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

[1]

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. [2] (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 [3] for families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia, and the 28 pages redacted from the 9/11 Joint Intelligence Committee [4] 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 [5]. IF the 9/11 lawsuit were to proceed in the direction of Youssef Nada [6], Bank al-Taqwa [7] the SAAR Network [8], the Safa Trust [9], and the overlapping Islamic Free Market Institute [10] , the investigation would ensnare some very interesting individuals and institutions.

Not only would Grover Norquist [11], Karl Rove [12] and Talat Othman [13] come under scrutiny, but the al-Taqwa investigation would go back to Francois Genoud [14], Nada [15], Achmed Huber [16] and the Underground Reich [17]

Sadly, Operation Green Quest [18] 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 [19], 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. [3]

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. [4]

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.”