It’s been several weeks since Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal attempted to donate $10 million to New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for costs associated with the terror attack on the city.
Giuliani rightly told the prince to take his check and stick it where the sun don’t shine.
Why? Because of highly inappropriate remarks the prince made while making the contribution. He suggested the terror attack was a result of America’s role in attempting to resolve the Mideast conflict.
“This untended sore will fester, spread,” the eighth richest man in the world said. “The reality is that until the Israeli-Palestinian situation is resolved, the world remains at risk.”
Nonsense. And Giuliani recognized it as such. This was money that was coming with strings attached. The prince was trying to buy influence, goodwill, even sympathy for his cause.
But while he was told to go packing by Giuliani, the prince has been more than successful at buying influence in the financial world and particularly with the western media that big business controls.
For instance, the prince now owns a whopping $2.05 billion worth of AOL stock. AOL/Time-Warner, as you know, controls, among many other media enterprises, CNN, the influential global news network. He also owns at least $50 million worth of Disney stock, the company that controls, among other media enterprises, ABC. He also controls at least 3 percent of News Corporation, the parent company of the New York Post, Fox News Channel, the London Times and many other media outlets around the world.
He also has large holdings in such American corporate names as Compaq, Kodak, Xerox, Amazon, eBay, Internet Capital Group, Infospace, DoubleClick, Coke, Pepsi, Ford, McDonald’s, Gillette and Procter & Gamble.
But, it is the prince’s media holdings of most interest to me.
Here’s a guy who wants influence and has demonstrated his desire to use it. How will that influence be manifested in western media holdings?
The prince told the London Times he frequently makes calls to bosses of the companies in which he is invested.
“I am always in close touch with them, but I don’t play an active role,” he said. “If I feel very strongly about something, I convey a message directly to the chairman or the chief executive.”
Thanks God he’s not an investor in WorldNetDaily – nor will he ever be as long as the company I founded remains in private hands.
You see, I don’t believe the massacres at the World Trade Center and Pentagon can ever be rationalized as the prince attempted to do. And, particularly, no member of the Saudi royal family has any moral authority to do so.
If he wants to use his influence to do some good in the world, let the prince begin in his own homeland – which, by the way, is not without some responsibility and culpability for having spawned the brand of Islamicist terrorism that struck the United States Sept. 11.
It bred Osama bin Laden. It incubated him. It supported him for years. Now it is in full cover-up mode.
When the FBI sought to interview members of the bin Laden family in the United States, Saudi officials immediately flew 24 family members home in a deliberate effort to subvert the inquiry. The Saudis covered up bin Laden’s role in the bombing of the Khobar Towers, the U.S. air base in that country. The Saudis have refused to cooperate fully in the investigation of the hijackers themselves, at least 10 of whom were Saudi citizens.
The Saudis are the principal sponsors of the brainwashing camps they call Islamic schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan – the indoctrination centers that produce new bin Ladens and new leaders for the Taliban.
Saudi Arabia, far from being the moderate state most Americans have believed, is a brutal totalitarian police state – one that persecutes Christians and recognizes no rights to free speech, free press and freedom of religion. There’s not a single church in all of Saudi Arabia, and Christians have been jailed and executed for worshipping in the privacy of their own homes.
For those, like me, who applauded Giuliani’s decision to give the money back, it’s time to ask yourself just how the good prince is using his influence in the U.S. financial world – and particularly in the U.S. media.