Monday, October 22, 2018


“You saved my a rse again and again… So, I’ll save yours like Bush and Obama did!
"I doubt that Trump understands -- or cares about -- what message he's sending. Wealthy Saudis, including members of the extended royal family, have been his patrons for years, buying his distressed properties when he needed money. In the early 1990s, a Saudi prince purchased Trump's flashy yacht so that the then-struggling businessman could come up with cash to stave off personal bankruptcy, and later, the prince bought a share of the Plaza Hotel, one of Trump's many business deals gone bad. Trump also sold an entire floor of his landmark Trump Tower condominium to the Saudi government in 2001."

Sen. Rand Paul: Sanctions Against Saudi Arabia Don’t Go Far Enough

By Melanie Arter | October 22, 2018 | 2:57 PM EDT

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) (Screenshot)
( – Sanctions against the Saudi government aren’t enough punishment for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told “Fox News Sunday.”

The senator said for one thing, Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, often referred to as MBS, must be replaced.

“I think the Saudis are an authoritarian government. They are directed from the top down, and you don't have people just going off and doing things on their own. I feel certain that the crown prince was involved and that he directed this, and that's why I think we cannot continue to have relations with him,” Paul said.

“So, I think he is going to have to be replaced, frankly, but I think that sanctions don't go far enough. I think we need to look at the arm sale, because this is not just about this journalist being killed, it's about the war in Yemen where tens of thousands of civilians are being killed,” he said.

“It's about them spreading hatred of Christians and Jews and Hindus throughout the world. I mean, thousands and thousands madrassas teaching radical violence against the West. The Saudis have not acted as our friend and they need to change their behavior,” Paul added.
When asked whether he believed the Saudis’ account of what happened to Khashoggi, Paul said, “Absolutely not. I think it's insulting to anyone who's analyzing this with any kind of intelligent background to think that, oh, a fist fight led to a dismemberment with a bone saw.

“So, no, but I think we should put this brazen attack, this brazen murder in context with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has basically over the decades been the largest state sponsor of radical Islam and violent jihad. They sponsor thousands of madrassas that teach hatred of Christians and Jews and Hindus around the world. So, this isn't the first instance. This is just another in the line of long instances of Saudi insults to the civilized world,” he said.

Paul said “it stretches credulity to believe the crown prince wasn't involved in this,” and he thinks “that's the way they're going to write this off.”

“And people in Saudi Arabia ought to be aware when you were told what to do, you go and do it, and then they will execute you and put all the blame on someone else. There's no way 15 people were sent from Saudi Arabia to Turkey to kill a dissident without the approval of the crown prince. And that's why I say we have to be stronger than just saying, oh, we are going to sanction a few of these people and pretend like we're doing something,” he said.

Ken Livingstone: Stop double standards, sanction Saudis for Yemen war, kidnappings & killings

Ken Livingstone is an English politician, he served as the Mayor of London between 2000 and 2008. He is also a former MP and a former member of the Labour Party.
Activists protest the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi outside the White House in Washington © Reuters / Leah Millis
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When we remember how rapidly the US imposed sanctions on Russia over Crimea and the Skripal poisonings, it's bizarre to watch US President Trump's reaction to the killing of journalist Khashoggi by the Saudis.
After more than two weeks of lies and deception, Saudi Arabia has finally admitted journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed, but it is clearly another lie when they claim that this 59-year old man died because he got involved in a fist fight with 15 Saudi security staff and officials.
The scale of media coverage of this murder has been breathtaking and has done more damage to the reputation of the Saudi royal family than anything in recent years, but this hasn't stopped the support of Britain and the US for the Saudi regime.
Britain increased its weapon sales to the Saudis from £820 million in 2016 to £1.5 billion in 2017 but what is appalling is that these UK fighter planes and bombs are being used to kill innocent civilians in Yemen.
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Back in August, it was reported that at least 26 children had been killed in Saudi airstrikes. The United Nations Humanitarian Office also pointed out that at least four women died in another Saudi strike just two weeks after 29 children were killed by a bomb attack on a school bus. At the end of the month, another Saudi airstrike saw the death of twenty-two children and four women who were trying to escape the fighting in their area.
The UN said that they and their partners were doing all they can to reach people and provide assistance. Ever since, the Saudis provided their support for the attacks on the Shia community that live in the western part of Yemen. They have also now started blockading the port of Hodeida. This has cut supplies of food and medicine to the Shia community which means that Yemen is on the brink of its worst famine in over a century.
Famine could engulf the country in the next three months with at least 12 million civilians at risk of starvation, said the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.
This civil war has been going on for three years with thousands of civilians caught in the middle and at least 10,000 killed and millions displaced. The UN agencies working in Yemen have condemned the attacks on civilians, but this horror continues. What is remarkable is how little coverage we have in the world's media about this horrific civil war compared with the killing of just one journalist in the Saudi consulate. There is nothing new about the horrors perpetrated by Saudi Arabia, who for decades have been spreading the extremist Wahhabi version of Islam.
When I was the Mayor of London, British television channel Channel 4 broadcast a documentary series based on a video footage gathered from an investigation into mosques across the UK. They covertly filmed preachers and obtained books and DVDs which were hate-filled invective against Christians and Jews. They presented women as intellectually deficient and in need of beating if they did not follow the Islamic dress code. One of the mosques where this was filmed was funded by Saudi Arabia.
Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, a Jamaican who had converted and studied at a Saudi university, was caught saying "Jews are rotten to the core and sexually perverted, creating intrigue and confusion to keep their enemies weak." He was sentenced to nine years in prison for urging his audience to kills Jews, Hindus and Americans. One of the young men he inspired was Germaine Lindsay who was one of the terrorists who set off four bombs on London Underground trains and a bus in 2005, killing 52 people and injuring 700.
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The majority of Muslims have always pointed out that these individuals are just a tiny minority of their community, but concerns are growing about the increased reach of Wahhabism funded by the Saudis which has now reached three billion dollars a year and has been spent to build 1,500 mosques, 210 Islamic centres and dozens of Muslim academies and schools.
They have also overwhelmed the Islamic book market with very cheap but high quality Wahhabi literature which has had the effect of forcing non-Wahhabi publishers across the Muslim world to close.
The Saudi regime keeps 85 percent of the student places at the Islamic University of Medina for foreign students which has led to hundreds of British Muslims returning to the UK espousing support for the Saudis. The Saudis were also behind the funding of schools in Pakistan that gave rise to the Taliban.
Police surveillance of Britain's 1,500 mosques back at that time identified only 68 that could be clearly acknowledged as promoting Wahhabism.
Clearly there is nothing new about the killing of Khashoggi, but what is new is the emergence of Mohammed bin Salman who has now been appointed heir to the Saudi throne in his early thirties. Immediately there was widespread publicity that he was going to progressively transform his country by allowing women to drive, reopening cinemas and restricting the powers of the morality police. He vowed to return to moderate Islam and curbed the reach of hard-line clerics as well as modernising the Saudi economy and making it less dependent on oil.
This was all very well received in the Western press, but little mention was made that he was responsible for rounding up dozens of intellectuals and activists and critics from the streets of other countries to bring them back to be imprisoned in Saudi jails.
Saudi Arabia is one of only a handful of absolute monarchies where the monarch controls all power, but the current monarch of Saudi Arabia has effectively devolved his powers to bin Salman. Unlike many of the Saudi elite who get a degree from a Western university, bin Salman stayed in his own country and studied law at King Saud University. His father is now in his eighties and rumoured to be suffering from pre-dementia so there is no doubt that the powers are in bin Salman's hands. He is depicted as impatient and reputed to spend eighteen hours a day on official business, but many say he cannot accept even the mildest criticism. One anonymous Saudi source said"People who tried to say no, even gently and diplomatically, faced consequences."
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His sensitivity was revealed when a single tweet from Canada, calling on the kingdom to release jailed activists, prompted him to sever diplomatic and trade ties.
The simple fact is Saudi Arabia is the principal ally of the US in the Arab world and a huge purchaser of US weapons. How we can continue to allow these double standards in our foreign policy is unimaginable, but one of the reasons why the Saudis get away with it is that they spend so much money influencing our media and our senior politicians.
This Saturday, the Guardian exposed the scale of this infiltration. It listed the millions of pounds British firms have been earning for improving the image of Saudi Arabia. Some of the firms they listed included the PR agency Freuds, the Independent for its decision to form a partnership with a Saudi publisher linked to their government, the online publisher Vice which has been working on films to promote Saudi Arabia, and a Saudi publishing company, in partnership with Western media firms, has made massive donations to Tony Blair's Institute for Global Change. Blair is of course a well-paid adviser to Saudi Arabia.
The London PR film Consulum is working on communications programmes with the Saudis and a company, by staff of former PR firm Bell Pottinger, is advising the Saudis on its communication strategy.
I'm sure similar and most probably much more money is being spent influencing US media, but, if we want to live in a better and more peaceful world, we have to stand up to the Saudis and impose sanctions on them until they agree not to just to end their war in Yemen but stop their kidnappings and killings around the world.

Reports: Saudis Deployed Khashoggi Body Double, Wrapped Body in Rug

There is a law enforcement surveillance footage, part of the Turkish government's investigation, that appears to show the man leaving the consulate by the back door, wearing Khashoggi's clothes, a fake beard, and glasses.

CNN obtained surveillance footage from Turkish officials that shows a Saudi operative walking around Istanbul wearing slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s clothes and a fake beard, the news outlet reported on Monday.

According to the Turks, the impostor was Mustafa al-Madani, a member of the team allegedly sent from Saudi Arabia to kill Khashoggi when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Turkish officials who spoke to CNN charged that the Saudis brought Madani, who is about ten years older than the rest of the Saudi team and has a build similar to Khashoggi, to Istanbul specifically to serve as a body double after seizing the target. They said he left the consulate through its back door and made a point of walking to various places in Istanbul where he was certain to be caught on surveillance cameras, such as the famed Blue Mosque.
Madani was also caught on surveillance video entering the consulate four hours earlier, wearing different clothes and without a beard. The only items of his apparel that remained consistent after he departed the building were his shoes, a pair of dark-colored sneakers with white soles.
“Khashoggi’s clothes were probably still warm when Madani put them on,” a senior Turkish official told CNN.
“You don’t need a body double for a rendition or an interrogation. Our assessment has not changed since October 6. This was a premeditated murder and the body was moved out of the consulate,” the official said.
Although unsubstantiated leaks from anonymous Turkish officials have fueled a great deal of the reporting on Khashoggi’s disappearance, in this case, CNN said its reporters were able to see surveillance footage Turkish law enforcement provided and it published a few still photos of Madani walking around Istanbul in Khashoggi’s clothes.
The body double discovery inflicts considerable damage on the already shaky story of Khashoggi’s death provided by the Saudis, who ended two weeks of denying all knowledge of his fate and claiming he left the Istanbul consulate safely by admitting on Friday that he died in the building, but insisting he died in a “fistfight” gone wrong. A Saudi source “close to the royal palace” elaborated to CNN that Khashoggi supposedly died in a “chokehold” while security forces struggled to subdue the rambunctious unarmed 59-year-old.
Turkish media published a claim Sunday, citing an alleged senior Saudi official, that the Saudis rolled Khashoggi’s body up in a rug and gave it to a “local cooperator” for disposal. This account would be consistent with reports of Turkish police searching a forest near Istanbul and a farm 60 miles away for his remains.
Turkish investigators on Monday inspected an underground parking lot in Istanbul where they discovered a seemingly abandoned vehicle from the Saudi consulate. The police have inspected a number of consular vehicles looking for evidence they were used to transport Khashoggi’s body.
A spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said on Monday the killing of Khashoggi was a “complicated” assassination that was “monstrously planned.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that the investigation will continue until the details are revealed in all their “naked truth.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Sunday told Bret Baier of Fox News the killing was a “rogue operation” where “individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had.”
“They made the mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it,” Jubeir said, implying that misinformation pouring from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was intended to deceive Riyadh as much as the rest of the world. He insisted the killers have no connection to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Jubeir offered condolences to Khashoggi’s family during his Fox News interview, as did the crown prince and King Salman bin Abdulaziz in a phone call to Khashoggi’s son Salah on Sunday.

Seven Facts About Jamal Khashoggi’s Life, Writing, and Politics

 18 Oct 2018610

Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi became a figure of global importance when he disappeared on October 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, leading to allegations that agents from Saudi Arabia lured him to the consulate so they could murder him.

Khashoggi has a long career as both a writer and political activist, but accounts of his disappearance usually refer to him as simply a “journalist.” Following are some details of his background:
Khashoggi was a Saudi national and lawful permanent resident of the U.S.: He was born in Medina, Saudi Arabia, 59 years ago and was educated in Saudi Arabia before traveling to the United States and earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Indiana State University.
According to an article his Turkish fiancée Hatice Cengiz wrote for the Washington Post a week after his disappearance, he recently spent a year in “self-imposed exile in the United States” and planned to divide his time between Washington and Istanbul while he worked on his career as a writer. Cengiz said Khashoggi had applied for full U.S. citizenship. At the time of his disappearance, he was a lawful permanent resident of the United States — in more common parlance, he had a “green card.”
He had some famous relatives and big connections in the Saudi elite: Jamal Khashoggi’s uncle was Adnan Khashoggi, the arms dealer of Iran-Contra fame, who diedin 2017 at the age of 81. Adnan Khashoggi was, at one point, the personal physician to the first monarch of the modern Saudi line, King Ibn Saud. At the height of his fame, he was widely but incorrectly hailed as the “richest man in the world.”
Jamal Khashoggi’s cousin Dodi al-Fayed became posthumously famous as the boyfriend of England’s Princess Diana, dying along with her in a car crash in 1997.
Khashoggi was at one time a supporter of the Saudi royal family. According to the UK Independent, last year he looked up a Saudi expatriate who had been his anti-regime sparring partner on numerous talking-head shows and said he was wrong to have defended the monarchy for so long.
In his younger days, Khashoggi traveled with then-King Abdullah, befriended billionaire investment mogul Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, and worked as an adviser for Prince Turki al-Faisal, who served as head of Saudi intelligence and ambassador to the United States and the United Kingdom. Prince Alwaleed was among the highest-profile Saudi royals detainedin a hotel during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s crackdown on corruption and/or consolidation of power in early 2018.
He had long experience in media: Khashoggi wrote for numerous publications in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, including the Saudi Gazette. He held some of these positions while largely supportive of the government in Riyadh and others after he became critical of the leadership.
In 2003, he became editor of a reform-minded Saudi paper called Al Watan, which fired him only two months later because he published articles and cartoons critical of senior clerics, who complained to the Interior Ministry that he was undermining their authority. He returned to Al Watan in 2007 and served as editor for three years, and he resigned after publishing an opinion piece critical of fundamentalist Salafi Islam.
In 2015, after five years of planning with Prince Alwaleed, Khashoggi launched the independent Al-Arab News Channel from Bahrain. It lasted less than 24 hours before the Bahraini monarchy shut it down supposedly because the network violated Gulf Cooperation Council media guidelines by airing an interview with an opposition leader. The Al-Arab News Channel eventually resumed operations but was shut down permanently in early 2017.
Khashoggi has been a regular contributor to the Global Opinions section of the Washington Post since 2017.
He interviewed and traveled with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan: The interview that made Khashoggi’s career was with Osama bin Laden, who personally invitedthe young journalist to cover resistance against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.
The nature of Khashoggi’s relationship with bin Laden is one of the most hotly debated aspects of his complex past. Khashoggi’s admirers say he was simply covering an important leader in a resistance movement against Soviet imperialism that was, after all, supported by the United States, and he was disgusted with bin Laden for mutating the successful mujahideen resistance against the Russians into the worldwide horror of al-Qaeda.
Khashoggi is said to have pleaded with bin Laden to turn away from terrorism in the 1990s and, in 2002, described the 9/11 atrocity as an attack on “the values of tolerance and coexistence that Islam preaches,” as well as an attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
“I collapsed crying a while ago, heartbroken for you,” he wrote to the spirit of Osama bin Laden after the latter was killed in 2011 by U.S. special forces. “You were beautiful and brave in those beautiful days in Afghanistan before you surrendered to hatred and passion.”
Khashoggi’s critics see him as either star-struck by the mystique of the Afghan resistance fighters or much too comfortable with the Islamist goals of al-Qaeda, breaking with bin Laden primarily because he thought the terrorist leader’s approach was too aggressive. Khashoggi did not fly out to Afghanistan for a quick interview with bin Laden; he spent a great deal of time with the founders of al-Qaeda and could not plausibly have been blind to their emerging ideology.
He was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supports Hamas: A great deal of the increasingly partisan argument in the U.S. over Khashoggi’s past boils down to how much credit to give him for apparently changing his mind about people like Osama bin Laden and organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood.
He unquestionably saw himself as a member of the Brotherhood in his youth; it was one of the reasons he secured the bin Laden interview. The friendly interpretation of his history is that he and the Muslim Brotherhood both changed over time.
Although left-wingers are treating mentions of Khashoggi’s past with the Brotherhood as a “smear” or “hate crime,” Khashoggi himself wrote in defense of the organization only a few months ago. He said the U.S. has an unhealthy and irrational “aversion” to the Muslim Brotherhood, which he portrayed as the true force of democracy in the Arab world and the only antidote to “authoritarian and corrupt regimes.”
Khashoggi castigated the United States for accepting the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi in Egypt and strongly supported “political Islam,” which he saw the Brotherhood as embodying. In his view, authoritarian regimes desperate to stifle democracy prodded American policymakers into opposing the Muslim Brotherhood, allowing them to retain their power and keep corrupt income streams flowing.
“There can be no political reform and democracy in any Arab country without accepting that political Islam is a part of it. A significant number of citizens in any given Arab country will give their vote to Islamic political parties if some form of democracy is allowed,” he wrote.
In recent years, Khashoggi has allegedly supported the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, presenting its cause as a battle against sinister Israel that all Arabs are obliged to support.
The New York Times admitted in a largely admiring October 14 profile that Khashoggi’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood at the time of his disappearance was “ambiguous.” The overall tenor of the profile was that support for “political Islam” is not inherently unreasonable and Khashoggi spent the latter decades of his life making a strong effort to avoid extremism. The term almost invariably used to describe his beliefs by those favorably disposed to him is “complicated.”
To simplify them somewhat, he believed in Islamic political supremacy and thought only a properly managed religious government could be honest, but he appeared aware his preferred political model could easily slip into the hands of extremists. He was inclined to support the legitimacy of governments that allowed democratic representation, even if their duly-enacted policies were repressive by Western standards, and challenge the legitimacy of those which did not — a comparison most clear in his writings about Egypt and his native Saudi Arabia.
He was an implacable critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS): Khashoggi’s last few years were dominated by his antipathy to the government of Saudi Arabia after Mohammed bin Salman was elevated to Crown Prince.
His work with Prince Turki al-Faisal and closeness to Prince Alwaleed bin Talal aligned him with a faction of the royal family he saw as moderates. They lost power and influence with Crown Prince Mohammed’s rise.
Among other complaints, he saw the already tenuous freedom of the press in Saudi Arabia disintegrating almost completely when MBS took power and left Saudi Arabia in 2017 for his safety. “I was under the risk of either being banned from travel, which would be suffocating, or being physically arrested, just like many of my colleagues,” he told the Colombia Journalism Review in March.
Khashoggi saw MBS as paranoid, obsessed with eliminating all challenges to his power, and more authoritarian than imposing an ambitious reform agenda on traditionalist Saudi Arabia could possibly require. As he noted to the Colombia Journalism Review, he was a longtime supporter of many of the reforms MBS implemented and had been fired on more than one occasion for advocating them.
Khashoggi was especially critical of Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen and the strange treatment of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who was effectively summoned to Saudi Arabia, imprisoned, and forced to resign, precipitating a regional political crisis. Khashoggi was highly skeptical of the Trump administration’s embrace of the crown prince and has said he was “ordered silent” by the Saudi monarchy after criticizing President-Elect Donald Trump shortly after the 2016 election.
He was politically active: Some of the objections to classifying Khashoggi as simply a “journalist” concern his ongoing political activism. The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, said last week that Khashoggi retained many active contacts in the Kingdom and was still in regular contact with him personally. Prince Khalid returned to Saudi Arabia shortly after those remarks and evidently will not return to his post in Washington.
At the time of his disappearance, Khashoggi was working on launching a non-governmental organization called Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN). The Daily Beast described this group’s charter as an expression of Khashoggi’s Islamist philosophy, offering “a counter-narrative in the Arab world and the West to Arab Spring skeptics” and endorsing free elections even if they “result in some governments that are less favorable to U.S. interests.”
The Washington Post was said to be aware Khashoggi was raising funds for this group and intended to serve as its leader and was confident he would be fully “transparent with readers about these efforts as they progressed.”
Former Wall Street Journal publisher Karen Elliott House speculated DAWN was the reason Saudi agents may have taken action against Khashoggi, perceiving the organization as “funded by Saudi regional rivals” and essentially pushing a Muslim Brotherhood vision of the Arab Spring inimical to the Saudi government.
“Democracy is currently being slaughtered everywhere. He wanted to alert Western public opinion to the dangers of remaining silent in the face of the assassination of democracy. The Muslim Brothers and Islamists were the biggest victims of the foiled Arab spring,” Khashoggi’s friend Azzam Tamimi told the Associated Press last week.
Tamimi said he and Khashoggi created a similar organization in 1992 called Friends of Democracy in Algeria, intended to push back against the government of that country after it nullified an “imminent Islamist victory” in an election.
The Associated Press forgot to mention that the thwarted Islamists in that election went on a massive killing spree that left the streets filled with bloody corpses. The goal of the Islamic Salvation Front was to turn Algeria into a fundamentalist Islamic republic. Its descendant organization, the Islamic Salvation Army, is allied with al-Qaeda in Syria.
Conclusion: The problem with taking the full measure of Jamal Khashoggi’s writing and political careers is that everything in the Middle East is “complicated.” Idealistic organizations are often linked to brutal extremist groups and aspiring fundamentalist tyrants, with the strength of those links hotly debated by observers within and beyond the region.
The dimmest view of Khashoggi’s history is that he was a public-relations man for the Muslim Brotherhood and perhaps even al-Qaeda; the brightest view is that he truly believed democracy was more important than almost anything else to Arab nations, the necessary precursor to all other benevolent reforms, and stable democracy in the Middle East is impossible without making room for political Islam.
Khashoggi’s view of the Arab Spring and his plans for a political organization are the mirror image of the theory that authoritarian means, as practiced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, must be employed to impose liberal reforms on Islamist countries in order to create the cultural conditions necessary for democracy to flourish. If Khashoggi has been murdered, his death will be the latest bloody milestone in an ideological battle that is far from over.

Congress overrides Obama veto of bill allowing 9/11 lawsuits
By Tom Carter
30 September 2016
On Wednesday, the US Congress overturned President Obama’s veto of legislation that would permit victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks and their families to sue Saudi Arabia. Declassified documents released this year confirm the involvement of Saudi intelligence agents in the funding, organization, and planning of the attacks—facts which were covered up for years by the Bush and Obama administrations.
The vote, 97-1 in the Senate and 348-77 in the House of Representatives, represents the first and only congressional override of Obama’s presidency. Under the US Constitution, the president’s veto can be overturned only by a two-thirds majority vote in both houses of Congress.
The Obama administration and the military and intelligence agencies, backed by sections of the media, including the New York Times, have vigorously denounced the legislation. Obama personally, together with Central Intelligence Agency director John Brennan, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford among others, have all publicly opposed the bill.
In a letter to Congress opposing the legislation, Obama warned that the bill would “threaten to erode sovereign principles that protect the United States, including our U.S. Armed Forces and other officials, overseas.”
In a lead editorial on Wednesday, the New York Times similarly warned that “if the bill becomes law, other countries could adopt similar legislation defining their own exemptions to sovereign immunity. Because no country is more engaged in the world than the United States—with military bases, drone operations, intelligence missions and training programs—the Obama administration fears that Americans could be subject to legal actions abroad.”
In other words, the bill would set a precedent for families of victims of American aggression abroad—such as the tens of thousands of victims of “targeted killings” ordered by Obama personally—to file lawsuits against US war criminal in their own countries’ courts.
Obama denounced the vote with unusual warmth on Wednesday. “It's an example of why sometimes you have to do what's hard. And, frankly, I wish Congress here had done what's hard,” Obama declared. “If you’re perceived as voting against 9/11 families right before an election, not surprisingly, that's a hard vote for people to take. But it would have been the right thing to do ... And it was, you know, basically a political vote.”
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave,” Sir Walter Scott famously wrote, “When first we practice to deceive!” As the tangled web of lies surrounding the September 11 attacks continue to unravel, one senses that the American ruling class and its representatives do not see a clear way out of the dilemma.
Openly torpedoing the legislation is tantamount to an admission of guilt. Indeed, the Obama administration, the military and intelligence agencies, and theNew York Times are publicly working to cover up a crime perpetrated by Al Qaeda and its backers in Saudi Arabia, which in turn is an ally of the United States. The mere fact that Obama vetoed this bill constitutes an admission that the US government is hiding something with respect to the September 11 attacks.
The alternative, from the standpoint of the American ruling class, is also fraught with risks. Court proceedings initiated by the families of September 11 victims will inevitably expose the role played by the Saudi monarchy, an ally of both Al Qaeda and the United States, in the September 11 attacks. This, in turn, will highlight long and sordid history of American support for Islamic fundamentalism in the
Middle East, which continues to the present day in Syria and Libya.
Perhaps most dangerously of all, a full public accounting of  the roles of Saudi intelligence agents in the September 11  attacks will once again raise questions about the role of the American state in the attacks. Why did US intelligence
agencies ignore the activities of Saudi agents before the attacks, based on Saudi Arabia’s supposed status as a US ally?
Why did the US government deliberately cover up the Saudi connection after the fact, instead claiming that Afghanistan was a “state sponsor of terrorism” and that Iraq was developing “weapons of mass destruction?” Why was nobody
The New York Times, for its part, simply lied about the evidence of Saudi complicity. “The legislation is motivated by a belief among the 9/11 families that Saudi Arabia played a role in the attacks, because 15 of the 19 hijackers, who were members of Al Qaeda, were Saudis,” the editors wrote. “But the independent American commission that investigated the attacks found no evidence that the Saudi government or senior Saudi officials financed the terrorists.”
In fact, at least two of the hijackers received aid from Omar al-Bayoumi, who was identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a Saudi intelligence agent with “ties to terrorist elements.” Some of the hijackers were paid for work in fictitious jobs from companies affiliated with the Saudi Defense Ministry, with which Al-Bayoumi was in close contact. The night before the attacks, three of the hijackers stayed at the same hotel as Saleh al-Hussayen, a prominent Saudi government official.
These and other facts were confirmed by the infamous 28-page suppressed chapter of the 2002 report issued by the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001. After 14 years of stalling, the document was finally released to the public this summer.
Yet the New York Times continues to describe the Saudi monarchy, the principal financier and sponsor of Islamic fundamentalist groups throughout the world, as “a partner in combating terrorism.”
The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, passed Wednesday, is a direct reaction to these revelations of Saudi complicity in the September 11 attacks, under pressure from organizations of survivors and families of victims. The law amends the federal judicial code to allow US courts “to hear cases involving claims against a foreign state for injuries, death, or damages that occur inside the United States as a result of. .. an act of terrorism, committed anywhere by a foreign state or official.”
Although the bill nowhere names Saudi Arabia, the Saudi government has
threatened massive retaliation, including by moving $750 billion in assets out of  the country before they can be seized in American legal proceedings. This
reaction alone confirms the monarchy’s guilt.
During Wednesday’s session, many of the statements on the floor of the Senate were nervous and apprehensive. Casting his vote in favor of the bill, Republican Senator Bob Corker declared, “I have tremendous concerns about the sovereign immunity procedures that would be set in place by the countries as a result of this vote.” More than one legislator noted that if the bill had unintended consequences, it would be modified or repealed.
The anxious comments of legislators and the crisscrossing denunciations within the ruling elite reflect the significance of this controversy for the entire American political establishment. For 15 years, the American population has been relentlessly told that the events of September 11, 2001 “changed everything,” warranting the elimination of democratic rights, the militarization of the police, renditions, torture, assassinations, totalitarian levels of spying, death and destruction across the Middle East, and trillions of dollars of expenditures.
The collapse of the official version of that day’s events shows that American politics for 15 years has been based on a lie.


Can America Ultimately Survive the Crimes of Bush, Clinton and Obama?


The perilous ramifications of the September 11 attacks on the United States are only now beginning to unfold. They will undoubtedly be felt for generations to come. This is one of many sad conclusions readers will draw from Craig Unger's exceptional book House of Bush House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties. As Unger claims in this incisive study, the seeds for the "Age of Terrorism" and September 11 were planted nearly 30 years ago in what, at the time, appeared to be savvy business transactions that subsequently translated into political currency and the union between the Saudi royal family and the extended political family of George H. W. Bush. On the surface, the claim may appear to be politically driven, but as Unger (a respected investigative journalist and editor) probes--with scores of documents and sources--the political tenor of the U.S. over the last 30 years, the Iran-Iraq War, the war in Afghanistan, the birth of Al Qaeda, the dubious connection between members of the Saudi Royal family and the exportation of terror, and the personal fortunes amassed by the Bush family from companies such as Harken Energy and the Carlyle Group, he exposes the "brilliantly hidden agendas and purposefully murky corporate relationships" between these astonishingly powerful families.His evidence is persuasive and reveals a devastating story of Orwellian proportions, replete with political deception, shifting allegiances, and lethal global consequences. Unger begins his book with the remarkable story of the repatriation of 140 Saudis directly following the September 11 attacks. He ends where Richard A. Clarkebegins, questioning the efficacy of the war in Iraq in the battle against terrorism. We are unquestionably facing a global security crisis unlike any before. President Bush insists that we will prevail, yet as Unger so effectively concludes, "Never before has an American president been so closely tied to a foreign power that harbors and supports our country's mortal enemies." --Silvana Tropea --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

THESE ENDLESS WARS HAVE COST US BILLIONS OF DOLLARS AND THOUSANDS OF LIVES.... all because Saddam gave the middle finger to the filthy Saudis! 





FBI holds 80,000 pages of secret documents on Saudi-9/11 links

FBI holds 80,000 pages of secret documents on Saudi-9/11 links

By Patrick Martin
14 May 2016
The American FBI has a secret cache of documents, more than 80,000 pages in all, concerning possible ties between the 9/11 hijackers and an upper-class Saudi family who lived in Florida and fled the United States two weeks before the suicide hijackings that killed nearly 3,000 people.

A federal judge in Tampa, Florida has been reviewing the documents for more than two years as a consequence of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by a trio of online reporters—Anthony Summers, Robbyn Swan and Dan Christensen. The review process has been extremely slow because of restrictive FBI rules on how many pages Judge William Zloch may access at any one time.

The existence of the document trove was revealed Friday in a front-page article in the US-based web publication the Daily Beast. The article identified the Saudi family as Abdulaziz al-Hijji and his wife Anoud, who was the daughter of Esam Ghazzawi, an adviser to a nephew of Saudi King Fahd.

Ghazzawi owned the home in which they were staying in a gated community in Sarasota, Florida. The home was raided by the FBI after 9/11 but the residents had all departed in evident haste on August 30, 2001.

Visitor logs in the community, known as Prestancia, showed that the alleged ringleader of the 9/11 hijackers, Mohammad Atta, had visited al-Hijji, along with two other 9/11 hijackers, Ziad Jarrah and Marwan Al-Shehhi.

Former Senator Robert Graham, co-chair of the joint congressional committee that investigated the 9/11 attacks, told the Daily Beast that he had never known of the FBI documents on the Saratoga home until they were uncovered by the investigative journalists. He later viewed a portion of these records and confirmed that they identified the three 9/11 hijackers as visitors.

Throughout this period, the FBI had denied that the al-Hijji family had any connection to the 9/11 attackers. The agency changed its story only when Graham said he would testify under oath about what he had read in the file of documents. At this point the FBI conceded the existence of 35 pages of documents.

When Judge Zloch ordered a further search for records, the Tampa office of the FBI came back with 80,226 pages of files marked PENTTBOM, which stands for “Pentagon/Twin-Towers Bombing” in FBI jargon. Judge Zloch has been reviewing these since May 1, 2014 and has given no date by which he expects to finish.

The al-Hijji family exited its Sarasota home, leaving behind three cars, an open safe and disarray that suggested a hasty departure. The security guards at the gated community noted their departure, but did not consider it suspicious until the 9/11 attacks two weeks later.

The FBI initially made only a perfunctory response and did not open a formal investigation until eight months later, in April 2002, “based upon repeated citizen calls” about the conduct of the family during their stay in the United States. One of the few documents released said that this investigation “revealed many connections” between a member of the family “and individuals associated with the terrorist attacks.”

The Daily Beast report adds to recent revelations of evidence of Saudi regime ties to the 9/11 hijackers that has been covered up by the US government under both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Graham has actively campaigned for the release of 28 pages of material on the Saudi-9/11 connection comprising an entire chapter of the joint congressional committee report on the 9/11 attacks in which he participated. This material has been withheld for more than 13 years. On April 10, Graham was the main witness interviewed by the CBS program “60 Minutes” in a segment on the continuing cover-up of Saudi-9/11 connections.

In an op-ed column this week in the Washington Post, Graham reiterated his demand for release of the 28 pages, noting that President Obama had promised a decision on declassifying the material by next month. Graham denounced CIA Director John Brennan, who responded to the “60 Minutes” program by publicly opposing any release of the 28 pages.

Also Friday, the Guardian newspaper published an interview with a former member of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission appointed by President George W. Bush, who flatly declared that there was extensive Saudi involvement in supporting the hijackers. Of the 19 perpetrators, 15 were Saudi citizens, most of them having recently arrived in the United States when they seized control of four jetliners on September 11, 2001.

Former Navy Secretary John Lehman, a Republican, told the newspaper: “There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government.” While only one Saudi consular official in Los Angeles, Fahad al-Thumairy, was implicated in supporting the hijackers, according to the official account, Lehman believes that at least five officials were involved.

Al-Thumairy was linked to the two hijackers who lived in San Diego before the 9/11 attacks, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, but he was deported rather than charged with a crime. The other five, whom Lehman did not name, “may not have been indicted, but they were certainly implicated. There was an awful lot of circumstantial evidence.”

Another former 9/11 commissioner, who spoke to the Guardian without direct attribution, recounted what the newspaper called “a mostly unknown chapter of the history of the 9/11 commission: behind closed doors, members of the panel’s staff fiercely protested the way the material about the Saudis was presented in the final report, saying it underplayed or ignored evidence that Saudi officials—especially at lower levels of the government—were part of an al-Qaida support network that had been tasked to assist the hijackers after they arrived in the US.”

The 9/11 Commission director, Philip Zelikow, who later served in the Bush administration as senior counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, fired one staffer who protested over the suppression of the Saudi ties to 9/11 after she obtained a copy of the suppressed 28 pages of the joint congressional committee report. Zelikow and the commission members overruled staff protests on the soft-pedaling of the Saudi connection.

These press reports confirm what the World Socialist Web Site has long maintained: the official 9/11 investigations were a series of whitewashes aimed at concealing the role of the Saudi government and US intelligence agencies during the period leading up to the terrorist attacks.

There has long been evidence that sections of the US government were aware of the plot to hijack and suicide-crash airliners, but turned a blind eye because such an atrocity could be used to stampede American public opinion and provide a pretext for escalating US military interventions throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

Saudi Arabian regime gripped by factional infighting amid mounting economic crisis
By Jean Shaoul
13 May 2016
The ruling House of Saud, issued a series of royal decrees unceremoniously dumping its longstanding oil minister Ali al-Naimi, central bank governor Fahad al-Mubarak, and other senior officials.
The wide-ranging shakeup of government bodies is part of an attempt to resolve the Kingdom’s growing economic crisis at the expense of the Saudi masses.
The sackings follow the removal last month of Abdullah al-Hasin, the water and electricity minister, in a bid to deflect popular anger over high water rates and new rules over the digging of wells and cuts in energy subsidies aimed at saving the ruling family collectively in excess of one and a half trillion dollars.
The shake-up is intended to concentrate power in the clique around Crown Prince Mohammed, the 30-year-old son of the aging King Salman. It will further exacerbate the enormous political, economic and social tensions wracking this semi-feudal regime that has, since 1945, constituted an essential prop for US imperialist policy in the region and a bulwark of reaction and repression in the Arab world.
The Saudi monarchy, threatened by the revolutionary overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and the subsequent political turmoil that threatened almost every regime in the region, moved rapidly to topple the elected Muslim Brotherhood-led government of President Mohammed Mursi, even at the risk of conflicting with Washington, and helped install and bankroll the brutal military dictator Abdul Fatah el-Sisi to suppress the Egyptian masses.
It sought—at the cost of tens of billions of dollars—to move against the Syrian regime of President Bashir al-Assad in Syria by funding an Islamist insurgency, and to shore up the rule of its regional allies in Yemen, Bahrain and Jordan. Accompanying its moves in Syria, it sought to undermine pro-Iranian governments in Iraq and Lebanon, through direct or covert military interventions, the use of Islamist fighters as proxies, or economic aid.
Its relations with its chief backer, US imperialism, are now at an all-time low. Riyadh was furious over Washington’s failure to sustain its support for Mubarak against the Egyptian masses in 2011.
The US-led interventions in Iraq and Syria to assert Washington’s hegemony over the Middle East’s vast energy resources have destabilised Saudi Arabia’s neighbours. Washington’s various pragmatic manoeuvres, its failure to intervene decisively in the war to overthrow Assad in Syria allowing Russia to intervene to shore up the regime, its deal with Iran and support for the Shi’ite government in Iraq, helped strengthened the influence of Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival, Tehran.
At home, Riyadh attempted to assuage popular opposition and protests in the Shia-dominated Eastern Province with a combination of violent suppression and a $350 billion package of benefits and social spending, a lifeline for the estimated 28 percent of the population who live in poverty. Between 2 million and 4 million Saudi citizens are believed to be living on less than $530 a month. With its thousands of princes, the parasitic Saudi monarchy deprives its citizens of basic democratic rights It has sought to ruthlessly suppress public discussion of social inequality, imprisoning bloggers who dare to raise such issues or criticise the regime.
This attempt at repression is being undermined by the precipitous fall in oil prices, the result of the Saudis’ political decision to maintain output in an attempt to undermine Russia and Iran. This has led to a $100 billion government deficit in 2015 (15 per cent of GDP). The new oil minister Khalid al-Falih is not expected to rein in oil production and thus boost oil prices because this would also boost the revenues of Saudi Arabia’s rivals.
With 70 percent of its revenue dependent on oil, the government has cut public spending for 2016 by 25 percent, slashing subsidies on fuel, power and water, with gas prices set to increase by 80 percent. It took the unprecedented step of introducing a tax on Saudi nationals—a 5 percent value added tax—in a bid to prevent the budget deficit soaring to $140 billion and to conserve its $600 billion in reserves.
Riyadh’s sponsorship of Islamist forces has led to the advance of ISIS, al-Qaeda and similar outfits with their own agendas in Saudi Arabia and the Arabian Peninsula. ISIS cells have launched dozens of attacks over the last two years and were alleged to have been behind a spate of bombings targeting the Kingdom’s Shia minority.
Last week, Saudi forces carried out an operation against ISIS in Mecca, killing four “wanted” men in a shootout, and another in the southwestern province of Bisha, killing two ISIS suspects and injuring another. It followed the arrest of Ukab Atibi, allegedly a member of the ISIS cell that carried out a suicide attack on a mosque used by members of a local security force in southwest Saudi Arabia in August 2015. Security forces carried out another raid on a house in Jeddah, arresting two suspects.
The ruling clique is torn with dissent over the succession to the ailing King Salmon, who promoted his 30-year-old son Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the positions of deputy crown prince and minister of defence in charge of the murderous, but largely unsuccessful war in Yemen, sidelining other older claimants to the throne. Mohammed has overturned the Kingdom’s decades-long policy of buying political quiescence with a social contract that has provided some security—via low utility prices, social subventions and public sector jobs—for the Saudi population, and promoted a wave of Sunni-based Saudi nationalism.
Last month, in an announcement that the Economist described as “manic optimism,” Mohammed unveiled his Vision 2030, drawn up by the McKinsey & Company global consultants McKinsey and aimed at ending the Kingdom’s dependence on oil by 2030. He later declared on Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel an end to “any dependence on oil” by 2020. The measures include the public listing of 5 percent of Aramco, the world’s largest oil company valued at $2.5 trillion, the creation of a sovereign wealth fund with a potential value of $2 trillion to invest in assets, the development of non-oil industries, including a domestic arms industry; more private sector jobs and a new visa system to allow expatriate Muslims and Arabs to work long-term in Saudi Arabia.
Symptomatic of the insoluble contradictions of the Saudi economy was the announcement last week that one of the largest companies, the construction giant the Saudi Bin Laden Group (SBG) that has built most of the country’s public buildings, was unable to pay its workforce.
SBG fired 77,000 of its 200,000 workforce and issued them with exit visas. Immigrant workers, angry that they had not been paid for months, have held daily protests outside SBG’s offices, burnt company buses in Mecca and refused to leave the country until they are paid. The company also dismissed 12,000 of its 17,000 Saudi managerial and professional staff, calling on them to resign or wait for their wages and a two-month bonus worth $220 million.
With $30 billion in debts, SBG’s financial problems stem from the cutbacks in government spending and the crane collapse on a major expansion of the Grand Mosque in Mecca last year that killed 107 workers and pilgrims. It prompted an investigation of its government projects, many of which were reportedly being carried out without any signed contracts. The company was hit with a withholding of government payments and a ban on SBG tendering for further public building projects.
The impending collapse of SBG provoked such a crisis that the government agreed to allow it to bid for state contracts, said it would ensure that government payments would continue and urged other companies to honour their commitments and pay up on their contracts with SBG.
The author also recommends:

The 9/11 cover-up continues[3 May 2016]

Once again on Saudi complicity in the 9/11 attacks[13 April 2016]

House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties Paperback – October 5, 2004

Craig Unger (Author)
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Newsbreaking and controversial - an award-winning investigative journalist uncovers the thirty-year relationship between the Bush family and the House of Saud and explains its impact on American foreign policy, business, and national security. House of Bush, House of Saud begins with a politically explosive question: How is it that two days after 9/11, when U.S. air traffic was tightly restricted, 140 Saudis, many immediate kin to Osama Bin Laden, were permitted to leave the country without being questioned by U.S. intelligence? The answer lies in a hidden relationship that began in the 1970s, when the oil-rich House of Saud began courting American politicians in a bid for military protection, influence, and investment opportunity. With the Bush family, the Saudis hit a gusher - direct access to presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W.Bush. To trace the amazing weave of Saud- Bush connections, Unger interviewed three former directors of the CIA, top Saudi and Israeli intelligence officials, and more than one hundred other sources. His access to major players is unparalleled and often exclusive - including executives at the Carlyle Group, the giant investment firm where

the House of Bush and the House of Saud each 

has a major stake. Like Bob Woodward's The Veil, Unger's House of Bush, House of Saud features unprecedented reportage; like Michael Moore's Dude, Where's My Country? Unger's book offers a political counter-narrative to official explanations; this deeply sourced account has already been cited by Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer, and sets 9/11, the two Gulf Wars, and the ongoing Middle East crisis in a new context: What really happened when America's most powerful political family became seduced
The perilous ramifications of the September 11 attacks on the United States are only now beginning to unfold. They will undoubtedly be felt for generations to come. This is one of many sad conclusions readers will draw from Craig Unger's exceptional book House of Bush House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties. As Unger claims in this incisive study, the seeds for the "Age of Terrorism" and September 11 were planted nearly 30 years ago in what, at the time, appeared to be savvy business transactions that subsequently translated into political currency and the union between the Saudi royal family and the extended political family of George H. W. Bush. On the surface, the claim may appear to be politically driven, but as Unger (a respected investigative journalist and editor) probes--with scores of documents and sources--the political tenor of the U.S. over the last 30 years, the Iran-Iraq War, the war in Afghanistan, the birth of Al Qaeda, the dubious connection between members of the Saudi Royal family and the exportation of terror, and the personal fortunes amassed by the Bush family from companies such as Harken Energy and the Carlyle Group, he exposes the "brilliantly hidden agendas and purposefully murky corporate relationships" between these astonishingly powerful families. His evidence is persuasive and reveals a devastating story of Orwellian proportions, replete with political deception, shifting allegiances, and lethal global consequences. Unger begins his book with the remarkable story of the repatriation of 140 Saudis directly following the September 11 attacks. He ends where Richard A. Clarke begins, questioning the efficacy of the war in Iraq in the battle against terrorism. We are unquestionably facing a global security crisis unlike any before. President Bush insists that we will prevail, yet as Unger so effectively concludes, "Never before has an American president been so closely tied to a foreign power that harbors and supports our country's mortal enemies." --Silvana Tropea --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. 
From Publishers Weekly

In this potentially explosive book, investigative journalist Unger, who has written for the New Yorker, Esquire and Vanity Fair, pieces together the highly unusual and close personal and financial relationships between the Bush family and the ruling family of Saudi Arabia—and questions the implications for Bush's preparedness, or possible lack thereof, for September 11. What could forge such an unlikely alliance between the leader of the free world and the leaders of a stifling Islamic theocracy? First and foremost, according to Unger, is money. He compiles figures in an appendix indicating over $1.4 billion worth of business between the Saudi royal family and businesses tied (sometimes loosely) to the House of Bush, ranging from donations to the Bush presidential library to investments with the Carlyle Group ("a well-known player in global commerce" for which George H.W. Bush has been a senior advisor and his secretary of state, James Baker, is a partner), to deals with Halliburton, of which Dick Cheney was CEO. James Baker’s law firm even defended the House of Saud in a lawsuit brought by relatives of victims of September 11. Unger also questions whether the Bush grew so complacent about the Saudis that his administration ignored then White House terrorism czar Richard Clarke’s repeated warnings and recommendations about the Saudis and al-Qaeda. Another question raised by Unger’s research is whether millions in Saudi money given to U.S. Muslim groups may have delivered a crucial block of Muslim votes to George W. Bush in 2000—and it’s questions like that will make some readers wonder whether Unger is applying a chainsaw to issues that should be dissected with a scalpel. But whether one buys Unger’s arguments or not, there’s little doubt that with this intensely researched, well-written book he has poured more flame onto the political fires of 2004.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


What it reminds us about the Saudi rulers.

October 18, 2018

Jamal Khashoggi, a well-known Saudi journalist, went to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to fill out some paperwork pertaining to his marriage — he was in the process of divorcing  his Saudi wife so that he might then marry his Turkish fiancé. He entered the building  at 1:14 p..m., and has not been seen since. His fiancé had been waiting outside the consulate for what was supposed to have been a short visit; when he failed to appear,  the police were summoned. The Saudis at the consulate claimed not to know what had happened to Khashoggi. From Riyadh, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman insisted that Khashoggi left soon after visiting the consulate. King Salman assured President Trump that his government had nothing to do with Khashoggi’s disappearance. Now the Saudis have decided to tell their latest version of the truth. They claim that Khashoggi died during an “interrogation gone wrong.”
On that same day, October 2, fifteen Saudis arrived in Istanbul in the morning, and departed, on two different flights, the same evening. Or at least that’s the story. There are videotapes of Saudis arriving at the airport, but to complicate matters, it seems that some of those videotapes are five years old. Meanwhile, the Turks claim to have proof that Khashoggi was killed inside the Embassy. They say they have tapes on which the alleged audio evidence is particularly strong, according to officials.
“You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic,” a source told the Washington Post. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.” CCTV cameras provide videotapes of a black van that left the Saudi Consulate that afternoon and went to the home of the Saudi Consul General. The Turks initially claimed the body was dismembered with a bone saw; among the Saudis who arrived that day was an autopsy expert well-versed in such dismemberment. The world media is of course titillated by the story: what did they then do with the pieces? Burn them, so that nothing was left but ashes and bone? Would the ashes have been flushed down the toilet? Would the pieces of bone have been cut up into ever smaller pieces that, divvied up among the 15 Saudis, could be disposed of discreetly around Istanbul or even at the airport, or packed in diplomatic pouches and flown to Saudi Arabia? Or did they bury the body in the garden of the Consul General? No one yet knows, but the “Pulp Fiction” and “Goodfellas” aspect of all this is riveting.
But let’s get back to what this killing demonstrates. It demonstrates that Saudi Arabia has only contempt for the outside world, and no intention of changing its brutal ways no matter what others think. All sorts of Western big shots have now pulled out of the “Davos in the Desert” three-day economic summit to be held in Saudi Arabia in early November. Among them are Richard Branson, the CEO’s of Viacom and Uber, the heads of JP Morgan, Blackstone, BlackRock, the owner of the Los Angeles Times, the creator of the Android Mobile Device, the creator of Crispr, and many others. This will have little effect on the Saudis. If Western companies want to engage in virtue-signaling, and lose billions in investments, both in and from Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince can live with that. Besides, there is always China, ready to sell weapons to the Saudis (as Trump has noted), and to make, and receive, Saudi investments.
The killing may, however, have a salutary effect on the American government’s view of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis were largely protected during the investigation of the 9/11 attacks; 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, but through it all, Saudi Arabia remained our “friend” and ally. They sold us their oil at the market price, doing us no favors, but because Saudi Arabia was the “swing” producer, and when, purely for reasons of economic self-interest, the Saudis raised or lowered production so as to lower or raise the price of oil, we were always naively grateful. The Saudis have a stake not just in current oil revenues, but in maximizing the value of  the billions of barrels they have in the ground. They are not doing us favors. They calculate their ideal price for oil, at any time, based on the likely effect on consumers, who may switch to other sources of energy, and on energy producers, who if the price is high enough may search for new oil supplies or extract oil already found, using innovative techniques. The Saudis cannot forget fracking, and what that did to oil prices.
When the Saudis allowed American troops to be based on on Saudi soil, this was presented as doing us a favor, though it was the Americans who were protecting the Saudis, not the other way round.
The alliance with Saudi Arabia continues until today. When the Saudis bomb Yemeni civilians indiscriminately, our government says nothing. After all, the Saudis are waging a proxy war against Iran, and that is reason enough for the Americans to keep quiet. But now we have a moment of high drama, conflicting tales, and Murder Most Foul. Had the Saudis managed to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia, they could have promptly jailed him for 10, 20, 50 years, or even life, and there would have been only a feeble bleat of protest, but nothing like what has happened after his murder in Istanbul.
It’s the cinematic aspect of the whole thing: the tape of Khashoggi walking serenely into the consulate, unaware of any danger, with his fiancé waiting outside. He is never seen again. We see those grainy shots of 15 Saudis who arrive at the airport, on two different private planes, that same day, and who have apparently been recorded — the Turks say they have the tapes — interrogating, torturing, and killing him. Those same 15 Saudis leave that evening at two different times, on two different planes. The whole thing is straight out of Hollywood.
Crown Prince Mohammed (MbS) is often thought of as a proponent of major change. Yes, women can now drive in Saudi Arabia, thanks to the Crown Prince. Yes, the cinemas, closed in 1979, have reopened, thanks to the Crown Prince. Yes, the forward-looking Crown Prince has made big plans for building three new Saudi cities from scratch: one an Economic City for businesses, especially high-tech companies and start-ups, another for Entertainment, and a third intended to be a Muslim-friendly Tourist City, so that the Saudis and other rich Arabs can spend more of their money at home. With the help of a small army of Washington lobbyists, on whom Saudi Arabia spent $27 million last year, and on media consultants from all over, the Crown Prince has been presented as the young reformer of a sclerotic system, and many in the West have accepted this carefully-cultivated image.
The killing of Jamal Khashoggi reminds us that the Saudi rulers, and the Crown Prince, are well-versed in the use of violence. They are determined to keep themselves in power, and to keep the colossal wealth to which they help themselves. The 15,000 Saudi royals are collectively worth $1.7 trillion; they are not about to let go of any of it. Jamal Khashoggi, though not a royal, began life as well-connected as any commoner in Saudi Arabia could be. His grandfather was the personal physician to King Abdelaziz Al Saud. His uncle was Adnan Khashoggi, who through his connections in the Saudi government made $4 billion dollars as an arms dealer. His cousin was Dodi Fayed, Princess Diana’s last boyfriend, and the son of the billionaire businessman Mohamed Fayed.
Khashoggi has been a leading journalist since the 1970s. He’s been the chief editor of Al Madina (one of the oldest papers in the kingdom), worked as a columnist for Al-Arabiya, served as a media advisor to Prince Turki al Faisal when he was the Saudi ambassador to the United States, and has been a frequent guest both on Saudi television and on such international channels as MBC, BBC, Al Jazeera, and Dubai TV. He became the editor-in-chief of Al Watan twice, and on the second occasion, he quickly got into hot water for publishing a column by the poet Ibrahim al-Almaee challenging the basic Salafi premises. This led to Khashoggi’s seemingly forced resignation. On May 17, 2010, Al Watan announced that Khashoggi resigned as editor-in-chief “to focus on his personal projects.” However, it is thought that he was forced to resign due to official displeasure with articles published in the paper that were critical of the Kingdom’s harsh Islamic rules; the one by al-Almaee was the last straw.
In December 2016, the Independent, citing a report from Middle East Eye, said Khashoggi had been banned by Saudi Arabian authorities from publishing or appearing on television “for criticising US President-elect Donald Trump.” That led Khashoggi to move permanently to the United States.
Khashoggi began writing for the Washington Post in September 2017, and still was contributing pieces up to the time of his death. In the Post, he criticized the Saudi-led blockade against Qatar, Saudi Arabia’s dispute with Lebanon, Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic dispute with Canada, and the Kingdom’s crackdown on dissent and the media. But he also supported some of Crown Prince’s reforms, such as allowing women to drive. He condemned the arrest of Loujain al-Hathloul, Eman al-Nafjan, Aziza al-Yousef, and several other women’s rights advocates involved in the women-to-drive movement and the anti male-guardianship campaign. He opposed the Saudi-Israel alliance.
By 2017, Khashoggi, who had two million Twitter followers, was the best known pundit in the Arab world. He has been hailed in the West as a progressive, but that is a case of misunderstanding his aims. Khashoggi believed in spreading Islamic rule, the same goal as that of any Jihadi, but he wanted to achieve that goal through political Islam. He joined the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1970s and remained true to it, even praising it in a Washington Post column. Some described him as the de facto leader of the Saudi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Crown Prince, on the other hand, believes that the Muslim Brotherhood is a danger to the Kingdom, that is, to his family’s continued rule.
Khashoggi flourished in Washington during the last year. He became a regular guest on the major TV news networks in Britain and the United States, as well as a columnist for the Washington Post. In 2018 Khashoggi established a new political party, in the West, called Democracy for the Arab World Now, which — had he lived — could have become a major political threat to Crown Prince Mohammed.
During this past year, there have been many Saudi emissaries — “businessmen” — who met with Khashoggi in Washington, to promise him he would be safe if he returned to the Kingdom; the Crown Prince, too, offered to make him an “advisor” if only he would return. He turned them all down, telling a friend that he would have to have been crazy to believe their assurances.

Khashoggi was not a secularist, not a Saudi Ataturk, as some in the West seem to think. He believed in Islam and wanted it to spread, but to do so through “democratic” means — the “political Islam” of, for example, Mohamed Morsi in Egypt or Rachid Ghannouchi in Tunisia. He disliked the Saudi family’s censorship of the media; he believed that criticism might weaken the hold of the Al-Saud, but strengthen the sinews of the state and of the Muslim Brotherhood. He knew how corrupt the Saudi system was, and knew, too, how unforgiving the Crown Prince could be. Yet he still maintained his faith that there were some limits to Saudi ruthlessness, which is why, on October 2, he went to the consulate in Istanbul. We see — as he suddenly saw, just before the murderers started in on him — that he was wrong.