7 February, 2015

Claims that Saudi Arabia was behind the 9/11 attacks on America have been circulating since 2001. The Saudis have denied all such claims even though 15 of the 19 aircraft hijackers were Saudi citizens.

This week, allegations of Saudi involvement reignited as one of the men convicted in the 9/11 plot, Zacarias Moussaoui, reasserted the allegations. Moussaoui, who is in US maximum security prison, charges senior Saudi princes and officials bankrolled the 9/11 attacks and other al-Qaida operations. He may have been tortured and has mental problems.

Among the Saudis Moussaoui named are Prince Turki Faisal, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, two of the kingdom’s most powerful and influential men. Turki was head of Saudi intelligence; Bandar ambassador to Washington during the Bush administration.

These accusation come at a time when there is a furious struggle in Washington over releasing secret pages of the Congressional Intelligence Committee report on the 9/11 attacks that reportedly implicated Saudi Arabia. The White House claims the report would be embarrassing and damage US-Saudi relations.

I have been following this twisted tale since the 1980’s when I was in Pakistan and Afghanistan. In Peshawar, Pakistan’s wild border city, I met with Sheik Abdullah Azzam, founder of al-Qaida.

At the time, al-Qaida was a tiny, store-front information bureau supporting the “mujahidin” fighters being sent by Saudi Arabia and the US to fight the Soviets occupying Afghanistan.

Sheik Abdullah, a renowned exponent of “jihad,” told me something that shook me: “when we have liberated Afghanistan from Soviet colonialism, we will go on and liberate Saudi Arabia from American colonial rule.” This was the first time I had ever heard America called a colonial power.

Azzam was assassinated soon after. But his star pupil, one Osama bin Laden, carried on Azzam’s quest to drive western influence from the Muslim world.

At the time, “our” Muslims fighting Soviet occupation were hailed as “freedom fighters” by President Ronald Reagan. Today, in a re-writing of history, they are widely called “terrorists.”

What Moussaoui reportedly said is that the two aforementioned senior Saudi princes, Turki and Bandar, donated money to the Afghan mujahidin during the 1980’s, not to al-Qaida. Many Americans will fail to understand the distinction

Saudi Arabia funneled large sums of money to militant groups in the Mideast, Balkans, Caucasus, Africa and South Asia. The purpose was twofold: first, to keep young hotheads as far as possible from the kingdom; second, to combat Iran’s spreading influence. Washington gave tacit backing.

Iran, gripped by Islamic revolutionary zeal, was sending preachers and teachers all over Asia and Africa, notably so in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Saudis, deathly afraid of the Islamic revolution in Tehran that called for sharing oil wealth with the Muslim world’s poor, waged a long proxy war against Iran that pitted Wahabi Sunnis against Shia. Washington, gripped by anti-Iranian fever, backed the Saudi religious offensive.

In the midst of this religious-political conflict arose the Saudi exile bin Laden. Though his father was one of the kingdom’s wealthiest men, bin Laden opposed the Saudi ruling princes whom he charged were stealing the Muslim world’s wealth and helping enable continued American domination of the Muslim world – what I called in my second book, “the American Raj.”

Having followed bin Laden’s career since the late 1980’s, I am convinced that he had no direct support from the ruling Saudi princes – nor from CIA. The Saudis were even more afraid of him than Iran. But I have no doubt, as I said on CNN back in 2001, that numerous wealthy Saudis and Kuwaitis were giving private donations to al-Qaida and other militant groups.

To the Americans, cutting off al-Qaida’s finances was a primary objective. They never understood – and still do not – that resistance to US influence may be facilitated by money but is not driven by it. The US’s enemies are motivated by ideology and revolutionary fervor, not cash. It’s hard for some westerners to understand that money is not behind everything.

What the media never talks about is that there has long been boiling dissent in Saudi Arabia, perhaps the world’s most rigid, reactionary nation. It comes from both the nation’s second-class Shia as well as the growing numbers of young Saudis who yearn to break out of the stultifying society in which they live. There are even rebels among the kingdom’s 22,000 princes.

A sizeable number of Saudis believe their nation is occupied by the United States. This is no chimera. There are some 40,000 American “technicians” and “contractors” in Saudi serving the oil industry and military. US forces in Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Diego Garcia overwatch Saudi Arabia. There are secret US bases in Saudi. Israel is a secret ally of the Saudi royal family.

The Saudi royal family is protected by the America’s CIA, FBI, NSA, and military intelligence. This, however, is not guarantee of absolute security: the same arrangement was in place to guard Egypt’s military dictator, Husni Mubarak, yet failed. In the 1980’s, a full division of Pakistan’s crack army guarded the royal family. “The Saudis don’t trust their own military,” Pakistan’s late leader Zia ul-Haq told me after being seconded to Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia maintains two parallel armed forces: a feeble army, which is denied ammunition, and the Bedouin or “White Army,” that protects the royal family. Most of the tens of billions of US and British arms bought by the kingdom sit rusting in warehouses, or are operated by western mercenaries. US mercenary firms direct the White Guard.

As far as I’m concerned, there is no reason for the Saudi royal elite to have funded Osma bin Laden or the 9/11 hijackers. But the attack was clearly an attempt by Saudi dissidents to strike back at US domination of their country.

In fact, the reasons for the 9/11 attacks have been all but obscured by a torrent of disinformation and hysteria. The attackers were quite clear in their reasons: to punish the US for supporting Israel and oppressing the Palestinians; and for its “occupation” of Saudi Arabia and keeping a tyrannical regime there in power.

The Bush administration claimed the attacks were caused by religious fanaticism and hatred of western values, a false dialogue that continues to this day as we just saw with the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris. Muslims are to have no legitimate political motivations; they are all mad dogs. Even if we attack their homelands, they have no right to attack us.

Saudi Arabia remains at a low boil, as western intelligence services hunt for opponents of its feudal government. The intense US preoccupation with remote Yemen reflects Washington’s deep concern that millions of Yemeni expatriates in Saudi could become a revolutionary vanguard. The bin Laden’s, of course, were of Yemeni origin.

Yes, men and funds for the 9/11 attacks likely came from Saudi Arabia; yes, the royal family knew about this – after the fact – but remains mum to this day; yes, Washington knows the Saudi princes knew, but remains mute and keeps trying to censor Part 4 of the damning 9/11 report. Too many senior US officials and legislators have been on the Saudi payroll.

While in office, Britain’s former prime minister, Tony Blair quashed a major report by the Serious Fraud Office into tens of millions in illicit kickbacks by British arms makers to Saudi royals…for “national security reasons.” Expect the same from Washington.

Few in official Washington want to know that America’s key ally, Saudi Arabia, was involved in 9/11. Even fewer want to reopen the 9/11 investigation which was full of holes and omissions and perhaps likely to raise questions about some of America’s other allies.

The change of ruler in Saudi has so far made little difference. The song remains the same. But behind the scenes, pressure is growing.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2015

This post is in: 9/11, Afghanistan, Al-Qaida, Iran, Oil, Osama bin Laden, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, USA

9 Responses to “WERE THE SAUDIS BEHIND 9/11?”

  1. To me it just does not add up in a logical way. I just can`t buy this Saudi involvement story as the THE reason for the Twintower collapse. Too many professionals like architects and engineers do not believe, that the towers came down because of the planes damaging them. It would not be so bad, If I had not read Larry Silverstein`s lips in that clip, where he said to ‘pull it’, when they were talking about building #7. How could the necessary structural studies have been completed AND setting the required charges to be able to pull it, which is a demolition expression? Where were the planes, that were supposed to be able to intercept? Why attack Afghanistan and not Saudi Arabia? If I lose my keys by the side of the road, I check the area, where I think I may have dropped them, not under a nearby hydropole, because there is light under it. After the fall of the USSR, the Ameicans learned about the immense wealth, that lay under the surface of Afghanistan and the Caspian sea, as the Russians had brought into card. On top of that, Afghanistan is very favorably located for a lot of reasons. Oh, that building #7. It bothers me so much. I wish I could believe the other stories, but every time, when I try, I get stuck in building #7. Why is officialdom in the US trying so hard to avoid that issue? And why were they showing at that notorious time that passport of one of the alleged highjackers fluttering in the wind among the debris of the Towers, while all around it there was nothing but pulverized concrete? And if that is not bad enough, when I put in an honest effort to believe it, because it would be the biggest lie in history, I remember Hitler telling Goebbels, If you make the lie big enough, the people will believe it. They sure seemed to in the thirties of the last century. And then I watched a series of 10 videoclips called “The untold history of the United States” and then I get beset by that horrible doubt again, because I have so much trouble believing things, that do not make logical sense. The conspiracy theories swirling around make a lot more logical sense, than all those official stories. The Saudis are no saints no doubt, but neither are their allies. On the contrary. An old man said to me once: “Tell me who your friends are and I`ll tell you, who you are”.

  2. The Saudi Involvement is no where near that of America’s involvement. It is almost impossible for three skyscrapers to collapse straight down on an uncontrolled demolition. There is no way the supporting columns could have heated the exact same way for them to have all failed at the same time. Some of the columns would have had all the concrete surrounding them blasted away and some would have been left undamaged. The towers should have fallen over. America staged 9-11 to justify a war. I can give you two trillion reasons why they did it. Can you give one that would null them?

    “It is a small step to go from manufacturing weapons to manufacturing wars.” Dwight Eisenhower.

  3. Thanks for the article; it was very informative. I wasn’t aware the bin Laden’s were Yemeni, I had thought they were Saudi.
    It has to be difficult to hold the lid on a pressure cooker as the Saudi’s are doing… pretty much the same thing that Saddam had accomplished. This was achieved by means of a little brutal violence (notice I didn’t use the word terrorism). Saddam kept things together, until he upset the Americans, and then this relief valve was eliminated, and the pressure cooker detonated into the current Iraq.
    The same thing happened with Khadafi.
    With the unrest around and within, there will likely be a time in the near future that the kingdom and kingdomcome may be synonomous.
    If the Saudi involvement in 9/11 comes to light, there may be several irate Americans. Their anger will not only be directed at the Saudis, but also at their own politicians. It would be great if there was enough pressure brought upon the US government to release the 9/11 documents currently classified, but, I’m not holding my breath…

  4. Excellent column. This raises some interesting questions about the US relationship with the Saudi royal family and explains in part why the US turns a blind eye to that country’s brutal dictatorship. One can be sure that if Iran were beheading even a few of its convicts, just as Saudi Arabia does to so many of theirs, the US would be even louder than it already is in its denunciation of the regime in Tehran. But, when a country serves US interests, has oil, and is not hostile to Israel, it can do almost anything to its citizens, trample all over their civil rights, and still get a pass from Washington.

    Note that the Harper government in Canada also never says boo to the Saudi government about its brutal reign. It’s largely because there is a significant amount of Saudi investment in Canada, especially in real estate, and some Saudi money parked in Canadian bonds and treasury bills, that the Harper Conservative would not dare to anger the government in Riyadh.

  5. It appears from this article that Eric does not support the “conspiracy theory” that 9/11 was an “inside job” or a “false flag” operation to kick off the PNAC agenda for “the New American Century”. Noam Chomsky has dismissed a deliberate US involvement in 9/11 as inconceivable because the secrecy of such an operation could not be kept from becoming public and thereby resulting in grave repercussions for the perpetrators. I was shocked he wouldn’t even entertain the possibility of a conspiracy. There seems to be an overwhelming amount of anecdotal evidence that there was a 9/11 coverup or whitewash which would cast suspicion on the American “deep state”. I suspect public intellectuals don’t wish to speculate on 9/11 because it might detract from their future credibility. As for the Saudi regime, wouldn’t a strong Saudi implication in 9/11 provide an excuse for the US removing a Saudi Regime presently hostile to US interests?

    • Not when you have a president that is so closely bound to the oil industry… Remember that Bush allowed the Bin Ladens to fly back to Saudi, when all other flights were grounded.

  6. I’ve made my opinion clear many times on the subject of who was responsible for 9/11.There are many unanswered questions and probably the biggest is why did WTC building 7 collapse…it was not hit by any aircraft.No building in history was ever brought down by fire alone.The steel structure was always left standing,no matter how hot temperatures got.The same applies for the twin buildings….burning jet fuel will NOT melt steel.This was,in my opinion,a false flag operation,no matter how you look at it.Christopher Bollyn,so far is the only investigative journalist who has made any sense about who did 9/11.I know this is something a lot of people don’t want to hear.Especially those who were running America when some 3000 innocent people were murdered.As for the official story,it has been debunked over and over again.Not by just anyone,but thousands of engineers who have proved this.In Europe,they were a lot wiser than the American people….no one in that continent ever believed the official story.The truth will eventually emerge and made public….when all those involved are buried six feet under.

    • “No building in history was ever brought down by fire alone.The steel structure was always left standing,no matter how hot temperatures got.The same applies for the twin buildings….burning jet fuel will NOT melt steel.”
      I’ve been working as a structural engineer for about 45 years and am still active at it. I would differ with you; I’ve investigated warehouses where the steel beams have been draped over the columns from fire.
      When structural steel is heated two significant events occur. The strength of the steel, as represented by the yield strength, diminishes rapidly. In addition, the stiffness of the steel, as represented by the Young’s modulus also diminishes rapidly. This has an effect of beams deflecting more under a reduced load, and columns buckling easier under a reduced load.
      The huge energy input from the avofuel would have a predictable impact on the collapse of the buildings.

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