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
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?
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.)