts of the so-called Chilcot Report to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco last week, hoping to prove that, in violation of international and federal law, Bush and top members of his administration went to war with Iraq as a result of personally-held convictions, not legitimate policy reasons.

The Ninth Circuit has not indicated when it will issue a ruling on the appeal, according to Comar Law’s website.

In 2014, Saleh’s class-action civil lawsuit against George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Paul Wolfowitz was dismissed after the district court ruled the defendants were acting within the lawful scope of their employment when they planned and executed the Iraq War. The plaintiff sought a jury trial, with damages stemming from “property loss, physical pain, shame, humiliation, degradation and emotional stress” to be determined at trial.

But now, following the July 6th public release of a six-year British investigation into the lead-up to the Iraq War, the plaintiff believes the report contains enough evidence to prove that the invasion of Iraq was illegal under international law and by extension, under U.S. federal law.

Excerpts of the Chilcot report (named after the committee chairman, Sir John Chilcot) submitted by the plaintiff to the Ninth Circuit include messages exchanged by top U.S. and U.K. officials, which allegedly show that U.S. government leaders were aware that Iraq had no link to the September 11, 2001 attacks or to Al Qaeda, and that false statements were made by government officials to the public about the threat Iraq posed and its connection to Al Qaeda.

According to Comar Law, “The Chilcot Report contains (i) factual conclusions by the privy counsellors about what happened during the run up to the Iraq War, (ii) actual documentation (including written notes between Blair and Bush) that show a plan to go to war in Iraq as early as October 2001, and (iii) statements of international law by distinguished experts who have concluded that the Iraq War was illegal and constituted aggression against Iraq.”

One of the declassified messages regarding Iraq that was released in the Chilcot Report, and submitted to the Ninth Circuit, was from former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed to Bush on July 28, 2002. It states, “I will be with you, whatever.” It goes on to state, “The Evidence. Again, I have been told the US thinks this unnecessary. But we still need to make the case. If we recapitulate all the WMD evidence; add his attempts to secure nuclear capability; and, as seems possible, add on Al Qaida link, it will be hugely persuasive over here.”

Lawyers for the former President and administration officials have opposed the motion, according to court documents.

By Hannah Albarazi – Follow her on Twitter: @hannahalbarazi.

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