FOCUS: Lloyd's Sues Saudi Arabia for 'Funding 9/11 Attacks'22 September 11
FOCUS: Lloyd's Sues Saudi Arabia for 'Funding 9/11 Attacks'
22 September 11
From left: King Abdullah, Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, Osama bin Laden, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and Prince Sultan bin Faisal bin Turki. (photo: Vanity Fair
ustice: A new 9/11 lawsuit portrays the Saudi government as having more control over al-Qaida charities before the attacks than it (or the US) has admitted. Let's hear the truth.
Lloyds of London seeks $215 million in damages from the kingdom to recover claims it paid 9/11 victims and their families. The suit charges that the Saudi government funded al-Qaida through its banks and charities.
The complaint, filed in US court, states that without official Saudi sponsorship, "al-Qaida would not have possessed the capacity to conceive, plan and execute the Sept. 11 attacks." In other words, absent Saudi support, the Twin Towers would still be standing - along with nearly 3,000 Americans.
We're impressed by the documentation cited in the 156-page complaint by Cozen O'Conner, a major Washington law firm. It's much more detailed than the lawsuit brought on behalf of 9/11 families, which a federal judge dismissed for lack of evidence. This one might have a shot. It points to new intelligence, including recently leaked diplomatic cables.
Among the findings:
- Senior Saudi officials and Saudi royal family members - including Saudi Interior Minister Prince Naif - either served as executives of suspect charities or sat on their boards while the charities were used to launder money to al-Qaida; and they knew of the activities.
- The Saudi charities themselves often provided not only money but employment cover, ID badges and logistical support to al-Qaida operatives.
- For example, the Saudi Joint Relief Committee for Kosovo and Chechnya (SJRC) allegedly was used as a cover by several al-Qaida operatives, including two men acting as directors of the charity.
- Between 1998 and 2000, SJRC allegedly diverted more than $74 million to al-Qaida members and loyalists affiliated with its bureaus.
- At the time the SJRC was under the control of Saudi Prince Naif, who after 9/11 denied that Saudis were among the hijackers and hinted that Jews carried out the attacks.
- Each of the dozen branches of the Saudi-based International Islamic Relief Organization, one of the charities Osama bin Laden used to finance his terror camps, is overseen by a Saudi royal; and a Philippines office was founded by bin Laden's brother-in-law.
- The Saudi royal family used its national bank to channel funds to bin Laden, and the family's longtime banker, Khalid bin Mahfouz, allegedly "is also a primary financier of al-Qaida."
- "Bin Mahfouz has acknowledged making a $270,000 contribution to bin Laden contemporaneous with the establishment of al-Qaida," the claim says. And it alleges that he and his "handpicked" bank partner, Yassin al-Kadi, now a wanted terrorist, "necessarily were aware of the terrorist activities."
As interior minister, Naif placed employees inside the Saudi embassy as well as consulates throughout the US before 9/11. Some Los Angeles consulate officials and a San Diego-based Saudi intelligence agent have been linked to the hijackers and other terrorists.
In addition, computer hard drives seized in a post-9/11 raid of the offices of the Saudi High Commission for Relief of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a suspected al-Qaida front, included: materials for forging US State Department ID badges; files on pesticides and crop-duster aircraft; photos of the bombed US embassies in East Africa and the bombed USS Cole; and before and after photos of the World Trade Center.
Of course, Saudi officials have repeatedly denied any ties to 9/11 or al-Qaida. But the plaintiffs in this case have assembled in one place the most extensive record yet of Saudi government involvement.
The federal judge hearing the case should not be quick to dismiss it, no matter how many Saudi-bought lawyers and lobbyists argue otherwise.