Two days before the 15 year anniversary of the September 11 attack, we previously noted that the House unanimously passed – to thunderous applause – legislation allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in U.S. courts, The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously in May, now heads to President Obama’s desk. And that’s where things get tricky for Obama.
The White House has fiercely opposed the bill, arguing it could both strain relations with Saudi Arabia and also lead to retaliatory legislation overseas against U.S. citizens. Obama has lobbied fiercely against the bill, and has hinted strongly it will veto the measure.
And so, given the administration’s dissent for the lawmakers’ decision, the mainstream media has been unleashed to ensure the ignorant public is brainwashed when Obama vetos the bill.
This is what passes for journalism in America today.
The Intercept reports:
Sen. Rand Paul’s expression of opposition to a $1.1 billion U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia — which has been brutally bombing civilian targets in Yemen using U.S.-made weapons for more than a year now — alarmed CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday afternoon.
Blitzer’s concern: That stopping the sale could result in fewer jobs for arms manufacturers.
“So for you this is a moral issue,” he told Paul during the Kentucky Republican’s appearance on CNN. “Because you know, there’s a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there’s gonna be a significant loss of jobs, of revenue here in the United States. That’s secondary from your standpoint?”
Paul stayed on message. “Well not only is it a moral question, its a Constitutional question,” Paul said. “Our founding fathers very directly and specifically did not give the president the power to go to war. They gave it to Congress. So Congress needs to step up and this is what I’m doing.”
Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015, and has since been responsible for the majority of the 10,000 deaths in the war so far. The U.S.-backed bombing coalition has been accused of intentionally targeting civilians, hospitals, factories, markets, schools, and homes. The situation is so bad that the Red Cross has started donating morgue units to Yemeni hospitals.
The Obama administration has sold more weapons to the Saudis than any other administration, pledging more than $115 billion worth of small arms, tanks, helicopters, missiles, and aircraft.
But hey, the Saudis aren’t really that bad, right. No, they’re just one of the most barbaric, inhumane terrorist supporting states on planet earth.
And now Bloomberg’s-own Editorial Board have unleashed a brief (but clear) explanation of why (in our rough translation) anyone who votes for the bill is unpatrotic and if it is allowed to become law, the entire US economy will come crumbling down…
It was hardly a surprise that the House unanimously passed a bill supported by the families of Sept. 11 victims just before the 15th anniversary of the attack. Unfortunately, law is more likely to make the U.S. vulnerable to unlimited lawsuits by its enemies. President Barack Obama should stick to his promise to reject it, and ideally Congress will come to its senses and not try to override the veto.
While the bill doesn’t mention any nation specifically, its purpose is clearly to allow U.S. citizens to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks. The Saudis have long been sponsors of extremist Islam, but evidence tying them to actual perpetrators of the 2001 attacks is circumstantial at best. The release of the so-called “28 pages” from the congressional investigation of Sept. 11 disappointed those certain it contained proof of Saudi involvement.
It’s not even clear that the act would be much help in any lawsuits: It contains a provision giving the executive branch the power to stay any proceeding so long as it “is engaged in good faith discussions with the foreign state defendant concerning the resolution of the claims against the foreign state.”
It is abundantly clear, by contrast, that the bill would undermine the longstanding principle of sovereign immunity, under which such disputes are resolved between nations, not in courts. The unraveling of this doctrine makes any nation vulnerable to suits by the citizens of another — and no state will be more vulnerable than the U.S.
If this principle is abandoned, it’s a good bet that anti-American lawsuits will flourish not just in hostile states like Iran — where, in fact, the U.S. has been found guilty many times in judgments not enforceable under sovereign immunity — but almost certainly in Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and other countries where U.S. counter-terrorism efforts have mistakenly killed civilians. Moreover, in addition to the potential monetary costs, parties in civil suits are often given wide powers of discovery, potentially allowing them access to state secrets.
The Sept. 11 victims and their families deserve everlasting support and compassion, and they are admirable in their dogged pursuit of justice. But members of Congress might also want to consider the sort of “justice” this bill would leave the U.S. vulnerable to on the global stage.
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As we concluded previously, the real question, however, is not so much what Obama – who could potentially be branded a traitor if he proceeds with a veto as suggested, against the wishes of every single member of Congress, and the US population – will do, but how the Saudis, some of the most generous donors of the Clinton Foundation, will respond if the law indeed passes. As a reminder, in an epic media blunder, in early June, the Saudi Crown Prince admitted that Saudi Arabia had funded 20% of Hillary’s presidential campaign, and will surely demand aquid pro quo in exchange. What Saudi vengeance may look like, should the generous Clinton donor’s will not be obeyed, will be something Hillary’s campaign will surely be very interested in.