Fitzgerald: Stop the Saudi Lobby

Hugh Fitzgerald, Jihad Watch

A Jihad Watch reader recently noted:

    “When Israel attacked Iraq’s nuclear reactor in July 1981, John West (Ambassador to S.A. 1977-1981) sent a letter to the House of Foreign Affairs Committee asking that punitive action be taken against Israel. As ambassador, West provoked major controversy when he facilitated the contracting of a private public relations firm by the government of Saudi Arabia to lobby for the sale of F-15’s.”

John C. West’s old friend Crawford Cook was, at West’s urging, hired by the Saudis. On the campus of the University of South Carolina, at some “Center” named after Ernest Hollings (himself a big promoter of the Saudis, as he was a denigrator of Israel), you can find the names of both “John C. West” and “Crawford Cook.”

But then there is James Akins, in a class by himself. He was the American ambassador to Saudi Arabia during that critical year 1973, and finally had to be fired even by Kissinger for his blatant behavior. Imagine what James Akins sent back to Washington about OPEC and the quadrupling of oil prices. Do you think he warned anyone that this was dangerous, given what Saudi Arabia was like, because much of that money was likely to be used abroad to promote the spread of Islam? Do you think James Akins — who still insists that Israel “deliberately” attacked the U.S.S. Liberty during the Six-Day War, which at this point, after the release of the Israeli pilots’ tapes, no one except convinced antisemites could possibly maintain — warned Washington about the future uses of that oil money?

What about Raymond Close, who was C.I.A. station chief in Jeddah, or was it Riyadh, from 1970 to 1977, again during the critical years when policy toward newly-rich Saudi Arabia might have been differently crafted if accurate information about the attitudes of Saudis toward Infidels had been accurately conveyed? Close took early retirement and then immediately went into business with two well-connected Saudi businessmen, one of them a former Saudi intelligence head. When do you think he started getting those job offers from the Saudis — after he retired, or before? And he then went on to be involved in the banking scandal (was it the BCCI? I can’t remember) and various arms transfers, and then of course continued writing about American foreign policy and the need to jettison Israel and be grateful to Saudi Arabia for all it has done for us, and is trying to do. For all I know he continues this to this day, from his home in Princeton. Just a few years ago another contact and sympathizer of his got him a gig as a “Stimson Fellow” at Yale — these people are all over the place.

And then there is Eugene Bird, that “patriot,” that genuine American “patriot,” who cares only for the National Interest. That is why he heads up something called the “Council for the National Interest,” which somehow has enough money to pay for full-page ads in The Times, and more than once, and which pushes a policy of denouncing…the “Israel Lobby” and offering suggestions identical to those of the Saudi government.

And there are so many others, of both parties — Fred Dutton, the former Kennedy apparatchik. A dozen different Washington lobbying firms. This also includes everyone who ever got an expensive present from Prince Bandar, who dropped off a Jaguar as a token of his affection for Mrs. Colin Powell. The ostentatiously upright Powell apparently thought that was just swell. He never apparently thought he should refuse to accept it. Yet it not only looks bad, it is bad.

Has Congress taken it upon itself to make such names as “Raymond Close” and “James Akins” and “Eugene Bird” and others well known to the American public? Has Congress asked to see what information was sent back to Washington in 1973, during the quadrupling of oil prices, by both Akins and Close? It hasn’t? Why not?

If that information is not made public, and the recipients of Saudi and other Arab largesse not publicly revealed, then what will prevent the Saudis, in the next decade, from spreading their wealth around in exactly the same ways, to exactly the same effect? We cannot take away all their money — though we can severely limit what they can send to this country to pay for mosques and madrasas where literature preaching hate for Infidels has been found (see the report of the Center for Religious Freedom). But we can subject to close and critical scrutiny those who have in the past received such Saudi and other Arab financial support, directly and indirectly, as a complement to making it illegal to receive sums above, say, $50,000 a year from any foreign country, and to make sure all loopholes are closed and the moral hatches battened down. The American government and the people it presumes to protect can’t take much more of this.

September 8, 2007 | 2 Comments »

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