The President of Lebanon has tweeted that American private security contractors are interrogating Saudi princes and billionaires arrested in crackdown three weeks ago. Saudi soldiers provide outer security for the Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh where the detainees are held.

In the tweets and from other reports coming out of Saudi Arabia, the contractors are referred to as “Blackwater” but this seems to be a generic name for contractors. The security company formerly known as Blackwater, now called Academi, has denied any presence in Saudi Arabia and further claimed that they do not provide interrogation services.

The reports indicate that Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, an investor worth at least $7 billion, was hung by his feet to make a point. The fact that a member of the royal family is being detained and treated this way sends a powerful message. Foreign contractors would have no qualms about dealing with royalty where Saudi security agents would fear to tread.

There are any number of trained interrogators who would provide these services for a healthy Saudi payday. It is illegal under U.S. law for Americans to commit torture anywhere in the world and the crime has been prosecuted in U.S. courts.

The poster child for this is Charles “Chuckie” Taylor Jr., Boston born son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor. In 2008, a Miami jury found Chuckie guilty on eight counts of torture in Liberia.

For decades, the Saudi government has been undermined by members of the royal family selling influence and the resources of the Kingdom. The new Crown Prince has got to gain control of the levers of government to face the unprecedented threats from Iran and Islamic radicals on his borders. The objectives of these interrogations are two fold.

First, the Crown Prince wants to know who is involved and close the rings of criminal activity which have penetrated every aspect of Saudi business and government. These networks have supported Islamic extremest causes and must be rooted out to assure security for the new government.

The second goal is to find the money. Billions of Riyals are hidden across the planet. The Crown Prince wants to intimidate the criminal billionaires into revealing all of their hidden accounts. It is reasonable to assume that with their immunity stripped away and no hope of rescue, these sons of privilege are becoming very cooperative. The “Blackwater” interrogators are a nice piece of theater.