This post skips around in time, so pay attention to dates if you want to maintain your mental bearings.
Telegraph (UK) 03/07/2007:
Saudi Prince struggles to sell his ranch
A Saudi prince accused of accepting hundreds of millions in bribes from BAE Systems to help seal an arms deal is having problems selling his £67million home in America.
The Hala Ranch, which means ‘welcome’ in Arabic, is the Colorado home of Prince Bandar bin Sultan
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador in Washington, is still struggling to find a buyer for his Colorado mansion nine months after it went on the market with what at the time was the highest price tag for a US home.
So far about 1,000 people have asked to see the Hala Ranch, a 56,000sq ft residence bigger than the White House, near the fashionable ski resort of Aspen.
But the Prince and his estate agents have so far only allowed 11 potential buyers to view the 15 bedroom, 16 bathroom home which also has its own beauty salon, indoor pool and car wash.
The house sale could, however, be the least of the prince's problems.
He is currently the subject of a formal investigation by the US Department of Justice into allegations that BAE Systems, Europe's largest defence firm, paid him around £1 billion in bribes. The company is accused of making the illegal payments in relation to the £43billion Al Yamamah deal, under which Saudi Arabia was sold Tornado jets and a range of other military equipment and services.
It is claimed that the prince received up to £120million a year from BAE over a 10-year period. The prince, who is now head of the Saudi national security council and is therefore spending less time in the US, has rejected the claims, as have executives at BAE.
Now yesterday Mary Madigan posted at Solomonia a link to this Jimmy Carter story:
Last night, (Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2004) Carter, 80, in humorous fashion recounted on NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" how close his family has become to Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar. Carter told of a time that 23 members of his family traveled to Colorado on a Christmas vacation.
"One year we went out to Aspen and Prince Bandar—who is a good friend of mine—from Saudi Arabia, let us use his big mansion on top of a mountain overlooking the slopes, full of toys for the kids and so forth. So one morning we were having breakfast and my one grandson, Jeremy, he could just barely see over the top of the table and he looked up at me and said, 'Papa are you going to die someday?'
"You know all the grandparents want their kids to love them and so my heart just swelled up with pride that this kid was really worried about me. I said, 'yes, Jeremy, everybody dies someday.' And so I waited for him to say something else. He didn't say anything else. So finally I said, 'honey, why did you ask me that question?' He said 'when you die, can we still come to Bandar's house?'"
Why are we talking about this four years later?
According to court documents from the BAE case in Britain, Bandar threatened Britain with "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they continued their investigation into the scandal.
Follow the link. Go, read, vomit if necessary.
.... On Friday a throng swarmed through the poplars and cypress trees that dot the once idyllic compound. Among them for the first time were soldiers and airmen. "Death to the Shah!" the demonstrators chanted. "Death to Carter!" The Ayatullah Yahya Nouri, one of the leaders of the revolution, gave a fiery speech outside the embassy gates calling for a "jihad [holy war] against the U.S." This might all be dismissed as rhetoric, but inside the compound remained the American hostages, haggard, some of them with their hands bound, totally vulnerable to the whims of their captors. One student gloated to TIME Correspondent Bruce van Voorst: "Our cup of hatred is filled to overflowing."
One thing that should sustain Jimmy Carter during his current ordeal is the knowledge that, for the first time in his presidency, and indeed within recent memory, the U.S. enjoyed at least modest support from practically the entire world.
Afterthought: In 1979 Michelle Obama was 15 and had not yet embarked upon her "adult lifetime." I remember the siege at the embassy in Tehran; I was 24 at the time.
John McCain was 43.
I'm beginning to see his age as a great advantage for someone sitting in the Oval Office. Especially if you believe there is a "holy war" against us.