Saudi Arabia is ignoring the victims of the 9/11 attacks, but is also “very afraid” of them, a survivor told RT on the eve of the 15th anniversary of the tragedy, adding that the US is more concerned about diplomatic ties than the needs of its people.
A new law will finally allow the 9/11 victims to move forward in their struggle to bring the people involved in the attacks to justice, William Rodriguez, a 9/11 survivor, told RT in an interview the day the House of Representatives passed a bill allowing US citizens to sue foreign countries for terrorism that kills Americans on US soil.
Known as House Resolution 3815, the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act,” or JASTA, which was already approved by the Senate in May, seeks to create an exception to sovereign immunity created by a 1976 law that has previously been invoked to shield Saudi Arabia from 9/11 lawsuits.
At the same time, Rodriguez said that Saudi Arabia still “totally ignores” the 9/11 victims, despite the fact that the release of 28 pages of a 2002 congressional report on the attacks in July proved that “the government of Saudi Arabia was indeed involved, because 17 out of the 19 hijackers were Saudi Arabians and they received money from [officials] at some levels.”
“Saudi Arabia has never accepted anything. What I have seen in the last six months of fighting with the kingdom, with the king himself, with the foreign minister, the minister of trade and the [Saudi] embassy here is that they try to ignore that we exist,” Rodriguez told RT, adding that the Saudis “tried to make us look as if we have no value.”
He also accused the Saudi government of hypocrisy, saying that its officials not only tried to ignore the 9/11 victims, but also “tried to spin the news in the way that they are supporting the fight against terrorism.”
“But if you fight you need to face the victims and the allegations. It would not take long for them to do that and to talk about what happened and to conduct their own investigation but that did not happen,” he stressed.
He also assumed that Saudi officials would subject the 9/11 victims to persecution to dodge the issue of its involvement in 9/11 attacks. “I will never visit Saudi Arabia, because I believe that they will try to make an example out of me. I even asked King Salman if I will be arrested when I visit Saudi Arabia and he totally ignored me,” the survivor said.
At the same time, he stressed that the Saudi officials’ behavior is “a clear indication that they are very, very afraid of us” and vowed to continue working at bringing all those involved in the attacks to justice.
“Saudi officials at certain levels of the government were sponsoring financially some of the hijackers and were indirectly involved in terrorist activities, so they are liable under any law in any part of the world,” he said, adding that he and other 9/11 victims will try to “get to the bottom of the issue” and find out “if any other high-level officials of the Saudi government were involved.”
Lawsuit against Saudi Arabia ‘could set precedent’ for similar suits against US
Rodriguez also said that US President Barack Obama is “very worried that it will set a precedent and other countries then can do the same thing to the US,” referring to recent signals from the White House indicating that the president may veto the recently adopted legislation.
He also sharply criticized US authorities for being “more worried about damaging international diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia than [about] the [9/11] victims’ needs.” He also condemned Obama for placing good relations with the Saudis above the suffering of his own people.
“We feel that the president is playing politics with the pain and suffering of the victims of 9/11. It has been proved once the 28 pages were released four weeks ago,” he told RT, adding that one “has to take care of the people inside [the country] first before [one] conducts international policy that bypasses the needs of the community.”
He also stressed that he and other 9/11 victims “want to show that one has to be morally correct.”
“And what is morally correct is not in the interests of the nation when it comes to the diplomatic ties,” he added.
Rodriguez also vowed to “continue to put pressure on the president until he signs it [JASTA].”
He also stressed that he and other 9/11 victims will continue to put pressure on the government to make information about the 9/11 attacks available to the victims and all those affected by the tragedy, adding that “the US government still has the documents that are secret, confidential and not available to the lawyers to look through because under the Secrecy Act they are not allowed to see that information.”
“We going to continue and we are going to do it with [the] next president,” he stressed, while expressing hope that “in [his] lifetime, [he] will be able to see all the information about 9/11 to be publicly available.”