Giving Credit Where It's Due
If you got a strong sense of deja vu when reading Michael Isikoff's "The Qatari Connection" in this week's Newsweek, it may be because you read Wayne Barrett's "Rudy's Ties to a Terror Sheik" in last week's Voice.
There's not much new in Isikoff's piece. Like Barrett did, Isikoff talks to former CIA agent Robert Baer who says Giuliani "is metaphorically taking money from the same accounts that paid" 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Unlike Barrett, Isikoff reports that "Giuliani Security officials involved in the Qatari business say the minister suspected of protecting Mohammed no longer has an active role in running the country."
Not sure why Isikoff would let that assertion by the Giuliani camp go unchallenged. Barrett reports that that the official in question, Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, has an even bigger role in the Qatari government than he did years back.
This royal family member is Abdallah bin Khalid al-Thani, Qatar's minister of Islamic affairs at the time, who was later installed at the interior ministry in January 2001 and reappointed by the emir during a government shake-up earlier this year. Abdallah al-Thani is also said to have welcomed Osama bin Laden on two visits to the farm, a charge repeated as recently as October 10, 2007, in a Congressional Research Service study. Abdallah al-Thani's interior ministry or the state-owned company it helps oversee, Qatar Petroleum, has worked with Giuliani Security & Safety LLC, a subsidiary of Giuliani Partners, on an undisclosed number of contracts, the value of which neither the government nor the company will release. But there's little question that a security agreement with Qatar's government, or with Qatar Petroleum, would put a company like Giuliani's in direct contact with the ministry run by Abdallah al-Thani: The website of Qatar's government, and the interior ministry's press office, as well as numerous press stories, all confirm that the ministry controls a 2,500-member police force, the General Administration of Public Security, and the Mubahathat, or secret police. The ministry's charge under law is to "create and institute security in this country." Hassan Sidibe, a public-relations officer for the ministry, says that "a company that does security work, they have to get permission from the interior ministry."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.