Via America’s Lawyer: Mike Papantonio and Trial Lawyer Magazine editor Farron Cousins put the spotlight back on Saudi Arabia, as over 25,000 9/11 victims and their families are filing suit against the Saudi government for its complicity in funding terrorist organizations. Plus, Amazon is accusing the Pentagon of improperly awarding its highly-coveted $10 billion JEDI cloud contract to Microsoft, alleging the decision was based on President Trump’s bias against Jeff Bezos. Mike Papantonio and Farron Cousins discuss more.


*This transcript was generated by a third-party transcription software company, so please excuse any typos.

Mike Papantonio:             The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is currently being sued by more than 25,000 victims of terror attacks including 9/11 over their role in funding these events. As these lawsuits progress, we’re learning even more about the disgusting actions of the Saudi government. I have Farron Cousins from trial lawyer magazine to talk about this. Farron, again, we’ve done this story more times than I can account. I wish somebody would listen. I wish other, other outlets may hopefully, mainstream media or what they call corporate media, this is very mainstream, but we’re not corporate. Why won’t corporate media talk about the elephant in the room? And that is the Saudi Prince and the Saudi family. They’re not our friends. Tell me, give me your take on it. Again, we talked about it last week, but there’s a lot more to this story.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, I think part of the reason it doesn’t get the coverage that it should is because as we’ve also discussed, you’ve got people like Boeing and all these other massive defense contractors that are huge advertisers on corporate media and they make billions of dollars per year from Saudi Arabia. So Saudi Arabia is the biggest purchaser of weapons from the United States. So, if the corporate media were to start covering these issues, it could hurt their advertisers. So it’s just like the typical thing. Their advertisers need the money from these people, so they’re not going to talk about all the horrible things that have been happening. And as you just said, the last couple months, we have seen huge developments in several different lawsuits against Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabian banks for funding terrorism.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay. I love this one. Okay. First of all, the trial judge in this case was a goof. The trial, the trial judge, we had a case against Saudi Arabia where they, they, they showed overwhelming information that the Royal family and people in government were directly involved in planning the 9/11 attack and actually, actually giving money and giving a place to live for, for the people that were involved. So the lawyers involved in 9/11 discussion in the, in the litigation, they bring the lawsuit, they say, we got enough to show you. Here’s where it gets crazy. The judge at the trial level says, oh no, you didn’t really show that there was a clear intent. You didn’t show that the money that was used from a Saudi Arabian bank owned by the Royal family, that that bank intended for the money to be used for 9/11.

Actually, there was a lot to show that it intended, but they didn’t have to go there, you see, this is what bothers me about this case. All they had to say was that the bank was reckless, that they knew, should have known and ignored the fact that the money was going to be used for 9/11. That’s what happened. Second circuit in New York is a nightmare. The judges up there are, most of them come from Wall Street. They come from Wall Street establishment organizations. They sit on the second, they sit on the bench up there and they make these ruling, rulings all the time. Thank goodness, the second circuit said, you know what? I think there is enough intent. Take it from there.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, and the lawyers in the case specifically said, listen, we have laid it out. We have mapped it out. We have traced this money from the terrorist attack back to the Saudi Royal family. We have made those connections. We have connected the banks, we have tied the exact money into these attacks. These were brilliant lawyers in this case and they absolutely did the due diligence. They connected every possible dot and they said, there is no doubt in our minds based on the evidence we have that this was funded by both Saudi banks and the Saudi Royal family.

Mike Papantonio:             Okay, let’s take it a step further. I could go, there are so many lines connecting these dots to the Saudi Royal family. First of all, you’ve got, you’ve got, we know it’s very clear where the money went from the Saudi Royal family and and the Saudi Royal family friends that all, they’re all part of one part of the Saudi Arabian society. They’re the upper elite. We know we could follow the money to the charities that they donated to and, and, and so, so they cover, they tried to cover it by saying, well, we just gave money to the charities. They know for a fact that these are charities that were simply a front for, for terrorist money. So when I hear a judge make an absurd ruling at the trial level like this, I’m almost used to it coming out of New York, the, the Eastern district and Southern district in New York, but this to me was particularly ugly because they had all the information they needed.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, and right now we also have other evidence out there as part of these lawsuits that again, been going on for 18 years and only in the last few months we’ve seen these, you know, really big developments as things started to come out. They have traced this money from the Saudi Royal family to the Taliban. They’ve traced it to Al-Qaida. They have traced it to ISIS. Every major terrorist group on this planet. They’re finding out that, oh my God, Saudi Arabia, we’re able to trace money from them back to these groups back and forth all the time.

Mike Papantonio:             It’s worse than that. It’s worse than that. We know now through, through freedom of information. Now, understand, we’re handling these cases too. We’re handling these cases of banks washing money for terrorism in Iran and Afghan, I mean the, the trail in those cases is, it’s crystal clear. They even came up with a law called JASTA, you recall, which says, we need to make sure where we have a terrorist organization associated with a country that we treat that country in a certain way that’s different from other countries. We, it, it raises our ability to go after Iraq or Iran or wherever the, the terrorist organization may be. But they haven’t included Saudi Arabia here. And we know that 15 out of the 19 people that murdered 3000 Americans were all Saudi. And we know this now, don’t we? We now know that they’ve actually traced the money in the whole distribution process to a Saudi official who was connected to the Royal family.

Farron Cousins:                  Right. And, and part of the reason why we’re not willing as a country to go ahead and list Saudi Arabia as a state sponsor of terrorism, which they very clearly are based on the evidence, is again, because they purchase more weapons from the United States than anyone else on this planet. That, we’re talking hundreds of billions of dollars and we’re not about to give up that money. That is money that feeds our military industrial complex. They have tons of oil. We want to be friends with oil countries or take them over like they’re trying to do with Venezuela. So they’re not going to do it. They’re not going to touch Saudi Arabia. And we’ve seen it happen through Republican and Democrat administrations, no difference in policy towards this country. Even though we found out in the leaked Podesta emails, they’re sitting there talking about how horrible this is and they knew they were funding it.

Mike Papantonio:             And didn’t do anything.

Farron Cousins:                  Didn’t do anything.

Mike Papantonio:             Understand, now let’s, let’s, let’s round up on that again. Let’s round up on that again before we go pointing fingers at one administration and ignoring the others. Podesta had all of this information that came from Hillary Clinton.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah.

Mike Papantonio:             That’s, that is where the information came from.

Farron Cousins:                  Right, those emails are available.

Mike Papantonio:             We know the emails are available. You can go online and see them, but we know that he’ll re Clinton said, hey, we think they’re, you know, we think they’re part of a terrorist organization. We did nothing.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             The media did nothing because of what you say. The arms industry is making so much money selling weapons to the damn Saudis and then the Saudis take that money that take the weapons and they give it to ISIS and they give it to to terrorist organizations. We know that, we have that information, but nevertheless we have these presidents walking around hand in hand with these thugs, these Royal family thugs that would blow us off the face of the map if they coul., And if we don’t, if we don’t handle this as a realism, we’re getting deeper and deeper into this problem.

Farron Cousins:                  Well, well the thing is, that’s why these lawsuits, I mean, honest to God, these trial lawyers out here, that’s the last line. That’s it.

Mike Papantonio:             That’s it, that’s it.

Farron Cousins:                  That’s all we have left because the government won’t do anything. Bernie Sanders is actually the only person I have heard so far say we’ve got to rethink this relationship because these people are clearly not our friends.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  We’ve seen the human rights abuses that they do to their own people. We see what they’re doing in Yemen. We see what they’re doing all over the globe. This isn’t right.

Mike Papantonio:             Aren’t you disappointed we’re not hearing that from Joe Biden or Warren?

Farron Cousins:                  I’m not surprised from Biden though.

Mike Papantonio:                      Because Biden is part of that whole gaggle that have ignored it for the last, you know, God knows how many years, eight years at least.

Mike Papantonio:             Amazon’s trying to claim that they were denied a multibillion dollar Pentagon contract because president Trump has a grudge against the company. Okay. This story is this, this is out in the, this is out in loonysphere. Let’s start from the beginning, all right. We know that the first contract that the Amazon got, tha Bezos got that it was a scam, right? We know, it was $600 million contract, we know that some of the players in that, in securing that government contract, they did the same thing with this government contract where they were looking for $10 billion. Right? They had an inside person, Amazon had an inside person working to try to, to try to shove this contract down the president’s throat, down Washington’s throat, and we find out you have a bunch of people that are on the inside operating directly for Bezos and Bezos says, oh, I’m really disappointed I didn’t get the contract. Really?

Farron Cousins:                  Well, and he’s suing now because he didn’t get the contract.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  But, but that information you’re talking about that chain of people from Amazon into the Pentagon, that’s all from Mother Jones. You know, this is not, crazy.

Mike Papantonio:             No, this is not.

Farron Cousins:                  But they pointed out that there were two people working in the Pentagon who used to be connected with Amazon, and what they were doing was they consistently and repeatedly changed the criteria for what you needed to meet in order to qualify to be considered for the contract. And then they were accused of actually sending information to Amazon about competitor’s bids and offers so that Amazon could counter the, the whole thing reeks.

Mike Papantonio:             Doesn’t it, isn’t this the crazy part? The white house can decide whatever they want.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             That, there’s, the white house doesn’t have to give any reason for saying, you know what little Bezos, you’re not getting this contract because we found out that you were involved in all kinds of scams and skullduggery trying to get the contract. And yes, Trump does hate Bezos and yes, Bezos does hate Trump. That doesn’t change the, that doesn’t change the atmosphere at all. The president has an absolute right to do that. And for Bezos to bring this lawsuit, let me tell you what I love about it. Well, here’s what I love about it, the lawyers representing the white house in this case have like a free, they have a free road. They can dig into as much Bezos stuff as they want. That’s where we’re going to find the rubber meets the road in this case. If you think that Bezos is some kind of national hero, and my God, he ought to get the $10 billion contract because he’s Jeff Bezos, you don’t know the history of Bezos. Do you?

Farron Cousins:                  No, and to be honest, like I don’t know that I’ve ever agreed with Donald Trump on anything, but, but even if he had said, listen, I’m not giving you this contract because I don’t like the color shirt you’re wearing, I still would have said, you know what, I like that decision because Bezos cannot be trusted with these contracts. He’s been horrible with cybersecurity. Horrible with selling our data.

Mike Papantonio:             Well, how many millions? Look, they were, they were hacked, right? How many millions of pieces of information did they get that they simply lost?

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             I mean, it was, it was millions. It was in the millions of people involved with some aspect of Amazon that we’ve, they got their social security number, they got their date of birth, they got all this inside information, and now Bezos says, oh, well we got that straightened out. Now we want you to give us the most vast security contract in the world.

Farron Cousins:                  Yeah. For, for the US’ secrets.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah.

Farron Cousins:                  Trust us with that, and meanwhile, look, Amazon should be broken up because they are too many things. They’re online retailer, they’re whole foods, they’re government contractor, and so for the government that then say, you know what, instead we’re going to give it to Microsoft. The people who just do computing. That actually does make more sense in that case.

Mike Papantonio:             Makes perfect, make perfect sense.

Farron Cousins:                  Instead of the people who sell knickknacks online.

Mike Papantonio:             Yeah. The question is, who do you dislike most, Bezos or Trump? It’s almost a, it’s almost a tossup, you know.

Farron Cousins:                  Right.

Mike Papantonio:             Thanks for joining me. Okay, Farron.

Farron Cousins:                  Thank you.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.