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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

February 08, 2003

Gabrielle Goldwater and the Saudis

Gabrielle Goldwater has been mentioned on this site in the past. Gabrielle e-mails her material to subscribers several times daily: some of it is for information, some action-oriented and calls for letter-writing. A recent e-mail sent to subscribers concerned Gabrielle’s correspondence with the Saudi embassy in the US.

This drama began on February 5, 2003, when the Washington Post ran a story concerning the fact that the Saudi embassy in the US assisted in the escape of a witness associated with a terrorism case:
The Saudi embassy quietly provided the wife of a terror suspect a passport and transit out of the United States in November, after she was subpoenaed to testify before a federal grand jury in New York investigating her husband's possible links to the al Qaeda terrorist network, diplomatic and law enforcement sources said.

Federal law enforcement officials were outraged by the Saudi action, saying the move impeded their investigation. State Department officials, who had objected to the woman's departure without clearance from the FBI, expressed surprise at the move as well...

Ali S. Marri, a native of Saudi Arabia and a citizen of Qatar, is charged with lying to the FBI about phone calls he allegedly made in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks to a number in United Arab Emirates that belonged to a suspected al Qaeda operative. The operative, Mustafa Ahmed Hawsawi, allegedly received calls from several of the Sept. 11 terrorists and managed a bank account they used...

The Saudi government has insisted it is cooperating fully with the United States in its war on terrorism, but law enforcement officials have described that assistance as erratic at best. The U.S. government contends, for example, that Saudis must do more to crack down on charities that funnel money to terrorist groups, including al Qaeda.

In December, the Saudis were embarrassed by disclosures that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi ambassador to the United States, and his wife had provided charitable funds to Saudis in this country who aided and befriended two of the Sept. 11 terrorists.
The next day, February 6, Gabrielle Goldwater e-mailed the Saudi embassy (copied to other parties) a strong protest, underscoring the fact that assisting in a witness’ escape constituted obstruction of the judicial process in the US, especially in a serious case involving terrorism.

Coincidentally, as the facts of the case became public, the Saudi embassy issued a well-crafted press release, dated February 5, which is quoted below in full:

For Immediate Release

February 5, 2003

Statement Regarding Saudi Cooperation With FBI Investigation

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reaffirms its cooperation with U.S. law enforcement authorities on matters related to terrorism investigation. In regard to the issue involving Mrs. Maha Almarri, which was reported in the Washington Post today, Saudi Arabia assured the United States in a formal communication that Mrs. Almarri will be made available to U.S. authorities, should they wish to interview her.

U.S. authorities, following the questioning and later arrest of her husband on charges of making false statements, had prevented Mrs. Almarri and her five children from leaving the U.S. During that time, according to her attorney, she was never questioned by authorities nor given information about the time that would be required to remain in the U.S. In addition, the Grand Jury that originally issued a subpoena for her appearance had recessed.

During this ten-month period, with no contact from the FBI, the Saudi Embassy made numerous inquiries to the U.S. government about allowing her to return to her family in Saudi Arabia. Mrs. Almarri had no money or means of economic support. She was suffering from Grave's disease and was in need of medical attention. Her children could not attend schools. To prevent Mrs. Almarri from rejoining her family for such a long period of time is unreasonable and unjust.

Following numerous communications, which did not elicit any response, the Embassy allowed Mrs. Almarri to return to Saudi Arabia, subject to being available for interviews by U.S. officials. She is still awaiting word from U.S. authorities in regard to any questions she can answer to aid in any investigation. The Saudi government stands ready to facilitate any such request.
Gabrielle reacted to the Saudi press release with the following e-mail:
To The Saudi Embassy

Your press release doesn't excuse your interference with U.S. legal authorities, nor your intentional removal of a prime witness from U.S. jurisdiction, by helping such [a] person to flee the USA...

This is not what one calls "cooperation" with the war against terrorism, but actually helping terrorism...

A witness that is under subpoena, has to be ready on any date and time the Court requires to give evidence in the matter [under] question...

You... acted deliberately, preventing legal "discovery" and "disclosure" in a terrorist related case.

You are a third party to an illegal act, in preventing discovery of terrorism that was committed.

Your actions were a deliberate act trying to squash knowingly any legal investigation by the U.S. Authorities...

This press release isn't going to pull [the] wool over anyone's eyes. The excuses in [given in the press] release are the usual type of Saudi language, and [it was issued] only after Saudis were caught red-handed in a deliberate act to cover up terrorism.

Ms. G. Goldwater
Switzerland, Geneva

It would appear that Gabrielle Goldwater’s blunt language got the message across, for the Saudi response came fast and furious (remember, this is an embassy responding!):

That is simply your opinion Ms. Goldwater. The US government has not accused Saudi Arabia of the things you accuse it of. And since you are neither a citizen of Saudi Arabia, nor a citizen of the United States, I think you are sticking your nose where it does not belong. In other words - butt out.
To this Saudi e-mail, Gabrielle responded as follows:

February 8th, 2003

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for your response to my e-mail. I have been corresponding with embassies for years, and never have I encountered such rudeness as that which has come out of your embassy.

You will allow me, I am sure, to post your response on the net, for all to see the level of courtesy extended by the Saudi legation.

I should point out the obvious: the US is the leader of the free world of which I am part; therefore, the steps taken by Saudi Arabia against the US in this case are steps taken against me, and it is indeed my business.

Once again I must reiterate that the linguistic skills of those who worded your press release may be ranked as highly professional, but they deceive nobody and my accusations stand. Specifically, as I have stated, in the eyes of the public you “acted deliberately, preventing legal discovery and disclosure in a terrorist related case.”

Sincerely yours,
Ms. G. Goldwater
Switzerland, Geneva

More of Gabrielle Goldwater’s material may be found on the web at Gabrielle Golwater's Reports. To subscribe (free) to Gabrielle’s e-mail, contact her at .

Contributed by Joseph Alexander Norland. This piece is cross-posted on IsraPundit and Dawson Speaks.