Citizens Electoral Council of Australia

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Citizens Electoral Council of Australia

Media Release Thursday, 5 May 2016

Craig Isherwood‚ National Secretary
PO Box 376‚ COBURG‚ VIC 3058
Phone: 1800 636 432

To stop a major terrorist attack in Britain: Re-open the SFO’s al-Yamamah investigation!

In light of the political furore that has erupted in the USA over the Bush and Obama administrations’ cover-up of Saudi Arabia’s role in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack, the British government must end its parallel cover-up of how the British-Saudi al-Yamamah arms deal generated funds for the 9/11 attackers. In particular, the House of Commons committees now examining British arms trade with Saudi Arabia must pursue these revelations regarding 9/11. Otherwise the continuing cover-up will ensure that a near-term mass terrorist attack in Britain itself is a certainty, an attack which MI5 and MI6 chiefs have repeatedly warned is coming.[1]

The UK Committee on International Development’s 2 February call for the UK to suspend all arms sales to Saudi Arabia, following exposure of the fact that UK arms have been used by the Saudis to bomb civilians in Yemen, and the ongoing Committees on Arms Export Controls hearings on those sales, will end up being nothing but a sideshow unless the veil is lifted on the connections between the UK-Saudi arms trade, and Saudi support for international terrorism.

The real story behind 9/11

The 14-year suppression of 28 pages of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, which detail the financing of that attack, started to unravel on 10 April when the CBS TV prime time 60 Minutes program reported on the 28 pages, ahead of Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia and the UK the week of 28 April. A number of U.S. Congressmen, including former Senator Bob Graham, who chaired the 2002 Joint Congressional Inquiry and authored its report, including the 28 pages, together with families of the 9/11 victims and the LaRouche movement in the United States, have long campaigned to have the 28 pages declassified. Now, following the 60 Minutes broadcast, the issue has exploded into a global media storm.

To end the cover-up—and thus to forestall future attacks—the 28 pages must be declassified, as every top U.S. Congressional leader from House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, to Speaker of the House (Republican) Paul Ryan and House Intelligence Committee Chairman (Republican) Devin Nunes has now demanded, as did the Editorial Board of the New York Times in a signed editorial on 22 April. In parallel, the British Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation of al-Yamamah, which then-PM Tony Blair shut down in 2006, must be re-opened. What is known about both the 28 pages and al-Yamamah implicates high levels of the British Establishment not only in the cover-up, but in the actual 9/11 attack, and in ongoing international terrorism.

The al-Yamamah oil-for-arms deal is the UK’s biggest-ever arms contract, negotiated in 1985 between then-PM Margaret Thatcher and Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the long-time Saudi ambassador to the USA and one of the Saudi Royals identified in the suppressed 28 pages. Under the deal, British defence contractor BAE Systems supplied fighter jets and infrastructure to the Saudi Air Force in exchange for 600,000 barrels of oil per day—one full oil tanker—for every day of the life of the contract, which as of 2005 had netted BAE Systems 43 billion. But beyond that 43 billion, al-Yamamah generated a secret US$100 billion-plus off-the-books slush fund, which was used to finance coups d’état, assassinations, and terrorism, including the creation of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, as Prince Bandar’s biographer recorded.

What was the role of Prince Charles?

Since the early 1990s, Prince Charles has personally handled negotiations with the Saudis over the al-Yamamah contract, using his close friendship with Prince Bandar and Bandar’s brother-in-law Prince Turki bin Faisal, the former chief of Saudi intelligence and former ambassador to the UK. When Charles married Camilla in 2005, Bandar and Turki were among only eight foreign royals invited to the wedding, and both men are funders and among the past and present board members of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, with which Charles has long been associated and of which he is the official patron. The CEC’s 25 November 2015 Media Release “Prince Charles and Saudi-backed terrorism: Demand answers!” details the questions that need to be put to Charles.

In 2003 the Serious Fraud Office commenced an investigation into allegations that al-Yamamah had generated a slush fund, which was used to pay kickbacks to the key parties to the deal, including Prince Bandar and his agent Wafic Said (also close to Prince Charles). In April of that year, lawyers for the 9/11 victims’ families held a meeting at New Scotland Yard with Britain’s top anti-terror officials. Mark Hollingsworth reported in Saudi Babylon: Torture, Corruption and Cover-up Inside the House of Saud that when asked by the 9/11 families’ lawyers, “Have the UK authorities uncovered anything to show that charities run by some members of the Saudi royal family were channelling money to terrorists?”, Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Ratcliffe “looked hesitant and a little sheepish. ‘Our ability to investigate the Saudis is very limited’, he said. He then paused, looked across at a photograph of Prince Charles on the wall, raised his eyebrows and smiled knowingly without saying a word. ‘He did not say anything but the message was crystal clear when he looked at the picture’, said a police officer who was present. ‘It was Prince Charles’s special relationship with the Saudis which was a problem. He gave no other reason why they were restricted’.”

On 5 December 2006 Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened to shut down the SFO investigation into al-Yamamah, which his attorney-general announced on 14 December, citing “national and international security”. In 2013 the SFO revealed that it had “lost” 32,000 pages of data and 81 audio tapes from its al-Yamamah probe.

From the Bank of England to 9/11

Beyond the bribery and kickbacks investigated by the SFO, the deeper scandal of al-Yamamah is that the British government oversaw the transfer of funds that went to finance at least some of the 9/11 hijackers. In 2007, the Guardian reported that legal sources familiar with records on the al-Yamamah deal had revealed that Bandar was receiving money regularly from “a confidential account held at the Bank of England that had been set up to facilitate the al-Yamamah deal”, in which as much as 2 billion of al-Yamamah proceeds was deposited annually. That account was administered by the UK Ministry of Defence. According to the Guardian and the BBC, BAE Systems sent payments to Bandar at the Riggs National Bank in Washington, DC. Funds from the Riggs accounts of Bandar and his wife (the sister of Prince Turki bin Faisal, who resigned suddenly as Saudi intelligence chief 10 days before 9/11) were funnelled through Saudi intelligence officers to Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, two of the 9/11 hijackers.

In 2008 the High Court ruled that the SFO had “acted unlawfully” by dropping its investigation. Although the ruling was hastily overturned by the House of Lords, it has been vindicated by subsequent revelations about both al-Yamamah and the suppressed 28 pages.

U.S. Senator Graham: “Re-open the 9/11 investigation!”

British MPs must now show the courage exemplified by Senator Bob Graham in his 27 April interview on 9/11 with National Public Radio’s Morning Edition program, and demand the re-opening of the SFO’s al-Yamamah investigation. The transcript includes this exchange:

Sen. Graham: “The reason why the 28 pages are so important is that they were the conclusion of the congressional inquiry into 9/11 as to how was that plot financed. Who paid for it? And while I can’t discuss the details of that chapter, they point a strong finger at Saudi Arabia.”

NPR: “Do you believe that consecutive administrations have been protecting the Saudi royal family against the interests of United States citizens?”

Sen. Graham: “Yes. And I think it’s been more than a cover-up. I think it’s been what I call aggressive deception. There are instances in which the FBI has publicly released statements which I know from personal experience were untrue”.

NPR: “Let me get this right, sir. You are alleging that the FBI deliberately lied about this issue and that there has been a cover-up—”

Sen. Graham (interrupting): “It’s more than a cover-up. The FBI misstated what is in their own records statements which I know from personal experience were untrue”.

NPR: “What do you think needs to happen?”

Sen. Graham: “I think we need to have a general re-opening of the investigation into 9/11. Both the congressional and the 9/11 Commission operated under tight time restraints, which precluded the full inquiry that needs to be held when the 9/11 issue is reopened.”

Beyond the 28 pages, Senator Graham has also called for the declassification of hundreds of thousands of additional pages produced by his Joint Inquiry and the subsequent 9/11 Commission. Merely one such document, the 47-page “Document 17” of the 9/11 Commission, dated 6 June 2003 and only recently declassified, made clear that that Commission and Senator Graham’s Joint Inquiry had discovered strong links between 21 officials of the Saudi government and some of the 9/11 hijackers, links which were never fully pursued because of the cover-up.

Notes and references

  1. MI5 and MI6 should know: they have supervised the growth of such a capability within Britain for decades. The case of self-admitted MI5 agent Abu Hamza, now serving a life term in prison in the USA for orchestrating terrorism, is merely one of the most notorious of dozens of similar cases, as the CEC has documented. Return to text

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