Sept. 27, 2016 - The JASTA rally in Washington, D.C., Sept. 20, 2016 was historic on many levels. Two busloads of 9/11 family members embarked at 6 a.m. from NYC and northern NJ, while family members who lost loved ones in the Pentagon came from the D.C. area. It was amazing to see the “Jersey widows” (Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg, and Monica Gabrielle) out there with signs saying "Don't choose them over U.S.", marching and chanting "Pass JASTA Now". It brought back memories of how they had to make the trek down to D.C. over a period of many months to demand that policy makers get to the bottom of how and why the 9/11 attacks occurred. We know their efforts along with other family members and survivors finally forced the Bush/Cheney administration to reverse their position that blocked any investigation for 14 long months after the attacks. Kristen Breitweiser continues to write articles filled with powerful analysis and challenges to the Obama administration. They're still at the forefront after 15 years.
After marching in Lafayette Park across from the White House for an hour, the event moved to the Capitol Building for a press conference where Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) came out and spoke and addressed the crowd and media, followed by Terry Strada, her daughter Kaitlyn, and Allison Crowther. It’s vital to point out that Blumenthal first turned to look at the crowd of people, thanked them for coming, and proclaimed that the public's voice is invaluable in helping accomplish the goals that Congress needs to reach.
His commitment to the passage of JASTA was clear and encouraging. He tried to diffuse the concerns over lifting sovereign immunity by saying if the Saudis are innocent, they have nothing to fear. The main point he tried to make is that U.S. citizens should have access to the courts against a country which they've been damaged by. The principle is clear, simple, and unassailable.
It's important to be aware that although the suit against Saudi Arabia is to collect financial compensation for their loss, the family members really just want their day in court to get as much evidence exposed as possible, and to get justice. Anyone who has had family members murdered should at least know who was responsible for their mortal loss.
Just as the press conference ended the news spread like wildfire that TheHill.com published the news that Congress would stay in session the following week, not just to work through the budget negotiations, but to override Obama's veto of JASTA! A few similar articles followed. Everyone was in pleasant shock. Thursday’s NY Times article adds the dimension that this will be the first over ride of an Obama veto.
It's important to note that a few articles, such as one in the Wall Street Journal, are coming out expressing grave concerns that passing JASTA will upset international relations, hurt the U.S. economy, and invite law suits from abroad. However, proponents of JASTA argue that these concerns are baseless and assert that foreign entities would be unable to create a legal case against U.S. citizens or agencies based on the language of the bill.
Regardless, high level security officials who are opponents of JASTA are openly stating their fears that American military members, diplomats, and business people could be vulnerable to reciprocal law suits by foreign countries. Expressing these concerns is a tacit acknowledgement that the U.S. actions of aggression resulting in acts of torture, collateral damage from done attacks, environmental fallout from U.S. weaponry, and the toppling of elected leaders around the world as a result of U.S. military policy could prove problematic. Imagine Iraqi citizens suing over the Abu Ghraib scandal, or Afghan citizens suing for drone strikes on wedding parties. Just the charges alone could open up a can of worms bigger than the ‘Freedom Tower”. This paradox should give all Americans pause as they realize that U.S. military strikes can be viewed as terrorism against innocents.
Furthermore, regarding the criticism that lifting sovereign immunity would open the floodgates of "frivolous" lawsuits against the U.S., 9/11 family members explained that already in countries like Iran, North Korea, and Cuba, that aren't protected by sovereign immunity, that there hasn't been contentious and frivolous law suits coming from these countries as is being depicted will happen. The public must correct this false assertion through contacting elected officials, letters-to-the-editor, and posting in reader's comment sections.
It is essential to understand that passage of JASTA will clear the path for 9/11 family members to continue their law suits, getting to the discovery stage where the areas of evidence will expand many-fold. Use of subpoena power is warranted and will no doubt be necessary. There's just no telling where a full investigation allowed within the court system may lead. If the defendants are pressed beyond where they are willing to go, they may implicate additional parties that share guilt in the crimes. Another possibility is that they will attempt to offer a settlement, which will present further complications because settlements usually stipulate that acceptance includes no admission of guilt, plus they demand agreement that no additional legal actions be pursued. If this happens, it appears there are family members who will decline and move for full prosecution.
As has been the case with the 28 pages, and now with the JASTA issue, the 9/11 truth community and general public has a platform to make clear there is a large political constituency that challenges the official narrative, demands full transparency, and full spectrum justice. Saudi Arabia has been spending millions on PR firms and lobbyists to create the impression they're great allies against the war on terror. We know this is absolutely false. The details are the subject of a longer discourse, but suffice it to say if the public is allowed to learn the extent of Saudi involvement in the 911 attacks, as Congressman Walter Jones stated at a July 6th press conference, multiple doors will open. As former Sen. Bob Graham has said about the release of the 28 redacted pages from the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001, this is “just the cork out of the bottle”. This is exactly why JASTA must become law.
The Congressional vote to override JASTA will occur on Wed. Sept. 28 beginning with a vote in the Senate, to be followed with a vote in the House. Now the public must rise up and call on Congress to stand firm to pass the bill, S. 2040. Please see the Action Alert with phone numbers and talking points at www.hr14.org/passjasta.
In case you’re reading this after the fact, citizens who recognize the necessity for 9/11 transparency and justice must continue to coalesce into a political constituency that works for the release of all classified materials containing evidence on the 9/11 attacks. We must also work to educate our elected officials on all the alternative research which clearly shows the official narrative is unable to withstand even the most basic scrutiny. We must inform our elected officials that the public cannot tolerate the official cover up. This is a truth whose time has come. The American people will be better for it, the rule of law will be applicable to all including the highest levels of power, and our honor and integrity in the world may finally be restored.
Justice can prevail and we can contribute to the cause. Let's go viral! See the Action Alert.