Americans Can Sue Saudis for 9/11 Despite Its Noninvolvement
by Stephen Lendman
The Riyadh regime is one of the world’s most despicable, involved in regional wars, related violence and state terrorism against its own people.
It’s partnered with Obama’s wars on Syria and Yemen, unaccountable for Nuremberg-level crimes. Its regime had nothing to do with 9/11 – US state-sponsored terrorism, perhaps complicit with Israel, the mother of all false flags, pretext for endless imperial wars, raping one country after another.
Despite no evidence of Saudi involvement, Congress passed the Orwellian-named Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) legislation – the Senate and House by voice vote in May and earlier in September respectively.
It amends the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and Anti-Terrorism Act. Without mentioning Riyadh specifically, it effectively lets families of 9/11 victims sue the kingdom for what happened – diverting attention from the real perpetrator(s) high crime.
Days earlier, Obama vetoed JASTA, overwhelmingly overrided on Wednesday – the Senate voting 97 – 1 in favor, House members by a 348 – 77 majority. Bernie Sanders and Democrat vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine didn’t vote.
Hillary said she’d sign JASTA had she been president, one of her many Big Lies, a thinly veiled campaign stunt, solely to win votes.
Chances for litigants to prevail against Riyadh are virtually nil. The kingdom has lots of political, financial, commercial and legal ways to contest the ruling against it.
It holds around $750 billion of US assets, earlier threatening to sell them if JASTA became US law. On Thursday, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said henceforth “everybody will begin to think twice before they invest in a place where their assets could be seized.”
According to former Saudi ambassador Charles Freeman Jr., “(t)he souring of relations and curtailing of official contacts that this legislation would inevitably produce could also jeopardize Saudi cooperation against anti-American terrorism.” Its response could harm US strategic interests.
National US-Arab Chamber of Commerce CEO David Hamod said “America is no longer the only game in town. No one knows how Saudi Arabia might respond…but what’s the point of calling (its) bluff?”
According to Center for Strategic and International Studies Middle East program director Jon Alterman, JASTA will likely have “a much larger impact” on America than Saudi Arabia. It would leave US agencies open to “court-ordered discovery.”
JASTA lets families of 9/11 victims alter current suits or file new ones against Riyadh. A provision lets the attorney general intervene for a judicial stay of any settlements as long as discussions with Riyadh continue on the issue.
Looking ahead, perhaps expect lots of smoke with little or no fire. JASTA changes little, if anything, a political stunt, nothing else.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.