Saudi PR machine goes bigtime, hires top US muscle for charm offensive

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The Saudis are about to execute Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, “the young son of a government critic.”

And not only execute, but behead and (literally) crucify. Not that lethal injection is much less barbaric.


As someone who lived in MN while Coleman was working for us, hopefully he gets put on the account. :wink:

And here’s that PR machine in action: Yale Law School to open Islamic law center via $10 million Saudi donation

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Ladies and Germs I give you Saudi Arabia.

The head of the UN Human Rights Council.


Is McCain trying to push a fiver into that Saudi Prince’s hand, again…


That’s a funny thought, but I think we all know that McCain is enough of a realist to know that you need at least a ten spot to get a Saudi Prince’s attention.


Saxby Chambliss… now there is a name to strike terror in the hearts of anybody who enjoys democracy.


It’s certainly never a good sign when somebody feels the need to hire America’s most epistemologically ruthless and ethically uninhibited communications professionals; but I’m honestly curious why the Saudis would feel the need to do this now(rather than either having done so years ago or not feeling the need at all).

Is there some new policy that has threatened their status as our distasteful, but ultimately petrochemically convenient, freedom buddies?


Yale endowment: $23.9 billion. With a 20.2 percent return in fiscal 2014, producing an investment gain of $4.0 billion. Over the past ten years, the endowment grew from $12.7 billion to $23.9 billion.

So, while the rest of us were shitting our financial beds due to the near collapse of the economy, Yale just about doubled its hoard. Because of the meritocracy, no doubt.

Literally the only reason for the creation of an “Islamic law center” funded by the House of Saud is to generate favorable propaganda. Yale doesn’t need the money. All it needs is prompting from the powers that be.


“Why now?” is always an excellent question to ask. (And, no, I don’t have an answer.)


Isn’t money wonderful!

The best part is that the more money you have, the better person you become…


I’ve done some poking and I’m honestly still stuck for an answer: None of their human rights or support-for-problematic-fundamentalists stuff has changed, they are bombing Yemen; but pretty much the parts of Yemen that we approve of bombing(some of which we were also bombing) so they can hardly fear our displeasure on that score.

The fact that it was pretty much Saudis who did 9/11 just gets more distant each year, so that seems unlikely.

The best I can come up with(and it doesn’t strike me as very good) is that they are trying to buy some good PR while they still have the cash, and before the combination of more aggressive petro and gas exploitation outside traditional regions and moves toward nuclear or renewables gradually chip away at the value of sitting on a huge amount of oil.

That just doesn’t seem like a task that requires the most brutal hatchetmen in the business, though. Especially if you start early and are willing to play a long game.


We need more articles (pretty please!) on public relations. If possible not focused as much on individual cases but rather to the underlying mechanisms, the generics that apply across the globe and across the situations.

There’s a beautiful book, Stauber-Rampton - Toxic Sludge is Good for You - Lies, Damn Lies, and the Public Relations Industry. And more books from the same duo.


Agreed! It’s a disgusting part of society that should be held up to scrutiny, the more the better…

I was about to compare it to the stuff that lives under stones, but honestly, most none of that bothers anyone unless you bother it first.


They have mortgages too. I sometimes do some small scale low-stakes PR consulting for a friend. It’s interesting to play both sides.

If the public gets more aware of the techniques, they will lose a good part of their efficiency. We have the Net and crowdsourcing and could possibly spot shills and front companies with e.g. browser add-ons, fed from e.g. wiki.

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I don’t have a conclusive answer but rather some ideas:

  • Saudi Arabia reserve funds are depleting dangerously fast (see e.g. FT). Buying goodwill could be an attempt to secure long-term oil contracts above market value.
  • The Iran nuclear settlement is catastrophic for Riad’s political influence in the middle east. Assuring the support of hawks in the US could be a solution.
  • Nearly all neighbors are failing states, an imported civil war is not unlikely. The House of Saud rules with money (but see my first point) and the US support. What would happen if the US army leaves Saudi Arabia?

Do you mean Zeid al-Hussein? He’s a Hashemite. His people were deposed and chucked out of Mecca by the House of Saud.

H.E. Mr. Faisal bin Hassan Trad, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Ach, I should have said, the panel responsible for electing representatives.

The panel, which SA now heads, elects members of experts to serve as part of the HRC.

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It’s a bit of a sliding scale but when the heaviest hitters are rolling out the schmozoola for brutal dictators, that’s disgusting. But honestly, even the simplest ad really isn’t something I like. I try to stay as far away from ads as much as possible…