Russ Baker discusses the release of the infamous ‘“28 pages” that link high-ranking Saudi officials to the 9/11 attacks. But instead of answering all questions, the redacted document raises more.
Here’s Denver radio host Peter Boyles in conversation with WhoWhatWhy Editor-in-Chief Russ Baker about the release of the long-withheld “28 Pages.”
This dangerously revealing portion of the congressional 9/11 report addresses evidence that members of the Saudi royal family and government may have provided direct support to the 9/11 hijackers.
It’s an explosive topic that has been swept under the rug by the media. And judging by all the censoring blacks marks slashing through these pages, the sweeping continues.
Here’s a lively and blunt conversation that takes stock of what’s what.
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Full Text Transcript:
Peter Boyles: Our friend Russ Baker joins us. Russ, good morning and welcome back to Denver Colorado 710KNUS.
Russ Baker: Good morning. Great to be here.
Peter Boyles: So when they called them they released 28 pages and… By the way, please, I should’ve asked you to do this: do a quick bio so people know who you are if they’ve not heard you before.
Russ Baker: Sure. I’m an investigative journalist. I am the author of a book called Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years. It’s a book I spent five years on trying to investigate historical research on the background to the rise of the Bush family and Rumsfeld and Cheney and the whole complex related to it. That book came out a number of years ago and it is still selling very, very well because it explains a lot about what is going on today in our country. I’m also the founder of a nonprofit news organization called whowhatwhy.org and we specialize in doing reporting on stories or on angles that the media generally do not cover.
Peter Boyles: Recently I’ve read two books and I thought quite a bit of you. Have you read Assassin’s Gate?
Russ Baker: I have not.
Peter Boyles: Please, have you read The Rise of the Balkans?
Russ Baker: No. I have to tell you what my problem is. It’s a fundamental problem. I am working on another book right now about the assassination of John F. Kennedy and I have on my shelf something like 300 books on that subject alone and I’ve started to use the expression “you either read books or you write them.” I don’t really mean that but there literally are so many good books coming out so fast I simply don’t know how to process all of it and so, believe it or not, I rely on you and a whole network of other people to direct me to what they think are the key revelations from some of these things and that’s how I’m able to stitch so much stuff together.
Peter Boyles: They’re companions to you. You know I think of books as companion books, and The Rise of the Balkans is such a damning book and Assassin’s Gate is a further damning book. In 2002, George W. Bush suppresses an entire chapter of the Congressional Joint Inquiry that was dubbed the 9/11 Commission Report. The chapter that focused on the details about the financing of 9/11 and they made all these promises to declassify those pages and Barack Obama maintained suppression. We’ve talked about it. We’ve been lucky enough to have Senator Graham on numbers of people who spoke about this. I was out of the country and the 28 pages dropped, I came home and in fact those recently released 28 pages, the inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, when you read them, what do you see?
Russ Baker: Well, first of all you see two things. Number one, you see significant redactions. We’re talking about redactions on a redaction and that’s significant, obviously. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to Senator Graham. One of the things we talked about, and we wrote an article on this on Whowhatwhy, was the astonishing fact that his continued efforts over the years to get these pages released and more importantly to try to get the country to follow up on what happened and what this all means, that he himself, this is a former Governor of Florida, former U.S. Senator from Florida, former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, that he tells this astonishing story where he arrived in Washington at the airport, surprised to be met by an FBI agent insisting to follow him. They took him to a marked room and in there he was confronted by what he described as a very, very senior FBI agent who was either the director or the number two person who then basically told him to stop sticking his nose into these affairs. To me and the history of this country, that is a significant event.
Peter Boyles: No I agree. I mean I think Senator Graham hung the moon. He has been so accessible to us. When I got onto the story, he never once said “No, I won’t do your show.” He was as open and as honest as he could be. When he appeared on 60 Minutes, it was really a significant moment. So when I got home, when everything settled down, I went on the internet and the first thing that struck me: even though the claim is we’ve released the 28 pages, they have not! Again, the redactions continue and I mean it’s despicable. It is absolutely despicable and the Bush family again dances away. Dick Cheney dances away. I watched these people. Rumsfeld dances away, Wolfowitz dances away, but you see the connections. Principally between what I’m able to read is Prince Bandar bin Sultan and other members of the royal family financed and actively aided the hijackers prior and right up to the day of 9/11. Am I reading that one right?
Russ Baker: Well, I think so. I have a sort of unusual approach to the way that I do investigative journalism and I think that it’s true for our organization Whowhatwhy as well. We realize that we inhabit a hall of mirrors and so we look at things that we see and we know what we see is important but we’re not always sure what to make of it and so what you say appears to be absolutely correct. I always do a little bit of chess playing on these things; I always try to kind of play them out and I try to put myself in the shoes of the various key figures. So one of the things I try to think about is try to imagine what was going through various people’s minds because certainly if I were Prince Bandar and any of these other guys and I realize that this is going to play out this way, I can’t imagine with hindsight that he would see this as favorable for himself, which then raises all kinds of interesting questions. I mean I think they certainly knew these people and they were giving funding and this is very, very important as you point out. We can talk a little bit about the particular individuals who are described in this Congressional Report. And by the way, let me do this: let’s hold that point for a second and if it’s okay Peter, let’s go back a second and frame this for folks who may not be all that familiar with it. After 9/11, there actually were two different inquiries, if you want to call them inquiries. One was mandated by Congress and it was the Joint Inquiry that you’re talking about and it included the leading members from the Democratic Republican Party of the Senate and House Intelligence Committee –
Peter Boyles: And it’s also important to remind people that George Bush and Dick Cheney did not want this report done.
Russ Baker: Well, that’s right. And they didn’t want the Congressional Report done, and then they created their own so- called Official 9/11 Inquiry. It was a little bit of a mirror, so you had instead of Senators and House members, you had former Senators and House members. And then you had Philip Zelikow who was the executive director of the Commission, and because I’m working on a book now about the Kennedy assassination, I’m very, very interested in commissions. I’ve been taking quite a close look at the Warren Commission, which similarly was appointed by a president and it was supposed to get to the bottom of things but very clearly had a mandate to wrap things up and well, they didn’t want to but they couldn’t even if they wanted to. It’s interesting, Peter, because when you read the transcripts and you read some of the letters and notes and things that even those people who understood that their job, like a lot of these corporate inquiries where a corporation says we’re going to investigate ourselves, was just to give them a clean bill of health and to obfuscate and try to not make things worse but also make it appear as if they had looked into things and cleaned things up. In all these inquiries, usually there are people who feel bad about being stooges and so they struggle to try to do something and in the case of the Congressional, the so-called Official 9/11 Inquiry, there was at least one investigator who probably tried to pursue, say this Saudi funding angle and was slapped down. We know that even the commissioners themselves on the Official 9/11 Inquiry, even they complained about it. There’s a very interesting quote from former Senator Bob Carey of Nebraska and he talks about how they weren’t allowed to know what happened. Just to kind of get back to the history. So you had the report from the Congressional Inquiry where that was released with all of these pages, about 28, 29 pages, redacted. And then you had the other inquiry: the 9/11 Commission and the reports that were publicized were rather bland and they both said things to the effect that neither the Saudi government as an entity or any major officials and blah-blah-blah had anything to do with this stuff. The U.S. government has a whole blah-blah-blah and it’s all lawyers through the whole program, parsing that kind of thing. In any case, many years passed now and an event took place – by the way, there were little bits here and there that came out in the news about connections between, I know you’ve done many shows on this, but connections between the alleged hijackers and various individuals, particularly in California where there were interactions between them, and of course this goes to the heart of what the Congressional Joint Inquiry looked at …
Peter Boyles: Pause so I could reset. If you’re just joining us, it is sixteen after the hour. It’s going to be another hot day in Denver. While I was away, the so called 28 pages dropped, but it wasn’t what you expected – the 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission. And it really isn’t anything where you can say this is new, because once again the black pen is used. And so you can see a clearer picture, but you can’t see this. You can’t read what I believe to be true and I’m using words like believe. Russ Baker is our guest; I’m a big fan of his work. If you listen to people like Walter Jones who’s a Republican from North Carolina and the man that we both just think hung the moon: Senator Bob Graham, and if you listen to what these men say, who actually read the 28 pages, you cannot, neither can I. What’s interesting is that there’s nothing to see here now, position that’s been staked out by big media and politicians that somehow this entire 28 pages is now available for you to read, it’s not. I’m a big fan of Russ’s work and people have always liked the term “shadow government.” Bandar Bush, and that’s the name that Barbara Bush gave Prince Bandar, but it goes back to one of the most significant guys: Omar al-Bayoumi and he was an intelligence operator, he had a no-show job and he’s the guy that picked up the first two murderers when they got here. The evidence is overwhelming that Bandar’s wife was taking care of al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar who are the first two to arrive in the United States. And the other fellow, al-Bayoumi got them apartments, he cosigned a rental agreement, he chauffeured them around, he helped them obtain information on flight schools. Now, that’s pretty damning, that of course Bandar from my reading and I turn it back to you, is practically the star of these 28 pages. And it’s no wonder George Bush, who called him Bandar Bush, his mother called him Bandar Bush, they had close ties to him, they fought so hard to keep this secret. Plus, as the wise guys have said, December 7, 1941, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, so FDR invades Mexico. This shows the total lies of the invasion of Iraq. So there’s a lot at stake here Russ, is there not?
Russ Baker: Absolutely. And as you mention Prince Bandar, he was such an important guy. Some of your listeners may remember him: the picture of him sitting on the White House balcony with George W. Bush smoking a cigar, and this guy really was a smooth, smooth fellow who played a major role, went back to Saudi Arabia where he was helping lead their intelligence operation. He has continued to move around in absolutely critical positions, and so as you say, I mean the fact that he, that his wife and so forth were providing funding. I don’t know if you mentioned this: he personally wrote a $5,000 check that was to one of these people, and they call him a legend, intelligence officers, because it’s virtually impossible to prove those relationships because you’re not going to see an employment letter, they’re not carrying an I.D. card or something, but it’s pretty clear I think to anyone. And the way you sketched it out, you did a good job of that. You know, that if you look at all this, it’s pretty clear. I mean they were in and out of the embassies, there were informants that they spoke to. One of them sort of bragged that he did more than the other one in enabling the hijackers. I mean, in a court of law, this would be dispositive. So it’s very, very significant and so getting back to the sequence here, this report is suppressed, public is told well there’s really nothing to see here, as you pointed out, and finally several weeks ago when they released it, because you were away. But in any case, they released it just as Congress was adjourning to go away for seven weeks, and of course this is a famous old trick: you dump something important …
Peter Boyles: I need to take a turnaround Russ, please hang on. Russ Baker’s with us, also coming on the show Jack Cashill, Jack Cashill’s in the studio. But this is a significant story of what the Bush Administration did, and now we’re beginning to know the truth. By the way, and Russ and I will have a conversation about it, but al-Turki, the guy that we spent so much time and John Suthers flew to Saudi Arabia to tell the then-king and the al-Turki family about his treatment, he is in these pages. This goes steep and deep.
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The one and only Russ Baker is with us. Whowhatwhy.org, I’m a big fan. I’ve read many of his books. He’s got one coming, he just said on the Kennedys and I can’t wait for that one. His book on the Bush family is a home run and we’ve spoken quite a bit over the years about the suppression of the entire chapter of the Congressional Joint Inquiry of the 9/11 report, the so called 28 pages. I was gone and the 28 pages came down, and I went on the internet, and they’re simply blacked out pen lines again. And so trying to read through the lines, maybe one or two things became a little more clear, but by large, I think it’s reasonable for us to assume that what this is, is an indictment of the Saudi government. It shows the Saudi government, including top officials such as then Saudi Ambassador to the U.S.: Bandar bin Sultan. Other members of the royal family financed and actively aided the hijackers prior to 9/11. But what’s so damning about this is, this is from other readings: that when it came time for the commissioners to speak with George Bush, the only way that he and Bush would speak was he and Cheney would speak together. I think Cheney’s calling these shots, I don’t think Bush is smart enough, that the investigators would have to come to the White House. The other condition was there was a time limit. The other condition was they would not go under oath, and the other condition was they would only agree to be interviewed together. So it’s almost like the Ramsey’s, where John and Patsy are never separated and asked questions. And so W. sat there and I sort of vision him sitting like Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy sitting on Edgar’s knee answering questions. And then after it was said and done, then the Bush Administration, read here George Bush himself or Dick Cheney or both, then suppressed those 28 pages. So Walter Jones, who was the chief sponsor, and he’s been on the radio show, I’m a huge fan, he’s a Republican from North Carolina, and by the way when you hear him speak Russ, he’ll tell you: the Republican Party came into North Carolina and tried to unseat him. This was under W. And so now we come to here. What do we do? What do you want to say?
Russ Baker: Well, first of all, we should talk about what can one do, but if we have the time, I’d like to go back to another element of the story. First of all, for anyone who may just be tuning in, you want to get up to speed on the newly released yet still redacted, previously redacted pages of this very, very important Congressional 9/11 Inquiry with the information about the relationship between the Saudi government and the 9/11 hijackers. We ran a piece on our site Whowhatwhy.org about a week ago by one of our editors, Jeff Clyburn, shout out to him, he did a great job called “The Official 9/11 Narrative on Life Support” and I think he does a very good job of summing up an extremely complex subject and particularly providing some context to this release. So you may want to take a look at that. In any case, there’s another piece to this story and this one is one that we at Whowhatwhy investigated some years ago, we continue to bring up and this is tied also, going back to the Saudi royal family but it comes from [Senator] Graham’s home state of Florida where a Saudi family living in a gated community, wealthy family was identified as having interacted directly with several of the alleged 9/11 hijackers and then the same area where they were trained, we believe that their son, the son of this family himself was trained to fly at the same installation as several of the hijackers. That family disappeared, left their house –
Peter Boyles: Their car was in the garage, there was food, I mean they just fled.
Russ Baker: Yeah. They didn’t move, this was not a planned thing. They literally took off like somebody had told them get the heck out while you can and they just took off. I mean, everything was still there, except they grabbed the computer and a few other interesting things when they split and they never lived there again. Now, that was recorded; the FBI belatedly wanted to investigate that and there was an investigative report produced for the FBI that was quite damning. Years and years and years later when that came out, the FBI actually disowned its own investigative agent and said basically that he had made this up. Now, what’s interesting about this house and this family is that our group, Whowhatwhy.org, we traced the man who owned the house; a very prominent head of a prominent Saudi company, a very big company back there and with homes here in Washington D.C. and down there and so on, that he’s the CEO of a company whose chairman was the person: Prince Salman, and later Prince Salman becomes the King of Saudi Arabia. So what you’re talking about is that a family directly implicated to a house where they’re hosting the hijackers goes on to run the entire country, and so the fact that this doesn’t come up, this is a separate piece from the interactions that we’ve been talking about here, where on the West Coast primarily we see what appear to be Saudi intelligence agents directly reporting and taking funding from the Saudi royal family and then interacting with them, as you said, helping them, meeting the hijackers at the airport, getting them set up. I mean you put those two things together, and as you raised this question here earlier, it does look like the Saudi government is running and planning and financing only, it certainly looks like that – it totally looks like that. And of course as I said because I see these things as potentially being more complicated, there are other possibilities such as they themselves may have been misled as to what was afoot and who these people were and what they were going to do, which in a way makes sense also because I don’t think Bandar and any of these others would want to be implicated and they have been because it ruined their lives too. But it doesn’t make any of this less important, it makes it more important. Then of course that raises the question, what could have been going on here that would, like flypaper tie all of these people into the most shocking event, probably in the world over the course of about a century? What could that all be about? And so I think that’s, in a way the next piece of this puzzle project. We’re trying to figure out and assuming that this is all correct, we can agree the evidence, preponderance of evidence is that the Saudis were brought into contact with these people and funded them, raises the question then: did they know and if they knew, why would they do that and expose themselves like that? And if they thought it was something else that was going on, what did they think was going on? Who wanted them to think that something else was going on, and why? And that to me, is the major project ahead of us.
Peter Boyles: In your book, and it’s been a while, that I think you cited – I hope I’m right – that earlier, way before the 9/11 event itself and Cheney going back in time, Rumsfeld going back in time, about W. himself talked about invading Iraq. And this was long before the excuse was offered up by the Saudi Arabians of the attack itself. Now, I’m just crazy enough to want to know, was there any relationships in those conclusions in making off those jump-offs because in The Rise of the Balkans, when these people, the so called Neocons begin to fester. And it’s amazing, there are people in the Denver radio market that continue to have guys like Bill Kristol on their show and lionize these people. These were the planners; these were the people did this. These were the people who were the original Neocons. These are the guys who claim they can straighten out the world. They’re almost like the evil magicians, but how early did you – and it’s been a while since I read you, so with apologies – how early did you hear Bush talking about that?
Russ Baker: You’re referring to my book Family of Secrets of course, and in there I have at least a chapter, it’s been a while since I read it, talking about one or two different issues. One is that George Bush, George W. Bush, when he was running for president in 1999, a book was produced with his name on it and he was supposedly the author of it which sort of laid out some things about himself, what he wanted to do and so forth. In the course of doing the book, he worked with a ghost writer, a very well respected journalist, I think, Mickey Herskowitz and Mickey of course recorded and took notes on their conversations and he had those notes. They pulled him off the book project because Bush’s handlers were mortified by what Bush had told him and one of the things that he had told him was that if he was president he hoped to invade Iraq.
Peter Boyles: Yeah, I read that in your book, I thought.
Russ Baker: You have a good memory. And the reason supposedly, Mickey was sort of astonished; he said well why do you want to do that? Bush, I guess he was just – he was always a kind of a very oddly relaxed fellow in certain ways – he said to Mickey well you know, I’ll tell you something, it’s very critical for a president. When my father, George H.W. Bush was president, it became very, very clear that if you wanted to have a successful presidency or be like Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, you needed to have a war. In other words, you needed to be seen as a commander in chief, and of course if you look at our various presidents, I don’t know if you’d say that Bill Clinton launched us into a long conflict but certainly he was involved with Kosovo and big responses to the coal and so forth, certainly attacks and missile attacks and what have you. And Obama, who had gotten us into a number of new wars along with his friend Hillary Clinton with Libya and Syria and so forth, he also had that various military operations, like you may remember, the rescue of the aid worker being held in Somalia. They also had the Osama bin Laden raid, so he was able to kind of earn his stripes. And this is not George W. Bush being nuts, this is George W. Bush being eminently practical. I mean he’s saying “you know, you have to do this stuff.” The public expects this from you and he said “well, it’s okay, I’ll do it and I’ll do Iraq,” because he felt there was unfinished business there. I think that’s a true story. Now, what you’re talking about, Peter, which is something else is about the Cheneys and Wolfowitz’s and Rumsfeld’s, these are a different kind of person than George W. Very more in a way a combination of his father, George H.W. and then people who are much, much more reckless than the father was and this is empire folks. We’re looking at an empire. And I agree with you in that somewhere in this whole mix, it’s not possible. I’ll tell you something else –
Peter Boyles: Please Russ, hang on and I have two questions I want to ask you, again I ask people that I respect. And I gotta take the turnaround. Can you stay with me through one more break? Hang on. Russ Baker’s with us. The 28 pages came down but they have been suppressed again. This should show you what a tremendous insight it is to the Bush, Obama acts. [Radio weather talk etc here] Our guest is somebody I have immense respect for, Russ Baker, I’ve read his work. The 9/11 pages that we’ve talked about for so long were released when I was gone and I came home and sat down and said “I’m going to read these 28 pages”, and they’re nothing more than marked up again with big, black pens, they’re called redactions. We still know very little, but at least in some ways I can see a little bit of a clearer picture in what in fact happened, the role of the Saudi Arabians, particular the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Bandar bin Sultan a.k.a. Bandar Bush and other members of the royal family. Our guest is one of the best, Russ Baker is with us. Russ’s website is Whowhatwhy.org, and I’m a big fan, I read it every day. Let me ask you a question that I sort of ginned up and I ask people that I respect, and you certainly are there. The United States of America captures Saddam Hussein, pulled him out of a spider hole. Why wasn’t he brought back to the United States or Guantanamo and put on trial like Nuremburg for crimes against humanity? The United States had him.
Russ Baker: One of the problems they had was that at the beginning of his career when he was a midlevel army officer, he was provided with an apartment and with financial means and support so that he could mount a coup in Iraq, and that was by the United States. And so you could imagine were he ever put into a court, he would talk about that kind of thing and he would talk about the role that the United States played in fostering and continuing and exacerbating the horrendous Iran-Iraq war, supplying him with chemical weapons. He would talk about that famous picture of Rumsfeld, they’re shaking hands with him, and so they wouldn’t want to talk about those things.
Peter Boyles: And also there were no WMDs and there were no terrorist camps. If you put him on trial in a Nuremburg situation, the other one is, this has nothing to do with the navy seals. They were sent to do what they were sent to do. But they also could have captured Osama and brought him back and put him on trial.
Russ Baker: And Peter, by the way you know that as far as Osama goes, Whowhatwhy, our site, is practically alone among news organizations in raising questions about that operation. What happened? First of all, they could have captured him, and even what they say they did doesn’t even make any sense. The story that they quickly chose: body in the ocean, that they wouldn’t release photos of the body, even though we’ve seen photos of Saddam and Gadhafi and so on, none of this even adds up so that’s a separate element that I agree with you, that certainly we ought to ask why he was not brought back.
Peter Boyles: But you have two of them. These are the axes of evil. They did not want Saddam Hussein, as they say sitting on the stand as a songbird because he could have taken this government into such a bad place, and we know now that during the Iran-Iraq war, the AWACS were picking targets for Saddam. We know the roles the United States played with Saddam Hussein, but principally I think they were afraid he would have himself a couple of great lawyers, and they would say look, this guy had nothing to do with 9/11, but the same thing is true. I think it does tie into the Saudi ties, 9/11, they’re detailed in these documents which were suppressed since 2002. Put Osama on trial and he directly links into the royal families of Saudi Arabia. Wonder what that man would have said.
Russ Baker: Well that’s right, but then you see you would be getting into a narrative, an analysis so powerful and so disturbing that it would force all of us to take stock of what our country is or what our country has done. Not about us as individuals, but we are the most propagandized people practically on earth, and we are constantly told – it’s like a kid whose parent doesn’t know how to raise him, he’s just constantly telling the kid how great they are and how everything they do is just amazing, and it’s not good for the kid – and this country is like that. If you watch the recently held Republican Convention or any of the cast of the convention, it’s always this thing about aren’t we just the best? Don’t we just do everything great? And of course, that’s not healthy. I don’t do that with myself, I don’t think families ought to have that kind of dynamic. You have to have candor about what works and what doesn’t work, but that’s not the way this system operates. The great mass of American’s don’t understand much, I’m afraid, of how things do operate and they don’t want to hear about it and it’s pathetic.
Peter Boyles: Some of the biggest uphill slugs that I’ve had began 10, 12 years ago on radio shows when I said there were no WMDs, there were no terrorist camps, there was no ties between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. You would have thought I ran over their children with my car. And now, incrementally, years have gone by and people have come to the conclusion that W. and Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz and the entire cabal lied the United States into a war that sets off everything and anything we have today. The insanity of ISIS is George Bush’s Frankenstein. Do you believe that?
Russ Baker: Absolutely. Well, you know there’s one more piece to this. On our site, take a look at it: Whowhatwhy.org, we interviewed former NATO commander Wesley Clark, and he described how right after 9/11, he was at the Pentagon and he was shown a top secret document that was already –
Peter Boyles: Yes I know, I read that, yes.
Russ Baker: And it listed the countries that the U.S. was already planning to invade once an excuse presented itself.
Peter Boyles: Yes I saw that piece. Come back in two weeks, let’s do it again, you’re missed on this show. Thank you for everything you’ve done and thank you for being so much a part of what we do and thanks for the home run again. Russ, the website Whowhatwhy.org, and I’m looking forward to the Kennedy book, brother. Take care.
Russ Baker: Thank you.
Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Donald Rumsfeld and Bandar bin Sultan (US Department of Defense / Wikimedia)