Saudi dictator tells Gadhafi “Your death awaits you”

March 04, 2003

* This dispatch concerns Saudi Arabia

 

CONTENTS

1. "Libya summons home ambassador to Saudi Arabia after leaders exchange insults" (AP, March 4, 2003)
2. "Saudi ambassador in UK linked to 9/11" (The Observer, UK, March 2, 2003)
3. "West's forces not in Saudi forever" (BBC, February 24, 2003)
4. "Saudis: No 'particular concern'" (Newsweek, March 10, 2003)
5. "Report: Saudis transfer $500m to Al Qaida" (Middle East Newsline, February 26, 2003)
6. "Saudis funded Bali bomb claim" (Australian news.com, March 4, 2003)


“YOUR LIES PRECEDE YOU, WHILE THE GRAVE IS AHEAD OF YOU”

[Note by Tom Gross]

I attach six reports connected to Saudi Arabia, with summaries first:

1. "Libya summons home ambassador to Saudi Arabia after leaders exchange insults" (The Associated Press, March 4, 2003). Libya decided yesterday to recall its ambassador to Saudi Arabia after Crown Prince Abdullah, the de facto leader of Saudi Arabia, launched a verbal attack "against the positions of the great revolution and its symbol, leader Moammar Gadhafi." Before the live television coverage around the Arab world was hastily cut off, Crown Prince Abdullah wagged his finger at Gadhafi and said: "Your lies precede you, while the grave is ahead of you." After the exchange was broadcast, thousands of anti-Saudi demonstrators took to the streets in Tripoli, the Libyan capital. Some tried to break into the Saudi Embassy but were dispersed by riot police using tear gas and batons.

2. "Saudi ambassador in UK linked to 9/11" (The Observer, UK, March 2, 2003). "It was another royal function on a cold February evening as Prince Charles mingled with the guests at the opening of an Oxford clinic. Among the doctors were a few celebrities, including the actress Joanna Lumley. Canapés were eaten, a few glasses of wine were drunk. 'I can't tell you all how pleased and glad I am to be here today,' Charles gushed. Charles stopped to chat with the new Saudi ambassador to Britain, the distinguished figure of Prince Turki al-Faisal. The two friends shook hands and exchanged pleasantries. But Turki is not what he seems. Behind him lies a murky tale of espionage, terrorism and torture. For, while Turki has many powerful friends among Britain's elite, he is no ordinary diplomat. Turki has now been served with legal papers by lawyers acting for relatives of the victims of 11 September. They accuse him of funding and supporting Osama bin Laden."

3. "West's forces not in Saudi forever" (BBC, Monday, February 24, 2003). Saudi Arabia's new ambassador to London, Prince Turki al-Faisal, has suggested that U.S. and British military forces will be asked to leave his country once the Iraqi crisis is resolved.

4. "Saudis: No 'particular concern'" (Newsweek, March 10, 2003). "In a move expected to infuriate religious conservatives and human-rights advocates alike, the Bush administration has decided to reject the recommendation of a special government commission to place Saudi Arabia on an American blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom."

5. "Report: Saudis transfer $500m to Al Qaida" (Middle East Newsline, February 26, 2003). Saudi Arabia is said to have transferred $500 million to Al Qaida over the past decade. A report submitted to the United Nations asserts that the Saudi funds represent the most important source of financing for Al Qaida. The study said Riyad, pressured by leading officials, has failed to stop the flow of money to Al Qaida in wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 suicide attacks on New York and Washington.

6. "Saudis funded Bali bomb claim" (Australian news.com, March 4, 2003). An American lawyer has claimed he has proof that money from Saudi Arabia was used to fund terrorist cells involved in last year's Bali bombing, which killed about 190 people including 88 Australians.


LIBYA SUMMONS HOME AMBASSADOR TO SAUDI ARABIA AFTER LEADERS EXCHANGE INSULTS

Libya summons home ambassador to Saudi Arabia after leaders exchange insults
The Associated Press
March 3, 2003

Libya decided Monday to recall its ambassador to Saudi Arabia for consultations following a heated and public exchange of insults between Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah at a recent Arab summit in Egypt.

Libya's official JANA news agency reported that the secretariat of the General People's Congress, or parliament, expressed "strong discontent for the verbal attack launched against the positions of the great revolution and its symbol, leader Moammar Gadhafi."

Gadhafi, talking at a summit being broadcast live Saturday by most Arab satellite television stations, said that during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, he had spoken with Saudi monarch King Fahd about Libya's concern over the presence of US troops in the kingdom.

"King Fahd told me that his country was threatened and that he would cooperate with the Devil to protect it," Gadhafi said. Muslims consider cooperating with Satan a sin, and to attribute such a remark to King Fahd – who holds the revered position of custodian of Islam's two holiest shrines – would be particularly offensive.

Before the live feed was cut off, Crown Prince Abdullah angrily responded: "Saudi Arabia is a Muslim country and not an agent of colonialism like you and others."

Wagging his finger at Gadhafi, Abdullah said: "You, who brought you to power? Don't talk about matters that you fail to prove. Your lies precede you, while the grave is ahead of you."

A bewildered Gadhafi replied: "By God, I don't know how I am going to answer this man."

The Libyan secretariat responded Monday, deciding to recall the Libyan ambassador to Saudi Arabia "for consultations," according to the JANA report faxed to The Associated Press in Cairo. It wasn't clear how long the ambassador would remain in Tripoli.

The parliament, according to JANA, also decided to ask the People's Committees to discuss Libya's relations with Saudi Arabia and its membership in the 22-nation Arab League, which Gadhafi has in the past criticized as ineffective and threatened to quit.

After the exchange was broadcast Saturday, thousands of anti-Saudi demonstrators took to the streets in Tripoli, the Libyan capital. Some tried to break into the Saudi Embassy but were dispersed by riot police using tear gas and batons.

Saudi officials could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

However, Foreign Minister Saud Al-Faisal said during a meeting Sunday with editors of Saudi newspapers, that Gadhafi had not apologized to Abdullah because "he who does not have the characteristics of men and does not have noble principles cannot do such things (apologize)."

Furthermore, Prince Saud said, a noble man "would not commit acts that call for apologies."

"Every official must master communicating with others," Prince Saud advised in the remarks, which were published Monday in Al-Jazirah daily newspaper.

 

SAUDI ENVOY IN UK LINKED TO 9/11

Saudi envoy in UK linked to 9/11
Riyadh's former intelligence chief has been accused in US court documents of helping to fund al-Qaeda, report Paul Harris and Martin Bright
The Observer
March 2, 2003

It was another royal function on a cold February evening as Prince Charles mingled with the guests at the opening of an Oxford clinic. Among the doctors were a few celebrities, including the actress Joanna Lumley. Canapés were eaten, a few glasses of wine were drunk. 'I can't tell you all how pleased and glad I am to be here today,' Charles gushed. Charles stopped to chat with the new Saudi ambassador to Britain, the distinguished figure of Prince Turki al-Faisal. The two friends shook hands and exchanged pleasantries.

But Turki is not what he seems. Behind him lies a murky tale of espionage, terrorism and torture. For, while Turki has many powerful friends among Britain's elite, he is no ordinary diplomat. Turki has now been served with legal papers by lawyers acting for relatives of the victims of 11 September.

They accuse him of funding and supporting Osama bin Laden. The Observer can also reveal that Turki has now admitted for the first time that Saudi interrogators have tortured six British citizens arrested in Saudi Arabia and accused of carrying out a bombing campaign.

The revelations throw a stark light on Turki's appointment late last year as Saudi Arabia's new ambassador to Britain. They also cast doubt on the suitability of Charles's relationship with senior Saudis. A year ago Charles had dinner with bin Laden's brother, Bakr bin Laden, and regularly hosted meetings for Turki's predecessor, Dr Ghazi Algosaibi, who was recalled after writing poems praising suicide bombers.

The US lawsuit is seeking more than $1 trillion in com pensation from a list of individuals and companies alleged to have supported al- Qaeda. The claimants' head lawyer, Ron Motley, a veteran of successful anti-tobacco suits, has already called it 'the trial of the century'.

Now, after papers were served on Turki several weeks ago, the Saudi ambassador will be at the heart of it. Legal papers in the case obtained by The Observer make it clear that the allegations are serious and lengthy. Many centre around Turki's role as head of the Saudi intelligence agency. He held the post for 25 years before being replaced in 2001 just before the attacks on New York.

Turki admits to meeting bin Laden four or five times in the 1980s, when the Saudi-born terrorist was being supported by the West in Afghanistan. Turki also admits meeting Taliban leader Mullah Omar in 1998. He says he was seeking to extradite bin Laden at the request of the United States.

However, the legal papers tell a different story. Based on sworn testimony from a Taliban intelligence chief called Mullah Kakshar, they allege that Turki had two meetings in 1998 with al-Qaeda. They say that Turki helped seal a deal whereby al-Qaeda would not attack Saudi targets. In return, Saudi Arabia would make no demands for extradition or the closure of bin Laden's network of training camps. Turki also promised financial assistance to Mullah Omar. A few weeks after the meetings, 400 new pick-up vehicles arrived in Kandahar, the papers say.

Kakshar's statement also says that Turki arranged for donations to be made directly to al-Qaeda and bin Laden by a group of wealthy Saudi businessmen. 'Mullah Kakshar's sworn statement implicates Prince Turki as the facilitator of these money transfers in support of the Taliban, al-Qaeda and international terrorism,' the papers said.

Turki's link to one of al-Qaeda's top money- launderers, Mohammed Zouaydi, who lived in Saudi Arabia from 1996 to 2001, is also exposed. Zouaydi acted as the accountant for the Faisal branch of the Saudi royal family that includes Turki. Zouaydi, who is now in jail in Spain, is also accused of being al-Qaeda's top European financier. He distributed more than $1 million to al- Qaeda units, including the Hamburg cell of Mohammed Atta which plotted the World Trade Centre attack.

Finally the lawsuit alleges that Turki was 'instrumental' in setting up a meeting between bin Laden and senior Iraqi intelligence agent Faruq al-Hijazi in December 1998. At that meeting it is alleged that bin Laden agreed to avenge recent American bombings of Iraqi targets and in return Iraq offered him a safe haven and gave him blank Yemeni passports.

Turki did not respond to phone calls and a letter sent by The Observer to the Saudi embassy in London.

But his lawyers will have to respond in court. The case is expected to begin in May and experts think it could go on for four of five years. If it rules against him, Turki may face enormous compensation payments and the seizure of his financial assets. It would also cost him his post as ambassador.

Coupled with the looming court case, Turki last week raised alarming questions over the treatment of six Britons jailed in Saudi Arabia when he admitted that they had been tortured. Turki was head of Saudi intelligence when the men were arrested. Saudi authorities claim the men were involved in a 'bootleggers' feud', despite the attacks continuing after their arrest and bearing the hallmarks of Islamic terrorists.

In an astonishing call-in programme, carried on the BBC World Service and unnoticed in Britain, Turki fielded a call from a British resident of Riyadh who knew some of the imprisoned men. The caller confronted him about the torture allegations. Turki said: 'They were tortured and there was a complaint about it and that complaint would have been investigated.'

The revelation has angered relatives of the men and campaigners, who have accused the British Government of sacrificing their freedom in the interests of good diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia. Last week the relatives met Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, who told them that Britain would continue its 'softly, softly' approach. However, that news angered many. 'His stance is the same. He said softly, softly is working. But it has been two years. How much longer?' said one relative at the meeting.

Lib Dem MP John Pugh has also tabled a series of questions about the men in Parliament, but said that Foreign Office officials had failed to answer them. 'I am being blocked,' Pugh said. Diplomatic sources say Pugh has also been asked 'privately' to stop his questions. Pugh has now applied to have the issue debated in the Commons.

 

WEST’S FORCES NOT IN SAUDI FOREVER

West's forces not in Saudi forever
BBC
February 24, 2003

Saudi Arabia's new ambassador to London, Prince Turki al-Faisal, has suggested that US and British military forces will be asked to leave his country once the Iraqi crisis is resolved.

"We're not going to tell them 'Get the hell out of here', as it were, but we are going to ask them gently and say the situation has ended, let us co-operate on how we can resolve this, and they will be asked to leave," he told the BBC World Service's Talking Point programme.

Prince Turki, a former director of the Saudi intelligence service, stressed that Riyadh was opposed to military intervention in Iraq unless it received the backing of the UN Security Council.

In a wide-ranging interactive interview, he also defended Saudi Arabia's strict Islamic laws and its controversial prosecution of British expatriates for a string of bomb attacks.

'Only through UN' The ambassador said that US and British forces were on Saudi territory only to patrol the no-fly zones set up in Iraq under the 1991 Safwan Agreements to end the Gulf war.

He denied a questioner's suggestion that the forces were there to protect Saudi Arabia or its monarchy.

Asked if Saudi Arabia would allow its territory to be used for military action against Iraq, he said his country did not want "this war" but would "play its role as a member of the UN" if such action was approved by the Security Council.

"We have to go through the UN – we did it in 1991 and we should do it again in 2003," he said.

Other Gulf states which already allowed US-led forces to be based on their territory were, he said, acting under their own treaty obligations.

He also said that any future government of Iraq should be decided by its own people.

The ambassador also answered questions specifically about Saudi Arabia:

On reform within Saudi Arabia, he said: "Democracy denies the sovereignty of God over the government that would be established in the name of democracy"

Asked why Saudi Arabia had no churches, he said Christians did not recognise the Prophet Mohammed

On the Saudi public's reaction to 11 September, he said that many were "in denial" that Saudi nationals could have taken part in "this horrible, vicious attack"

On Britons jailed for recent bomb attacks Saudi Arabia blames on "bootlegging", he said Riyadh had no interest in hiding any real terror threat to Western expatriates.

 

SAUDIS: NO “PARTICULAR CONCERN”

Saudis: No 'particular concern'
Newsweek
March 10, 2003

The Bush administration has decided to reject the recommendation to place Saudi Arabia on an American blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom

March 10 issue – In a move expected to infuriate religious conservatives and human-rights advocates alike, the Bush administration has decided to reject the recommendation of a special government commission to place Saudi Arabia on an American blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom.

Newsweek has learned that Secretary of State Colin Powell is expected to shortly release an annual list of "countries of particular concern" – a formal branding of nations the U.S. government concludes engage in "systemic, ongoing and egregious" violations of the rights of religious minorities. After a contentious internal battle, the Saudis won't be on it – despite the conclusion by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that, with the demise of the Taliban, the Islamic nation is probably the worst oppressor of religious rights in the world. "I'm appalled and disappointed," says Felice D. Gaer, the commission chair, about the decision. "But I'm not surprised."

 

REPORT: SAUDIS TRANSFER $500M TO AL QAIDA

Report: Saudis transfer $500m to Al Qaida
Middle East Newsline
February 26, 2003

Saudi Arabia is said to have transferred $500 million to Al Qaida over the past decade.

A report submitted to the United Nations asserts that the Saudi funds represent the most important source of financing for Al Qaida. The study said Riyad, pressured by leading officials, has failed to stop the flow of money to Al Qaida in wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 suicide attacks on New York and Washington.

"One must question the real ability and willingness of the kingdom to exercise any control over the use of religious money in and outside of the country," the report said.

The 34-page report was written by a French investigator at the request of Colombia, which occupies the presidency of the Security Council. Jean-Charles Brisard, the investigator, has long studied the issue of Saudi financing of Islamic insurgency groups.

 

SAUDIS FUNDED BALI BOMB CLAIM

Saudis funded Bali bomb claim
Australian news.com
March 4, 2003

An American lawyer has claimed he has proof that money from Saudi Arabia was used to fund terrorist cells involved in the Bali bombing.

Washington-based Allan Gerson – who is leading a bid on behalf of September 11 victims to sue Saudi Arabian banks, charities and royal family members - said today he had evidence to show Saudi Arabians gave money to terrorists in Europe who made trips to Bali.

Dr Gerson said it was likely the European cells also helped fund the Bali attack, which killed about 190 people including 88 Australians.

"When we looked at the actual evidence, we found out, to our surprise, how vast the network of support was, it extended way beyond cells in Europe to cells in Bali," Dr Gerson told ABC radio.

"I discovered that connection to the Bali bombing.

"We have seen evidence of money that went from Saudi sources, that went through the medium of various entities in Europe, to support terrorists cells there that also ... ended up in Bali because of the active intervention of entities with close ties to the Saudis."

Dr Gerson said he could not reveal too many details because his evidence had been uncovered through judicial co-operation with European nations.

He said the money from Saudi Arabia went to terrorists connected with that country.

"Some of the money they provided and support and physical presence we have reason to believe ... that there was that Bali connection," Dr Gerson said.

"The same operators in Europe actually made trips to Bali and we have good reason to believe that there was also financial transfers.

"I have come across evidence that shows you can connect the dots between terror cells in Europe that received financing from individuals and entities in Saudi Arabia.

"Those terrorists cells in Europe definitely had connections with Bali."

He said the ties between terrorist cells around the world was troublesome.

"The spread of the philosophy of global Jihad is alarming and it's very extensive," Dr Gerson said.

Dr Gerson is a former prosecutor of Nazi war criminals and represented many of the families of the victims of the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, in their claims against the Libyan government.


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.