Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Saudis - 1, America - 0

There are so many troubling aspects to our relationship with Saudi Arabia, and one that doesn't always get much attention is the fact that there's a cabal of public relations firms using former diplomats and other State Department employees to act as paid mouthpieces for some very problematic Middle Eastern regimes. Saudi Arabia is probably the most notable, but even the execrable Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Authority had Americans on its payroll working to burnish their image. And as insufferable as that might be to some of us, it becomes particularly problematic when these p.r. flacks are able to block efforts by our government to explore some very important issues.

"Diplo Won't Testify In Saudi Probe"

New York Post
November 7, 2005

The State Department abruptly pulled a top official from testifying at a Senate hearing on Saudi links to terrorism today amid a massive lobbying campaign by Saudi agents to discredit the proceedings The Post has learned.

A State Department spokeswoman confirmed that Alan Misenheimer, the department's director of Arabian Peninsula and Iran Affairs, had bowed out of testifying at the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing exploring whether Saudi Arabia was a friend or a foe in the war on terrorism.

Other officials said Misenheimer's appearance was scrapped due to concerns about offending the Saudis ahead of a scheduled trip by Secretary of State Condoleez Rice to Riyadh.

But the Justice Department has also declined to send a representataive to the hearing, leaving Daniel Glaser, deputy assistant Treasury secretary for terrorist financing, as the sole Bush administration representative.

The moves come as Saudi lobbyists step up a campaign to blunt the impact of expected testimony.

The Loeffler Group, the powerful firm hired to lobby for the Saudis, has given senators a 70-page Saudi-friendly position paper, and several paid experts have written op-ed pieces in the Arab media denouncing scheduled witnesses.

"They are pulling out all the stops against this hearing because the truth hurts," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), a member of the panel.

Doesn't this just make your blood boil?


At 4:54 AM, Blogger Mark said...

Esther - Got a link to the WaPo story???

At 5:01 AM, Blogger Rory said...

The article is from the New York Post and the link is: http://www.nypost.com/news/worldnews/30943.htm

At 8:24 AM, Blogger Esther said...

This was Rory's baby, Mark. Rory, YES this makes my blood boil. What the hell is the government doing with people in it who are obviously more loyal to those terrorist-loving Saudis? Not going to testify? How about losing your job and getting thrown in jail like reporters do when they don't reveal a source? How about a stiff six figure fine? How about just chopping off their hands? I'm open!

PS: When I saw you wrote PR flacks, I missed the "L" and inserted a "U" for the "A" at first. Guess we know where my mind goes on this subject. Made me gasp (only cause I usually save those words for the second page or comments), but made me giggle too.

At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Felis said...

The whole relationship between the US and Saudis worry me a lot.
I just hope that the US government just whishes to have foothold in this hornet's nest and doesn't seriously believe in Saudi friendship.

At 4:33 PM, Blogger Rory said...

That's hilarious. I promise I won't use any four-letter words on the front page, even though I was absolutely seething when I read this article. But I agree with you that these people should be held accountable. Apparently, this doesn't rise to the level of an obstruction of justice charge, but it certainly seems to come perilously close. And it isn't it interesting that nobody is accusing these Arab apologists of dual loyalties?

I absolutely share your concern and I'm afraid that this administration, in particular, has a blind spot when the Saudis are involved. In fact, you can go back decades and find that Saudi Arabia was the major bankroller of every Arab terrorist group, but in this country it was always business as usual in our dealings with the Saudis.

At 5:10 PM, Blogger Rebekah said...

Well, on one hand people say, If we don't have the Saudi's, we won't have oil., But I say who needs 'em? Drill in Alaska! Drill more in the Gulf!
Anyone who opposes that should sign a contract promising to bike/ walk instead of drive.

I'm sick of the U.S. being manipulated by an oppressive, archaic, corrupt regime.

At 5:50 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

The moves come as Saudi lobbyists step up a campaign to blunt the impact of expected testimony.
Damn! This makes me mad!

Why are we shooting ourselves in the foot by ignoring the reality of Saudi?

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Mark said...

This was Rory's baby, Mark.

Sorry, Rory. It was really early! I'll make the appropriate corrections! Thanks for the link.

At 7:31 PM, Blogger Aussiegirl said...

This is always so disturbing. There seems to be no way to extricate ourselves from that oily little web that the Saudis have wound around us. The lure of the petrodollar always seems to prove irresistible. Good post.

At 8:07 PM, Anonymous seawitch said...

It makes my blood boil! The Saudis are no friends of the US.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Rory said...

I'm with you, and I would add that we also need alternative energy sources. It's time we stopped allowing this country to be held hostage by OPEC and the oil companies.

I wish I had an answer for you, but I suspect there are too many powerful people in this country to whom it's advantageous to ignore the threat.

No problem, and thanks for linking to this post.

Thanks, and you've put it very well.

Yeah, mine too...and it started up again because I just saw the new Saudi Ambassador (the appropriately named Prince Turki) addressing the National Press Club and blaming Islamic terrorism on guess what? You got it...our relationship with Israel! (Esther, I think I feel some of those four-letter words coming on).

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Gindy said...

Those poor Saudis always seem to be so misunderstood.

At 1:04 AM, Anonymous Atlantic said...

Yes, it makes my blood boil. I have been angry at the Saudis before:

The US-Saudi relationship: Oil supply at the expense of US security and moral values

Does it make you angry that we finance evil Saudis every day we buy gas?

At 3:08 AM, Blogger Rory said...

Thanks for that link. I have to admit that nothing I hear about the Saudis ever really surprises because a long time ago I became aware of their nasty proclivity for bankrolling terrorists. I just wonder how long it will take for some of our government officials to wake up? I guess the answer is not until the oil money dries up.

At 3:40 AM, Anonymous Atlantic said...

Thank you, Rory!

"I just wonder how long it will take for some of our government officials to wake up?"

I had hoped that 9/11 would have been a wake up call. Instead the US invaded Iraq...

I often like to joke that the US should have recruited the Palestinians to invade Saudi Arabia after 9/11, because most hijackers were Saudi citizens and the Saudis finance hate schools around the world.

The Palestinians can make their own state on the Arabian peninsula, incl. some oil fields.

This would solve the Saudi terrorist problem and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. (Well, not completely, I know, I was not all that serious, but I think it is worth a thought...)

The Palestinians and many other Arabs hate the Saudis, so...

At 4:19 AM, Blogger Rory said...

You're right, but not only do the Palestinians hate the Saudis, the reverse is also true. The Arabs only love the Palestinians when they can use them as a club with which to beat Israel over the head. The whole conflict could have been settled a long time ago if the Arabs hadn't discovered how useful the Palestinians could be as a means of deflecting attention from their own corrupt and undemocratic governments.

At 4:49 PM, Blogger Atlantic Review said...

I agree the Arab governments use the Palest-Israeli conflict to deflect attention from their corruption etc.

One last thought from me about your post: I think it's more like:
"Saudis - 5, America - 0"

At 10:42 PM, Blogger patrickafir said...

Pretty disgusting, but unfortunately not terribly surprising. The Saudis also have many former U.S. politicians on various trustee boards for investments, charities, and business ventures. That's what suitcases full of money can do sometimes.

At 2:20 AM, Blogger Rory said...

Atlantic Review,
Sadly, I would have to agree with you.

You're right, and the one who infuriates me the most is former Secretary of State James(F--k the Jews, they don't vote for us anyway)Baker, whose law firm is representing the Saudis in a lawsuit being brought by some of the families of 9/11 victims.

At 5:20 AM, Blogger Atlantic Review said...

What's the latest on that lawsuit?

At 9:10 AM, Blogger Esther said...

Rory, that was pisses me off too. James Baker is lower than low.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger Rory said...

Atlantic Review,
You might find this link about the lawsuit interesting. (It should be on one line, but due to technical difficulties...)


I'm with you. The fact that this SOB was once the Secretary of State is nearly as scary as the fact that Ramsey Clark was once the Attorney General.


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