The Intercept – the online magazine created by Ebay’s founder – whose editors include Glenn Greenwald, published an expose this month on the Saudi Arabian PR machine (which can be read here).
Certainly over the years there have been those who have tried to buy the U.S. Government and their good will. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia seems to be making a further bid do so so. Almost as soon as bombs and attacks were launched against Yemen by Saudi forces recently, Saudi Arabia launched another blitz campaign – this time in the political arena.
Qorvis Communications, operating as a PR agency for Saudi Arabia since shortly after 9/11, continues their efforts to show only the best, so much so they recently doubled their usual invoice for the most current billing period ($7 million) from the previous one. Qorvis has been very busy, putting U.S. government leaders and officials in touch with members of the Saudi royal family, including Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who was appointed to the Saudi throne in January. And their efforts have been bipartisan.
As The Intercept notes, a number of people have been hired by the Saudi government with positions of influence into the U.S. government including:
- The brother of Hilary Clinton’s campaign manager hired at the Saudi Embassy.
- Ignacio Sanchez, a top fundraiser for Jeb Bush.
- The leader of the largest super PAC (Republican) in the country.
- A law firm deeply tied to the Obama administration.
They’ve lobbied various think tank members and officials at companies like Lockheed Martin, General Electric and many other prominent and influential American business people.
Since Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud has taken control of the government, there has been a reign of terror in his country and with frequent beheadings and crucifixions of people charged with such crimes as witchcraft, apostasy, and adultery – most of them also made some protest against the government prior to charges being brought and their ultimate executions. On top of that more than 6,000 Yemen citizens have been killed by bombs and other attacks by Saudi Arabia. They also blocked humanitarian aid getting through to Yemen and later claimed they were the only one to respond to the U.N.’s request for aid to the country.
In addition to Qorvis, Saudi Arabia works with a lobbyist from the law firm Hogan Lovells (H.P. Goldfield) and vice chairman of Albright Stonebridge Group. But it doesn’t end there. They also employ other PR and lobbying firms, including Edelman, DLA Piper, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, and the Podesta Group. Also, firms such as Tuluna USA, American Directions Group, and Zignal Labs have been employed to do surveys on public opinion of Saudi Arabia in the U.S. and to analyze the information from a big data perspective.
While Saudi makes claims on American news programs about their humanitarian efforts, they continue to execute their own people for dissension. Are any of these PR firms asking their Saudi clients about this as they count their money?