Get The Word Out

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Post-election JASTA Update and Reality Check

Written by  Les Jamieson

Since 2002 family members of victims who perished in the 9/11 attacks have sought justice for their loss by taking legal action. Over the years, 3 major law suits have been undertaken with another 3 recently filed. With key evidence leading to Saudi officials, specifically a “money trail”, the need arose to have access to more actionable evidence which finally led to declassification of the secret 28 pages from the Congressional Joint Inquiry on 9/11. Also, what arose was the need to lift “sovereign immunity” which the Saudi government had been hiding behind. Therefore, for 7 years several 9/11 family members worked with Sen. Chuck Schumer and Bob Cornyn to compose legislation for this purpose called the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

The Three Recently Filed Lawsuits

There are now 3 new law suits by 9/11 family members since the passage of JASTA. In time, we will learn of the similarities and differences from the existing law suits. Here is an overview of these recent developments from a legal industry web site which includes the case details at the bottom: Trio of State-Sponsored Terrorism Lawsuits Progressing Cautiously

Assaults on JASTA

Now that the election is over, opponents of JASTA who began to surface within 24 hours of the veto override in mid-September are out in full force. In the weeks following the election, over three dozen articles have appeared which provides more clarity about the information being exhibited by heads of the security state (see http://hr14.org/passjasta/). To see more on the recent flurry of articles, just do a search on "JASTA repeal" or "JASTA unexpected consequences."

U.S. based news reports critical of JASTA cover the gamut claiming things like the bill will open the floodgates to retaliatory law suits, it'll hurt the economy, undermine our ability to "defend our interests" abroad, foreign countries will pull their investments out for fear of having assets frozen, the long-standing protocol between nations which uphold immunity from law suits between governments is being shattered and sets a dangerous precedent, it's an invitation for trigger-happy tort lawyers to have a bonanza with a blizzard of law suits, etc.

It's clear that the Saudi's army of lobbyists have been working overtime. They're even lobbying governors, claiming their states will be financially harmed. Most importantly, they've got John McCain and Lindsay Graham out calling to amend the bill by removing the provision lifting sovereign immunity. This would be fatal to the usefulness of JASTA and the following articles provide some background:

What's clear is that very powerful forces have gone into overdrive to (1) block existing 9/11 law suits from getting to the discovery phase and the ability to present evidence that would be very damaging to the official account, (2) protect the Saudi oligarchs who are big spending clients of U.S. weapons industries, (3) prevent other entities involved in orchestrating the attacks from being outed, and (4) avoid having to deal with the legal consequences of U.S. war crimes such as drone strikes killing innocents, torture, and possibly more. Actually, war crimes the U.S. could potentially be held liable for have taken place not only throughout the 9/11-induced wars, but potentially go back to crimes committed in Viet Nam, Panama, and the first Gulf War invasion.

Although there is already one law suit targeting the U.S. military which may come out of Iraq, the idea there will be a flood of costly law suits is over blown for many reasons, including the fact that the U.S. has enormous economic powers that can be used to dissuade frivolous law suits from abroad.

JASTA as the “Great Equalizer”

Overall, the international framework in which war is a vehicle for implementing foreign policy and economic objectives is being seriously challenged. The heads of the security state such as CIA Director John Brennan, former NSA Director Michael Hadley, PNAC member John Bolton, Defense Secretary under Clinton William Cohen, current Secretary of State John Kerry, to name a few, are transparently referring to their fears that losing the ability to hide behind sovereign immunity will undermine our ability to act on behalf of "U.S. interests" in the world. Translated, this means the U.S. forces of empire are having a mental breakdown over the prospect of losing the power to establish global supremacy by wantonly orchestrating regime change and steam rolling over countries with no regard for the destruction they leave behind and no regard for being held to the rule of law. It’s clear by their actions they consider the Nuremburg principles to be a dusty old concept.

War as an institution is being challenged. The near unanimous over ride of Pres. Obama’s veto, the only over ride in his 8-year term, was like a thunderbolt sending the orchestrators of empire and their proxies in the Middle East into disarray. The serendipity is that JASTA, and by extension the 28 pages, have created a platform for 9/11 activists, all anti-war organizations, and for that matter the millions of supporters of the Trump and Sanders candidacies to stand on.  From that platform they can stand up to the forces behind the 9/11 wars.  By working to preserve and protect JASTA as much as possible, citizens will have the most effective legal deterrent to war they have ever had. Picture the banners at a rally for openness and accountability:

9/11 lies started these wars.
ONLY 9/11 justice can end them.

Want real revolution? Learn the truth about 9/11.
Demand full transparency. Demand JUSTICE.

Stop the CIA/Saudi/neocon proponents of terrorism
and bankrupt the war machine.

Preserve the JASTA law

An article published in The Hill, Note to “allies” - don’t underestimate overwhelming popular support for JASTA, describes the popular support which helped to get the bill passed. It dispels the notion that legislators voted for passage just as a political ploy to get re-elected. It shows that the members of Congress actually supported the underlying principles of the bill.  This information is very important when educating others about the need for retaining the key provisions of JASTA.  Refer to this article when talking to friends, colleagues, media representatives and especially when talking to members of Congress.

Next Steps – Tell Congress to STAND FIRM on JASTA

Now the battle is on. While there may not be time in the lame duck session to amend JASTA, we have to assume there will at least be a strong attempt to do so. If it doesn't happen before the holiday recess, we have to assume they'll try in the next Congress that begins in January despite the fact that Trump has voiced support for the bill. There have been news reports, however, that he signed as many as eight business deals with the Saudis during the presidential campaign alone.

We'll need a major mobilization to have people call their Senators and Representatives in the House. We know all Senators except Bernie Sanders and Harry Reid voted for the override. The roster for House votes can be seen at http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2016/roll564.xml. Check this link to see how your member of the House of Representatives voted.

To make a call to your Senators and member of the House will take 10-15 minutes. For those who voted in favor of passage, the message is:

"Stand firm on JASTA, S. 2040. Although Pres. Obama vetoed it, Congress voted to override and its now law. Do not allow any amendment to take place. The claims that JASTA will make service members vulnerable to law suits from other countries is false, it's propaganda. Protecting Saudi dictators and ignoring the interests of 9,000 9/11 families is immoral and just plain wrong. There will be another election in 2 years and my vote is riding on this. Furthermore, the public is watching and will stand with you for doing what’s right by upholding JASTA."

For those who voted Nay so as to uphold Obama's veto, the message is:

"The JASTA bill, S. 2040, has been passed through an override of Pres. Obama's veto and is now law. Certain members of Congress now are having second thoughts due to a barrage of Saudi lobbying spreading false premises. Protecting Saudi dictators and ignoring the interests of 9,000 9/11 families is immoral and just plain wrong. The Saudis are paying over $1.3 million per month to ten Washington, D.C. lobbying firms to undermine the wishes of the 9/11 families and general public. The claims that JASTA will make service members vulnerable to law suits from other countries is false, it's propaganda. You voted against passage of JASTA, which was a mistake. Now, do not allow any amendment to the law to take place. There will be another election in 2 years and my vote is riding on this. Furthermore, the public is watching and will stand with you for doing what’s right by upholding JASTA."

As occurred with the effort to obtain declassification of the 28 pages, again the 9/11 research/activist community has a huge opportunity to show legislators that there is a serious political constituency who knows we've been misled about 9/11 and will hold them accountable. The need for organizing by congressional districts is front and center. Be part of this effort by becoming a member of the 9/11 Truth Action Project. Please spread the word.

If we want clout with our elected officials so that they will listen to our information, here's how it starts. History is ours to make or be subjected to.



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