The petition to designate Russia a “state sponsor of terrorism” has passed the half way mark at the Obama Administration’s White House. The petition currently has 54,085 signatures, and needed only 45,915 signatures by May 23 to to qualify for reaching its goal of 100,000.

The petition, created April 23, reads,

“In its unannounced war against Ukraine, Russia relies on covert operations which fall squarely within the definition of ‘international terrorism’ under 18 U.S.C. § 2331. Specifically, armed operatives of Russia, acting under disguise, attempt to influence the policy of Ukrainian government by intimidation or coercion. They also try to affect the conduct of a government by assassinations and kidnapping, taking by force government buildings, police posts and military bases of Ukraine. This activity is being conducted on large scale and over prolonged time period, despite condemnation by the USA, G-7, NATO, EU and UN.

“Accordingly, Russia must be officially designated as ‘State sponsor of terrorism’, per http://www.state.gov/j/ct/list/c14151.htm”

Code 18 U.S.C. § 2331 defines “international terrorism” as activities that occur outside of the US and “involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State;” and “appear to be intended” “to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;” “to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or” “to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping.”

Under 18 U.S.C. § 2331, “act of war” means “any act occurring in the course of” “declared war;” “armed conflict, whether or not war has been declared, between two or more nations; or” “armed conflict between military forces of any origin.”

State sponsors of terrorism are, according to the US State Department, “countries determined by the Secretary of State to have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” State sponsors of terrorism currently include Syria (added 1979), Cuba (1982), Iran (1984), Sudan (1993).

Nations designated “state sponsor of terrorism” are subject to three US laws: section 6(j) of the Export Administration Act, section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, and section 620A of the Foreign Assistance Act. These laws restrict US foreign assistance, ban defense exports and sales and some other items, and provide financial and other restrictions. People and countries engaging in certain trade with a “state sponsor” are also implicated in sanctions and penalties.

By Day Blakely Donaldson

Sources:

Petition at White House

US State Department

Findlaw