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Friday, March 02, 2012

Were the Saudis behind 9/11?

One hesitates to bring up the disaster of 2001, since the topic brings out so many zanies who like to jabber on about robot planes and bombs-in-da-buildings. But...well, we now have this (brought to our attention by Corrente)...

Let's go to Eric Lichtblau of the NYT himself:
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.
We've known for a while that Graham has been saying this.
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.
In a sense, nothing new here. But the assertion that the Saudi connection won't be probed because we are on the verge of war with Iran -- now that is disturbing.

Lichtblau has been on this story for a while. Here, from 2009:
Allegations of Saudi links to terrorism have been the subject of years of government investigations and furious debate. Critics have said that some members of the Saudi ruling class pay off terrorist groups in part to keep them from being more active in their own country.
A self-described Qaeda operative in Bosnia said in an interview with lawyers in the lawsuit that another charity largely controlled by members of the royal family, the Saudi High Commission for Aid to Bosnia, provided money and supplies to the terrorist group in the 1990s and hired militant operatives like himself.

Another witness in Afghanistan said in a sworn statement that in 1998 he had witnessed an emissary for a leading Saudi prince, Turki al-Faisal, hand a check for one billion Saudi riyals (now worth about $267 million) to a top Taliban leader.

And a confidential German intelligence report gave a line-by-line description of tens of millions of dollars in bank transfers, with dates and dollar amounts, made in the early 1990s by Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz and other members of the Saudi royal family to another charity that was suspected of financing militants’ activities in Pakistan and Bosnia.
Of interest to me is the Israeli angle. There has been talk of Saudi/Israeli cooperation in a potential war with Iran -- see, for example, here.

An investigation of possible Saudi involvement with 9/11 could seriously gum up the works.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The "controlled demolition" freakazoids have done incalculable damage to our national discussion. There have always been unanswered questions surrounding the great tragedy, but reasonable people have hesitated to ask those questions in public for fear of adding credibility to (or being classified alongside) the wackos.

When anything major happens in the future, presume a "three stories" scenario:

Story 1. This will be the tale told by the major media. Much of it will rely on official sources. Much of it will be true. But not all.

Story 2. The alternate reality constructed by, or handed to, the conspiracy nuts. It will always, always, always be wrong. You may safely use Texas conspiracy king Alex Jones as an inverse weathervane: If he points in a certain direction, the truth lies elsewhere. There may be more than one offering in the "story 2" category. The folks who trade in "story 2" scenarios are always sincere, although they like to accuse each other of being otherwise.

Story 3. Reality.

Story 2 exists to destroy the credibility of anyone who tries to go after Story 3. The creation of a good Story 2 is an important part of planning the event.
Very true, apart from the idea that all the wackos are sincere. I agree many but not all surely.

This sounds like the goings on in Pakistan, factions of the government hiding bin Laden for what ever reasons unbeknown to other members. The Saudis have been trying to keep a lid on a festering pool of Islamic Fundamentalism for some time now. Funding terrorism in somebody else's back yard might be a safety valve but I suspect that even they were taken by surprise by 911.

On a side note: Had the print and broadcast media not been out to destroy Al Gore and he won the election the GOP would have been calling for his impeachment with the AM Hate radio spewers in full howl. There would have been none of the talk about standing as one behind the President as there was with Bush the Lesser.
To Mike: Had Gore been allowed to take the office he won, perhaps and most likely the attacks would have been thwarted, as NORAD would still have had the rules of engagement allowing local commanders to scramble interceptors on their own authority, rather than the change to centralize that authority in a possibly missing in action SecDef. Indeed, in Clinton's later years, such individual commanders' authority was practiced and gamed, repeatedly.

To Joe: Indeed, the after-action damage control stories are key planned factors, including potential limited hang-outs (as Nixon called them), throwing some lessers to the wolves, who may or may not have been actually involved.

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