by Bob Baldwin
A Macabre Celebration
Two days after 9/11, President Bush and Prince Bandar bin Sultan savored cigars together on the Truman balcony of the south portico of the White House. As author Craig Unger notes, this was the same spot where previous presidents had celebrated major accomplishments, although he was careful to add, "Bandar and President Bush had nothing to celebrate. Thousands of Americans were dead."
Of course the real celebration took place three days before 9/11, on Saturday evening, when Prince Bandar attended a party at the home of Bruce Riedel, a CIA operative and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle Eastern Affairs during the Clinton Administration. The King's Messenger; Ottaway, David; p. 154;
The party was reminiscent of the notorious soiree at Clint Murchison's home in Dallas the evening before the JFK assassination. In attendance at that legendary affair were, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover, John J. McCloy, and H. L. Hunt, all suspects in the assassination and subsequent cover-up. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/JFKmurchison.htm
The notables in attendance at the Riedel gathering included, almost the entire Middle East policy community including the ambassador to Israel and CIA director George Tenet. After the party, Bandar and Tenet left together for an all night discussion that is said to have lasted into breakfast the following morning. (Ottaway, David. Op. cit. p. 154.)
Bruce Riedel, currently a policy advisor to President Barack Obama, intriguingly was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal in 2001. http://www.brookings.edu/media/NewsReleases/2006/20061110.aspx From his official biographies, it's not clear if that award was given before or after 9/11? One can just hear President Bush saying, "'Brucie,' you're doing a heck of a job!"
Prince Bandar, whose close relationship over the years with the Bush family earned him the moniker, "Bandar Bush," was no stranger to international intrigue and covert operations. During the Iran-Contra Affair, Prince Bandar helped the Reagan-Bush Administration circumvent Congressional prohibitions by providing the Contras $32 million in financing. http://www.saudi-us-relations.org/international-relations/prince-bandar.html
Follow the Money
Bandar's connection to 9/11 is more than just circumstantial. Money from an account at Riggs Bank belonging to his wife and he wound up in the pockets of two of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi. The money was passed along via two intermediaries suspected of working for Saudi intelligence, Omar al Bayoumi and Osama Basnan. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/aug2004/rigg-a24.shtml
By coincidence, President Bush's uncle, Jonathan, was a senior executive of Riggs bank. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A28396-2004May14.html
Omar al Bayoumi was a middle aged "student" living in San Diego who claimed to have just happened upon al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar the day of their arrival in the United States while dining at an Halal restaurant in Los Angeles. As the story goes, he felt sorry for two men, and being the Good Samaritan that he was, decided to take the duo to San Diego to live with him. His generosity had no bounds (which is understandable, considering he was using was Bandar's money). He provided the two future "terrorists" with an apartment, a car, and help with registering in a nearby flight school. http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=omar_al-bayoumi
Before coming to the United States, Omar al Bayoumi had worked for an aviation servicing company in Saudi Arabia named Dallah Avco. The company maintained extensive ties to the Ministry of Defense, headed by Prince Bandar's father, Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud. http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=sultan_bin_abdul_aziz_al_saud
It would be Bayoumi, who would later introduce the two men to an FBI counter terrorism informant, whom they would stay with later in 2000. http://www.madcowprod.com/Shaikh.html
Another 'Lone Gunman'
Princess Haifa is the daughter of the late King Faisal, who was assassinated in 1975, allegedly by a deranged nephew. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,917224,00.html (1975 was the same year Kahlid al-Mihdhar was born).
The circumstances around the assassination are somewhat murky, given the secretive nature of the Saudi regime. At the time, Faisal's bodyguards had been trained by a CIA front company, the Vinnell Corporation. http://www.prouty.org/anatomy.html At the time Henry Kissinger was jet setting about, carrying out his shuttle diplomacy in the Middle East. As we well know, he was behind the coup in Chile and assassination of Salvador Allende on another September 11th, 1973. Did he play a role in King Faisal's death? We may never know.
Princess Haifa is the sister of Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence, who "conveniently" decided to resign from that position just ten days before 9/11. http://911review.org/Sept11Wiki/PrinceTurkiAlFaisalAlSaud.shtml
The Great Escape
According to an online article for the April 9th Baltimore Chronicle by Margie Burns, a few days after 9/11, when civilian aircraft was still grounded nationwide, Turki and an entourage of thirty Arab men flew out of Las Vegas, Nevada. Curiously, the Baltimore Chronicle would later delete mention of Prince Turki from the story. The two versions can be viewed here. http://www.weblog.nohair.net/archives/000502.html It's not clear why the story changed. Perhaps the first version was a mistake. There are other Saudi Princes named "Turki" other than the Prince Turki.
One interesting note: there was a passenger on one of the flights that flew out of Lexington, KY who listed his surname as "al-Hazmi." http://www.peterdalescott.org/sau.html Could he have been a relative of the two al-Hazmi brothers onboard Flight 77? …And if Flight 77 never actually struck the Pentagon…
Nawaf al-Hazmi's brother Salem, would later be one of the 9/11 hijackers that would later, inexplicably, turn up alive after 9/11. http://web.archive.org/web/20070715035936rn_1/www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/09/23/widen23.xml Despite claims that the mix up was due to stolen identities, the FBI has never bothered to clear up the matter. The original 19 hijackers that they accused of carrying out the 9/11 attacks are still officially listed with the same names and photos, unchanged.
The Las Vegas flight that may or may not have had Prince Turki onboard, was one of four flights of prominent Saudis, including members of the Bin Laden family, who were airlifted out of the United States in the days following 9/11. The operation, which was largely kept secret from the American public at the time, was authorized by President Bush and carried out with the assistance of the FBI. Prince Bandar, who was serving as Saudi Ambassador to Washington at the time, helped organize the evacuation. The Saudi airlift is documented in Craig Unger's book, House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties. It is also featured prominently in Michael Moore's documentary film, Fahrenheit 9/11.
In early 2008, documents were leaked to the British press, indicating that Prince Bandar had threatened British Prime Minister Tony Blair in an encounter that occurred in 2006, that if the Prime Minister did not halt an investigation into bribery and kickback scheme between British defense contractor, BAE and government officials in Saudi Arabia, Britain would encounter "another 7/7" terror attack. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/15/bae.armstrade
In response to Prince Bandar's threats, Blair, being the poodle that he is, called off the investigation. http://www.corruptionisacrime.com/background/
The probe involved a deal known as al-Yamamah that dated back to the Margaret Thatcher regime to exchange oil for arms. To "grease" the deal, extensive bribes were paid by BAE to key Saudi officials and kickbacks were used to finance covert operations during the Cold War. The entire deal eventually totaled more than $80 billion, of which Bandar received $2 billion in bribes that were deposited in his personal account at Riggs. This money is believed to have been used for financing covert operations around the world. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/blackmoney/interviews/leigh.html
Prince Bandar is suspected of financing al Qaeda in Iraq and Pakistan. After revelations about his threats to Tony Blair leaked out, he literally disappeared from the scene. He was last seen on December 10th, 2008, attending a meeting with King Abdullah in Jeddah and has not been seen publicly, since.
This has sparked unconfirmed rumors that he is currently under arrest. Last year Iranian television reported that he had been apprehended for attempting to overthrow King Abdullah in a failed coup d'etat. http:// edition.presstv.ir/detail/102313.html
Then again, he may just be lying low, considering all the bad publicity he has engendered.
Perhaps if someone from his "adopted family" once again ascends to the White House, Bandar Bush will be back over, for brandy and cigars…