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Ben Freeman: the Saudi Lobby Juggernaut
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If you were sleeping in 2010 when the Supreme Court — you know, the perfectly reasonable one that didn’t yet have Brett Kavanaugh on it — made political spending a form of free speech with its Citizens United case, you may not yet know that American politics is increasingly a possession of the 1%. In fact, for the first time in American history, there’s even a billionaire in the Oval Office showering tax perks on every other billionaire in sight. During the last eight years, not so surprisingly, “outside spending” in election campaigns has headed for the stratosphere. According to Open Secrets, “During the 2016 election cycle, the top 20 individual donors (whose contributions were disclosed) gave more than $500 million combined to political organizations. The 20 largest organizational donors also gave a total of more than $500 million, and more than $1 billion came from the top 40 donors.” Think about that for a moment and also consider this: in the 2016 campaign season, hardline pro-Israeli casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, gave millions of dollars to President Trump’s campaign and nearly $83 million in all to Republicans. Now, according to the New York Times, Adelson has a “direct line to the president,” a reality reflected in The Donald’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. In addition, in this mid-term election season, the couple has already invested a staggering $55 million in efforts to keep Congress in Republican hands.

And don’t think of this new reality as a purely all-American one either. There are some distinctly un-American deep pockets out there on our planet that are also pouring money into this country’s politics in order to get their own direct lines buzzing to Washington. In fact, speaking about the Middle East, as TomDispatch’s Ben Freeman, director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy, points out today, right at the top of that list are the royals of Saudi Arabia. That includes, of course, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, now the power behind the throne in that country. He’s wooed President Trump with the promise of massive future Saudi arms deals and, earlier this year, reportedly bragged that he had the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a key adviser on the Middle East, “in his pocket.” And what a pocket that’s proven to be! Given the disastrous Saudi war in Yemen that the prince launched in 2015 and that Washington has supported ever since, believe me, that’s no small thing. Today, Freeman offers an unprecedented look at just how a set of foreign Sheldon Adelsons have opened their deep, oil-rich pockets and put American politicians of all sorts in them. It’s a story that needs to be told.

(Republished from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Sean says:

    He may be a centimillionaire, but Donald Trump is not a billionaire. Anyone in that class is obsessed with the idea of preserving his wealth. A billionaires Turmp would never had risked losing everything on the turn of a card.

    Sheldon Adelson did buy the Embassy move but not with money that was just a token. No, Adelson is at the head of the Israel Lobby, and Trump needed them to sew up the nomination. Trump uses the Jews by giving them (whether they want them or not) massive concessions on Israel. That way Trump can get to do what he wants domestically for the people who elected him.

    And what a pocket that’s proven to be! Given the disastrous Saudi war in Yemen that the prince launched in 2015 and that Washington has supported ever since, believe me, that’s no small thing. Today, Freeman offers an unprecedented look at just how a set of foreign Sheldon Adelsons have opened their deep, oil-rich pockets and put American politicians of all sorts in them. It’s a story that needs to be told.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/why-we-reject-the-west-by-osama-bin-laden-a7033906.html
    Why we reject the West – by Osama bin Laden
    A remarkable encounter in the Afghan mountains, years before one of the biggest manhunts in history. Robert Fisk The Independent Afghanistan, 10 July 1996 Did not the Europeans resist German occupation in the Second World War, Mr bin Laden asks? I tell him no European would accept this argument because the Nazis killed millions of Europeans, yet the Americans have never murdered a single Saudi. Surely, I say, such a parallel is historically and morally wrong. […] But it was America that captured bin Laden’s anger. “I believe that sooner or later the Americans will leave Saudi Arabia …The solution to this crisis is the withdrawal of American troops … their military presence is an insult for the Saudi people.” […] And the pivotal date is 1990, the year Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait.

    “When the American troops entered Saudi Arabia, the land of the two Holy places Mecca and Medina, there was a strong protest from the ulema religious authorities and from students of the Sharia law all over the country against the interference of American troops. This big mistake by the Saudi regime of inviting the American troops revealed their deception. They had given their support to nations that were fighting against Muslims. They helped the Yemen Communists against the southern Yemeni Muslims . After it insulted and jailed the ulema months ago, the Saudi regime lost its legitimacy.”

    The American army left Saudi Arabia in 2003 (same year as invasion of Iraq), they had to invade Iraq first as they could hardly leave Saddan in power across the border (look at a map). The Saudi problem has been resolves by the invasion of Iraq and withdrawal of America from Saudi Arabia, there can be a close alliance.

    The Saudi argument with the Houthi and their various backers over the last six decades (Nasser and then Iran) has little to do with America. The Saudis preferred communists to the Houthis, and now it is now a Persian Arab thing as can be seen by the Saudi’s furiously complaining about the treatment of the (Shia) Arab minority in Iran . Counties care who is in power across the border. This is nation state thing; they fight each other out of insecurity and suspicion of future intentions security. ‘Tis the way of the world and ’twas ever thus.

    I like Prince Salman, his alliance with Trump is likely the reason loudmouth Trump-hater Trudeau was served up severely by Saudi Arabia https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/marin-saudi-tweets-leave-trudeau-government-weak-on-international-stage

    Now that Israel and Saudi Arabia have his back, Trump can smash Iran destablise Jordan and get Israel to transfer the Palestinians of the West Bank to whatever replaces the Hashemite Kingdom.
    Then the American version of Sharon’s Wall can be built and it will be time to face a hard reality:

    The past never had been altered. Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.

    China must be stopped.

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