With passage of JASTA, the 9/11 family’s ability to resume their law suit against Saudi Arabia has been restored. Now evidence far beyond the 28 pages and beyond what the public is even aware of will have the possibility of coming forth. As with any legal action, unexpected evidence, witnesses, and whistleblowers can show up and bring facts to the light of day. Congressman Walter Jones has said the 28 pages can open “a multitude of doors and they all should be investigated”. Sen. Bob Graham has said “the 28 pages is just the cork out of the bottle”. 9/11 family member, Terry Strada, has said “the infamous 28 pages publicly released this summer are “only the tip of the iceberg.”
Please read below for background on the release of the 28 pages and its relation to JASTA. This is followed by an Action Alert which is vital to respond to lobbying efforts by the Saudi government which is spending millions of dollars to pressure Congress to dilute JASTA and render it irrelevant.
It took nearly 14 years of effort to force the release of the 28 pages from the Congressional Joint Inquiry Report on 9/11. It was a no-brainer for anyone with even the slightest interest in understanding how 9/11 could have occurred. Following the money trail is part of prosecuting the crime. However, exposing the 9/11 flow of funds revealed in the 28 pages would have made the 2003 invasion of Iraq politically impossible. This was a criminal abuse of power and fraud upon the American people, as well as the world. It was clear by the opposition we saw in May from Pres. Obama, CIA Director John Brennan, 9/11 Commission co-chairs Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton, the last thing the powers manipulating military policy wanted was for the pages to be released.
Furthermore, despite feigning a desire for full disclosure of the 28 pages, declassification as well as being the target of litigation is the last thing Saudi Arabia wanted. This was evidenced by their threat of financial blackmail by selling $750 billion worth of U.S. treasuries. But due to intense lobbying efforts by the 9/11 families, a determined group of legislators, attention from the public, and surprisingly from many mainstream news sources, there was no way the Obama administration and orchestrators of military policy could contain the level of news coverage nor could they suppress the release of the 28 pages. Fourteen years of falsely-based secrecy is far too long.
Working in parallel with the 28 pages issue, there has been a 7 year effort to enable 9/11 family members to sue any foreign country connected to acts of terrorism on U.S. soil by lifting sovereign immunity that countries have been protected by under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) of 1976. This resulted in the Justice For Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) and has gone through many refinements to address any concerns of being written too broadly. The current version is specific and narrowly constructed.
When the release of the 28 pages was imminent, on May 17th the Senate called a voice vote on JASTA which resulted in a unanimous vote for passage. Then the 28 pages were finally released on July 15th showing clear evidence of funding by the Bush family’s close friend, Prince Bandar and his wife, Princess Haifa, plus certain Saudi charities, the path was clear for the House of Representatives to vote for passage of the JASTA. With more lobbying by 9/11 family members and the public, pressure was building to for the House vote to take place prior to the milestone 15th anniversary of the attacks. On Friday Sept. 9th, the House also called a voice vote on JASTA and every single member voted in favor without a single objection. There has never been a unanimous vote in Congress on such a controversial issue.
It should be noted that every member of Congress is acutely aware of the risk they take by challenging the official narrative. Given the opposition by the Obama administration, military officials, and the Saudi royals, voting to pass JASTA was an act of revolt. This was an uprising against the military policy makers who have ruled with shock and awe tactics. This same faction orchestrated and stand in support of what Gen. Wesley Clark termed a “policy coup”, which 9/11 provided the grounds for. It also was a challenge to the hypocrisy of the U.S. and standing of Saudi Arabia as an ally when they are committing crimes against humanity in Yemen. With $115 billion in arms sales just during the Obama presidency, the influence and power of the weapons industry cannot be under estimated.
As he had been threatening since May, Pres. Obama vetoed JASTA on Fri. Sept. 23rd, citing concerns of geopolitical blowback. Specifically, he raised concerns of law suits from entities in foreign countries against U.S. military personnel and others involved in military actions. In so doing, he sided with the further protection of the Saudi monarchy whose support of the fundamentalist, anti-West Wahabbi sect combined with continued funding of violent extremist groups in the Middle East. He acted against the interests of Americans who were forever damaged by the 9/11 attacks and strive for justice under the rule of law. However, Congress remained in session to deal with unfinished business which included the specific intention to conduct a roll call vote to over ride the veto. This took place on Wed. Sept. 28th when Congress resoundingly voted for passage and dealt Pres. Obama his first veto over ride. The Senate voted 97-1 and the House voted 348-77 in favor. Passage of JASTA was also historic as a bi-partisan effort.
Challenge and Response
Now we get to an even deeper controversy. Before and since the JASTA over ride, high level military/intelligence officials have been raising grave warnings that JASTA will instigate foreign countries to launch reciprocal law suits against U.S. military figures. They claim our country’s ability to conduct “foreign policy” will be harmed. This all comes regardless of the narrowly crafted language of the bill which deals with governments and acts of terrorism and does not expose service members to law suits. Nevertheless, JASTA has revealed highly questionable policies and practices of U.S. military abroad, as well as a debate on Saudi Arabia’s qualification as an ally.
Legislators in support of JASTA have stated that if Saudi Arabia is innocent of any participation in the 9/11 attacks, they have nothing to worry about. However, Saudi Arabia is so concerned about what could come out in court that they’ve spent millions of dollars paying PR firms and lobbyists pressure members of Congress to cleanse their image, and convince Congress that they’re important allies against terrorism.
However, the struggle is not over. The propaganda campaign coming from the military power faction has been intense. Within a day of the over ride vote some legislators began falsely claiming they didn’t have enough discussion or consideration of “unintended consequences”. We also saw false claims that there is no evidence of Saudi officials funding the 9/11 operation. The 28 pages clearly cite funding from Prince Bandar bin Sultan who was the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S.
Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Orrin Hatch have gone so for as to call for a resolution to change the language of JASTA which would make it virtually impossible to reach the next stages of litigation which would require the Saudis to answer very direct questioning. Now we must stay vigilant and demand all who voted for passage to stand firm. We must also convey to those who voted against passage that they’ve abdicated their responsibility to the 9/11 families and cause for justice and lost our vote coming up in a matter of weeks.
With 3/4 of Americans who want all secret documents released and believe our government has misled us regarding the facts (as shown by a Rasmussen Reports poll, April 25th), we have a historic opportunity to put the White House and Congress on notice that a sizable majority knows we’ve been lied to about 9/11, and knows that there has been a cover up of the facts which must not be tolerated. The ability for 9/11 families to hold any foreign government liable must not be diluted.
Furthermore, if the U.S. isn’t guilty of war crimes, it should have nothing to fear from other countries suing Americans, right? If the U.S. is guilty of war crimes, the only way to restore our honor is to provide relief for the damages done in the name of equal justice, alter our military policies to end the use of war for domination, and work towards global collaboration and protection of human life above all.
Now we must raise our voice.
Please take 15 minutes to call the following congressional leaders urging them to stand firm and not allow any undermining of JASTA provisions which lift sovereign immunity against countries engaged in terrorist acts against the U.S. Here is the script:
If you cannot leave a message, send an email at https://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactform
Updated Jan. 18, 2017
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9/11 Families Rally at Capitol June 7, 2016