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Better Late than Never: Appellate Court Clears the Way for 9/11 Families to Sue Saudi Arabia

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. (The flash dri­ve includes the anti-fas­cist books avail­able on this site.)

COMMENT: Two recent items are wor­thy of noting–an appel­late court has cleared the way for fam­i­lies of 9/11 vic­tims to sue Sau­di Ara­bia, and the 28 pages redact­ed from the 9/11 Joint Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee report are once again a top­ic of pub­lic dis­cus­sion.

If the plain­tiffs can get access to those 28 pages, things could get very inter­est­ing indeed. 

A point worth not­ing con­cerns the plain­tiffs inter­est in the role of “char­i­ties” in financ­ing the 9/11 attacks. That inves­ti­ga­tion could–conceivably–head toward Mus­lim char­i­ties linked with the Bank al-Taqwa. IF the 9/11 law­suit were to pro­ceed in the direc­tion of Youssef Nada, Bank al-Taqwa the SAAR Net­work, the Safa Trust, and the over­lap­ping Islam­ic Free Mar­ket Insti­tute , the inves­ti­ga­tion would ensnare some very inter­est­ing indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions.

Not only would Grover Norquist, Karl Rove and Talat Oth­man come under scruti­ny, but the al-Taqwa inves­ti­ga­tion would go back to Fran­cois Genoud, Nada, Achmed Huber and the Under­ground Reich

Sad­ly, Oper­a­tion Green Quest has remained almost com­plete­ly buried, ignored by the major media, as well as the so-called “alter­na­tive” media. It has been delib­er­ate­ly eclipsed by the so-called “Truther” move­ment, financed by the very inter­ests that exe­cut­ed the attacks.

“9/11 Fam­i­lies ‘Ecsta­t­ic’ They Can Final­ly Sue Sau­di Ara­bia” by By Aaron Kater­sky and Rus­sell Gold­man [ABC News]; Yahoo News; 12/20/2011.

Fam­i­lies of the vic­tims of the Sept. 11 attacks today cel­e­brat­ed a fed­er­al court’s rul­ing that allows rel­a­tives of peo­ple who died in the 9/11 ter­ror attacks to sue Sau­di Ara­bia.

Most of the hijack­ers who attacked the World Trade Cen­ter and the Pen­ta­gon in 2001 were from Sau­di Ara­bia, and the com­plaint states that much of the fund­ing for the al-Qae­da ter­ror­ists came from Sau­di Ara­bia.

An attempt to Sau­di Ara­bia in 2002 was blocked by a fed­er­al court rul­ing that said the king­dom had sov­er­eign immu­ni­ty. That rul­ing was reversed Thurs­day by a three-judge fed­er­al pan­el.

“I’m ecsta­t­ic.... For 12 years we’ve been fight­ing to expose the peo­ple who financed those bas­tards,” said William Doyle, the father of Joseph Doyle, 25, a Can­tor-Fitzger­ald employ­ee who was killed in the North Tow­er of the World Trade Cen­ter.

“Christ­mas has come ear­ly to the 9/11 fam­i­lies. We’re going to have our day in court,” he told ABCNews.com.

The rul­ing struck down an ear­li­er deci­sion that found Sau­di Ara­bia immune from law­suits. The 2nd U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Appeals said it’s in the “inter­ests of jus­tice” to allow them to pro­ceed.

Fam­i­lies who lost loved ones in the Sept. 11 attacks and insur­ers who lost bil­lions of dol­lars cov­er­ing dam­aged busi­ness­es have alleged Sau­di Ara­bia bankrolled al-Qae­da, know­ing the mon­ey would be used for ter­ror­ism.

The law­suit, filed a decade ago by the Philadel­phia firm Coz­en O’Con­nor, accus­es the Sau­di gov­ern­ment and mem­bers of the roy­al fam­i­ly of serv­ing on char­i­ties that financed al-Qae­da oper­a­tions.

“9/11 Link To Sau­di Ara­bia Is Top­ic Of 28 Redact­ed Pages In Gov­ern­ment Report; Con­gress­men Push For Release” by Jamie Reno; Inter­na­tional Busi­ness Times; 12/9/2013.

Since ter­ror­ists attacked the Unit­ed States on Sept. 11, 2001, vic­tims’ loved ones, injured sur­vivors, and mem­bers of the media have all tried with­out much suc­cess to dis­cover the true nature of the rela­tion­ship between the 19 hijack­ers – 15 of them Sau­di nation­als – and the Sau­di Ara­bian gov­ern­ment. Many news orga­ni­za­tions report­ed that some of the ter­ror­ists were linked to the Sau­di roy­als and that they even may have received finan­cial sup­port from them as well as from sev­eral mys­te­ri­ous, mon­eyed Sau­di men liv­ing in San Diego.

Sau­di Ara­bia has repeat­edly denied any con­nec­tion, and nei­ther Pres­i­dent George W. Bush nor Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has been forth­com­ing on this issue.

But ear­lier this year, Reps. Wal­ter B. Jones, R‑N.C., and Stephen Lynch, D‑Mass., were giv­en access to the 28 redact­ed pages of the Joint Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee Inquiry (JICI) of 9/11 issued in late 2002, which have been thought to hold some answers about the Sau­di con­nec­tion to the attack.

“I was absolute­ly shocked by what I read,” Jones told Inter­na­tional Busi­ness Times. “What was so sur­pris­ing was that those whom we thought we could trust real­ly dis­ap­pointed me. I can­not go into it any more than that. I had to sign an oath that what I read had to remain con­fi­den­tial. But the infor­ma­tion I read dis­ap­pointed me great­ly.”

The pub­lic may soon also get to see these secret doc­u­ments. Last week, Jones and Lynch intro­duced a res­o­lu­tion that urges Pres­i­dent Oba­ma to declas­sify the 28 pages, which were orig­i­nally clas­si­fied by Pres­i­dent George W. Bush. It has nev­er been ful­ly explained why the pages were blacked out, but Pres­i­dent Bush stat­ed in 2003 that releas­ing the pages would vio­late nation­al secu­ri­ty.

While nei­ther Jones nor Lynch would say just what is in the doc­u­ment, some of the infor­ma­tion has leaked out over the years.A mul­ti­tude of sources tell IBTimes, and numer­ous press reports over the years in Newsweek, the New York Times, CBS News and oth­er media con­firm, that the 28 pages in fact clear­ly por­tray that the Sau­di gov­ern­ment had at the very least an indi­rect role in sup­port­ing the ter­ror­ists respon­si­ble for the 9/11 attack. In addi­tion, these clas­si­fied pages clar­ify some­what the links between the hijack­ers and at least one Sau­di gov­ern­ment work­er liv­ing in San Diego.

For­mer Sen. Bob Gra­ham, D‑Fla., who chaired the Joint Inquiry in 2002 and has been beat­ing the drum for more dis­clo­sure about 9/11 since then, has nev­er under­stood why the 28 pages were redact­ed. Gra­ham told IBTimes that based on his involve­ment in the inves­ti­ga­tion and on the now-clas­si­fied infor­ma­tion in the doc­u­ment that his com­mit­tee pro­duced, he is con­vinced that “the Sau­di gov­ern­ment with­out ques­tion was sup­port­ing the hijack­ers who lived in San Diego…. You can’t have 19 peo­ple liv­ing in the Unit­ed States for, in some cas­es, almost two years, tak­ing flight lessons and oth­er prepa­ra­tions, with­out some­one pay­ing for it. But I think it goes much broad­er than that. The agen­cies from CIA and FBI have sup­pressed that infor­ma­tion so Amer­i­can peo­ple don’t have the facts.”

Jones insists that releas­ing the 28 secret pages would not vio­late nation­al secu­ri­ty.

“It does not deal with nation­al secu­rity per se; it is more about rela­tion­ships,” he said. “The infor­ma­tion is crit­i­cal to our for­eign pol­icy mov­ing for­ward and should thus be avail­able to the Amer­i­can peo­ple. If the 9/11 hijack­ers had out­side help – par­tic­u­larly from one or more for­eign gov­ern­ments – the press and the pub­lic have a right to know what our gov­ern­ment has or has not done to bring jus­tice to the per­pe­tra­tors.”

It took Jones six weeks and sev­eral let­ters to the House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee before the clas­si­fied pages from the 9/11 report were made avail­able to him. Jones was so stunned by what he saw that he approached Rep. Lynch, ask­ing him to look at the 28 pages as well. He knew that Lynch would be aston­ished by the con­tents of the doc­u­ments and per­haps would join in a bipar­ti­san effort to declas­sify the papers.

“He came back to me about a week ago and told me that he, too, was very shocked by what he read,” Jones said. “I told him we need to join togeth­er and put in a res­o­lu­tion and get more mem­bers on both sides of the aisle involved and demand that the White House release this infor­ma­tion to the pub­lic. The Amer­i­can peo­ple have a right to know this infor­ma­tion.”

A decade ago, 46 sen­a­tors, led by Sen. Charles Schumer, D‑N.Y., demand­ed in a let­ter to Pres­i­dent Bush that he declas­sify the 28 pages.

The let­ter read, in part, “It has been wide­ly report­ed in the press that the for­eign sources referred to in this por­tion of the Joint Inquiry analy­sis reside pri­mar­ily in Sau­di Ara­bia. As a result, the deci­sion to clas­sify this infor­ma­tion sends the wrong mes­sage to the Amer­i­can peo­ple about our nation’s antiter­ror effort and makes it seem as if there will be no penal­ty for for­eign abet­tors of the hijack­ers. Pro­tect­ing the Sau­di regime by elim­i­nat­ing any pub­lic penal­ty for the sup­port giv­en to ter­ror­ists from with­in its bor­ders would be a mis­take.... We respect­fully urge you to declas­sify the 28-page sec­tion that deals with for­eign sources of sup­port for the 9/11 hijack­ers.”

All of the sen­a­tors who signed that let­ter but one, Sen. Sam Brown­back (R‑Kansas), were Democ­rats.

Lynch, who won the Demo­c­ra­tic pri­mary for his con­gres­sional seat on that fate­ful day of Sept. 11, 2001, told IBTimes that he and Jones are in the process of writ­ing a “Dear Col­league” let­ter call­ing on all House mem­bers to read the 28 pages and join their effort.

“Once a mem­ber reads the 28 pages, I think whether they are Demo­c­rat or Repub­li­can they will reach the same con­clu­sion that Wal­ter and I reached, which is that Amer­i­cans have the right to know this infor­ma­tion,” Lynch said. “These doc­u­ments speak for them­selves. We have a sit­u­a­tion where an exten­sive inves­ti­ga­tion was con­ducted, but then the Bush [admin­is­tra­tion] decid­ed for what­ever pur­poses to excise 28 pages from the report. I’m not pass­ing judg­ment. That was a dif­fer­ent time. Maybe there were legit­i­mate rea­sons to keep this clas­si­fied. But that time has long passed.”

Most of the alle­ga­tions of links between the Sau­di gov­ern­ment and the 9/11 hijack­ers revolve around two enig­matic Sau­di men who lived in San Diego: Omar al-Bay­ou­mi and Osama Bas­nan, both of whom have long since left the Unit­ed States.

In ear­ly 2000, al-Bay­ou­mi, who had pre­vi­ously worked for the Sau­di gov­ern­ment in civ­il avi­a­tion (a part of the Sau­di defense depart­ment), invit­ed two of the hijack­ers, Khalid Almi­hd­har and Nawaf Alhaz­mi, to San Diego from Los Ange­les. He told author­i­ties he met the two men by chance when he sat next to them at a restau­rant.

Newsweek report­ed in 2002 that al-Bayoumi’s invi­ta­tion was extend­ed on the same day that he vis­ited the Sau­di Con­sulate in Los Ange­les for a pri­vate meet­ing.

Al-Bay­ou­mi arranged for the two future hijack­ers to live in an apart­ment and paid $1,500 to cov­er their first two months of rent. Al-Bay­ou­mi was briefly inter­viewed in Britain but was nev­er brought back to the Unit­ed States for ques­tion­ing.

As for Bas­nan, Newsweek report­ed that he received month­ly checks for sev­eral years total­ing as much as $73,000 from the Sau­di ambas­sador to the Unit­ed States, Prince Ban­dar, and his wife, Princess Haifa Faisal. Although the checks were sent to pay for thy­roid surgery for Basnan’s wife, Maje­da Dweikat, Dweikat signed many of the checks over to al-Bayoumi’s wife, Man­al Bajadr. This mon­ey alleged­ly made its way into the hands of hijack­ers, accord­ing to the 9/11 report.

Despite all this, Bas­nan was ulti­mately allowed to return to Sau­di Ara­bia, and Dweikat was deport­ed to Jor­dan.

0Sources and numer­ous press reports also sug­gest that the 28 pages include more infor­ma­tion about Abdus­sat­tar Shaikh, an FBI asset in San Diego who Newsweek report­ed was friends with al-Bay­ou­mi and invit­ed two of the San Diego-based hijack­ers to live in his house.

Shaikh was not allowed by the FBI or the Bush admin­is­tra­tion to tes­tify before the 9/11 Com­mis­sion or the JICI.

Gra­ham notes that there was a sig­nif­i­cant 9/11 inves­ti­ga­tion in Sara­sota, Fla., which also sug­gests a con­nec­tion between the hijack­ers and the Sau­di gov­ern­ment that most Amer­i­cans don’t know about.

The inves­ti­ga­tion, which occurred in 2002, focused on Sau­di mil­lion­aire Abdu­laziz al-Hijji and his wife, Anoud, whose upscale home was owned by Anoud al-Hijji’s father, Esam Ghaz­zawi, an advis­er to Prince Fahd bin Salman bin Abdu­laziz al-Saud, the nephew of Sau­di King Fahd.

The al-Hijji fam­ily report­edly moved out of their Sara­sota house and left the coun­try abrupt­ly in the weeks before 9/11, leav­ing behind three lux­ury cars and per­sonal belong­ings includ­ing cloth­ing, fur­ni­ture and fresh food. They also left the swim­ming-pool water cir­cu­lat­ing.

Numer­ous news reports in Flori­da have said that the gat­ed community’s vis­i­tor logs and pho­tos of license tags showed that vehi­cles dri­ven by sev­eral of the future 9/11 hijack­ers had vis­ited the al-Hijji home.

Gra­ham said that like the 28 pages in the 9/11 inquiry, the Sara­sota case is being “cov­ered up” by U.S. intel­li­gence. Gra­ham has been fight­ing to get the FBI to release the details of this inves­ti­ga­tion with Free­dom of Infor­ma­tion Act (FOIA) requests and lit­i­ga­tion. But so far the bureau has stalled and stonewalled, he said.

Lynch said he didn’t know how the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion would respond to the con­gres­sional res­o­lu­tion urg­ing declas­si­fi­ca­tion, if it pass­es the House and Sen­ate.

“But if we raise the issue, and get enough mem­bers to read it, we think we can get the cur­rent admin­is­tra­tion to revis­it this issue. I am very opti­mistic,” he said. “I’ve talked to some of my Demo­c­ra­tic mem­bers already, and there has been recep­tiv­ity there. They have agreed to look at it.”

Discussion

12 comments for “Better Late than Never: Appellate Court Clears the Way for 9/11 Families to Sue Saudi Arabia”

  1. H.Res.428 — Urg­ing the pres­i­dent to release infor­ma­tion regard­ing the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist attacks upon the Unit­ed States.
    113th Con­gress (2013–2014)

    http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th/house-resolution/428/text

    Posted by Stu Kallio | December 22, 2013, 7:34 pm
  2. Posted by Stu Kallio | December 22, 2013, 11:51 pm
  3. Sau­di-Sized Cracks in the 9/11 Wall of Silence
    By Russ Bak­er on Dec 19, 2013

    http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/12/19/saudi-sized-cracks-in-the-911-wall-of-silence/

    Posted by Stu Kallio | December 22, 2013, 11:56 pm
  4. http://www.thecuttingedgenews.com/index.php?article=82746&pageid=37&pagename=Page+One

    Inside the Sau­di 9/11 coverup
    Paul Sper­ry Jan­u­ary 7th 2014
    NY Post

    Twin Tow­ers 9/11

    After the 9/11 attacks, the pub­lic was told al Qae­da act­ed alone, with no state spon­sors. But the White House nev­er let it see an entire sec­tion of Con­gress’ inves­tiga­tive report on 9/11 deal­ing with “spe­cif­ic sources of for­eign sup­port” for the 19 hijack­ers, 15 of whom were Sau­di nation­als.

    It was kept secret and remains so today.

    Pres­i­dent Bush inex­plic­a­bly cen­sored 28 full pages of the 800-page report. Text isn’t just blacked-out here and there in this crit­i­cal-yet-miss­ing mid­dle sec­tion. The pages are com­plete­ly blank, except for dot­ted lines where an esti­mat­ed 7,200 words once stood (this sto­ry by com­par­i­son is about 1,000 words).

    A pair of law­mak­ers who recent­ly read the redact­ed por­tion say they are “absolute­ly shocked” at the lev­el of for­eign state involve­ment in the attacks.

    Reps. Wal­ter Jones (R‑NC) and Stephen Lynch (D‑Mass.) can’t reveal the nation iden­ti­fied by it with­out vio­lat­ing fed­er­al law. So they’ve pro­posed Con­gress pass a res­o­lu­tion ask­ing Pres­i­dent Oba­ma to declas­si­fy the entire 2002 report, “Joint Inquiry Into Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty Activ­i­ties Before and After the Ter­ror­ist Attacks of Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001.”

    Some infor­ma­tion already has leaked from the clas­si­fied sec­tion, which is based on both CIA and FBI doc­u­ments, and it points back to Sau­di Ara­bia, a pre­sumed ally.

    The Saud­is deny any role in 9/11, but the CIA in one memo report­ed­ly found “incon­tro­vert­ible evi­dence” that Sau­di gov­ern­ment offi­cials — not just wealthy Sau­di hard­lin­ers, but high-lev­el diplo­mats and intel­li­gence offi­cers employed by the king­dom — helped the hijack­ers both finan­cial­ly and logis­ti­cal­ly. The intel­li­gence files cit­ed in the report direct­ly impli­cate the Sau­di embassy in Wash­ing­ton and con­sulate in Los Ange­les in the attacks, mak­ing 9/11 not just an act of ter­ror­ism, but an act of war. The find­ings, if con­firmed, would back up open-source report­ing show­ing the hijack­ers had, at a min­i­mum, ties to sev­er­al Sau­di offi­cials and agents while they were prepar­ing for their attacks inside the Unit­ed States. In fact, they got help from Sau­di VIPs from coast to coast:

    LOS ANGELES: Sau­di con­sulate offi­cial Fahad al-Thu­mairy alleged­ly arranged for an advance team to receive two of the Sau­di hijack­ers — Khalid al-Mihd­har and Nawaf al-Haz­mi — as they arrived at LAX in 2000. One of the advance men, Omar al-Bay­ou­mi, a sus­pect­ed Sau­di intel­li­gence agent, left the LA con­sulate and met the hijack­ers at a local restau­rant. (Bay­ou­mi left the Unit­ed States two months before the attacks, while Thu­mairy was deport­ed back to Sau­di Ara­bia after 9/11.)

    SAN DIEGO: Bay­ou­mi and anoth­er sus­pect­ed Sau­di agent, Osama Bass­nan, set up essen­tial­ly a for­ward oper­at­ing base in San Diego for the hijack­ers after leav­ing LA. They were pro­vid­ed rooms, rent and phones, as well as pri­vate meet­ings with an Amer­i­can al Qae­da cler­ic who would lat­er become noto­ri­ous, Anwar al-Awla­ki, at a Sau­di-fund­ed mosque he ran in a near­by sub­urb. They were also fet­ed at a wel­com­ing par­ty. (Bass­nan also fled the Unit­ed States just before the attacks.)

    WASHINGTON: Then-Sau­di Ambas­sador Prince Ban­dar and his wife sent checks total­ing some $130,000 to Bass­nan while he was han­dling the hijack­ers. Though the Ban­dars claim the checks were “wel­fare” for Bassnan’s sup­pos­ed­ly ill wife, the mon­ey nonethe­less made its way into the hijack­ers’ hands.

    Oth­er al Qae­da fund­ing was traced back to Ban­dar and his embassy — so much so that by 2004 Rig­gs Bank of Wash­ing­ton had dropped the Saud­is as a client.

    The next year, as a num­ber of embassy employ­ees popped up in ter­ror probes, Riyadh recalled Ban­dar.

    “Our inves­ti­ga­tions con­tributed to the ambassador’s depar­ture,” an inves­ti­ga­tor who worked with the Joint Ter­ror­ism Task Force in Wash­ing­ton told me, though Ban­dar says he left for “per­son­al rea­sons.”

    FALLS CHURCH, VA.: In 2001, Awla­ki and the San Diego hijack­ers turned up togeth­er again — this time at the Dar al-Hijrah Islam­ic Cen­ter, a Pen­ta­gon-area mosque built with funds from the Sau­di Embassy. Awla­ki was recruit­ed 3,000 miles away to head the mosque. As its imam, Awla­ki helped the hijack­ers, who showed up at his doorstep as if on cue. He tasked a han­dler to help them acquire apart­ments and IDs before they attacked the Pen­ta­gon.

    Awla­ki worked close­ly with the Sau­di Embassy. He lec­tured at a Sau­di Islam­ic think tank in Mer­ri­field, Va., chaired by Ban­dar. Sau­di trav­el itin­er­ary doc­u­ments I’ve obtained show he also served as the ­offi­cial imam on Sau­di Embassy-spon­sored trips to Mec­ca and tours of Sau­di holy sites.

    Most sus­pi­cious­ly, though, Awla­ki fled the Unit­ed States on a Sau­di jet about a year after 9/11.

    As I first report­ed in my book, “Infil­tra­tion,” quot­ing from clas­si­fied US doc­u­ments, the Sau­di-spon­sored cler­ic was briefly detained at JFK before being released into the cus­tody of a “Sau­di rep­re­sen­ta­tive.” A fed­er­al war­rant for Awlaki’s arrest had mys­te­ri­ous­ly been with­drawn the pre­vi­ous day. A US drone killed Awla­ki in Yemen in 2011.

    HERNDON, VA.: On the eve of the attacks, top Sau­di gov­ern­ment offi­cial Saleh Hus­sayen checked into the same Mar­riott Res­i­dence Inn near Dulles Air­port as three of the Sau­di hijack­ers who tar­get­ed the Pen­ta­gon. Hus­sayen had left a near­by hotel to move into the hijack­ers’ hotel. Did he meet with them? The FBI nev­er found out. They let him go after he “feigned a seizure,” one agent recalled. (Hussayen’s name doesn’t appear in the sep­a­rate 9/11 Com­mis­sion Report, which clears the Saud­is.)

    SARASOTA, FLA.: 9/11 ring­leader Mohamed Atta and oth­er hijack­ers vis­it­ed a home owned by Esam Ghaz­za­wi, a Sau­di advis­er to the nephew of King Fahd. FBI agents inves­ti­gat­ing the con­nec­tion in 2002 found that vis­i­tor logs for the gat­ed com­mu­ni­ty and pho­tos of license tags matched vehi­cles dri­ven by the hijack­ers. Just two weeks before the 9/11 attacks, the Sau­di lux­u­ry home was aban­doned. Three cars, includ­ing a new Chrysler PT Cruis­er, were left in the dri­ve­way. Inside, opu­lent fur­ni­ture was untouched.

    Demo­c­rat Bob Gra­ham, the for­mer Flori­da sen­a­tor who chaired the Joint Inquiry, has asked the FBI for the Sara­so­ta case files, but can’t get a sin­gle, even heav­i­ly redact­ed, page released. He says it’s a “coverup.”

    Is the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment pro­tect­ing the Saud­is? Case agents tell me they were repeat­ed­ly called off pur­su­ing 9/11 leads back to the Sau­di Embassy, which had curi­ous sway over White House and FBI respons­es to the attacks.

    Just days after Bush met with the Sau­di ambas­sador in the White House, the FBI evac­u­at­ed from the Unit­ed States dozens of Sau­di offi­cials, as well as Osama bin Laden fam­i­ly mem­bers. Ban­dar made the request for escorts direct­ly to FBI head­quar­ters on Sept. 13, 2001 — just hours after he met with the pres­i­dent. The two old fam­i­ly friends shared cig­ars on the Tru­man Bal­cony while dis­cussing the attacks.

    Bill Doyle, who lost his son in the World Trade Cen­ter attacks and heads the Coali­tion of 9/11 Fam­i­lies, calls the sup­pres­sion of Sau­di evi­dence a “coverup beyond belief.” Last week, he sent out an e‑mail to rel­a­tives urg­ing them to phone their rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Con­gress to sup­port the res­o­lu­tion and read for them­selves the cen­sored 28 pages.

    Aston­ish­ing as that sounds, few law­mak­ers in fact have both­ered to read the clas­si­fied sec­tion of arguably the most impor­tant inves­ti­ga­tion in US his­to­ry.

    Grant­ed, it’s not easy to do. It took a month­long let­ter-writ­ing cam­paign by Jones and Lynch to con­vince the House intel­li­gence pan­el to give them access to the mate­r­i­al.

    But it’s crit­i­cal they take the time to read it and pres­sure the White House to let all Amer­i­cans read it. This isn’t water under the bridge. The infor­ma­tion is still rel­e­vant ­today. Pur­su­ing leads fur­ther, get­ting to the bot­tom of the for­eign sup­port, could help head off anoth­er 9/11.

    As the frus­trat­ed Joint Inquiry authors warned, in an over­looked adden­dum to their heav­i­ly redact­ed 2002 report, “State-spon­sored ter­ror­ism sub­stan­tial­ly increas­es the like­li­hood of suc­cess­ful and more ­lethal attacks with­in the Unit­ed States.”

    Their find­ings must be released, even if they for­ev­er change US-Sau­di rela­tions. If an oil-rich for­eign pow­er was capa­ble of orches­trat­ing simul­ta­ne­ous bulls-eye hits on our cen­ters of com­merce and defense a dozen years ago, it may be able to pull off sim­i­lar­ly dev­as­tat­ing attacks today.

    Mem­bers of Con­gress reluc­tant to read the full report ought to remem­ber that the 9/11 assault missed its fourth tar­get: them.

    Paul Sper­ry is a Hoover Insti­tu­tion media fel­low and author of “Infil­tra­tion” and “Mus­lim Mafia.”

    Posted by Vanfield | January 8, 2014, 11:57 am
  5. It’s worth not­ing that the 9/11 vic­tims’ fam­i­lies who won the right to sue the gov­ern­ment of Sau­di Ara­bia over its role in the 9/11 plot lost that right last month

    The Inde­pen­dent
    US judge rules 9/11 vic­tims’ fam­i­lies can­not sue Sau­di Ara­bia over alleged links to ter­ror attack
    15 of the 9/11 attack­ers came from Sau­di Ara­bia

    Rose Troup Buchanan
    Tues­day 6 Octo­ber 2015

    A US judge has told the fam­i­lies of those killed in the 9/11 ter­ror attacks they can­not sue Sau­di Ara­bia over claims the coun­try helped Al Qae­da car­ry out the atroc­i­ty.

    Man­hat­tan Dis­trict Judge George Daniels said that because Sau­di Ara­bia enjoys sov­er­eign immu­ni­ty, which means a state can­not com­mit a legal wrong and there­fore can’t be pros­e­cut­ed in either crim­i­nal or civ­il cas­es, any attempt to sue the king­dom would be “futile”.

    He said that, despite the best efforts of fam­i­lies to pro­vide addi­tion­al evi­dence against the coun­try, their claims would not “strip defen­dants of sov­er­eign immu­ni­ty.”

    “The alle­ga­tions in the com­plaint alone do not pro­vide this court with a basis to assert juris­dic­tion over defen­dants,” Daniels wrote on Tues­day.

    Fam­i­lies, as well as insur­ers that cov­ered loss­es from the build­ings and local busi­ness­es, had secured tes­ti­mo­ny from Zacarias Mous­saoui, a for­mer al-Qae­da oper­a­tive impris­oned for his actions.

    But this effort proved fruit­less as Judge Daniels refused to con­sid­er the case in Man­hat­tan.

    Lawyers from both par­ties declined to on com­ment on the sit­u­a­tion.

    ...

    In the years fol­low­ing the tragedy, civ­il action against Sau­di Ara­bia has pro­ceed­ed in fits and starts.

    So that’s pret­ty unfor­tu­nate.

    And in oth­er inter­na­tion­al legal lia­bil­i­ty news...:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post
    If you keep say­ing Sau­di Ara­bia is like ISIS, you might get sued

    By Adam Tay­lor
    Novem­ber 26, 2015

    Author­i­ties in Sau­di Ara­bia have long been annoyed that every­one keeps sug­gest­ing they are any­thing like the Islam­ic State. Sure, they say, per­haps some of the laws on the books may look sim­i­lar to the pun­ish­ments in the extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tion, but the Sau­di king­dom is a sov­er­eign state that abides by the rule of law and uses these pun­ish­ments with dis­cre­tion.

    Now, reports in the Sau­di press sug­gest that author­i­ties have a new tac­tic for those who com­pare them to the Islam­ic State: tak­ing them to court. Accord­ing to a report in pro-gov­ern­ment news­pa­per Al Riyadh, the Sau­di jus­tice min­istry is plan­ning to sue a Twit­ter user who sug­gest­ed that a death sen­tence recent­ly hand­ed out to a Pales­tin­ian artist for apos­ta­sy was “ISIS-like.”

    “Ques­tion­ing the fair­ness of the courts is to ques­tion the jus­tice of the King­dom and its judi­cial sys­tem based on Islam­ic law, which guar­an­tees rights and ensures human dig­ni­ty,” a source in the jus­tice min­istry told the news­pa­per, accord­ing to a trans­la­tion by Reuters. The min­istry would not hes­i­tate to sue “any media that slan­dered the reli­gious judi­cia­ry of the King­dom,” the source added.

    It is unclear who the Twit­ter user in ques­tion is, though his or her com­ments would have referred to the case of Ashraf Fayadh. Accord­ing to Human Rights Watch, doc­u­ments show that Fayadh was inves­ti­gat­ed for blas­phe­my, spread­ing athe­ism and hav­ing an illic­it rela­tion­ship with women, based on pic­tures found on his phone. After ini­tial­ly being sen­tenced to 800 lash­es and four years in prison, he was retried and on Nov. 17 was sen­tenced to death.

    ...

    How­ev­er, the com­par­i­son to the Islam­ic State appears to be a par­tic­u­lar bone of con­tention for the Sau­di king­dom. Speak­ing to NBC News ear­li­er this year, Inte­ri­or Min­istry spokesman Maj. Gen. Man­sour al-Tur­ki jus­ti­fied the use of cap­i­tal pun­ish­ments such as behead­ings in the king­dom by say­ing the coun­try’s Shari­ah-based legal sys­tem ensures fair­ness. “ISIS has no legit­i­mate way to decide to decide to kill peo­ple,” Al-Tur­ki said, adding that “the dif­fer­ence is clear.”

    “ISIS has no legit­i­mate way to decide to decide to kill people...the dif­fer­ence is clear.”
    Yep, the dif­fer­ence between ISIS and Sau­di jus­tice sys­tem are like the dif­fer­ence between night and day (dur­ing a per­ma­nent solar eclipse). In ret­ro­spect, it’s dif­fi­cult to imag­ine how any­one could see any­thing but dif­fer­ences between the two. What a new fun game.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | November 30, 2015, 10:28 am
  6. 28 rather noto­ri­ous pages from the Con­gres­sion­al 9/11 inves­ti­ga­tion were just released, albeit with some redac­tions. It does­n’t sound like there were any big sur­pris­es in 28 pages, although that might be due in part to the fact that the pages point towards pos­si­bil­i­ty that the 9/11 hijack­ers received assis­tance from Sau­di gov­ern­ment employ­ees and we already knew that:

    Bloomberg Pol­i­tics

    9/11 Attack­ers May Have Had Sau­di Help, Clas­si­fied Report Says

    Nafeesa Syeed
    July 15, 2016 — 1:03 PM CDT
    Updat­ed on July 15, 2016 — 1:40 PM CDT

    * Law­mak­ers issu­ing long-secret pages call infor­ma­tion unvet­ted
    * Saud­is have said alle­ga­tions of involve­ment are untrue

    Sau­di nation­als con­nect­ed to the gov­ern­ment in Riyadh may have aid­ed some of the Sept. 11 hijack­ers in the U.S. before they car­ried out their attacks, accord­ing to a long-clas­si­fied por­tion of a con­gres­sion­al inquiry.

    The 28-page sec­tion was made pub­lic Fri­day by the House Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee with some por­tions blacked out after U.S. intel­li­gence agen­cies deliv­ered on a long-pend­ing promise to declas­si­fy it as sought by the fam­i­lies of the almost 3,000 vic­tims of the attacks.

    “While in the Unit­ed States, some of the Sep­tem­ber 11 hijack­ers were in con­tact with, and received sup­port or assis­tance from, indi­vid­u­als who may be con­nect­ed to the Sau­di gov­ern­ment,” the report said.

    Sau­di offi­cials and the head of the U.S. Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency have long said the 28 pages pro­vide no evi­dence that the U.S. ally was involved in the attacks, and Amer­i­can law­mak­ers under­scored that in releas­ing the mate­r­i­al.

    “It’s impor­tant to note that this sec­tion does not put for­ward vet­ted con­clu­sions, but rather unver­i­fied leads that were lat­er ful­ly inves­ti­gat­ed by the intel­li­gence com­mit­tee,” Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Devin Nunes of Cal­i­for­nia, the committee’s Repub­li­can chair­man, said in a state­ment.

    Com­plaints have re-emerged in recent months from some Amer­i­cans, includ­ing rel­a­tives of Sept. 11 vic­tims, that Sau­di Ara­bia or orga­ni­za­tions and wealthy indi­vid­u­als based there have financed groups linked to ter­ror­ism or failed to crack down on mil­i­tants. Fif­teen of the 19 hijack­ers in the 9/11 attacks were iden­ti­fied as Sau­di nation­als.

    The U.S. com­mis­sion that inves­ti­gat­ed the 2001 attacks said in its 2004 report that it “found no evi­dence that the Sau­di gov­ern­ment as an insti­tu­tion or senior offi­cials with­in the Sau­di gov­ern­ment fund­ed al-Qae­da.”

    But some cur­rent and for­mer mem­bers of Con­gress have said that for­mu­la­tion left room for less direct involve­ment and pressed for the release of the 28 clas­si­fied pages. A CBS “60 Min­utes” report in April sug­gest­ed a Sau­di diplo­mat “known to hold extrem­ist views” may have helped the hijack­ers after they trav­eled to the U.S. to pre­pare for the attacks.

    White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters Fri­day that “we do not think” the 28 pages shed any new light on a Sau­di role in the Sept. 11 attacks. He said release of the “inves­tiga­tive mate­r­i­al” is in keep­ing with the Oba­ma administration’s com­mit­ment to trans­paren­cy even though he acknowl­edged that “it did take quite some time for the deci­sion to be made.”

    On June 17, Sau­di Ara­bia For­eign Min­is­ter Adel al-Jubeir called the 28 pages an “inter­nal U.S. mat­ter, not a Sau­di mat­ter” and said when to release them was up to U.S. offi­cials. But he added that the Sau­di gov­ern­ment has urged the U.S. to release the 28 pages since 2002, when they were ini­tial­ly clas­si­fied. At that time, Prince Saud al-Faisal, who was for­eign min­is­ter, came to Wash­ing­ton with a mes­sage from then-Crown Prince Abdul­lah bin Abdu­laz­iz to Pres­i­dent George W. Bush, accord­ing to al-Jubeir.

    “In the White House we said we would like the 28 pages released so that we can respond to any alle­ga­tions against us and so that we can pun­ish any Saud­is that may have been involved in this plot,” al-Jubeir told reporters at the Sau­di embassy in Wash­ing­ton. “But we can­not because we don’t think it’s fair or just to respond to blank pages. That has been our posi­tion.”

    The for­eign min­is­ter also said the Saud­is under­stand that inves­ti­ga­tions were “con­duct­ed into the alle­ga­tions that are in the 28 pages and that those inves­ti­ga­tions have revealed that these alle­ga­tions are not cor­rect,” al-Jubeir said. “They don’t hold. These alle­ga­tions are unsub­stan­ti­at­ed, unproven and nobody should make a big deal out of them.”

    ‘Inher­it­ed a His­to­ry’

    Sau­di offi­cials have point­ed to state­ments from U.S. offi­cials sup­port­ing their posi­tion, includ­ing an inter­view CIA Direc­tor John Bren­nan did with the Sau­di-owned Ara­bic news chan­nel Al Ara­biya on June 12 in which he said the 28 pages were part of “a very pre­lim­i­nary review.”

    “Peo­ple shouldn’t take them as evi­dence of Sau­di com­plic­i­ty in the attacks,” Bren­nan said. “Indeed, sub­se­quent­ly the assess­ments that have been done have shown it was very unfor­tu­nate that these attacks took place but this was the work of al-Qae­da, al-Zawahiri, and oth­ers of that ilk.”

    But Bren­nan also has addressed the under­ly­ing con­cern about the kingdom’s embrace, since its found­ing more than eight decades ago, of Wah­habism, a deeply con­ser­v­a­tive branch of Sun­ni Mus­lim the­ol­o­gy that has proved fer­tile ground for ter­ror­ists.

    “The Sau­di gov­ern­ment and lead­er­ship today has inher­it­ed a his­to­ry where­by there have been a num­ber of indi­vid­u­als both inside of Sau­di Ara­bia as well as out­side who have embraced a rather fun­da­men­tal­ist — extrem­ist in some areas — ver­sion of the Islam­ic faith, which has allowed indi­vid­u­als who then move toward vio­lence and ter­ror­ism to exploit that and cap­i­tal­ize on that,” Bren­nan said in a speech in Wash­ing­ton on July 13.

    ...

    ““It’s impor­tant to note that this sec­tion does not put for­ward vet­ted con­clu­sions, but rather unver­i­fied leads that were lat­er ful­ly inves­ti­gat­ed by the intel­li­gence com­mit­tee,” Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Devin Nunes of Cal­i­for­nia, the committee’s Repub­li­can chair­man, said in a state­ment.”

    That is indeed impor­tant to note that the 28 pages was pri­mar­i­ly about inves­tiga­tive leads. But it’s worth keep­ing in mind that a num­ber of the peo­ple call­ing for the release of these 28 pages include the peo­ple that actu­al­ly inves­ti­gat­ed those leads. Peo­ple like 9/11 Com­mis­sions mem­bers:

    Moth­er Jones

    9/11 Com­mis­sion­er Says Sau­di Gov­ern­ment Mem­bers Sup­port­ed the Attack
    “Our report should nev­er have been read as an exon­er­a­tion of Sau­di Ara­bia.”

    Max J. Rosen­thal
    May 12, 2016 1:42 PM

    A for­mer mem­ber of the 9/11 Com­mis­sion says Sau­di gov­ern­ment offi­cials offered sup­port to the hijack­ers, and he joined the grow­ing cho­rus call­ing for the gov­ern­ment to release 28 clas­si­fied pages of the com­mis­sion’s report that may detail the roles those Sau­di offi­cials played.

    John Lehman, a for­mer Sec­re­tary of the Navy under Ronald Rea­gan, told the Guardian, “There was an awful lot of par­tic­i­pa­tion by Sau­di indi­vid­u­als in sup­port­ing the hijack­ers, and some of those peo­ple worked in the Sau­di gov­ern­ment.” Details of their involve­ment are found in the 28 clas­si­fied pages of the 9/11 Com­mis­sion report, he said. The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion says it may release those pages soon.

    The orig­i­nal report found “no evi­dence that the Sau­di gov­ern­ment as an insti­tu­tion or senior Sau­di offi­cials indi­vid­u­al­ly fund­ed the orga­ni­za­tion,” and the com­mis­sion’s lead­ers wrote an op-ed last month say­ing that the 28 clas­si­fied pages should not be released. Thomas Kean and Lee Hamil­ton, the 9/11 Com­mis­sion’s chair­man and vice-chair­man, argued that “the 28 pages were based almost entire­ly on raw, unvet­ted mate­r­i­al that came to the FBI” and were more akin to “pre­lim­i­nary law enforce­ment notes,” not sol­id evi­dence.

    But Lehman says the report was too lenient on the Saud­is, and that the com­mis­sion saw “an awful lot of cir­cum­stan­tial evi­dence” that Sau­di offi­cials, like­ly mem­bers of the king­dom’s Islam­ic affairs min­istry, were involved. “Our report should nev­er have been read as an exon­er­a­tion of Sau­di Ara­bia,” he said dur­ing his Guardian inter­view.

    ...

    “John Lehman, a for­mer Sec­re­tary of the Navy under Ronald Rea­gan, told the Guardian, “There was an awful lot of par­tic­i­pa­tion by Sau­di indi­vid­u­als in sup­port­ing the hijack­ers, and some of those peo­ple worked in the Sau­di gov­ern­ment.” Details of their involve­ment are found in the 28 clas­si­fied pages of the 9/11 Com­mis­sion report, he said. The Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion says it may release those pages soon

    Keep in mind that the “28 pages” were both in the 9/11 Com­mis­sion report and also the con­gres­sion­al report. What­ev­er John Lehman saw as a 9/11 Com­mis­sion­er pre­sum­ably backed up or at least raised seri­ous­ly ques­tions relat­ed to the con­tent of those 28 pages. Also note that 9/11 Com­mis­sion staff direc­tor, Phil Zelikow, report­ed­ly worked to pre­vent any thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion of poten­tial Sau­di gov­ern­ment involve­ment.

    So when we hear about how the con­tent of those pages were spec­u­la­tive and sub­se­quent inves­ti­ga­tions found no smok­ing gun, don’t for­get that the peo­ple call­ing for the release of the 28 pages include the peo­ple involved in those sub­se­quent inves­ti­ga­tions and who were allowed to inves­ti­gate.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 15, 2016, 1:41 pm
  7. I was inter­est­ed to note a guy called Abdul­lah bin Laden, I am not sure which of the many, was a friend of Mohammed Qaduir Harunani, and that Harunani had Atta’s father and sis­ters phone num­bers.

    It’s the only time I heard about Atta’s father out­side of Daniels work.

    Posted by Adam | July 16, 2016, 12:24 pm
  8. For the first time what we real­ly need is a truth move­ment

    Posted by Adam | July 18, 2016, 4:51 am
  9. Here’s a rather inter­est­ing ten­sion to watch unfold fol­low­ing Don­ald Trump’s enthu­si­as­tic trip to Sau­di Ara­bia: after pledg­ing to invest hun­dreds of bil­lion of dol­lars into the US econ­o­my the Sau­di gov­ern­ment has some­thing it would like to see in return (beyond all the weapons its buy­ing and a pos­si­ble war with Iran): revers­ing the law that law that would allow the rel­a­tives of 9/11 vic­tim to sue the King­dom. Part of what makes this ten­sion so inter­est­ing is that it does­n’t sound like there’s actu­al­ly a lot Trump can do about chang­ing that law, but there’s still an appar­ent expec­ta­tions among many Saud­is that he has the pow­er to change this and if he does­n’t there’s going to be some very hurt feel­ings

    McClatchy

    Saud­is gave the U.S. $360b in deals. Now they want Trump to rescind 9/11 law­suit law.

    By Ani­ta Kumar
    May 22, 2017 6:12 PM

    RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA

    Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump struck a series of deals with Sau­di Ara­bia on his two-day vis­it but the king­dom is still anx­ious­ly wait­ing for him to deliv­er on some­thing else: the repeal of a con­tentious 2016 law that allows rel­a­tives of 9/11 vic­tims to sue the king­dom for their deaths.

    Sau­di offi­cials have been qui­et­ly lob­by­ing the admin­is­tra­tion and Con­gress to over­turn the Jus­tice Against Spon­sors of Ter­ror­ism Act, which led more than 800 fam­i­lies to file suit in New York in March.

    The prob­lem: Trump sup­port­ed the bill and can’t do much to change it even if he want­ed to. Still, Saud­is are con­vinced the man they con­sid­er the ulti­mate sales­man will make a deal.

    “Do you think he will agree after all these activ­i­ties we are doing for him?” asked Abdul­nass­er Gharem, a well-known Sau­di artist who went to high school with two of the 9/11 hijack­ers in his home­town of Namas. Alto­geth­er, 15 of the 19 hijack­ers were Saud­is.

    ...

    Gharem, who has incor­po­rat­ed the 9/11 attacks into his art­work – he says he’s for­bid­den from show­ing it in Sau­di Ara­bia – said Saud­is, too, had suf­fered.

    “We were the same; we were vic­tims. Some­one like me in the mid­dle of nowhere was affect­ed by what hap­pened in New York, but no one was lis­ten­ing to us,” he said dur­ing an inter­view at his Riyadh stu­dio.

    U.S. and Sau­di offi­cials did not raise the issue pub­licly dur­ing Trump’s vis­it, the first stop on the first for­eign trip of his pres­i­den­cy, and White House and Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil staff declined to com­ment on the issue. A Sau­di offi­cial down­played the top­ic, say­ing the king­dom had many press­ing issues to dis­cuss with U.S. offi­cials, includ­ing the war in Syr­ia, threats from near­by Iran and the civ­il war in Yemen.

    But Sau­di Arabia’s ener­gy min­is­ter, Khalid al Fal­ih, said in an an inter­view in March that his nation believed that the new admin­is­tra­tion and Con­gress would even­tu­al­ly reverse course, and oth­ers here see it as a major source of con­flict.

    “If Trump sup­ports the JASTA, he will lose the rela­tion­ship with Sau­di Ara­bia,” Mohammed Alhamza, a social researcher and writer, said blunt­ly through a trans­la­tor dur­ing an inter­view in his Riyadh home, reflect­ing a view heard wide­ly among Saud­is.

    “Do you expect Trump will pass JASTA after (bil­lions of) Sau­di riyals went to the Unit­ed States?”Alhamza asked, a ref­er­ence to a series of agree­ments Trump and Sau­di King Salman had signed total­ing $360 bil­lion in weapons sales and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment.

    Like many Saud­is, Alhamza thinks some­one else helped the hijack­ers com­mit their sophis­ti­cat­ed attacks and he is angry about a law he said was passed with no evi­dence that his nation was to blame and that could hurt his coun­try eco­nom­i­cal­ly.

    #POTUSAbroad in Riyadh, Sau­di Ara­bi­aSee more at https://t.co/HwWT5vo2Dg pic.twitter.com/DDnRURa5Oo— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 22, 2017

    The Sau­di hijack­ers lived in Flori­da, Cal­i­for­nia, Vir­ginia and New Jer­sey before the attacks. All of them died in the worst ter­ror­ist attack in his­to­ry, which killed near­ly 3,000 peo­ple.

    Trump, how­ev­er, has lit­tle incen­tive to revis­it the law, which is pop­u­lar with his sup­port­ers who want some­one pun­ished for the ter­ror­ist attack. He’s lost lever­age on Capi­tol Hill, even with mem­bers of his own par­ty, as the White House remains embroiled in inves­ti­ga­tions into whether his cam­paign col­lud­ed with Rus­sia to inter­fere in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

    “The image of an Amer­i­can pres­i­dent going to Sau­di Ara­bia and com­ing back, and then ask­ing the Con­gress to be nice to Sau­di Ara­bia . . . I don’t think that’s going to sell very well,” said Bruce Riedel, a for­mer senior advis­er to the last four pres­i­dents who is now a senior fel­low in the Cen­ter for Mid­dle East Pol­i­cy at the Brook­ings Insti­tu­tion.

    Just before he left on his trip, a group rep­re­sent­ing the sur­vivors and near­ly 10,000 fam­i­ly mem­bers of vic­tims wrote to Trump ask­ing him to ignore any pres­sure from the Saud­is to weak­en the law and denounce their lob­by­ing efforts.

    “We expect that the Saud­is will try to con­vince you to betray the 9/11 fam­i­lies,” wrote Ter­ry Stra­da, nation­al chair of the 9/11 Fam­i­lies & Sur­vivors Unit­ed for Jus­tice Against Ter­ror­ism. “They will not put it that way, but will instead argue that you should ‘fix’ JASTA to elim­i­nate ‘unin­tend­ed con­se­quences.’ Please do not let them get away with this dis­hon­est approach. The Saud­is do not want to ‘fix’ JASTA; they want you and Con­gress to pass a new law that arms them with a spe­cial defense against our law­suits.”

    Con­gress passed the bill last Sep­tem­ber. Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma vetoed the mea­sure but law­mak­ers quick­ly over­rode him, hand­ing him the first veto over­ride of his pres­i­den­cy in his final months in office.

    Trump, then a pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, crit­i­cized Oba­ma and dis­trib­uted a state­ment by Rudy Giu­liani, who had been the may­or of New York at the time of the attacks, call­ing Obama’s veto “an insult to those we lost on 9/11.” Trump has said lit­tle about the issue since he was inau­gu­rat­ed.

    “Trump is lim­it­ed in his abil­i­ty to change this at this point,” said Jor­dan Tama, a pro­fes­sor in the School of Inter­na­tion­al Ser­vice at Amer­i­can Uni­ver­si­ty in Wash­ing­ton. “Trump can’t do any­thing to stop what’s in place. There’s no prospect that would be repealed.”

    The con­gres­sion­al action came after the release of a long-with­held 28-page sec­tion of the first U.S. report on the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror attacks out­lin­ing pos­si­ble links between the hijack­ers and Sau­di offi­cials that con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors thought deserved more atten­tion.

    Sau­di Ara­bia orga­nized a mas­sive lob­by­ing to stop the leg­is­la­tion, includ­ing ask­ing for­mer mil­i­tary lead­ers, busi­ness exec­u­tives with inter­ests in Sau­di Ara­bia and vet­er­ans to warn law­mak­ers about the con­se­quences.

    The accu­sa­tion that Sau­di Ara­bia should be held respon­si­ble for the attacks has prompt­ed bit­ter­ness.

    Sau­di For­eign Min­is­ter Adel bin Ahmed al Jubeir made that clear in Wash­ing­ton last year when the debate was rag­ing over the release of the 28 pages that had been orig­i­nal­ly with­held from the 9/11 Com­mis­sion report on the attacks.

    “The 28 pages were used . . . to cast asper­sions on Sau­di Ara­bia,” he said. “And every­body talked about once they are released it will show incon­tro­vert­ible proof that Sau­di Ara­bia is guilty. That Sau­di Ara­bia was behind 9/11. That Sau­di Ara­bia com­mit­ted 9/11. Not true. The 28 pages don’t reveal any­thing.”

    ———-

    “Saud­is gave the U.S. $360b in deals. Now they want Trump to rescind 9/11 law­suit law.” by Ani­ta Kumar; McClatchy; 05/22/2017

    ““If Trump sup­ports the JASTA, he will lose the rela­tion­ship with Sau­di Ara­bia,” Mohammed Alhamza, a social researcher and writer, said blunt­ly through a trans­la­tor dur­ing an inter­view in his Riyadh home, reflect­ing a view heard wide­ly among Saud­is.”

    That appears to be the Sau­di sen­ti­ment: if Trump does­n’t deliv­er he can prob­a­bly for­get about being treat­ed like a king in the future. But keep in mind that that the Said’s aren’t lim­it­ed to threats against the US in gen­er­al. Don’t for­get Trump’s exten­sive invest­ment port­fo­lio across the Mid­dle East, includ­ing the eight com­pa­nies he reg­is­tered in Sau­di Ara­bia while cam­paign­ing for pres­i­dent. So, yeah, Trump’s busi­ness empire in at least Sau­di Ara­bia could hinge on whether or not he can get that law reversed and there’s no obvi­ous way for him to do it.

    Quid pro uh oh.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 25, 2017, 4:07 pm
  10. With the 16th anniver­sary of 9/11 upon us, it’s worth keep­ing in mind that the 9/11 anniver­saries should­n’t just be about remem­ber­ing the events of that day. There’s also the unfin­ished busi­ness left to be tak­en care of, like the ongo­ing law­suits against the Sau­di gov­ern­ment that con­tin­ue to reveal more and more evi­dence of Sau­di gov­ern­ment oper­a­tives work­ing with the hijack­ers:

    Harpers

    Crime and Pun­ish­ment

    Will the 9/11 case final­ly go to tri­al?

    By Andrew Cock­burn
    Sep­tem­ber 10, 2017, 9:00 am

    Meet­ing with the lead­ers of NATO coun­tries in May, Pres­i­dent Trump chas­tised them stern­ly for their short­com­ings as allies. He took the time, how­ev­er, to make respect­ful ref­er­ence to the ruler of Sau­di Ara­bia, Salman bin Abdu­laz­iz Al Saud, whom he had just vis­it­ed at the start of his first over­seas trip as pres­i­dent. “I spent much time with King Salman,” he told the glum-look­ing clus­ter of Euro­peans, call­ing him “a wise man who wants to see things get much bet­ter rapid­ly.”

    Some might find this ful­some descrip­tion sur­pris­ing, giv­en wide­spread reports that Salman, who took the throne in Jan­u­ary 2015, suf­fers from demen­tia. Gen­er­al­ly seen wear­ing a puz­zled look, the king has been known to wan­der off in the mid­dle of con­ver­sa­tions, as he report­ed­ly did once while talk­ing with Pres­i­dent Oba­ma. When speak­ing in pub­lic, he depends on fast-typ­ing aides whose prompts appear on a dis­creet­ly con­cealed mon­i­tor.

    What­ev­er wis­dom Trump absorbed from his elder­ly roy­al friend, the pri­ma­ry pur­pose of his trip to Riyadh, accord­ing to a for­mer senior U.S. offi­cial briefed on the pro­ceed­ings, was cash — both in arms sales and invest­ments in crum­bling Amer­i­can infra­struc­ture, such as high­ways, bridges, and tun­nels. The Trump Admin­is­tra­tion is “des­per­ate for Sau­di mon­ey, espe­cial­ly infra­struc­ture invest­ments in the Rust Belt,” the for­mer offi­cial told me. An influx of Sau­di dol­lars could gen­er­ate jobs and thus redound to Trump’s polit­i­cal ben­e­fit. As a cyn­i­cal douceur, the Saud­is, derid­ed by Trump dur­ing his cam­paign as “peo­ple that kill women and treat women hor­ri­bly,” joined the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates in pledg­ing $100 mil­lion for a women’s‑empowerment ini­tia­tive spear­head­ed by Ivan­ka Trump. A joy­ful pres­i­dent took part in the tra­di­tion­al sword dance and then helped launch a Sau­di cen­ter for “com­bat­ing extrem­ism.”

    This was not the first time the Saud­is had dan­gled the prospect of mas­sive invest­ments to lever­age U.S. sup­port. “Moham­mad bin Salman made the same pitch to the Oba­ma peo­ple,” the for­mer offi­cial told me. “ ‘We’re going to invest all this mon­ey here, you’re going to be our great eco­nom­ic part­ner, etc.’ Because the Trump Admin­is­tra­tion doesn’t know much about for­eign affairs, they were real­ly seduced by this.”

    The pres­i­dent cer­tain­ly viewed the vis­it as a huge suc­cess. “We made and saved the U.S.A. many bil­lions of dol­lars and mil­lions of jobs,” he tweet­ed as he left Sau­di Ara­bia. The White House soon trum­pet­ed $110 bil­lion in weapons sales and bil­lions more in infra­struc­ture invest­ments, with the total pur­port­ed­ly ris­ing to $350 bil­lion.

    Yet amid the sword dances and flat­tery, a shad­ow lin­gered over the occa­sion: 9/11. After years of glacial legal progress, the momen­tous charge that our Sau­di allies enabled and sup­port­ed the most dev­as­tat­ing act of mass mur­der on Amer­i­can soil may now be com­ing to a res­o­lu­tion. Thanks to a com­bi­na­tion of court deci­sions, con­gres­sion­al action, and the dis­clo­sure of long-sequestered gov­ern­ment records, it appears increas­ing­ly like­ly that our sup­posed friend and peer­less weapons cus­tomer will final­ly face its accusers in court.

    Over the years, suc­ces­sive admin­is­tra­tions have made stren­u­ous efforts to sup­press dis­cus­sion of Sau­di involve­ment in the Sep­tem­ber 11 attacks, deploy­ing every­thing from abu­sive secu­ri­ty clas­si­fi­ca­tion to the judi­cia­ry to a pres­i­den­tial veto. Now, at last, we stand a chance of dis­cov­er­ing what real­ly hap­pened, large­ly because of a court case.

    In re Ter­ror­ist Attacks on Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001, which grew out of a suit filed in 2002 on behalf of bereaved fam­i­ly mem­bers and oth­er vic­tims of the attacks, includes a charge of direct Sau­di gov­ern­ment involve­ment in 9/11. It also claims that Riyadh direct­ly fund­ed the cre­ation, growth, and oper­a­tions of Al Qae­da world­wide. The Saud­is, though scorn­ing the accu­sa­tion, have been striv­ing ever more des­per­ate­ly to pre­vent the case from advanc­ing through the legal sys­tem. To that end, they have employed to date no few­er than fif­teen high-pow­ered Wash­ing­ton lob­by­ing firms.

    The task is grow­ing more urgent because the king­dom, long con­fi­dent of essen­tial­ly unlim­it­ed wealth, is fac­ing mon­ey prob­lems. Oil prices are in a slump and like­ly to stay there. The war in Yemen, launched in 2015 by Salman’s appoint­ed heir, Mohammed bin Salman, drags on, cost­ing an esti­mat­ed $200 mil­lion a day, with no end in sight. To alle­vi­ate his cash-flow prob­lems, the young prince is set on rais­ing as much as $2 tril­lion by float­ing the state-owned oil com­pa­ny, Sau­di Aram­co, on inter­na­tion­al stock mar­kets. That is part of the rea­son the 9/11 law­suit pos­es such a threat — it rais­es the pos­si­bil­i­ty that much-need­ed cash from the stock sale might nev­er find its way to Riyadh. “They’re afraid they’re going to get a default judg­ment against them, and some of their domes­tic assets will be seized,” the for­mer senior offi­cial explained to me.

    To Sharon Pre­moli, one of the more than 6,500 plain­tiffs in the law­suit, that is pre­cise­ly the goal. On Sep­tem­ber 11, she had been at her desk at a finan­cial ser­vices soft­ware com­pa­ny, on the eight­i­eth floor of the North Tow­er of the World Trade Cen­ter, when Amer­i­can Air­lines Flight 11 slammed into the build­ing thir­teen floors above her. Flee­ing the area, she had almost reached safe­ty when the South Tow­er came crash­ing down, pro­pelling her into a plate­glass win­dow. Com­ing to, she found her­self lying on top of a dead body. Like many oth­er sur­vivors, she has devel­oped an ency­clo­pe­dic knowl­edge of the legal issues around the case, not to men­tion the world of ter­ror­ism and Sau­di con­nec­tions there­to. A multi­bil­lion-dol­lar award “would cer­tain­ly stop the Saud­is from financ­ing ter­ror­ism,” she told me. “That’s the whole point of this. It is all about mon­ey. If you can cut that off, that would make a seri­ous impact on the dis­sem­i­na­tion of this rabid ide­ol­o­gy around the world.”

    Pre­moli was more for­tu­nate than Peter Owens, a forty-two-year-old bond trad­er at Can­tor Fitzger­ald, twen­ty-four floors above her, who had no chance of escape. He left behind a wife and three chil­dren. “It’s kind of sad to look for­ward to the anniver­sary,” Kathy Owens told me recent­ly. Each Sep­tem­ber gives her hope that the recur­ring news peg will inspire jour­nal­ists to explore the case. “We start­ed a war because of 9/11 — more than one war — and the wars are still going on,” she said. “Every war we start now, we say it’s because of 9/11. It man­ages so much of our lives. They keep fight­ing the war on ter­ror, but we are giv­ing the Saud­is a pass, despite all of this evi­dence.”

    There has always been evi­dence — in abun­dance. The Joint Inquiry into Intel­li­gence Com­mu­ni­ty Activ­i­ties Before and After the Ter­ror­ist Attacks of Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 began work in Feb­ru­ary 2002. Con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tors soon uncov­ered numer­ous fail­ures by the FBI and CIA. The degree of cumu­la­tive incom­pe­tence was breath­tak­ing. Most egre­gious­ly, the CIA had been well aware that two known Al Qae­da oper­a­tives, Nawaf al-Haz­mi and Khalid al-Mihd­har, were en route to the Unit­ed States, but the agency had refused to tell the FBI. The FBI, mean­while, had mul­ti­ple reports in its San Diego office on local­ly based Saud­is sus­pect­ed of ter­ror­ist asso­ci­a­tions, but failed to take action.

    San Diego looms large in the record­ed his­to­ry of 9/11, though not because it was the focal point of the plot. While prepar­ing for the oper­a­tion, the future hijack­ers had been dis­persed around the coun­try, in such places as New Jer­sey and Flori­da. The rea­son we know so much about the West Coast activ­i­ties of the hijack­ers is large­ly because of Michael Jacob­son, a burly for­mer FBI lawyer and coun­tert­er­ror­ism ana­lyst who worked as an inves­ti­ga­tor for the Joint Inquiry. Review­ing files at FBI head­quar­ters, he came across a stray ref­er­ence to a bureau infor­mant in San Diego who had known one of the hijack­ers. Intrigued, he decid­ed to fol­low up in the San Diego field office. Bob Gra­ham, the for­mer chair­man of the Sen­ate Intel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, told me recent­ly that Robert Mueller, then the FBI direc­tor (and now the spe­cial coun­sel inves­ti­gat­ing con­nec­tions between Rus­sia and the Trump cam­paign) made “the strongest objec­tions” to Jacob­son and his col­leagues vis­it­ing San Diego.

    Gra­ham and his team defied Mueller’s efforts, and Jacob­son flew west. There he dis­cov­ered that his hunch was cor­rect. The FBI files in Cal­i­for­nia were replete with extra­or­di­nary and damn­ing details, notably the hijack­ers’ close rela­tion­ship with Omar al-Bay­ou­mi, a Sau­di liv­ing in San Diego with a no-show job at a local com­pa­ny with con­nec­tions to the Sau­di Min­istry of Defense and Avi­a­tion. The FBI had inves­ti­gat­ed his pos­si­ble con­nec­tions to Sau­di intel­li­gence. A cou­ple of weeks after the two hijack­ers flew into Los Ange­les from Malaysia, in Feb­ru­ary 2000, he had dri­ven up to the city and met with Fahad al-Thu­mairy, a cler­ic employed by his country’s Min­istry of Islam­ic Affairs who worked out of the Sau­di Con­sulate. Thu­mairy, report­ed to be an adher­ent of extreme Wah­habi ide­ol­o­gy — he was lat­er denied a U.S. visa on grounds of jiha­di con­nec­tions — was also an imam of the King Fahad mosque in Los Ange­les Coun­ty, which the hijack­ers had vis­it­ed soon after their arrival.

    After meet­ing with Thu­mairy, Bay­ou­mi had dri­ven across town to a Mid­dle East­ern restau­rant where he “acci­den­tal­ly” encoun­tered and intro­duced him­self to Haz­mi and Mihd­har. He invit­ed them to move to San Diego, found them an apart­ment, paid their first month’s rent, helped them open a bank account, and intro­duced them to mem­bers of the local Sau­di com­mu­ni­ty, includ­ing his close friend Osama Bass­nan.

    Dur­ing the time Bay­ou­mi was cater­ing to the hijack­ers’ needs, his salary as a ghost employ­ee of the avi­a­tion com­pa­ny got a 700 per­cent boost; it was cut when they left town. That was not his only source of extra funds: After Haz­mi and Mihd­har arrived in San Diego, Bassnan’s wife began sign­ing over to Bayoumi’s wife the checks she received from the wife of the Sau­di ambas­sador in Wash­ing­ton. The total val­ue report­ed­ly came to near­ly $150,000.

    Jacob­son also found evi­dence, not­ed but seem­ing­ly ignored by the bureau, that Haz­mi had worked for a San Diego busi­ness­man who had him­self been the sub­ject of an FBI coun­tert­er­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tion. Even more amaz­ing­ly, the two hijack­ers had been close with an FBI infor­mant, Abdus­sat­tar Shaikh. Haz­mi had actu­al­ly lived in his house after Mihd­har left town. Shaikh failed to men­tion his young Sau­di friends’ last names in reg­u­lar reports to his FBI case offi­cer, or that they were tak­ing fly­ing lessons. Under­stand­ably, the inves­ti­ga­tors had a lot of ques­tions for this man. Nev­er­the­less, Mueller adamant­ly refused their demands to inter­view him, even when backed by a con­gres­sion­al sub­poe­na, and removed Shaikh to an undis­closed loca­tion “for his own safe­ty.” Today, Gra­ham believes that Mueller was act­ing under orders from the White House.

    Anoth­er intrigu­ing doc­u­ment unearthed by the inves­ti­ga­tors in San Diego was a memo from July 2, 2002, dis­cussing alleged finan­cial con­nec­tions between the Sep­tem­ber 11 hijack­ers, Sau­di gov­ern­ment offi­cials, and mem­bers of the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly. It stat­ed that there was “incon­tro­vert­ible evi­dence that there is sup­port for these ter­ror­ists with­in the Sau­di Gov­ern­ment.”

    Back in 2002, Gra­ham him­self was already com­ing to the con­clu­sion that the 9/11 attacks could not have been the work of a stand-alone ter­ror­ist cell. As he lat­er wrote, “I believed almost intu­itive­ly that the ter­ror­ists who pulled off this attack must have had an elab­o­rate sup­port net­work, abroad and in the U.S.A.,” with expens­es far exceed­ing the offi­cial esti­mate of $250,000. “For that rea­son,” he con­tin­ued, “as well as because of the ben­e­fits that come with the con­fi­den­tial­i­ty of diplo­mat­ic cov­er, this infra­struc­ture of sup­port was prob­a­bly main­tained, at least in part, by a nation-state.”

    I asked Gra­ham whether he believed that a care­ful search of the FBI files in Flori­da and else­where would yield sim­i­lar­ly explo­sive dis­clo­sures. He told me that the inquiry would have doubt­less dis­cov­ered whom the hijack­ers were asso­ci­at­ing with in those places, and where that mon­ey came from. Fif­teen years on, Gra­ham still regret­ted not hav­ing pur­sued the pos­si­bil­i­ty of rev­e­la­to­ry FBI files in those oth­er loca­tions “aggres­sive­ly.” Instead, he lament­ed, the inquiry end­ed up “with San Diego being the micro­scope through which we’ve been look­ing at this whole plot.”

    Even the com­par­a­tive­ly com­pre­hen­sive accounts of the San Diego phase of the plot may be miss­ing some telling leads. FBI records detailed the close con­nec­tions between Bay­ou­mi, the hijack­ers, and a local imam, Anwar al-Awlaki.1 Awla­ki appar­ent­ly served as the hijack­ers’ spir­i­tu­al men­tor. He soon moved to North­ern Vir­ginia, and when Haz­mi and anoth­er hijack­er arrived in the neigh­bor­hood in April 2001 to begin their final prepa­ra­tions, he served in that capac­i­ty again, and also found them an apart­ment. Many inves­ti­ga­tors, includ­ing Gra­ham, con­clud­ed that Awla­ki was not only aware of the devel­op­ing plot but very much a part of it.

    But before that, Awla­ki report­ed­ly served as a senior offi­cial of a “char­i­ty” — viewed by the FBI as a ter­ror­ist fund-rais­ing oper­a­tion — found­ed by Abdul Majid al-Zin­dani, a Sau­di-backed cler­ic in Yemen. Zin­dani had been the spir­i­tu­al men­tor of Osama bin Laden him­self. He also found­ed a pow­er­ful Yemeni polit­i­cal par­ty and head­ed Iman Uni­ver­si­ty in Sanaa, often described as a jiha­di recruit­ing hub. Both of these enter­pris­es were sup­port­ed by Sau­di mon­ey.

    In 2004, the U.S. gov­ern­ment list­ed Zin­dani as a “spe­cial­ly des­ig­nat­ed glob­al ter­ror­ist” and a sup­port­er of Al Qae­da. This in no way inter­fered with his trav­els to Sau­di Ara­bia, how­ev­er. As recent­ly as this Feb­ru­ary, Zin­dani was observed in the com­pa­ny of promi­nent cler­ics in Mec­ca. Among those who have drawn atten­tion to this in pub­lished reports is Michael Jacob­son, who after ser­vice with the 9/11 inquiries returned to coun­tert­er­ror­ism analy­sis with the U.S. Trea­sury. Cur­rent­ly, he is at the State Depart­ment. When I called him to dis­cuss Zindani’s rela­tion­ship with the Saud­is, he quick­ly replied, “I can’t talk about that,” and end­ed the con­ver­sa­tion with the words, “Good luck.”

    After a mere ten months, in Decem­ber 2002, the Joint Inquiry team pre­sent­ed its report to the CIA for declas­si­fi­ca­tion. The agency demand­ed numer­ous cuts, only a few of which, in Graham’s view, were jus­ti­fied. But one sec­tion had been cen­sored in its entire­ty: a twen­ty-eight-page sum­ma­ry, writ­ten by Jacob­son, of the evi­dence relat­ing to Sau­di gov­ern­ment sup­port for the hijack­ers. It was the only area on which the Bush White House absolute­ly refused to relent. “The president’s loy­al­ty appar­ent­ly lay more with Sau­di Ara­bia than with America’s safe­ty,” Gra­ham told me bit­ter­ly. To high­light the degree of cen­sor­ship, he made sure that the pub­lished ver­sion of the report includ­ed the blacked-out pages, much to the irri­ta­tion of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty.

    The report con­clud­ed that the FBI, in light of its lam­en­ta­ble per­for­mance, deserved to be dras­ti­cal­ly reformed. But many ques­tions remained unan­swered. The 9/11 fam­i­lies, now emerg­ing as a pow­er­ful lob­by, called for a more sweep­ing probe. In Novem­ber 2002, Con­gress had autho­rized anoth­er bipar­ti­san pan­el, a Nation­al Com­mis­sion on Ter­ror­ist Attacks upon the Unit­ed States. The ini­tial choice of chair­per­son for the new probe, Hen­ry Kissinger, drew out­rage from 9/11 fam­i­lies, par­tic­u­lar­ly a for­mi­da­ble four­some of well-informed wid­ows known as the Jer­sey Girls, who ques­tioned his impar­tial­i­ty giv­en his sus­pect­ed pro­fes­sion­al ties to promi­nent Saud­is. Rather than divulge his Sau­di client list, Kissinger quit. Ulti­mate­ly, the White House select­ed in his place two retired politi­cians — Tom Kean, the for­mer gov­er­nor of New Jer­sey, and Lee Hamil­ton, who had rep­re­sent­ed Indi­ana in the House. Nei­ther, espe­cial­ly Hamil­ton, showed much incli­na­tion to chal­lenge the Bush Administration’s pre­ferred ver­sion of events.

    For the post of exec­u­tive direc­tor, Kean and Hamil­ton appoint­ed Philip Zelikow, a his­to­ri­an and nation­al secu­ri­ty schol­ar with strong con­nec­tions to the Bush Admin­is­tra­tion. (He had served on the Bush tran­si­tion team and pre­pared an impor­tant pol­i­cy paper for his friend Con­doleez­za Rice, the nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er.) A force­ful per­son­al­i­ty, Zelikow main­tained strict day-to-day con­trol of the inves­ti­ga­tion. Accord­ing to The Com­mis­sion, by the for­mer New York Times reporter Philip Shenon, Dana Lese­mann, a Jus­tice Depart­ment lawyer who had worked on the pri­or con­gres­sion­al inves­ti­ga­tion before trans­fer­ring to the com­mis­sion staff, asked for Zelikow’s per­mis­sion to review the redact­ed twen­ty-eight pages. In Shenon’s account, he refused. Buck­ing his orders, she obtained them any­way, where­upon she was prompt­ly fired.2

    Despite these obsta­cles, com­mis­sion staffers did ener­get­i­cal­ly pur­sue leads uncov­ered by the orig­i­nal probe. They were there­fore frus­trat­ed when telling indi­ca­tions of a Sau­di con­nec­tion were large­ly exclud­ed or down­played in the main text of the final report. The staffers were, how­ev­er, able to smug­gle much of what they had uncov­ered into end­notes at the back of the doc­u­ment — an act of small-print, guer­ril­la-style resis­tance. For exam­ple, Jacob­son and a col­league flew to Riyadh to inter­view Fahad al-Thu­mairy, the cler­ic from the Sau­di Con­sulate in Los Ange­les sub­se­quent­ly banned from the Unit­ed States as a sus­pect­ed ter­ror­ist. Dur­ing the inter­view, with Sau­di offi­cials in atten­dance, Thu­mairy denied any con­nec­tion to the plot — in fact, he dis­claimed ever hav­ing met Bay­ou­mi or the hijack­ers. The inves­ti­ga­tors con­clud­ed that he was “lying” and “dan­ger­ous.” The main text of the report men­tions both the alle­ga­tions and his denials, with­out com­ing to any par­tic­u­lar con­clu­sion. But lengthy end­notes spec­i­fy the numer­ous phone calls between Thu­mairy and Bay­ou­mi over sev­er­al years, as well as evi­dence that Thumairy’s occa­sion­al chauf­feur had dri­ven Haz­mi and Mihd­har, at Thumairy’s request, on sight­see­ing trips to Sea World and oth­er spots.

    The main con­clu­sion from the final report was that there was “no evi­dence that the Sau­di gov­ern­ment as an insti­tu­tion or senior Sau­di offi­cials indi­vid­u­al­ly fund­ed the orga­ni­za­tion.” The Sau­di author­i­ties were so pleased by this ver­dict that they post­ed the quote on the web­site of their Wash­ing­ton embassy. The pub­lished ver­sion of the report was a best­seller, nom­i­nat­ed for a Nation­al Book Award, and hailed by the nov­el­ist John Updike as the great­est mas­ter­piece writ­ten by a com­mit­tee since the King James Bible.

    So far as the U.S. gov­ern­ment and most of the media were con­cerned, there was no need for fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tion. But the Bush Admin­is­tra­tion didn’t reject the notion that a nation-state had been behind the attacks. They mere­ly offered up a dif­fer­ent nom­i­nee for the role: Iraq. In the absence of any evi­dence to back this up, inter­roga­tors at Guan­tá­namo were tasked, accord­ing to a 2008 report by the Sen­ate Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee, to tor­ture detainees into admit­ting to such a link.

    The 9/11 fam­i­lies, how­ev­er, had no inter­est in let­ting the king­dom off the hook. Nor did their lawyers. These includ­ed Ron Mot­ley, of the South Car­oli­na firm Mot­ley Rice. He had recent­ly scored the largest civ­il set­tle­ment in his­to­ry — some $246 bil­lion from America’s tobac­co com­pa­nies — and was eager for a fresh chal­lenge. Also enlist­ed in the mul­ti­ple suits were Jim Kreindler, the New York avi­a­tion lawyer who had won more than $2 bil­lion from Muam­mar Qaddafi in the Pan Am Flight 103 case, and Stephen Coz­en of Coz­en O’Connor, spe­cial­ists in recov­er­ing mon­ey for insur­ance com­pa­nies.

    The 9/11 suit as it now stands is a com­pi­la­tion of many such suits. It cites evi­dence of direct sup­port for the attacks by Sau­di offi­cials such as Thu­mairy, Bay­ou­mi, and Bass­nan. It also lays out the case for the inti­mate involve­ment of the Sau­di gov­ern­ment in the cre­ation and expan­sion of Al Qae­da. Where­as the 9/11 Com­mis­sion Report began its nar­ra­tive with Osama bin Laden, In re Ter­ror­ist Attacks goes back to the foun­da­tion of the Al Saud family’s rule and its alliance with the puri­tan­i­cal and intol­er­ant Wah­habi sect. In the 1970s, and then again in the ear­ly 1990s, vio­lent chal­lenges to the family’s legit­i­ma­cy, fos­tered by its cor­rup­tion and back­slid­ing from the fun­da­men­tal­ist creed, per­suad­ed the rul­ing princes to appease the cler­ics by giv­ing them fur­ther lee­way, and mas­sive amounts of mon­ey, to export their extrem­ist agen­da.

    For exam­ple, accord­ing to inter­nal Al Qae­da doc­u­ments seized by U.S. forces in 2002, a man named Abdul­lah Omar Naseef was simul­ta­ne­ous­ly the head of one such Sau­di “char­i­ty,” the Mus­lim World League, and a mem­ber of the Majlis al-Shu­ra, the kingdom’s con­sul­ta­tive assem­bly, which is entire­ly appoint­ed by the gov­ern­ment. Naseef not only met with bin Laden and lead­ers of Al Qae­da at the time of its found­ing but report­ed­ly agreed that the league’s offices would be used as a plat­form for the new orga­ni­za­tion. He then pro­ceed­ed to appoint senior Al Qae­da fig­ures to run league offices in such key out­posts as Pak­istan and the Philip­pines, the lat­ter posi­tion being entrust­ed to bin Laden’s broth­er-in-law. Anoth­er group, the Inter­na­tion­al Islam­ic Relief Orga­ni­za­tion, is mean­while said to have fund­ed ter­ror­ist train­ing camps in Afghanistan, from which the 9/11 hijack­ers grad­u­at­ed, and in Pak­istani-con­trolled Kash­mir, for the evi­dent use of ter­ror­ist groups such as Lashkar-e-Tai­ba.

    Should there have been any doubt about the con­nec­tion between these Wah­habi mis­sion­ary groups and the Sau­di gov­ern­ment, they were dis­pelled by the groups them­selves. In doc­u­ments filed between 2002 and 2005, some for­mal­ly declared them­selves to be organs of the state. They could thus shel­ter behind the prin­ci­pal Sau­di defen­sive for­ti­fi­ca­tion in the case: the immu­ni­ty enjoyed by for­eign coun­tries against being sued in U.S. courts, grant­ed by the For­eign Sov­er­eign Immu­ni­ty Act.

    For years, this appeared to be a sound strat­e­gy, in large part because of the 9/11 Commission’s con­clud­ing blan­ket abso­lu­tion of the Sau­di gov­ern­ment. In 2005, U.S. Dis­trict Judge Richard Casey dis­missed the case against the king­dom itself and many of the indi­vid­ual defen­dants, on the grounds that they were cov­ered by sov­er­eign immu­ni­ty.

    Casey’s judg­ment was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sec­ond Cir­cuit in 2008, prompt­ing an appeal to the Supreme Court in 2009, just as Barack Oba­ma entered the White House. Can­di­date Oba­ma had talked deri­sive­ly about Bush’s “bud­dy­ing up to the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly and then beg­ging them for oil.” Pres­i­dent Obama’s Jus­tice Depart­ment almost imme­di­ate­ly informed the Supreme Court that the Saud­is were in no way liable. Short­ly there­after, Oba­ma flew to Riyadh, where he was roy­al­ly enter­tained and duly bedecked with the gold chain and medal of the Order of King Abdu­laz­iz, an hon­or also con­ferred on Pres­i­dents Clin­ton, Bush, and Trump. “Good­ness gra­cious,” he exclaimed when pre­sent­ed with the cost­ly bauble, “that’s some­thing there!”

    “The mys­tery to me is Oba­ma,” remarked Gra­ham. He could, he said, under­stand Bush’s ratio­nale for cov­er­ing up the Sau­di con­nec­tion in order to bol­ster the case for war with Iraq. But Obama’s refusal to address the issue, which includ­ed a mul­ti-year reluc­tance to release the twen­ty-eight pages, mys­ti­fied him. Meet­ing with offi­cials on Obama’s Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil, he found them “very non-forth­com­ing. ‘You’ve got all the files,’ ” he told them. “ ‘Go back and ver­i­fy what I’ve just said and see if you hold the same opin­ion about the Saud­is that you have just stat­ed.’ Either they didn’t want to find out the facts, or if they found them out, they ignored them.”

    Sim­i­lar­ly unin­ter­est­ed in the facts, at least as Gra­ham saw them, was the 9/11 Review Com­mis­sion autho­rized by Con­gress in 2014 to exam­ine the progress of reforms rec­om­mend­ed by the orig­i­nal com­mis­sion, and recheck its con­clu­sions on the attacks. Three com­mis­sion­ers were appoint­ed to the task by the FBI direc­tor, James Comey: Reagan’s for­mer attor­ney gen­er­al, Edwin Meese; the for­mer Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­gress­man Tim Roe­mer; and Bruce Hoff­man, a ter­ror­ism expert and for­mer RAND offi­cial. This inquiry, work­ing with the “full coop­er­a­tion” of the FBI, upheld the con­clu­sions of the orig­i­nal com­mis­sion in full. No one from this com­mis­sion con­tact­ed Gra­ham.

    In real­i­ty, the Oba­ma Admin­is­tra­tion was well aware that Sau­di Ara­bia was a sup­port­er of ter­ror­ism, though it kept the infor­ma­tion to itself. Only through Wik­iLeaks did we learn of Sec­re­tary of State Hillary Clinton’s clas­si­fied cable, cir­cu­lat­ed to depart­ment offi­cials in Decem­ber 2009, stat­ing as fact that “donors in Sau­di Ara­bia con­sti­tute the most sig­nif­i­cant source of fund­ing to Sun­ni ter­ror­ist groups world­wide.” Sau­di Ara­bia was of course also a sig­nif­i­cant source of fund­ing to the U.S. defense indus­try. Two years after the clas­si­fied cable, Clin­ton aide Jake Sul­li­van emailed her the “good news” that the king­dom had just signed a $30 bil­lion order for Boe­ing F‑15 fight­ers. “Not a bad Christ­mas present,” observed some­one else on the same email thread.

    How­ev­er, while the admin­is­tra­tion and the intel­li­gence agen­cies main­tained the tra­di­tion of pro­tect­ing the Saud­is, the long-stalled legal case against the king­dom was com­ing back to life. One major stum­bling block remained: the For­eign Sov­er­eign Immu­ni­ty Act. Faced with this legal bul­wark, the fam­i­lies and their lawyers resolved to get Con­gress to change the law. The result­ing leg­is­la­tion, the Jus­tice Against Spon­sors of Ter­ror­ism Act (JASTA), was craft­ed to blow away the Saud­is’ immu­ni­ty from pros­e­cu­tion.

    Kathy Owens was among the wid­ows and oth­er plain­tiffs crowd­ing the cor­ri­dors of Con­gress in May 2016 to push for the bill. For the first decade after the attack, she had paid lit­tle atten­tion to the law­suit, adding her name only at her father’s urg­ing. Then she hap­pened to pick up a mag­a­zine excerpt from Antho­ny Sum­mers and Rob­byn Swan’s book on 9/11, The Eleventh Day. “It woke me up,” she told me. “What? There was Sau­di involve­ment and pos­si­bly our gov­ern­ment was onto it, and noth­ing was being done about it, and things were being kept secret?” Learn­ing about JASTA from a web­site run by Sharon Pre­moli, Owens start­ed mak­ing trips to Wash­ing­ton.

    The gov­ern­ment warned that the pro­posed law could inspire sim­i­lar leg­is­la­tion abroad, allow­ing for­eign­ers to sue Amer­i­ca, and Amer­i­cans (though JASTA did not apply to indi­vid­u­als). The president’s press sec­re­tary pushed this argu­ment, as did State Depart­ment offi­cials. Promi­nent for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty experts dis­patched warn­ings to Con­gress. Even the Dutch par­lia­ment weighed in, appar­ent­ly swayed by the State Department’s pro­nounce­ments.

    “It was a bogey­man they threw out in every set­ting,” one of the senior lawyers involved in the law­suit told me, explain­ing that the gov­ern­ment had been rais­ing the same objec­tion on pre­vi­ous occa­sions. Yet “we haven’t seen any flood­gate of claims against the Unit­ed States.” In the view of this attor­ney, who has spent most of his life since 9/11 work­ing on the case, the Oba­ma Admin­is­tra­tion was mere­ly “feign­ing” con­cern. “They’re not dumb. They had to under­stand that these argu­ments didn’t hold water.”

    There was one for­eign state threat­en­ing to strike back at the Unit­ed States if JASTA became law. Vis­it­ing Wash­ing­ton in March 2016, before Con­gress began vot­ing on the mea­sure, Sau­di For­eign Min­is­ter Adel al-Jubeir explic­it­ly warned that his gov­ern­ment might sell its port­fo­lio of “$750 bil­lion” in U.S. Trea­sury bonds, there­by crash­ing the mar­ket in gov­ern­ment secu­ri­ties, should JASTA become law. (The fig­ure was a wild exag­ger­a­tion — U.S. Trea­sury fig­ures showed that the real amount was $117 bil­lion.)

    Even with all the threats and warn­ings, the House passed the bill that Sep­tem­ber, where­upon Oba­ma announced he would veto it, which he duly did. The bat­tle resumed with greater inten­si­ty as both sides pre­pared anoth­er vote. “Pres­i­dent Oba­ma, you can’t hide! We’ll get Con­gress to over­ride,” pro­test­ers chant­ed out­side the White House.

    Despite fran­tic efforts by the admin­is­tra­tion, and ranks of lob­by­ists for the Saud­is, the Sen­ate crushed Obama’s veto, 97 to 1. It was the first and only time Oba­ma suf­fered such an indig­ni­ty. Report­ed­ly, he was “furi­ous.” Mean­while, bipar­ti­san pres­sure to release the cen­sored twen­ty-eight pages in Graham’s orig­i­nal report had been build­ing for some time, led by con­gress­men such as the Demo­c­rat Stephen Lynch and the Repub­li­can Wal­ter Jones. Jones, once a fer­vent hawk, had turned sharply dovish, through guilt, as he told me, over vot­ing for the Iraq war on the basis of “lies.” (He writes a let­ter of con­do­lence to the fam­i­ly of every sin­gle casu­al­ty of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.) Jones, Lynch, and oth­ers on both sides of the aisle held reg­u­lar press con­fer­ences about the twen­ty-eight pages “to keep a drum­beat going to give the 9/11 fam­i­lies the com­plete truth.”

    With the excep­tion of that com­mit­ted group, Owens was not impressed by what she found on Capi­tol Hill. Most of the sen­a­tors and rep­re­sen­ta­tives she met didn’t seem to care who was behind 9/11. “They just didn’t want to be seen as vot­ing against the 9/11 fam­i­lies. So they would vote yes for it, and then try to sab­o­tage it behind the scenes. . . . Wash­ing­ton is an ugly place.” Encour­ag­ing this assess­ment was her dis­cov­ery that at the very moment they were vot­ing almost unan­i­mous­ly for the bill, a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of sen­a­tors from both par­ties were qui­et­ly cir­cu­lat­ing and sign­ing a let­ter cit­ing “con­cerns” regard­ing JASTA’s “poten­tial unin­tend­ed con­se­quences” to “the nation­al secu­ri­ty and for­eign pol­i­cy of the Unit­ed States.” In effect, they were sug­gest­ing that the law they had just been seen enthu­si­as­ti­cal­ly sup­port­ing be weak­ened.

    Front and cen­ter in this sor­ry ini­tia­tive were Sen­a­tors John McCain and Lind­sey Gra­ham, who, fol­low­ing the over­ride, intro­duced amend­ments pur­port­ed­ly designed to “fix” JASTA. One of the 9/11 lawyers cool­ly appraised this tac­tic as “demon­stra­bly the brain­child of Sau­di lawyers here in Wash­ing­ton. They don’t fix JASTA, they’re designed to gut JASTA.” The lawyer spec­u­lat­ed that the Saud­is’ lob­by­ists hadn’t told their clients that “even if amend­ments like that were to be enact­ed, this lit­i­ga­tion would con­tin­ue.” The lob­by­ists’ inter­ests, he sug­gest­ed, lay in keep­ing the fight going as long as pos­si­ble. “I think that you’ve got dozens of retain­ers out there that peo­ple would like to extend into the very dis­tant future.”

    Mean­while, after JASTA became law, dozens of vet­er­ans across the coun­try received invi­ta­tions to a “cool trip.” At no cost to them­selves, they would fly to Wash­ing­ton, stay at the lux­u­ri­ous Trump Hotel — and tell Con­gress how the law endan­gered them and oth­ers who had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan by poten­tial­ly open­ing them to law­suits. The entire oper­a­tion was spon­sored by the Sau­di gov­ern­ment. How­ev­er, accord­ing to mul­ti­ple accounts by vet­er­ans who made the trip, they were not informed before­hand of the Sau­di involve­ment as required by the For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act. They dis­cov­ered the con­nec­tion only by acci­dent. Scott Bar­tels, who served two tours in Iraq, described his expe­ri­ence to me. “We were told that a vet­er­ans’ advo­ca­cy group [had] brought us there to pro­pose a fix to JASTA,” he said. “If any­one in Con­gress asked us what group we were from, or who we were asso­ci­at­ed with, then we were to sim­ply say we were an inde­pen­dent group of con­cerned vet­er­ans here on our own, because JASTA posed a threat to vet­er­ans.”

    Jason Johns, a lob­by­ist for Qorvis, which brought Bar­tels and some 140 oth­ers to Wash­ing­ton, denied that the vet­er­ans were ever mis­in­formed as to who was pay­ing the tab. He also insist­ed to me that his fail­ure to men­tion the Saud­is in var­i­ous writ­ten mate­ri­als dis­trib­uted to the vet­er­ans did not vio­late the law. (Jus­tice Depart­ment guide­lines specif­i­cal­ly stip­u­late that all such mate­r­i­al must state the name of the “for­eign principal.”)3

    At the same time, anoth­er legal bar­ri­er, erect­ed years before by George W. Bush, had already crum­bled. Yield­ing to mount­ing pres­sure, Con­gress final­ly released the infa­mous twen­ty-eight pages in July 2016, albeit with many pas­sages still cen­sored. At long last, the dis­cov­er­ies unearthed by Jacob­son and his col­leagues in San Diego could be incor­po­rat­ed in the law­suit. Though salient details, such as Omar Bayoumi’s role in assist­ing the hijack­ers, had pre­vi­ous­ly been bruit­ed about, many new ones came to light, such as the actions of Saleh al-Hus­sayen, a Sau­di cler­ic and gov­ern­ment employ­ee who had sud­den­ly moved to Haz­mi and Mihdhar’s hotel the night before the attacks. Hus­sayen was “decep­tive” about his rela­tion­ship with the attack­ers when inter­viewed by the FBI and feigned a seizure to evade fur­ther ques­tion­ing. Tak­en to the hos­pi­tal, he escaped and fled the coun­try. The world also learned about Mohammed al-Qud­haeein, anoth­er Sau­di gov­ern­ment agent whose “pro­file is sim­i­lar to that of al-Bay­ou­mi.” While on his way to a par­ty at the Sau­di Embassy in Wash­ing­ton, Qud­haeein researched ways to get into an Amer­i­can Air­lines cock­pit. (Thanks to a tip from a friend­ly gov­ern­ment archivist, Kathy Owens mean­while unearthed anoth­er long-cen­sored doc­u­ment that had been qui­et­ly declas­si­fied. It reveals an Al Qae­da member’s flight cer­tifi­cate enclosed in a Sau­di Embassy enve­lope.)

    Even before the release of these doc­u­ments, some with a vest­ed inter­est in the offi­cial sto­ry had already begun cir­cling the wag­ons. Tom Kean and Lee Hamil­ton penned an op-ed in USA Today mis­lead­ing­ly assert­ing that the twen­ty-eight pages con­sist­ed mere­ly of “raw, unvet­ted mate­r­i­al,” and stat­ed that 9/11 Com­mis­sion staff had access to the clas­si­fied pages and pur­sued the leads before absolv­ing the Sau­di gov­ern­ment. In their motion to dis­miss the law­suit, filed on August 1, 2017, Sau­di Arabia’s D.C. lawyers, Kel­logg, Hansen, Todd, Figel & Fred­er­ick, hewed to much the same pos­ture. Employ­ing the assertive blus­ter com­mon to such doc­u­ments, they derid­ed the rel­e­vance of the miss­ing pages, invoked the find­ings of the 9/11 Com­mis­sion as gospel, scorned asser­tions regard­ing Sau­di gov­ern­ment col­lu­sion with Al Qae­da, and chal­lenged the very notion that JASTA would allow the law­suit against the Sau­di gov­ern­ment to pro­ceed. Nat­u­ral­ly, they demand­ed that the suit be dis­missed.

    ...

    ———-

    “Crime and Pun­ish­ment” by Andrew Cock­burn; Harpers; 09/10/2017

    The 9/11 suit as it now stands is a com­pi­la­tion of many such suits. It cites evi­dence of direct sup­port for the attacks by Sau­di offi­cials such as Thu­mairy, Bay­ou­mi, and Bass­nan. It also lays out the case for the inti­mate involve­ment of the Sau­di gov­ern­ment in the cre­ation and expan­sion of Al Qae­da. Where­as the 9/11 Com­mis­sion Report began its nar­ra­tive with Osama bin Laden, In re Ter­ror­ist Attacks goes back to the foun­da­tion of the Al Saud family’s rule and its alliance with the puri­tan­i­cal and intol­er­ant Wah­habi sect. In the 1970s, and then again in the ear­ly 1990s, vio­lent chal­lenges to the family’s legit­i­ma­cy, fos­tered by its cor­rup­tion and back­slid­ing from the fun­da­men­tal­ist creed, per­suad­ed the rul­ing princes to appease the cler­ics by giv­ing them fur­ther lee­way, and mas­sive amounts of mon­ey, to export their extrem­ist agen­da.”

    And it’s not just the 9/11 suits that shown evi­dence of direct Sau­di gov­ern­ment sup­port for the 9/1 hijack­ers. The Sau­di gov­ern­men­t’s own attempts to thwart these suits also demon­strates the same point with the repeat­ed use of diplo­mat­ic immu­ni­ty to stop the inves­ti­ga­tions:

    ...
    For exam­ple, accord­ing to inter­nal Al Qae­da doc­u­ments seized by U.S. forces in 2002, a man named Abdul­lah Omar Naseef was simul­ta­ne­ous­ly the head of one such Sau­di “char­i­ty,” the Mus­lim World League, and a mem­ber of the Majlis al-Shu­ra, the kingdom’s con­sul­ta­tive assem­bly, which is entire­ly appoint­ed by the gov­ern­ment. Naseef not only met with bin Laden and lead­ers of Al Qae­da at the time of its found­ing but report­ed­ly agreed that the league’s offices would be used as a plat­form for the new orga­ni­za­tion. He then pro­ceed­ed to appoint senior Al Qae­da fig­ures to run league offices in such key out­posts as Pak­istan and the Philip­pines, the lat­ter posi­tion being entrust­ed to bin Laden’s broth­er-in-law. Anoth­er group, the Inter­na­tion­al Islam­ic Relief Orga­ni­za­tion, is mean­while said to have fund­ed ter­ror­ist train­ing camps in Afghanistan, from which the 9/11 hijack­ers grad­u­at­ed, and in Pak­istani-con­trolled Kash­mir, for the evi­dent use of ter­ror­ist groups such as Lashkar-e-Tai­ba.

    Should there have been any doubt about the con­nec­tion between these Wah­habi mis­sion­ary groups and the Sau­di gov­ern­ment, they were dis­pelled by the groups them­selves. In doc­u­ments filed between 2002 and 2005, some for­mal­ly declared them­selves to be organs of the state. They could thus shel­ter behind the prin­ci­pal Sau­di defen­sive for­ti­fi­ca­tion in the case: the immu­ni­ty enjoyed by for­eign coun­tries against being sued in U.S. courts, grant­ed by the For­eign Sov­er­eign Immu­ni­ty Act.

    For years, this appeared to be a sound strat­e­gy, in large part because of the 9/11 Commission’s con­clud­ing blan­ket abso­lu­tion of the Sau­di gov­ern­ment. In 2005, U.S. Dis­trict Judge Richard Casey dis­missed the case against the king­dom itself and many of the indi­vid­ual defen­dants, on the grounds that they were cov­ered by sov­er­eign immu­ni­ty.

    ...

    How­ev­er, while the admin­is­tra­tion and the intel­li­gence agen­cies main­tained the tra­di­tion of pro­tect­ing the Saud­is, the long-stalled legal case against the king­dom was com­ing back to life. One major stum­bling block remained: the For­eign Sov­er­eign Immu­ni­ty Act. Faced with this legal bul­wark, the fam­i­lies and their lawyers resolved to get Con­gress to change the law. The result­ing leg­is­la­tion, the Jus­tice Against Spon­sors of Ter­ror­ism Act (JASTA), was craft­ed to blow away the Saud­is’ immu­ni­ty from pros­e­cu­tion.
    ...

    And for years the shield of diplo­mat­ic immu­ni­ty worked. But now there’s the Jus­tice Against Spon­sors of Ter­ror­ism Act (JASTA) open­ing the Sau­di gov­ern­ment to law­suits and even the noto­ri­ous 28 pages are been par­tial­ly released, adding fur­ther evi­dence of Sau­di gov­ern­ment involve­ment:

    ...
    At the same time, anoth­er legal bar­ri­er, erect­ed years before by George W. Bush, had already crum­bled. Yield­ing to mount­ing pres­sure, Con­gress final­ly released the infa­mous twen­ty-eight pages in July 2016, albeit with many pas­sages still cen­sored. At long last, the dis­cov­er­ies unearthed by Jacob­son and his col­leagues in San Diego could be incor­po­rat­ed in the law­suit. Though salient details, such as Omar Bayoumi’s role in assist­ing the hijack­ers, had pre­vi­ous­ly been bruit­ed about, many new ones came to light, such as the actions of Saleh al-Hus­sayen, a Sau­di cler­ic and gov­ern­ment employ­ee who had sud­den­ly moved to Haz­mi and Mihdhar’s hotel the night before the attacks. Hus­sayen was “decep­tive” about his rela­tion­ship with the attack­ers when inter­viewed by the FBI and feigned a seizure to evade fur­ther ques­tion­ing. Tak­en to the hos­pi­tal, he escaped and fled the coun­try. The world also learned about Mohammed al-Qud­haeein, anoth­er Sau­di gov­ern­ment agent whose “pro­file is sim­i­lar to that of al-Bay­ou­mi.” While on his way to a par­ty at the Sau­di Embassy in Wash­ing­ton, Qud­haeein researched ways to get into an Amer­i­can Air­lines cock­pit. (Thanks to a tip from a friend­ly gov­ern­ment archivist, Kathy Owens mean­while unearthed anoth­er long-cen­sored doc­u­ment that had been qui­et­ly declas­si­fied. It reveals an Al Qae­da member’s flight cer­tifi­cate enclosed in a Sau­di Embassy enve­lope.)
    ...

    So what’s next in this 16 year old pur­suit to bring the peo­ple behind the 9/11 attacks to some sort of jus­tice? How about new evi­dence obtained by the 9/11 law­suit of a 9/11 “dry run” in 1999 that appears to have been con­duct­ed by Sau­di intel­li­gence agents:

    The New York Post

    Sau­di gov­ern­ment alleged­ly fund­ed a ‘dry run’ for 9/11

    By Paul Sper­ry

    Sep­tem­ber 9, 2017 | 10:28am updat­ed

    Fresh evi­dence sub­mit­ted in a major 9/11 law­suit mov­ing for­ward against the Sau­di Ara­bi­an gov­ern­ment reveals its embassy in Wash­ing­ton may have fund­ed a “dry run” for the hijack­ings car­ried out by two Sau­di employ­ees, fur­ther rein­forc­ing the claim that employ­ees and agents of the king­dom direct­ed and aid­ed the 9/11 hijack­ers and plot­ters.

    Two years before the air­lin­er attacks, the Sau­di Embassy paid for two Sau­di nation­als, liv­ing under­cov­er in the US as stu­dents, to fly from Phoenix to Wash­ing­ton “in a dry run for the 9/11 attacks,” alleges the amend­ed com­plaint filed on behalf of the fam­i­lies of some 1,400 vic­tims who died in the ter­ror­ist attacks 16 years ago.

    The court fil­ing pro­vides new details that paint “a pat­tern of both finan­cial and oper­a­tional sup­port” for the 9/11 con­spir­a­cy from offi­cial Sau­di sources, lawyers for the plain­tiffs say. In fact, the Sau­di gov­ern­ment may have been involved in under­writ­ing the attacks from the ear­li­est stages — includ­ing test­ing cock­pit secu­ri­ty.

    “We’ve long assert­ed that there were long­stand­ing and close rela­tion­ships between al Qae­da and the reli­gious com­po­nents of the Sau­di gov­ern­ment,” said Sean Carter, the lead attor­ney for the 9/11 plain­tiffs. “This is fur­ther evi­dence of that.”

    ...

    Cit­ing FBI doc­u­ments, the com­plaint alleges that the Sau­di stu­dents — Mohammed al-Qud­haeein and Ham­dan al-Sha­lawi — were in fact mem­bers of “the Kingdom’s net­work of agents in the US,” and par­tic­i­pat­ed in the ter­ror­ist con­spir­a­cy.

    They had trained at al Qae­da camps in Afghanistan at the same time some of the hijack­ers were there. And while liv­ing in Ari­zona, they had reg­u­lar con­tacts with a Sau­di hijack­er pilot and a senior al Qae­da leader from Sau­di now incar­cer­at­ed at Git­mo. At least one tried to re-enter the US a month before the attacks as a pos­si­ble mus­cle hijack­er but was denied admis­sion because he appeared on a ter­ror­ist watch list.

    Qud­haeein and Sha­lawi both worked for and received mon­ey from the Sau­di gov­ern­ment, with Qud­haeein employed at the Min­istry of Islam­ic Affairs. Sha­lawi was also “a long­time employ­ee of the Sau­di gov­ern­ment.” The pair were in “fre­quent con­tact” with Sau­di offi­cials while in the US, accord­ing to the fil­ings.

    Dur­ing a Novem­ber 1999 Amer­i­ca West flight to Wash­ing­ton, Qud­haeein and Sha­lawi are report­ed to have tried mul­ti­ple times to gain access to the cock­pit of the plane in an attempt to test flight-deck secu­ri­ty in advance of the hijack­ings.

    “After they board­ed the plane in Phoenix, they began ask­ing the flight atten­dants tech­ni­cal ques­tions about the flight that the flight atten­dants found sus­pi­cious,” accord­ing to a sum­ma­ry of the FBI case files.

    “When the plane was in flight, al-Qud­haeein asked where the bath­room was; one of the flight atten­dants point­ed him to the back of the plane,” it added. “Nev­er­the­less, al-Qud­haeein went to the front of the plane and attempt­ed on two occa­sions to enter the cock­pit.”

    The pilots were so spooked by the Sau­di pas­sen­gers and their aggres­sive behav­ior that they made an emer­gency land­ing in Ohio. On the ground there, police hand­cuffed them and took them into cus­tody. Though the FBI lat­er ques­tioned them, it decid­ed not to pur­sue pros­e­cu­tion.

    But after the FBI dis­cov­ered that a sus­pect in a coun­tert­er­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tion in Phoenix was dri­ving Shalawi’s car, the bureau opened a coun­tert­er­ror­ism case on Sha­lawi. Then, in Novem­ber 2000, the FBI received report­ing that Sha­lawi trained at ter­ror­ist camps in Afghanistan and had received explo­sives train­ing to per­form attacks on Amer­i­can tar­gets. The bureau also sus­pect­ed Qud­haeein was a Sau­di intel­li­gence agent, based on his fre­quent con­tact with Sau­di offi­cials.

    More, inves­ti­ga­tors learned that the two Saud­is trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton to attend a sym­po­sium host­ed by the Sau­di Embassy in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Insti­tute for Islam­ic and Ara­bic Sci­ences in Amer­i­ca, which was chaired by the Sau­di ambas­sador. Before being shut down for ter­ror­ist ties, IIASA employed the late al Qae­da cler­ic Anwar al-Awla­ki as a lec­tur­er. Awla­ki min­is­tered to some of the hijack­ers and helped them obtain hous­ing and IDs.

    The FBI also con­firmed that Qudhaeein’s and Shalawi’s air­line tick­ets for the pre‑9/11 dry run were paid for by the Sau­di Embassy.

    “The dry run reveals more of the fin­ger­prints of the Sau­di gov­ern­ment,” said Kris­ten Bre­itweis­er, one of the New York plain­tiffs, whose hus­band per­ished at the World Trade Cen­ter.

    “These guys were Sau­di gov­ern­ment employ­ees for years and were paid by the Sau­di gov­ern­ment,” she added. “In fact, the Sau­di Embassy paid for their plane tick­ets for the dry run.”

    After the Nov. 19, 1999, inci­dent — which took place less than two months before the first hijack­ers entered the US — both Sau­di men held posts as Sau­di gov­ern­ment employ­ees at the Imam Muham­mad Ibn Sau­di Islam­ic Uni­ver­si­ty, the par­ent of IIASA — “a fur­ther indi­ca­tion of their long­stand­ing ties to the Sau­di gov­ern­ment,” the 9/11 com­plaint states.

    Carter said in an inter­view that the alle­ga­tions that the Sau­di Embassy spon­sored a pre‑9/11 dry run — along with charges of oth­er Sau­di involve­ment in the 9/11 plot, from Cal­i­for­nia to Flori­da — are based on “near­ly 5,000 pages of evi­dence sub­mit­ted of record and incor­po­rat­ed by ref­er­ence into the com­plaint.”

    They include “every FBI report that we have been able to obtain,” though hun­dreds of thou­sands of pages of gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments relat­ed to Sau­di ter­ror fund­ing remain secret.

    ...
    ———-

    “Sau­di gov­ern­ment alleged­ly fund­ed a ‘dry run’ for 9/11” by Paul Sper­ry; The New York Post; 09/09/2017

    ““When the plane was in flight, al-Qud­haeein asked where the bath­room was; one of the flight atten­dants point­ed him to the back of the plane,” it added. “Nev­er­the­less, al-Qud­haeein went to the front of the plane and attempt­ed on two occa­sions to enter the cock­pit.”

    And this appar­ent 9/11 dry run by these two fel­lows in 1999 inci­dent just hap­pened to be per­pe­trat­ed by Sau­di gov­ern­ment employ­ees, one of whom was sus­pect­ed by the FBI of being a Sau­di intel­li­gence agent:

    ...
    But after the FBI dis­cov­ered that a sus­pect in a coun­tert­er­ror­ism inves­ti­ga­tion in Phoenix was dri­ving Shalawi’s car, the bureau opened a coun­tert­er­ror­ism case on Sha­lawi. Then, in Novem­ber 2000, the FBI received report­ing that Sha­lawi trained at ter­ror­ist camps in Afghanistan and had received explo­sives train­ing to per­form attacks on Amer­i­can tar­gets. The bureau also sus­pect­ed Qud­haeein was a Sau­di intel­li­gence agent, based on his fre­quent con­tact with Sau­di offi­cials.

    More, inves­ti­ga­tors learned that the two Saud­is trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton to attend a sym­po­sium host­ed by the Sau­di Embassy in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Insti­tute for Islam­ic and Ara­bic Sci­ences in Amer­i­ca, which was chaired by the Sau­di ambas­sador. Before being shut down for ter­ror­ist ties, IIASA employed the late al Qae­da cler­ic Anwar al-Awla­ki as a lec­tur­er. Awla­ki min­is­tered to some of the hijack­ers and helped them obtain hous­ing and IDs.

    The FBI also con­firmed that Qudhaeein’s and Shalawi’s air­line tick­ets for the pre‑9/11 dry run were paid for by the Sau­di Embassy.

    ...

    After the Nov. 19, 1999, inci­dent — which took place less than two months before the first hijack­ers entered the US — both Sau­di men held posts as Sau­di gov­ern­ment employ­ees at the Imam Muham­mad Ibn Sau­di Islam­ic Uni­ver­si­ty, the par­ent of IIASA — “a fur­ther indi­ca­tion of their long­stand­ing ties to the Sau­di gov­ern­ment,” the 9/11 com­plaint states.
    ...

    And that evi­dence was known by gov­ern­ment inves­ti­ga­tors for years and is just being made pub­lic now. So what else is hid­ing away in gov­ern­ment vaults? Sad­ly, we’re appar­ent­ly going to have to rely on the 9/11 fam­i­lies to force the US gov­ern­ment to let us know.

    But those 9/11 fam­i­lies are indeed suc­ceed­ing, bit by bit, year by year and the pic­ture is becom­ing unde­ni­able. It’s one of the things worth actu­al­ly cel­e­brat­ing this 9/11 anniver­sary.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 11, 2017, 10:40 am
  11. @Pterrafractyl–

    One won­ders if per­haps the drone/missile strike that killed Awla­ki may have been intend­ed to elim­i­nate a key piece of the evi­den­tiary puz­zle.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | September 11, 2017, 1:08 pm
  12. Uhhh...WTF? Sau­di Ara­bia and Cana­da were hav­ing a bit of a diplo­mat­ic tiff that some­how spi­raled into a not so sub­tle threat of of a 9/11-style ter­ror attack against Cana­da. That actu­al­ly hap­pened:

    It all start­ed when the Cana­di­an for­eign min­istry offi­cial twit­ter account tweet­ed con­cern over the Sau­di gov­ern­men­t’s arrest of activists who were advo­cat­ing for the right of women to dri­ve.

    This appar­ent­ly did­n’t go over well in Sau­di Ara­bia. The Sau­di for­eign min­istry tweet­ed back that “KSA”, the King­dom of Sau­di Ara­bia, “through its his­to­ry has not and will not accept any form of inter­fer­ing in the inter­nal affairs of the King­dom. The KSA con­sid­ers the Cana­di­an posi­tion an attack on the KSA and requires a firm stance to deter who attempts to under­mine the sov­er­eign­ty of the KSA.” Then the Saud­is also announced Sun­day they would be sus­pend­ing all new trade and invest­ment trans­ac­tions with Cana­da.

    But the spat did­n’t did­n’t end there. Info­graph­ic KSA, a Sau­di youth group with a long his­to­ry of tweets sup­port­ing the Sau­di gov­ern­ment, decid­ed to tweet out what has to be one of the most omi­nous tweets in the his­to­ry of tweets: The tweet sim­ply says “He who inter­feres with what doesn’t con­cern him finds what doesn’t please him”, and has a pic­ture of an Air Cana­da air­line head­ing direct­ly towards the CN Tow­er in down­town Toron­to.

    Info­graph­ic KSA has replaced the tweet with one that does­n’t have an air­plane and has issued an apol­o­gy say­ing the plane was intend­ed to sym­bol­ize the Cana­di­an ambas­sador fly­ing home.

    The Sau­di gov­ern­ment has order the Info­graph­ic KSA account shut down while it con­ducts an inves­ti­ga­tion. And while the exact nature between Info­graph­ic KSA and the Sau­di gov­ern­ment is unclear, it appears to be con­nect­ed to the Sau­di media min­istry accord­ing to Amar­nath Ama­ras­ing­nam, a senior research fel­low at the Insti­tute for Strate­gic Dia­logue. Accord­ing to Ama­ras­ing­nam, the group “seems to exist sole­ly to turn Sau­di gov­ern­ment press releas­es into pret­ty info­graph­ics for social media.” So, yes, it’s look­ing like a group that’s part of the Sau­di gov­ern­men­t’s pub­lic rela­tions efforts just threat­ened Cana­da with a 9/11-style attack:

    CBC

    Sau­di Ara­bi­an group apol­o­gizes for post­ing image appear­ing to threat­en Cana­da with 9/11-style attack

    Sau­di youth group quick­ly delet­ed the image and issued an apol­o­gy
    Ryan Patrick Jones · CBC News ·
    Post­ed: Aug 06, 2018 2:26 PM ET | Updat­ed

    A Sau­di Ara­bi­an orga­ni­za­tion is apol­o­giz­ing after post­ing an image on Twit­ter appear­ing to show an Air Cana­da plane head­ing toward the CN Tow­er in a way that is rem­i­nis­cent of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S.

    “As the Ara­bic say­ing goes: ‘He who inter­feres with what does­n’t con­cern him finds what does­n’t please him,’ ” reads a cap­tion super­im­posed over the image. The info­graph­ic also accus­es Cana­da of “stick­ing one’s nose where it does­n’t belong.”

    It was post­ed on the Twit­ter account of Info­graph­ic KSA which, accord­ing its web­site, is a Sau­di youth orga­ni­za­tion made up of vol­un­teers inter­est­ed in tech­nol­o­gy.

    The Info­graph­ic KSA account is ver­i­fied by Twit­ter and has over 350,000 fol­low­ers, with anoth­er 88,000 on Insta­gram. It has a his­to­ry of post­ing mes­sages that are sup­port­ive of the Sau­di gov­ern­ment.

    ...

    Diplo­mat­ic ten­sions

    The move fol­lows the out­break of a pub­lic spat between the gov­ern­ments of Cana­da and the King­dom of Sau­di Ara­bia over human rights.

    Sau­di Ara­bia ordered the Cana­di­an ambas­sador to leave the coun­try and recalled its own ambas­sador on Sun­day after Glob­al Affairs Cana­da sent a tweet express­ing “grave con­cern” over the recent arrests of civ­il soci­ety and wom­en’s rights activists and call­ing for their “imme­di­ate release.”

    Cana­da is grave­ly con­cerned about addi­tion­al arrests of civ­il soci­ety and women’s rights activists in #Saudi­Ara­bia, includ­ing Samar Badawi. We urge the Sau­di author­i­ties to imme­di­ate­ly release them and all oth­er peace­ful #human­rights activists.— For­eign Pol­i­cy CAN (@CanadaFP) August 3, 2018

    Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s For­eign Min­istry respond­ed on Twit­ter say­ing “KSA through its his­to­ry has not and will not accept any form of inter­fer­ing in the inter­nal affairs of the King­dom.” Sau­di Ara­bia also announced Sun­day it would be sus­pend­ing all new trade and invest­ment trans­ac­tions with Cana­da.

    #State­ment | KSA through its his­to­ry has not and will not accept any form of inter­fer­ing in the inter­nal affairs of the King­dom. The KSA con­sid­ers the Cana­di­an posi­tion an attack on the KSA and requires a firm stance to deter who attempts to under­mine the sov­er­eign­ty of the KSA.— For­eign Min­istry ???? (@KSAmofaEN) August 5, 2018

    After social media users point­ed out the threat­en­ing nature of the pho­to, Info­graph­ic KSA delet­ed the tweet and post­ed an apol­o­gy.

    “The air­craft was intend­ed to sym­bol­ize the return of the ambas­sador,” read the tweet. “We real­ize this was not clear and any oth­er mean­ing was unin­ten­tion­al.”

    The image was lat­er repost­ed with­out the plane to Info­graph­ic KSA’s Twit­ter and Insta­gram accounts.

    As the Ara­bic say­ing goes: “He who inter­feres with what doesn’t con­cern him finds what doesn’t please him” #Saudi­Ara­bia #Cana­da A post shared by ?????????? ???????? (@infographic_ksa) on Aug 6, 2018 at 8:17am PDT

    Just after 3 p.m. on Mon­day, the Sau­di min­istry of media announced it had launched an inves­ti­ga­tion into the account after receiv­ing a com­plaint.

    “The min­istry has ordered the own­er of the account to shut it down until inves­ti­ga­tions are com­plet­ed,” read the tweet.

    Based on a com­plaint filed to the min­is­tery of Media about a post by @Infographic_ksa, the min­istry has ordered the own­er of the account to shut it down until inves­ti­ga­tions are com­plet­ed, accord­ing to elec­tron­ic broad­cast­ing laws in KSA. pic.twitter.com/jD2maoOyEV— ????? ??????? (@media_ksa) August 6, 2018

    Amar­nath Ama­ras­ing­nam, a senior research fel­low at the Insti­tute for Strate­gic Dia­logue, said it is dif­fi­cult to say but the orga­ni­za­tion seems to be con­nect­ed to the Sau­di media min­istry.

    He said that it “seems to exist sole­ly to turn Sau­di gov­ern­ment press releas­es into pret­ty info­graph­ics for social media.”

    Asked if the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment was aware of the image and whether it prompt­ed any spe­cif­ic response, Pub­lic Safe­ty spokesper­son Scott Bard­s­ley declined com­ment.?

    ———-

    “Sau­di Ara­bi­an group apol­o­gizes for post­ing image appear­ing to threat­en Cana­da with 9/11-style attack” by Ryan Patrick Jones;

    ; 08/06/2018

    “A Sau­di Ara­bi­an orga­ni­za­tion is apol­o­giz­ing after post­ing an image on Twit­ter appear­ing to show an Air Cana­da plane head­ing toward the CN Tow­er in a way that is rem­i­nis­cent of the 9/11 attacks in the U.S.

    If you crit­i­cize Sau­di Ara­bia you get planes flown into your build­ings. That was how this Sau­di youth group decid­ed to response to Canada’s crit­i­cisms. And it was­n’t just a the creepy image. There was also the creepy text:

    ...
    “As the Ara­bic say­ing goes: ‘He who inter­feres with what does­n’t con­cern him finds what does­n’t please him,’ ” reads a cap­tion super­im­posed over the image. The info­graph­ic also accus­es Cana­da of “stick­ing one’s nose where it does­n’t belong.”...

    And while such a tweet might be deemed to be just anoth­er taste­less moment on Twit­ter if it had been tweet­ed by some ran­dom Sau­di cit­i­zen or orga­ni­za­tion, this was­n’t just some ran­dom group. The Info­graph­ic KSA account appears to exist for the pur­pose of sup­port­ing the Sau­di gov­ern­ment:

    ...

    It was post­ed on the Twit­ter account of Info­graph­ic KSA which, accord­ing its web­site, is a Sau­di youth orga­ni­za­tion made up of vol­un­teers inter­est­ed in tech­nol­o­gy.

    The Info­graph­ic KSA account is ver­i­fied by Twit­ter and has over 350,000 fol­low­ers, with anoth­er 88,000 on Insta­gram. It has a his­to­ry of post­ing mes­sages that are sup­port­ive of the Sau­di gov­ern­ment.
    ...

    Info­graph­ic KSA removed the plane from the image and asserts that it mere­ly rep­re­sent­ed Canada’s ambas­sador fly­ing back home after get­ting expelled:

    ...
    After social media users point­ed out the threat­en­ing nature of the pho­to, Info­graph­ic KSA delet­ed the tweet and post­ed an apol­o­gy.

    “The air­craft was intend­ed to sym­bol­ize the return of the ambas­sador,” read the tweet. “We real­ize this was not clear and any oth­er mean­ing was unin­ten­tion­al.”

    The image was lat­er repost­ed with­out the plane to Info­graph­ic KSA’s Twit­ter and Insta­gram accounts.
    ...

    And the Sau­di gov­ern­ment has ordered the twit­ter account shut down while it inves­ti­gates it. But it’s still unclear whether or not it’s gov­ern­ment-run account or not. What is clear is that the account appears to sole­ly exist to turn Sau­di gov­ern­ment press releas­es into pret­ty info­graph­ics for social media:

    ...
    Just after 3 p.m. on Mon­day, the Sau­di min­istry of media announced it had launched an inves­ti­ga­tion into the account after receiv­ing a com­plaint.

    “The min­istry has ordered the own­er of the account to shut it down until inves­ti­ga­tions are com­plet­ed,” read the tweet.

    Based on a com­plaint filed to the min­is­tery of Media about a post by @Infographic_ksa, the min­istry has ordered the own­er of the account to shut it down until inves­ti­ga­tions are com­plet­ed, accord­ing to elec­tron­ic broad­cast­ing laws in KSA. pic.twitter.com/jD2maoOyEV— ????? ??????? (@media_ksa) August 6, 2018

    Amar­nath Ama­ras­ing­nam, a senior research fel­low at the Insti­tute for Strate­gic Dia­logue, said it is dif­fi­cult to say but the orga­ni­za­tion seems to be con­nect­ed to the Sau­di media min­istry.

    He said that it “seems to exist sole­ly to turn Sau­di gov­ern­ment press releas­es into pret­ty info­graph­ics for social media.”

    Asked if the Cana­di­an gov­ern­ment was aware of the image and whether it prompt­ed any spe­cif­ic response, Pub­lic Safe­ty spokesper­son Scott Bard­s­ley declined com­ment.?
    ...

    And this qua­si-offi­cial state-to-state ter­ror threat explod­ed after a mere tweet by Canada’s for­eign min­istry crit­i­ciz­ing the arrest of wom­en’s rights activists. It’s a reminder of the Sau­di gov­ern­men­t’s hyper­sen­si­tiv­i­ty about treat­ing women like human beings:

    ...

    Diplo­mat­ic ten­sions

    The move fol­lows the out­break of a pub­lic spat between the gov­ern­ments of Cana­da and the King­dom of Sau­di Ara­bia over human rights.

    Sau­di Ara­bia ordered the Cana­di­an ambas­sador to leave the coun­try and recalled its own ambas­sador on Sun­day after Glob­al Affairs Cana­da sent a tweet express­ing “grave con­cern” over the recent arrests of civ­il soci­ety and wom­en’s rights activists and call­ing for their “imme­di­ate release.”

    Cana­da is grave­ly con­cerned about addi­tion­al arrests of civ­il soci­ety and women’s rights activists in #Saudi­Ara­bia, includ­ing Samar Badawi. We urge the Sau­di author­i­ties to imme­di­ate­ly release them and all oth­er peace­ful #human­rights activists.— For­eign Pol­i­cy CAN (@CanadaFP) August 3, 2018

    Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s For­eign Min­istry respond­ed on Twit­ter say­ing “KSA through its his­to­ry has not and will not accept any form of inter­fer­ing in the inter­nal affairs of the King­dom.” Sau­di Ara­bia also announced Sun­day it would be sus­pend­ing all new trade and invest­ment trans­ac­tions with Cana­da.

    #State­ment | KSA through its his­to­ry has not and will not accept any form of inter­fer­ing in the inter­nal affairs of the King­dom. The KSA con­sid­ers the Cana­di­an posi­tion an attack on the KSA and requires a firm stance to deter who attempts to under­mine the sov­er­eign­ty of the KSA.— For­eign Min­istry ???? (@KSAmofaEN) August 5, 2018

    ...

    It’s a reminder that, for all of Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s attempts to por­tray it’s cur­rent gov­ern­ment as a ‘reformer’ gov­ern­ment, it’s still basi­cal­ly the same insane­ly misog­y­nis­tic theo­crat­ic patri­archy it’s always been.

    It’s also worth not­ing the rea­son for the ini­tial tweet by Canada’s for­eign min­istry express­ing con­cern about the treat­ment of wom­en’s rights activists: when the Sau­di gov­ern­ment decid­ed to grant women the right to dri­ve, they appar­ent­ly decid­ed to also arrest the var­i­ous activists who had been cam­paign­ing for the right for women to dri­ve and charge them with being trai­tors work­ing with for­eign ele­ments. Appar­ent­ly the les­son that activism nev­er works and should nev­er be tried is vital for the sta­bil­i­ty of the King­dom:

    Busi­ness Insid­er

    Sau­di Ara­bia has lift­ed its ban on women dri­ving but many activists remain behind bars

    Rosie Per­p­er
    Jun. 24, 2018, 7:52 PM

    * Author­i­ties in Sau­di Ara­bia detained sev­er­al wom­en’s rights activists who cam­paigned for wom­en’s dri­ving rights just before the coun­try lift­ed its ban on women dri­ving.
    * At least 12 wom­en’s promi­nent rights activists have been arrest­ed in the last month.
    * Sau­di Ara­bia lift­ed its dri­ving ban on Sun­day .

    Author­i­ties in Sau­di Ara­bia arrest­ed sev­er­al wom­en’s rights activists who cam­paigned for wom­en’s dri­ving rights in the weeks before the coun­try lift­ed its long-stand­ing ban on female dri­vers on Sun­day.

    At least 12 promi­nent wom­en’s rights activists have been arrest­ed since May 15, nine of them remain in cus­tody and face seri­ous charges and long jail sen­tences, Human Rights Watch said Fri­day.

    Local media reports that the nine activists will be referred to a crim­i­nal court that specif­i­cal­ly deal with ter­ror­ism-relat­ed offens­es.

    Two wom­en’s rights activists were arrest­ed ear­li­er this month accord­ing to the rights group, join­ing sev­er­al oth­er men and women all tied to pre­vi­ous cam­paigns to lift the dri­ving ban. Sau­di activists also report­ed that trav­el bans were placed on those most recent­ly arrest­ed, along with sev­er­al oth­ers.

    Sau­di state media has been quick to brand the activists as “trai­tors,” and accused them of form­ing a “cell” in con­junc­tion with for­eign agents, Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al said .

    Semi-offi­cial #Sau­di account is post­ing this kind imagery of arrest­ed women’s rights activists. The red stamps over activists’ pic­tures read: “trai­tor”. State is shock­ing­ly brazen. Some of these activists gained immense pop­u­lar­i­ty & cred­i­bil­i­ty dur­ing anti-guardian­ship cam­paign. pic.twitter.com/ePxMugx7Km— Nora Abdulka­rim ???? ??????? (@Ana3rabeya) May 19, 2018

    The gov­ern­ment first announced it would lift its ban on women dri­ving in Sep­tem­ber, and the ban was offi­cial­ly lift­ed on Sun­day. Crit­ics of the ban say it was sym­bol­ic of Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s strong patri­ar­chal soci­ety, an image which Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is rapid­ly try­ing to change with numer­ous mod­ern­iza­tion efforts.

    But while the nation was cel­e­brat­ing the abol­ish­ment of the ban, the gov­ern­ment has been dou­bling down on activists who had fought for the right.

    ICYMI: Ahead of being legal­ly allowed to dri­ve, women in Sau­di Ara­bia are going for a dri­ve via @ReutersTV pic.twitter.com/gybLkXDqeN— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) May 21, 2018

    Activists told the Jour­nal that on the day of the announce­ment they received calls from the Sau­di gov­ern­ment ban­ning them from speak­ing to the media or even prais­ing the move.

    “We were told: ‘Don’t talk. We don’t want you to com­ment pos­i­tive­ly or neg­a­tive­ly. Don’t do it, don’t give inter­views,“ ‘ an unnamed activist told the Jour­nal.

    Activists said the recent crack­down is aimed at pre­vent­ing any­one from claim­ing cred­it for the gov­ern­men­t’s deci­sion to lift the ban.

    “They put pres­sure on the gov­ern­ment and the gov­ern­ment is still angry, even if it has accept­ed that women will be allowed to dri­ve,” anoth­er activist told the Jour­nal. “Women will dri­ve soon, and they don’t want any­one who can com­ment.”

    ...

    Saudi’s Press Agency said the activists were arrest­ed for hav­ing “dared to vio­late the coun­try’s reli­gious and nation­al pil­lars through mak­ing sus­pect­ed con­tacts in sup­port of the activ­i­ties of for­eign cir­cles.” The state­ment also said those detained sought to “desta­bi­lize the King­dom.”

    ———-

    “Sau­di Ara­bia has lift­ed its ban on women dri­ving but many activists remain behind bars” Rosie Per­p­er; Busi­ness Insid­er; 06/24/2018

    “At least 12 promi­nent wom­en’s rights activists have been arrest­ed since May 15, nine of them remain in cus­tody and face seri­ous charges and long jail sen­tences, Human Rights Watch said Fri­day.”

    And don’t for­get that the above arti­cle was from June 22, so there have been quite a few more arrests of wom­en’s rights activists since then. It was the arrests of more activists last week that prompt­ed the Cana­di­an tweet.

    And these activists aren’t just being arrest­ed. They’re get­ting charged in courts specif­i­cal­ly set up to deal with ter­ror­ism-relat­ed offens­es:

    ...
    Local media reports that the nine activists will be referred to a crim­i­nal court that specif­i­cal­ly deal with ter­ror­ism-relat­ed offens­es.

    Two wom­en’s rights activists were arrest­ed ear­li­er this month accord­ing to the rights group, join­ing sev­er­al oth­er men and women all tied to pre­vi­ous cam­paigns to lift the dri­ving ban. Sau­di activists also report­ed that trav­el bans were placed on those most recent­ly arrest­ed, along with sev­er­al oth­ers.

    Sau­di state media has been quick to brand the activists as “trai­tors,” and accused them of form­ing a “cell” in con­junc­tion with for­eign agents, Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al said .

    Semi-offi­cial #Sau­di account is post­ing this kind imagery of arrest­ed women’s rights activists. The red stamps over activists’ pic­tures read: “trai­tor”. State is shock­ing­ly brazen. Some of these activists gained immense pop­u­lar­i­ty & cred­i­bil­i­ty dur­ing anti-guardian­ship cam­paign. pic.twitter.com/ePxMugx7Km— Nora Abdulka­rim ???? ??????? (@Ana3rabeya) May 19, 2018

    ...

    Saudi’s Press Agency said the activists were arrest­ed for hav­ing “dared to vio­late the coun­try’s reli­gious and nation­al pil­lars through mak­ing sus­pect­ed con­tacts in sup­port of the activ­i­ties of for­eign cir­cles.” The state­ment also said those detained sought to “desta­bi­lize the King­dom.”
    ...

    And this all appears to be some sort of cam­paign to pun­ish those activists over their suc­cess in pres­sur­ing the gov­ern­ment even­tu­al­ly allow women to dri­ve. The gov­ern­ment even demand­ed that the activists not take cred­it on the his­toric day when women first drove:

    ...
    The gov­ern­ment first announced it would lift its ban on women dri­ving in Sep­tem­ber, and the ban was offi­cial­ly lift­ed on Sun­day. Crit­ics of the ban say it was sym­bol­ic of Sau­di Ara­bi­a’s strong patri­ar­chal soci­ety, an image which Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman is rapid­ly try­ing to change with numer­ous mod­ern­iza­tion efforts.

    But while the nation was cel­e­brat­ing the abol­ish­ment of the ban, the gov­ern­ment has been dou­bling down on activists who had fought for the right.

    ICYMI: Ahead of being legal­ly allowed to dri­ve, women in Sau­di Ara­bia are going for a dri­ve via @ReutersTV pic.twitter.com/gybLkXDqeN— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) May 21, 2018

    Activists told the Jour­nal that on the day of the announce­ment they received calls from the Sau­di gov­ern­ment ban­ning them from speak­ing to the media or even prais­ing the move.

    “We were told: ‘Don’t talk. We don’t want you to com­ment pos­i­tive­ly or neg­a­tive­ly. Don’t do it, don’t give inter­views,“ ‘ an unnamed activist told the Jour­nal.

    Activists said the recent crack­down is aimed at pre­vent­ing any­one from claim­ing cred­it for the gov­ern­men­t’s deci­sion to lift the ban.

    “They put pres­sure on the gov­ern­ment and the gov­ern­ment is still angry, even if it has accept­ed that women will be allowed to dri­ve,” anoth­er activist told the Jour­nal. “Women will dri­ve soon, and they don’t want any­one who can com­ment.”
    ...

    As we can see, the Sau­di gov­ern­ment clear­ly wants to ter­ror­ize its wom­en’s rights activists cit­i­zens so they don’t get the wrong idea about the util­i­ty of activism or the role of women in Sau­di soci­ety. That’s the obvi­ous pur­pose of charg­ing these activists with ter­ror­ism and pre­vent them from tak­ing any cred­it fol­low­ing this pol­i­cy shift. It does­n’t bode well for the Sau­di pop­u­lace.

    So we have a Sau­di gov­ern­ment that’s ter­ror­iz­ing its own civ­il rights activists by charg­ing them with ter­ror­ism as revenge for their suc­cess­es, and when Cana­da tweets about this a Sau­di state-affil­i­at­ed pub­lic rela­tions youth group issues a 9/11-style visu­al ter­ror threat against Cana­da.

    It was­n’t the best pub­lic rela­tions move.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 6, 2018, 2:49 pm

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