INQUIRER: An ambitious lawsuit by the Philadelphia firm of Cozen O’Connor blaming the government of Saudi Arabia for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks was dealt a sharp setback yesterday when a federal appeals court ruled that the desert kingdom could not be sued for acts of terrorism. The ruling followed years of hard-fought litigation in which lawyers for Cozen and other firms representing Sept. 11 victims traveled the globe tracking down witnesses with information about how Saudi money found its way to al Qaeda. Yet, in a stinging setback for Cozen and other plaintiffs’ lawyers, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit said U.S. law bars such lawsuits unless the State Department has found that a government provided material support for terrorist groups. The State Department has made no such finding regarding Saudi Arabia. MORE
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION:
- Not only were 15 of the 19 hijackers Saudi Arabian, but The 9/11 Commission Report also identified the missing 20th hijacker. He was yet another Saudi national named Mohammed al-Kahtani, who was prevented from entering the U.S. by an alert customs agent at Orlando International Airport just weeks prior to the attacks (p. 248). In fact, the 9/11 Commission went on to identify by name and nationality nine other Al Qaeda operatives who had, at one time or another, been personally chosen by Osama bin Laden to participate in the hijackings, but who (for a variety of reasons) dropped out of the plot before September 11. Of the nine, eight were Saudi Arabian (p. 235).
- The 9/11 Commission Report ultimately went on to explain why so many Saudis were involved in the hijackings to begin with. According to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11 plot, as he toured Al Qaeda’s training camps in Afghanistan in the years leading up to the attacks, he found that the vast majority of the recruits being trained there (by his count 70%) were from Saudi Arabia (p. 232). That assessment has been further corroborated by two other prominent Al Qaeda operatives: Tawfiq bin Attash (p. 524 n. 91) and Dr. Saad al-Faqih. Dr. Al-Faqih, a long-time Al Qaeda insider, estimated that a full 80% of Al Qaeda’s members were Saudi nationals in an interview with the PBS news program Frontline.
- The New York Times has done a remarkable job placing these claims in context. The Times first reported on a poll of educated Saudi men between 25 and 41 years of age, taken by Saudi intelligence just weeks after September 11, in which 95% of the respondents indicated that they approved of Osama bin Laden and his agenda.
- The Times later reported that, according to Saudi intelligence, an estimated 25,000 Saudi nationals received paramilitary training and/or combat experience abroad in the years prior to September 11. Each of these young men took it upon
- themselves to travel to Al Qaeda training camps and/or other jihadist hotspots around the globe to wage holy war in the name of Islam.
- Predictably, in virtually every major terrorist attack against the United States over the last twelve years, the men actually pulling the trigger at the end of the day have been Saudi Arabian. These include:
- The Saudi National Guard bombing in November 1995, which killed five Americans. All four of the men
- The Khobar Towers bombing in June 1996, which killed 19 Americans. Of the 14 men indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice for that bombing, 13 were Saudi Arabian, including all five of the men who drove and detonated the truck bomb on the day of the attack.
- The Nairobi embassy bombing in August 1998, which killed 12 Americans. Both of the men who drove and detonated the truck bomb were Saudis.
- The USS Cole bombing in October 2000, which killed 17 Americans. According to both the Prime Minister of Yemen and a well-known former Al Qaeda operative, both of the men who drove and detonated the explosives-laden boat used in that attack were Saudis.
- The Riyadh residential compound bombings in May 2003, which killed nine Americans. All nine of the suicide bombers killed in the attacks were Saudis.
- The Mosul mess tent bombing in December 2004, which killed 18 Americans. The lone suicide bomber responsible was identified in numerous press reports as a foreign insurgent from Saudi Arabia.
- Saudi nationals have also played a leading role in financing these efforts. In March 2002, Bosnian authorities raided the Sarajevo offices of a Saudi-based charity called the Benevolence International Foundation. Inside, they discovered an electronic file containing numerous internal Al Qaeda documents. Among them was a list of 20 prominent financial donors who were referred to within Al Qaeda as the “Golden Chain”. The document appeared to date from the very first year of Al Qaeda’s existence, and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has described these men as the “funding fathers” of Al Qaeda. Of the 20 donors listed, all were Saudi Arabian.
- In fact, Saudi Arabia has now been financially linked to the Bali nightclub bombings on October 12, 2002, which killed 202 people; the Madrid train bombings on March 11, 2004, which killed 191 people; the Beslan middle school massacre on September 3, 2004, in which 330 hostages were killed (including 186 school children); the London subway bombings on July 7, 2005, which killed 56 people; and the Mumbai train bombings on July 11, 2006, which killed 209 people. [SOURCE: ASecondLookAtTheSaudis]