Al Gore Event Funded By Bin Laden's Family
The Saudi Arabia seminar that was addressed by former Vice President Al Gore over the weekend in a speech that criticized the U.S. for being too tough on Arabs was sponsored, in part, by Osama bin Laden's family. On Saturday, the state-run Saudi news outlet Arab News reported that the Jeddah Economic Forum, where Gore spoke, was funded by "Saudi Arabian Airlines, the Saudi Binladin Group, Gulf One Investment Bank, Saudi Basic Industries Corp." and an array of other big companies with ties to the Middle East.
Al GoreThe Saudi BinLadin Group - which is Saudi Arabia's largest construction company - is run by Osama bin Laden's brothers and cousins. Jeddah, the site of the forum attended by Gore, is Osama bin Laden's hometown. Although family members claim they've disowned bin Laden, his mother told reporters after the 9/11 attacks that she received advanced warning from him that something big was about to happen. A wealthy bin Laden niece also reportedly abandoned her lower Manhattan apartment three weeks before the 9/11 attacks. The BinLadin Group's longtime involvement in the Jeddah forum has been widely reported in the Mideast and European press. In January 2002, ex-President Clinton addressed the JEF, which paid him $267,000 for his speech. According to London's Financial Times: "The conference was dominated by the Saudis' desire to overcome the pressures of September 11 and strengthen U.S.-Saudi ties . . . The BinLadin Group, one of the forum's backers, has been battered by its association with Osama." Other JEF speakers that year included President Bush's younger brother, Neil. It's not known how much Mr. Gore was paid for his speech.