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Thread: Saudi Arabia May Be Tied To 9/11, 2 Ex-Senators Say

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    Saudi Arabia May Be Tied To 9/11, 2 Ex-Senators Say

    Saudi Arabia May Be Tied to 9/11, 2 Ex-Senators Say

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/01/us...9-11-link.html

    By ERIC LICHTBLAU
    Published: February 29, 2012

    WASHINGTON — For more than a decade, questions have lingered about the possible role of the Saudi government in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, even as the royal kingdom has made itself a crucial counterterrorism partner in the eyes of American diplomats.

    Now, in sworn statements that seem likely to reignite the debate, two former senators who were privy to top secret information on the Saudis’ activities say they believe that the Saudi government might have played a direct role in the terrorist attacks.

    “I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” former Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, said in an affidavit filed as part of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government and dozens of institutions in the country by families of Sept. 11 victims and others. Mr. Graham led a joint 2002 Congressional inquiry into the attacks.

    His former Senate colleague, Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a Democrat who served on the separate 9/11 Commission, said in a sworn affidavit of his own in the case that “significant questions remain unanswered” about the role of Saudi institutions. “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued,” Mr. Kerrey said.

    Their affidavits, which were filed on Friday and have not previously been disclosed, are part of a multibillion-dollar lawsuit that has wound its way through federal courts since 2002. An appellate court, reversing an earlier decision, said in November that foreign nations were not immune to lawsuits under certain terrorism claims, clearing the way for parts of the Saudi case to be reheard in United States District Court in Manhattan.

    Lawyers for the Saudis, who have already moved to have the affidavits thrown out of court, declined to comment on the assertions by Mr. Graham and Mr. Kerrey. “The case is in active litigation, and I can’t say anything,” said Michael K. Kellogg, a Washington lawyer for the Saudis.

    Officials at the Saudi Embassy in Washington, who have emphatically denied any connection to the attacks in the past, did not respond Wednesday to requests for comment.

    The Saudis are seeking to have the case dismissed in part because they say American inquiries — including those in which Mr. Graham and Mr. Kerrey took part — have essentially exonerated them. A recent court filing by the Saudis prominently cited the 9/11 Commission’s “exhaustive” final report, which “found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi individuals funded” Al Qaeda.

    But Mr. Kerrey and Mr. Graham said that the findings should not be seen as an exoneration and that many important questions about the Saudis’ role had never been fully examined, partly because their panels simply did not have the time or resources given their wider scope.

    Terry Strada of New Vernon, N.J., whose husband died in the World Trade Center, said it was “so absurd that it’s laughable” for the Saudis to claim that the federal inquiries had exonerated them.

    Unanswered questions include the work of a number of Saudi-sponsored charities with financial links to Al Qaeda, as well as the role of a Saudi citizen living in San Diego at the time of the attacks, Omar al-Bayoumi, who had ties to two of the hijackers and to Saudi officials, Mr. Graham said in his affidavit.

    Still, Washington has continued to stand behind Saudi Arabia publicly, with the Justice Department joining the kingdom in trying to have the lawsuits thrown out of court on the grounds that the Saudis are protected by international immunity.

    State Department officials did not respond to requests for comment on Wednesday on the impact of the court declarations.

    The senators’ assertions “might inject some temporary strain or awkwardness at a diplomatic level,” said Kenneth L. Wainstein, a senior national security official in the George W. Bush administration. Even so, he said, “the United States and the Saudis have developed strong counterterrorism cooperation over the last decade, and that relationship will not be undermined.”
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Senators Bob Graham and Bob Kerrey File Affirmations in Support of 9/11 Litigation Against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    http://www.bradenton.com/2012/03/01/...ob-kerrey.html

    By Cozen O'Connor
    Posted: 12:55pm on Mar 1, 2012; Modified: 1:00pm on Mar 1, 2012

    PHILADELPHIA, March 1, 2012 — /PRNewswire/ -- Cozen O'Connor announced today that former Senators Bob Graham and Bob Kerrey, leaders of national inquiries into the September 11th attacks, provided affidavits in support of a pending application filed by Cozen O'Connor on behalf of victims of the September 11th Attacks and their families, to reinstate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a Saudi government charity as defendants in the In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001 litigation.

    In the affidavits, which were filed of record by Cozen O'Connor attorneys on Friday, February 24, 2012, both Senators express their view that further inquiry is warranted into the evidence of possible Saudi culpability for the 9/11 attacks. The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York will hear argument on March 15 concerning the 9/11 plaintiffs' bid to draw Saudi Arabia back into the litigation.

    Senator Graham was a longtime member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and co-chair of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into the September 11th Attacks. Senator Kerrey was a member of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

    In his affirmation, Senator Kerrey points out that the Kingdom's Memorandum of Law contains several misleading statements concerning the investigation and findings of the 9/11 Commission relative to possible Saudi culpability for the sponsorship of al Qaeda and the events of September 11, 2001. He states that "significant questions remain unanswered concerning the possible involvement of Saudi government institutions and actors in the financing and sponsorship of al Qaeda" and that "the American public deserves a more comprehensive inquiry into the issue."

    Senator Graham states that an "...issue deserving of further attention and investigation concerns the involvement of Saudi based charities in the provision of financial and other support to al Qaeda, and the precise character of the relationships between those charities and the government of the Kingdom."

    Other evidence was also filed Friday and includes military and CIA reports that support the plaintiffs' contention that the U.S. government did identify the Saudi-based charities in question as terrorist support organizations; and an affirmation from a confessed al Qaeda member, among other materials.

    "The Senators' affidavits confirm not only the credibility of the 9/11 plaintiffs' claims against the Kingdom, but also underscore that the American public has been deprived, for more than a decade, of a full accounting of the evidence of possible Saudi culpability for the September 11th Attacks," said Sean Carter, a member of Cozen O'Connor and co-chair of the plaintiffs' Executive Committee.

    Established in 1970 and ranked among the 100 largest law firms in the United States, Cozen O'Connor has 575 attorneys who help clients manage risk and make better business decisions. The firm counsels clients on their most sophisticated legal matters in all areas of the law, including litigation, corporate, and regulatory law. Representing a broad array of leading global corporations and ambitious middle market companies, Cozen O'Connor serves its clients' needs through 21 offices across two continents.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    A Statement by the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-s...ism-2012-03-01

    MT. PLEASANT, S.C., March 1, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- FRMR SENATORS BOB GRAHAM AND BOB KERREY ENTER DECLARATIONS IN FEDERAL COURT SUPPORTING FURTHER INVESTIGATION INTO POSSIBLE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN SAUDI ARABIA, THE SAUDI HIGH COMMISSION AND THE 9/11 TERRORIST ATTACKS

    The 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism today applauded former Senators Bob Graham (FL) and Bob Kerrey (NE), who provided declarations on the families' behalf that were filed in Federal Court for the Southern District of New York strongly disagreeing with papers filed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Saudi High Commission claiming that they had been "exonerated" of any connection to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Senators, who both held leadership roles in the investigations by the U.S. government into the 9/11 attacks, urged the Court to reinstate the Kingdom and the Saudi High Commission into federal litigation (In re Terrorist Attacks) and encouraged the Court to allow a thorough investigation of any connection between the two and al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks.

    "The families and survivors of the atrocities of 9/11 have not given up hope for justice. We are determined to expose the truth," said Beverly Burnett of Bloomington, Minn., mother of Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., one of the heroes of United Flight 93. "The financiers and enablers of those who murdered our loved ones are still alive, well and capable of supporting terrorism. The trail back to them still points to Saudi Arabia."

    Senator Graham was chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on 9/11 and subsequently co-chaired the Joint Inquiry of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees into the intelligence surrounding the terrorist attacks. In a sworn statement to the Court, he stated, "that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia, and that a Saudi government agent living in the United States, Omar al Bayoumi, provided direct assistance to September 11th hijackers Nawaf al Hazmi and Khalid al Mihdhar."

    Senator Graham further declared, "Another issue deserving of further attention and investigation concerns the involvement of Saudi based charities in the provision of financial and other support to al Qaeda, and the precise character of the relationships between those charities and the government of the Kingdom."

    Senator Kerrey, a U.S. Senator from 1989 to 2001 and a member of the bi-partisan National Commission on Terrorist Acts Upon the United States (the "9/11 Commission") declared the need for further investigation. "To the extent the Kingdom and the Saudi High Commission offer those statements in support of the position that the 9/11 Commission fully exonerated Saudi Arabia and any Saudi government charities for any potential culpability for the financing and emergence of al Qaeda or the events of September 11, 2001, following a comprehensive evaluation of all potentially relevant evidence, the Kingdom and the Saudi High Commission are incorrect," he wrote in response to a Memorandum of Law filed by the Kingdom and the SHC.

    Responding to the characterization of the 9/11 Commission's statements about the Kingdom and the Saudi High Commission as "exhaustive" or "conclusive" in the Memorandum of Law, Senator Kerrey declared, "Stated simply, the 9/11 Commission did not have the time, opportunity or resources to pursue all potentially relevant evidence on that important question, and the American public deserves a more comprehensive inquiry into the issue."

    "No one - neither the 9/11 Commission nor the Congressional Investigation - cleared Saudi Arabia or the High Commission," said Bill Doyle of The Villages, Fla., father of Joseph M. Doyle, who died in the World Trade Center. "We know 28 pages of the Congressional Report that were redacted were specifically about the Kingdom. The U.S. Government needs to stop blocking the public from seeing those 28 pages and let this investigation go forward."

    "Finally someone who knows some of the truth about 9/11 is standing up and saying 'wait a minute, we didn't give those guys the all clear' as Saudi Arabia has been saying for several years. Exonerated, I don't think so!" said Sharon Premoli of Dorset, Vt., who was trapped by the collapse of the World Trade Center and maintains the advocacy website, www.JusticeAgainstTerrorism.org .

    "It's so absurd that it's laughable to actually claim that the 9/11 Commission had the authority or audacity to exonerate the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the charities that supported the attacks on our nation," said Terry Strada of New Vernon, N.J., widow of Tom Strada, who died in the World Trade Center, "Quite the contrary, we the families will never give up our pursuit for justice, to bring the financiers of the murders of our loved ones to court and to prosecute these criminals under our judicial system!"

    The 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt TerrorismThis group is comprised of more than 6,600 family members of those killed in the attacks of 9/11 and those injured as well. They are united in the cause of pursuing justice and deterring future terrorist attacks. To do so, they are using the civil legal system to pursue those who financed and provided support for those cowardly terrorist attacks. The case is In Re Thomas E. Burnett, Sr., et al. v. Al Baraka Investment & Development Corp., et al., Case No. 03-CV-9849 (GBD); In Re Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, 03 MDL 1570. The families are represented by civil litigation firm Motley Rice LLC.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Analysis: Legal manuevering around Saudis in 9/11 case

    http://newsandinsight.thomsonreuters..._in_9/11_case/

    3/8/2012

    NEW YORK, March 8 (Reuters) - Fresh questions about the possible involvement of the Saudi government in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks might make waves in Washington, but it's unlikely they will be considered by a judge on the case for years -- if they are heard at all.

    In two affidavits filed late last month, former Democratic U.S. Senators Bob Graham of Florida and Bob Kerrey of Nebraska said that serious questions remained about Saudi Arabian involvement in the attacks.

    But the oil-rich kingdom is no longer a defendant in lawsuits, consolidated in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, which are seeking to obtain damages from foreign governments and entities accused of backing the attacks.

    Last week, The 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism, a group that says it represents over 6,600 family members of those killed, cheered the senators' letters and called on the court to launch an investigation into the question of Saudi involvement.

    Saudi Arabia was dismissed as a defendant in 2005 by the judge then overseeing the case, citing lack of jurisdiction under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) of 1976.

    Under the act, foreign states and their offshoots are presumed to be immune for U.S. law except under certain exceptions, such as terrorism. In the Sept. 11 cases, however, the judge found the plaintiffs had not shown that the Saudi defendants' supposed actions had lost them their immunity.

    Experts said the immunity question -- a legal one -- would first have to be addressed by U.S. District Judge George Daniels, who is overseeing the case, before he considers whether or not the Saudis were involved.

    "The exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act that the plaintiffs are seeking to invoke is not related really to the merits of the case," said Ingrid Wuerth, a law professor at Vanderbilt University. "Although the affidavits help them prove the merits of the case, the immunity question is a preliminary one. I don't see it as doing much to change the legal analyses."

    Out of the over 200 entities and governments originally sued by the plaintiffs - mostly the families of victims of the attacks -- about 100 are still listed as defendants, and active litigation is ongoing with less than 10, a lawyer involved in the case said.

    The most recent activity by the plaintiffs was spurred by a decision in November by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In that ruling, the court allowed a lawsuit seeking damages from Afghanistan over its alleged support of the Taliban and al Qaeda to proceed.

    Based on that opinion, lawyers for the Sept. 11 victims asked Judge Daniels to reinstate claims against the Saudi government and the Saudi High Commission for Relief of Bosnia & Herzegovina, a charity, arguing they should be brought back into the case under the appeals court take on the FSIA.

    Lawyers for the Saudi government responded by saying that the plaintiffs could not legally reopen the case, and that the kingdom had been exonerated of any involvement in the attacks.

    On Feb. 24, the plaintiffs responded by submitting the affidavits.

    Those allegations, however incendiary, will not be taken up by the judge anytime soon, as the formal legal questions have still not been resolved, plaintiffs lawyer Robert Haefele conceded.

    "For the moment, the issue before the court is not about what the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or the High Commission did; it is about whether or not the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act applies to grant them immunity," Haefele said.

    In fact, the affidavits may have been a pre-emptive strike by plaintiffs attorneys in order to pressure the Saudi government to pay a settlement.

    "Between the legal argument of getting the Kingdom back into the case as a defendant, along with the senators affidavits and the facts of the Saudi involvement, I believe at some point the Kingdom is going to take the position that it is willing to contribute money to end the 9/11 litigation," plaintiffs attorney James Kreindler said.

    The consolidated case is In Re: Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, no. 1:03-md-01570.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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