President Obama’s veto of a bill that would allow the 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia has been overturned by Congress.
The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives have voted to overturn President Obama’s recent veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, or JASTA, which will allow the 9/11 victims’ family members to sue nations like Saudi Arabia who are suspected of financing the 9/11 attacks. Early Wednesday, the Senate voted 97-1 in favor of overriding the veto. A few hours later the House voted 348 to 77 in favor of denying the veto. The bill will now officially become law.
In an interview with CNN, President Obama said the override of his veto was “a mistake” and set a “dangerous precedent”.
“If we eliminate this notion of sovereign immunity, then our men and women in uniform around the world could potentially start seeing ourselves subject to reciprocal laws.”
President Obama and opponents of the legislation continued to fight to weaken the bill, including adding a provision that allows the executive branch to block “litigation if the executive branch proved in court that good-faith negotiations for a settlement with a nation were underway.”
Obama’s spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters that the decision to override President Obama “is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983.” Mr. Earnest did not comment on whether the U.S. government is embarrassed by accidental hospital bombings, mass incarceration, corporate corruption, or the growing Police and Surveillance State.
JASTA will change the law to allow victims of terrorism and their families to sue nations suspected of financing or otherwise sponsoring terrorism. Currently, this is only legal for countries who are on the U.S. government’s “state sponsors of terror” list, which includes nations like North Korea and Iran. JASTA unanimously passed the Senate in May and the House in mid-August after a hard-fought battle by the families of the victims of 9/11. Last Friday, President Obama kept his promise to veto legislation, citing threats to U.S. national security.
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“The lobbying effort on Capitol Hill against the legislation has involved the administration but also representatives for the Saudi government, which denies any involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks,” CNN reported. “The alliance puts Obama in the unlikely position of defending the same position as the Kingdom, with which he’s had longstanding disputes over counterterrorism strategies and human rights.”
In Obama’s three-page veto he said he sympathized with the 9/11 families, but JASTA “would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks.”
Obama also claimed that JASTA would “upset longstanding international principles regarding sovereign immunity” and create a situation where the U.S. government faces lawsuits by foreign parties. Obama also claimed that “removing sovereign immunity in U.S. courts from foreign governments based solely on allegations that such foreign governments’ actions abroad had a connection to terrorism-related injuries on U.S. soil, threatens to undermine these longstanding principles.”
Now that Congress has rejected President Obama’s argument the world waits to see how the Saudi Kingdom will respond. The House of Saud previously threatened to liquidate U.S. assets if the bill passed. The passing of the bill is likely to weaken relations between the two nations, especially if lawsuits from the 9/11 families do in fact unfold. Finally, we must wait to see whether upcoming lawsuits will help reveal any new truths about the attacks of 9/11.
Hopefully, the work of the 9/11 family members and the 9/11 Truth community will pay off and some amount of justice will be served.
Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist and liberty activist. He is the Lead Investigative Reporter for ActivistPost.com and the founder of the TheConsciousResistance.com. Follow him on Twitter. Derrick is the author of three books: The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 1 and Finding Freedom in an Age of Confusion, Vol. 2
Derrick is available for interviews. Please contact [email protected]
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