- Spitfire List - http://spitfirelist.com -

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.”