Can anyone use this law to sue the US for killing people in Iraq for example?
Any discussion of this new law should include some evidence of what the law actually says. Chapter 97 of title 28 is amended by inserting the following:
§ 1605B. Responsibility of foreign states for international terrorism against the United States
“(a) Definition.—In this section, the term ‘international terrorism’—
“(1) has the meaning given the term in section 2331 of title 18, United States Code; and
“(2) does not include any act of war (as defined in that section).
“(b) Responsibility of foreign states.—A foreign state shall not be immune from the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States in any case in which money damages are sought against a foreign state for physical injury to person or property or death occurring in the United States and caused by—
“(1) an act of international terrorism in the United States; and
“(2) a tortious act or acts of the foreign state, or of any official, employee, or agent of that foreign state while acting within the scope of his or her office, employment, or agency, regardless where the tortious act or acts of the foreign state occurred.
“(c) Claims by nationals of the United States.—Notwithstanding section 2337(2) of title 18, a national of the United States may bring a claim against a foreign state in accordance with section 2333 of that title if the foreign state would not be immune under subsection (b).
“(d) Rule of construction.—A foreign state shall not be subject to the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States under subsection (b) on the basis of an omission or a tortious act or acts that constitute mere negligence.”.
Section 2333 of title 18 is modified with the following addition:
“(1) DEFINITION.—In this subsection, the term ‘person’ has the meaning given the term in section 1 of title 1.
“(2) LIABILITY.—In an action under subsection (a) for an injury arising from an act of international terrorism committed, planned, or authorized by an organization that had been designated as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1189), as of the date on which such act of international terrorism was committed, planned, or authorized, liability may be asserted as to any person who aids and abets, by knowingly providing substantial assistance, or who conspires with the person who committed such an act of international terrorism.”.
(b) Effect on Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.—Nothing in the amendment made by this section affects immunity of a foreign state, as that term is defined in section 1603 of title 28, United States Code, from jurisdiction under other law.
SEC. 5. Stay of actions pending state negotiations.
(a) Exclusive jurisdiction.—The courts of the United States shall have exclusive jurisdiction in any action in which a foreign state is subject to the jurisdiction of a court of the United States under section 1605B of title 28, United States Code, as added by section 3(a) of this Act.
(b) Intervention.—The Attorney General may intervene in any action in which a foreign state is subject to the jurisdiction of a court of the United States under section 1605B of title 28, United States Code, as added by section 3(a) of this Act, for the purpose of seeking a stay of the civil action, in whole or in part.
(1) IN GENERAL.—A court of the United States may stay a proceeding against a foreign state if the Secretary of State certifies that the United States is engaged in good faith discussions with the foreign state defendant concerning the resolution of the claims against the foreign state, or any other parties as to whom a stay of claims is sought.
(A) IN GENERAL.—A stay under this section may be granted for not more than 180 days.
(i) IN GENERAL.—The Attorney General may petition the court for an extension of the stay for additional 180-day periods.
(ii) RECERTIFICATION.—A court shall grant an extension under clause (i) if the Secretary of State recertifies that the United States remains engaged in good faith discussions with the foreign state defendant concerning the resolution of the claims against the foreign state, or any other parties as to whom a stay of claims is sought.
SEC. 6. Severability.
If any provision of this Act or any amendment made by this Act, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid, the remainder of this Act and the amendments made by this Act, and the application of the provisions and amendments to any other person not similarly situated or to other circumstances, shall not be affected by the holding.
SEC. 7. Effective date.
The amendments made by this Act shall apply to any civil action—
(1) pending on, or commenced on or after, the date of enactment of this Act; and
(2) arising out of an injury to a person, property, or business on or after September 11, 2001.
The law is not limited to 9-11, it states that any such terrorism from 9-11 onwards is covered (as long as the matter has not been resolved already).
This law addresses an existing law which is here, limiting the possibility of litigating against foreign nations: the US is not a foreign nation, so this law has no bearing on suing the US. It is simple false to think that a foreign state could not be sued under (previous) US law.
Can any one uses this law to sue US for killing people in Iraq for example?
No. This proposed law is limited to suing people or organizations involved in supporting terrorism in the US.
The problem with it is if it becomes law and is used, the precedent will be set to allow lawsuits against foreign actors for such decisions. So a middle eastern government, e.g. Iraq or Iran, could pass a law allowing lawsuits against those who could be in some way responsible for war crimes during the Iraq war. So someone could sue the individuals directly responsible, their commanders for not stopping them or preventing them, the organization to which the individuals belonged, the government of the individuals, the members of the coalition, and the United Nations. And this would be done in that country's courts, not international courts with some claim to impartiality.
The proposed law is a bad idea, but quite popular. There were some low level members of the Saudi Arabian government who supported actions taken by the group involved in the 9/11 attacks. The families of the victims are understandably annoyed by this. And yes, they are actually seeking justice, just not in the best way.
This wouldn't make a good basis for blackmail, as there is no way to stop it. Blackmail is based on offering two alternatives and allowing the victim to pick one. This wouldn't be controllable like that. Once launched, it would be difficult to pull back.