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• • •
"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show

"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket

"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming

June 07, 2007

They Hate Us For Our Freedom. Our Freedom To Collude In Multi-Billion Dollar Theft.

The BBC reports:

A Saudi prince received secret payments from the UK's biggest arms dealer, a BBC investigation has revealed.

BAE Systems made regular payments of hundreds of millions of pounds to Prince Bandar bin Sultan for more than a decade.

The payments were made with the full knowledge of the Ministry of Defence...

The Prince served for 20 years as Saudi ambassador to the US.

Up to £120m a year was sent by BAE from the UK into two Saudi embassy accounts in Washington for more than a decade...

According to Panorama's sources, the payments were written into the arms deal contract in secret annexes, described as "support services".

They were authorised on a quarterly basis by the MoD.

The SFO inquiry into the Al Yamamah deal was stopped in December 2006.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said at the time it had been dropped because of national security concerns.

So...$100 billion a year flows into Saudi Arabia's coffers to pay for their oil. The US and UK make sure that, rather than the money staying there and being spent for the people of Saudi Arabia, it returns to us to pay for weapons Saudi Arabia doesn't need. To make this happen, arms dealers bribe the Saudi royal family with hundreds of millions of dollars, all with the knowledge and approval of the British government.

It's all so cozy:

...for two decades, Bandar had built an intimate personal relationship with the Bush family that went far beyond a mere political friendship...Bandar and the elder Bush had participated in the shared rituals of manhood -- hunting trips, vacations together, and the like...

In charitable contributions alone, the Saudis gave at least $3.5 million to Bush charities -- $1 million by Prince Bandar to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum...and a $1 million painting from Prince Bandar to George W. Bush's White House.


Two days after the 9/11 attacks, the President asked Bandar to come to the White House. Bush embraced him and escorted him to the Truman balcony. Bandar had a drink and the two men smoked cigars.


Bush welcomed Prince Bandar bin Sultan to his Texas ranch after telephoning Crown Prince Abdullah, the sitting ruler of Saudi Arabia, to say that recent anti-Saudi statements coming from the United States do not reflect Bush's desire for an "eternal friendship" with the kingdom.


Americans are asking, why do they hate us? They hate what we see right here in this chamber -- a democratically elected government...They hate our freedoms -- our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.

Posted at June 7, 2007 10:03 AM | TrackBack

But they love George and they love the money.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 7, 2007 11:01 AM

Meanwhile, "In a rare public discussion of her husband's infidelity, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that she probably could not have gotten through her marital troubles without relying on her faith in God."

Posted by: Dish at June 7, 2007 11:22 AM

Hey, local news.. My old neighbor, Bandar da Coke Prince of Aspen, Colorado! And all this time I thought he made his money in discount auto parts!

Posted by: vince_foster at June 7, 2007 11:30 AM

Hey, Vince, don't poke fun! If all go according to plans (his, of course), he may very well be the next "King of Saudi Arabia" - with a little help from friends Cheney and Netanyahu, and quite possibly the Wahhab clerics. I once read that his wife has been very busy on the cleric front.

Posted by: FurGaia at June 7, 2007 11:52 AM

You have to dig around a bit in the BBC articles but, hey, the bank handling all those transactions to Young and Dashing Prince Bandar was none other than Riggs National! You remember Riggs, right? Riggs doesn't exist anymore because of the various investigations into, oh, payments via Ms. Bandar to one or more of the 9/11 terrorists, and because they were secretly handling Pinochet and Co.'s money, and Teodoro Obiang Nguema's money, and laundering money left and right. Riggs was the subject of, I think this is right, five Congressional investigations before all those investigations were shut down for "National Security Reasons."

A brief but amusing overview:

Oh, and it looked like the Bandar accounts were handled by none other than Bush Pioneer and Bush uncle, Jonathan Bush, although Norm Coleman's report on Riggs didn't quite get to that. And gosh, Bush Pioneer Joe Albritton didn't just walk from Riggs--after paying a few buck to Pinchet's victims--he and his son went on to found, yeah, Politico.

Anyway, wow, hundreds of millions of pounds laundered to Prince Bandar didn't show up in any of those Congressional (and Commerce Dept.) investigations. Gosh, I wonder if Norm Coleman's gonig to go back and reopen those investigations? And, ya know, it's just too bad that all the Riggs paperwork had to be thrown out when they went under.

I heard that BBC report and thought, now, I wonder which bank handled this? And, oh, yes, it was our good friend Rigggs! Do you think any enterprising journalist will ask Tony Snow if Bush is concerned about the Albrittons and Jonathan Bush's involvement in bribes to Young and Dashing Prince Bandar? Or, perhaps, ask Norm Coleman how he missed, oh, a billion bucks of bribes to the Prince while there were looking into the Princesses accounts?

Posted by: anon at June 7, 2007 12:21 PM

"elder Bush had participated in the shared rituals of manhood -- hunting trips, vacations together, and the like..."

Rituals of Manhood? Vacations together? And the like...?

That's too rich! What would Holsinger say?

Posted by: wizardbill at June 7, 2007 12:50 PM

After circumcision, I stopped participating in "shared rituals of manhood."
But what got me through that one, just as Hillary says, was my "faith in God."

Posted by: donescobar at June 7, 2007 01:19 PM

On second thought, in my case, that should have read "sheared ritual of manhood."

Posted by: donescobar at June 7, 2007 01:21 PM

BAE Systems is a publicly traded company. I believe it is shareholder fraud to give hundreds of millions in off-the-book bribes to someone using shareholder money.

Posted by: at June 7, 2007 02:20 PM

Anon beat me to it. I was going to say, "And of course the bank was Riggs; you knew that without looking..."

Joe Albritton and all his minions (including the whores at The Politico): may they rot in hell.

Posted by: Nell at June 7, 2007 05:55 PM

Hey, Jon, have you heard of a British comedian named Mark Thomas? As well as being a comedian, he's a campaigner against the arms trade and a lefty activist sort of in the Michael Moore vein. He managed to pull some stunts that got questions asked in Parliament. He wrote a book recently about the arms trade, called As Used On The Famous Nelson Mandela (an actual quote from an arms dealer's catalog). His main target, of course, is BAE Systems, and his secondary target is New Labour for breaking their promises and coddling them. It's very entertaining. Or at least, as entertaining as anything can be that deals with the merchants of death and subjugation. I think you'd like it a lot.

Posted by: Chris E. at June 7, 2007 08:11 PM

Chris, I've heard of Thomas, but I've never really checked him out. But thanks to your encouragement I will do so. I have to respect anyone who's written a book called As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela.

Posted by: Jonathan Schwarz at June 7, 2007 08:56 PM

I hadn't heard of Thomas before happening across the book, but I was sold as soon as I'd read the first page, which reads:



You need to read the introduction ... sorry, I know intros are for students and book clubs, but you do need to do it. I know skim readers don't do intros, but a bit of concentration and effort now will pay dividends later. If it helps, console yourself with the fact that Victoria Beckham wouldn't even have got this far.

There is one other moment in the book when the skim reader will be tested to the limit. For one paragraph you will need to focus all your powers of attention and learning. To alert you to this paragraph, I have given it a special title: 'Ozzy's cocaine breastmilk.' I thought it might make it easier.

Posted by: Chris E. at June 7, 2007 09:38 PM

Funnily enough, I've just finished reading As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandela. Good book.

Also funnily enough, dear Leader Tony recently (via his pet Lord Advocate, Lord Goldsmith, who you may remember being central to the "Cash for Peerages" scandal) squelched a Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribes paid by BAE to the Saudis, citing "national security reasons".

It's all corruption, all the time with these guys.

As for the idea that the Saudis have perfected corruption - who's more corrupt, the guy who takes the bribe, or the guy who pays the bribe?

Posted by: Dunc at June 8, 2007 05:26 AM

When will someone file a civil complaint in a federal criminal court based on R.I.C.O. against The White House?


Posted by: Kilgore Trout at June 8, 2007 06:31 PM

With all these connections between the Bush family - Bin Ladin - The Saudi Royal family - Prince Bandar - the Bin Ladin family - Bin Ladin Construction Inc. - the ISI in Pakistan along with Pakistan our military dictatorship ally - Abromoff - and 9/11 terrorist flight schools, I would swear a classic coup was being rubbed in my face. Too many connections to be coincidence. Oh what's a lowly blogger to do in a world that just let Paris Hilton out of jail because she's special. It's as if I'm living in a world where spoiled rotten rich kids who can't read a paper, or get higher then a C average in school just get whatever they want, and then get away with murder.

Posted by: Davol at June 8, 2007 07:15 PM

Davol : Yep, that's the world you live in and, of course, I live there too.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at June 9, 2007 11:09 AM

Davol, you're right on baby! Gimmie Castro any fuckin' day o' the week over this shit!!

Posted by: at June 11, 2007 12:05 PM

Davol, you're right on man. Gimmie Castro anyday O' the fuckin' week over these 'tards!

At least Castro EARNED the right to fuck up his country....

Posted by: at June 11, 2007 12:07 PM