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Thread: Official: 15 Of 19 Sept. 11 Hijackers Were Saudi

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    Official: 15 Of 19 Sept. 11 Hijackers Were Saudi

    Official: 15 of 19 Sept. 11 hijackers were Saudi

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2002/02/06/saudi.htm

    (Gold9472: Someone posted this on blogger, and I thought the paragraph in red was interesting.)

    2/6/2002

    RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia acknowledged for the first time that 15 of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers were Saudi citizens, but said Wednesday that the oil-rich kingdom bears no responsibility for their actions.

    Previously, Saudi Arabia had said the citizenship of 15 of the 19 hijackers was in doubt despite U.S. insistence they were Saudis. But Interior Minister Prince Nayef told The Associated Press that Saudi leaders were shocked to learn 15 of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

    "The names that we got confirmed that," Nayef said in an interview. "Their families have been notified."

    Osama bin Laden — the chief suspect in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks the killed more than 3,000 people — was Saudi born but stripped of his citizenship in 1994.

    Asked if he had information on whether bin Laden was dead or alive, Nayef said: "We have no information and we have no interest in this subject."

    Nayef also said the kingdom has detained about 30 people since the attacks, based on lists provided by the United States. Some have been released.

    Nayef said the men still in detention "have been influenced by bin Laden's thinking."

    "It's possible that we will find among them members of (bin Laden's al-Qaeda) organization," he added. "But so far we haven't found anything."

    Nayef said the measures were not in response to any pressure from the United States, "but we welcome any information that's provided to us and we want to be cooperative."

    Nayef said it was natural that the kingdom had not noticed the 15 hijackers beforehand.

    "How can I place the name of a Saudi on a blacklist when I have nothing to justify the action? The Saudis are free to travel wherever they like," he said. "If we had known they were going to do what they had done, we would have stopped them.

    "I believe they were taken advantage of in the name of religion and regarding certain issues pertaining to the Arab nation, especially the issue of Palestine," said Nayef.

    Nayef said Saudi Arabia is not responsible for the actions of the hijackers.

    "This is the truth ... and I defy anyone to prove it," he added.

    Nayef said that Saudi banks have not frozen any bank accounts. He also said that Saudi charities "won't be allowed by the state or those who work in them ... to be used for other purposes. But you cannot guarantee that a person or more could misuse" their responsibilities.

    The United States has accused some Islamic charities of funding terrorist operations. The Saudi-based Wafa Humanitarian Organization, whose operations include food distribution and construction of a clinic in the Afghan capital, Kabul, is on a U.S. list of terrorist organizations.

    U.S.-Saudi relations have been strained in the wake of Sept. 11, with criticism from the United States that the Saudis are doing too little to hunt down terrorist links in the kingdom. The Saudis counter that they are being unfairly accused because of the actions of a few, and claim criticism in the U.S. media is Israeli-inspired.

    Nayef alleged Wednesday that Zionism was behind an "unjustified" anti-Saudi campaign in the United States.

    "Most of the American media could not understand us well and we didn't see any desire on their part to understand us," he said.

    He also said the Islam preached and taught in Saudi Arabia rejects extremism.

    "We are not Taliban," he said, referring to the extremist Islamic militia that once ruled Afghanistan and harbored bin Laden. "We believe and live by the right Islam."

    Nayef said the United States should "take a just and evenhanded stand" in the Mideast peace process and not provide "unqualified" support for Israel if it wants to improve its image in the region.

    Nayef dismissed reports that speak of widespread popularity for bin Laden in the kingdom.

    Asked if Saudi Arabia was worried about possible pro-bin Laden demonstrations during the hajj — the annual pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca — this year, Nayef said: "Inshallah (God willing), there won't be, but as security people we don't dismiss anything. We are ready and determined to prevent anything disrupting security in the hajj."

    Nayef said bin Laden was a "tool" of others rather than the mastermind of the attacks against the World Trade Center, Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. He did not say who he thought was the mastermind.

    The prince said there was no evidence so far of al-Qaeda cells operating in Saudi Arabia, but added:

    "There may be a limited number of people that we don't know about."

    He promised "no mercy" for any al-Qaeda radicals discovered "just as we showed no mercy before Sept. 11."

    He said the number of Saudi among the suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners held by the United States at a Navy base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was just over 50 and not 100 as reported earlier. He said the kingdom was checking on their names.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Saudi interior minister says Jews were behind Sept. 11 attacks

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/n...cks-saudi.html

    By Alaa Shahine
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    December 5, 2002

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Saudi police minister has claimed Jews were behind the Sept. 11 attacks because they have benefited from subsequent criticism of Islam and Arabs, according to media reports.

    Interior Minister Prince Nayef made the remarks in the Arabic-language Kuwaiti daily Assyasah last month. The latest edition of Ain al-Yaqeen, a weekly Internet magazine devoted to Saudi issues, posted the Assyasah interview and its own English translation.

    "We know that the Jews have manipulated the Sept. 11 incidents and turned American public opinion against Arabs and Muslims," Prince Nayef was quoted as saying in the Arabic text, while Ain al Yaqeen's English version referred to "Zionists" instead of "Jews."

    "We still ask ourselves: Who has benefited from Sept. 11 attacks? I think they (the Jews) were the protagonists of such attacks," Nayef was quoted as saying. Nayef's spokesman, Saud al-Musaibeeh, did not respond to repeated requests for confirmation the minister had been quoted accurately.

    The Internet magazine's English translation of the comments began to attract attention in the United States just as the Saudis launched a new public relations campaign to address accusations the kingdom is soft on terrorism and inculcates extremist thought among its citizens.

    The statements also were widely circulated by a pro-Israel group The Middle East Media Research Institute," or MEMRI, which translates articles from the Arabic media.

    "The Saudis are telling us that they are an ally in the war on terror while their top government officials are still blaming ... the Jews and denying that 15 Saudis took part in the attacks on New York and the Pentagon," Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat, said in Washington earlier this week.

    "The Bush administration continually defends Saudi Arabia as a friend of the United States and a committed partner in the war on terror," Engel said. "Does this Saudi minister sound like a partner in the war on terror?"

    Sen. Charles Schumer, also a New York Democrat, wrote this week in a letter to the Saudi ambassador to the United States that "the interior minister's comments only serve to confirm American suspicions about the Saudi government's commitment to the war on terror."

    Nayef's remarks echoed rumors that have been heard in the Arab world since the attacks – but this time they are attributed to the man in charge of Saudi investigations into the attacks.

    The Saudi minister was quoted in the interview as saying his kingdom is currently detaining some 100 terror suspects for interrogation. He added that the suspects "will either apologize for their mistakes and change their course or will be referred to trial."

    The United States has blamed the Sept. 11 attacks on al-Qaeda terror network, whose chief, Osama bin Laden, was stripped of his Saudi citizenship in 1994. It took Saudi Arabia five months after the attacks to acknowledge that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis. The Gulf kingdom, a close U.S. ally, has never officially held al-Qaeda responsible for the attacks and usually refers to the hijackers as people "enticed and deluded" into committing their crimes.

    Several statements attributed to bin Laden aired by the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television claimed responsibility for the attacks. A statement attributed to al-Qaeda's "political bureau" that appeared Monday on an Islamic web site listed the Sept. 11 attacks as among the successful operations carried out by the terrorist group against the United States.

    In the interview, Nayef said he could not believe that bin Laden and his network, including Saudi participants, worked alone.

    He was quoted as saying he believed terrorist networks have links to "foreign intelligence agencies that work against Arab and Muslim interests, chief among them is the Israeli Mossad."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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