“I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon.” — President George W. Bush, to the crowd at Ground Zero
Can you imagine if, as the dust was still settling after the 9-11 attacks, our president had said into that bullhorn, “The first thing we’ve got to do is cover up for whoever might have been behind this!”
That must be how the families and friends of 9-11 victims feel today — as they fight to get to the truth of Saudi Arabia’s alleged involvement in the 9-11 attacks.
With several lawsuits, a recent 60 Minutes feature on the matter, and President Obama’s trip today to the oil-rich kingdom, there’s renewed interest in finding out what our government knows about possible Saudi fingerprints on 9-11.
One line of attack is the victims’ families’ federal lawsuit in New York, including a demand to release 28 secret pages of an 838-page congressional report on 9-11.
Another front in the search for answers has been opened up in Florida, where sources say a Saudi family that may have had contacts with some of the 9-11 hijackers happened to leave the state before the attacks.
Former Democrat Florida Sen. Bob Graham has been a champion of full disclosure of the congressional report he helped write. Graham has said he believes support for the hijackers came from the Saudi government, Saudi families and Saudi charities.
“I think it is implausible to believe,” Graham told 60 Minutes, “that 19 people — most of whom didn’t speak English, most of whom had never been in the United States before, many of whom didn’t have a high school education — could’ve carried out such a complicated task without some support from within the United States.”
So do a lot of folks.
It’s time for the U.S. government to trust Americans enough to tell them the unvarnished truth, whatever it is. It’s time those 28 pages were released.
And it’s time that any remaining 9-11 collaborators and supporters be revealed and be accountable.
The first place they should be held accountable is in the federal courts — and there is a bipartisan bill in Congress to allow 9-11 families to sue Saudi Arabia.
The bill is supported in the Senate from the far left — Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York — and the far right: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Democrat presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders both endorsed it this weekend.
You have to wonder: Why is our government — and, so far, President Barack Obama — resisting the release of those 28 pages? Whom is the administration protecting?
It sure isn’t the American people.
The proposed legislation allowing lawsuits against Saudi Arabia and other countries would, as one news report put it, simply “remove immunity given to a foreign nation if the country’s government is found responsible for a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.”
That’s a no-brainer. Do it.
It’s extremely curious, even suspicious, how threatening and combative Saudi officials are about the bill: The country is threatening to dump $750 billion in U.S. assets if the bill passes — essentially threatening what amounts to economic warfare to blackmail us into submission.
“That says something about Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9-11,” Graham says.
Giving in to such extortion — particularly over the bodies of our dead countrymen — would say a lot about us, as well.
The truth? Not only can we handle it, but we think we’re entitled to it.
(c)2016 The Augusta Chronicle (Augusta, Ga.)
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