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From Infiltrating Wikipedia to Paying Trump Millions in Golf Deals, Saudis Whitewash Rights Record

Written by on 17/01/2023

The Justice Department and Congress are facing new calls to investigate Donald Trump’s financial ties to Saudi Arabia. The latest controversy centers on a new golf tournament owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund, which is chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. LIV has paid millions to golf resorts owned by Donald Trump, who has publicly supported the new league which is attempting to compete with the PGA. Meanwhile, an exposé has revealed that the Saudi government infiltrated Wikipedia to control information on the kingdom. Government administrators were recruited to edit the crowdsourced site in ways that portrayed Saudi Arabia in a positive light, and two noncompliant editors who contributed critical information about political detainees were themselves prosecuted and imprisoned. The Wikimedia Foundation, the parent company of Wikipedia, appears to have banned 16 Saudi users for “conflict of interest” editing, yet it is unclear what additional steps they have taken to combat the Saudi government’s disinformation campaign. We speak to Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the organization that released the report on Wikipedia’s infiltration, who says that Saudi Arabia’s financial investments in American political leaders’ business dealings and deployment of government agents inside international organizations are key to its global project to conceal evidence of its human rights abuses.

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