Open Flame In House Of Oil

Tired of NM politics, I go to the movies

July 4, 2004 in U. S. Politics | Comments (0)

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(Note: The following was posted a week before the Albuquerque Journal disclosed that its publisher’s executive jet flew publicity-seeking Doug Cobb and his crew to New York on Sept. 13, 2001, the same day Saudis living in the U.S. were allowed to take private flights for home. Craig Unger in his book said the only civilian aircraft allowed to fly that day were for the U.S. Saudis. Apparently he did not do his homework. The Journal said its flight was allowed through intervention of Republican U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson. The Saudi flights, according to Unger, were allowed through intervention of the White House. Were there other security exceptions that day?)

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The disclosure that five Saudi terrorist suspects were transferred from Guantanamo to Riyadh should come as no surprise to people who have seen “Farenheit 9/11” or read one of the movie’s main sources, Craig Unger’s “House of Bush, House of Saud.”

The Saudi royal family has a special relationship with the Bush family

The New York Times reported the transfer last year was part of a complex exchange in which the Saudis released British prisoners held as suspects in a Riyadh bombing.

The paper reported that the Saudi case was “unheard of” at the time, although 35 Afghan detainees had been freed previously. The Afghans had been determined to pose no threat, but the Saudis had not been cleared as terrorist suspects.

Unger, interviewed at length in Michael Moore’s political documentary, opens his book with an account of how chartered and private jets gathering some 140 Saudi citizens living in the United States and flew them home two days after 9/11. At the time no other private air craft were allowed to fly in U.S. air space.

Just as the Times reporters found that officials from the Pentagon, CIA and Justice Department initially objected to the May 2003 prisoner transfer, Unger found similar objections by FBI agents to the Sept. 13, 2001 Saudi exit.

Many of the passengers on the final royal jet that left Logan airport in Boston (shut down because two hijacked planes had originated there two days before) were members of the bin Laden family. Investigators anonymously vented their frustration at not even being able to question the passengers or atleast to obtain a reliable passenger manifest.

In Unger’s rendition, the flights must have been cleared by the White House as a consequence of a meeting between President George W. Bush and Prince Bandar, the primary Saudi lobbyist and political operative in Washington. Bandar, also close to the president’s father, is regarded as “family” by the Bush clan, according to Unger.

How did the Saudis have such access, particularly in the aftermath of an unprecedented act of terror in which 15 of the 19 mass murderers were almost immediately known to have been Saudi citizens? Unger devotes a book to telling how – and it goes way back in the world of Texas oil.
Moore has little to add to Unger’s story, except for one curious but unexplained item. When Moore demanded a copy of Bush’s National Guard service record, the name of a pilot who had been grounded at the same time for the same reason was blacked out. From another version of the same document, Moore knew the name: James R. Bath.

In Unger’s book, Bath is the obscure Texas businessman who was the middleman in the first financial deal involving the “House of Saud” and the Bush family.

The Boston Globe reporter found that over the years “at least $1.476 billion had made its way from the Saudis to the House of Bush and its allied companies and institutions.” It’s all itemized in an appendix.

“Never before had a president’s personal fortunes and public policies been so deeply entwined with another nation,” Unger writes.

Well, he’s not taking into account that the world economy is globalized as never before. And in his enthusiasm, Unger takes this money observation over the edge, calling George W. Bush, with reference to the financing of his 2000 campaign, “the Arabian Candidate.”

What’s wrong with that? After all, politics is sorta globalized too. Tony Blair could be called “the Armerican prime minister.” The difference is this: Britain is a trustworthy and reliable ally while Saudi Arabia is neither.

As former terrorism czar Richard Clarke keeps mentioning in his book, the Saudis have never really cooperated in American investigations of 9/11. I’m waiting for the book that goes into the apparently close, if not necessarily friendly, relationship between Prince Turki of the Saudi royal family to Osama bin Laden. Turqi was chief if Saudi intelligence until just before 9/11, and he is mentioned frequently in Unger’s book.

To give the Bush administration credit, even pro-Clinton Clarke acknowledges that the alternative to the imperiled royal government in Saudi Arabia would be a disaster. That would be Iran, 25 years ago.

Still, Unger quotes an incendiary July 2002 Pentagon briefing in which a Rand Corporation analyst calls Saudi Arabia “a kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent” of the United States. And, “Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies.”

Who ya gonna call? Prince Turki? Why does this terrible international marriage continue? It’s the economy, pendejo. The Saudis control one fourth of the world’s current oil supply, and the U.S. economy, and therefore current American politics, is dependent on its cheap oil.