Tags: Kerry | Allies | Focus | Bush-Saudi | Connection

Kerry Allies Focus on Bush-Saudi Connection

Sunday, 17 October 2004 12:00 AM

Already, Michael Moore in his “Fahrenheit 9/11” made the charge – claiming that Bush even allowed possible Saudi terrorist supporters to exit the U.S. in the days after 9/11. But that didn’t stick when it was discovered that National Security aide Richard Clark, who has been a Bush critic since he left government, made the decision to let the Saudis leave. Bush was not even informed of the decision.

Still, during presidential debates, Kerry made several references to the Saudis and what he claimed was a go-easy policy by the Bush White House.

Now Kerry allies and his allies are hitting hard in a wave of TV and radio commercials in key swing states.

Kerry and the the Democratic Party recently introduced two advertisements alleging that President George W. Bush’s administration has been giving the Saudi royal family “special favors” and has become overly reliant on Saudi Arabia for the nation’s oil supplies.

The Media Fund, a Democratic group, unleashed the harshest ads yet spending $6.5 million to run ads highlighting the Saudi theme in battleground Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin.

One ad suggests the President forced Congress to hide evidence linking the Saudi government to the Sept. 11 hijackers. It also noted the Bush family’s long ties to the Saudi royal family.

The ads suggest that ties between the president and the Saudis have caused Bush to take a slack line against the Saudis on oil prices.

“The Saudi royal family gets special favors, while our gas prices skyrocket,” a voice announces in one spot as the image of Crown Prince Abdullah appears. In another, Kerry says, “I want an America that relies on its own ingenuity and innovation, not the Saudi royal family.”

At one point Bush is shown holding hands with Crown Prince Abdullah. Mug shots of the Saudi Sept. 11 hijackers then appear above a shot of the destruction wrought by the attacks.

On the stump, Kerry typically lambastes Saudi Arabia’s monarchy for supporting terrorism and refers to increasing prices of crude oil as “the Saudi-George Bush gasoline tax.”

“If we are serious about energy independence, then we can finally be serious about confronting the role of Saudi Arabia in financing and providing ideological support for al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups,” Kerry said in one recent stump speech. He vowed to impose “tough sanctions” and to “name and shame” those behind financing terrorists.

“To put it simply,” he pronounced, “we will not do business as usual with Saudi Arabia.”

The Saudis have been fighting back, pointing out in their own PR salient that the 9/11 commission investigated several charges of official Saudi connections to the 9/11 attacks and found them baseless. Although al-Qaeda raised funds in Saudi Arabia, the Saudis note, the 9/11 commission concluded that it found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded” al-Qaeda.

The theme of Bush and his relationship with the Saudi royals is nothing new in the media.

For his part, President Bush has been consistently unabashed and unapologetic about his “good relationship” with Crown Prince Abdullah, telling Barbara Walters on “20/20” recently:

“I’ve got a very good relationship with the Crown Prince Abdullah. … I believe he is … as we say, ‘the genuine article.’ He is a good, honest man. And, and in my discussions with the crown prince, he has assured me that the Saudi government will do everything they can to disrupt finances headed toward terrorists. I explained to the crown prince that obviously there is an issue in America when, you know, 16, I guess, of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, and therefore the American people are skeptical.

“… So we’re continuing to work with the Saudis to do everything we can to cut off money. They are on occasion, like other friends in the area, arresting people that we have highlighted as al-Qaeda-type menace. They themselves are worried about al- Qaeda. I mean, the government itself is worried about bin Laden that could try to harm the Saudi people through terrorist attacks. We’re making progress in the relationship to … join together to fight off the terrorist activities.”

Just as President Bush has deflected the Moore barbs re the Bush-Saudi connection, the media has been playing fact-check catch-up -- debunking the most sinister of his film’s claims.

For instance, a central theme of Michael Moore’s controversial documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” is a charge that Saudi Arabian interests provided $1.4 billion to firms connected to the family and friends of President George W. Bush.

However, as a recent special Newsweek investigative report noted:

Regardless of the ongoing debunking, the Bush-Saudi conspiracy urban legend will inevitably survive through Nov. 2 and most probably beyond.

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Already, Michael Moore in his "Fahrenheit 9/11" made the charge - claiming that Bush even allowed possible Saudi terrorist supporters to exit the U.S. in the days after 9/11. But that didn't stick when it was discovered that National Security aide Richard Clark, who has...
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2004-00-17
Sunday, 17 October 2004 12:00 AM
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