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Thread: 9/11 Families Can Sue Saudi Arabia, Court Rules

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    9/11 Families Can Sue Saudi Arabia, Court Rules

    9-11 families can sue Saudi Arabia, court rules

    By Larry Neumeister, The Associated Press

    A federal appeals court on Thursday reinstated Saudi Arabia as a defendant in lawsuits claiming it provided support to al-Qaeda before the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

    A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said restoring Saudi Arabia was necessary to be consistent with a ruling by a different 2nd Circuit panel that allowed another lawsuit to go forward in which a man sued Afghanistan and other defendants for the death of his wife in the Sept. 11 attacks.

    The 2nd Circuit and a lower court had previously ruled that Saudi Arabia was protected by sovereign immunity, which generally means that foreign countries can't be sued in American courts. But in its latest ruling, the 2nd Circuit said a legal exception existed that would allow Saudi Arabia to remain as a defendant, just as Afghanistan remained in the similar case.

    "The procedural history of this case produced inconsistent results between two sets of plaintiffs suing for damages based on the same incident," the appeals court said in a decision written by Circuit Judge Chester J. Straub. "We conclude that the circumstances here are 'extraordinary' and warrant relief."

    An attorney representing Saudi Arabia said the panel's decision is "contrary to settled law" and will only result in a lower court throwing the case out for other reasons. The attorney cited the dismissal of identical allegations against other Saudi government agencies that the 2nd Circuit itself already upheld.

    "It is extremely unfortunate and burdensome that a sovereign nation and ally of the United States will continue to have to litigate this matter more than 10 years after it was filed," attorney Michael Kellogg said.

    The lawsuits were brought in 2002 and afterward against countries, companies and organizations accused of aiding al-Qaida and other terrorist groups. They sought billions of dollars in damages.

    In the lawsuits, lawyers argued that the Sept. 11 attacks, which destroyed the World Trade Center and killed thousands of people, had been planned for years by a network of Islamic militants with the assistance of banks, governments and individuals.

    Lawyers in the Sept. 11 cases have frequently cited the report by the Sept. 11 Commission. Lawyers for the plaintiffs have said the commission supported their argument that Saudi Arabia had long been considered the primary source of al-Qaida funding, while lawyers for Saudi Arabia have argued that the commission found no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded al-Qaida.

    Kellogg said the panel's decision has nothing to do with the merits of the plaintiffs' claims.

    "The government of Saudi Arabia has long asserted, and the United States 9/11 Commission has found, that those allegations are categorically false," Kellogg said.

    A lawyer for the plaintiffs called Thursday's ruling "an eminently correct decision which brings these defendants back into the case and may finally give the 9/11 victims their day in court."

    "We are confident in our ability to prove our case against them," attorney Stephen Cozen said in an email.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
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    Jan 2005
    9/11 Families 'Ecstatic' They Can Finally Sue Saudi Arabia

    Families of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks today celebrated a federal court's ruling that allows relatives of people who died in the 9/11 terror attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.

    Most of the hijackers who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001 were from Saudi Arabia, and the complaint states that much of the funding for the al-Qaeda terrorists came from Saudi Arabia.

    An attempt to Saudi Arabia in 2002 was blocked by a federal court ruling that said the kingdom had sovereign immunity. That ruling was reversed Thursday by a three-judge federal panel.

    "I'm ecstatic.... For 12 years we've been fighting to expose the people who financed those bastards," said William Doyle, the father of Joseph Doyle, 25, a Cantor-Fitzgerald employee who was killed in the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

    "Christmas has come early to the 9/11 families. We're going to have our day in court," he told

    The ruling struck down an earlier decision that found Saudi Arabia immune from lawsuits. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it's in the "interests of justice" to allow them to proceed.

    Families who lost loved ones in the Sept. 11 attacks and insurers who lost billions of dollars covering damaged businesses have alleged Saudi Arabia bankrolled al-Qaeda, knowing the money would be used for terrorism.

    The lawsuit, filed a decade ago by the Philadelphia firm Cozen O'Connor, accuses the Saudi government and members of the royal family of serving on charities that financed al-Qaeda operations.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #3
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    Jan 2005
    Saudi Arabia under suspicion of supporting 9/11 attackers

    2014, 01 June 12:48 PM

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not immune from liability for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, since there is detailed evidence in the record showing its material support for, and assistance to the hijackers, asserts a legal brief filed with the US Supreme Court on May 21.

    The brief was filed in opposition to the appeal filed by the Kingdom, following the ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit last December, reinstating the Kingdom and related Saudi "charities," as defendants in a multi-million dollar lawsuit brought by 9/11 victims and their families, as well as insurance companies seeking recovery for damages paid.

    The Obama Administration has not yet indicated whether it will intervene on behalf of the Saudis, as it did in the lower courts.

    In their brief, the plaintiffs mock the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as "a supposed ‘ally’ of the United States," and they state:

    "The Kingdom is alleged to have provided material support and assistance through its officials and agents to al-Qaeda, including assistance that enabled it to develop the network and capabilities that would ultimately carry out the September 11th attacks. It allegedly did so through: (a) individual government agents operating in the United States and Germany in support of the September 11th hijackers; (b) its charities that worked closely with al-Qaeda for years leading up to the attacks, including in certain cases through actions undertaken in the United States....”

    "Omar al-Bayoumi, a Saudi intelligence officer, and Fahad al-Thumairy, a Saudi diplomat from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs ... allegedly assisted two of the September 11th hijackers directly from within the United States. This support included renting an apartment for two of the hijackers, facilitating their settlement in San Diego during preparation for the attacks, and helping them enroll in flight schools.”

    "Plaintiffs also alleged that Muhammed Fakihi, the head of the Islamic affairs department of the Saudi embassy in Berlin, assisted members of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell that planned and coordinated the September 11th attacks."

    In support of their claims, the plaintiffs cite former US Senator Bob Graham’s statement that "he is 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," and they also note that, following the 9/11 attacks, "senior US counter-terrorism officials described to Congress how Saudi Arabia was the ‘epicenter’ of terrorist financing and how ‘[w]ealthy Saudi financiers and charities have funded terrorist organizations and causes that support terrorism and the ideology that fuels the terrorists agenda.’ Similarly, ‘most of the major elements of al-Qaeda have reported Saudi funding ties, and Saudi funds permeate the world of charities, supporting entities in the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe and North America tied to terrorism.’"
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  4. #4
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    Jan 2005
    Supreme Court Denies 9/11 Victims’ Claims Against Middle East Firms, Bin Laden’s Kin

    By Greg Stohr | June 30, 2014

    The U.S. Supreme Court turned away an appeal by thousands of Sept. 11 attack victims who sought to sue Middle Eastern companies and people for allegedly providing crucial support to al-Qaeda.

    The victims sought to revive their claims against relatives of Osama bin Laden, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned National Commercial Bank and Saudi Binladen Group, a construction company controlled by the former al-Qaeda leader’s family.

    A federal appeals court threw out those claims in 2013, saying the victims didn’t allege a close enough connection between the defendants’ activities and the attacks. The appellate panel also said some defendants lacked sufficient ties to the U.S. to bring them within the jurisdiction of American courts.

    The defendants were among hundreds that have been sued in Sept. 11 litigation pending in federal court in Manhattan.

    The rebuff came after the Supreme Court sought advice from the Obama administration, which in May urged the justices to reject the appeal without a hearing.

    In a separate case stemming from the Sept. 11 attacks, the Supreme Court today rejected an appeal from Saudi Arabia, which said an appeals court improperly reopened claims that the country helped al-Qaeda.

    The 2001 attacks killed almost 3,000 people in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The suing victims include family members of those killed, thousands of people who were injured and companies that incurred billions of dollars in property damage.

    The case is O’Neill v. Al Rajhi Bank, 13-318, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia v. Federal Insurance Co., 13-1146.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  5. #5
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    Jan 2005
    Supreme Court Won't Weigh Sept. 11 Claims Vs. Osama Bin Laden Kin

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court says lawsuits by victims' families and survivors of the Sept. 11 attacks can proceed, but without relatives of Osama bin Laden and businesses that allegedly supported al-Qaida before the terrorist attacks as defendants.

    The justices declined Monday to review a lower court ruling that dismissed claims against 25 defendants. The lawsuits were filed by more than 3,000 Sept. 11 survivors, relatives, victims' representatives and insurance carriers. Among the defendants are al-Qaida, its members and associates, along with charities, banks, front organizations, terrorist organizations and financiers.

    Among those dismissed were four bin Laden relatives who purportedly managed the Saudi Binladin Group, one of the largest engineering and construction companies in the Arab world and a successor to a company founded by bin Laden's father, and the company itself.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #6
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    Jan 2005
    Supreme Court turns away 9/11 suit against alleged Al Qaeda supporters
    Lawyers for 9/11 victims sought to pursue what they said were the ‘principal financial and operational supporters of al Qaeda.’ But lower courts dismissed much of their lawsuit, and the US Supreme Court declined to get involved.

    By Warren Richey, Staff writer June 30, 2014

    Thousands of victims of the 9/11 terror attacks have lost their bid to revive a class-action lawsuit against various banks, financial officials, and members of Osama bin Laden’s family for allegedly providing material support to Al Qaeda.

    The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up a case examining whether lower courts properly dismissed a significant portion of their lawsuit.

    The high court took the action without comment.

    The justices had asked the Obama administration for its views on the case. US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said in a filing last month that the court should reject the case.

    Lawyers for those killed or injured or who suffered property damage in the hijack-terror operation sought to pursue what they said were the “principal financial and operational supporters of al Qaeda” during the period leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    They included several Saudi banks, Islamic charities, three financial institutions in Liechtenstein, four of Mr. bin Laden’s half brothers, and the family construction business, the Saudi Binladin Group.

    A federal judge and a federal appeals court dismissed much of the case, ruling that the plaintiffs’ lawyers had failed to show evidence that actions taken by the alleged Al Qaeda supporters had proximately caused the injuries suffered by the victims on 9/11.

    In addition, the appeals court ruled that the victims’ lawyers had failed to demonstrate that the defendants intended that their actions would harm the United States.

    In April 2013, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed the case against 25 of 37 alleged Al Qaeda supporters.

    Lawyers for the accused officials and companies had argued that the victim-plaintiffs offered insufficient proof that their clients were involved in the 9/11 attacks.

    “Petitioners have attempted to hold hundreds of defendants liable for allegedly aiding the heinous terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001,” wrote James Gauch, a Washington lawyer representing the accused Al Qaeda supporters.

    “Throughout more than ten years of litigation, [they] have been unable, in the view of multiple federal judges, to identify any specific allegations to support their claims against the vast majority of defendants,” he said in his brief to the court.

    Lawyers for the 9/11 victims argued in their briefs that the lower courts had wrongly dismissed portions of the lawsuit. The Second Circuit decision significantly undercuts the ability of US victims of terrorism to hold alleged behind-the-scenes supporters of Al Qaeda responsible for their actions, they said, and it undermines US counterterrorism policies.

    “The suit targets those who use and operate the web of financial and operational networks that leading anti-US terrorist groups depend upon to develop their global strike capabilities, move money and personnel internationally, and shield their activities from counter-terrorism efforts,” wrote Washington lawyer Carter Phillips in his petition to the court.

    The same New York-based appeals court dismissed a similar lawsuit in 2008 against various Saudi government agencies and officials, including four Saudi princes who allegedly contributed money to Al Qaeda.

    In the current case, the appeals court is allowing the lawsuit to move forward to permit plaintiffs’ lawyers to further investigate 12 individuals named in the suit.

    Those defendants include a Saudi banker who traveled to the US in early September 2001 and reportedly changed his hotel to the same one used by at least three of the Saudi hijackers.

    The appeals court said that unlike other defendants named in the lawsuit, the facts suggest the Saudi banker might have provided direct assistance to Al Qaeda. And the facts also suggest he may have intended to harm the US, the appeals court said.

    The theory behind the civil litigation against alleged Al Qaeda supporters is that anyone who assisted bin Laden and his group had to know that Al Qaeda was planning acts of international terrorism and that their actions would support indiscriminate terror attacks.

    But the appeals court said that wasn’t enough. There had to be more proof of involvement in terrorism and evidence of an intention to harm Americans.

    “Providing indirect funding to an organization that was openly hostile to the United States does not constitute this type of intentional conduct,” the appeals court ruled.

    In dismissing the claim against bin Laden’s four half brothers and the Saudi Binladin Group, the court noted that Osama bin Laden had been removed as a shareholder of the family construction business in 1993 – prior to his declarations of war against the US and Al Qaeda attacks in East Africa and Yemen and on 9/11.

    Mr. Phillips said in his brief that the Second Circuit decision was causing serious harm to US counterterrorism policies. He said federal law “seeks to deter support for terrorism and is meant to reach beyond those who themselves commit the violent act that directly causes the injury.”

    “A contrary interpretation would mean that Congress created a largely hollow remedy if it merely allows suits against terrorists who pull the trigger or plant the bomb,” Phillips wrote.

    He said the US Anti-Terrorism Act was written to reach actions that aid and abet terrorism. “The ATA’s broad language includes no limitation on which defendants are subject to claims and instead extends liability to those who provide material support to terrorism, including the financing and provision of financial services in support of terrorism,” he said.

    Lawyers for the alleged aiders and abettors disagree. They say US law draws important distinctions about who can – and cannot – be sued.

    “Petitioners do not claim that the Respondents participated in any way in the September 11 attacks or provided contemporaneous support to Osama Bin Laden or Al-Qaeda,” Mr. Gauch said.

    “Instead, they argue that conduct outside the United States that directly or indirectly benefited Al-Qaeda several years before the attacks ... is enough to [authorize a lawsuit],” he said.

    “Without alleged facts that Respondents themselves expressly aimed their conduct at the United States, personal jurisdiction does not lie over foreign defendants simply because they are alleged to have supported groups hostile to the United States,” he wrote.

    Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case.

    The case was O’Neill v. Al Rajhi Bank (13-318).
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #7
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    Jan 2005
    Supreme Court lets victims' 9/11 suit vs. Saudi Arabia proceed

    The U.S. Supreme Court gave the go-ahead Monday to a lawsuit by victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks against the government of Saudi Arabia, alleging it indirectly financed al-Qaeda in the years before the hijackings.

    The justices declined to hear an appeal by the Saudi government of a lower-court ruling that the lawsuit could go forward. The high court also declined to hear a separate appeal by 9/11 victims of a lower-court decision preventing them from suing dozens of banks and individuals that allegedly provided financial assistance to the hijackers.

    "From our perspective, we are looking forward to having the opportunity to finally conduct an inquiry into the financing of the Sept. 11 attacks," said Sean Carter, a partner at the Center City law firm Cozen O'Connor, one of the firms involved in the litigation against the kingdom.

    Saudi Arabia has long denied responsibility for the attacks and pointed to a finding by the 9/11 Commission that it had found no evidence that the Saudi government "as an institution" had involvement.

    But the issue has refused to go away.

    Cozen, which has taken the lead in the litigation, sued the kingdom in 2003 in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, alleging that Saudi-funded Islamist charities had secretly provided money and logistical support to al-Qaeda for more than a decade.

    In 2005, a federal District Court judge in Manhattan ruled that Saudi Arabia could not be sued. The court said the kingdom could not be held accountable for what the charities did with the money.

    Ruling in 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed that Saudi Arabia could not be the target of a terrorism lawsuit. But in December, the Second Circuit effectively reversed itself and reinstated the kingdom as a defendant.

    The Saudi government appealed that ruling, and the Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear it, without comment.

    Carter said he expected that discovery of Saudi government documents and depositions would begin shortly.

    Cozen represents dozens of insurers that suffered losses as a result of the destruction of the World Trade Center.

    Other plaintiffs in the litigation include the family of John O'Neill, a former senior counterterrorism official at the FBI, who sounded some of the first alarms about Osama bin Laden and died in the attacks on the World Trade Center, where he had gone to work as head of security after leaving the FBI.

    "The O'Neill plaintiffs believe that the Supreme Court correctly denied . . . Saudi Arabia's petition seeking review of the Second Circuit's decision reinstating it in the 9/11 litigations," said Jerry Goldman, a lawyer with the firm of Anderson Kill P.C., which represents the O'Neill family. "We are looking forward to proceeding with discovery."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  8. #8
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    Jan 2005
    U.S. Supreme Court green lights 9/11 victims lawsuit against Saudi Arabia

    By Dan Christensen,
    July 8, 2014 at 6:34 am

    In a decision largely unreported by the national media, the U.S. Supreme Court last week denied Saudi Arabia’s appeal that it be dropped as a defendant in a civil lawsuit alleging it bankrolled al Qaeda in the years before 9/11.

    The justices ruled without comment. The long-running case, brought by thousands of 9/11 victims, relatives and others, now proceeds toward trial against Saudi Arabia and other defendants.

    Plaintiffs attorneys were heartened by the high court’s decision that keeps the Saudis on the hook for potentially billions of dollars in civil damages.

    “We are excited about the opportunity to pursue the first meaningful public inquiry into the evidence of possible direct involvement of agents of the Saudi government in the September 11th attacks, and concerning the involvement of Saudi government charities in channeling financial and logistical support to al Qaeda throughout the world,” said Philadelphia attorney Sean Carter.

    “Based on what we have seen thus far, we expect that both inquiries will ultimately point back to the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, an arm of the government largely under the control of Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabi religious clerics.” Carter said.

    Michael K. Kellogg, a Washington, D.C. attorney who led Saudi Arabia’s appeal effort, did not respond to requests for comment. The Kingdom, however, has called the lawsuit’s allegations “categorically false.”

    Multiple lawsuits asserting a variety of claims were originally filed against hundreds of defendants – including Saudi Arabia, members of the royal family, banks and charities. The lawsuits were consolidated in federal court in New York City and a number of defendants, including the Kingdom, were dismissed in 2005 under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.

    But last December, in what amounted to a reversal of its own prior opinion, a Manhattan appeals court restored Saudi Arabia as a defendant, citing legal error. The ruling also restored as a defendant the Saudi High Commission for Relief of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a government agency the plaintiffs contend funneled tens of millions of dollars to terrorist fighters across the globe.

    With the U.S. government as a courtroom ally, the Kingdom appealed. The Justice Department filed a “friend-of-the-court” brief arguing that both the Kingdom and its officials were immune from suit for their governmental acts.

    Sharon Premoli, who survived the collapse of the World Trade Center’s North Towner, is co-chair of the activist group 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism.

    “The US Government unfortunately chose not to stand by the families and survivors of 9/11. All we can say is that we were very, very disappointed,” she said.

    The same day the Supreme Court allowed 9/11 victims to proceed with their case against Saudi Arabia, it also refused to hear a related plaintiffs’ appeal that had sought the reinstatement of their claims against dozens of banks and individuals.

    The ruling was in the case of O’Neill v. Al Rajhi Bank. The plaintiffs include the family of former FBI agent John P. O’Neill Jr., a counterterrorism expert who died in the attack on the World Trade Center. Ironically, O’Neill was among the first to focus attention on threats issued by Osama bin Laden.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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