Tuesday, March 04, 2003

More than a year ago, Jim Henley offered a conspiracy theory --- that al-Qaeda and the Saudi government are in a tacit alliance, which the Saudis are using to draw dissenters away from direct attacks on the Kingdom.

That theory is looking a little better. Families of 9/11 victims are suing a number of Saudis for damages relating to support of al-Qaeda, including Turki al-Faisal, the erstwhile head of Saudi intelligence, now serving as their ambassador to England:

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.

Score one for the blogsphere...


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home