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After Election, Expect Saudi Megabucks Effort To Repeal JASTA

Oct. 25, 2016 (EIRNS)—Leaders of groups supporting the 9/11 families in the passage of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) are warning that after the presidential election, the Saudis will launch a multi-million-dollar public-relations campaign to reverse JASTA. And the John Brennans and James Clappers of the military intelligence apparatus, together with Obama, will attempt to create fear that our soldiers will be at risk because of JASTA.

The passage of JASTA gives American courts the authorization to award civil claims against a state for physical injury or death that occurs as a result of an act of international terrorism.

In the McGill International Review of Oct. 20, Anna Sibal reports that the Arab Project is pushing the Iraqi government to seek compensation for the killing of civilian targets and destruction of property during the 2003 U.S. Iraq invasion. Though these questions on the U.S. invasion of Iraq have been raised before, no action has resulted.

The strongest objection to JASTA arises from the supposed violation of "sovereign immunity" that it allows. Sibal writes that the concept that "the sovereign state can do no wrong" has been used historically by governments to remain free of tort liability, and in more recent history, to declare themselves legally untouchable in cases of criminal prosecution by other states.

"Weakening sovereign immunity may prevent it from being used as a deflection whenever states engage in a dubiously legal action in other states,"

Sibel writes, but

"a full suspension of sovereign immunity is not practical, and will most likely never occur. However, a weakening of the principle’s power may force states to consider before using violence in foreign policy. States should fear the consequences of JASTA and the newly-affirmed vulnerability of their absolute state immunity rights."

In the lead-up to the passage of JASTA, Rep. Peter King’s legal counsel wrote a memorandum on the subject on his website, stating:

"JASTA does not apply to military activities of a foreign state. JASTA is expressly unavailable in relation to any act of war, as defined under existing law. This limitation, coupled with JASTA’s requirement that the claim arise from an act of international terrorism on U.S. soil, as also defined under existing law, precludes JASTA’s invocation in relation to any military activities of a foreign sovereign.

"The enactment of reciprocal legislation poses no risk to our military personnel. Given the limitations described above, the enactment by a foreign government of legislation mirroring JASTA would present no risk of lawsuits against U.S. military personnel. To the extent the issue is instead the potential that a foreign government might enact different laws that allow claims against U.S. personnel, it would not be reciprocating, but rather engaging in a transparent and unjustifiable act of aggression, and the U.S. would be expected to respond by making clear the economic, diplomatic, social, and military consequences of such aggression, as it would in any other case.

"The United States Already is Subject to Claims Abroad for Civilian Casualties of Drone Strikes and Pays Compensation to Unintended Casualties of Those Strikes. The United States already responds to claims in foreign jurisdictions for civilian casualties of drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, and has a program in place to pay compensation to the families of unintended casualties of those strikes..."

[Memo by Jamie Tricarico Matese, Office of Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.)]

JASTA is a U.S. law which allows American citizens to seek judgments in U.S. courts that Saudi-British sponsored terrorists killed American citizens on U.S. soil on 9/11. The only problem with JASTA is that it doesn’t allow Americans to sue Obama for killing Americans.

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