More on the Saudi private jet flights right after 9/11, 4/7/04

Right after 9/11, four private Saudi jets were given special dispensation to fly out of the US, beginning on September 15, 2001. The flight manifests showing passenger lists are now viewable on line at <a href=”http://www.houseofbush.com/files.php”> the website of Craig Unger, the author of House of Bush/ House of Saud</a>. As noted by <a href=”http://tomflocco.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=53! ”> Tom Flocco</a>, the first flight corroborates earlier stories of a fifth “phantom” flight from Tampa to Lexington on September 13, when all regular flights were still grounded.

All four flights carried members of the Saudi royal family. The first, from Lexington, Kentucky to London, 9/15/01, also carried a young man, Ahmad A.M. Alhazmi, with the same family name as Nawaf Alhazmi, one of the hijackers.

There is nothing to connect the two Alhazmis directly. But the hijacker Nawaf had already been connected in press stories to the Saudi royal family, as the recipient of funds coming indirectly from the wife of Prince Bandar, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States.

Scandal struck again in November 2002 and touched Princess Haifa al-Faisal,

wife of Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the longtime Saudi ambassador to

Washington (and nephew of Prince Nayef). It was learned that money had gone

from her purse to the pockets of two 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Midhar and

Nawaf Alhazmi, by way of two Saudi intermediaries, Omar al-Bayoumi and Osama Bassnan (Stephen Schwartz, Weekly Standard, 8/12/03)

On the flight was the noted horse breeder Prince Ahmad bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the owner of the Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem. After returning to Saudi Arabia, he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 43, His cousin, Prince Sultan bin Faisal bin Turki bin Abdullah, aged 41, was killed in a car accident the next day, on his way to Prince Ahmad’s funeral.[1]

With him was his nephew, Prince Sultan bin Fahad bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz.

Prince Sultan’s presence on the flight corroborates a story from the <a href=“http://www.rense.com/general29/resuc.htm”> Tampa Tribune, 10/5/01</a>, which talks of a Prince Sultan bin Fahad flying from Tampa on September 13 (when regular flights were still grounded) to Lexington “where the prince's relatives were buying race horses.”[2]

That Prince Ahmad’s business in Lexington concerned horses is corroborated by the presence on flight #1 of Salah al-Hammadi, editor-in-chief of Saudi Arabia's Premier Sports daily newspaper Arryadiah, and a source for the USA Today story on the death of the two princes.

Washington once considered the Sudairy brothers, including King Fahad, Defense Minister Sultan, and Interior Minister Naif, to be the hard core of pro-American sympathy among the sons of King Abdul Aziz. That estimate has since changed. In the words of the <a href=http://www.federalobserver.com/archive.php?aid=3465>National Post in 2002, as quoted on my <a href=”qfsaud.html”>website,

Prince Sultan, the Defence Minister [the leading Sudairy brother], has openly criticized Crown Prince Abdullah's pro-Western policies, and other anti-Abdullah factions in the government have reportedly colluded with Islamic extremists in a wave of bomb attacks against Western targets.

<p>According to <a href=”http://www.janes.com/regional_news/africa_middle_east/news/fr/fr040311_1_n.shtml”>Jane’s</a>, 3/11/04, this alienation from America may have been aggravated since the US invasion of Iraq: <p>

The Saudis are turning away from the US and towards Russia, China and Europe, all of whom opposed the war in Iraq and are at odds with the Bush administration to some degree. <p>On 26 January, the Russian oil giant Lukoil signed a contract for exploration and production of natural gas in the Rub al-Khali area, the first deal of its kind with a Russian company. Over the following two days, Saudi Arabia also signed a similar deal with China's state-owned Sinopec Group and with a European consortium headed by Italy's Eni and Spain's Repsol. Last year, European majors Royal Dutch/Shell and Total of France were awarded a similar exploration-production contract. <p>US oil companies were conspicuous by their absence and the political message was clear. ChevronTexaco had bid for all three of the latest deals but was excluded by the Saudis after several years of negotiations. That has left Chevron and other US oil companies out of the upstream gas ventures that outsiders hope will eventuall! y give them a stake in Saudi Arabia's oil industry, which was nationalised in 1975….<p>General John Abizaid, who heads the US Central Command in the region, declared on 29 January that Saudi Arabia, along with Pakistan, is a "broader strategic problem" for the US than either Iraq or Afghanistan. That reflected growing concern in the Bush administration for the kingdom's stability and future.[3]        

 



[1] USA Today, 7/23/02; http://www.usatoday.com/sports/horses/stories/2002-07-23-salman-funeral_x.htm). In the same week a third prince, Prince Fahd bin Turki bin Saud Alkabeer, age 25, was reported to have <a href=”qfsaud.html”>"died of thirst in the desert" </a>.

[2] Kathy Steele, “Saudi Rescue...The Phantom Flight From Florida,” Tampa Tribune, 10/5/01: “The twin-engine Lear jet streaked into the afternoon sky, leaving Tampa behind but revealing a glimpse of international intrigue in the aftermath of terrorist attacks on America. The federal government says the flight never took place. But the two armed bodyg! uards hired to chaperon their clients out of the state recall the 100-minute trip September 13 quite vividly. In the end, the son of a Saudi Arabian prince who is the nation's defense minister and the son of a Saudi army commander made it to Kentucky for a waiting 747 and a trip to their homeland…. The Tampa detectives guarding the men were ordered to stay in Tampa by Police Chief Bennie Holder, so Grossi was offered the job of escorting the trio to Lexington, Ky., where the prince' s relatives were buying race horses. Lexington police Lt. Mark Barnard confirmed a Saudi relative had asked for help in getting protection for the men in Tampa. Two off-duty detectives were assigned. Tampa police records list Sultan bin Fahad as the one requesting the security detail.”

 

[3] "Saudi Policy Shift." Jane's Information Group, 3/11/04.