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Thread: Bill Would Allow 9/11 Families To Sue Saudi Arabia

  1. #1
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    Bill Would Allow 9/11 Families To Sue Saudi Arabia

    Bill Would Allow 9/11 Families to Sue Saudi Arabia

    http://www.wnyc.org/blogs/wnyc-news-...-saudi-arabia/

    By Caitlyn Kim
    Saturday, November 19, 2011 - 12:00 AM

    A bill introduced by New York Senator Charles Schumer to Congress this week would enable victims of terrorism to hold foreign sponsors of terrorism accountable in U.S. courts.

    According to Schumer, the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act would “allow the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks to receive some justice for the losses they experience on that fateful day.”

    “No individual or country should be shielded from being held accountable for their role in the most heinous act of terrorism to ever occur in the United States,” Schumer said.

    Sam Rascoff, law professor at NYU who teaches national security law and counterterrorism issues, said the bill is significant because it is trying to balance two competing desires.

    “You're balancing the need to provide remedies for the victims of terror with the need for the White House to maintain inevitably delicate strategic partnerships overseas,” he said.

    He also notes that, if passed, this law would give Congress more voice in foreign policy matters.

    “If this bill were to pass, Congress would assume a more prominent role in striking this balance,” he said.

    In 2008, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals threw out a lawsuit from victims of the 9/11 terror attacks against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, alleging it helped finance the attacks.

    The court ruled that Saudi Arabia was protected from prosecution under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act of 1976.

    There are two exceptions to a state’s immunity under FSIA: if a country falls under the State Department’s designated list of state sponsors of terror, which Saudi Arabia is not among (Iran, Cuba, Syria and Sudan are the four on the list), or when a state commits a non-commercial tort, in other words they injure or do damage non-commercially.

    The bill would make clear that FSIA tort exception applies to acts of terror in the U.S. and establish a 15-year statue of limitation under the Anti-Terrorism Act, which currently has a limit of four years.

    This is not the first time this issue has been raised. Former Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter and Schumer introduced the bill in 2009, where it did not make it out of committee.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Schumer: Ten Years Later, Victims Deserve The Justice They Are Owed

    http://www.sacbee.com/2011/11/17/406...r-victims.html

    By 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
    Published: Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011 - 2:30 pm

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hailing it as a victory for justice and accountability, the 9/11 Families praised the introduction of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) today. JASTA was introduced by Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) with broad bipartisan support of original cosponsors Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jon Kyl (R-AZ), John Cornyn (R-TX) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

    "This legislation has become necessary due to flawed court decisions that have deprived the victims of terrorism on American soil, including those injured by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, of their day in court. Unfortunately, and contrary to the clear intent of Congress, some courts have concluded that Americans who were injured due to terrorist attacks in the United States have no recourse against the foreign states that sponsor those attacks. This conclusion is contrary to the plain language of the FSIA (Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act) and ATA (Anti-Terrorism Act), and it is bad policy," said Senator Schumer.

    "While existing law was designed to enable victims of terrorism to bring suit against foreign states and entities that sponsor terrorism in the United States, the Second Circuit Court has thrown out claims made by victims of the 9/11 terror attacks against Saudi Arabia and charities based in the country, that evidence suggests had a direct role in helping to finance the attacks," he added in a statement to the press.

    "I am so grateful for the leadership shown by Senator Schumer and his fellow Senators. Over two years ago, a federal court ruled in a twisted misinterpretation of anti-terrorism laws that many of those who funded the 9/11 attacks could not be held liable in a U.S. civil court," said Mrs. Beverly Burnett of Bloomington, Minn., mother of Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., one of the heroes of United Flight 93. "All those whom we allege provided financial and material support for the attacks that killed our son and 3,000 other innocent people, no matter their position or family lineage, must be brought to justice if we are to stop the terrorist financial pipeline and make America safer."

    "JASTA corrects egregious errors and a complete miscarriage of justice that was created by the ruling of the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in 2009," said Sharon Premoli of Dorset, Vt., who was trapped by the collapse of the World Trade Center and maintains an advocacy website, www.JusticeAgainstTerrorism.net. Premoli also noted that the Second Circuit's ruling held that no one could be held accountable for financing or supporting a terrorist attack in the United States as long as the money or support was given outside the United States.

    "This bill corrects that ludicrous reading of current law. It also deals with the other part of the court's interpretation, that sovereign immunity which does not extend to a sovereign killing someone accidently but wrongfully – e.g., killing someone in a car wreck – is extended to someone who has supported a terrorist act that kills someone intentionally," says Premoli. "That defies both logic and justice."

    "JASTA is not designed to use the legislative process solely to overturn a court ruling that terror victims disagree with," said Terry Strada of Mount Vernon, N.J., wife of Tom Strada, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. "What it does, first and foremost, is makes clear to the courts what Congress always intended. Beyond that, it resolves disagreements among different U.S. Courts of Appeals, some of which have ruled consistently with the core principles of the law. Basically, it restores common sense."

    "We have great hope that this bill becomes law. The only way to effectively stop terrorism is to dry up the money," said Linda and Martin Panik of Mingoville, Penn., parents of Lt. Jonas Panik who died in the Pentagon. "The courts need to be directed to understand that we do not care what someone's rank is in another country. If they give money to terrorists and their networks, we're coming after them."

    "I want justice, I want my day in court," said Bill Doyle of The Villages, Fla., father of Joseph M. Doyle who died in the World Trade Center. "It is time for Congress to clarify its intent on anti-terrorism law. Osama bin Laden may be dead, but a lot of the people that provided the money and support are free and never had to answer to anyone. That cannot stand."

    "JASTA will restore the rights of the victims of terrorism and deter international terrorist financing, and it will have the related benefit of enabling the victims of the September 11 Attacks to proceed with their case, as Congress had intended. And it does so without in any way threatening sensitive national security or diplomatic priorities of the nation. In fact, it makes the nation stronger," said Schumer.

    Senator Schumer Press Release: http://schumer.senate.gov/Newsroom/record.cfm?id=334885

    The 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
    This group is comprised of over 6,600 family members of those killed in the attacks of 9/11 and those injured as well. They are united in the cause of pursuing justice and deterring future terrorist attacks. To do so, they are using the civil legal system to pursue those who financed and provided support for those cowardly terrorist attacks. The case is In Re Thomas E. Burnett, Sr., et al. v. Al Baraka Investment & Development Corp., et al., Case No. 03-CV-9849 (GBD); In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, 03 MDL 1570. The families are represented by complex civil litigation firm Motley Rice LLC.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  3. #3
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    Proposed legislation would allow 9/11 families to sue alleged Saudi financiers of attacks

    http://blogs.orlandoweekly.com/index...rs-of-attacks/

    11/22/2011

    For the cover of our Sept. 8 issue, we profiled Bill Doyle, a Central Florida retiree and one of the lead plaintiffs in the trillion-dollar “9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism” lawsuit. When the suit was first announced in 2002, it made headlines not only for its price tag and its thousands of plaintiffs (6,706, when we last checked), but by naming three prominent Saudi Arabian princes—including the former director of Saudi intelligence, Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud—as defendants. The suit alleged that Prince Turki in particular had “provided al Qaeda and the Taliban with generous financial assistance in exchange for a pledge by bin Laden and the Taliban that al Qaeda would not attack the Saudi royal family.” (These allegations are elaborated upon in our article, as well as this piece in the August issue of Vanity Fair.) In 2009, however, the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, affirming a lower court’s decision to dismiss the families’ charges against Turki and two other Saudi princes, given that they are protected from standing trial in U.S. courts under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA).

    That could change soon. New York Senator Charles Schumer—a friend of Doyle’s—introduced a bill last week called the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which could allow the suit to re-introduce Saudi royalty and government officials as defendants in the case. (Jodi Flowers, one of the lead attorneys on the 9/11 lawsuit, told the Weekly today that her firm is “in the process of analyzing that possibility.”) According to New York radio station WYNC, the bill would work by clarifying the limits of the FSIA.
    There are two exceptions to a state’s immunity under FSIA: if a country falls under the State Department’s designated list of state sponsors of terror, which Saudi Arabia is not among (Iran, Cuba, Syria and Sudan are the four on the list), or when a state commits a non-commercial tort, in other words they injure or do damage non-commercially.

    The bill would make clear that FSIA tort exception applies to acts of terror in the U.S. and establish a 15-year statue of limitation under the Anti-Terrorism Act, which currently has a limit of four years.
    In addition to Schumer’s proposed bill, the New York Times reported last Friday on a recent ruling from the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which “gave a green light to a lawsuit seeking to hold Afghanistan financially liable for the attacks because of that country’s role as a training ground for Al Qaeda.” The precedent set by this ruling, the story suggested, gives “victims perhaps their best chance in the 10 years since the attacks to press lawsuits against Saudi Arabia… and other nations that they believe were financially complicit.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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