(CNN) Saudi Arabia is warning it will sell off billions in American assets if the U.S. Congress passes a bipartisan bill that would allow victims of 9/11 and other terrorist attacks to sue foreign governments.
Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir issued the warning to U.S. lawmakers last month during a visit to Washington, two senior State Department officials told CNN. A source with knowledge of the Saudis' thinking said investments would be put in jeopardy if this bill passes, so they are trying to protect themselves from risk.
The story was first reported Saturday by The New York Times.
The Obama administration has, in turn, applied heavy pressure on Congress to block the bill. Top officials from the State Department and Pentagon warned Senate Armed Services Committee staffers last month that the bill could bring economic risks to the U.S.
The Saudis did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Asked if President Barack Obama would veto the legislation if passed by Congress, a senior administration official told CNN that "rather than entertain a hypothetical, we believe there needs to be more careful consideration of the potential unintended consequences of its enactment before proceeding with legislation." (CNN)
Unless you spent the weekend under a rock, you probably saw this story. Al-Jubeir made a bold-faced threat to our Congress to either do the Saudi’s bidding or face the economic consequences. I have a message for my fellow countrymen. If you still have some reserve of outrage left, now is the time to use it. The Saudis are desperately afraid that a trial would expose the connections between the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks and themselves. I have no idea how far these connections extend, but the Saudis seem to be deathly afraid of the truth. This story comes on the heels of the latest call to declassify and release the 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission Report and only a few days before Obama’s trip to Riyadh.
I hold onto the forlorn hope that our lawmakers will somehow find the stones to stand up to the Saudi gangsters and do the right thing. What could happen if they stood up for the citizens they are supposed to represent? Perhaps some rich people will be a little less rich. Perhaps some frozen assests and hurt feelings. Perhaps some uncomfortable sanctions and ensuing trouble for our allies. That’s all a small price to pay for some truth and honor… and a chance to create some serious perturbations in the Borg Hegemony.
This link describes the legislation in question fairly well.
A blatant attempt to blackmail our cowardly and supine congress. I wonder if the approval rating would sore with the passage of this bill?
Yes, what could happen? Is our economy so fragile that It can’t withstand Saudi threats?
Any doubts about how different things would have been if the 9/11 attackers had been out of Russia rather than our good allies, the KSA?
As it was it was sold to the American public as an Iraq linked conspiracy.
And what two large countries were the most “Western” at the time. Iraq and Syria. Look at them now. What a spectacular mess.
Dancing with the Devil in the pale moonlight.
When the have lost “respect” (in gangster sense of the language), what will the Saudis do next? No country would allow such blatant interference in it’s judicial system. Al Saud’s relationship to US is a mirror image of Sultan Erdowie/Erdowo/Erdogan to Germany. The former wants to prevent a law suit and the latter wants to sue a journalist. Where is Obama going to draw the line?
This is but the latest evidence of how Washington has allowed itself to be denatured by the Saudis (and their Gulf allies). The implications of kow-towing to the Saudis over the past years on their promotion of hostile salafist Islam, and tangible backing for Islamist groups in Syria most recently, should have been obvious to anyone with any sense of the parties involved and of human nature. Instead, we encouraged them even further by holding their hands as they went over the cliff in Yemen – a dcision that surely will be recorded as one of the most inexcusable acts of pure stupidity in diplomatic history. It should be noted that Obama et al have been behaving in the same manner with Erdogan – with even less reason since Turkey has no oil, no tacit Israeli alliance, and no special friends in Washington.
The infection seems to be spreading, as witness the EU (led by Germany) in allowing themselves to be blackmailed by Turkey to the tune of $6 billion and Erdogan now coercing Merkel to prosecute that comedian who satirized The Caliphe. This despite the tremendous economic leverage that the EU has over Turkey. Just as we refrain from using the tremendous security leverage we have over the KSA and its escort of minnows.
Both Clinton and Sanders are opposing Obama on the legislation. Stay tuned. Even Mike Lupica, normally a sports writer, is writing editorials imploring Obama to not veto the legislation.
It’s not blackmail but prudential financial activity. If you knew that the US government was about to nationalize the banks and all the deposits held by them, would you leave your money on deposit? Nah, you’d withdraw it and buy some mattresses. So, why should the Saudis leave their money where it is subject to the whim of American courts.
You’re part right about it being a prudent financial move, but I doubt the losses associated with potential lawsuits would exceed the losses from selling off all their U.S. based assets prematurely. The real fear is that the truth may come out. That would throw our present chummy relationship into a tizzy.
As I have often said on this website (and elsewhere), I despise the Saudis, and especially their present rulers. But on this issue, I believe (with b at Moon of Alabama) that they are right, and the US Congress wrong.
It’s not that European leaders are being blackmailed by Turkey, it’s more that as vassals of the United States, they’re terrified that they will be the target of a “colour revolution” if they stand up to the borg.
Just look at what happened in Ukraine and what is currently happening in Macedonia (FYROM) with the US ambassador threatening Macedonian membership of the EU. Since when has the United States been part of the EU?.
Bogus threat. What are they going to do? Sell off their treasury securities?
Big whoop. So the Saudi Arabian government moves their oil profits from their savings account (treasury securities) to their checking account at the Fed. This is a threat?
[Think of a treasury security like a federal government CD, a Federal Reserve CD. Because that’s all it is. People with more than $250,000 in a commercial bank account–the FDIC limit for protection on one account–buy US treasury securities to protect their money against bank failures, no risk. Why treasury securities are the safest financial instruments in the world. Guaranteed by “the full faith and credit” of the USG.]
Unless the young guy running Saudi Arabia right now is a complete economic/financial putz, something else is going on. The young Pretender to the Throne bragged a few weeks ago that he can drum up $1-2T’s worth of dough starting with a sale (IPO?) of SA’s Texas-based Aramco shares. This ain’t gonna’ produce any confidence in investors’ hearts. Something else is going on. Did Saudi Arabia collude with Israel on 9/11? On the Fox News series that Abe Foxman got wiped from the Fox website one week after it aired in December, 2001, Carl Cameron reported, “A highly placed investigator … flatly refused to describe them [details], saying, “evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about evidence that has been gathered. It’s classified information.”
Somebody somewhere is gulping. Something else is going on.
If the US is once again violating the legal international agreements it made when it established itself as the reserve currency, then who can blame Saudi Arabia for removing its dough?
All this activity is doing is hastening the end of reserve currency status for the US.
I also agree that the US Congress is wrong is the situation is as b reports.
“The infection seems to be spreading, as witness the EU (led by Germany) in allowing themselves to be blackmailed by Turkey to the tune of $6 billion”
To a certain extend correct. OTOH you miss some nuances of the affair, e.g. where the money comes from and who expected to get it before.
“… and Erdogan now coercing Merkel to prosecute that comedian who satirized The Caliphe.”
That is not correct. Erdokan uses an opportunity that the German law offers. It is NOT Merkel’s job to prevent this. That is exactly the difference between a functioning state and a Bananenrepublik.
BTW: Böhmermann is usually quite clever, he should have handled Erdokan in a more intelligent way as he actually did, e.g. by creating an character that looks like Erdokan, behaves like Erdokan but works as janitor in a German governmental office building, with all nice opportunities to attack and insult Erdocan.
This is yet another chapter in the obfuscation game which is run by the real perpetrators to hide their hand. (Christopher Bollyn has done the best work on this.) I’m not sure the long term benefit of tossing the Saudis under the bus; such accessories tend to squeal. And why now? Something else is going on.
“sue a journalist”
Amir, the funny part is that Jan Böhmermann is no journalist, but a satirists.
The story has a background. Tayyip already complained against an earlier mock attack, leading to the German ambassador to Turkey being summoned.
Now let him sue under both paragraphs his Munich based lawyer intends to*. The problem is, that Jan Böhmermann followed up on the above event that had no real consequences with a “satiric lecture” on what according to German law would be an insult, and thus could be punished. In other words he framed the insults, showing: look people, this I couldn’t do.
* one of those insults of foreign leaders may be abolished as a result. But let’s see. I have no idea about its legal history, but I can check.
This might cause his lawyer some problems.
personally I do not think that was Böhmermann at his best. But the framing was at least a well articulated distancing. My suspicion though is that he took events in Turkey too much to heart. Somewhat expressing his anger??? By the way, just as Tayyip’s lawyer over here intends to take the case up through the different courts, not sure if up to the European, the TV channel Böhmermann works for will support him all the way up there.
I have to admit that I somewhat liked V for Varoufakis and the follow up but apparently humor isn’t received well enough.
followed up by, unfortunately only German subtitles like this one:
Careful, Germans on the rise, once again. Another Böhmermann production:
The habit of US courts claiming jurisdiction over the entire rest of the world, the fines imposed on BNP and Standard Chartered over dealings with Iran, is a dangerous one. There is, and will continue to be push back against this. Mixing up the flawed investigation and reaction to 9/11 to this proposed (bad) law is a mistake.
There will always be buyers of an asset at the right price but the issue is that US assets will increasingly incur a risk premium and the end of the era of the USD as the world’s reserve currency will be accelerated.
Not the first time they’ve shoved their oar in either, do you remember the campaign mounted by Bush and Powell to pressure the EU into favouring Turkish accession?
Like Brigadier Ali I hate to say it but for once Saudi Barbaria are right.
TTG as a matter of interest would you support the citizens of a country that was illegally invaded on the basis of a pack of lies* and comprehensively dismantled and left prey to the Iranians on one side and fundamentalist Sunni terrorists on the other having recourse to similar legislation and litigation remedies in the US courts? How much, for example, of DynCorp’s or KBR’s assets should be held in escrow pending settlement?
*Lies such as oh … for example the American Secretary of State waving a test tube at the UN assembly and pretending it was evidence of weapons of mass destruction. Or the “sexed up” dossier produced by the British government. Or the equally half-assed pack of lies produced for local consumption by the government of my own country, Denmark.
European leaders are “vassals of the US”, is that right ? And they’re terrified of being the target of “colour revolutions”, presumably inspired by the same US ?
I think it is time you stop reading poor fiction, or worse, watching bad TV series and movies …
I truly hope members of Congress still have enough decency, pride and dignity to vote this bill and send the Saudi petro-oligarchs packing !
You got it wrong. Actually it was the threat in the other direction that made Saudis say that – if the US declare them as terrorists supporters, their assets would be frozen instantly. So of course they will move them in such a case.
After failing to bully the Yemenis, now they are seeking an easier target!
Will Israel ever be sued? Not only for 9/11 but for all the other crimes whose perpetrators fled to Israel, or Israeli dual citizens pardoned by US Presidents.
I am no fan of KSA’s rancid little monarchy, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to strike a contrarian tone here. I think this whole situation reflects even more poorly on congress than on the Saudis, owing to congress’ seeming inconsistency in this matter. After all, just a mere 6 months ago, while Obama was still putting the finishing touches on his Iran deal, how many of these congress critters were whining about how he was getting ready to ‘throw Saudi Arabia under the buss’? And now, supposedly on account of an old report they’ve been sitting on for TWELVE LONG YEARS, they themsleves suddenly want to throw Riyadh under the bus? Why? What is really going on here? Why now? Call me a conspiracy theorist if you will, but personally I smell a rat.
A group of us have spent some time at the Senate recently lobbying on issues in regards to Yemen, including the pending bill by Senator Murphy, S.J.Res. 32. I will be sure to mention this blatant threat at the next meeting we have on Friday at the House, but I am not sure it will go anywhere.
Many of our lawmakers are tied to the hip to the Saudis, their money and their well financed PR machine.
Our lawmakers wont do a thing if they dont feel it means something to the people who put them into office, if then. It is important to call, write, and if possible, meet with your representatives.
This is bizarre. How about Congress conduct a real inquiry into 9/11 instead of throwing this into the hands of some shyster attorneys, whose only interests are deep pockets and enflaming the sensibilities of the jurors (an easy task here) And now we have country number 3(4?) blamed for that atrocity, Lockerbie redux, the gift that keeps on giving.
Moon of Alabama points out that it is NOT a threat. It’s logical that Saudies will have to protect their assists from being frozen by a US Court if they are sued by a US citizen.
Beyond the reflexive anger at “Saudi interference” in the U.S. judicial system, there is another reality at work.
While the legislation “appears to be” targeting Saudi Arabia for its obvious activity in subsidizing Salafist ideology and terrorism over the years, other countries are at risk as well because of “Borgist” domination of the Global financial system, and these countries such as China and Russia may be on the hook for billions in frozen and or expropriated assets to satisfy judgments obtained in U.S. courts. They will all double down, more than they have already, with their efforts to set up alternative arrangements to protect their assets from seizure under what they consider illicit conditions. Do we want to accelerate the flight of world capital from the dollar as reserve currency?
The involvement of Saudi Arabia at the highest levels in facilitating bombings of various sorts and 9/11 has always seemed very plausible and I detest SA for what it represents, a barbaric and regressive social order. I always thought Bush (if he needed to lash out after 9/11) should have invaded them rather than Iraq. In fact we probably should have taken down the Saudi govt. decades before and turned it into a Protectorate or territory. But, be that as it may, mischievous legislation that could result in a variety of asset grabs (of types currently unforeseen) seems to me ill advised. The current Saudi “warning” (or “threat” if preferred) can also be viewed as simply a statement of intent regarding what they may do to protect themselves. As for us, Congress is not known to be cool and calculating as to be able to play the long game, and that is often our misfortune.
You’re damn right something else is going on. It makes no sense whatsoever for Saudi Arabia to have perpetrated 9-11 on their own and even less sense for the US to cover up that fact. The risk/benefit ratio for them approaches infinity. They could not hope to gain anything as the obvious US response would be invasion, occupation and our taking their oil. The Saudis are involved somehow, probably as junior partners but in a more complicated, devious and darker way than we know. The US posture is that we are about to make a limited hang out and the Saudis are saying they are not going to be the ones left holding the bag.
Let’s release all 28 pages of the 9/11 report and also release all information on the 1967 Israeli attack on the USS Liberty. Then let the American people decide who our friends are.
Here is a list of the co-sponsors https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/3815/cosponsors
There is an important larger context: sovereign financial relations have become a central tool of the US global trading (imperial) system; removing sovereign immunity, as this law proposes, will serve as a cattle prod to drive trading partners out of the US system. Russia and China, obligingly and not too convincingly (until now maybe) have been trying to set up an alternative system that will start looking a lot more attractive should this pass.
The whole “deficit hysteria” in the US (see my friend Jim Grants cover feature in Time) is based on theFed/Treasury balance sheet not containing in the asset column some equity valuation of all the global GDP denominated in dollars: it is this activity that gives the dollar what value it has. Note that the Treasury gets to tax all that activity, assets, no? (that we choose not to tax most of it is a different problem, that of regulatory capture) Despite a decade of giving billions to the super rich who won’t use it (QE), there is no sign of inflation. this is because money not circulating creates no pressure on the market price of said money however much we pull our hair out about “then national debt”.
This proposed piece of legislation, whereby any Russian, Honduran, Chilean etc. widow can make claims against the US, though not here, we’ll prevent that, and any US widow here can make claims against anyone some narrative of “terrorism” can be built against, which this law encourages to happen here and now, will create strong inducements for all our trading partners to get out of the dollar system, abandon SWIFT and only trade with nations that observe well established international laws.
This is an fascinating bid by a fiscally bone ignorant Congress to ignite a very robust inflation as our global trading partners convert reserve accounts at the Fed into purchase of real things elsewhere in the world to dump cash dollars back into the US system. There is a universe of unintended consequences in this.
Yes, I do believe turn about is fair play. But why would other countries have to seek “recourse to similar legislation and litigation remedies in the US courts?” Other countries have their own judicial systems to use. Syria would have a magnificent case once the IS and unicorns are defeated. This isn’t about seizing Saudi assets, although that would be an inevitable fallout. It is about getting to the truth of the Saudi role in the 9/11 attacks. As some here have said, there may be even more shocking truths to be revealed.
Let’s see, after 15 years, all of a sudden congress is considering being honest with the populace. I don’t buy it. Perhaps the world has been busy printing record amounts of money, and the USD has strengthened to the point which makes US goods even less competitive.
The Saudis selling off their treasury holdings would be a great cover for the US entering into a massive devaluation of its currency as well. And to answer your question, yes, the US economy is that fragile.
There is no growth in Asia, Europe, LatAm, Middle East. Therefore, everybody is printing into oblivion, and the US will be no exception.
I don’t think this bill would automatically cause the DOS to declare Saudi Arabia to be a state sponsor of terrorism. That designation has more to do with a desire to arbitrarily punish a country with a broad list of sanctions rather than to be an effective tool against terrorism. I’m also not convinced any U.S. court could force the DOS to declare Saudi Arabia to be a state sponsor of terrorism. In other words, the freezing of assets would not be automatic.
An excellent idea. I’d go for that.
The community organizer managed to put himself (and the US) between a hard place and a rock.
Giving away the store to Iran has removed any leverage he may have had with the Saudis and now the Iranians are tearing up the “deal” (what a surprise!!).
Meanwhile Putin openly gives him (and us) the finger.
Foreign policy from the faculty lounge – where, BTW – America is not popular.
The Farm is, I take it, the 100 billion plus of Iranian money that we unfroze? pl
Let’s start a movement to push this release – more useful I think than the proposed legislation.
“blackmailed by Turkey to the tune of $6 billion and Erdogan now coercing Merkel to prosecute that comedian who satirized The Caliphe. This despite the tremendous economic leverage that the EU has over Turkey.”
Michael, I am aware that there is quite a bit of support for the thesis that Turkey or the Tayyip underhandedly created the refugee crisis in Europe here in the SST community.
But as far as I know the EU is supporting the Lebanon and Jordan to help amend the load they have to carry concerning refugees.
What you suggest is the good old carrot and stick technique. I never liked that. Maybe Merkel does not either. Besides she had to deal with a real crisis and I spare you more on that.
I believe you. But doesn’t this all point to a problem much greater than Saudi involvement in 9/11?
And what is to be done about it?
“It is NOT Merkel’s job to prevent this.”
Ulenspiegel, I didn’t realize before, I love you. But since that’s exactly my position, I do. 😉
That’s the “crux of the biscuit”. Someone close to me complained she overruled other voices around her. Good she did!
in other words don’t expand the ability of suing states to people? It seems corporation already can. What change will ITTP really bring in this context?
I thought, vaguely admittedly, in in a more general way, b’s political position is on the left. Although yes, sometimes I wondered.
Yes I thought your sense of fairness would incline you that way. I agree with you that other countries should use their own jurisdictions but firstly neither the Iraqi courts nor the Syrian ones claim universal jurisdiction whereas the American ones do besides which the assets in question are in the USA not Syria or Iraq.
Oh no argument from me about what its about – when President Franklin D. Roosevelt sucked up to Ibn Saud on board the USS Quincy, the American government started their long history of choosing to sup with the devil. Unfortunately they forgot that when you dine with that formidable host you need a very long (and heat proof) spoon.
The 9/11 attacks and Saudi Barbaria’s persistent attempts to export their Wahabbi cult are a direct result of the followers of what in any reasonable world would have been a flash in the pan death cult having far far too much money, time, and inclination to do harm to everyone who isn’t exactly like them. Shine a light on their doings and impoverish them so that they can’t do it again.
In reply to BrotherJoe 18 April 2016 at 08:32 AM
The end to petro-dollar recycling being forced by low oil prices? Does the KSA have a choice?
Incumbents are worried about turnout. Hillary, Donald, or Cruz are deeply unpopular candidates with potential to become more unpopular. Depressed turnout, not voting in down ticket races, and a destruction of traditional gotv efforts are in the cards for November.
Hillary should win 270 given the GOP front runners, but she will cause down ticket chaos as she dumps turnout operations in favor of David Brock leading the effort to lure Republican women to vote Hillary at the top of the ticket.
The incumbency protection racket is strong. If Trump had limited his rhetoric to the House of Saud, he would be the presumptive President elect. Congress will try to throw some kind of bone our way to save their hides. Corporate board jobs aren’t given to election losers without a profile.
Cynic, dear. Now that is sweet, but also to be expected.
I suppose you have collected all the diverse dots from the five guys with a white vans in New York dancing and celebrating watching the towers fall not quite at the usual speed of gravitation, and the same firm surfacing elsewhere, what was there traces of what?, the mysterious early alerts to Israelis in the Twin Towers, phonecalls that definitively proove the Mossad or painting selling Israelis, I don’t recall that angle correctly, were all the time close to the perpetrators somehow watching and guiding them?
Don’t worry, we’ll get there, but some of us would like to have a closer look at the money transfers from Pakistan via Saudi Arabia to the US for a start.
“The Iranians are tearing up the “deal””…”?
In fact, given the strategic superiority and power of the United States, it is very likely that the United States will tear up the JCOPA.
That is, the new US President will begin dismantling JCOPA in 2017 – the way that Bill Clinton destroyed the Agreed Framework with North Korea.
Unless he changes in the next month or so, I think its clear he HAS “drawn the line”. He is on the side of the Saudis and the elite in the US and that is that. We’re being generous giving him the benefit of the doubt by asking where he has “drawn the line”. And Obama is only the tip of spear here…both parties into up to their necks.
Tv: The Iranians are “tearing up the deal”?
Very amusing. After the Iranians poured concrete into some of their nuclear facilities, they–not surprisingly–take a dim view of attempts to reimpose sanctions under the guise of “human rights violations” or continuing to support their long-time ally in Syria.
The Nuclear deal involved Iran’s nuclear problem. It did not require the Iranians to subordinate their foreign policy to our desires.
If Obama had required that, he should have negotiated harder.
because pulling their assets out would–dramatically–perhaps devalue the assets? What will happen when you start dramatically selling dollar based assets? Especially since oil transactions happen in dollars. But if they want to shoot us, and themselves, in the foot, (head? For Saudis) I would say ‘shoot’. Let them defend themselves.
Col: The legal cudgel used against Saudi Arabia speaks volumes about the DC-atariat’s values. If minor Saudi officials were involved in 9/11, then those individuals should be in Guantanamo. Not in civil court. If the Deciders in Riyadh were involved, they should be deposed.
Using trial lawyers to avenge the murdered allows the politicians, their lobbyists, and defense contractors to continue to collect Saudi money. Isn’t this what Tony Soprano called a “bust out”? We protect the Saudis, but bleed them.
We have come a long way from “millions for defense, not one cent for tribute.” See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Goodloe_Harper
I agree. The Saudis were, at most, junior partners in a larger plot. And if anything goes wrong, they could yet serve as the fall-guys.
According to Alistair Crooke, the US govt. has to yet to even implement the deal with Iran. And they are still threatening to slap fines on any European bank that does business with Iran, despite the fact that the EU has officially lifted its own sanctions against the country. It may be that the whole thing was just a ruse on Obama’s part.
The prosecution is under §103 which is a hold-over from the time of Kaiser Wilhelm – in other words the German legal code before the fall of the Imperial government following its defeat in WWI.
I agree with Ulenspiegel:
That is not correct. Erdokan uses an opportunity that the German law offers. It is NOT Merkel’s job to prevent this. That is exactly the difference between a functioning state and a Bananenrepublik.
BUT I have to wonder whether in German law there doesn’t exist the concept of “dead letter” – that is a law that’s still on the statute books but because society is so utterly different from when it was passed that it cannot and should not be enforced.
I also have to wonder whether laws passed before the coming into force of the current constitution in 1949 are presumed to be constitutionally valid.
That’s not the situation in for example Ireland where laws passed after the coming into force of their constitution in 1937 are presumed to be constitutional but laws passed prior to that are not presumed constitutional.
re: “the way that Bill Clinton destroyed the Agreed Framework with North Korea.”
And the way Bill Clinton broke the agreement James Baker of the Bush 41 administration struck with Russia not to offer former Warsaw Pact countries into NATO membership.
re: “If the Deciders in Riyadh were involved, they should be deposed.”
In both senses of the word!
Nothing quite expresses the bipartisan corruption at the heart of Washington these days as our “alliance” with Saudi Arabia. At a minimum, Saudi citizens were deeply involved in 9-11, and it sounds as if the classified annexes to the 9-11 report indicate something more institutional than mere citizens. The Saudis are building mosques and madrassas teaching their intolerant, murderous form of Islam in various places around the world. They closed our airbases in the Kingdom. They are backing the various avatars of al Qaeda in a number of situations around the world, in direct opposition to our stated policy. They continue to attack civilians and civilian infrastructure in Yemen. It appears that their raised production of oil was in part an attack on the profit in tight oil production in the US. Any one of these would be enough for us to adopt a more wary stance toward most nations. And yet, money thrown here and there at politicians’ foundations and causes, a community of interest with Israel on certain issues and big purchases of US-made weapon systems suffice to keep the US in their pockets.
EX-Pfc Chuck: Unintended pun. I should have used the word, “toppled.”
Even without the threat of having their assets frozen there is zero chance of a fair hearing for Muslims in an American court. Look at the history of cases in the US involving Muslims. Palestine is under an illegal occupation by Israel. A Palestinian attacks an Israeli in Israel and then the US courts reward the Israelis with enough money to bankrupt the PA.
12 Saudis fly planes into American buildings on 9/11 and the result is Iran has to pay the victims.
It goes on and on.
I am waiting with bated breath to the response of MRW to this. 😀
Just election year positioning by the congresscritters. If it goes through and BHO signs it they win double cuz they ‘forced’ BHO to knuckle under and they struck a blow against the Sleazy Saudis. If BHO vetoes it they can go after him for protecting Sleazy Saudis and tell the boobs ‘Hey, look, I tried’. Either way it’s a win for ’em. Bonus: if this tanks the economy it’s all BHO’s fault.
I think this is all a storm in a tea-cup.
The removal of the application of the Doctrine of Sovereign Immunity by the United States has been a declaration of political, financial, and potentially military war against those sovereigns, with the expectation of winning at some indeterminate time in the future.
Significantly, it was never applied to USSR, The Russian Federation nor such a policy was adopted by EU states.
So far, the removal of that doctrine has been applied to the usual suspects: Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya at different times.
In my opinion, there is snow ball’s chance in Hello of US adopting this doctrine in regards to Saudi Arabia.
That would put Saudis in the same category as Iran.
Not going to happen.
Look at all these sad sacks running out to defend Tayyip and the rest of the Borg under Talmudic hair splitting.
That being said Jan is another Leftist comedian who has been crying for more rapefugees. Glad to see he’s getting the gouge.
Yes, yes, it’s a bit too “conspirationist” but it DOES smell of something like that, innit?
For it to be meaningful, KSA would need to start buying real stuff in the dollar economy. I agree, they probably don’t want to do that because it’ll drive the dollar way down and we’ll buy even less of their stuff, oil. As long as its “wealth” being stored rather than “demand” being expressed, it’s a hollow threat, they can juggle it around ledgers indefinitely with little effect, in fact that’s pretty much what QE was.
Seems to me you’re right they’re unlikely to do that. However the law being proposed will expose anyone who trades with us to the whimsically applied term “terrorism” as now deployed by the Borg and its supporting infrastructure.
A “bust out” — that is an interesting way of putting it; rather apropos.
That is what Pauly did for the Tiki Lounge in Good Fellas, and in the end, it got torched.
I want those who are gulping to start choking!
I have spoken about Israeli, Saudi, Cheney and neocon collusion since day two after 9-11.
I’ve also been demanding that these worthless pols hold people accountable. Remember when the anthrax letters went out and Tom Daschle stopped asking questions?
At this point I actually think that the ISIS monsters they created will take them down first. I hope it happens soon, then Putin can step in and finish them off.
Isn’t it more than odd that Israeli security was contracted on every airport involved then and NOW? Look up ICTS.
Everyone should also pick up The 9-11 Timeline, The War On Truth and Behind the War On Terror and follow the breadcrumbs where they lead.
I was surprised to see Porter Goss interviewed about this on 60 Minutes but not surprised that they neglected to report that a the head of the Pakistani ISI was meeting with him repeatedly in spite of being accused of funneling money to Mohammed Atta. There is still a line people will not cross. Why?
Does anyone have a good explanation for Merkel’s position?
During the press “briefing” at the White House today, 18 April, the press secretary said — in response to a question about whether president Obama will veto legislation allowing relatives of the victims of 9/11 to sue — that: “it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which the president would sign the bill as it’s currently drafted.” The question and answer start at 27 min. and 21 sec. into the video, to 29 min., 17 sec.–
The bill, S.2040, is on the general orders calendar, so the process to bring it up to try to have it go to the floor of the Senate can start at any time. But a lot of bills are sitting on the calendar of general orders.
The whole “deficit hysteria” in the US (see my friend Jim Grants cover feature in Time) is based on theFed/Treasury balance sheet not containing in the asset column some equity valuation of all the global GDP denominated in dollars: it is this activity that gives the dollar what value it has.
Your friend James Grant is a fucking idiot. The USA creates its own currency.
TIME runs incoherent rant on U.S. debt as cover story – Economic Policy Institute
Time Magazine Is Lying To You. Here’s Why.
Time Magazine Is Wrong: You Shouldn’t Ever Worry About Your Share Of The US National Debt
Time’s debt scare cover story is a journalistic — and economic — train wreck
Why America’s gigantic national debt is a good thing
What ‘Time’ Gets Wrong About America’s $13.9 Trillion Debt The last 1/2 of this is sane.
Time Magazine’s New Cover Story Is Every Bad Conservative Argument About the National Debt Wrapped Into One
is based on theFed/Treasury balance sheet not containing in the asset column some equity valuation of all the global GDP denominated in dollars: it is this activity that gives the dollar what value it has.
The US dollar has value because the Constitution gives Congress the right to create the currency (which it does by spending appropriations; hence the term: printing out of thin air) and the right to tax.
Wouldn’t this be one veto that will be overridden?
The Senate should call the President’s bluff.
Trump should start busing in 9/11 families and take them on rounds to Senate officers.
Despite a decade of giving billions to the super rich who won’t use it (QE), there is no sign of inflation.
Nobody GAVE billions to the super rich. The Federal Reserve bought treasury securities on the open market, which put the cash behind those federal government CDs (savings!) that owners of those treasury securities into the hands (checking!) of the owners of those treasury securities.
Now the Federal Reserve is getting the interest on those treasury securities. [And must return those profits to the US Treasury at the end of each year. By law. Reducing the amount of USD circulating in the real economy.]
Effect? Increasing the value of the USD because less dollars circulating in the real economy.
TTG: Little of topic here, but will Putin just ramp up the use of cluster munitions? See https://twitter.com/APHClarkson/status/722090209744187392
If the rebels are given these of weapons, how can the Russians avoid strategic bombing?
This is an fascinating bid by a fiscally bone ignorant Congress to ignite a very robust inflation as our global trading partners convert reserve accounts at the Fed into purchase of real things elsewhere in the world to dump cash dollars back into the US system.
Holders of cashed-in US treasury securities has only do these things with their money. BY LAW.
(1) Exchange for their home currency like you would do o a trip and wire it home.
(2) Buy domestic US goods with USD.
(3) Keep their cash in their bank’s checking account at the Fed, earning $0.25% interest, called Interest on Returns (IOR).
(4) Transfer their cash from their bank’s checking account at the Fed (still the customer’s account) to a savings account at the Fed and buy treasury securities. Equivalent to buying a CD from a bank, only safer because the US federal government GUARANTEES it.
The money never leaves US soil. Never.
Iran has not yet invoked the adjudication mechanism of JCOPA.
I think one has to watch and see what Ayatollah Khamenei will say in the next few weeks.
If he decides that JCOPA was a “con”, likely he will direct the Government of Iran to invoke the adjudication mechanism of JCOPA, go through the motions, and then failing to get satisfaction declare JCOPA a failure.
Correction. Sorry. Should read:
[…] which put the initial cash and resulting interest behind those federal government CDs (savings!)– the owners of those treasury securities parked with excess dough with the federal government in safe treasury securities, or ‘federal government CDs’–into the hands (checking!) of the owners of those treasury securities who were selling them.
Let’s call it what it is: an asset swap. The equivalent of walking to your local bank and saying, Hey! I wanna’ cash in my CDs, put the money in my checking account till I figure out what I want to do with it.
But when you buy treasury securities, the treasury securities/CDs always always always stay in YOUR bank’s savings account at the Fed. Why? I dunno’. Just does.
They had a labor shortage, they got able bodied people which, upon further examination, were revealed to be unsuitable for work in Germany and now they are trying to get rid of them.
In the meantime, they have to payoff the Pasha to keep those undesirable people away.
Note that they do not need to pay Greece; they own her and she has to do what the Grim Duchess tells them to do.
Jesus. Really sorry for all the typos.
IOR is Interest on Reserves, not Returns. Reserves are your bank’s checking account at the Fed. A checking account at the Fed is technically called a “reserve account.”
In the interest of teaching nomenclature (big grin), when you cash in your treasury security–whether you’re a 1%-ter, corporation, small business, or foreign government or investor–the TECHNICAL TERM for this activity, for turning your treasury security into cash+interest, is called, “Paying Off The National Debt.”
That “bated breath” enough for you, jld? 🙂
Yes i think you are right, is about the election year politics and not the 911 families
Desuetude is the term of art.
Merkel’s decision may be to allow Erdogan to hang himself.
Something is rotten here in America when our government holds back “28 pages” from what was believed to be the most thorough investigation of the tragedy of 9/11/2001 committed by Radical Islamic Terrorists of Wahabbism belief. When you see the ex Senator from Florida being traipsed out proclaiming the need to produce these pages of record you know the man cannot go to his death bed without righting that wrong.
It again shows this country that family members of loved ones lost on that tragic day are still leading us to a transparent ending. The wrong brought upon them also needs to be righted.
Yup, I’m one of them dimwits but Screw the Saudis and Call their Bluff.
Yes I know, you should read the rest of my note. I disagree with Jim about everything economic. By focusing on him, you’re missing what I said which mostly agrees with you.
The best way to destroy the value of the dollar is to destroy the economic constellation that denominates trade with, that includes businesses here and abroad. The revision to sovereign immunity, like the vulture suit against Argentina is very destructive of our trading partners legitimate interests.
This is yet another avenue where the hubris of DC is self defeating for the remainder of America, while richly rewarding those in DC.
In order to depress the yield curve across the range of bond issues, the Fed bought its own securities AND a boat load of dreck of the books of the institutions that created the Global Financial Crisis. The Fed thought this would cause more money to be leant productively, god know why they think that. The effect was to restore the balance sheets of all the insolvent institutions that caused the GFC which, in effect, put money in the pockets of super-rich people more expert at causing GFCs than actual productive investment.
The US govt., as you pointed out, as the issuer of a floating fiat currency, has no need for the interest it pays itself on its bonds. It could just create the money without all the legerdemain if it wanted to.
Yes I agree completely. For the KSA statement to be meaningful, they would have to buy a boat load of stuff in the US economy. Same is true for any other foreign holder of reserve accounts with the Fed. Should they actually embark on this course at any meaningful scale to make real their threat, the result would be inflation in the dollar economy. As you say, the only other choices are balance sheet choices that have no affect on the real economy.
Again, I quite agree. To fully “pay off the national debt” would be to liquidate all the privately held dollar wealth in the world: the national debt could be constructively thought of as the inventory of privately held dollar wealth. To eliminate one is to eliminate the other. I think Jim Grant gets this, he just makes his money by telling hard money types what the want to hear.
Donald has a base of people with whom he is very popular. Cruz has a baseload of people with whom he is very popular. Does Clinton have a bigger baseload of people with whom she is very popular? Is her baseload of supporters bigger than the combined baseload of Donald and Cruz supporters would be when added together? Which could happen if the Rparty advances a Trump/Cruz or Cruz/Trump ticket.
A “Rigorous Intuition” blogpost titled Pearl Of Great Price raises the question of what role Pakistan’s ISI or ISI-connected people may have had in the 9/11 attacks. http://rigorousintuition.blogspot.com/2005/03/pearl-of-great-price.html
The Twisted Genius,
Way back during the Watergate period I remember some minor figure quoted as saying: “I would walk over my own grandmother for Richard Nixon.” I too hope that a successful counter-Saudi lawsuit can can back KSA into such a corner that KSA decides ” we ain’t nobody’s grandmother.”
The US govt., as you pointed out, as the issuer of a floating fiat currency, has no need for the interest it pays itself on its bonds.
None. In fact, that ‘interest it pays itself’ on those bonds extinguishes that money from the real economy. Removes it. Because it’s a loop. The ‘earned’ money is being returned to its Creator. God is good!
So the Fed actually reduces the amount of money swilling around the real economy. Like a tax on the American people. That’s what QE did, raising the value of the USD because there were less USD in the real economy as a result. Sure, the seller has his original capital and earned interest back as a result of the Fed buying his treasury security on the open market. But no future earnings for this private sector seller, and the buyer (the Fed) is not part of the private sector, so the money goes bye-bye when it gives it back to the entity that created the money. In 2012—alone—the Fed’s Annual Report said that the Fed returned around $100 billion in earned interest to the US Treasury. To reiterate, that was interest the Fed earned from the treasury securities it bought anonymously on the open market. (The seller did not know he was selling to the Fed.) The Fed was doing every fancy thing it could think of to make up for Congress’s utter inaction on the economy, including the bullshit QE.
ABOUT THE INTEREST PAID ON THOSE TSY BONDS (or TSY NOTES or TSY BILLS) . . . just so everyone knows and aren’t tempted to buy any of Pete Peterson/Peter Schiff’s truly stupid scaremongering horseshit:
As it is, today, the US Treasury asks the Federal Reserve at the end of August–one month before the fiscal year ends–to tally up all the interest the US Treasury will owe for the coming year on its outstanding treasury securities to US and foreign citizens/businesses/governments.
Then the US Treasury issues more treasury securities in the amount of the interest owed for the year and sells them on the open market. No cost to taxpayers. No children or grandchildren involved.
Brain-dead Congress doesn’t know this. But then we elect these uneducated phucks every two years and no one vets them for the operational smarts they need to handle what they’re being elected to do.
And don’t get me started on Jack Lew’s, the Treasury Secretary, or Obama’s ignorance. Fish rot from the head. That’s why we’ve seen no significant recovery.
jsn, if he “gets it,” then he should be saying it and not repeating pre-1933 nonsense that no longer applies in a modern economy.
The TIME Magazine editors don’t know this. As is typical of our six- seven- and eight-figure pundits these days, they know zip. They only know how to rile up the Coliseum before the lions come out.
Should they actually embark on this course at any meaningful scale to make real their threat, the result would be inflation in the dollar economy.
There are only two kinds of inflation: Demand-pull, and Cost-push.
Cost-push is when the cost of an essential commodity rises. Like oil did in the 1970s. Everything is affected from the cost of transportation of food to the cost of getting to work. So prices rise.
Demand-pull is when there are too many dollars in the real economy chasing too few available goods and services. So the price of everything rises. No American reading this blog has ever, ever, ever see this in their lifetime.
the national debt could be constructively thought of as the inventory of privately held dollar wealth.
Exactly, jsn. It’s the nation’s equity.
it’s what we own. Not what we owe.
the US economy is that fragile
No it isn’t. It’s underutilized. We haven’t begun to understand the basis of our possible prosperity. You’re living in a pre-1933 past.
The R+6 has been using strategic bombing for months. Targeting the IS oil and supply infrastructure as well as IS C&C facilities in Raqqa and beyond is strategic bombing. This is done along with the tactical air support of ground operations. I don’t know if cluster munitions figure into Russian fire support. I think thermobaric warheads, especially delivered in mass by rocket artillery would do the trick for creating hell on earth.
i grew up working for my father in a junkyard. As the saying goes, it’s junk until you sell it.
Reading a bit more about it now it does seem as if the proposed bill is strictly limited to 9/11, so I might be wrong about it’s potential use in other matters. I defer to people who know what they are talking about when it comes to legal matters. The fact Rep Walter Jones is a cosponsor gives me a lot of confidence.
I doubt this would have happened if Mr Trump hadn’t made the publication of the 9/11 report an issue.
“I also have to wonder whether laws passed before the coming into force of the current constitution in 1949 are presumed to be constitutionally valid”
It’s StGB § 103 (StGB Criminal/Penal Code)
Dubhaltach, its not the constitution. But tell me how would you be able to create a whole new legal system post 1945? What puzzles me a bit is why Merkel or the administration were supposed to publicly allow to prosecute under this paragraph at all. Matters may have been politicized. I cannot see any hint in the law itself, but I would need to check deeper, and that means I would need to look legal commentaries. But strictly considering there is no hint in the law itself, I doubt it was necessary.
I don’t know the Irish legal system. But yes, obviously our system does not contain Nazi laws any longer. If that’s what’s on your mind. Or the Nazis created their own law from scatch. Yes lots of our laws have a longer legal history. E.g. my mother still needed the consent of her husband to work, which really is against the constitution and abolished only in 1973.
Looking into recent history, or cases in which it was evoked. There was a case in which pope Benedict was evoked in the context of the Christopher street parade and some complained at the police. Apparently Bavara, where the pope comes from. Verdict Munich 2008:
Thus the paragraph itself is not really extinct. It was already seriously modified under (emporor!/caesar?) Kaiser Wilhelm II apparently. There were times when it resulted in life sentences.
To give you two more incidents in which it was evoked.
(if you scroll down: you find links under the header: Rechtsprechung=jurisdiction)
One is a “work law” (Arbeitsrecht) case where the employer wanted to fire an employee from Lebanon, who celebrated in front of the TV set on 9/11: Uttering something along the lines: now they get an idea of what it feels like. The employer failed in this case.
A more recent case (2016) in which it apparently was evoked concerns demonstration laws. Demonstrations have to be registered. In this case a group wanted to demonstrate before the Turkish embassy in Turkey apparently wanting to wear goat masks and citing passages of Böhmermann’s mock poem. Again, I did not check the whole verdict, but trust the reference on juris.org. PLUS: See my comment concerning framing above. Böhmermann framed ‘a real prosecutable insult’, now if you drop the frame and cite whatever is inside the frame, it is a real insult. And by the way, why I wrote Böhmermann not at his best.
Seems the demonstrators cannot do this, not because of §103 but also because an insult is an insult and prosecutable.
And, if you ask, shouldn’t be allowed to do this. More associatively, beyond Tayyip. Admittedly evoked by the intended imagery accompanying the citation of lines from the mock poem. Our new neo-right the Alternative for Germany after their coup against their economic/academic anti-Euro founders (resulting in two new parties) had a jump start above 10% into two recent federal governments over here. According to current polls they have a 12% capacity nationwide. They got elected on one issue: refugees.
Now they have shifted towards Islam not being constitutionally fit for Germany as their central offer to voters. What do they want us to do? Kick out everyone of Muslim faith? Force them to convert or give up their religion. Demolish mosques? Meaning there is a larger political context not only insult, which no doubt should be insult, whoever is insulted. Were have frightening numbers of attacks against refugees including arson against the houses they live. Startling numbers really.
Our neo-Nazi underground targetted small businessmen with a Turkish background, mainly with a Greek one only. …
Again: I have not the slightest idea why Merkel and/or the administration had to decide on the issue. I seriously doubt that every time the paragaph was evoked in, no doubt, rare cases she had to.
That’s a pretty confident statement about the future. I wish I shared your certainty. Should anything like the threat made by KSA be followed through with by any significant trading partner, for them to liquidate their dollar holdings would require them to purchase real goods and services through the dollar denominated sector of the global economy. This would create demand pull inflation.
Hyper inflations have occurred where productive capital stocks have been cut off from the influence of the central bank issuing the currency that capacity is denominated with: Mugabe distributed a modern, efficient agricultural base to his “constituents” who carved it up into subsistence farms, the collapse in production combined with govt price support through purchases to create hyper-I; when France annexed the Ruhr Valey, the collapse in productivity (huge percentage of capital stock expropriated by France) compounded private issues of money in Germany to create hyper-I there; Schacht ended that in weeks by stopping the private issue of money.
NAFTA and MFN for China along with all out other trade deals have pushed the real productive capacity of us capital off shore: anything that cuts our trade links to that off shored capital stock can cut our “productive capacity” and any sustained spend down of reserves held by such trading partners would compound that with all manner of demand pull.
And no, statute by Congress only establishes the terms and procedures under which the govt. issues money and collects taxes, it is the performance of the capital stock and the effectiveness of the tax system over time that establishes the functioning price of money: Nixon tried price controls…
Finally thanks to PL for hosting this exchange. The key point is that what NeoCons do for foreign policy, NeoLibs do for economics: the one has made the nation weaker by alienating our natural allies and fully alienating our “competitors” into adversaries, the other has hollowed out the capital stock of the nation itself and off-shored both the productive capacity and the rewards (see Panama Papers, or better yet look into Delaware, Nevada and other tax have states in the US).
Any way, the case against the Christopher Street Parade’s use of the Pope wearing signs of the queer scene, failed. Or CSP won their case.
The last time it seems to have successfully been evoked in a case was in 1975. When demonstrators complained against their demonstration in front of the Chilean embassy in Bonn carrying signs:
“Italien, Schweden, England, Niederlande – Kein Geld für eine Mörderbande. Warum zahlt die BRD?”
Translation: Italy, Sweden, GB, Netherlands – No money for the killer gang. Why does Germany pay?
The ambassador felt insulted by “killer gang” and called the police. They several times asked the protestors to leave the place. Which they didn’t. After that used respective police law and cleared the place.
The people challenged the legal basis or application of the law by police failed.
“When demonstrators complained against their demonstration in front of the Chilean embassy in Bonn carrying signs:”
Seriously bad prooofreading overall:
Ok the place and the slogan triggering police clearing the place tells you all you need to know about what happenend.
Complained against police interference and that they ended their demonstration, maybe?
It suddenly felt I didn’t add the outcome of the Christopher Street Parade using the pope’s image. While doing that, it felt I should add when on first sight the use of the law was successfully used, in this case by police.
Dubhaltach, hoping I spell this correctly,
what i added on my longer ‘legal’ response (from my own small legal knowledge basis, with a little help from the net. If I was seriously interested I would always check legal libraries! In this case concerning StGB § 103. Thus from the top of my head + the web)
What I added as on my mind more by association while addressing the German legal system or what feels to me the political misuse of the paragraph, when referring to the larger ‘German Mood’, I think this is what Böhmermann refers to here:
Germans on the Rise. Be Deutsch!
In the Mugabe case, from what I have read, a lot of his base are not/ were not even subsistence farmers to begin with. A lot of them were various urban low-life hangers-on. So those efficient production-farms were carved up into not-even subsistence anything at all. Many actual subsistence farmers in Zimbabwe have been persecuted, oppressed, etc. by the ZANU Mugabites.
Most of “we” own very little of the national debt. Most of those Treasury Bonds/Notes/Other Instruments are owned by what President George Herbert Walker Bush once referred to as the “investing classes”. Which means most of the revenue-streams involved in paying back those Treasury Instruments after they have been bought by the investing classes go back up the money-flow ladder to those same investing classes who bought the instruments.
If I am correct about that, then it is THEY who OWN, and WE who OWE. Am I wrong about that?
Allowing private citizens in the U.S. to sue foreign countries in civil courts makes us look like Venezuela. Civil lawsuits of this nature always become Kangaroo courts because the country being sued will not even make an appearance in a U.S. civil court because to do so, even if they have a strong legal defense, is an acknowledgment of the validity of the charge. This is precisely what happened to Iran that resulted in a $10B judgment against them for their alleged complicity in 9/11 in a U.S. district court. They were found guilt because of a ‘vacant defense’ decision. This was a miscarriage of justice.
I hate Saudi Arabia, or at least the house of Saud. I am waiting for the day when they finally get their well deserved comeuppance. However, I would vote against this bill for the reason stated above. It’s bad enough that we currently have a law that allows lawsuits of this nature against ‘terrorist states’ as defined by the U.S. State dept. I would not expand it.
Freezing or seizing assets of foreign countries, if done at all, should be done by elected officials or after some international bodies have made a ruling, but please leave our judicial system out of it. Our judicial system is something that I am actually quite proud of, please don’t take that away.
The redacted pages on the 9/11 report are a totally separate issue, that should have been released yesterday. By all means, that should be released now. I am very sorry to hear about confused_ponderer.
Actually, I didn’t want to discuss this at all.
But “wanted to demonstrate before the Turkish embassy in Turkey”
Concerning the recent demonstration it obviously it wasn’t meant to take place in Turkey but in front of the Turkish embassy in Berlin.
How many further ill-proofreading-errors in my response? If I would care I would register on typepad.
My response overall is that our legal system maybe was bloated up into an affair of the state, AND after that distributed without serious reflection from German media to the larger world, with I suspect too much trust in German media. And, strictly, I do not think this is an example of “the Borg”, as defined here. But may be only reflect a rather common type of lazy thinking.
If my comment series gave you the impression, I am German after all. Well that’s what I am. I would have been satisfied by telling Ulenspiegel I love his response. Without adding my serial ad-hoc responses. Yes the matter makes me mad. About the only emotion I do really experience. Although, maybe sometimes not even this one.
In case of Iran, the Federal Judge could have thrown the case out on any number of legal pretexts.
Tidewater to TTG and All,
Why not give credit where credit is due? The folks who made 9/11 happen ought to be considered YEMENI. They came out of the Southwestern Saudi provinces that are “Greater Yemen.” These provinces are Bahah, Asir, Jizan and Najran. These people are a very different type from the rest of Saudi Arabia. They are a mountain people who resemble the Pushtun Afridi or Waziri of Afghanistan and the Frontier Province. They turn easily to war. They would have killed any potential recruit who smacked of bedu, National Guard training, of being in any way associated with the Saudi government. They hate the Saudi royal family, they hate the central government at Riyadh, they hate the Saudi establishment, and if they acquired power, which is unlikely, they would tax the Saudi one per cent into the ground. They hate the Americans who have invaded Islam. They have been executed for killing Americans in Saudi Arabia. One part of “Greater Yemen”, Asir, was the most important recruiting area in the war against the Russians in Afghanistan. The people of “Greater Yemen” have fought in Chechnya, in the Balkans, in Afghanistan. They have been involved in the attacks on the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The rubber dingy that was used in the USS Cole attack came from the port of Jizan, a place now undergoing enormous change, a tremendous building program, a new industrial city, a new university, credit due here to the Saudi government.
When OBL, from an ancient Yemeni family and tribal group in the Hadramaut, went looking to put the shock troops of 9/11 together, he or his accomplice recruiters drove south. The route was the one his father had built in the 1960’s, Route 15. It took them into high mountains. Surely they stopped at Abha, the capital of Asir, which is 7,900 feet above sea-level. He was looking for men who were willing to die in a martyrdom operation. How did he know that he could find recruits in these mountains? The answer takes one back to 1934. That was when Ibn Saud finally created a unified Saudi Arabia. I have read one figure that says 400,000 people of this region were killed. The record of the Ikwan in the slaughter of inhabitants and looting of conquered cities in Arabia is recent and shocking. After forced annexation came the uprooting of a culture that ran back to 4000 B.C. The long hair that men wore had to be cut, their daggers taken away. The Saudi clerics considered them heretics. The Islam of the mountains had a lot of Sufi in it. The clerics ran their own little Inquisition. They despised the mountain women and their jewelry, coin-ornamented headdresses, the bright colors of their clothing. The women went bare-faced, worked in the fields, talked openly to men, had their own minds about things, and in the end, I think they still do. For years the people of “Greater Yemen” could get no justice in Saudi courts. Underneath, life here held a deep tension and frustration.
This was a burning desire of mountain men from traditional tribes with names like Zahran, Banr Shihr, Qahtan, Utaibah, and many others, for the infliction of tribal revenge and a restoration of tribal honor. I also think these men had been influenced by the muslim thinkers of Al Azhar mosque and University at Cairo. They are not exactly Wahhabi, but are reformers, the kind of reform that would likely stop any change, of course, but the movement has gained a hearing on the question of corruption and inequality and the matter of the Americans. They have been influenced by Sayyid Qutb, for one, who seems to be the only guy of that age to have noticed that “Baby It’s Cold Outside” might be recognized (as by feminists) as the “date-rape anthem.” (The dweeb has had his revenge, no doubt.) Part of their reform movement, the Islamic awakening, is called Sabwa. It stems in part from the religous instruction the younger brother of Sayyid Qutb, Mohammed, gave to a cleric named Safar al-Hawali. My point is that all this resonates in the mountains, and surely the 9/11 team knew of Safar and of the Islamic Awakening.
The so-called “muscle men” of the 9/11 attack –or at least some fifteen out of nineteen of them–most of them, then–all came either from “Greater Yemen” or from Yemen. How could that not be significant! How could that not be revealing evidence as to their thinking, background, and intent?
The men of the south-western mountains had found in OBL a leader, one of their own ilk, one with a blood-line like theirs which ran back deeply into Yemeni history. The Shaykh was what they had been waiting for forever. They served him to the death. The blow they struck was not just aimed at the great Jewish world capital of New York city, or at America. It was also aimed at the corrupt, collaborating Saudi government. I am a little surprised that noone in the Committee has pointed this out. It doesn’t make any sense to me,if you look at Arabian history, to believe that the government of Saudi Arabia would wittingly involve itself in any attack on the United States. True, there are seven thousand Princes, and some of these are might somehow have been in the background. That does not a government operation make. I rather think, as in the Cole case, as is suspected, that it is within the realm of possibility that a commerical family could have done the bankrolling. (It would be dangerous, a capital crime.) Somehow, I don’t think that OBL lacked for money for the operation.
The pragmatists in the Saudi leadership have all grown up knowing the one great reality of Saudi Arabia that harks back to Ibn Saud and the violently religious Ikwan and mullahs: THAT THEY HAVE A TIGER BY THE TAIL. However, the change they have wrought in Saudi Arabia is beyond belief. And change is not stopping. (If curious, please take a look at what I stumbled upon today–some YouTube (and other) presentations of what is being done at what was once a scruffy little port at Jizan.) I sometimes wonder: is it possible that Saudi Arabia is a hidden revolutionary country. Remember Frederick Lewis Allen’s “Only Yesterday?” In which he pointed out the effect of the automobile on young America.:) Change is happening, you just don’t see it.
I have just ordered the hot new book in Saudi Arabia, which is called “The Girls of Riyadh.”
I wonder what Huma thinks of it. (Huma has nice frocks.) Hmmmm. Wonder what part of Saudi Arabia she’s from?
I also think the damage has been done. London will become the world’s financial center. And China, as Godard once said, is near.
Didn’t a judge in New York just award billions of dollars of Iranian assets to a claimant, on the charge that Iran was involved in 9/11?
If a US court can plunder Iran’s assets, it can do so to anyone, is that not so?
Perhaps Netanyahu should be employed to lobby the Congress to vote for this bill. Congress always does what Bibi says.
Thanks, very informative.
Qutb was influential among Iranian religious thinkers.
I read that Ayatollah Khomeini had translated one of his books but he never seemed to have mentioned Qutb in any of his writings or speeches – possibly because he had left Qutb’s traditionalism (as far as I understood his ideas) far behind.
There was even a stamp commemorating his death issued by the Iranian government a few years ago.
Milestones, his life’s work, may be found here
Nothing in this you don’t know but Fisk is widely followed:
If I am correct about that, then it is THEY who OWN, and WE who OWE. Am I wrong about that?
Treasury securities are simply a savings mechanism for the private sector. If you wanted to, you could go to the US Treasury website right now and exchange $1,000 in your bank account for one. Online. IT’S YOUR MONEY IN A TREASURY SECURITY FORMAT. That’s all.
All you’re doing, technically, is banking with the federal government. Because it guarantees you will get it back with interest, which your commercial bank cannot do if the amount is over $250,000.. Why so many lost their retirements in 2008.
Now, because of the interest the US Treasury pays on them–an idea they came up with during WWI to protect the nation’s gold supply, long story…just take my word for it–that money has to come from somewhere.
Where does it come from? The US Treasury figures out annually how much interest will be owed on all the outstanding treasury securities for the coming year. Then it creates more treasury securities–yaaas, ‘out of thin air’ as all US dollars are–and offers, or sells, those at auction. Treasury securities sell in nanoseconds.
The daily traded treasury securities market is around $750 billion. Incidentally, that’s the amount Saudi Arabia is threatening to unleash on the world, big whoop. The treasury securities market is huge. Everyone wants them. Of course, these are the “marketable securities,” as treasury securities are called, because they are tradable.
There are non-marketable (meaning not transferable) securities. The smaller and more well-known are things like Grandma’s Savings Bonds. Grandma gives the federal government $25 and she gets a Savings Bond for her grandson’s graduation in his name. No revenue stream required to pay that back. No different than the marketable securities.
Instead of buying a CD from Chase Bank, you’re buying it from the federal government. But when you buy a “CD” from the federal government, your money is guaranteed. Had all those people who kept their retirement incomes in their local bank, and who lost any money in excess of $250,000 in late 2008 when their bank went belly-up as mine did, had they invested in treasury securities, they would still have their retirements. That’s why treasury securities are known as the safest financial instruments in the world, even with their low yields. But people don’t think big banks are going to go belly-up, so they opt for the higher yields that stocks or options bring them.
Did your father view the money he got paid “junk” until he spent it?
Most of “we” own very little of the national debt.
Every penny in your bank account and your pocket right now, this minute, is part of the “national debt.”
@jsn, the last time we came close to a demand-pull inflation was after WWII. The fully-employed economy had bank accounts straining with saved dollars, and a commodity shortage because of the war and rations. Why they introduced a 90% tax for the 1%, etc. Allowing the workerbees to spend their money on new goods and services created the middle class and great prosperity for Americans.
Mugabe’s hyper-inflation was the result of his foreign reserve problems and payments.
And Obama wants to veto the 9/11 bill? See https://twitter.com/tparsi/status/722777069931859968
Would someone please dig up Andrew Jackson. He’s needed right now.
“[T]he national debt could be constructively thought of as the inventory of privately held dollar wealth. To eliminate one is to eliminate the other.”
The national debt is simply the cumulative total of government deficits. Private-sector wealth needn’t be tied to it in any significant way.
During the 1800s, for example, before government became a significant factor in the US economy, and before the advent of central banking, federal debt tended to be
paid down fairly quickly. In 1792, it equalled 34% of GDP, by 1835, 0%. During this period, real per capita GDP (in 2009 dollars) increased from about $1200-$2000. Similarly, the post civil war federal debt of 32% of GDP was by 1890 down to 10%. Real per capita GDP went from $3200-$5500.
“Demand-pull is when there are too many dollars in the real economy chasing too few available goods and services. So the price of everything rises. No American reading this blog has ever, ever, ever see this in their lifetime.”
Really? From 1900-2000, the US CPI increased from 25 to 515. By way of comparison, from 1800-1900, it fell from 51 to 25.
Yes and no.
I didn’t say private sector wealth, I said private sector dollar denominated debt. Since the establishment of the Fed, the national debt has been the inventory of dollar held wealth including bonds and cash held by non-US govt entities. A bunch is held by foreign govts etc but if it’s dollars it was first spent by the US govt or its counterfeit, and if its on the Fed balance sheet its not counterfeit.
Real wealth is a totally different thing from dollar wealth: its real, the dollar’s fiat. The mechanics of money in the US before the Fed, and even more, before the Civil War was more analogous to today’s third world and the conditions of govt debt and surplus had a very different meaning. Same was true before the Bank of England was invented in England. Note BOE and first US dollar issuance were to fight wars, Louis the XVI and The Civil War respectively
meant to say “dollar denominated wealth” at the end of the second sentence…oops
Sorry to be so slow in replying, jsn.
You say “if it’s dollars it was first spent by the US govt or its counterfeit”. Not really. Outside of money proper (i.e. the monetary base created by the Fed), “money” in the US came into being as a consequence of loans (or security purchases) made by banks.
Were the system structured differently, it’s true that the US government could directly spend money into existence but that’s not how it functions now. The Federal government does its spending and receives its revenues through its General Account at the NY Fed, and that account must always be in credit. To ensure that it is, the Fed where necessary (in cooperation with the Treasury) auctions securities to the market or buys them itself.
“The mechanics of money in the US before the Fed, and even more, before the Civil War was more analogous to today’s third world and the conditions of govt debt and surplus had a very different meaning.”
I don’t think that’s quite right, jsn. Third World countries today also operate with fiat currencies and central banks. Nor did government debt and surpluses/deficits really have a different meaning back then. The only substantial difference is that the dollar is fiat nowadays and therefore the various constraints that existed under the gold standard no longer apply.