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Thread: Obama Administration Sides With Saudi Princes Over 9/11 Families

  1. #1
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    Obama Administration Sides With Saudi Princes Over 9/11 Families

    Statement On Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism In Response to the Solicitor General's Refusal to Support The 9/11 Families' Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court

    http://news.prnewswire.com/DisplayRe...05034963&EDATE

    (In Re: Thomas E. Burnett, Sr., et al. v. Al Baraka Investment & Development Corp., et al., Case No. 03-CV-9849 (RCC)In Re: Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, MDL 1570)

    WASHINGTON, May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a statement of 9/11 Family Members: Mike Low, Father of Sara Elizabeth Low, AA Flight 11; Bill Doyle, Father of Joseph M. Doyle, WTC North Tower; Tom & Beverly Burnett, Sr., Parents of Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., UA Flight 93; and Terry Strada, Wife of Thomas Strada, WTC North Tower on Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism in Response to the Solicitor General's Refusal to Support The 9/11 Families' Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court:

    Today the Obama Administration filed in the Supreme Court a document that expressed the Administration's decision to stand with a group of Saudi princes and against the right of American citizens -- 9/11 family members -- to have our day in court. Let there be no doubt: The filing was political in nature and stands as a betrayal of everyone who lost a loved one or was injured on September 11, 2001.

    We are deeply dismayed by this decision, filed by the solicitor general of the United States in response to the Supreme Court's February 23, 2009 invitation for the government to express its views in the 9/11 families' request to appeal a portion of the case to the Court. The Administration's filing mocks our system of justice and strikes a blow against the public's right to know the facts about who financed and supported the murder of 3,000 innocent people. It undermines our fight against terrorism and suggests a green light to terrorist sympathizers the world over that they can send money to al Qaeda without having to worry that they will be held accountable in the U.S. Courts for the atrocities that result.

    The Administration apparently gave less weight to the principles of justice, transparency, accountability and security, which our case embodies, and more weight to political concerns and pleadings of a foreign government on the behalf of a handful of members of its monarchy and others who stand accused of financing the attacks that murdered our loved ones. Sadly, although the Administration's obviously politically based filing is merely informational and in no way binding on the Supreme Court, if the Supreme Court were to follow it, these people will avoid being held accountable not because they are innocent, but because they are royalty.

    The Administration's filing is all the more troubling in that it expressly acknowledges that the courts below applied incorrect legal standards in dismissing the Saudi defendants, but nonetheless argues that the case -- one that seeks to account for the terrorist attacks against America and the murder of our family members -- does not warrant the Supreme Court's time. Contrary to the view expressed by the Obama Administration in the solicitor general's filing, the victims of the September 11th attack deserve to have their claims decided under accurate legal standards.

    For all of these reasons, we urge the Supreme Court to reject the solicitor general's politically-premised filing, along with its wrongheaded priorities, accept our petition, and grant us our fundamentally American right to have our day in Court.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    9/11 families angered by US support for Saudis

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...nrv4wD98GQC880

    14 hours ago

    NEW YORK (AP) — Relatives of Sept. 11 victims say they're angry that the Justice Department is supporting the Saudi royal family's bid to be removed from a 9/11 lawsuit.

    The families of some victims have accused the royal family of financially backing terrorist groups that carried out the 2001 attacks.

    The Justice Department filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday. It supports the Saudis' argument that the royal family as a sovereign state cannot be sued in a U.S. court.

    Bill Doyle's son was killed at the World Trade Center. He says the Obama administration's court filing undermines the nation's fight against terrorism.

    Several lower courts have dismissed the lawsuit. The Supreme Court has not decided whether to hear the case.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Justice Dept. Backs Saudi Royal Family on 9/11 Lawsuit

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/30/us...ef=global-home

    By ERIC LICHTBLAU
    Published: May 29, 2009

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is supporting efforts by the Saudi royal family to defeat a long-running lawsuit seeking to hold it liable for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    The Justice Department, in a brief filed Friday before the Supreme Court, said it did not believe the Saudis could be sued in American court over accusations brought by families of the Sept. 11 victims that the royal family had helped finance Al Qaeda. The department said it saw no need for the court to review lower court rulings that found in the Saudis’ favor in throwing out the lawsuit.

    The government’s position comes less than a week before President Obama is scheduled to meet in Saudi Arabia with King Abdullah as part of a trip to the Middle East and Europe intended to reach out to the Muslim world.

    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.

    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. The Saudis have aggressively lobbied both the Bush and Obama administrations to have the lawsuit dismissed, government officials say.

    “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.”

    Bill Doyle, another leader of the Sept. 11 families whose son was killed in the attacks, said, “All we want is our day in court.”

    The lawsuit, brought by a number of insurance companies for the victims and their families, accuses members of the royal family in Saudi Arabia of providing financial backing to Al Qaeda — either directly to Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders, or indirectly through donations to charitable organizations that they knew were in turn diverting money to Al Qaeda.

    A district court threw out the lawsuit, finding that the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act provided legal protection from liability for Saudi Arabia and the members of the royal family for their official acts.

    Solicitor General Elena Kagan said in the brief to the Supreme Court that her office agreed with the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit “that the princes are immune from petitioners’ claims,” although she pointed to somewhat different legal rationales in reaching that conclusion.

    Ms. Kagan noted that the Supreme Court had historically looked to the executive branch to take the lead on such international matters because of “the potentially significant foreign relations consequences of subjecting another sovereign state to suit.”

    The government said in its brief that the victims’ families never alleged that the Saudi government or members of the royal family “personally committed” the acts of terrorism against the United States “or directed others to do so.” And it said the claims that were made — that the Saudis helped to finance the plots — fell “outside the scope” of the legal parameters for suing foreign governments or leaders.

    Justice Department officials declined to address the issue of whether the timing of the brief was related to Mr. Obama’s trip to Riyadh, but other lawyers involved in the case said the timing appeared to be coincidental. They said as a practical matter the department, which was invited to state its views in the case in February, needed to do so by this week if it hoped to influence the court’s decision on whether to accept the case before it leaves for summer recess in June.

    William H. Jeffress, a Washington lawyer who is representing Prince Turki Al-Faisal, a former Saudi ambassador to the United States who is one of the princes named in the lawsuit, said the Justice Department came down on the right side of the law in supporting immunity.

    Any suggestion that the timing of the brief was influenced by Mr. Obama’s upcoming visit was “baseless,” Mr. Jeffress said, as were the accusations in the lawsuit itself about the Saudi ties to Al Qaeda. “Osama bin Laden is a sworn enemy of the royal family of Saudi Arabia, and the idea that they would be providing financial support to Bin Laden is a little absurd,” Mr. Jeffress said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    High court is urged to block 9/11 suit against Saudis

    http://www.philly.com/inquirer/busin...st_Saudis.html

    By Chris Mondics
    Inquirer Staff Writer

    In a setback for insurers and individual victims of the 9/11 attacks, U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan urged the Supreme Court yesterday to reject allegations that Saudi Arabia was responsible because it indirectly financed al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

    Kagan, in a 22-page amicus brief filed yesterday with the Supreme Court, said U.S. law generally barred lawsuits against foreign governments for supporting terrorism unless they met narrowly tailored exceptions.

    Kagan said none of those exceptions applied, and she advised the court not to hear the case.

    The brief was in response to allegations contained in a lawsuit filed by Center City's Cozen O'Connor law firm on behalf of dozens of insurance companies that lost billions at ground zero. Hundreds of victims' families and survivors also have joined in the litigation alleging Saudi responsibility.

    The Supreme Court generally - but not always - follows the recommendations of the solicitor general in deciding whether to hear a case.

    "The lower courts correctly concluded that Saudi Arabia and its officials are immune from suit for the governmental acts outside the United States," the brief said.

    A federal district judge in Manhattan ruled in the case in 2005 that Saudi Arabia was immune from lawsuits by American citizens, and his opinion was upheld last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Cozen O'Connor and lawyers for individual victims and families appealed to the Supreme Court.

    In February, the Supreme Court asked the solicitor general, who functions as the U.S. government's Supreme Court lawyer, for an opinion.

    The 812-page Cozen lawsuit alleges that the Saudi government financed Islamic charities based in the kingdom that in turn funded al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. It cites findings that U.S. government officials had warned the Saudis for years in advance of the attacks that the charities were helping to finance terrorists and that they may have played a role in the bombings of U.S embassies in East Africa in 1998.

    In her brief, Kagan said the U.S. Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which governs lawsuits by American citizens against foreign governments, permits such lawsuits only if the U.S. State Department has issued a finding that the foreign government is a terrorism supporter, or if the government has been directly involved in a terrorism act within the United States.

    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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  5. #5
    simuvac Guest
    I wonder if this is an example of a double standard? When the government prosecutes terrorism cases, it uses the RICO laws because they make it easier to prosecute someone based simply on a vague association with a group. In the case above, Saudi Arabia's indirect support of 9/11 hijackers is fairly obvious, at least by RICO standards, I would think. The wife of the Saudi ambassador to the United States was providing funds to Omar Al-Bayoumi, a known Saudi spy who befriended al-Midhar and al-Hazmi in Los Angeles. We're supposed to believe that they met by accident. Regardless, there is a paper trail.

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    “I find this reprehensible. 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." - 9/11 Family Member Kristen Breitweiser

    It tells me that our Government supports those who support terrorism that is beneficial to it.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Of course it is a double standard... the question is why...
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Obama administration sides with Saudis in 9/11 suit

    http://rawstory.com/08/news/2009/05/...s-with-saudis/

    BY STEPHEN C. WEBSTER
    Published: May 31, 2009

    A lawsuit filed by relatives of 9/11 victims which seeks to pin the 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. “The Supreme Court has not decided whether to hear the case.”

    “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.

    Lingering questions
    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 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,” noted 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-turned 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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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