York District Judge George Daniels has struck down a Saudi bid
to drop several lawsuits by families looking for compensation
over Riyadh's alleged role in the terror attacks against the US
on September 11, 2001. Speaking to Sputnik, attorney and 9/11
families representative Andrew Maloney explained what exactly
his clients were looking for.
How many families are involved in the lawsuit?
Maloney:There are several thousand
families. Almost 3,000 people were killed on September 11,
and there have been over a hundred [other] people who have
died – rescue workers who have become sick from the rescue
efforts; there are also numerous, literally thousands
of people who were injured, and they're all part
of the lawsuit.
Is this only covering personal injury, or financial loss
Maloney:It covers both; it covers
death and personal injuries, as well as claims borne
by insurance companies for property and business
What is the total sum of what's being sought
Maloney:It's safe to say that
the total value would probably be at least $100 billion…We
don't put out an exact number for the demand. It's
for the court to determine what the value of a
death or an injury is. But it's safe to say that if you add
it all together, it's $100 billion.
What evidence do you have of Saudi involvement
in the tragedy of 2001?
Maloney:There's a lot. In Judge
Daniels' decision that came out, he talks about some
of the allegations we've made; in particular, the
[efforts of] two Saudi officials, one working in the Saudi
Consulate's office in Los Angeles by the name of[Fahad
al] Thumairy, and the other one by the name of[Omar
al] Bayoumi, to meet with and take care
of the first two hijackers that arrived in the United
States in the year 2000 to begin their flight
training. These officials were working for the Saudi
government, or at least a portion of the Saudi
government, in order to facilitate the hijackers'
flight training, and provided assistance to them
during the time that they were preparing for the 9/11
attacks in the year leading up to it.
mourner places a flag in the Empty Sky memorial on the morning
of the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New Jersey, U.S
What about financing? Have you followed the money?
Maloney:We've got substantial and
numerous allegations about money [being funneled] not only
to these hijackers; for a long time
throughout the 1990s, many Saudi charities (and we've
identified several of them in our complaint) funneled
money directly to al-Qaeda to support bin Laden and
his running of the al-Qaeda training camps
in Afghanistan a lot of Saudi money was going
to charities that supported al-Qaeda when it was known
by Saudi officials and Saudi businessmen that that's
exactly what this money was being used for.
bin Laden in 1998 file photo from his hideout in Afghanistan.
Why is Saudi Arabia afraid of this suit? If they're not
guilty, what's to be afraid of?
Maloney:That's a good question!
They've been fighting us for years. They don't want
to give us any information; they don't want to give us
documents. They don't want to make witnesses available. We
think it's because they're guilty and they know it. It's more
than embarrassing. Many people would say it's an act
not going to tell you that everybody in Saudi Arabia
was in on this, every government official. But there was a
substantial government hand in this, and that's pretty
Other than financial compensation, what other measures
could be taken against the Saudis if a court decides that
they are in fact guilty of collusion, or are complicit
in helping to sponsor, plan or support the attackers?
Maloney:Certainly our government,
if the United States wanted to, could issue some kind
of sanctions, like you see against North Korea
for example. The Saudis and the United States do have an
important relationship. It is a difficult relationship, and
frankly one that I think is not really built on trust,
but on need.
think for that to change,[it must involve] the Crown
Prince, who is in the United States this week. Mohammad bin
Salman, whose father is the king – he is a young prince; he's
tried to make changes in Saudi Arabia. I applaud him
for that. I hope that he means what he says. But
before he can move forward and explore the relationship
between [Saudi Arabia] the United States and the West can
improve, this has to be addressed. This has to be
resolved. Because no matter what the politicians say, most
Americans believe that the Saudis were behind 9/11. And he
needs to deal with that. He needs to resolve this
case; he needs to cooperate with the litigation that
view of One World Trade Center from the North Pool, which
marks the former site of the North Tower of the World Trade
Center, at Ground Zero the night before the 15th anniversary
of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United
States in New York
What can you say about the Trump administration and what
appear to be its fairly good relations with the
Saudis? He visited Saudi Arabia. Does Trump or his
administration have the power to do anything
to block this trial, or pardon the Saudis, or something
Maloney:He does not have that
power. But I do think the president should pay attention
to what's going on here, and should be behind the
families and voice that publically. He's done it before, and he
should be consistent with his message. We're a little
disappointed we haven't heard from him at this point,
neither publically or privately. But he does not have the power
to make this lawsuit go away. It may be that the Saudis are
counting on that or think he does, but in the United
States, our constitution has a separation of powers, and
the judiciary is in charge of this case now, not the
views and opinions expressed byAndrew Maloney are those
of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect those