Former Senator at Plaintiff’s Table in 9/11 Case Against FBI

Former Senator Bob Graham
Former Senator Bob Graham

Co-chair of congressional inquiry into 9/11 aids investigative journalist’s FOIA case against FBI

At a federal court hearing in Miami on Tuesday, former U.S. senator and Florida governor Bob Graham was seated at the plaintiff’s table in a case pitting a journalist against the FBI in a fight for transparency about the bureau’s investigation of a Saudi family that suddenly left its upscale Sarasota home shortly before the 9/11 attacks. Continue reading

Saudi Lobbyists Recruiting Veterans to Kill 9/11 Lawsuit

Veterans told they’re shielding the U.S. military—in reality, they’re only protecting the Saudi monarchy

By Brian P. McGlinchey

Trawling for Veterans at a Reno Gun Show
Trawling for Veterans at a Reno Gun Show

Using misinformation and a big budget, Saudi Arabia is recruiting well-meaning U.S. military veterans into its campaign to eviscerate a recently-passed law allowing 9/11 families to sue the monarchy for its alleged role in facilitating the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. Continue reading

Like Saudi Arabia, Israel Has a Soft Spot for Sunni Extremism

In the War on Terror, Israel’s Government is Not a Reliable Friend of the American People—But Neither is Our Own

By Brian P. McGlinchey

Thanks to last summer’s release of 28 pages detailing a variety of links between 9/11 hijackers and Saudi government officials—and the October leak of a 2014 email from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declaring the Saudi government was directly supporting ISIS—it’s increasingly clear that the U.S. government’s depiction of Saudi Arabia as a vital ally in the “war on terror” is dishonest.

Unfortunately, Saudi Arabia isn’t the only supposed “ally” whose official depiction as a steadfast foe of terrorism is out of sync with reality: The branding of Israel is also deeply misleading. Continue reading

Daily Caller Exposes Saudi Astroturf Effort Against JASTA

By Brian P. McGlinchey

General Cotney: Parroting Saudi Propaganda
William Russell Cotney: Retired General Parrots Saudi Talking Points

As reported earlier, the Saudi government’s enormous lobbying force has grown to include 14 firms as it works to pressure lawmakers into revising a new law that enables victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue the kingdom for its alleged role in aiding the hijackers. Yesterday, Daily Caller put a spotlight on one front in that far-reaching Saudi campaign: a series of op-ed pieces penned by military and national security veterans that use identical sentences to make their points. Continue reading

Saudi Lobbying Armada Grows Even Larger; Governors Targeted

Texas Capitol Building
Texas Capitol

With governors as new political targets, Saudi Arabia has again expanded its already formidable array of lobbying firms. Following a September surge that brought the tally to 10, an October expansion now brings the total to 14.

The influence spending spree has spanned nearly a year and has coincided with three major developments:

  • Saudi Arabia’s war and blockade on Yemen, which has taken a terrible humanitarian toll.
  • A campaign that prompted the July release of 28 pages detailing a variety of Saudi government links to the 9/11 hijackers and their associates.
  • The September passage of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which cleared the path for 9/11 family members and other victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia.

The repeal of JASTA is the clear objective of this latest round of lobbying investment, according to reports at al-Jazeera, The Hill and Washington Post.

The measure passed both houses of Congress by unanimous voice votes; President Obama vetoed it and then endured the first override of his tenure. The fight is far from over; Saudi Arabia is now waging a fierce, multi-pronged attack on the measure with an eye on reversing it during the upcoming lame duck session of Congress.

Coming Soon: Governors Against JASTA

A document filed with the Foreign Agents Registration Unit (FARA) indicates one of the lobbying firms, Flywheel Government Solutions, will, for an initial fee of $25,000:

  • “Conduct outreach to Governors and Lieutenant Governors from across the United States, educating them on the impacts and potential risks/threats that JASTA poses on their states’ business and economic interests, members of the military and national security”
  • “Engage and align selected Governors and Lieutenant Governors to take grasstops action, such as writing letters to their respective state’s congressional delegation, to appeal to Congress to repeal JASTA.”
  • “Attempt to enlist Governors and Lieutenant Governors to write opinion pieces in newspapers or other publications or to make public statements opposing Congress’ passage of JASTA.”
Flywheel's David Beightol
Flywheel Co-Founder David Beightol

What the Saudi lobbying effort boasts in budget, it lacks in facts. For example, though JASTA only enables lawsuits against foreign governments, and merely modifies an existing allowance for suits against terror sponsors, the kingdom and its many domestic sympathizers routinely claim that it is an unprecedented departure from the principle of sovereign immunity and will somehow expose individual U.S. military service members to litigation in foreign courts.

As Flywheel gets to work in immersing state executives in the kingdom’s false arguments and urging them to publicly oppose JASTA, other voices have already started a stream of misleading opinion pieces and editorials. Two representative samples:

  • Former CIA agent Chet Nagle: “JASTA abrogates the principle of sovereign immunity….JASTA means that American diplomats and soldiers will be sued in Iraq and other foreign courts, crippling our ability to…defend our national security.”
  • Defense Intelligence Agency veteran Paul Crespo: “JASTA would gut the 500-year-old principle of sovereign immunity across the board…without sovereign immunity, countries…could prosecute our soldiers.”

Once the election is over, expect the anti-JASTA drumbeat to grow ever louder; it will be up to the same coalition that made JASTA the law to now guard it against Saudi counterattack—and in so doing, preserve for 9/11 victims the chance to present their case in court.

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