October 2, 2015 |
A federal judge in Manhattan has dismissed the government of Saudi Arabia as a defendant in a long running lawsuit alleging it was responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Federal District Judge George Daniels said on Tuesday that the plaintiffs failed to show the desert kingdom participated in the plot. It was the second time in the 12-year litigation battle that Saudi Arabia has been been dropped as a defendant. It was first dismissed in 2005, but later restored as a defendant by an appeals panel.
September 26, 2015 |
Former Pennsylvania State University president Graham B. Spanier won't go to Saudi Arabia this fall after all. Commonwealth Court denied Spanier's request to travel there to meet with higher education officials, noting that the lack of an extradition treaty between the United States and Saudi Arabia would make it impossible to force him back. Spanier is awaiting trial on perjury and conspiracy charges connected to the Jerry Sandusky child sex-abuse scandal, and has been barred since August 2013 from leaving the country without approval of the court and the attorney general.
September 25, 2015 |
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. Senate has introduced legislation that would make it easier for victims to sue foreign governments and private-sector financiers for support of terrorism. The bill, aimed largely at the government of Saudi Arabia and Persian Gulf terrorism funders, has been pushed by victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. They have been fighting a seesaw legal battle to hold Saudi Arabia accountable for what they say is its support of Islamist terror groups.
September 19, 2015 |
Humanitarian groups are right to ask the United States to take more of the multitudes fleeing war-torn Syria, but if they put President Obama's order to accept a relatively modest 10,000 refugees into perspective, they will realize that even that number may be overly ambitious. This country has accepted only about 1,600 refugees since Syria's civil war began in 2011. That's largely due to security precautions instituted to ensure that terrorists aren't accepted. It takes 18 to 24 months for the average Syrian refugee to be vetted for entry into the United States.
September 13, 2015 |
As he awaits trial on charges that he conspired to cover up child sex assaults by Jerry Sandusky, former Pennsylvania State University president Graham B. Spanier is complaining about restrictions that prevent him from traveling as an education consultant. Spanier wants to fly to Saudi Arabia this fall to meet with that country's higher education leaders, but the head of probation in Dauphin County, where he is to be tried, denied the request out of concern that authorities would not be able to force him back.
April 14, 2015 |
Ending two years of speculation, Hillary Rodham Clinton announced her second campaign for president in a low-key Web video Sunday with a simple message: It's not about me. It's about you. "Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion," Clinton said, striking the tone of populism at the heart of the 2016 campaign. "The deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top. " The former first lady, U.S. senator, and secretary of state begins as the overwhelming front-runner for the Democratic nomination.
April 10, 2015 |
A federal appeals panel in Chicago has denied a request by 9/11 victims and their families to take possession of more than $6 million in seized al-Qaeda money and said that instead, it should go to the U.S. government. But the majority, in its opinion, said the government had engaged in "gamesmanship" to prevail. And the lone dissenter on the three-judge panel went further, accusing the government of stonewalling efforts of the 9/11 victims to get compensation for their injuries.
April 10, 2015 |
Nothing better symbolizes the craziness of the Middle East, and the contradictions of U.S. policy, than the case of the Saudi blogger sentenced to a thousand lashes for advocating free speech. I wrote about Raif Badawi in January after he received his first 50 lashes. Since then, a global campaign by human-rights groups and by his courageous wife, who was granted asylum in Canada, has prevented more whipping. But Badawi, who is also serving a 10-year jail term, is now in danger of being retried on apostasy charges, which are punishable by death.
February 16, 2015 |
Convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui mentioned it, seemingly as an aside, on the last day of a deposition he gave to lawyers suing the Saudi government for its alleged role in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. But the point was jarring. In the late 1990s, Moussaoui said, he met with an employee of the Saudi Embassy in Washington and the two discussed a plan to shoot down Air Force One with a Stinger surface-to-air missile. Moreover, the embassy employee would use diplomatic immunity to smuggle the missile into the United States, Moussaoui said.
February 6, 2015 |
John Lehman, a former member of the 9/11 Commission, says in a sworn statement that the government of Saudi Arabia is wrong to claim, as it does in a lawsuit in New York City, that the panel exonerated it of responsibility for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Before Sept. 11, 2001, Lehman said in a filing Tuesday, intelligence agencies developed substantial evidence Saudi diplomatic missions worked to spread the ultraconservative form of Islam known as Wahhabism, which in turn supported Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.