Weekend Review: Declassified 9/11 Report Implicates Two Saudi Nationals
20 years have passed since the 9/11 attacks killed nearly 3,000 people. However, President Biden’s administration has just declassified a 2016 report tying two Saudi nationals living in the U.S. to the attackers.
Some families of victims are rejoicing, as they have been seeking the release of this information for years. Many have long suspected the involvement of these men but suggested the U.S. would not implicate them due to oil relations with Saudi Arabia.
The report details how these two particular Saudi nationals were close to the hijackers. In 2004, the 9/11 Commission’s report concluded they were not able to tie those men directly to the attack.
However, the newly released 2016 report provides witness accounts from individuals who claim they saw one of the men with the attackers. The scene described was not a chance meeting in a restaurant, as was previously suggested in 2004. Witnesses said the man was waiting there to meet and talk with the hijackers about their plans.
Multiple connections including daily phone calls confirmed the engagement of the men with some of the 9/11 hijackers. One of the individuals, Fahad al-Thumairy, held diplomatic status. He also allegedly arranged assistance for two of the hijackers upon their arrival in the country.
Jim Kreindler, who represents numerous families suing Saudi Arabia, said the report “provides a blueprint for how al-Qaida operated inside the U.S.” He also claimed they did so “with the active, knowing support of the Saudi government.”
Notably, no direct links to the government of Saudi Arabia have been publicized thus far. The Saudi embassy responded to the report with a subsequent statement denying any connections between their government and 9/11 attackers.
U.S. Version of August Drone Strike in Afghanistan Questioned
In August, a vehicle reported to be suspected of carrying a bomb near the Kabul airport in Afghanistan was targeted for a drone strike by the U.S. military. The effort was labeled a “righteous strike” but a New York Times investigation has found evidence suggesting otherwise.
The Times investigation includes interviews with family members, co-workers, and witnesses. They also examined videos and photographs from the scene. The report identifies the driver as a worker for a California-based aid group, not an extremist. Expert analysis suggests he was carrying water, not a bomb.
People close to the driver claim he was having a normal day, picking up coworkers and distributing food to refugees. The strike allegedly came as he arrived home from his workday and several children exited the house to greet him.
The Times reported ten civilians killed in the strike, including seven children as young as 2. Afghan health officials confirmed the removal of children’s bodies from the scene.
The U.S. military only reported three civilian casualties and reportedly did not note the deaths of children.
Furthermore, the U.S. claimed a secondary explosion proved the existence of a bomb in the car. However, the investigation by the Times found no evidence of that second explosion. Expert examination of images from the scene suggests the occurrence of a single blast, according to the report.
BioNTech to Request Approval to Vaccinate Children as Young as 5
BioNTech executives claim the company is preparing to seek global approval to vaccinate children as young as 5 against Covid-19.
The company reportedly expects to share the results of trial research on children to seek authorization for vaccination of the age group. Later in 2021, executives say they also anticipate the introduction of a plan to seek approval to vaccinate kids between the ages of 6 months and 2 years.
So far, China’s health authorities have approved emergency use of the Sinovac vaccine in children as young as 3 years. Meanwhile this month, Chile approved the use of the same vaccine in children over the age of 6. Israel’s health ministry approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children 5 and older with increased susceptibility to the virus.
This news comes with simultaneous reports of U.S. teachers refusing to receive vaccines or wear masks around young students. Health experts linked an unvaccinated California teacher to a May outbreak that infected 12 out of 22 unvaccinated students. Experts conclude that students seated closer to the front of the class had an increased risk for infection, in part because the teacher would read aloud without a mask.