Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

U.S. Insurers Sue Saudis for $4.2 Billion Over 9/11, by Jason Ditz

It’s almost a 100 percent probability this suit gets settled before even the discovery phase. For the Saudis, $4.2 billion is a small price to pay to prevent potentially devestating disclosures. From Jason Ditz at antimedia.org:

Last year’s Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), a bill which allowed Americans to sue Saudi Arabia in US court over their involvement in 9/11, has yielded another major lawsuit yesterday, a $4.2 billion suit filed by over two dozen US insurers related to losses sustained because of the 2001 attack.

The lawsuit is targeting a pair of Saudi banks, and a number of Saudi companies with ties to the bin Laden family, accusing them of various activities in support of al-Qaeda in the years ahead of 9/11, and subsequently having “aided and abetted” the attack.

The biggest target is the Saudi National Commercial Bank, which is majority state-owned. The Saudi government heavily pressured the Obama Administration to block the JASTA last year, threatening to crash the US treasury market if it led to lawsuits, but overwhelming Congressional support still got it passed into law.

While there were more than a few lawsuits already filed in the past several weeks related to JASTA, this is by far the biggest, and most previous lawsuits are still in limbo as the court and lawyers try to combine them into various class action groups.

Historically, US sovereign immunity laws have prevented suits against the Saudi government related to overseas terrorism. With the release of the Saudi-related portions of the 9/11 Report last year, however, such suits were inevitable, and the federal government could no longer protect the Saudis from litigation.

To continue reading: U.S. Insurers Sue Saudis for $4.2 Billion Over 9/11

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Meet the Lawyer Who’s Suing Saudi Arabia for Financing the 9/11 Attacks, by Michael Krieger

There’s nothing like a court case, with discovery, depositions, and cross-examination, to uncover hidden truths. The Saudi Arabian government is being sued for aiding and abetting the 9/11 conspirators. If this suit proceeds, the truths uncovered should be pretty interesting. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

I’ve stopped calling what our government has done a cover-up. Cover-up suggests a passive activity. What they’re doing now I call aggressive deception.

– Former Senator Bob Graham, co-chair of Congress’s 9/11 Joint Inquiry

With the recent arrival of our new baby daughter, free time for reading has been in extremely short supply as of late. That said, I did find some time yesterday while she was napping to read a fascinating and infuriating article published at Politico about a New York attorney’s mission to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its role in financing the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Longtime readers will be aware of the fact that I’ve never accepted the U.S. government’s fairytale story about how the 9/11 attacks went down, and my suspicions of deep Saudi involvement were confirmed by last year’s release of the infamous “28 pages.” Here’s an excerpt of what I wrote at the time from the post, The 28-Pages Are Way Worse Than I Thought:

Shortly after the release of the infamous 28-pages earlier today, the White House issued a statement dismissing allegations of Saudi involvement in the attacks of 9/11. I believe such assurances are intended to prevent people from reading it in the first place, because if you actually read them, your mouth will be wide open the entire time in disbelief.

There are only two conclusions any thinking person can come to after reading the 28-pages.

1. Elements within the Saudi government ran the operations behind the 9/11 attack.

2. The U.S. government covered it up.

But don’t take my word for it. You should read it yourself.

If you missed that post the first time around, you should definitely check it out.

To continue reading: Meet the Lawyer Who’s Suing Saudi Arabia for Financing the 9/11 Attacks

Lawmakers Demand Trump Pump Brakes On Military Action In Yemen, by Deirdre Fulton

Nobody has offered even a half-baked rationale for why the US is helping Saudi Arabia wage war against poor, starving Yemen. From Deirdre Fulton at theantimedia.org:

As conflict swirls over the recent U.S. bombing in Syria, more than 50 bipartisan lawmakers have demanded President Donald Trump seek approval from Congress before expanding U.S. military action in another Middle East theater: Yemen.

The letter sent this week came in response to reports that the Trump administration is considering a proposal to directly engage the U.S. military in Saudi Arabia’s war against the Houthis in Yemen, including a planned United Arab Emirates-led attack on the Yemeni port of Hodeida, currently held by Houthi rebels.

“Such an attack could push the country into full-blown famine, where nearly half a million children in Yemen are facing starvation,” said U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), who led the letter campaign along with Reps. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), Walter Jones (R-N.C.), and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

As Common Dreams reported in March, the U.S.-supported war in Yemen has already led the country to what one journalist described as “the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world.”

Furthermore, “Direct U.S. hostilities against Yemen’s Houthis would run counter to your pledge to pursue a ‘disciplined, deliberate and consistent foreign policy’ that protects American families in ‘every decision’,” reads the letter to Trump. “Indeed, according to U.S. defense officials, the U.S.-backed Saudi war against Houthis in Yemen has already ‘strengthened al Qaeda there’ and poses ‘a serious threat to U.S. security’.”

The lawmakers, who garnered 50 additional signatures for their missive, note that “Congress has never authorized the actions under consideration.”

To continue reading: Lawmakers Demand Trump Pump Brakes On Military Action In Yemen

US Provided Cover for the Saudi Starvation Strategy in Yemen, by Gareth Porter

When politicians start talking about “the children,” watch out, some sort of mischief is underway. Was Trump really moved by pictures of dead children? Probably not. American intervention has been leaving dead children in its wake for decades. Trump has shown no remorse for those killed in Yemen by US special forces and Saudi Arabian bombs on his watch—he’s lifted restrictions on selling the kingdom more bombs!

SLL, Calling A Bluff?

From Gareth Porter at antiwar.com:

As Yemen’s population has teetered on the brink of mass starvation in recent months, the United States has played a crucial role in enabling the Saudi strategy responsible for that potential humanitarian catastrophe.

Both the Obama and Trump administrations have prioritized the US’s alliance with the Saudis and their Gulf allies over the lives of hundreds of thousands of Yemenis under imminent threat of starvation.

Although the UN agencies have offered no public estimate of the number of Yemenis who have died of malnutrition-related conditions, it is likely that the figure is much higher than the estimate of 10,000 killed directly by the Saudi-coalition bombing. United Nations agencies have estimated that 462,000 Yemeni children under five years of age are already suffering severe acute malnutrition, putting them at serious risk of death from starvation and malnutrition-related disease.

The Saudi coalition has pursued a war strategy of maximizing pressure on the Houthi resistance by destroying agricultural, health and transportation infrastructure and by choking off access to food and fuel for most of Yemen’s population. The United States has enabled the Saudis to pursue that strategy by refueling the Saudi-led coalition planes bombing Yemen and selling the bombs. Equally important, however, the US has provided the political-diplomatic cover that the Saudis need to carry out this ruthless endeavor without massive international blowback.

The Trump administration has gone even further in supporting the Saudi strategy. Whereas the Obama administration opposed a Saudi-led coalition offensive to regain control over the main port of Hodeidah and the rest of the Red Sea coast, saying it would worsen the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the Trump administration has clearly given the green light to th Saudis to launch that offensive.

To continue reading: US Provided Cover for the Saudi Starvation Strategy in Yemen

800 Families File Lawsuit Against Saudi Arabia over 9/11, by Carey Wedler

The discovery and actual trial of this case could be explosive, and deeply embarrassing to both Saudi Arabian and American government officials. If in fact Saudi Arabia is found liable, let’s hope the plaintiffs receive proper monetary compensation and a measure of closure. From Carey Wedler at theantimedia.org:

Eight-hundred families of 9/11 victims and 1,500 first responders, along with others who suffered as a result of the attacks, have filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia over its alleged complicity in the 2001 terror attacks, according to an exclusive report by local New York outlet Pix 11.

The legal document, filed in a federal court in Manhattan, describes the Saudi role in the attacks. Pix 11 reports:

“The document details how officials from Saudi embassies supported hijackers Salem al-Hazmi and Khalid Al-Mihdhar 18 months before 9/11.

“The officials allegedly helped them find apartments, learn English and obtain credit cards and cash. The documents state that the officials helped them learn how to blend into the American landscape.”

For years, suspicions have swirled that some Saudi officials had ties to the gruesome attacks. The recent release of FBI reports produced shortly after the attacks provided details to justify growing skepticism against the Saudis. These details were further bolstered by the release of 28 pages originally withheld from the 9/11 commission report. Though the U.S. government downplayed the findings, even some lawmakers expressed concern.

Pix 11 further described the lawsuit, which reportedly relies on information from the FBI’s investigations:

“The suit also produces evidence that officials in the Saudi embassy in Germany supported lead hijacker Mohamed Atta. It claims that a Saudi official was in the same hotel in Virginia with several hijackers the night before the attacks.”

The suit also alleges “some of the hijackers had special markers in their passports, identifying them as al-Qaida sympathizers.”

According to the suit, filed by aviation law firm Kreindler & Kreindler, “Saudi royals, who for years had been trying to curry favor with fundamentalists to avoid losing power, were aware that funds from Saudi charities were being funneled to al-Qaida.”

“The charities were alter egos of the Saudi government,” Jim Kreindler told Pix 11.

According to Kreindler, “there was a direct link between all the charities and Osama bin Laden and…they operated with the full knowledge of Saudi officials.”

To continue reading: 800 Families File Lawsuit Against Saudi Arabia over 9/11

America First or Saudi Arabia First? by Kristen Breitweiser

Saudi Arabia is spreading a lot of money around Washington trying to get the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act rescinded, since it’s squarely aimed at that country. The question is, will the US government under President Trump abandon or reaffirm its longstanding obsequiousness towards the repressive kingdom? From Kristen Breitweiser at strategic-culture.org:

Dear President Trump,

This week you are scheduled to meet with Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. As a 9/11 widow who has fought for more than 15 years for truth, justice, accountability and transparency with regard to the murder of my husband, Ron, I have a considerable interest in your upcoming meeting with the Deputy Crown Prince.

First, foremost and for good reason, I fear that the Deputy Crown Prince will not be forthright with you about his Kingdom’s role in the 9/11 attacks and global terrorism.

Indeed, many in the Kingdom refuse to tell the truth about their continued, long-standing, and well-documented clandestine, logistical and financial support of radical Islamist terrorist groups that target and kill innocent Americans.

For example, last summer when the infamous 2002 Joint Inquiry of Congress’ “28 pages” were finally released, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir claimed that the Saudis were exonerated and that the matter surrounding the Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks was “now finished.”

In reality, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its role in facilitating the 9/11 attacks is far from over. And, in truth, the “28 pages” – actually 29 pages of the 832-page report – prove to be quite illuminating, devastating and damning towards that end:

On page 415: “While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support and assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government.… [A]t least two of those individuals were alleged by some to be Saudi intelligence officers.”

On page 417: One of the individuals identified in the pages as a financial supporter of two of the 9/11 hijackers, Osama Bassnan, later received a “significant amount of cash” from “a member of the Saudi Royal Family” during a 2002 trip to Houston.

To continue reading: America First or Saudi Arabia First?

 

Start Dealing, by Robert Gore

Empires have one historical constant: they fail.

President Trump likes deals and campaigned on his deal-making prowess. Negotiation requires parties who respect each other enough to bargain in good faith. It is a lost art in US foreign policy, replaced by imperatives: we tell you what to do and you do it. This makes the US government the world’s most hated institution. Negotiation poses an existential threat to a Deep State grown powerful and wealthy imposing US dominance on the rest of the world, and increasingly, the American people. Dominance implies unipolarity; negotiation implies multipolarity.

During his campaign, Trump resonated with voters and put the Deep State on alert, voicing two criticisms of unipolarity: its cost and its failures. Trump’s criticism of NATO, particularly of costs borne primarily by the US, should be an opening salvo in a wider war against the costs of US empire. The US has over 800 bases in over 150 countries. The annual expense of maintaining those outposts is substantial, and other personnel costs, high-tech weaponry, and foreign military interventions run into the hundreds of billions. (Foreign interventions are usually kept off budget by one of Washington’s beloved accounting tricks.) Total annual spending for the military and intelligence, including veterans benefits, is close to $1 trillion.

There is significant waste and corruption. The Defense Department has never passed an audit, and trillions of dollars remain unaccounted for. Most of the intelligence agencies’ budgets are “black box”—undisclosed—but waste and corruption on a comparable scale is probably a safe assumption.

US FOREIGN POLICY: A FAT TARGET FOR SATIRE

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All that money has bought multiple failures. The US has turned the Middle East and Northern Africa into a chaotic quagmire that has led to increased terrorism and refugee flows in the millions. Trump’s campaign adroitly played on popular fears of refugees and terrorism, but he’s maintaining the policies that produce them. More US forces are being sent to Iraq and Syria, and one special forces’ operation in Yemen has resulted in the first US military death (and the deaths of at least 10 Yemeni civilians) on Trump’s watch. He has shown no inclination to stop or curtail drone strikes, covert operations, or proxy warfare.

Trump’s military policy in the Middle East has been indistinguishable from Obama’s, and a subtle diplomatic shift demonstrates that US unipolarity, rather than multipolar “deals,” will continue to be the order of the day. Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran was a throwback to presidents Kennedy, Nixon, and Reagan, who negotiated arms control agreements with hostile powers. It has achieved its primary aim—nobody claims Iran is now developing nuclear weapons—yet Trump and team continuously criticize it. Iran has taken a substantial risk with the nuclear treaty. Muammar Gaddafi explicitly renounced nuclear weapons and terminated Libya’s embryonic program, while Saddam Hussein never had them, and the US violently deposed both of them. ( And US officials wonder why North Korea “clings” to its nuclear program!) Yet, Trump officials have put Iran “on notice,” called for renewed sanctions, and rattled the invasion sabers because Iran fired missiles that were not banned in the agreement.

An objective assessment of repressive “state sponsors of terrorism” in the Middle East would conclude that Saudi Arabia is at least as culpable, if not more so, than Iran. Saudi Arabia has supported al Qaeda offshoot ISIS (which Iran is fighting) in Syria and Iraq. It is waging war against its tiny, impoverished neighbor, Yemen, on the unproven contention that the Houthi rebels they’re fighting are an Iranian proxy force. Al Queda in Yemen has been the beneficiary of this Saudi campaign. The US has been helping the Saudis, providing weapons and other military and intelligence support. After a Saudi missile, bought from the US, struck a Yemeni funeral, killing over 100 people, Obama held up an arms sale, but Trump is reconsidering and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is pushing for it. Thousands of its citizens are dying of malnutrition, but relief convoys can’t get through because Saudi Arabia has bombed much of the infrastructure. Yet, nobody is putting Saudi Arabia “on notice.” Trump recently sat down with the Saudi deputy crown prince for a convivial lunch.

Yemen marks the latest in a string of American military adventures stretching back to Korea. These forays have increased the power and wealth of the US military-industrial-intelligence complex, but have not attained any concrete military objective, i.e., winning. In Washington, nothing succeeds like failure. Trump has promoted some of failure’s architects to prominent places in his administration, and he’s increasing the military’s already bloated budget, with no check on its spendthrift ways. Notwithstanding failure’s staggering costs in blood and treasure, substantial elements of the foreign policy, military, and intelligence establishment, (including Hillary Clinton), want to train their sights on Syria, Iran, North Korea, Russia and China. After sixteen years the US cannot win a war in Afghanistan, but they want to take on the world’s second and third largest military forces (and nuclear arsenals) and three of their allies.

Trump’s voters elected him to reject, not buy into, the establishment and Clinton’s absurdity. Russia and China do not have the economic or military strength to build empires. (Nobody does; empires dissipate, not increase, strength.) They recognize the multipolarity the US rejects, and are leading diplomatic, financial, and economic initiatives with nations stretching from Southeast Asia to Europe. Whatever noises Trump made about establishing better relations with Russia have fallen by the wayside in the wake of the Russian “election hacking” and undue influence allegations. His administration’s stance towards China has been nonstop bluster. Last week Tillerson told North Korea it had better shape up or else, the “else” being possible US military action (LINK). As Justin Raimondo has argued, the tense and highly militarized situation on the Korean peninsula requires negotiations between the US, the Koreas, and China; saber rattling could lead to Korean War II or worse.

Trash talk, gestures, and threats may play well to domestic crowds, but they don’t get you far in international relations. If Trump engages in skirmishes over the Deep State’s surveillance of him, but carries water for its disastrous policies, including its surveillance of the American people, then his election was a waste of time. He can recognize the evolving multipolar world and negotiate, compromise, and deal, or he can try to maintain the US’s fading dominance. If he chooses the former, he has a shot at greatness. If he chooses the latter, his presidency will fail with the US empire.

A GREAT BOOK IN AN UNLIKELY SETTING

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