Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Saudi Royals Fingered

A former al Qaeda operative now serving life in a supermax federal prison in Colorado has testified to meeting the current Saudi monarch, Salman, and other princes when he delivered letters to them from Osama bin Laden.

There has long been evidence that wealthy Saudis provided support for Bin Laden, the son of a Saudi construction magnate, and al-Qaeda before the 2001 attacks. Saudi Arabia had worked closely with the United States to finance Islamic militants fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and al-Qaeda drew its members from militant fighters. 

However, the extent and nature of Saudi involvement in al-Qaeda, and whether it extended to the planning and financing of the September 11 attacks, has long been a subject of dispute. 

Moussaoui's testimony, if judged credible, provides new details of the extent and nature of that support in the pre-9/11 period. In more than 100 pages of testimony, filed in federal court in New York on Monday, he comes across as calm and largely coherent, though the plaintiffs' lawyers questioning him do not challenge his statements.

[Moussaoui] said in the deposition that he was directed in 1998 or 1999 by al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan to create a digital database of donors to the group.

Among those he said he recalled listing in the database were Prince Turki al-Faisal, then the Saudi intelligence chief; Prince Bandar Bin Sultan [a.k.a. "Bandar Bush"], the long-time Saudi ambassador to the US; Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent billionaire investor; and many of the country's leading clerics.

"Sheikh Osama wanted to keep a record who give money," he said in imperfect English, "who is to be listened to or who contributed to the jihad."

Moussaoui said he acted as a courier for Bin Laden, carrying personal messages to prominent Saudi princes and clerics.

Too bad our lickspittle opposition leaders won't use this to ridicule King Salman's best friend in Canada, our 'tough on terror' prime minister.


Anonymous said...

This doesn't come as much of a surprise, given that pretty much every politician to walk the earth since the 1950s and before have had some kind of dealings with the Saudis and, therefore, with those that support Al Qaeda. Bush. Cheney. Harper. Cameron. Blair. Etc etc etc.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yet they're Israel's BFF in the Arab world, a reflection of Israel's phobia for Iran.

It certainly gives reason to consider why we're selling King Salman $15-billion worth of armoured democracy-suppression fighting vehicles.

The House of Saud is both ruthless and reckless, a horrible combination. They can tie us down militarily and drain our treasuries waging inconclusive wars on the very radical groups they sponsor. al Qaeda, ISIS, Nouri, the lot. That's the measure of their obsession with Shiite Iran and it virtually guarantees that these sheikhs and princes will lavish support on the next bunch we'll have to fight if we ever figure out how to eliminate ISIS.

When you look at it from their perspective, what do they see? They've seen us bashing away at al Qaeda and affiliates and ISIS, year after year after year, and who is still standing (and morphing and expanding) but their bands of brigands. From their palaces they've watched us fail - in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in our pathetic air war in Libya that merely gave al Qaeda the opportunity it needed to spread through North Africa. In hockey terms it's a "shut out."

Anonymous said...

The biggest question is when, if ever, will we realize that we've been drawn into an Islamic civil war and we're the frontline pawns, not the power brokers we think we are? And by we, I mean the US, Canada, Great Britain, France, Australia, …

The Mound of Sound said...

That's quite right, Anon. It's an Islamic holy war.