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New Revelations on Saudi Terrorism and Barbarism

Sept. 19, 2016 (EIRNS)—Just as the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) bill is before Obama for his signature, three new revelations have come forward showing the deep, long-standing support of the Saudis for terrorism and their years of lying about it.

  • On Sept. 17, The Chicago Tribune and Associated Press revealed that an accused al-Qaeda bomb-maker who attended college in Arizona told military interrogators at the Guantanamo Bay prison, that he believed an unnamed member of the Saudi royal family was part of an effort to recruit him for violent extremist acts before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, according to what the Tribune reports as a newly released transcript.

In early 2001, Fhassan Abdallah al-Sharbi had just returned from Phoenix, where he had taken flight school courses at Embry-Riddle University in Prescott, Arizona, with two men who would become hijackers in the 9/11 attacks.

Al-Sharbi said a religious figure in Saudi Arabia discussed his future on the telephone, calling the interlocutor "Your Highness" several times. The religious figure then urged al-Sharbi to return to the United States and participate in a plot that would involve flying a plane.

Yet the 9/11 Commission had found—according to this evidence, wrongly, that there was no evidence to indicate that the Saudi government or senior Saudi officials had supported the attacks, and the Saudi Royals and government denied it.

Al-Sharbi described the conversation in June to the Periodic Review Board, which judges whether Guantanamo prisoners can be released. On Sept. 15, the Pentagon posted a redacted transcript.

He did not return to the United States, but went to Afghanistan, where he was captured in a house with Abu Zubaydah. When captured, the FBI found a cache of documents including an envelope from the Saudi Embassy in Washington, which contained his flight certificate, according to a document known as File 17.

  • U.S. official Zalmay Khalilzad wrote in Politico that on his most recent trip to Saudi Arabia, he met with top members of the royal family, including Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. Khalilzad says that when he raised the question of Saudi funding of Islamic extremism, one official, instead of denying it, admitted, "We misled you," and explained that Saudi support for extremism began in the early 1960s as a counter to Egypt’s Nasserism, and that it was also a way of "resisting" the Soviet Union, often in cooperation with the United States, in places like Afghanistan in the 1980s. "Under their new and unprecedented policy of honesty," Khalilzad writes, they claim "‘We did not own up to it after 9/11 because we feared you would abandon or treat us as the enemy,’ a Saudi senior official conceded.’"

  • Today, Washington Post reporter Thomas Gibbons-Neff states that the Saudis are using U.S.-supplied white phosphorus gas in their war in Yemen, "based on images and videos posted to social media, raising concerns among human rights groups that the highly incendiary material could be used against civilians." He reports that under U.S. regulations, white phosphorus sold to other countries is to be used only for signaling and smoke screens. When used against soldiers or civilians, it can maim and kill by burning to the bone. It is unclear exactly how the Saudis are using the munitions, but the government has already received widespread condemnation for its indiscriminate bombing in civilian areas in Yemen."

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