US removes Saudi flag statue placed near 9/11 site

A statue of the Saudi Arabian flag is to be removed from World Trade Centre grounds later this week after several people made complaints about its proximity to the site of the 9/11 attacks, which are believed to have been carried out by Saudi nationals.

The September 11, 2001 attacks, better known as the 9/11 attacks, were a series of strikes in the US which killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage.

Of the 19 hijackers that allegedly carried out the attacks, 15 were Saudi nationals and available evidence suggests some of them were linked to high-ranking Saudi officials.

The candy-shaped sculpture wrapped in the Saudi Arabian flag, is part of an art exhibition entitled “Candy Nations,” that represents the G20 member states; however, its proximity to Ground Zero, the tragic site, outraged several Americans who accuse the kingdom of being complicit in the horrifying terror attack.

Terry Strada, the chair of an umbrella group for 9/11 victims’ families, told BuzzFeed News, “I personally think the Saudi flag candy display shows very poor judgment and a lack of empathy on the part of the Port Authority,” the sponsor of the exhibit.

The group, 9/11 Families & Survivors United for Justice Against Terrorism, successfully pressed for the adoption of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act in 2016, allowing Saudi Arabia to be sued in US court for its citizens’ roles in the attacks.

Strada also contacted the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to express disappointment with the statue’s appearance nearby the World Trade Center.

“We have been in contact with the 9/11 Memorial and various stakeholders, and in full collaboration with the artist will relocate the exhibit from its current location,” a spokesperson for the organization said Monday. “We believe this solution respects the unique sensitivities of the site and preserves the artistic integrity of the exhibit.

Following the complaints, the Port Authority confirmed on Monday that instead of removing the Saudi flag from the exhibit, it is moving all 20 sculptures from its current site in the World Trade Center complex.

Created by French sculptor Laurence Jenkell in 2011, the installation has already been shown in several countries, as well as elsewhere in New York.

The statute was installed in downtown Manhattan last month – where it was due to remain until 28 February.

Jenkell, the artist, told US newspaper Observer that she originally wanted to “pay tribute to people of the entire world.”

“Given the unique and justified sensitivities surrounding the World Trade Center, it came to my mind to propose to remove the sculpture showcasing the flag of Saudi Arabia, or relocate it to a less sensitive location,” she said.

US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists but many experts have raised questions about the official account.

They believe that rogue elements within the US government, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, orchestrated or at least encouraged the 9/11 attacks in order to accelerate the US war machine and advance the Zionist agenda.

A number of US lawmakers have called on the White House to declassify documents that shed light on Saudi Arabia’s possible complicity in the terror attacks .

In 2016, Saudi Arabia threatened to sell off some $750 billion of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi ruling family to be held responsible in US courts for any role in the incident.