Obama begins Saudi Arabia Trip with Snub by King Salman
April 21, 2016
Adam Edelman / New York Daily News
As the US President visits the undemocratic and repressive Saudi monarchy, newly unearthed evidence underscores renewed suspicions of Saudi involvement in the horrific 9/11 terror attacks on the US and growing criticism over Obama's opposition to legislation that would give victims' families the right to sue the Saudi government for any role it may have played in the terror attacks.
President Obama begins Saudi Arabia Trip with Snub by King Salman, as Activists Unearth More Evidence of Saudi lLnks to 9/11
Adam Edelman / New York Daily News
NEW YORK (April 20, 2016,) -- President Obama opened a brief trip to Saudi Arabia Wednesday with a one-on-one meeting with King Salman in Riyadh, as new evidence emerged linking officials within the shadowy kingdom to the 9/11 attacks.
Citing documents posted to 28pages.org, an activist site working to expose links between foreign governments and 9/11, The Times of London reportedthat a Saudi citizen who later became a bomb-maker for al Qaeda was thought to have taken pilot lessons with some of the 9/11 hijackers.
Ghassan Al-Sharbi -- according to the files, known as "Document 17," attempted to hide his U.S. flight certificate, which was in an envelope from the Saudi embassy in Washington.
"The envelope points to the fundamental question hanging over us today: to what extent was the 9/11 plot facilitated by individuals at the highest levels of the Saudi government," 28pages.org activist Brian McGlinchey wrote in a memo obtained by The Times.
Al-Sharbi, who did not participate in the 9/11 attacks, was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and remains incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay.
The newly unearthed evidence, however, underscores renewed suspicions of Saudi involvement in the horrific terror attacks and growing criticism over Obama's opposition to legislation that would give victims' families the right to sue the Saudi government for any role it may have played in the terror attacks.
That stance has long infuriated those families, who have also called on the commander-in-chief to declassify and release a 28-page portion of a congressional report on possible links between the Saudi government and the attack. The report was issued in 2002, but those pages were held back by the George W. Bush administration in the interest of national security.
Saudi leaders, too, have grown increasingly frustrated with the White House, not only over the growing U.S. effort to declassify the report, but also because of opposition to the President's outreach to Iran and approach to the Syrian conflict.
Those tensions set the mood of the brief state visit immediately. The Saudis appeared to snub Obama from the get-go, sending a small delegation to the tarmac to greet Obama -- which did not include King Salman.
The decision not to dispatch a high-level delegation to greet the President was unusual and intended to send a clear message that they have little faith in him, Mustafa Alani, a security analyst at the Gulf Research Center, told the AP.
In addition, Obama's arrival was not shown on state television, a perceived action of disrespect.
Nevertheless, Salman later greeted Obama in a grand foyer at Erga Palace, where the two walked slowly to a reception room and offered each other polite smiles.
Just days ago, the Saudi government threatened to sell off $750 billion in U.S. Treasury securities and other assets if the Congress were to pass the bill that could hold the kingdom responsible for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- a move many of the 9/11 families see as blackmail.
The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to recommend earlier this year, would take away immunity from foreign governments in cases "arising from a terrorist attack that kills an American on American soil."
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