James Baker's Law Firm Defends the Saudis Against 9/11 Families
Ronald Motley is a US attorney representing a number of 9/11 victim's families who is pursuing a case against the Saudi financiers who apparently funded the perpetrators of 9/11.
As a trial lawyer, Motley thinks of terrorism not just as a form of war, but as a business -- a depraved, ruthlessly efficient business, whose financiers must be exposed and held accountable for their role in sowing harm.
In the case of Sept. 11, Motley, like many in the American intelligence community, concluded that the 19 hijackers would never have been able to carry out their plans without generous Saudi assistance. Nineteen months ago, he filed a civil lawsuit in federal court in Washington charging that a wide variety of parties from the kingdom sponsored the attacks, either directly or indirectly, by making donations to institutions that they knew fostered terrorism.
Among the case's 205 defendants are seven Saudi charities, including the largest in the Muslim world; three Saudi financial institutions, including one that is now state-run; dozens of prominent Saudi individuals; and perhaps most audaciously, several members of the royal family, for whom Motley has a rich assortment of epithets.
Though Motley is not the only tort lawyer in the United States to have filed an international lawsuit in connection with Sept. 11, his case is by far the largest and most lavishly financed of its kind: he has already spent more than $12 million, most of it his own money or his firm's, investigating the case. The families of 1,667 people who died that day, as well as 1,197 men and women who sustained injuries, have signed on. (New York Times, March 14, 2004)
Now -- you would think that our president with his alleged zeal for the 'war on terror' would be thrilled to embrace this legal fight as an important step in halting the flow of capital into the hands of those who would harm us. In fact, this very objective has been a much touted cornerstone of his 'war'. However, despite all the talk, precious little has actually been done in this regard. And there is a very important reason for this.
As Motley is fond of pointing out, the president's ties to the Saudi kingdom are personal as well as political: his father, George H.W. Bush, was until recently a senior adviser to the Carlyle Group, an investment firm that counted bin Laden family members among its investors until October 2001. James Baker, whom Bush recently sent abroad seeking help to reduce Iraq's debt, is still a senior counselor for the Carlyle Group, and Baker's Houston-based law firm, Baker Botts, is representing the Saudi defense minister in Motley's case. (New York Times, March 14, 2004)
Here, the mind reels -- does it not? Here it become surreal. Because we have a US attorney representing 9/11 victims, attempting to accomplish the most effective means of stopping another attack -- which is to deny financial support to terrorists -- and then, you have the law firm of James Baker, a Bush family stalwart and major Republican figure [and major is a paltry way of referring to his power and influence] representing the very people who funded the attack. What is wrong with this picture?
You may recall that Baker is the individual chosen by Bush as envoy, to arrange the restructuring of Iraq's debt. You may also recall that Baker was the legal lead in the Florida coup which resulted in Bush's presidency. In short, Baker is one of the most powerful individuals in the world. And like Bush, very cozy with the Saudis, and indeed, all of the oil-rich despots of the Middle East. And he and the Bushes are, like the Saudis, pragmatic, expedient, and amoral. They will play to their fervently fundamentalist religious base when necessary -- and funnel them cash when that is necessary to keep them in line, as Bush has done here, as the Saudis have done at home.
another story from one of my favorite organizations, Judicial Watch, a group that blows the whistle on governmental corruption, be it Republican or Democrat...
JUDICIAL WATCH TO FILE FOIA LAWSUIT TODAY OVER CARLYLE GROUP DOCUMENTS
Former President Bush Works for International Investment Firm With Ties To Saudi Arabia
Company Had Previously Worked with Bin Laden Family Conglomerate
Original Link: [www.judicialwatch.org
(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest law firm that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, today announced that it would be filing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the State and Defense Departments in order to obtain documents concerning the Carlyle Group, an international consulting and investment firm which retains former President George H.W. Bush.
The Wall Street Journal reported in September that the former president, the father of President Bush, worked for the bin Laden family business in Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group. The senior Bush had met with the bin Laden family at least twice. (Other top Republicans are also associated with the Carlyle group, such as former Secretary of State James A. Baker.)
The terrorist leader Osama bin Laden had supposedly been “disowned” by his family, which runs a multi-billion dollar business in Saudi Arabia and was a major investor in the senior Bush’s firm. Other reports have questioned whether members of his Saudi family have truly cut off Osama bin Laden. Osama’s sister-in-law, in a recent interview with ABC News, said that she believed that members of her family still supported bin Laden.
In the wake of Judicial Watch and other criticism of its ties to the bin Laden family business, the Carlyle Group reportedly no longer does business with the bin Laden conglomerate. Yet it has also been reported that the Group has had significant business contacts with the Saudi Arabian government, which many have criticized for its lack of diligence in reigning in bin Laden and its tepid support for America’s war against terrorism.
And documents recently uncovered through Judicial Watch’s FOIA to the Department of Defense shows that the Carlyle Group has high-level access to the U.S. government. The documents include a February 15, 2001 letter on Carlyle Group letterhead to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld from former Defense Secretaries Frank Carlucci and William Perry, both now with Carlyle Group.
The documents also include Secretary Rumsfeld’s April 3 response to Messrs. Carlucci and Perry. The letters seemingly discuss the restructuring of the Defense Department. The Carlyle Group is listed in the documents as Defense Department contractor. Copies of the letters will be available on the Judicial Watch Internet site at www.judicialwatch.org.
“It is time for former President Bush to leave the Carlyle Group. The questions raised by his and others involvement with the Saudi-connected firm can only cause problems for the U.S. war effort,” stated Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman.
Motley, 59, is usually a dervish of energy and restless tics. His eyes dart and his fingernails tip-tap; in conversation he regularly interrupts himself. But not here. As soon as he stands before a crowd, armed with a PowerPoint presentation and a linear legal argument, that energy field of mayhem disappears.
''I think,'' he said, ''that we should be very angry with the Saudis.''
In order to justify his latest legal undertaking, Motley must establish that the Arabian Peninsula is the fund-raising capital for merchants of terror. Though the allegation has always drawn adamant denials from the Saudis -- their Washington embassy refuses to comment on Motley's case -- it is not, from the intelligence-community point of view, a particularly controversial point.
In the months after Sept. 11, Treasury and National Security officials appeared before Congress, declaring Saudi Arabia the epicenter of terrorism financing. (This, in fact, was the precise phrase used by David Aufhauser, a former general counsel to the Bush Treasury Department who was also chairman of the National Security Council's committee on terrorist financing.) Perhaps the most scathing declaration on the subject appeared in a report from the Council on Foreign Relations, issued 17 months ago: ''It is worth stating clearly and unambiguously what official U.S. government spokespersons have not. For years, individuals and charities based in Saudi Arabia have been the most important source of funds for Al Qaeda, and for years the Saudi officials have turned a blind eye to this problem.''
Translator alleges FBI / State Dept espionage, possible treason
by Tom Flocco
WASHINGTON -- APRIL 27, 2004 01:30 ET -- TomFlocco.com -- Former FBI contract linguist Sibel Dinez Edmonds did not back down regarding reported evidence she uncovered implicating espionage in the FBI and State Department when we recently asked whether she thought the explosive information would ever see the light of day.
The translator alluded to additional but more volatile allegations in a phone call on Friday night to Kyle Hence, cofounder of 9-11 Citizens Watch, who said in a widely distributed email that Edmonds told him "if what she knows is revealed, it could lead to charges of treason being leveled against officials at top levels of the U.S. government."
Hence added, "If that is the case, then all those who have been involved in keeping this information from getting to the public are complicit in this treason."
Americans might not have to wait too long to find out. In a Washington, DC courtroom this morning, FBI attorneys will appear before Judge Reginald Walton in an attempt to block attorney Ronald Motley’s subpoena request to depose Edmonds as a witness for his $1 trillion lawsuit on behalf of 9-11 families to tell what she knows about prior warnings of the attacks.
Interestingly, this morning the Supreme Court will hear Judicial Watch attorney Paul J. Orfanedes--representing the legal watchdog group’s president, Thomas Fitton, with attorneys from the Sierra Club, argue an appeal to open the books on Vice President Richard Cheney’s energy task force meetings. Public access to the documents could have implications related to peak oil and future shortages, foreign finance supporting the September 11 terrorist attacks, and whether energy may have played a part in the onset of the Iraq War if executive privilege is overturned.