Obama administration sides with Saudi Terrorists on 9/11 suithttp://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/05/31/obama-sides-with-saudis/
By Stephen C. Webster Published: May 31, 2009
Members of 9/11 victims’ families, who filed a lawsuit seeking to pin blame on the Saudi royal family for financing attacks against the United States, just acquired a significant new opponent: the Obama administration.
A Department of Justice brief (PDF link) filed with the Supreme Court on Friday argues that the Saudi royal family is party to a sovereign state and cannot be sued in American courts.
Fifteen of the 19 alleged 9/11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, according to the FBI. Former President George W. Bush waited six years to acknowledge this in public.
“Several lower courts have dismissed the lawsuit,” noted the Associated Press.
“Lawyers for the Saudi family said that they were heartened by the department’s brief and that it served to strengthen their hand before the court, which has not decided whether to hear the case,” reported The New York Times.
“But family members of several Sept. 11 victims said they were deeply disappointed and questioned whether the decision was made to appease an important ally in the Middle East,” continued reporter Eric Lichtblau. “The Saudis have aggressively lobbied both the Bush and Obama administrations to have the lawsuit dismissed, government officials say.”
The Times added: “‘I find this reprehensible,’ said Kristen Breitweiser, a leader of the Sept. 11 families, whose husband was killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center. ‘One would have hoped that the Obama administration would have taken a different stance than the Bush administration, and you wonder what message this sends to victims of terrorism around the world.’”
Breitweiser, one of the so-called “Jersey Girls” who were successful in pushing the Bush administration into forming the 9/11 Commission after months of resistance, played a key part in the film “9/11: Press for Truth,” which details their stories and continuing quest for answers.
The lawsuit in question was filed in 2002 and originally asked for $116 trillion. Later documents adjusted that figure to just $1 trillion.
Under the banner of “Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism,” they targeted numerous organizations, nations, individuals and institutions.
“[The] plaintiffs are suing seven international banks; eight Islamic foundations, charities and their subsidiaries; individual terrorist financiers; the Saudi bin Laden Group; three Saudi princes; and the government of Sudan for allegedly bankrolling the terrorist al Qaeda network, Osama bin Laden and the Taliban,” reported CNN.
The bin Laden Group is a wealthy Saudi company operated and owned by Osama’s siblings.
Senator Bob Graham (D-FL), in his book “Intelligence Matters,” published in 2004, writes that revealing the 9/11 terrorists’ funding would have drawn “a direct line between the terrorists and the government of Saudi Arabia, and [triggered] an attempted coverup by the Bush administration.”
He added that the Bush administration blocked the release of a 27-page Congressional inquiry into the attackers’ financing.
A list of secret contributors to a Saudi bank which the Bush administration said helped finance terrorism was leaked on Nov. 26, 2002. The list, according to Slate, “has shareholders that include prominent Arab figures from numerous countries in the Middle East. Among the shareholders are the grand mufti of the United Arab Emirates and prominent families in the UAE and Kuwait. Two sisters of Osama bin Laden are also on the list, undermining the bin Laden family’s claim that it separated itself from his terrorist pursuits after he was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1994.”
The Web site continues: “Ahmed Huber, a Swiss director of the bank who is a radical Islamist and Hitler admirer, acknowledged in 1995 that wealthy Saudi Arabians were large contributors to the Al Taqwa bank. The just-revealed list of shareholders demonstrates further connections between important individuals in moderate Middle Eastern countries and a financial network allegedly vital to bin Laden.”
Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif Bin-Abdulaziz, in a June, 2008 interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, said the Saudi government was still unable to pinpoint the sources of terrorist funds, but pledged progress was being made.
The United States government has, at least in public, pressed the Saudis to shut down terrorism financing operations in its borders since the start of 2002. In November of that year, “U.S. intelligence agencies and financial investigators [...] put together a classified, working list of nine wealthy individuals believed to be the core group of financiers for al Qaeda and other radical Islamic terror groups, U.S. officials said,” according to The Washington Post. “Of those, seven are Saudis, one is a Pakistani merchant and one is an Egyptian businessman. The officials would not identify the individuals.”
The government’s investigation in Saudi financing, which lawmakers suggested had been deprioritized by the FBI, came to a halt on orders from the White House. Simultaneously, the Bush administration was involved in negotiations to use Saudi Arabian facilities to stage the American assault on Iraq.
“It’s up to us, and I think we can do it,” Deena Burnett, whose husband died on Flight 93, told CNN in 2002. “It’s up to us to bankrupt the terrorists and those who finance them so they will never again have the resources to commit such atrocities against the American people as we experienced on September 11.”
The solicitor general argued in Friday’s Supreme Court brief that unless the State Department designates a nation a supporter of terrorism, U.S. citizens are restricted from suing under the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
“It noted that the State Department has issued no such finding regarding Saudi Arabia and concluded Saudi government financial support for radical Islamist charities was too far removed from the 9/11 attacks themselves to cause the Saudi government to be liable,” reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.
The only charity to be convicted by the Bush administration for funding terrorism was The Holy Land Foundation, based in Dallas, Texas. After lengthy deliberations resulted in a mistrial, administration lawyers fine-tuned their arguments against what used to be the largest Islamic charity in the United States and returned convictions against its U.S.-based directors for allegedly funneling over $12 million to designated terrorist group Hamas.
The group defended itself claiming they merely supplied food, clothing, medicine and education to children in war-torn Palestine. The government argued that providing material support for Palestinians through Israeli-approved charities allowed Hamas, the elected political leadership of Palestine, to focus more assets on militant activities. The Holy Land Foundation’s directors were found guilty of 108 charges of providing material support to terrorists, money laundering and tax fraud.