Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Sarasota Saudis

A disturbing story that's being covered by the relentless Freedom of Information Act pursuit of Broward Bulldog: it seems some Saudis living in Sarasota moved out of their home very abruptly and suspiciously, not even bothering to pack clothing, jewelry and even leaving behind their cars. Why suspiciously? Because their unplanned exodus occurred about two weeks before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The latest documents obtained by the Broward Bulldog enter an even deeper maze of intrigue and weirdness, making oblique references to an "antagonist" from, of all places, Jerusalem.

According to an FBI report dated April 2002, the Tampa FBI office...

"...has determined that [redacted] is an antagonist of the United States of America. [redacted] resides in Jerusalem. [redacted] allegedly has held regular and recurring meetings at his residence to denounce and criticize the United States of America and its policies. [redacted] is allegedly an international businessman with great wealth." In November 2001, [redacted] visited the United States for the first time. He traveled to Sarasota, Florida, opened a bank account and made initial queries into the purchase of property in south central Florida. [redacted] intends to establish a Muslim compound in Central Florida. [redacted] revealed that [redacted] is fearful of [redacted] and fears that [redacted] intends to begin offensive operations against the United States if he is able to purchase property and establish a Muslim compound in Central Florida."

There follows three more lines which are redacted completely. The redacted parts aren't due to be declassified until 2039.

In 2012, the Broward Bulldog sued the FBI after being denied access to files on their once-secret investigation of the Sarasota Saudis: Abdulaziz al-Hijji, his wife, Anoud, and her father Esam Ghazzawi, (who lived on Longboat Key, ran a design company, and was somehow an advisor to a Saudi prince.) The documents obtained via FOIA state that the al-Hijjis fled the U.S., leaving everything behind, shortly before 9/11. The documents also state that further investigation had "revealed many connections" between them and persons associated with 9/11. Photographs of license plates showed Mohamed Atta, other hijackers and former Broward resident and current al-Qaeda fugitive Adnan Shukrijumah had visited the al-Hijji's home in the Prestancia gated community in Sarasota.

And according to wtfrly, there's another disturbing element of the investigation - which was kept secret from the public and even from congressional hearings - dated Halloween 2001:

Deputies were called after a man with a Tunisian passport was observed disposing of items in a dumpster behind a storage facility he had rented in Bradenton.

The man’s name is blanked out, but the report says authorities who searched the dumpster found “a self-printed manual on terrorism and Jihad, a map of the inside of an unnamed airport, a rudimentary last will and testament, a weight to fuel ratio calculation for a Cessna 172 aircraft, flight training information from the Flight Training Center in Venice [Fla.] and printed maps of Publix shopping centers in Tampa Bay.”

The Flight Training Center is where 9/11 hijack pilot Ziad Jarrah, who was at the controls of United Airlines Flight 93 when it crashed in Shanksville, Pa, took flying lessons.

So, to summarize, the Bush administration, infamous for its ultra-chumminess with Saudi Arabia (Bush was seen bizarrely taking diplomacy to unheard-of levels holding hands with Saudi King Abdullah and kissing him), kept secret the facts about these suspicious characters, their connections to 9/11 conspirators, and their activities in Florida.

If anything ever became of these investigations, we don't know. This occurred, it's worth noting, during the time when the President's brother Jeb was Governor of Florida.

Like the odd protection the Bushes have given to Florida serial killers, the odd protection given to Florida persons of interest in 9/11 may not mean a thing. But then again, it might. Thanks to the revelations of the Broward Bulldog, a group representing 6,600 relatives of 9/11 victims is now calling on the FBI to come clean about what the heck is really going on here. The FBI under President Obama (who didn't kiss King Abdullah but made an uncharacteristically submissive bow to him) seems just as eager to forget the whole thing as it did under President Bush.

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