Tag Archives: September 11

Reality Check: Could 9/11 Victim Families Actually Sue Saudi Arabia?

Last week a U.S. District court judge rejected a request by Saudi Arabia to dismiss lawsuits accusing the nation of being involved in the 9/11 attacks.

So what does this mean for the families of 9/11 victims?

Does this mean that Saudi Arabia’s immunity in the case has run out? And will the public finally get to read the 28 pages of the 9/11 report without redactions?

Let’s give it a Reality Check you won’t get anywhere else.

Families of 9/11 victims will get the chance to try to prove that Saudi Arabia is liable for helping to fund 9/11 hijackers. That, according to a ruling by a district court judge last week.

According to U.S. District Judge George Daniels, the plaintiffs’ allegations of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9/11 “narrowly articulate a reasonable basis” for him to assert jurisdiction under JASTA.

JASTA, or the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, provides a legal exemption to the principle of sovereign immunity, thus allowing foreign governments to be held liable in U.S. courts.

This is a big deal because, until now, Saudi Arabia had broad-based immunity from 9/11-related lawsuits in the United States.

In 2016, then-President Obama attempted to veto JASTA, claiming that it “could expose U.S. companies, troops and officials to lawsuits in other countries,” according to Reuters. But the Senate overrode the veto by an overwhelming margin to adopt the legislation.

From Reuters: “Daniels’ decision covers claims by the families of those killed, roughly 25,000 people who suffered injuries, and many businesses and insurers.”

While the current lawsuit is moving forward, it is not the only fear the Saudis have over 9/11. The Saudi government also is reportedly worried about the possibility of the release of the un-redacted “28 pages” which have long kept secrets about the alleged connection between the Saudis and 9/11.

So what are the 28 pages?

They are 28 pages of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11 report that had been classified, until a redacted version was declassified 2016.

Yet, members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, and the heads of the Congressional Joint Inquiry, have indicated that if the redactions of those 28 pages were made available to the public, it would completely change everything you think you know about the 9/11 attacks.

The implications revealed so far in the redacted 28 pages are deeply concerning. According to page 424 of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11, the FBI received “numerous” reports from individuals who believed Omar al-Bayoumi, the man who co-signed an apartment lease in San Diego for two of the 9/11 hijackers, was a Saudi intelligence officer.

It also reads that Al-Bayoumi also introduced the two hijackers to a translator in San Diego, who helped them get driver licenses and locate flight schools.

We also know that, according to the Miami Herald, FBI records released in 2013 show a Saudi family living in Florida directly tied to the Saudi Royal Family, had “many connections” to two other 9/11 hijackers and then fled the country in a “sudden departure” only days before the attacks, leaving valuables and personal effects behind as if they left at a moment’s notice.

Additionally, according to the New York Post, leaked information from the redacted 28 pages, details a transfer of “some 130 thousand dollars from then Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar’s family checking account to yet another one of the [9/11] hijacker’s Saudi handlers in San Diego.”

What you need to know is that the lawsuit against the Saudis may still be blocked… that’s because, a last-minute amendment was inserted into the JASTA legislation called the “Stay of Actions Pending State Negotiations,” which allows the U.S. attorney general or secretary of state to simply “certify” that the U.S. is “engaged in good-faith discussions with the foreign-state defendant concerning the resolution of claims against the foreign state.”

And even though Candidate Trump had said that he would consider releasing the un-redacted 28 pages of the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11, based on how close he is with the Saudis, that is not likely to actually happen, as much as the families of 9/11 victims deserve to know the truth.

That’s Reality Check, let’s talk about it right now on Facebook and Twitter.

Retired NYC 9/11 Firefighter Dies from Ground Zero Illness

A twenty-year veteran of the Fire Department of New York has died due to cancer caused by his time spent working at the World Trade Center site following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. The NY Daily News reported that George Froehlich began his career in 1982 at Ladder Company 242 in Brooklyn before joining Ladder Company 87 in Staten Island until he retired in 2002. Froehlich battled prostate cancer before he passed away and is reportedly the 9th FDNY member to die from a 9/11-related illness this year.

According to his family members, Froehlich “helped ferry supplies back and forth to the World Trade Center site for months after the 9/11 attacks.” Froehlich’s death was preceded by the deaths of two retired NYPD officers and a fire battalion chief. NYPD Lt. William Wanser, Detective Pedro Esponda and Watertown Fire Battalion Chief David Lachenauer  all died from cancer related to first responder efforts after 9/11.

Since the 9/11 attacks, more than 3,000 first responders have died from similar illnesses. In late 2017, The Hill described a recently recognized cancer cluster related to dust from the collapse of the World Trade Center towers:

A cancer cluster is emerging in lower Manhattan that has victimized former school children and teachers. Doctors from the WTC Health Program have certified that these cancers were caused by exposure to the toxic dust from the World Trade Center collapse.

In addition, the Hill reported that “New York City firefighters and police officers who responded that day, and/or worked on the debris pile afterwards, lost an average of 12 year’s lung capacity. They were not the only ones breathing in that air. Residents, office workers, construction workers removing the debris, and students and teachers were all exposed to the same toxins.”

To understand the origins of these first responder illnesses, it’s important to remember the weeks following the attacks. One week after the attacks, the Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Christine Todd Whitman released a statement declaring that the air and water surrounding Ground Zero to be safe to breathe and drink. “Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington, D.C. that their air is safe to breath and their water is safe to drink,” Whitman stated.

In May 2007, a Congressional investigation examined the EPA’s role in responding to the environmental crisis and air quality emergency following the 9/11 attacks. Whitman initially refused to testify, but ultimately testified before being cleared of any wrongdoing.

For its part, Congress did pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which is designed to provide medical services and compensation for first responders; critics have claimed the government is not doing enough to help those who volunteered their livelihood in the wake of the largest terror attack on American soil. Unfortunately, the first responders who risked their lives to save survivors and clean the streets of New York City will continue to suffer in the meantime, and the deaths of these men and women is yet another injustice related to the crimes of September 11, 2001.

Afghan Army Officers, Who Went AWOL on US Soil, Caught Sneaking into Canada

ABC News recently reported that three Afghan army officers, who had been flown into the US on September 11 to participate in an Afghan-US joint training exercise at Joint Base Cape Cod, went missing on Saturday during a field trip to the Cape Cod Mall in Hyannis, MA. WCBV Channel 5 Boston just broke news that the missing Afghan soldiers were caught trying to slip over the Rainbow Bridge US/Canada border crossing near Niagara Falls, claiming to be refugees.

According to USA Today, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick speculated that the three officers, identified as Maj. Jan Mohammad Arash, Capt. Noorullah Aminy, and Capt. Mohammad Nasir Askarzada, may have gone absent without leave in an effort to defect. The joint training exercise, which includes 200 soldiers from nations like Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Mongolia, is set to end on September 24. Twelve other Afghan military personnel are currently participating in the training program at Joint Base Cape Cod, which features a mock-up of a forward operating base, similar to the ones used by the US military in Afghanistan.

When the three Afghan officers initially went missing, authorities responded by cautioning that all of the officers participating in the program were heavily vetted prior to being transported into the United States and that the missing officers did not pose a threat to the public.

This incident marks the second time this month that Afghan forces have gone missing during training exercises within the United States. Previously, two Afghan policemen, who had been brought to Quantico, VA to train with the Drug Enforcement Administration, went missing and were found in Buffalo, NY, near where the three Afghan army officers reportedly attempted to cross the border into Canada. DEA representative Rusty Payne told Buffalo News that the two Afghan police officers slipped away from Quantico due to “the lure of a better life” in the United States. In additional comments to WIBV-TV 4, Payne said, “I suspect there will be some oversight but I don’t think this represents a significant problem.”

Officials have not yet indicated why two separate groups of missing Afghan forces, disappearing from different locations within the US, both turned up near Buffalo, NY. According to WIVB-TV 4, authorities believe the two Afghan police officers, who were found last Thursday, traveled to Buffalo to visit with family.

In 2003, a group of Buffalo-area Yemeni-American residents called the “Buffalo Six” were convicted of providing material support to Al Qaeda after attending a training camp in Afghanistan in September of 2001, though no known ties have been alleged between any of the missing Afghan forces and any potential terror suspects in upstate New York.

This incident comes just as American politicians such as US Senator Rand Paul are raising questions about the potential unintended consequences that could emerge from the Obama administration’s plan to arm and train 5,000 Syrian rebels in an effort to combat ISIS in Syria.