Survivors of the 9/11 attacks have written to Prime Minister Theresa May – urging her to make public a British government report into the extent of Saudi Arabia’s funding of extremism in the UK.
The report into the significance of the financing of extremists in Britain by Saudi Arabia and other nations was commissioned by Ms May’s predecessor, David Cameron, as part of a deal to obtain political support for a parliamentary vote on UK airstrikes on Syria.
Last week, British Home Secretary Amber Rudd said the report was not being published “because of the volume of personal information it contains and for national security reasons”. Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas suggested the refusal to make public the report was linked to a reluctance to criticise the kingdom, with which Britain has long had close strategic and economic ties.
Now, a group representing US survivors of the 9/11 attacks and the relatives of some of the almost 3,000 people who died, has urged Ms May to seize the chance to release the report, even if it is not fully complete.
“The UK now has the unique historic opportunity to stop the killing spree of Wahhabism-inspired terrorists by releasing the UK government’s report on terrorism financing in the UK which, according to media reports, places Saudi Arabia at its centre of culpability,” says the letter, signed by 15 people.
“The longer Saudi Arabia’s complicity is hidden from sunlight, the longer terrorism will continue. They must be stopped; but who will stop them? We submit that you are uniquely situated to shine the cleansing light of public consciousness.”
It adds: “We respectfully urge you to release the report now, finished or unfinished. We ask you to consider all the victims of state-sponsored, Saudi-financed terrorism, their families and their survivors in the UK and all over the world.”
Sharon Premoli, one of the authors of the letter, was on the 80th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Centre when the first Al-Qaeda plane struck and rushed to safety. She is among those who have been pursuing legal action against Saudi Arabia and is adamant the attacks could not have happened without its support.
Ms Premoli, from Vermont, told The Independent that in the 16 years since the attacks were carried out, she and others have pursued the “money trail”. “We are always led to the source – Saudi Arabia,” she said.
She added: “This has been a long time coming. If you think, we’re 16 years on from the murder of 3,000 people and the injuring of another 6,000 and the deaths and illnesses from countless others.”
Others who have signed the letter are Brett and Gail Eagleson, the son and widow of John Eagleton, who died on the 17th floor of the Second Tower, Ellen Saracini, the widow of Victor Saracini, a pilot of United Airlines Flight 175, which was hijacked as it made its way from Boston to Los Angeles and flown into the South Tower, and Kathy Owens, whose husband, Peter, perished on the 104th Floor of the North Tower.
Copies of the letter have been sent to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, Ms Rudd, and Sir Kim Darroch, Britain’s Ambassador to Washington.
Ms Premoli, the author of a memoir Autumn: On the Way Back from 9/11, said the US government was actively involved in a cover-up of Saudi Arabia’s role. In addition, she said the US and Britain were promoting closer ties with Riyadh, and the sale of arms and weapons.
She said the weapons were now being used to devastating effect in Yemen, where the Saudis have been attacking Shia Houthis, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths.