Stop cozying up to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in NJ (Opinion)
The LIV tour has begun this weekend in Bedminster at the Trump National Golf Course. The tournament is bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, and has led many golfers to leave the PGA and join LIV for some very lucrative paychecks.
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long been criticized for their violations of human rights. Most notably their connections with the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which they have never taken accountability for.
The kingdom has also played a prominent role in the war in Yemen, which has killed over half a million people and has led even more to the brink of starvation.
There is also major concern about the growing Chinese influence within the region.
Partnering with the Saudi Kingdom for a golf tournament in one of the areas most affected by the kingdom's terror on 9/11 is not a good look for Trump's “America First” campaign. When confronted by reporters he went on to say, “Nobody has gotten to the bottom of 9/11”
Trump has clearly changed his mind in the past few months, let’s look back at some comments from Trump about 9/11:
In 2016, Trump suggested Saudi Arabia was behind 9/11, he said to the team at Fox & Friends, “Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi — look at Saudi Arabia, open the documents”
Here is Donald Trump the day of 9/11 calling into WWOR/UPN 9 News discussing how he witnessed the attacks from his window:
And what about this interview of him from 2 days after 9/11 standing at Ground Zero.
Oh, don’t forget about him speaking and honoring the victims of 9/11 in Shanksville, PA in 2018.
How can the man in all these videos, Donald Trump, now support and accept money from the same kingdom that brought this level of terror to the American people and onto American soil?
Many of these families affected live in the direct vicinity of the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster. I went to Ridge High School in Basking Ridge and off the top of my head I can name several of my peers who lost their parent in 9/11. This is a community heavily impacted, and it is the absolute worst place to be holding this tournament. I recently reached out to Terry Strada, who is the National Chair for 9/11 Families United and she shared with me her speech from the protest:
"On September 11, 2001, after nearly three hours of unprecedented terror by 19 Saudi-funded terrorists, Bedminster and surrounding towns came together in extraordinary ways. 750 innocent people from NJ were brutally murdered, leaving over 1,000 children in our towns without a parent, including my three who were seven, four, and four days old.
Friends, neighbors, and strangers embraced our suffering and helped us maneuver through our devastation and pain.
Now, 20 years later, I am appalled to be standing here speaking about professional golfers’ offensive—disrespectful—hurtful participation in “sports washing” and how their new partner, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman, is exploiting them to improve the Saudi Kingdom’s image in the U.S. by associating the Kingdom with a respected and time-honored sport to distract attention from its role in unleashing extremism on the world, terrorizing our children, murdering our loved ones, and injuring thousands of survivors.
Ignoring our pleas not to betray their countrymen and our warnings about their new paymaster’s indefensible goals—that is, to launder the Kingdom’s reputation by erasing its gruesome history and evade accountability for the damage that history caused—these defectors have left the PGA Tour to become part of the Kingdom’s team in manipulating public opinion and complicit in those goals.
To those players who have ignorantly toed the Kingdom’s line, speaking from their talking points asking the public to focus on “what the Saudis are doing now” or calling the allegations against the Kingdom “tenuous at best”, you have become mouthpieces for the Kingdom, and perfect examples of how sportswashing works…erase the sins of guilty nations.
LIV Golf is not about sports or about good competition among worthy competitors, it is a multi-billion-dollar public-relations stunt, bought and paid for by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. By joining LIV, players have shamelessly partnered with the very country that U.S. intelligence reports prove had numerous connections to the attacks on September 11, 2001:
Speaking of those intelligence reports, if you truly want to understand why we are so angered and hurt by what these LIV golfers are doing, and by every U.S. Administration since 9/11, including most recently the current one, you need to start looking at the proof that’s right here in black and white
It’s true that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, but we’ve known that fact since Sept.11th. Now, there is PROOF OF THE KINGDOM’S COMPLICITY, EVIDENCED IN SEVERAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY RECENT DECLASSIFED DOCUMENTS, AND IT IS THE JOB OF YOU, THE MEDIA TO REPORT THESE FACTS WHICH I AM GOING TO GET INTO SOME OF THEM RIGHT NOW, STRAIGHT FROM ACTUAL U.S. INTELLIGENCE REPORTS WHICH ARE NOW MOSTLY AVAILABLE ON AN FBI WEBSITE CONFIRMING FOR EXAMPLE AND I QUOTE:
• A “Saudi(Wahhabi)/Sa-la-fi/militant network … was created, funded, directed, and supported by the [Kingdom of Saudi Arabia] and its affiliated organizations and diplomatic personnel within the U.S.” 
• “Saudi government officials and intelligence officers were directly operating and supporting the entities involved with this network” 
• Because the Kingdom’s officials and intel officers were involved with the activities of these networks, they had the knowledge or approval of the Kingdom’s government. 
While I cannot summarize it all here today, I hope to pique your interest to learn more and report on it emphatically.
Just for example, from these documents:
• We know that … One of the Saudi agents, Omar Al Bayoumi, who helped two of the first arriving hijackers, worked for the Kingdom’s spy agency, the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency, or GIP, and was paid monthly by then-Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar bin Sultan al Saud. 
• We know that … Musaed al Jarrah, “a Saudi diplomat assigned to the [Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC]” , a known GIP officer within the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs [3487-3488], and “a high level employee in the Islamic Affairs Office” , was heavily involved with the movement and support of what was termed “the Saudi Salafi network within the U.S.” and had a "controlling, guiding and directing influence on all aspects of Sunni extremist activity in Southern California” which included members of the 9/11 hijacker support network in Southern California. [3496-3497]
• Jarrah has long been reported to be the Saudi official who tasked Bayoumi and another Saudi official, Fahad al Thumairy, with aiding two of the early arriving hijackers to acclimate and get settled on their arrival. The newly disclosed documents confirm that Jarrah directed and controlled Thumairy’s activities. 
• We know that … Fahad al Thumairy, described as a “hard-core extremist” , was a Saudi imam at the King Fahad Mosque in Culver City, California, who held Saudi diplomatic credentials, was employed at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles and listed as employed in a Saudi office at the Embassy in Washington, DC, where Jarrah was located.  The evidence continues to show that he worked with Bayoumi and others in the Saudi Sa-la-fi network operating in Southern California to aid the AQ hijackers.
• We know that – In late 1999, while two of the early arriving hijackers, who were at the time known AQ operatives, were in Kuala Lumpur [see 3485], Thumairy received a call from Malaysia to the King Fahad Mosque asking for Thumairy specifically. The call is described as being about “the imminent arrival” of those two early arriving hijackers, indicating that Thumairy was given a heads up that two AQ operative hijackers were on their way to the U.S., while Thumairy insisted he had not known who they were in advance of their arrival.
• From another report, we know that documents seized from Bayoumi’s home include a notebook that contain a drawing of a plane with flight calculations that one aviation expert told the FBI were, in his opinion, “used as part of the preparations of the al Qaeda terrorists to carry out the 9/11 attacks.”
• The reports are also filled with information about the financial and logistical support of the Saudi state-run so-called charities toward AQ and other violent extremists targeting the U.S.
In fact, one of the documents, with a title that includes “Connections to the Attacks of September 11, 2001,” written just one year ago, dated July 23, 2021, is a bit of “one-stop shopping” for collecting a number of data points. The purpose of this 131-page document is “to consolidate information related to the involvement of personnel and entities controlled by the Saudi Arabian Government (SAG), the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (EKSA) and its affiliates within the United States with the attacks of September 11, 2001.” .
Consider starting your reading there and help us tell the truth.
Again, I cannot stand here today and cover everything we know from these documents. But rather than accept the Kingdom’s empty and repeated assurances that there IS nothing there—which it seems LIV golfers may have done—I encourage all of you, please, to look at least a bit deeper. The information is there but you are not reporting on it nearly enough for the public to benefit from it. You, the media, have an obligation here to make sure that this history is reported and preserved—not buried in whitewashing.
How can I shame the shameless PGA defectors? Maybe by pointing out when you agree to join LIV Golf you are partaking in the Kingdom’s effort to cleanse their responsibility for:
• The murder of Christine Lee Hanson, the youngest victim on 9/11 who was just two years old…killed on United flight 175 traveling to Disney Land with her mother and father
• Or maybe consider that that just 50 miles from where they will tee off on Friday, is a National Museum on hallowed ground ensuring visitors from around the world “Never Forget” and a repository safeguarding charred remains of 40% of the victims who have never been identified or returned home for a proper burial, including my husband, Tom Strada.
If you erase the truths about the Kingdom’s culpability in 9/11, what lessons are you purging for a generation who wasn’t alive when their country was attacked? Is teaching our youth that blood money in the hundreds of millions is more important than values, integrity, hard work, and the safety and security of our sovereign state really what you want your legacy to be?
Then there is LIV Golf’s woefully uninformed leadership, Greg Norman, who shocked many of us when he grotesquely minimalized murder as being “just a mistake” the Kingdom made.
To you, Mr. Norman, and the LIV Golf players, I invite you to meet with the 9/11 community—the families of those murdered and the scores of injured survivors—so you can share your explanation as to why the Saudis’ murder of our loved ones and the maiming of scores more were “just a mistake”. In return, we would like to share with you, why we consider it to be much more.
Finally, my disappointment in the PGA defectors and leadership of LIV Golf is matched now by my disappointment in each Administration since September 11 as I witness the steady decline of America’s position in its relationship with the Kingdom. By allowing the Kingdom to continue operating with impunity, unchallenged about its violations of the sanctity of human life, past and present Presidents—from both political parties—have failed us all.
The most recent disappointment from an American Administration follows President Biden’s trip to the Kingdom. Now, President Biden needs to right the wrongs he recently committed by omitting 9/11 accountability from his recent meeting with the Crown Prince and retake the role as leader in the relationship with the Kingdom, act where others failed and hold the Kingdom accountable for the atrocities committed on mankind on September 11 and close this painful chapter in our lives. He owes us that."
I’d like the golfers and Trump to look this woman, Terry Strada, along with all the other survivors and loved ones of those we lost in 9/11, directly in their eyes and tell them to their faces that they stand by their decision to play in this tournament and take Saudi Arabian money.
If you really want to know what Phil Mickelson would do when asked about it, check out how he responded when this reporter brought up Terry’s letter:
Reporter Mike Kelly from northjersey.com was able to ask some of the golfers, "what about 9/11?", click here to see what they had to say.
But this doesn’t just fall on Trump and the golfers as Terry Strada mentions. Biden just visited Saudi Arabia and greeted Mohammed bin Salman with a fist bump and continued to discuss oil production with them. The Wall Street Journal called his visit, “worse than an embarrassment” in their headline.
What is it going to take for our government and now prominent figures, including golfers, to hold the kingdom of Saudi Arabia accountable?
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5's Jordan Jansson. Any opinions expressed are her own.