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PRESS RELEASE


Obama Vetoes JASTA with a String of Lies

Sept. 23, 2016 (EIRNS)—President Obama this afternoon sent a letter to the U.S. Senate announcing his veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) which was passed by both houses of Congress by unanimous vote. The letter itself was so full of self-promoting lies that it ought to trigger a unanimous override in both Houses. Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.) immediately released a brief statement, expressing his anger at President Obama’s actions, and 9/11 families also issued an immediate denunciation of Obama.

The families denunciation read as follows:

"We are outraged and dismayed at the Presidents veto of JASTA and the unconvincing and unsupportable reasons that he offers as explanation. No matter how much the Saudi lobbying and propaganda machine may argue otherwise, JASTA is a narrowly drawn statute that restores longstanding legal principles that have enjoyed bipartisan support for decades. It will deter terrorism and hold accountable those nations that support and fund it.

"We are deeply grateful for the unanimous bipartisan support that JASTA has in Congress, and we look forward to the Senate and House fulfilling their commitments by quickly overriding this veto.

"We will offer further details on the many flaws in the Presidents rationale in further statements to follow."

Signed: 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism

The letter that Obama sent to the Senate was disgusting, dripping with false sympathy for the families and survivors, while coming up with the most fraudulent excuses for defending the Saudis against being confronted in U.S. Court. Excerpts follow:

"I have deep sympathy for the families of the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 (9/11), who have suffered grievously. I also have a deep appreciation of these families’ desire to pursue justice and am strongly committed to assisting them in their efforts.

"Consistent with this commitment, over the past 8 years, I have directed my Administration to pursue relentlessly al-Qa’ida, the terrorist group that planned the 9/11 attacks. The heroic efforts of our military and counterterrorism professionals have decimated al-Qa’ida’s leadership and killed Osama bin Laden. My Administration also strongly supported, and I signed into law, legislation which ensured that those who bravely responded on that terrible day and other survivors of the attacks will be able to receive treatment for any injuries resulting from the attacks. And my Administration also directed the Intelligence Community to perform a declassification review of "Part Four of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11," so that the families of 9/11 victims and broader public can better understand the information investigators gathered following that dark day of our history.

"Notwithstanding these significant efforts, I recognize that there is nothing that could ever erase the grief the 9/11 families have endured. My Administration therefore remains resolute in its commitment to assist these families in their pursuit of justice and do whatever we can to prevent another attack in the United States. Enacting JASTA into law, however, would neither protect Americans from terrorist attacks nor improve the effectiveness of our response to such attacks. As drafted, JASTA would allow private litigation against foreign governments in U.S. courts based on allegations that such foreign governments’ actions abroad made them responsible for terrorism-related injuries on U.S. soil. This legislation would permit litigation against countries that have neither been designated by the executive branch as state sponsors of terrorism nor taken direct actions in the United States to carry out an attack here. The JASTA would be detrimental to U.S. national interests more broadly, which is why I am returning it without my approval.

"First, JASTA threatens to reduce the effectiveness of our response to indications that a foreign government has taken steps outside our borders to provide support for terrorism, by taking such matters out of the hands of national security and 2 foreign policy professionals and placing them in the hands of private litigants and courts.

"Any indication that a foreign government played a role in a terrorist attack on U.S. soil is a matter of deep concern and merits a forceful, unified Federal Government response that considers the wide range of important and effective tools available. One of these tools is designating the foreign government in question as a state sponsor of terrorism, which carries with it a litany of repercussions, including the foreign government being stripped of its sovereign immunity before U.S. courts in certain terrorism-related cases and subjected to a range of sanctions. Given these serious consequences, state sponsor of terrorism designations are made only after national security, foreign policy, and intelligence professionals carefully review all available information to determine whether a country meets the criteria that the Congress established. In contrast, JASTA departs from longstanding standards and practice under our Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and threatens to strip all foreign governments of immunity from judicial process in the United States based solely upon allegations by private litigants that a foreign government’s overseas conduct had some role or connection to a group or person that carried out a terrorist attack inside the United States. This would invite consequential decisions to be made based upon incomplete information and risk having different courts reaching different conclusions about the culpability of individual foreign governments and their role in terrorist activities directed against the United States — which is neither an effective nor a coordinated way for us to respond to indications that a foreign government might have been behind a terrorist attack."

In other words, because two successive U.S. Administrations—Bush and Obama—covered up the Saudi role in the worst terrorist attack to ever take place on U.S. soil and failed to place Saudi Arabia and Great Britain on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, the families are deprived of their day in court!

Obama went on to openly defend the U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia—in spite of the mountain of evidence against the Saudi Royal Family, not the least of which is a U.S. Congressional report with 28 pages of evidence:

"Third, JASTA threatens to create complications in our relationships with even our closest partners. If JASTA were enacted, courts could potentially consider even minimal allegations accusing U.S. allies or partners of complicity in a particular terrorist attack in the United States to be sufficient to open the door to litigation and wide-ranging discovery against a foreign country—for example, the country where an individual who later committed a terrorist act traveled from or became radicalized. A number of our allies and partners have already contacted us with serious concerns about the bill. By exposing these allies and partners to this sort of litigation in U.S. courts, JASTA threatens to limit their cooperation on key national security issues, including counterterrorism initiatives, at a crucial time when we are trying to build coalitions, not create divisions."

Obama concluded by once again lying about his efforts on behalf of the 9/11 families and his successes in the Global War on Terrorism:

"The 9/11 attacks were the worst act of terrorism on U.S. soil, and they were met with an unprecedented U.S. Government response. The United States has taken robust and wide-ranging actions to provide justice for the victims of the 9/11 attacks and keep Americans safe, from providing financial compensation for victims and their families to conducting worldwide counterterrorism programs to bringing criminal charges against culpable individuals. I have continued and expanded upon these efforts, both to help victims of terrorism gain justice for the loss and suffering of their loved ones and to protect the United States from future attacks. The JASTA, however, does not contribute to these goals, does not enhance the safety of Americans from terrorist attacks, and undermines core U.S. interests. For these reasons, I must veto the bill."

The language in this letter to the Senate is so repulsive that it can be used as a weapon against Obama, both in assuring an overwhelming over-ride of his veto and in moving immediately for his removal. Don’t miss a beat!