The Saudi Connection

Previous Spin of the Day postings have discussed the Bush administration's backdoor ties to Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group. Now the Boston Herald has picked up the story, with a two-part series that reports, "A steady stream of billion-dollar oil and arms deals between American corporate leaders and the elite of Saudi Arabia may be hindering efforts by the West to defeat international Islamic terrorism." Terrorism suspects have been arrested in more than 40 countries since Sept. 11, but none have been announced so far in Saudi Arabia -- believed to be the home of at least half of the suicide hijackers and many more suspects. The Saudis have also balked at freezing the assets of organizations linked to bin Laden and international terrorism. According to the Herald, the U.S. has barely whimpered about this lack of cooperation, for fear of disrupting "an extraordinary array of U.S.-Saudi business ventures which, taken together, are worth tens of billions of dollars." Many top Bush advisors, including George Sr., Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, have cashed in on the Saudi gravy train. "No one wants to alienate the Saudis, and we are willing to basically ignore inconvenient truths that might otherwise cause our blood to boil. We basically look away," says Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity.