September 20, 2012
Bold Step Forward: 9/11 Families applaud Senate Judiciary Committee's approval of JASTA bill
On Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
SENATORS TAKE BOLD STEP FORWARD
TO ACHIEVE JUSTICE FOR 9/11 FAMILY MEMBERS
AND ALL AMERICANS-
ACCOUNTABILITY FOR TERRORIST BANKROLLERS
JASTA bill approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a bold move to empower 9/11 family members and survivors to achieve justice by holding accountable all who aid and abet terrorism, the Senate Judiciary Committee today approved the bipartisan Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA/S. 1894).
Members of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism present at the mark-up praised Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), lead sponsor Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), bill co-sponsors and the other committee members for strengthening America's security and sending the message that terrorist financiers will no longer be able to hide from the long arm of American justice. Co-sponsors of JASTA include Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas). The family members urged the full Senate and the House to move swiftly to enact JASTA before Congress adjourns for the year.
"We're thrilled with the swift action of the committee," said Terry Strada of New Vernon, N.J., widow of Tom Strada, who died in the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. "My children were four days, four years and seven years old when they lost their father. I promised them we were going to get the bad guys. Osama bin Laden was just one piece of the puzzle. Until we get everyone who financed and supported 9/11, including the Saudis, we are not going to stop."
"The financiers are just as guilty as the hijackers," said Robert Kobus of Morristown, N.J., whose sister, Deborah Kobus, was killed in the World Trade Center. "Today moves us one step closer to justice. We urge Congress to take the next step now and make JASTA the law of the land."
"I was happy to see that the committee made a wise decision and amazed at how swiftly the bill was passed," said Allison Vadhan of Atlantic Beach, N.Y., who lost her mother, Kristin White Gould, on United Flight 93. "This makes it clear that anyone who finances and supports terrorism against Americans is just as responsible as those who performed the act, and that foreign officials should never be considered immune for their role in terrorist activities in the United States. I hope Congress has the good sense to move forward swiftly to prevent the financing of terrorism."
"We've had to wait 11 years for our family members to have their day in court and seek justice and now we're one step closer to that goal," said Sylvia Carver of White Plains, Md., who lost her sister, Sharon Ann Carver, in the attack on the Pentagon. "We're so proud to be Americans."
Enactment of JASTA would correct a 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling that no one can be held accountable for financing or supporting a terrorist attack on U.S. soil if they provided the money or support from outside the United States. As a result, terrorist financiers and supporters can literally stand at our borders setting in motion horrific acts in the U.S. while thumbing their nose at the rule of law.
Instead, JASTA corrects this grievous error by making clear that those who support terrorism against the United States can be held accountable no matter where the money was given or support was provided. In so doing, it upholds the longstanding intent of Congress to empower private citizens to take legal action against those who provide financial or material support to acts of terrorism in the United States, as a way to achieve justice and to strengthen our national security by cutting off the terrorists' money pipeline.
This legislation has also been introduced in the House (H.R. 5904) by Reps. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) and Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). Members of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism pledged a full-court press to win passage of JASTA in both chambers in the waning days of the 112th Congress.
The 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
This group is comprised of more than 6,600 family members, survivors and those killed in the 9/11 attacks. They are united in the cause of pursuing justice and deterring future terrorist attacks.To do so, they are using the civil legal system to pursue those who allegedly financed and provided support for the cowardly terrorist attacks. The case is In re Thomas E. Burnett, Sr., et al. v. Al Baraka Investment & Development Corp., et al., Case No. 03-CV-9849 (GBD); In re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, 03 MDL 1570. The families are represented by civil litigation firm Motley Rice LLC.