Richard Perle and $100M in Saudi Funding

Yesterday’s New Yorker carried a remarkable lead story by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh regarding the business dealings of uber-hawk Richard Perle.

Perle, the Chairman of the Defense Policy Board, is widely characterized as the central figure in the current Iraq War plans, with his various disciples or followers being the key government officials.

As you might also know, various neocon followers and disciples of Perle have repeatedly demonized Saudi Arabia as a source of anti-American evil fully comparable to that of Saddam, and have sometimes suggested America follow up regime change in Baghdad with similar actions in Riyadh.

Now soon after 9/11, Perle apparently established a venture capital firm aimed at investing in national security companies. This seems a little doubtful itself.

But according to Hersh, Perle and his business partners, including fellow members of the Defense Policy Board, held January meetings with leading Saudis, hoping to persuade them to invest $100M in the company.

These efforts to attract Saudi investment apparently began soon after the media controversy surrounding that Perle-sponsored defense analyst who proposed that America regard the Saudis as our enemies and possibly seize the oilfields.

Aside from characterizing Hersh to CNN as a “terrorist,” Perle seems unwilling to deny the factual accuracy of these claims.

If these claims are correct, I think this could amount to a scandal of mammoth proportions.

During his service in the Reagan Administration, Perle had been investigated for steering a defense contract to an Israeli firm that had previously paid him a $50,000 consulting fee.

I suspect that one problem with America getting into the worldwide regime-changing business is the extraordinary financial opportunities it would provide to the friends and associates of key policy-makers from regimes that don’t want to be changed.

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