Victims’ Families Hope for Legal Victory Against Saudi Government

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Public Health Watchdog Breaking News
Public Health Watchdog Breaking News

Families of World Trade Center September 11 terrorist attack victims are hoping that their lawsuit against Saudi Arabia will at long last move forward in the courts.

Both the Bush and Obama administrations had opposed legal action against the Saudi government. In the fall of 2016, President Obama vetoed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) because he believed it would damage a president’s ability to conduct foreign policy. Obama also expressed concern that the law would invite other countries to sue the United States, according to New York station PIX11. However, Congress did not accept those arguments and overrode the president’s veto.

What the Bill Means

“This bill amends the federal judicial code to narrow the scope of foreign sovereign immunity (i.e., a foreign state’s immunity from the jurisdiction of the U.S. courts),” says a summary of the bill on Congress.gov. JASTA authorizes federal court jurisdiction over “a civil claim against a foreign state for physical injury to a person or property or death that occurs inside the United States as a result of: (1) an act of international terrorism, and (2) a tort committed anywhere by an official, agent, or employee of a foreign state acting within the scope of employment.”

A woman who was highly active in working for passage of the law was Terry Strada. The youngest of her three children was born three days before her husband died in the North Tower. Tom Strada was an employee of the financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost 658 of its 960 New York employees when the tower collapsed.

The lawsuit, filed March 20, 2017 in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, accuses Saudi Arabia of funding al-Qaida’s attacks on the World Trade Center and providing cover for Osama bin Laden and his network of terrorists, reports Newsday. The families of those who lost their loved ones on 9/11 hope their lawsuit against the Saudi government will move through the courts swiftly.

The personal injury and wrongful death claims allege that Saudi Arabia was a prime player in funding the al-Qaida attacks on September 11, 2001, reports Newsday. The plaintiffs ask for unspecified damages, alleging the Saudis “intentionally aided, abetted and counseled al-Qaida.”

Evidence emerged in formerly classified papers, from the 9/11 Commission report that high-ranking Saudi officials gave money to support two Saudi-born hijackers living in San Diego, California. “Handlers” connected to the Saudi government were helping the future hijackers financially during a period of 18 months.

Parker Waichman is a national law firm that has spent many years fighting to ensure that the heroes and survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks are never forgotten. The firm is committed to helping anyone seeking legal information concerning a potential lawsuit.

 

Lawsuit Claims Saudi Financing and Aid to al-Qaida

The lawsuit alleges that senior Saudi officials and al-Qaida operatives used a complicated web of transfers to send millions of dollars to the terrorists. The money was funneled through some businesses which were run by bin Laden’s friends and a brother-in-law.

The lawsuit claims that in the months before September 11, Saudi “employees and agents” funneled cash to al-Qaida through a mosque in Culver City, a city close to Los Angeles International Airport, and other “organization, individuals and/or private businesses.” From May to September 11, 2001, U.S. officials sent “urgent requests for assistance from Saudi Arabia” to help locate someone in the country who had maintained contact with a high-ranking al-Qaida operative involved in the planning of an upcoming unspecified al-Qaida attack on the United States.

The lawsuit further states that Saudi Arabia directed government employees, including diplomats, to give help to the 19 hijackers once they landed in the United States. Fifteen of the hijackers were Saudi citizens. Assistance included safe houses for the hijackers, passports, weapons, cash, and equipment, according to the legal complaint.

One of the plaintiffs, a retired FDNY deputy chief who responded to the attacks and later carried out the body of his son, a firefighter, said “We’re going to find out what actually happened on 9/11.” He felt the lawsuit would provide long-anticipated answers for the families.

An attorney involved in the lawsuit said it is time to expose the 9/11 money trail to see if it went through the Saudi government or other countries. The attorney has hopes the lawsuit will uncover information that has been hidden from the public for 16 years, reports Newsday. The lawsuit states that the September 11 attacks “could not have occurred absent the knowing and substantial assistance provided to al-Qaida by Saudi Arabia.”

Members of the national law firm Parker Waichman have fought for the victims and survivors of the attacks. Members of the firm were actively involved in the original passage and reauthorization of the Zadroga Act, which established the Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program. These programs have provided compensation, health care, and monitoring to thousands of first responders, rescue and recovery workers, survivors from the towers and Lower Manhattan residents, as well as people who worked or went to school in the area. Many have suffered respiratory illnesses, cancers, and other serious health problems linked to the toxins released in the collapse of the towers.

The toxic cloud of dust and debris that hovered over lower Manhattan contained a mix of hazardous compounds, including asbestos; pulverized cement; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); benzene; dioxin; glass fibers; gypsum; jet fuel; heavy metals (including lead), irritants; toxins; and carcinogens.

More than 50 types of cancer linked to the toxins have been identified by medical researchers. Specifically, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer and multiple melanoma. In addition to cancers, 9/11 survivors have suffered illnesses including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD); and mental health issues, including depression and anxiety disorder associated with the trauma of the attacks. Some people have suffered multiple types of cancer or other illnesses in addition to cancer. For some individuals, 9/11 toxic exposures exacerbated existing health conditions. Because many cancers take years to emerge after exposure, health experts expect 9/11-related cancers to be diagnosed for many years to come.

Legal Information for Those Experiencing 9/11-Related Health Issues

If you or someone you know suffers from cancer or other illness linked to 9/11 toxic exposures, Parker Waichman offers free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact us at: 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).