Bipartisan bill in US Senate would facilitate civil litigation by terror victims
By Christopher W. Holton
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. Senate has introduced legislation that would facilitate terror victims to sue foreign governments and private-sector financiers for support of terrorism.
The bill, aimed chiefly at the Saudi regime and individual Persian Gulf terrorism funders in nations such as Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia, has been backed by victims and families of victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They have been fighting a lengthy legal battle to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its support of Jihadist terror groups.
The Senate passed an identical bill unanimously last December, but the John Boehner-led House of Representatives adjourned before it took up the bill.
The bill has a truly bipartisan backing, with sponsorship by Senators as divergent as Charles Schumer and Ted Cruz.
Insurance companies that lost billions of dollars as a result of the damage at ground zero, and family members and victims of the terrorist attacks sued Saudi Arabia and Islamist charities affiliated with the Saudi government in 2003, alleging they provided support to al-Qaeda in the years before the 2001 attacks. That support enabled al-Qaeda to become a global threat, and provided the wherewithal for the 19 terrorists on Sept. 11 to hijack commercial airliners and crash them into the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, the victims allege.
The bill would amend two laws, the Anti-Terrorism Act and the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, to make clear that foreign governments and private-sector financiers that provide indirect support to terrorist organizations can be held liable in U.S. courts. The language is aimed at federal appellate court rulings that Schumer and others say created uncertainty about when terror victims can sue.
One thing we can be certain of is that the US State Department, which is essentially in the tank for the Saudis, will lobby hard against this bill. That’s one good reason to support it. Anything the US State Department is against is at least worthy of consideration.
If you don’t believe us about the State Department being in the tank for the Saudis, just take a look at all the former State Department diplomats who, upon retirement, get on the Saudi payroll…the world’s second oldest profession is thriving at Foggy Bottom…