Washington D.C. (GPA) – On September 11th, the face of the world changed after the killing of 3017 people and the serious injury of 6291 following attacks on the World Trade Towers carried out by 19 suicide bombers, including 16 Saudis. It was on September 11, 2001, that is, 17 years have passed since the accident, and humanity continues its great nightmare.
Today, the Saudi regime faces the threat of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) law despite the growing alignment of US President Donald Trump’s administration with the policy of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the political and economic bonds that bring them together — but the latter could not shake the dust of the past and absolve itself of its legacy of terrorism.
The US Congress passed JASTA at the end of September 2016 after overriding a veto by former President Barack Obama against the act which gives victims of the September 11 attacks and their families the right to prosecute countries and foreign persons, primarily the Saudi regime, before US courts.
The Saudi regime has long been horrified by JASTA, which touches upon sovereign immunity. Meanwhile, then-President Obama rejected it because it does not serve the interests of the United States as it would result in charging Washington with similar crimes against their own actions abroad. He was afraid that the countries affected by JASTA would resort to the principle of reciprocity governing diplomatic relations by taking action.
Obama had always said, “If we allow American personnel to prosecute governments continuously, we will open the door to the prosecution of the United States by individuals in other countries.” The veto was not able to stand in the way of a more than two-thirds majority of the House and Senate which unanimously agreed to pass JASTA and the annulment Obama’s veto.
However, JASTA does not specifically mention the 9/11 attacks. Saudi Arabia is not even mentioned directly, but it gives victims and their families the right to initiate lawsuits against Saudi officials for involvement in targeting Manhattan’s two towers in New York City.
How are Saudis Involved in the Events?
There is evidence against Saudi Arabia that shows the Riyadh embassy in Washington financed a “pre-test” or dry-run of hijacking by two government officials in Saudi Arabia. This reinforced the theory that Saudi officials and agents managed and assisted in the attacks.
The experiment was carried out two years before the attacks occurred. These two men lived in America disguised as students and the embassy paid them money to travel from Phoenix to Washington on a trip that simulated what happened on 9/11.
The Saudi government continued to deny the case and rejected cases filed against the US judiciary, amounting to roughly 25 rejected lawsuits all of them condemning the Kingdom of planning the incident and demanding compensation for the victims. The government submitted papers to the US Criminal Court in Manhattan, refusing to have the Kingdom or any charity affiliated to the attacks.
When plaintiffs’ lawyer Sean Carter said it was long established that there were close and long-term ties between al-Qaeda and people linked to the Saudi government.
The Saudis have drowned in their illusions.
Manhattan Court Judge George Daniels issued a decision in January 2018, absolving the Saudi government of the attacks. But the French Press Agency referred to a document it said it had obtained in early 2018. The document says that Zacarias Moussaoui, a French national who pleaded guilty in a federal court to plotting to kill US citizens as part of the September 11 attacks.
He accused Trump and the US prison system for denying his right to hire a lawyer to “destroy him psychologically” and prevent him from revealing the facts of September 11. Mousavi filed a request in December 2017 reiterating his accusation of Saudi princes financed by al-Qaeda and their involvement in preparing for the attacks.
Read more analysis:
Historical Condemnation of Saudi Arabia
There is evidence of the involvement of the Saudi government in these events by agreement between them and US officials. John Dovey and Ray Nausiselsky, in their book, The Watchdog that Didn’t Bark, have some convincing arguments about Saudi collusion.
These authors conducted a video interview with Richard Clarke, the White House counterterrorism adviser in the Clinton administration and the George W. Bush administration. In the interview, Clark said senior CIA officials, including CIA Director George Tenet, concealed information about the arrival of Saudi citizens Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mahdhar to the United States and how they were received and assisted in carrying out the operation. These are the two of the five who hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon as part of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Mark Rossini, one of two FBI agents assigned to the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit, confirmed that agency managers were mysteriously prevented from reporting their headquarters on al Qaeda conspirators in America in 2000 and again in the summer of 2001. In 2002, George Tenet, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told Congress that he did not know the imminent threat because the warning came in an undisclosed cable, and nobody read it.
His story was not confirmed and was refuted five years later when former Senator Kate Bond penned a summary of the CIA’s internal investigations on September 11. He said between 50 and 60 people read one or more of the cables in which Information on the travel of these terrorists.
In 2004, the official September 11 commission said it had found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or any officials financed al Qaeda. But a year later, the CIA’s inspector-general confirmed in a deeply veiled report that sympathetic “religious extremists” within the government supported bin Laden.
Investigations later revealed that officials from the Saudi Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs had helped the kidnappers to settle in California, prompting hundreds of victims of September 11 to sue the Saudi government.
The Saudi government submitted papers and documents in response to the accusation, amounting to 6,800 pages in Arabic. A lawyer for the families of the victims, Andrew Maloney, translated documents with his team. He found some interesting things and gaps indicating that the Saudi regime is involved in this case.
The case defense committee called for the trial of Saudi officials, including a former consular officer in Los Angeles and the imam of the Colver City mosque in California, Fahd al-Thamiri, a mosque targeted by the Sept. 11 hijackers. In 2003, al-Thamiri landed in Los Angeles on a flight from Germany and was intercepted and subsequently deported from the United States for suspected links to terrorism.
At this point, he still works for the Saudi government in Riyadh!
Last April, Maloney asked the FBI for documents on al-Thamiri and about Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi spy suspected in America connected to the hijackers and did not respond to the office. FBI agent Stephen Moore has also confirmed that there is clear evidence that al-Thamiri helped the kidnappers. Based on the evidence in the investigation, Bayoumi himself was a secret agent and linked to the extremists.
The Saudi government drew attention to it after the outbreak of the crisis between the Kingdom and Canada in August when the Canadian Foreign Ministry criticized human rights violations, angered Saudi Arabia, recalled its ambassador to Canada, gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave Saudi Arabia, and ordered Saudi students to leave.
The Saudi-Canadian crisis brought back the memory of the September 11 attacks, after the publication of the Saudi “Infogravik” account on Twitter, a controversial image that posed a veiled threat to Canada by repeated attacks. A Canadian private jet was on the verge of colliding with CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, and wrote in English: “Whoever interferes in what he does not mean he is not satisfied.”
The account in Twitter is a certified account with a blue mark, which is granted only after the approval of the Saudi authorities. The Saudi government was embarrassed by this image, criticized and closed the account, and its companion is the general supervisor of the Center for Studies and Information Affairs at the Royal Court and the adviser at the rank of minister Saud al-Qahtani.
America is Bleeding Saudi Arabia Dry
The United States is extorting the Saudi government under the pretext of JASTA. The UAE and Qatar are also concerned with the law. However, Riyadh has been leading a campaign to pressure and prevent the implementation of the law, which costs a lot of money.
Saudi Arabia is accused of supporting the attack by funding Al-Qaeda training camps while providing military and logistical support. The defense committee is seeking to benefit from JASTA so that the victims’ families can try the Saudi government for the attacks. Saudi Arabia has asked a US judge to get rid of the case. A Saudi lawyer in the Manhattan District Court: “Victims did not provide sufficient evidence, conclusions, speculation and speculation is not enough.”
But Jim Carndler, a lawyer for some 850 families, told the Middle East Eye website: “The judge will soon rule, and we are very confident that we will win. The verdict will be rejected by Saudi Arabia and we will proceed. … Justice has been delayed for 16 years, but the judge’s decision may come very soon,” he said.
JASTA opens the door to US blackmail, especially concerning Libya and the Lockerbie affair. The blackmail of Saudi Arabia’s deals with America amounted to more than 650 billion dollars last year alone. America’s losses are $ 3.3 trillion, twice the balance of Saudi Arabia in the US Treasury 28 times, so America will continue to blackmail Saudi Arabia, and perhaps to infinity!
Although the Saudi government has put pressure on the US administration, including financial pressure to withdraw its assets in US banks estimated at more than 750 billion dollars, and the security pressure to stop intelligence cooperation, and the military pressure to close the Saudi field to any US military activity and stop the purchase of US weapons, Saudi Arabia cannot do this and can not use this paper because it will make it incapable of confronting Iran on its own.
Therefore, Saudi Arabia has no other solution than to pay.
Meanwhile, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Khalid bin Salman, is aggressively seeking to disrupt JASTA because he believes that the law could threaten his father, King Salman, for being “a great supporter of terrorism.”
While Saudi Arabia seeks to raise 5% of Aramco for public subscription, Reuters went out to the international press in August, announcing that the company’s IPO plan had been canceled.
JASTA was a stumbling block to the IPO of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company. How can the company be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, while the government fears that the families of the September 11 victims received a court order granting them the right to hold the company’s money?
Although Saudi Arabia has more options other than the New York Stock Exchange, the London Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange as well, Mohammed bin Salman, the prince of the Middle East, favors the New York Stock Exchange for political reasons. The proposal was put off and then announced that the king canceled the proposal, which leads us to ponder several reasons, including the poor performance of the Saudi economy, and the file of JASTA.
According to Article 1 of JASTA, international terrorism is a serious problem that threatens the vital interests of the United States of America.
Article II further states that international terrorism adversely affects the internal and external trade of the United States as detrimental to foreign trade and undermines the stability of the market. Americans abroad, and the arrival of foreign visitors to the United States.
Article III said that some foreign terrorist organizations (and not named) are active through individuals or groups affiliated with them in the collection of large sums outside America and used to target America. This is dealt with in Article IV, which calls for the need to know the objective reasons and the dimensions of legal responsibility for the acts that encourage the provision of assistance and calls for incitement and conspiracy under Chapter 113b of section 18 of the American law on the sovereign immunity of foreign countries.
Article 5 states that persons, entities or States contributing or participating in the provision of direct or indirect support or resources to persons or organizations constituting a serious threat and committing terrorist acts that threaten the safety, national security, foreign policy or economy of the citizens of America are expected to be brought before the American courts to answer questions about those activities.
Article 6 affirms that the United States has a genuine interest in providing persons or entities that are vulnerable to terrorist attacks within the United States to appear before the courts in order to bring civil cases against those persons, entities or States directly or indirectly supporting persons or organizations responsible for Injuries sustained.
Ammar al-Shami is a Yemeni journalist and writer and poet. He studied Sociology at Sana’a University.