Nina Farnia

Document Type




This Article proceeds in two parts. In Part I, “U.S. Foreign Policy as Racial Policy,” I identify the four key policy pillars of U.S. imperialism: militarism, unilateral coercive measures, foreign aid, and the deployment of the dollar. I then pivot to a brief history of U.S. imperialism in the Middle East, highlighting the geographic and racial specificities that influence the ideological and legal contours of U.S. imperialism. I end this section with an analysis of The Public Report of the Vice President’s Task Force on Combatting Terrorism (1985), which was a defining document in the making of anti-terrorism law in the United States and in U.S. foreign policy. In Part II, “The Emergence of Terror as a Legal Category,” I focus on what the F.B.I. has called the first terrorism prosecution, colloquially known as the Los Angeles 8 case. It is one of the longest and most significant cases in U.S. immigration law and national security policy, but has received very little attention by the academy and beyond. I end the Article with a discussion of how the L.A. 8 case influenced the passage of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (1996) and the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act (1996), thereby influencing both the First and Fifth Amendments and their respective availability to non-citizen dissidents. Ultimately, this Article reveals how imperialism has come to be both a governing and structuring influence in lawmaking, even though it may be absent from the letter of the law. To recount this legal history, I draw on interviews with the judge on the L.A. 8 case, Judge Bruce Einhorn, as well as the lawyers and their clients. I also review the case files, depositions, briefs, and court decisions. Additionally, I conduct archival research at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. I also analyze the influence of international legal mechanisms and institutions and conclude with the statutory law that emerged out of the prosecution.



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