The 9/11 attacks opened a bloody chapter of American history, “justifying” U.S. attacks on multiple countries but not on the one most connected to the terrorism, U.S. “ally,” Saudi Arabia. Why is that, asks Lawrence Davidson.
By Lawrence Davidson
On Nov. 27, 2002, a bipartisan commission was established by Congress to investigate the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. By the time the commission was created, President George W. Bush had characterized the attacks as “acts of war,” adding that “freedom and democracy are under attack.” It was therefore to be expected that anyone who was actually, or even imagined to be, involved in these attacks was going to be labeled as an enemy.
However, when on July 22, 2004, after two years of investigation, the 9/11 Commission’s report was released, something was missing. Twenty-nine pages – commonly known as the “28 pages” – had been withheld from publication. These pages specifically discussed the connections between the 9/11 hijackers and individuals working in the U.S. for the government of Saudi Arabia.
The withholding from publication of these specific pages was apparently ordered by the same George W. Bush who was ostensibly willing to confront anyone who would, in his worldview, threaten the U.S. – “Bring ’em on!”
For the next 12 years, that is, between July 2004 and July 2016, the 29 pages remained “classified” and therefore unavailable to the public or the press. They were available to members of Congress if they would travel to a “secure location,” one person at a time, to read the document. They could take no notes nor reveal to anyone what they learned.
So what was going on here? According to former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Florida, a long-term advocate of declassifying the pages, what all these years of suppression came to was a “carefully orchestrated campaign to protect our Saudi “‘friends,’” from the public revelation of “ample evidence of Saudi Arabia’s intimate ties to al-Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks.”
If Graham is correct, Saudi Arabia received a free pass despite being involved in acts of war against the United States.
How was this possible? Well, consider the following: there exists a long-standing commercial relationship and personal friendship between the Bush clan and the Saudi royal family. Even more important, Saudi Arabia has long managed the oil market to keep prices in the West at affordable levels.
Presently, the Saudis have hundreds of billions of dollars invested, in various ways, in the United States (the exact figure is kept secret).These include stocks, bonds, real estate and currency holdings. And finally, Saudi Arabia is the top purchaser of U.S. weapons, periodically buying as much as $60 billion worth of armaments at a time from U.S. defense contractors.
This puts Saudi Arabia in a very strong economic position in relation to the United States. Consider the hypothetical consequences of a rapid withdrawal of Saudi funds from the U.S. At the very least this would send the stock market into a tailspin. The U.S. would be forced to freeze Saudi assets, and not only the American and Saudi economies would suffer, but the world economy as well.
The Saudis have been known to assert what can only be called economic blackmail against the U.S. government to hide embarrassing facts about themselves, including their dealings with terrorist groups ranging from off-shoots of Al Qaeda to ISIS. They can and do argue that if Saudi agents do at times act against U.S. interests, even to the point of aiding terrorists, they do so as rogue agents and not under the authority the central government. The problem is that, just like America’s “rogue” agents, they never seem to suffer punishment.
The government of Saudi Arabia has gathered together in Washington, D.C., a broad coalition of lawyers, public relations firms, and ex-diplomats-turned-lobbyists that collectively function as a Saudi special interest group.
It is through the leverage applied by this lobby that the 29 pages of the 9/11 Commission report stayed below the radar for 12 years. This happened even while the official Saudi line was that that country had nothing to hide and would welcome the publication of the pages.
Finally, Barack Obama, drawing near to the end of his presidency, decided to declassify the document. It is possible that he and his advisers, in consultation with the Saudis, had come to the conclusion that after all these years, the U.S.-Saudi relationship could weather any belated disturbance that might result.
Thus, on July 15, 2016, the 29 pages were made public. Now anyone can read them. Or can they? Many of the sites at which they were initially posted strangely going blank.
For all the good it might now do, it turns out that Sen. Bob Graham was right. At least two Saudi individuals (Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Basnan) working for the Saudi government possibly as “intelligence agents” gave financial aid and other assistance (including identifying flight schools) to at least two of the hijackers soon after they arrived in the U.S.
Al-Bayoumi is the prime conduit here. The amount of money he was receiving from the Saudi government went up substantially the same month he began aiding the hijackers and then was reduced by the same amount once he and the hijackers parted company. Al-Bayoumi left the U.S. one month prior to the 9/11 attacks. A full reading of the 29 pages indicates that this is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
The Saudi government has put out a reply to the release of the 29 pages. It declares that since 2002, U.S. government agencies, including the CIA and the FBI, have investigated the allegations and established that no one “acting on behalf of the Saudi government provided any support or encouragement for these attacks.”
This statement is Riyadh’s effort to obfuscate matters. It goes hand-in-hand with the weak response of CIA Director John Brennan, who has said that the recently declassified allegations have not been “vetted” (established as true or false) and fail to prove that the Saudi government “as an institution” was involved in 9/11.
There are troubling contradictions here. If, as the Saudis say, a thorough investigation of the allegations has been carried out, what is with Brennan’s claim that the information in the 29 pages has not been “vetted”? If the CIA and the FBI have not vetted the allegations, despite having 14 years to do so, how can Brennan so readily exonerate Saudi Arabia? Only the gullible, the ignorant, or the indifferent would see this as adequate.
‘Allies’ Wage War on U.S.
The Saudis are not the only “ally” that has committed acts of war against the United States and then, with the help of lobby power, got the actions covered up. The other, equivalent miscreant is Israel, which in recent years has rendered assistance to al-Nusra, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.
Perhaps more significantly, on June 8, 1967, Israeli forces knowingly attacked the U.S. Intelligence ship Liberty ostensibly because it had picked up information of a pending unprovoked Israeli attack on Syria’s Golan Heights. The resulting combined sea and air attack on the Liberty killed 31 Americans and wounded 171.
In this incident the role as protector of a foreign enemy was played by President Lyndon Johnson. He was a great admirer of the Israelis, whom he likened to the early U.S. settlers of his native Texas. This admiration was so great that he actually ordered the rescue flight of U.S. military jets coming to the aid of the wounded ship to turn around and return to base.
Even though numerous naval officials were never satisfied with the Israeli explanation (it was all a mistake) or the obviously superficial investigations carried on by both sides, much of the vital material remains classified and Congress refuses to revisit what was, after all, an act of war.
As I have said many times, the United States is not a democracy of individual citizens. It is a nation of competing interest groups – including foreign ones who have hired themselves Washington lobbies. It is also clear that powerful interest groups can, quite literally, get away with murder. How is this in the American national interest?
Those of you reading this who are American citizens might put the question to your congressional representatives and senators. Let me know if you happen to get a serious response.
Lawrence Davidson is a history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America’s National Interest; America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood; and Islamic Fundamentalism.
“Can it be there is no man, woman and/or group of high integrity and moral courage necessary for finally reaching critical mass and doing the right thing”
It’s more likely that there is no one person/group with enough power to do anything. Just look at the so called “investigation” by the FBI into Hillary’s emails. Look who’s been appointing judges for the last 30 years.
It’s Ike Iran/Contra. President HW Bush handed out the pardons that squashed Walsh’s investigations and future trials, and then newly installed President Clinton followed that up by demanding the resignation of all 93 U.S. Attorneys, thus ensuring no more investigations followed… Between Bush’s, Clintons, and Obama (Clinton/Bush puppet), the Justice system, as well as every other agency, is front-loaded with people dedicated to them. It’s why only one person went to jail for Iran/Contra (Thomas Clines), it’s also why the 9/11 trials have dragged on and on with no conclusions (a good indication of something being hidden… Abu Zubaida’s knowledge and testimony perhaps?).
Heck look at all the people in various positions that were involved to some degree in Iran/Contra that, not only went on to be in key positions during 9/11, but still sit in positions of influence in the U.S…. these people should not only have gone to jail for Iran/Contra, even for shorter terms, as some only played a smaller role (see Colin Powell), but they also should have never been allowed to take positions of power ever again and should have been shamed and banished into the pages of history as the criminals they actually were. Instead, they were allowed to continue down their path of destruction to lead us to where we are today.
The people have, and always have, had the power to stop them at voting time, but as we can see by the current election, the MSM does what it does best in brainwashing the masses with non-issue and side stepping damaging truths.
Out of 320 million people, Clinton and Trump are the 2 best candidates they can pick to be U.S. President?
What’s worse is that it’s ever so blatantly done openly now and people don’t see it (in general).
If having those 2 as the candidates to lead the major parties isn’t enough evidence that something is terribly wrong with the system, or the previously mentioned Clinton email scandal, then how about the DNC screwing Sanders out of what would have been his nomination, had the DNC played by their own rules. Or go back a little further during the early primaries when there was a good possibility that this race would be between a Clinton and a Bush (Jeb, who the Wallstreet and Establishment types were salivating over). Since when did the U.S. Presidency become a monarchy?
All these things should be easily noticeable warning signs that’s something is wrong. It easily explains the 9/11 cover up.
But I guess when the public is much more concerned with OJ, the Kardashians, Jersey Shore, Pokemon and so on, it sadly becomes ever more clear how we have arrived at the present day situation we’re in.
It is simply beyond comprehension that humanity has seemingly no options left for dealing with the fact those responsible for the 9/11 mass murder have escaped prosecution for 15 years despite clear evidence, and that the crime will possibly remain unresolved for eternity. The criminals are freely walking the Earth, and possibly committing even more crimes. Can it be there is no man, woman and/or group of high integrity and moral courage necessary for finally reaching critical mass and doing the right thing – to correct history, hold the criminals accountable, and protect future generations by ending the lies of 9/11?
The US Government engineered 911. American citizens and anyone else or government that will ally with them need to violently engineer this government’s eradication!
There is far more in the 28 pages than indicated by the author. For example, the key role of the then Saudi Ambassador,Prince Bindar bin Sultan, also known as “Bandar Bush,” in direclyt financing the handlers of the hijackers. And much, much, more. Far more than needed to indict the Saudi Royals for mass murder. The key to the cover-up is right at the beginning of the chapter when it is stated that the FBI chose not to follow up on leads that led to our “Saudi allies.” Additionally, the FBI has suppressed at least 80,000 pages of additional documentation, collected by its own agents,some of which are presently under Judicial Review in Florida.In any case, there is already enough evidence to indict the Saudi Royals for mass murder of Americans on 911. Had the truth come out in 2002,on the Saudi role in 911, there would have been no Iraq War, no destruction of Libya, no ear in Libya, no ISIS and no refugee crisis. It was the big lie on which the Bush/Obama wars based on lies were built.
“Saudi Arabia didn’t victimize the United States on 9/11, nor trick Washington. Riyadh and Washington are partners in crime, at times in lockstep, at other times posing as adversaries when maximum plausible deniability is desired.
“Despite attempts to claim Saudi Arabia is blameless in the 9/11 attacks, the hijackers were undoubtedly Saudis, inspired by indoctrination that originated in Saudi-funded networks, allegedly approached and assisted by Saudi intelligence agents, and representative of terrorist organizations Riyadh to this day still arms, funds, and uses to wage it and America’s proxy wars with.
“The report is not really a revelation, but instead another piece of evidence that affirms the US and Saudi Arabia are collaborators in terrorism, not partners fighting it. Those who depend on either in a true fight against global terrorism, should be prepared for perpetual failure.”
Declassified 9/11 Report Portrays US-Saudis as Partners in Crime
By Tony Cartalucci
Much ado about nothing – and unlikely to reveal anything reliable about 9/11.
The “source” of these “28 pages” is a carefully chosen “committee” who may well be as interested in cover-ups as the Bush administration. That is, the entire “28 pages” is just another deceptive layer of the onion.
Given what we have just seen about the FBI, it seems more useful to trust what real citizens reported. For example, filming and dancing Israelis.
My apologies… I typo’d the wrong date … Joint Inquiry finalized – Dec 2002 … Iraq invasion – March 2003 (not 2002 like my typo above)… Joint Inquiry released to the public with the 28 page redaction – July 2003 … sorry about the confusion if any
Oops, I just corrected your time line before seeing that you had caught the error.
The infamous 28 Pages(technically 29 pages) were from the “Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001” not the 9/11 Commission… the Joint Inquiry concluded in December of 2002, but their findings were not made public until July 2003, minus the 28 Pages of course… There’s a likely reason for that… Most people should remember all the finger pointing done by Bush, Cheney etc that Iraq had something to do with 9/11 that eventually got changed to the WMD story … The U.S. invaded Iraq in March 2002… Think about the timing of that … The Joint Inquiry was finished in December 2002, but the Bush administration with eld it from the public as they geared up for war with Iraq… Then when they finally do release the Joint Inquiry report (to little notice in the media… and probably on a Friday to boot… I can’t recall) Bush redacted the entire 28 page chapter that clearly shows just some of the Saudis role in facilitating some of the hijackers… Why? … We’ll how would it look to the public knowing they just invaded Iraq when the 28 pages say Saudi Arabia, Prince Bandar, Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Prince Bandar and so on. In fact Saudi Arabia is mentioned throughout the Joint Inquiry report, but not quite as dominant and explicit as they are in the 28 Pages… And for further Saudi roles into 9/11, you should look up Judge Zloch in Florida who is currently reviewing 80,266 pages of hidden FBI investigative material into the Florida end of 9/11. First of all, the FBI hid them (all 82,266 pages) from both the Joint Inquiry and the 9/11 Commission… then they lied about the existence of an investigation into 9/11… then they tried to pass off a few dozen pages as all the investigative material that had… then Judge Zloch ordered them to hand over ALL the material they had… and voila, suddenly 80,266 pages appear… In them is the tale of a prominent Saudi family (the al-Hijjis) that was hosting a number of the 9/11 hijackers at their high end gated community home, then suddenly, just up and fled the U.S. only days before 9/11 leaving behind all their furnishings, food on the counter, and 3 cars in the driveway, one of them being brand new. Have a look at Guantanamo detainee Abu Zubaida (Zubaydah) and the claims he made about 3 now dead Saudi princes, one of them being the current Saudi king Salmans’ son… There’s no doubt the Saudis played a role in 9/11. The question is … why did the Bush administration cover it up?
The U.S. led invasion of Iraq took place in 2003.
I’ve read this article elsewhere, and depending on the site, the comments seem to reflect provincial interpretations. Some of those interpretations would perhaps not be welcome at Consortium News. Regardless of which underlying premise informs the commenters, to my mind, there is one that has been completely ignored. It is simply a question: “On what basis were the pages classified?” In keeping with my promise to Kristen Breitweiser, [see my comment under her article] I did read the pages. Classification of government documents may be based on many criteria. “National Security” is usually the excuse provided. Confidential information about foreign governments is another. Obviously, information about critical defense capabilities, weapons systems, sources and methods, surveillance techniques and the like could be rationalized. Information embarrassing or harmful to the government has also been offered as a justification. But in this case, what, if anything, falls into those categories? Banking and telephone record collection does not reveal “sources and methods”, because our government admittedly accesses those records on a routine basis. The employment history of those involved could not be considered secret – after all, they were granted entry into the country, and were responsible to file tax returns if they earned income in other than a “diplomatic” status. Everyone mentioned operated within the public domain, including “Bandar” Bush. If we are to believe any of the excuses provided, none of the enablers operated directly on behalf of the Saudi government. Therefore, revealing their actions could not be construed as violating any confidentiality obligations generally afforded foreign governments. If the Saudi government is innocent, the “classification” of this document would then appear to be based on concealment of garden variety criminal activity. “Classification” to conceal criminal activity, to my knowledge, is expressly forbidden by the National Security Act of 1947. Now, if the document revealed some manner by which these operatives had disabled air defense systems, infiltrated government agencies, accessed secret communications or committed some form of espionage, a case could be made. Americans fail to consider that there is no clause in The Constitution which grants government a right to keep secrets which arbitrarily strip them of the right to make informed judgements. In fact, precisely the opposite is true. Withholding the twenty eight (or nine) pages amounts to some kind of coverup. I believe it was Peter Dale Scott who remarked that, “The coverup obviates the crime.” Why the pages were withheld would define exactly what that crime was. So far, I don’t see anyone in our government or media intrepidly “going there”.
A very good point. The only problem might be in compromising names, which are all carefully redacted. The suspect pages indicate high level Saudi government officials involved, including Bandar. It’s improbable that Bandar, at his level of power, was unaware that his personal money, including through his wife, was being funneled to hijackers in San Diego. These ideas are explained here–
Recent Consortium discussions have emphasized the problem of distortion and denial–the hysteria–which in the case of the 9/11 incident is a kind of stupefaction, a stupefaction that freezes the brain in a denial of what normally would be common sense. It seems that saying, “All right, I’m ready for an expert investigation and its consequences. Bring it on,” at this time is to invite a storm of angry demonizing. But so be it. I will say I am more than ready for just such an investigation.
I don’t think the Saudis “did” 9-11, in the sense that it was a backstabbing sneak attack. But the prevalence of direct official Saudi interaction with two future hijackers in the U.S. described in the withheld pages requires an explanation. There is no explanation being offered, despite the clear direction by the Congressional Intelligence Sub-Committees in 2002 to the FBI and CIA to conduct “investigative and intelligence action” in getting to the bottom of this. It appears that the investigations which were done were incomplete and unsatisfactory. The main talking point is: “no new information to date that would alter the original findings of the 9/11 Commission regarding the individuals responsible for the 9/11 attacks or for supporting those responsible for the attacks.” Which is not the same as explaining why Saudi officials had direct contact with future hijackers and known al-Qaeda members in the U.S.
You are right about the legal basis for classification. It might have been based on executive powers secretly allotted through the Continuity of Government invoked on 9-11 or the annual renewal of the National Emergencies Act. Why they were withheld initially seems clear: once word got out that Saudi officials had direct contact with the hijackers but Bush let them all fly home before appropriate investigation, then Bush may well have been impeached. Also, public opinion regarding the planned attack on Iraq may have been affected. The seven-countries-in-five-years plan did not include Saudi Arabia. Why the pages continued to be withheld by the Obama administration seems to be because key figures in the intelligence community advocated that.
Evidence suggests that the dark secret here is that the Saudi activity was part of a joint operation with the CIA. The CIA’s bin Laden unit, Alec Station, deliberately withheld information from the FBI about the presence of the two al-Qaeda operatives discussed in the 28-pages, and did so on multiple occasions. If the FBI had known these men were in the country then the 9-11 plot would have been uncovered and shut down. There has also been no satisfactory explanation why the FBI were not informed, and the the official investigations appear to have treaded very carefully around that question.
“Evidence suggests that the dark secret here is that the Saudi activity was part of a joint operation with the C.I.A.”. Absolutely. Visas that normally wouldn’t have been granted (sketchy applications) were expedited. Operatives were known and tracked. The flight schools and “warnings” were part of the set-up. The Able Danger records (knowledge of the operatives) were destroyed. Anomaly after anomaly next to impossibility after impossibility is the essence of the government’s conspiracy theory and explanation for the events of the day.
And as Alan Dulles steered the Warren Commission, Zelikow and the White House perpetrated the fraud that was the 9/11 Commission.
I worked for a Chief Petty officer who adamantly guarded the unclassified to the extreme, He deduced it to how the unclassified messages had supplies, fuel, amo, etc., and reading this type of info was all someone with the knowledge to know how to reason this data to discover just about where, and for how long that ship would be in operation. Important information may be inside the lowest level of classification. Oh, I just thought I’d throw that in there, and do a Columbo on ya.
Would it be par for the course to have converts work through proxies, and not be on the government payroll. I’m not just singling out the Saudi’s, but any suspect of countries who may have had a hand in 911, and even to the point of having knowledge withheld. I’d also like to align Saudi Princes with their DC Lobby & Friends. The real place to start prosecuting people would be to start from within. Just what connections are there which may land home here on our own shores. If none, then move on, but let’s start by cleaning our own house, since I don’t have another 65 years I’ll just believe what I want to believe….did I mention checking into all lobby groups, and dual citizens…hey if Trump can do it, so will I. No seriously shake out the couch!
After 15 years since 911, and to now only be getting to see these 28+1 pages is troublesome, and a pathetic lack of priorities. Another may ask, what other pages are missing? To squarely put this crime on one country like Saudi Arabia seems very thin to me. Building #7 didn’t have a plane crash into it. The timing of the Air Traffic Controllers practicing disaster maneuvers wasn’t Saudi Arabia. Was it the Saudi’s who scrambled NORAD fighters off in the wrong direction? So, could we feel safe to say there are no other pages missing from the 911 Report?
Now that this 28+1 pages are out in the open, what will become of this. I don’t hear people talking about this 28 page release. With everything about the Presidential Election, and especially focusing on Donald Trump there are news stories literally not be reported. Google some of these; Panetta Review, MH17, Osama bin Laden, John Yoo Torture Memos, Senate Intelligence Committeereport on CIA Torture, Odessa Massacre, anything you can think of that seems to have disappeared from the news. These are just a few, but why do stories like these ones seem to turn into a vapor in regard to it’s reporting in depth. If more time were spent on doing something concrete, then all of this would have a chance for real closure.
Until Washington is held to a strick rule of accountability, and the DC Establishment is shaken from their rafters to their foundation we should all expect more of this kind of blocked transparency. After this now go ask yourself if your one vote counts?
This is a particularly masterful contribution by Lawrence Davidson.
F G Sanford’s comment above may or may not be helpful. It
is in such a convoluted expression that a reader can easily lose himself.
—–Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA
Flattery will get you nowhere, Peter. I might add, you are living proof that diplomatic fluency is not a heritable trait.
Too sharp, F.G, for I think that he meant well. Your main comment is good.
9/11 is not something you do TO an ally. It’s something you do FOR an ally
right you are …
Saudi Oil and Bush family go back a long way… .
People who referred to Hitler and his Nazis and said things could be worse might have had this bunch in mind.
The Saudi Arabian connection to 9/11 and the cowardly and evil attempt to sink the basically-unarmed USS Liberty and the subsequent cover ups are but two of countless examples of a willingness on the part of our national and capitalist leaders to sacrifice Americans for political expediency or profit.
As long as Americans deny this reality to themselves and remain mute countless Americans will continue to be led like lambs to slaughter.
The Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty by Paul Craig Roberts – http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/07/26/the-israeli-attack-on-the-uss-liberty-paul-craig-roberts/
As an aside. On the morning of 9/11 I woke to pictures on TV that I though were demolitions of hotels or old tenements because that’s what they looked like. Then they announced the WTC was the building on TV. My first question I asked myself: WTF happened to US intelligence? I’m still asking that question: where does US intelligence fit in all of this? Who knew what when? How long has the US govt been lying to Americans and can we believe anything at all they tell us? No wonder people go insane and launch into a killing spree, the government’s been doing it for a long time.
Given that the US felt so much pressured by KSA influence here, it is not very surprising that the admin covered up their involvement in the 9/11 attack. But the decision not to take this as an act of war requires an explanation of Why they would do that. Presumably KSA offered excuses and explanations, which do not appear in the report. Presumably those were not convincing enough to declassify the 29 pages.
How did their officials become so much involved? Who was behind their 9/11 support and what did they expect to accomplish, and was it accomplished? There was talk then of a potential Wahhabist coup in KSA. Did they at least purge those officials? Did they prosecute those officials or treat them as heroes, as Israel treated Jon Pollard, their spy who stole nearly all US nuclear weapons secrets and gave them to Israel, which as I recall sold them to the USSR.
With friends like Israel and KSA, who needs enemies? We can rejoice and disengage militarily from the Mideast, or even better, change sides like Turkey and support Russia-Syria-Iran instead of Israel-Egypt-KSA. Maybe with our encouragement, KSA would like to sponsor ISIL and Al Qaeda somewhere other than in Syria. If they set them loose against Israel, they might make peace between Sunni and Shiite.
The web of deceit is more finally spun than blaming one country. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Safari_Club