Originally published at The New Yorker by Lawrence Wright on 9/9/14On the bottom floor of the United States Capitol’s new underground visitors’ center, there is a secure room where the House Intelligence Committee maintains highly classified files. One of those files is titled “Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters.” It is twenty-eight pages long. In 2002, the Administration of George W. Bush excised those pages from the report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks. President Bush said then that publication of that section of the report would damage American intelligence operations, revealing “sources and methods that would make it harder for us to win the war on terror.”
“There’s nothing in it about national security,” Walter Jones, a Republican congressman from North Carolina who has read the missing pages, contends. “It’s about the Bush Administration and its relationship with the Saudis.” Stephen Lynch, a Massachusetts Democrat, told me that the document is “stunning in its clarity,” and that it offers direct evidence of complicity on the part of certain Saudi individuals and entities in Al Qaeda’s attack on America. “Those twenty-eight pages tell a story that has been completely removed from the 9/11 Report,” Lynch maintains. Another congressman who has read the document said that the evidence of Saudi government support… Continue reading
Originally published by Reuters by Jonathan Stempel on 9/2/14
(Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Tuesday said photos of a Saudi national imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay who U.S. officials have said intended to be the “20th hijacker” in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks should stay classified, in the interest of protecting national security.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the government plausibly showed that releasing images of Mohammed al-Qahtani, who was subject to interrogation techniques that a government official likened to torture, could endanger military personnel, diplomats and workers in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
The Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents al-Qahtani in a federal lawsuit in Washington, D.C. over his treatment, had sought the disclosure of photographs, videos and other audiovisual evidence of his confinement conditions under the federal Freedom of Information Act.
Writing for a three-judge panel, however, Circuit Judge José Cabranes said the release “could logically and plausibly harm national security because these images are uniquely susceptible to use by anti-American extremists as propaganda to incite violence against United States interests domestically and abroad.”
Al-Qahtani has been held since February 2002 at the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
He had been the target of a “special interrogation plan” that included 20-hour interrogations, sleep deprivation, prolonged exposure to cold temperatures, forced nudity, performance of dog tricks while wearing a dog collar, and sexual humiliation, according to publicly leaked interrogation logs.
Lawrence Lustberg, a lawyer for CCR, in a statement objected… Continue reading
Instead of following the law and producing documents that could show whether or not Saudis living in Sarasota provided aid and assistance to the 9/11 terrorists, the FBI, a federal judge recently found:
• Provided records with “apparent” and unexplained chronological “gaps.”
• Presented to the court “located documents” that “seem incomplete.”
• Submitted “summary documents” that “do in fact seem to contradict each other.”
The FBI’s handling of requests for documents related to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, which had links to locations and venues in Sarasota County, is unacceptable.
We and anyone interested in knowing more of the truth about 9/11 are grateful that U.S. District Court Judge William Zloch has steadily sought to require the FBI to adequately search for, find and release to the court documents requested under the Freedom of Information Act.
In contrast, it’s troubling that the nation’s top law-enforcement agency would not only be intransigent but would submit documents with gaps and contradictions to a federal court. The fact that the documents sought are relevant to one of the United States’ greatest domestic tragedies compounds the concerns.
In September 2011, two independent reporters writing for BrowardBulldog.org reported that a family from Saudi Arabia, who lived in Sarasota County’s prestigious Prestancia development prior to September 2001, had connections with individuals associated with terrorism.
The report, reprinted three years ago by the Herald-Tribune, cited documents showing phone calls to the… Continue reading
Originally published by The NY Post on 12/19/13
A U.S. appeals court on Thursday revived claims by families of victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks who alleged that Saudi Arabia provided material support to al Qaeda.
Reversing a lower court ruling, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said “the interests of justice” justified reviving the claims, in light of a 2011 decision that allowed similar claims to proceed against Afghanistan.
Circuit Judge Chester Straub wrote for a three-judge panel that it would be “especially anomalous” to treat both sets of plaintiffs differently. He returned the case to U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan for further proceedings.
The litigation was brought on behalf of families of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the September 11 attacks, as well as insurers that covered losses suffered by building owners and businesses.
Most of the attackers were Saudi nationals who hijacked planes and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and – when passengers revolted – into a field in Pennsylvania.
“This opinion is eminently correct and will give 9/11 victims their day in court,” said Stephen Cozen, a partner at Cozen O’Connor representing the plaintiffs. “The parties will start over, and we are very, very satisfied that we will meet any defenses, both legal and factual, that are raised.”
Cozen said damages could reach tens of billions of dollars.
Michael Kellogg, a partner at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd,… Continue reading
Originally published at whowhatwhy.com by Russ Baker on 12/19/13
President Obama is apparently thinking about his presidential library. So now might be a good time to ponder whether anyone will want to visit it.
If he cared about revivifying his brief reputation as a good-guy outsider ready to shine light on the hidden recesses of our governing apparatus (remember his election-night victory speech that brought tears and rare hope to America?), Obama could certainly start at this late date by taking a stand for transparency.
Here’s how: Two Congressmen, a Democrat and a Republican, are asking Obama to declassify the congressional report on 9/11, which the Bush administration heavily redacted.
The two members of the House of Representatives have read the blacked-out portions, including 28 totally blank pages that deal largely with Saudi government ties to the alleged 9/11 hijackers.
This is apparently major connect-the-dots stuff—much more significant than what one may remember from Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 911, about Saudi royals and other Saudis studying and living in the US, who were allowed to go home without being interviewed in the aftermath of the attacks. This is about actual financial and logistical support of terrorism against the United States—by its ally, the Saudi government.
As a Hoover Institution media scholar wrote in the New York Post (normally no bastion of deep investigative inquiry):
The Saudis deny any role in 9/11, but the CIA in one memo reportedly found “incontrovertible evidence” that Saudi government… Continue reading
Originally published at the NYPost by Paul Sperry on 12/15/13
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… Continue reading
by Kevin Ryan
Revelations since 9/11 have confirmed Wright’s claims. FBI management did little or nothing to stop terrorism in the decade before 9/11 and, in some cases, appeared to have supported terrorists. This is more disturbing considering that the power of the FBI over terrorism investigations was supreme. In 1998, the FBI’s strategic plan stated that terrorist activities fell “almost exclusively within the jurisdiction of the FBI” and that “the FBI has no higher priority than to combat terrorism.”
A number of people are suspect in these failures, including the leaders of the FBI’s counterterrorism programs. But at the time of Wright’s written complaint, which was not shared with the public until May 2002, the man most responsible was Louis Freeh, Director of the FBI from 1993 to 2001.
Agent Wright was not FBI leadership’s only detractor, and not the only one to criticize Freeh.…Continue reading
Statement of September 11th Advocates Regarding Guantánamo Bay Military Tribunals
For Immediate Release
May 4, 2012
It would seem that the U.S. Government found itself in a conundrum when they allowed prisoners, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), to be tortured in secret prisons around the world. Once tortured, any confession or testimony from KSM, or others, could not be deemed reliable. Furthermore, the focus of the eventual proceedings would become a trial about the practice of torture, instead of being a trial about alleged terrorist crimes. That would have been untenable for the U.S. Government, which wants to avoid any and all accountability for their own crimes of torture.
In order to bypass potential discussion of torture, the latest Chief Prosecutor for the Military Commissions, Brig. General Mark Martins, found a willing witness in Majid Khan, a fellow GITMO inmate to KSM. Khan himself was not involved in the 9/11 plot. He supposedly got his information from time spent behind bars at GITMO with KSM. Kahn will be allowed to give this hearsay evidence against KSM in return for a reduced sentence. However, Khan’s sentencing won’t take place for four years. It seems the Prosecution is pinning their hopes and dreams on Khan’s upcoming performance. None of this lends credibility to an already suspect system.
Additionally, with campaigning for the upcoming Presidential elections heating up, the timing of this latest attempt at justice for 9/11 is exploitive at best.
Patty Casazza Monica Gabrielle Mindy Kleinberg Lorie Van Auken
9/11… Continue reading
By John Bursill
Unfortunately, it now appears that a war between the US and its allies with Iran is imminent. By any military analyst’s assessment this has a real chance of changing the current multi-theatre war against terrorism and so called rogue/terrorist states into a real World War III scenario!
Following the Mainstream media (MSM) in the West over the last few months, you would be sensing that many things have happened to support the war-with-Iran rationale: hearing that Iran wants a Nuclear bomb and would be prepared to use it against Israel and the US, other alarming stories include Iran trading in weapons with “rogue states,” Iran killing innocent people abroad, Iran‘s president is insane and wants to “wipe Israel off the map,” Iran has been involved in terrorist plots/bombings and may attack inside the US and Iran is trading drugs. The list of baseless accusation goes on and on.
Interesting to remember that after 9/11 the MSM did little to question the actual events and who benefited but devoted massive media speculation to Iraq being involved while no evidence existed, managing to convince the vast majority of the American public that Saddam was involved with the 9/11 attacks leading to growing public support for the 2003 invasion.
Many times over the last decade it was obvious by the rhetoric out of Washington and from their many think tanks like PNAC (The Project for the New American Century) and leaked memos from the Pentagon that the… Continue reading
By Eric Lichtblau
WASHINGTON — For more than a decade, questions have lingered about the possible role of the Saudi government in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, even as the royal kingdom has made itself a crucial counterterrorism partner in the eyes of American diplomats.
Now, in sworn statements that seem likely to reignite the debate, two former senators who were privy to top secret information on the Saudis’ activities say they believe that the Saudi government might have played a direct role in the terrorist attacks.
“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” former Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, said in an affidavit filed as part of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government and dozens of institutions in the country by families of Sept. 11 victims and others. Mr. Graham led a joint 2002 Congressional inquiry into the attacks.
His former Senate colleague, Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a Democrat who served on the separate 9/11 Commission, said in a sworn affidavit of his own in the case that “significant questions remain unanswered” about the role of Saudi institutions. “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued,” Mr. Kerrey said.
Their affidavits, which were filed on Friday and have not previously been disclosed, are part of a multibillion-dollar lawsuit… Continue reading
A Saudi Arabian accused of associating with several of the September 11 hijackers and who disappeared from his home in the United States a few weeks before the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, is in London working for his country’s state oil company.
By Anthony Summers, Neil Tweedie and Dan Christensen in Miami
Abdulaziz al-Hijji and his wife Anoud left three cars at their luxurious home in a gated community in Sarasota, Florida — one of them new — and flew to Saudi Arabia in August 2001. The refrigerator was full of food; furniture and clothing were left behind; and the swimming pool water was still circulating.
Security records of cars passing through a checkpoint at the Prestancia gated community indicated that Mr al-Hijji’s home, 4224 Escondito Circle, had been visited a number of times by Mohamed Atta, the leader of the 19-strong hijack team, who piloted American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Centre in 2001.
The logs also indicated that Marwan Al-Shehhi, who crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into the South Tower, and Ziad Jarrah, who was at the controls of United Airlines Flight 93 when it crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, had visited the house.
All three men had trained to fly at Venice Airport, which is 19 miles from Sarasota.
A US counter-terrorist agent told The Daily Telegraph: “The registration numbers of vehicles that had passed through the Prestancia community’s north gate in the months before 9/11, coupled with the identification documents shown by incoming drivers on request, showed that Mohamed Atta and several of his fellow hijackers, and another Saudi suspect still at large, had visited 4224 Escondito Circle.”
The suspect was Adnan Shukrijumah, an al-Qaeda operative who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, with a $5 million bounty on his head.A decade after the world’s worst terrorist attack, which claimed the lives of 3,000 people, Mr al-Hijji is resident in London, working for the European subsidiary of Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state oil company.…Continue reading
By Chris Mondics
Inquirer Staff Writer
In a ferocious legal battle pitting government lawyers against victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the Justice Department is fighting to block thousands of individuals and businesses from taking $6.6 million in frozen al-Qaeda assets seized from an alleged terrorism financier.
Frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2007, the money is sought by the attorneys for 6,000 individual victims and insurers who suffered billions in losses from the attacks on the World Trade Center.
The money, in a Chicago brokerage account controlled by senior al-Qaeda operative Abu al-Tayyeb until his arrest in Saudi Arabia in 2006, drew little public notice until lawyers for 9/11 victims moved in June to collect on a 2007 default judgment.
A short time later, the Justice Department initiated legal proceedings to claim the money for itself – and keep it out of the hands of the 9/11 victims and insurers.
That triggered a fierce response from the victims’ lawyers, among them the Center City law firm Cozen O’Connor, who accuse the Justice Department of duplicity in seeking to prevent them from getting access to… Continue reading
By Jonathan Turley
Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.
Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act , signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?
While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack… Continue reading
By Russ Baker
December 26, 2011
A growing body of evidence points to a concerted campaign to prepare Americans and the world for war against Iran. This is not idle speculation. It fits a pattern that repeatedly preceded previous hostilities.
Here are the recent examples on Iran:
-The claim that Iran is a WMD threat. Pretty much everyone is familiar with the long-term, continuing efforts to paint Iran as some kind of nuclear threat. This ignores the possibility that Iran is telling the truth in contending it is embarked on solely non-military nuclear research (debatable), and serious doubts among many experts that Iran is preparing nuclear weapons. Perhaps most important, it discounts the fact that many countries (including Iran’s arch-enemy Israel) have nuclear weapons, and disregards the undoubted truth that if a country like Iran ever did launch nuclear weapons, it would be wiped out in a nanosecond, creating a very strong disincentive for offensive use. At the same time, by encouraging other countries and internal foes to believe that it has nuclear weapons, Iran creates an inexpensive protective shield for its regime. A dangerous game, to be sure, but without further evidence of Iranian nukes, hardly a reason to launch a war that would surely cause even more death and destruction than the misguided Iraq invasion.
-The claim that Iran tried to hire Mexican drug cartel hit squads to kill a Saudi ambassador on US soil (fizzled). Remember this one? So ludicrous that even ultra-cautious corporate news organizations… Continue reading
by Jon Gold
December 20, 2011
Before I begin, I’d like to say that I am neither a fan of Iran, or an opponent of Iran. I just don’t want anymore damn wars.
Recently, a Judge ruled “that Iran was complicit in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, including 18 Bucks County residents.” Here is the evidence according to the article:
Using a team of experts, including former members of the 9/11 Commission, and the testimony of three Iranian defectors, the lawyers put on a four-hour presentation for Daniels on Thursday.
During the hearing, defector Abdolghassem Mesbahi, who was once an aide and close confidant of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic’s founder, revealed that he had firsthand knowledge of terrorist plots dating to the 1980s.
Mesbahi, whose identity was kept secret until the hearing, said he knew in August 2001 that there was a plan in place to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings.
Another defector testified that he was with al-Qaida’s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, when the terrorist attended four days of meetings with top Iranian officials in January 2001 to plan the 9/11 attacks.
The third defector told the judge that he helped write up the debriefing reports of Iran’s al-Qaida liaison, Imad Mugniyeh, after he returned to Iran from Afghanistan following 9/11.
To further prove Iran’s complicity in the attacks, Mellon presented the testimony of Janice Kephart, a former counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism… Continue reading
Engineering Consent For Attack On Iran
US Court Claims Iranian 9/11 Link
By RT (Russia Today)
December 17, 2011 — A US court has won a default judgement that Iranian officials, including its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, provided help to the 9/11 hijackers behind the worst terror attack on American soil. The lawsuit was filed by the families of the atrocity’s victims. There was no Iranian representation in court. RT talks to Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Center for Research on Globalization.
Iran Accused Of 9/11 Role
By Fox News
May 20, 2011 “Fox News” — NEW YORK: Two defectors from Iran’s intelligence service have testified that Iranian officials knew in advance about the attacks of September 11, 2001, says a US court filing that seeks damages for Iran’s “direct support for, and sponsorship of, the most deadly act of terrorism in American history”.
Iran Accused Of September 11 Role To Plan, Train & Escape WTC Attacks 21/5/11:
One of the defectors also claimed that Iran was involved in designing the attacks, the filing said. The defectors’ identities and testimony were not revealed in the filing but were being submitted to a judge under seal, said lawyers who brought the original suit against Iran on behalf of families of dozens of September 11 victims.
The suit says Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group with close ties to Tehran, helped al-Qaeda with planning the attacks and with the hijackers’ training and travel. After the attacks, the suit says, Iran and Hezbollah helped al-Qaeda operatives and their families to escape, in some cases providing them with a safe haven in Iran.…Continue reading
By Pete Kasperowicz
November 19, 2011
A bipartisan group of senators proposed legislation this week that would overturn a court interpretation of current law that has blocked a lawsuit brought by 9/11 victims against Saudi Arabia for supporting al Qaeda.
The bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) would amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) to clarify that victims of terrorist acts in the U.S. can hold the foreign sponsors of those attacks responsible in U.S. courts. Co-sponsoring the bill are Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
Schumer said the bill is needed because some U.S. courts have interpreted FSIA and ATA that Americans injured during the 9/11 attacks have no recourse against foreign states that should be held responsible. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York threw out a victims’ suit against Saudi Arabia in 2008, based on the argument that Saudi Arabia did not direct the 9/11 attacks, and that FSIA did not apply to this case.
But Schumer said this decision reflects an incorrect interpretation of FSIA and ATA, and is “contrary to the plain language” of those laws.
“[T]aken together, the FSIA and ATA were designed to enable terrorism victims to bring suit against foreign states and terror sponsors when they support terrorism against the United States,” Schumer said. “I am introducing this bill… Continue reading
by Brian Romanoff
News of the Saudi Crown Prince passing in the U.S. and his new successor to the post warrant a refresher on the attempts to name them in 9/11 lawsuits years ago.
ONE BIG FAMILY
Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, died just a weeks ago in a New York hospital due to ill health. The world’s largest oil-exporting nation has quickly found an heir to the Crown Prince, a position directly under the most powerful of the King. The new Crown Prince has been named as Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, brother of the deceased Crown Prince Sultan. Both were half-brothers to the current King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, and both are a part of the powerful Sudairi Seven.
Photo, left: The recently deceased Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz
The old Crown Prince Sultan is the father of Prince Bandar. Bandar is known to many in the world as “Bandar Bush” for his extremely close relationship with the Bush family. Bandar served as the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the U.S. from 1983 until 2005. The Royal family’s relationship with the Bush family goes back even further.
Photo, right: “Bandar Bush” and Condoleezza Rice join the Saudi King and Bush at Bush’s Texas property.
Prince Bandar has a history of involvement in scandals, undoubtebly we only know so much. A biography of Prince Bandar was written by William Simpson… Continue reading