Suing the Saudis
September 11, 2004 12:13 AM   Subscribe

Suing the Saudis The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has decided to join a $7 billion lawsuit that was filed last week by bond brokerage firm Cantor Fitzgerald, which lost 658 of its employees--two thirds of the firm--in the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, which was three years ago today. It looks like they may be gearing up to use RICO: "[The lawsuit said] Saudi Arabia engaged in a pattern of racketeering as it participated directly or indirectly in al Qaida's work through its "alter-ego" charities and relief organisations, which it funded and controlled." Al Qaida is named as a co-defendant, and four Saudis are mentioned by name: the interior minister, the defense minister, the governor of Riyadh, and the British ambassador, all members of the Saudi royal family.
posted by Asparagirl (27 comments total)
I guess if the US government seems unwilling to go after the Saudis, the trial lawyers are going to have to step in.
posted by Asparagirl at 12:15 AM on September 11, 2004

heh, good post Asparagirl!
Hopefully mathowie will keep both up since yours focuses on the suit, and mine on the firm. ;-) The lawsuit should be interesting to watch.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:28 AM on September 11, 2004

Yeah, actually these are both too good to take down.

I'd welcome more 9/11 posts from others as well.
posted by mathowie at 12:30 AM on September 11, 2004

This will be very interesting to watch.
posted by troutfishing at 12:46 AM on September 11, 2004

I'm glad those fucking assholes are finally getting the legal credit they deserve for 9/11. The bush cover-up is getting really mother-fucking old.
posted by bob sarabia at 12:52 AM on September 11, 2004

If you only read one book about the tragedy of 9/11, read On Top of the Word.
posted by krisjohn at 4:11 AM on September 11, 2004

Back in Sept. 01 there was a web page up somewhere with just a massive collection of images from around the world of people grieving and protesting against terrorism. You know, the international support we were supposed to build on? I's like to see that page again, but can't find it...
posted by mmahaffie at 4:56 AM on September 11, 2004

speaking of the saudis, popbitch had this little gem in friday's newsletter. anyone have the background on this?

>> Suicide is painless <<
Beware the Mitsubishi Martyrs

Suicide bombers throughout the Middle East are often given Ecstasy by their handlers, to help inspire them with the fervour required to blow themselves up.
After the Saudi bombings this summer, the US ordered a crackdown, and the Saudi authorities traced the bombers’ Ecstasy to a batch shipped into the country by a member of the Saudi royal family, based in London.
The prince has been recalled to Saudi Arabia, and has not been heard from since.

(NB: Popbitch does not condone terrorism, but if you are going to crash an airliner into a skyscraper, we reckon the experience would be massively enhanced by being off your tits on MDMA.)
posted by mr.marx at 5:50 AM on September 11, 2004

"I'm glad those fucking assholes are finally getting the legal credit they deserve for 9/11. The bush cover-up is getting really mother-fucking old."

Actually, it may just be getting started. James A. Baker III, trial lawyer and politico hit-man for Bush in Florida 2000, is going to be very busy, from the sound of it. Defending the Saudis, and all.
posted by Busithoth at 6:01 AM on September 11, 2004

Trial lawyers have always fought for the rights of the people. Abraham Lincoln was a trial lawyer.

Are trial lawyers only bad evil when they sue large corporations or certain governments?

Will the Bush "tort reform" prevent this type of lawsuit in the future?

Thanks Cantor Fitzgerald!!
posted by nofundy at 6:23 AM on September 11, 2004

Note that while James Baker is defending the Saudi royals from the 9/11 suits he is also busy heading up the Bush campaign team in the negotiation of the terms of the Bush-Kerry debates. <rhetorical>How are we not winning this election?</rhetorical>
posted by nicwolff at 7:17 AM on September 11, 2004

Heh, wouldn't Ecstasy maybe arouse levels of sympathy for your victims to the point of endangering the mission?
posted by abcde at 7:47 AM on September 11, 2004

Yeah, I dunno if popping E would really help a suicide bomber. What about PCP or something?
posted by delmoi at 7:57 AM on September 11, 2004

How does this work? Isn't Saudi Arabia, uh, not part of America? Why would a suit filed in an American court matter?
posted by kenko at 9:02 AM on September 11, 2004

kenko: There are American connections to Saudi Arabia; legally finding them guilty of this could hinder their U.S.-based financial operations. Accounts could be freezed, etc.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:30 AM on September 11, 2004

Anyone who thinks the Saudis are our allies is seriously deluding themselves.
posted by tommasz at 9:53 AM on September 11, 2004

Wow, I kind of got stuck on that 658 employees line. That's hard to imagine.

Good. I hope the Saudis are exposed internationally for their hand in all of this. And, by extension, maybe the Bush's will get some tarnish as well. Especially since BushCo has been trying to actively stop any inquiries into the Saudi connection.

delmoi, yeah PCP would work and be useful, extra super strength and being overly edgy are good tools for terrorism. But I doubt they needed anything since they were fulfulling a divine mission by attacking us.
posted by fenriq at 9:54 AM on September 11, 2004

Just read the History Channel account of 9/11 and wanted to add this. "In a reference to the eventual U.S. military response he [Bush] declared: "We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them."
posted by fenriq at 10:00 AM on September 11, 2004

as for terrorist motivation, since popbitch was so excellent this week, i'll have to post another snippet. sorry.

>> The Virgin Suicides <<
Are suicide bombers dying for a drink?

Suicide bombers are told that their sacrifice will be rewarded in heaven, because the Koran suggests that martyrs get to have sex with 72 virgins. However, an eminent Islamic scholar suggests this is a mistranslation from the Koran of the word “Houri” as Virgin. He's traced the word back to its original Arabic root and says it means grape - or wine.
So, even if the Koran is completely correct, the suicide bombers will arrive in heaven to discover that they have slaughtered innocent people in exchange for a couple of chardonnays.
posted by mr.marx at 10:33 AM on September 11, 2004

All this talk of paradise, virgins and drug fueled religious terrorism brings to mind the Hashishin, in turn descendents of the Zealot Sicarii. Isn't it great how religious terrorism hasn't really evolved in the past 1900 years?
Back on topic - I will be very interested in how this will work out - the 9/11 links to Saudi Arabia have always been plain and yet they (along with our erstwhile friends in Pakistan) seem to be getting a free ride. I am especially interested in what will happen with the use of US criminal courts against individual representatives of another government. This may sound stupid (IANAL) but will this allow other nations to use their own criminal courts to try US citizens using their own laws?
posted by longbaugh at 11:00 AM on September 11, 2004

I think that if the information age teaches us anything, it should be to ask leaders and corporations to be accountable to those organizations they support, be they 527s or religious extremists in Saudi Arabia, or South Carolina.
posted by gesamtkunstwerk at 11:29 AM on September 11, 2004

Note that while James Baker is defending the Saudi royals from the 9/11 suits he is also busy heading up the Bush campaign team in the negotiation of the terms of the Bush-Kerry debates.

I can't find a reference to Baker defending Saudi royals anywhere. Can someone point to a reliable source about this?
posted by gomez at 2:10 PM on September 11, 2004

MSNBC: THE OPENING DEFENSE SALVO in what promises to be a bruising legal battle was fired last week when a trio of lawyers from Baker Botts, a prestigious Houston-based law firm, filed a motion on behalf of Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the Saudi defense minister. The motion attacked the 9-11 lawsuit as a “broadside indictment of Saudi government, religion and culture.” It also argued that, as the third-ranking official of a foreign government, their client is immune from any U.S. legal action and that he should therefore be dismissed from the case altogether. [...] Baker Botts, Sultan’s law firm, for example, still boasts former secretary of State James Baker as one of its senior partners. Its recent alumni include Robert Jordan, the former personal lawyer for President Bush who is now U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
posted by nicwolff at 2:37 PM on September 11, 2004

James Baker, is there anything* he can't do?
*Actually quite a good appraisal of the situation in Western Sahara, despite the colourful language.
posted by asok at 3:24 PM on September 11, 2004

longbaugh: Why are you confusing civil and criminal court? With only rare exceptions, only a government can file a criminal complaint and last I looked Cantor Fitzgerald was not a government.
posted by billsaysthis at 4:17 PM on September 11, 2004

The British Ambassador? Do you perhaps mean the Saudi ambassador to the UK or have we just gone too far with equal opportunity employment legislation?
posted by biffa at 6:22 AM on September 12, 2004

Heh, yes, the Saudi ambassador to Britain was what I meant--if he's listed in the "four Saudis..." list, I thought that was clear.
posted by Asparagirl at 11:34 AM on September 12, 2004

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