Saudi Arabia is threatening to financially punish the U.S. if it holds the kingdom to account for its 9/11 role, coercion that hovers over President Obama’s new visit to the Saudi “allies” and that 9/11 widow Kristen Breitweiser condemns.
By Kristen Breitweiser
On Saturday, Mark Mazzetti wrote an article that appears on the front page of the New York Times called, “Saudis Tell U.S. To Back Off Bill On 9/11 Lawsuits.” The shocking title alone should make American citizens sit up and take notice.
When did the U.S. government start taking orders from foreign nations? Did I miss something? Have we become a foreign territory of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia? Did Saudi Arabia somehow become a branch of the U.S. government with sway over the President, Congress, and the Judiciary?
Mazzetti documents disturbing details that reveal a U.S. government not just taking and carrying out Saudi orders, but a U.S. President being brought to his knees by Saudi extortion. Mazzetti also summarizes the Obama Administration’s decision to support the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the 9/11 families’ right for justice and accountability for the 9/11 attacks.
The Saudis get such royal, preferential treatment because they’ve stomped their feet, threatened to pull all their money out of the U.S. economy and bankrupt the world if not given their way. As ridiculous as that threat sounds, the Obama administration is apparently very scared by it.
Currently, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been dismissed from the 9/11 families’ lawsuit via their Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) protections. As a result, the court has yet to have the opportunity to see the evidence against the Kingdom with regard to their alleged role of financing the 9/11 attacks.
This sets a dangerous precedent since it means that as long as a foreign nation is not listed as a “known state sponsor of terrorism,” they are completely immune from being held accountable for any bad behavior or illegal acts they perpetrate inside the U.S. — yes, even the mass murder of 3,000 people on 9/11.
Suffice it to say, this isn’t your typical young Saudi prince getting a parking ticket for his gold Lamborghini. This is the Saudis getting a pass for funding mass murder — with the blessings of the U.S Government.
At a time when most can’t get Washington to agree on much of anything, the 9/11 families have been able to gather Members of Congress — both Democrats and Republicans, and as polar opposite as Al Franken and Ted Cruz — to work together on a vital piece of legislation called Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism (JASTA). Quite a feat. But then again, 9/11 has the unique ability to unite almost everyone together under that one broad undeniable theme: being a true American.
JASTA removes the protection of the FSIA from any nation (regardless of their status as an ally or named state sponsor of terrorism) that participates in a terrorist attack when the terrorist attack is perpetrated on U.S. soil. JASTA makes clear that U.S. citizens remain the priority not foreign nations that fund terror. Specifically, JASTA removes the Saudis’ use of the FSIA as a shield of immunity — allowing them to be brought to court to finally answer charges for their alleged role in the 9/11 attacks.
Clearly, the Saudis are deeply concerned about JASTA since it would mean all the incriminating evidence gathered against them and their alleged role in the 9/11 attacks would finally be revealed and presented in an open court of law — nearly 15 years after the crime was committed. Indeed, many who have seen this evidence have commented that Americans will find the information “shocking” and that the “revelations will require a complete re-appraisal of the U.S./Saudi relationship.”
Why should this vital information be kept from the 9/11 families and the American public by President Obama? Why should evidence of the mass murder of 3,000 people be kept out of a court of law? Why does the Obama White House oppose holding the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia accountable for their funding of terrorist acts, including the terrorist attacks of 9/11? Why isn’t the U.S. government protecting the rights of the U.S. victims of terrorist attacks?
It is bad enough that Wall Street tycoons got off the hook in 2008 because they were “too big to fail.” But, to re-victimize the 9/11 families in order to protect the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia because they are “too invested in the U.S. economy to be held accountable” is appalling. It is extortion — plain and simple.
We struggle to understand why the U.S. government led by President Obama would so willingly drop to its knees and bare its neck to the shiny sword of Saudi extortion. What has become of our country?
America needs elected officials and leaders who recognize that U.S. citizens are their constituents — not oil-rich nations that bankroll terrorists. America needs to send a clarion message to the world — if you murder our citizens, you will answer for it. And America should never succumb to extortion by terrorists.
Are we to do away and dispense with all laws and accountability everywhere leaving us with a sort of Wild West environment where murder by the wealthy is OK, and rule of law is secondary to greed and power?
We call upon every member of Congress and all presidential candidates to endorse JASTA and to publicly rebuke such Saudi extortion. And we ask President Obama, to ignore the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s undue influence and extortion attempts by passing JASTA now.
Kristen Breitweiser is a 9/11 widow and activist who – working with other 9/11 widows known collectively as the “Jersey Girls” – pressured the U.S. government to conduct a formal investigation into the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Follow Kristen Breitweiser on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kdbreitweiser. [This article originally appeared as a blog post at HuffingtonPost.]