Skip to comments.BREAKING: McCain and Graham Seek to Gut 9/11 Bill to Immunize Foreign Governments Funding Terrorists
Posted on 11/30/2016 4:13:01 PM PST by jazusamo
In a Senate floor speech today, Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham announced that they are offering an amendment to strip a key element of the recently passed Justice Against Sponsors of Terror Act (JASTA) that clarifies U.S. law for civil claims against foreign governments for funding terrorism.
JASTA was passed in the Senate in May with no objections, and passed the House of Representatives unanimously in September. President Obama promptly vetoed the bill. The Senate and House successfully voted to override the veto and the bill became law.
McCain and Graham specifically said they want to strip the "discretionary state function" provision from JASTA that creates liability for foreign governments funding terrorist groups.
According to Hill sources familiar with the McCain/Graham amendment, their intention is to immunize countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar that have funded Sunni terrorist groups in Syria -- the Syrian "rebel" effort that both McCain and Graham have publicly supported since 2011.
The McCain/Graham amendment was slammed by 9/11 family groups that fought for JASTA.
The 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism put out the following press release this afternoon:
In a speech on the Senate floor this afternoon Senator Graham pitched this new language as a simple caveat but in reality he is proposing to amend JASTA to add a specific jurisdictional defense Saudi Arabia has been relying on for the last 13 years to avoid having to face the 9/11 families evidence on the merits.
Moreover, Senator Graham and Senator McCain mischaracterized JASTA in several material respects during their speeches today. For example, Senator Graham argued that JASTA is deficient because it does not require that a foreign state have knowingly supported terrorism in order for liability to attach, but in fact JASTAs liability provision expressly requires that the foreign state have knowingly provided substantial assistance to a designated terrorist organization in order for liability to arise. Senator Graham also suggested that adding a discretionary function provision to JASTA would protect the US from claims for drone strikes in Pakistan, which is simply incorrect given that Pakistan has made clear its view that domestic and international law prohibit those strikes.
Notably, Grahams and McCains efforts come in the wake of a massive lobbying campaign by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which is now employing roughly a dozen Washington lobbying firms at a cost of more than $1.3 million per month.
"In April of this year, Senator Graham met with 9/11 family members from the September 11 Advocates Group and told them that he supported our cause 100%, said Terry Strada, National Chair for the 9/11 Families and Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism.
Senator Graham is now stabbing the 9/11 families in the back. He and Senator McCain are seeking to torpedo JASTA by imposing changes demanded by Saudi Arabia's lobbyists. We have reviewed the language, and it is an absolute betrayal.
The 9/11 Families are fortunate to have Senators John Cornyn and Chuck Schumer to block this action in the Senate, and we take comfort that President-elect Donald Trump strongly supports our cause. The President-elect has made his support for JASTA crystal-clear, and there is zero risk that he will support this kind of backroom backstabbing of the 9/11 families, Strada concluded.
In their statements today, Senator Graham said with respect to their intentions:
We're trying to work with Senator Schumer and Senator Cornyn, who deserve a lot of credit for trying to help the 9/11 families. Here's what we're asking. We're asking that we put a caveat to the law we just passed saying that you can bring a lawsuit, but if you're suing based on a discretionary function of a government to form an alliance with somebody or to make a military decision or a political decision, the only time that government is liable is if they knowingly engage with a terrorist organization directly or indirectly, including financing. I am okay with that because our country is not going to fall in league with terrorists and finance them to hurt other people. If we don't make this change, here's what I fear: That other countries will pass laws like this, and they will say that the United States is liable for engaging in drone attacks or other activity in the war on terror and haul us into court as a nation and haul the people that we give the responsibility to defend the nation into foreign courts.
The changes that Senator Graham and I are proposing, I think, are modest. And I think that logically, that you should not pursue or prosecute a government that did not knowingly -- the word isn't abetted or orchestrated, but knowingly -- knowingly stand by and assist a terrorist group that they shouldn't be dragged into our courts. If we don't fix it, our ability to defend ourselves would be undermined. And I just want to emphasize one more point that the senator from South Carolina made. We have had drone strikes in many places in the world, in many countries in the world. Pakistan is another example. And all of us have supported the efforts, and many of them successful, in destroying those leaders who were responsible for the deaths of American servicemen and women. And it is a weapon in the war against terror. But sometimes, as in war, mistakes are made and innocent civilians were killed along with those terrorists. Does that mean that the United States of America, the government, is now liable? I'm afraid that some in the tort profession would view this as an opening to bring suits against the United States of America.
It appears their intention is to pass the amendments to JASTA during the lame-duck session before they lose key allies, such as Senator Kelly Ayotte, who lost her reelection bid in New Hampshire.
Well now we know who butters the Bobsey Twins’ bread.
Nothing good comes out of these two.
These two bags of cement can’t see the tide riding in to sweep them out to sea.
They really are one trick ponies, aren’t they?
How much dough are these guys getting from the Saudis? Everything they push for is in their interest
THese two bozos should have been primarried and they weren’t.
HOw difficult can it be to locate a good candidate to run against these losers,onece thats done the money will follow.
Sooner or later we need to start taking responsibility for not getting rid of these idiots.
We can get the ball rolling on all of these rino/turds we just have to be vigilant and get things done that will unwind their hold on power.
Who are these traitors working for, a foreign government hostile to US interests or the American people?
How do these two old turds get re-elected?
Charge them with treason, Mr. Trump.
Better get it through before their enemy gets there.
Pray America woke
I would guess a whole lot.
I’d sooner “trust” the ClinToons than I would McSlime & nancyboy.
We’ve got to get these two out of the punch bowl.
It appears that McCain & Grahamnesty want to protect/immunize their fellow jihadi supporters — the Saudis & the Qataris. I’m beginning to wonder how much “black” money McCain & Graham have been funneled from the Middle East.
“How do these two old turds get re-elected?”
It’s called open primaries. Dims vote for these guys in the open primaries, so they will be guaranteed a Dim wins the general election (because, let’s face it, McQueeg and Linda are joined at the hip with the Dims).
So, what is the penalty?
“How do these two old turds get re-elected?”
Graham is in his early 60s. That’s not old by Senate standards ... unfortunately.
I hope he gets beaten senseless in the 2020 primaries when Trump gears up for his 500+ EV winning re-election campaign ;-).
Seriously, if Trump does a bang-up job, someone could certainly primary Graham ... there’s plenty of material that makes him look like a bigger ass after this year. SC simply needs to rally behind ONE potential replacement for Graham and not *many* :-).
“a government that did not knowingly — the word isn’t abetted or orchestrated, but knowingly — knowingly stand by and assist a terrorist group that they shouldn’t be dragged into our courts.”
But then it has to be investigated, verified and proven that a government did or did not “knowingly” stand by and assist a terrorist group. How would you objectively do that?
These people are not fighting terrorism; they very much appear to be contributing to it.
Has McC. had an independent psych assessment lately?
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