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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Saudi Arabia, FOX News and the search for Osama Bin Laden

The always-interesting Joseph Trento offered up a must-read piece earlier this month. The subject is Fox News, and its noteworthy major investor: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the nephew to the Saudi king.

Forbes lists the Prince as the 22nd richest person in the world. He also owns large chunks of AOL, Apple and MCI -- not to mention a famous yacht which once belonged to Adnan Khashoggi. (You may have seen this vessel in the film Never Say Never Again.) None of these investments are as unnerving as Prince Alwaleed's major stake in Fox. Murdoch's News Corp. also owns a large chunk of the Prince's Saudi media conglomerate, Rotana.

As you will recall, this same Prince had, back in 2001, offered $10 million to 9/11 relief efforts, only to be spurned -- loudly and obstreperously -- by Rudolf Guiliani, who thereby garnered some welcome publicity. (The Prince, even as he offered the donation, had said harsh words about Israel.)

It's interesting to note how times have changed. I don't think that any of today's leading Republicans would try to score political points by getting into a public tiff with a member of the Saudi royal family.

That said, there are those within the conservative movement who view the Fox-Saudi alliance with alarm. One person sounding the alarm is Joseph Farah, of the ultra-right WorldNet Daily. He is, of course, a Fox competitor. (He is also a long-term resident of Planet Loopy.) Keep his possible bias in mind as you ponder his words about the Prince:
Well this guy owns a very significant percentage of the News Corp and has let the world know that he can get things taken off Fox News when he finds them objectionable and has in the past. And I really believe this is really dangerous for America.
Fox will tell you, of course, that Prince Alwaleed does not determine news content. Joseph Trento has a differing opinion.

Trento had appeared on Fox, where he was interviewed by Steve Doocy. Trento was surprised to learn that clips of his commentary did not appear on the Fox website, as had previously been the case.
It was not until a few days later that I learned what may have been behind the absence of a video clip on the Web site. I had said to Doocy that Saudi Arabian money was still financing Al Qaeda.
Much of Trento's article takes a pro-Israel stance which I don't share. That doesn't concern me at the moment. Right now, I'm looking for the answers to three very basic questions:

1. All of the well-known Fox on-air personalities are, of course, staunchly supportive of Israel. Yet the network is largely owned by a Saudi prince. Can anyone explain this situation to me?

2. What would the right-wing propaganda infrastructure have said if someone like the Prince had heavily invested in Air America or MSNBC? Why are such financial linkages permitted on the right but not on the left?

3. Is it true that Saudi money still funds Al Qaeda, as Trento claims? (He has good sources.) If so, just what is Al Qaeda?

In light of question #3, I would like to divulge and discuss a claim given to me in private some weeks back: Osama Bin Laden is alive and well and living in Saudi Arabia.

My source made this startling assertion in the wake of the December 6, 2009 Cannonfire post, "Where is Osama Bin Laden?" That piece quotes then-CIA Director Porter Goss as saying (in 2005) that he had "an excellent idea" where Osama is. He further offered these barely-scrutable words:
But when you go to the very difficult question of dealing with sanctuaries in sovereign states, you're dealing with a problem of our sense of international obligation, fair play.
Just about everyone, including myself, took this as a reference to Pakistan. But what if Goss meant Saudi Arabia?

More recently, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that he has no idea where Osama Bin Laden is, and that he has had no good intelligence on that matter for years.

So, how reliable is the Osama-in-Saudia Arabia assertion? Frankly, I'm not sure.

I trust my source, a person involved with the film community. My source, in turn, learned of Osama's whereabouts from a friend who, until rather recently, worked for a non-American -- but friendly -- intelligence service. Apparently, the former operative blurted out this revelation while in a heated conversation with (of all people) Michael Moore. The former operative said that he knew to an absolute certainty that Osama Bin Laden was living in Saudi Arabia.

I know no more.

Obviously, you should not accept such a statement without verification. However, do ponder the idea. Keep it in mind as you weigh future news stories which discuss Bin Laden's fate. Today's single-source claim may turn into tomorrow's multi-sourced fact.

And as you ponder, consider also that fundamental question, a question which we shall address in future posts: What is Al Qaeda?

(Postscript: Experience has taught me that this topic tends to send some readers straight into Annoying Personage mode. Please do not harrumph and guffaw as you tell me: "Osama is dead. Don't you know that, Cannon?" No, I do not know that, and neither do you. I also do not know that he is alive. Surmise and opinion are fine, but don't mistake them for agreed-upon facts.)
"1. All of the well-known Fox on-air personalities are, of course, staunchly supportive of Israel. Yet the network is largely owned by a Saudi prince. Can anyone explain this situation to me?"

Saudi Arabia has been pulling the strings in the neo-con takeover of everything since the very beginning.

Their desire was to support a U.S. led military restructuring of the Middle East, which would eventually lead to an attempt to destroy Iran. Israel is being set up to be both the justification for the war with Iran, as well as its fall guy. The Saudis/neo-cons have sold their Iran invasion plans to the Israelis as something necessary to protect Israel, but if the putative war goes south, they will conveniently blame Israel for "forcing" the attack(s), relying on anti-Israel sentiment to make the scapegoating stick.
As crazy as it sounds, look to "The Family" as to why the Fox talking heads "support" Israel. The conspirators behind this organization has in its sights the "protection" of Israel at its base but is actually interested in bringing an armed conflagration to the Mid East with the end result of having complete access to the oil supplies.

Their One World domination, led by one Christian leader is no secret within that community. They are not a friend to Israel but are setting up a course of action using them as the straw man according to their doctrine.
Well, just because they are Arabs doesn't make them stupid. The world has poured oceans of oil money into their coffers and it looks like they may have used it wisely.

If the Saudis want to keep the Israel-loving FOX Anchors on the air it can only be because they believe it to be in their long-term advantage.

There are more pieces moving on this chess board than any of us realize.

Nixon - for all his zits - did make one valid observation when he stated that "The odds for Israel's long term survival are zero".
-The answer to question #2 is: People on the Right have always been hypocrites. So, this is just another instance of hypocrisy plain and simple.
-The US government does not want a stable and democratic Middle East, therefore, Saddam before and Bin Laden and Ahmadinejad now on the one side and Israel on the other are needed as ready excuses for destabilization. The Saudi Government also needs the same instibility in the region to survive, therefore, it backs the US policy in the region. The aim of US policy in the Middle East is not much different than the aim of domestic policy persued by NeoCons at home. That is to creat deep divisions among citizens, creat fear of others, disrupt economic prosperity, undermine the rule of law and prevent the formation of democratic governance.
just what is Al Qaeda?

a wholly owned subsidiary of the company and has been since the early 80's at least...who owns the company? there you have me....but it comes down to .99999999999 of the earth's population. That much we know
The Saudi government or the Saudi royals? Or are they one and the same?
Deflect the hatred toward Israel and the unwashed won't notice how they are being screwed.
So like republicans scapegoating minorities here so the Baggers don't notice the hosing.
Did you see the 60 minutes piece on the Bloom Box?

If the energy supply is no longer dependent on the middle east quite a lot would change.
"The odds for Israel's long term survival are zero" [Nixon]

That's an interesting quote but I've never heard of it before. Any source you can provide for that? Nixon tapes, or what? (Teh Google led back to this thread only, sfaik.)

Re: the Saudis. It is a very convoluted subject. Supposedly al Qaeda has the Saudis in their sights as much as any other party, yet the government and the royals support them??!?!

My opinion is that the Saudis fund these groups with impunity from us, because they do it for us, as part of the several generations' long secret deal. Just as the large majority of the alleged hijackers were from SA, but we did not attack SA. Although some high level royals all met early deaths semi-simultaneously in the wake of that event.


Bloom Boxes run on fossil fuels.

So in areas where natural gas is scarce or otherwise not feasible "heating oil" would work.

And I like my cheap plastic goods so oil isn't going anywhere.
I've thought about your question re: Fox & the Saudis, and my take on it is that, when all is said and done, Money doesn't have politics beyond what will serve the making of More Money. Political ideologies are transitory things, shifting with the breezes of where More Money can be made by great pools of pre-existing Money. Once you're dealing with boardrooms, corporations, stockholders... Money (and it's demand for More) exerts it's own influence on the trajectory of business plans and operations regardless of the individuals who may be making decisions on any particular day.

I think the Saudi money in Newscorp is viewed - understandably - as a wise long-term investment by it's investors. Your degrees of separation - Right Israel, Right Fox News, Israel and Saudi Arabia are enemies, Saudi invests in Fox News - it's too much context for the typical Fox News viewer to process into cognitive dissonance.

While I've hardly ever exposed myself to Fox News (or any cable news) beyond The Daily Show clips the occasional web page embed, I don't get the impression that they spend a lot of time harping on tensions between Saudi Arabia and Israel, or SA's involvement with funding terrorism/wahhabism/whathaveyou, or their atrocious human rights records, gender inequality, etc...

Most of the time Middle East issues are covered on television news it's about A: Iraq (particularly US involvement & interests), B: Iran (questionable elections, supporters of terrorism, meddlers in Iraq and natch, BS nuclear weapons ambitions), or C: Israel (which often relates back to Iran, or failing that props up it's perception as a bulwark of civilization amidst barbaric arabs). Tell me if I'm wrong... and tell me if I'm wrong that Saudi Arabia's animus with Israel is not an oft-covered topic on Fox News.

While that doesn't lead to a conclusion of financial leverage resulting in news censorship or management, it never does, be it the House of Saud, Israel, Wall Street, the health insurance/pharma industries, or anyone other group or organization with the money and will to throw their weight around.
P.S. - I think your question "What is Al-Qaeda" is much more interesting and is one that deserves attention.
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