Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Senate passes bill that would allow US Citizens to sue the Saudi Arabian government over 9/11

Barack Obama meeting with Saudi officials last month. New York Times. 

The United States Senate has passed a bill which would allow US citizens to sue the government of Saudi Arabia over 9/11. New York Times. The bill passed unanimously and will now face a veto from President Obama. The Saudis are furious about the bill and have threatened to liquidate $750 billion in assets in response. The bill comes as more information is coming out about Saudi connections to the 9/11 plot. The Obama administration is considering declassifying 28 pages of the 9/11 commission report that details the connections to Saudi officials. 

My Comment:
I haven't been covering this story closely but I think that this should change now. The legislation is interesting enough. Being able to sue foreign governments for terrorist attacks is a major change in the way we do business. It has implications far outside Saudi Arabia as many other governments could be liable for suits as well. North Korea, especially, could be one of the countries that gets sued, along with many other rouge states. 

The problem is that it could result in other nations following suit. There are a lot of people with axes to grind against America and those countries could use this legislation as an example of how to sue governments they disagree with. For example, a person that lost a family member in Yemen to a drone strike could sue and with this new legislation it would be hard to argue that they shouldn't be able to. Given how many drone strikes, coups and revolutions the CIA has conducted over the years this could lead to a lot of lawsuits. 

I am less afraid of the Saudi threat to liquidate their assets in the United States. I wouldn't be opposed to getting the Saudis out of American business in the first place, but I seriously doubt that would ever happen. It would hurt them way more then it would hurt us, even in the best of times. And it is clear that these are not the best of times for the Saudis. Not only are they bogged down in a terrible war in Yemen, they are also facing internal threats from ISIS and other terrorist groups. Plus they have to worry about Iran's ascendancy on the world stage. Again, this just isn't going to happen. 

As for the allegations, I tend to find them credible. Which is somewhat amazing. I always thought the the 9/11 truthers were a bunch of idiots. And to be fair, the vast majority of them were and continue to be. To be sure, 9/11 wasn't what they claimed it to be, which usually ended up with some variation of blaming the Jews for everything which is beyond ignorant. And that was the most lucid theory. Most of them, including the ones involving holograms and phantom jets, were just beyond stupid. Indeed, I always thought that the 9/11 truther movement was a conspiracy theory itself to redirect anger over 9/11 away from Islam.

But it is clear that there are some holes in the official story that never came out until now. These Saudi connections, based on what I have seen, do seem to be real, and if they are then it means that it wasn't just al-Qaeda that was involved with the 9/11 attacks. From what I understand, some lower level Saudi diplomats and spies had significant contact with the hijackers. There also appears to be some evidence that this connection was deliberately covered up.

Why? My guess is that 9/11 was a rouge operation that was not authorized by the higher ups in the Saudi government. They probably didn't know what was going on until it happened. And the people involved didn't come up with the idea themselves, they just helped al-Qaeda along. The Saudis, knowing that they would be blamed for something they didn't really want, did their best to cover up the links. The US government did the same thing because they valued the relationship with the Saudi government more then they valued bringing these low level people to justice. 

If I had been in charge back then, that is not how things would have played out. I would have exposed the links immediately and then given the Saudis a simple demand. Hand over these men or execute them immediately. Either way I would want their heads on a platter, and if the Saudis didn't play ball I would have treated them the same way we treated the Taliban. It would be a tough war, given that we sold the Saudis our weapons, but in the end it would be justified. 

Which is probably a major reason why this information didn't come out until now. If we had found out that low level Saudis were involved in the plot there would have been major demands for war against the Saudis unless they gave us what they wanted. With so much time having passed, tempers will have calmed down significantly. The Saudis won't get away scot-free but they won't be facing an invasion from a very pissed off American public. I think there will be people that will want these people extradited but I doubt there is much appetite for war over it. 

All of this brings into focus how negative the impact of the Saudis are when it comes to international terrorism. The Saudis are a major reason why Islam is the way it is right now. Not only do individual Saudis, rich with oil money, fund terror groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, they are also responsible for spreading their radical interpretation of Islam. It's not a coincidence that the rise of Wahhabism is correlated with the rise of terrorism. 

I really think that we would be well served if we stopped being close allies with the Saudis. They have done little to stop the rise of ISIS and they have connections to quite a few of the major terrorist organizations in the world. Though they aren't responsible for 9/11, some of their people probably helped the attacks along. Unless the Saudis change course and do it soon, by cracking down hard on radicals in their government and purging anyone who thinks terrorism is justified, we should not stand with them. 

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