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All the birds seem to be coming home to roost for Rudy Giuliani. First the indictment and further disclosures concerning Bernard Kerik, the man Rudy picked to be head of the nation’s counter-terrorism agency (but who doesn’t know the difference between Shi’ia and Sunni, nor for that matter does he have a high school diploma)–indicted on a series of lurid charges involving gross corruption. The criminal complaint has been circulating all over the place, handed around offices, frequently with the observation–remember, this is the guy who used to be on Fox all the time. Then disclosures about Rudy’s use of public funds to protect his mistress, to walk her dogs and to chauffeur her and her guests around New York and the Hamptons.
But all this is nothing. I then read the series of pieces by Barrett in the Village Voice, and Isikoff in Newsweek–all about Rudy’s ties to powerful figures in Qatar, who in turn have close ties to Osama bin Laden and other prominent terrorists. Possibly connections close enough to land Rudy in trouble under the material support concept (assuming it were applied in a politically neutral fashion, which, of course, is a ridiculous idea). My first take was that this had to be sensationalist nonsense. My second take was that Rudy is a lawyer, is engaged in a professional services business, and deserves some latitude in picking his clients. After reading all the pieces, I come to my third take: this is definitely troubling, and more than just unseemly. Rudy’s motive in all of this is making money, pure and simple. But he seems to exercise very little discretion in the process.
Joe Conason reviews these accounts in his current column at Salon:
If Giuliani was unaware of the terrorism issues surrounding Qatar before he signed his initial contract with the emirate in 2005, then he must not be quite the expert he claims to be. And if he knew of those issues but signed up anyway, that raises other questions.
Certainly he should be asked to explain his connections with the emirate and especially with Interior Minister Abdullah bin Khalid al-Thani, who has long been suspected of harboring KSM and facilitating the travel of al-Qaida operatives to and from Qatar. Whatever reasons the United States may have for maintaining diplomatic and military ties with Qatar, the contradictions in doing business with that nation for a hard-liner like Giuliani should be explored.
Might it be that Rudy’s Qatari friends think they can buy protection from the Bush Administration’s war on terror excesses by putting Rudy on a healthy retainer? Sure looks that way. In any event, with Rudy dodging questions, Conason serves up a number that need to be put to him at his next press conference:
Are your company’s security contracts with Qatar negotiated and administered through the Qatar Ministry of the Interior, as a government spokesman confirmed to the Village Voice?
Are you aware that the interior minister appointed in 2001 and reappointed this year by the emir of Qatar is Abdullah al-Thani, the former minister of Islamic affairs and a strict Wahhabi Muslim who has been identified in U.S. press and government reports as a protector of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?
Are you aware that Abdullah al-Thani, a strict Wahhabi Muslim, reportedly hosted Osama bin Laden on two visits to his Qatari farm?
Giuliani is routinely identified as the Republican establishment’s number one war-on-terror profiteer. The Qatari relationship looks very unsavory. But maybe Rudy has an innocent explanation for all of it. In any event, it is time we heard from him.
More from Scott Horton:
Six Questions — October 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
Nathaniel Raymond on CIA interrogation techniques.
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”