Huge bribes, arms deals and threats of terrorism are the elements of an unfolding plot centering on the good friend of both Presidents Bush, Prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia.
Testimony in a London court yesterday led a judge to comment that former Prime Minister Tony Blair appeared to have "rolled over" for Bandar "just as if a gun had been held to the head" of the government.
The Saudi Prince was accused of threatening to hold back information on terrorists and suicide bombers that would lead to the loss of "British lives on British streets" if Blair's investigators kept looking into charges that he took $2 billion of bribes in arms deals with the British company BAE. They stopped.
Now those charges as well as Bandar's strong-arming to suppress them are being heard in a British high court, and there are ongoing probes here as well.
Last summer, BAE disclosed that the US Justice Department is looking into the company's possible violations of corruption laws in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and this week, in a class-action suit brought by stockholders, a federal judge restrained Prince Bandar from transferring out of the country proceeds from his real estate deals, including the legendary Hearst Mansion, which he has put up for sale at $165 million.
As his country's ambassador in Washington, Bandar was so close to both Bushes that, immediately after 9/11, with air space closed to private flights, he was able to fly his family and friends home and, until recently, he was the key player in the Saudi game of publicly supporting US efforts against terrorism while allowing Saudi troublemakers to join Al Qaeda in Iraq to attack our troops.
Now, the story of the Playboy Prince's intrigues is beginning to unravel and, in coming months, may make Mideast conspiracy movies such as "Syriana" look like "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."