Who Stood to Gain More From Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder
First, we have to consider the Turkish government relationships being friendlier with Iran versus Saudi Arabia.
Believe it or not financial analysts on Wall Street are watching what happens in the investigation into the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi because Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has been a big investor in US companies like Twitter and Fox News. Fox News parent company is News Corporation controlled by Rupert Murdock. Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was the second largest shareholder until the Prince sold some of his stock. It’s not clear if the Prince still owns stock in Fox News. The Prince’s investment company, Kingdom Holding, is a major shareholder in Time Warner Cable which owns CNN. Kingdom Holding also own a major chunk of AOL that owns the liberals multi-authored blogging platform, posing as a news source, HuffPost. Currently foreign policies regarding investments in US public companies are very lax.
Silicon Valley’s Saudi Arabia Problem
From the moral-dilemma department at slashdot.org
An anonymous reader shares a report: Somewhere in the United States, someone is getting into an Uber en route to a WeWork co-working space. Their dog is with a walker whom they hired through the app Wag. They will eat a lunch delivered by DoorDash, while participating in several chat conversations on Slack. And, for all of it, they have an unlikely benefactor to thank: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Long before the dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi vanished, the kingdom has sought influence in the West — perhaps intended, in part, to make us forget what it is. A medieval theocracy that still beheads by sword, doubling as a modern nation with malls (including a planned mall offering indoor skiing), Saudi Arabia has been called “an ISIS that made it.” Remarkably, the country has avoided pariah status in the United States thanks to our thirst for oil, Riyadh’s carefully cultivated ties with Washington, its big arms purchases, and the two countries’ shared interest in counterterrorism. But lately the Saudis have been growing their circle of American enablers, pouring billions into Silicon Valley technology companies.
While an earlier generation of Saudi leaders, like Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, invested billions of dollars in blue-chip companies in the United States, the kingdom’s new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has shifted Saudi Arabia’s investment attention from Wall Street to Silicon Valley. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund has become one of Silicon Valley’s biggest swinging checkbooks, working mostly through a $100 billion fund raised by SoftBank (a Japanese company), which has swashbuckled its way through the technology industry, often taking multibillion-dollar stakes in promising companies. The Public Investment Fundput $45 billion into SoftBank’s first Vision Fund, and Bloomberg recently reported that the Saudi fund would invest another $45 billion into SoftBank’s second Vision Fund. SoftBank, with the help of that Saudi money, is now said to be the largest shareholder in Uber. It has also put significant money into a long list of start-ups that includes Wag, DoorDash, WeWork, Plenty, Cruise, Katerra, Nvidia and Slack. As the world fills up car tanks with gas and climate change worsens, Saudi Arabia reaps enormous profits — and some of that money shows up in the bank accounts of fast-growing companies that love to talk about “making the world a better place.”
The President’s Secretary of Treasury, Steve Mnuchin said, “He will skip an investment conference scheduled in Saudi Arabia.” This is the White House’s first rebuke of the Kingdom after the apparent murder of Washington Post’s columnist Jamal Khashoggi. Secretary Mnuchin says he made the decision after meeting with President Trump and Secretary State Mike Pompeo.
It certainly appears that Khashoggi’s apparent assassination two weeks ago at the Saudi consulate in Turkey has fractured US relations with the kingdom. Republicans and Democrats in Congress have urged the President Trump to consider imposing sanctions on the country.
A growing number of media companies, including CNN, announced that they will no longer participate in the event scheduled on October 23, 2018 in Riyadh. Several business leaders, including Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who announced his withdrawal on Friday, are also backing out.
Any information relating to Saudi’s possible role in this murder has become radioactive and everyone is backing away. Confirmed drop-outs now include:
- Viacom Inc. Chief Executive Officer Bob Bakish
- Uber Technologies Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, who won’t attend “unless a substantially different set of facts emerges”
- Venture capitalist Steve Case, pending “further information”
- Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong
- HP Inc. executive Joanna Popper
- Andy Rubin, creator of the Android mobile operating system
- Rodger Novak, co-founder of Crispr Therapeutics AG
The event, unofficially tagged with the “Davos” title, features chief executives like Siemens AG’s Joe Kaeser, whose engineering behemoth is a “strategic partner” for the conference and BlackRock Inc.’s Larry Fink. The gathering is co-hosted by the kingdom’s massive sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund, and the crown prince.
THESE COMPANIES HAVE PULLED OUT OF THE CONFERENCE SO FAR:
- Credit Suisse
- Financial Times
- JP Morgan Chase
- Los Angeles Times
- New York Times
- Sinovation Ventures
- Standard Chartered
- World Bank
It was hailed as the start of Saudi Arabia’s revamping of its oil-based economy but a week before its opening the second edition of the kingdom’s prestigious economic Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference has turned into a PR disaster for the country.
Pompeo met with Saudi leaders this week. Today, he told the President he should give the Saudi’s more time to try to figure out what happen. But…
There is a video from sixteen days ago of Jamal Khashoggi entering the Saudi consulate but there is no evidence of him leaving. His bride to be was left waiting in the car for him. You can imagine her shock and hysteria.
Turkish officials released details of what they report to be his last moments alive. If the details are true, it was a very gruesome death for Mr. Khashoggi.
With that being said, I warn you the details are pretty gruesome from here. It was reported this included torture, beatings, a bone saw and removal of Khashoggi’s fingers and then the removal of his head. The hacking up of his body took no more than seven minutes. This crime was so horrific that the doctor doing it suggested playing music to drown it out. Who is the doctor? Who helped and witnessed this crime and where is he? Nothing was mentioned if there is camera footage showing Khashoggi’s murderers entering the Saudi consulate. Reports did say that Khashoggi’s body parts were put in boxes and then put into a van and as of yet no video footage of this.
At first, the Saudi’s claim was Khashoggi left the consulate on his own. Then there were reports the Saudi’s admitting Khashoggi died there. Then the Saudi’s claimed that Khashoggi’s death came at the hands of a rogue element. A possibility with all the factions in Riyadh as a direct result from the anti-corruption crackdown executed by Crown Prince Salmon last November 2017.
The NYTimes reported that four of Khashoggi’s interrogators/murderers have direct ties to the Crown Prince. New surveillance evidence from a pro Turkey government newspaper shows a Saudi intelligence officer who has traveled with the Crown Prince at the consulate the day Khashoggi disappeared.
In the October 18, 2018 edition of the Washington Post, they reported that the Trump administration and the Saudi Royal family are searching for an agreeable explanation for Khashoggi’s death.
Well, the Washington Post is no friend to the President and more than half of the people in this country who support the President. Jeff Bezos from Amazon bought the Washington Post after CIA Director John Brennan under the Obama Administration approved and gave $600 million of taxpayers money to Bezos. Then setting up an unconstitutional domestic surveillance database without users knowledge and consent in Oregon under the pseudonym VADATA, Inc.
In more murky matters regarding the 15 who allegedly committed the murder, they could fall under Turkey law and serve life in prison. All 15 Saudi’s are back in Saudi Arabia.
Part of the problem is Arabs don’t face just punishment regarding the crimes they commit in the past and continue in the present. In Jamal Khashoggi’s last column, he called for the Arab nations to allow freedom of the press. These were some of the values he gave his life for. Jamal was a strong advocate for the Crown Prince’s reforms to succeed and was also critical at the same time. A torn man defending those who wanted their right to think for themselves rather than being forced in an oppressive country. Jamal Khashoggi, who fled the kingdom in 2017, often criticized Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmon for jailing hundreds of journalists and activists and for engaging in a brutal war in Yemen.
With the radical changes starting in 2016 continuing through 2017, it was supposed to change with the reforms in place but even the limited freedom was going away and that’s when Jamal went into exile. Jamal was cognizant of the fact that his people in his home country were less and less able to speak with freedom. It was still an autocratic regime and a dictator’s control of his country and most definitely the people’s voices but not their minds. Arabs yearn for and want the dignity of freedom; Democracy. Iran’s dictatorship is experiencing the same problem. Oppressing the people’s freedom and completely controlling their lives but they have started to rebel.
Recently at least seven journalists have died at the hands of a dictatorship. Not very different from those who lost their lives because of hit men ordered by the top echelon in the Deep State Corruption here in the United States. It’s becoming a double standard because no one has been sent to prison regarding these treasonous crimes and we all know this.
This is a very brazen act to kill Mr. Jamal Khashoggi in such a brutal way. Forty four journalists were killed in 2018. You can’t do this and let world leaders get away with these diabolical murders. No society will survive this pathological way of thinking and killing.
Still, there is that contract pending on whether the White House will go through with the $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
President Trump is hardly the first US President to agree to sell fighter jets, missiles, and other military equipment to Saudi Arabia. President Barack Obama did it and so did every other president going back to the Truman administration. The United States was desperate for Saudi oil and a military ally in the Middle East so US politicians have been willing to sell the kingdom all the war weapons it wants, ignoring the regime’s record of human rights abuses.
Last weekend on an interview that aired on CBS’s 60 Minutes on Sunday: President Trump reiterated that too many American jobs depend on US arms sales to the kingdom. President Trump said, “They are ordering military equipment. Everybody in the world wanted that order. Russia wanted it, China wanted it, we wanted it. We got it … I don’t wanna hurt jobs.”
In 2016, as Obama ended his last term, his administration notified Congress about plans to sell $5 billion worth of military equipment to Saudi Arabia. That included deals brokered by the Pentagon, State Department, and those handled directly by the US defense companies that make the equipment. Saudi Arabia wanted to buy missiles and jet fighters. But concerns were mounting about Saudi Arabia’s bloody war in Yemen, where the kingdom has been fighting the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels since 2015. Human rights groups and the United Nations expressed concern that Saudi airstrikes were killing thousands of civilians at schools, clinics, markets and weddings. In just one instance, in October 2016, Saudi warplanes dropped a 500-pound laser-guided bomb that killed at least 100 people attending a funeral. The bomb, a GBU-12 Paveway II, was manufactured in the United States at the time by defense contractors Raytheon and Lockheed Martin. In response, shortly before leaving office, Obama suspended the proposed sale of another $500 million worth of laser-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.
Overall, the private US defense industry does directly employ a lot of US workers, about 355,500 in 2016, according to the most recent estimates from the Aerospace Industries Association. Private-sector defense workers make up less than 0.5 percent of the total US labor force, and that includes every person whose job depends directly on the sale or production of airplanes, tanks, bombs, and services for the entire US military.
About 153,800 American workers are directly involved in making commercial and military aircraft, according to the most recent industry employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But that includes workers who make passenger planes for commercial airlines, a much larger sector of the economy than those who make military jets and helicopters.
Saudi Arabia buys plenty of American bombs for its war in Yemen. About 7,666 workers make bombs for the defense and law enforcement industries in 2016 and that includes explosives sold to the entire US military.
Crown Prince Salmon wants to manufacture weapons in Saudi Arabia. In the short term, selling weapons to Saudi Arabia may support some US factory jobs. But here’s the thing: Saudi Arabia plans to start manufacturing a lot of those weapons at home. Building up a local weapons manufacturing industry is part of the crown prince’s much-touted 2030 economic development plan, which is supposed to reduce the kingdom’s economic dependence on oil exports. In short, Saudi Arabia expects half of all jobs created by weapons deals to be local jobs. Here’s what he says in an outline of the plan that the Saudi government has posted online:
“Localization will be achieved through direct investments and strategic partnerships with leading companies in this sector. These moves will transfer knowledge and technology, and build national expertise in the fields of manufacturing, maintenance, repair, research and development. We will also train our employees and establish more specialized and integrated industrial complexes.”
American defense contractors that sell a lot of military equipment to Saudi Arabia are on board. Raytheon, for example, is in the process of opening a subsidiary in Riyadh.
Liberal-leaning Center for International Policy analyst William Hartung said, “The relationship between arms sales and jobs is exaggerated.”
In March 2017, then Secretary of State Rex Tillerson greenlighted the sale, as well as a handful of arms deals with other countries that were on hold because of human rights concerns. That included the sale of military jets to Nigeria and fighter planes to Bahrain. The president said ramping up arms sales was part of his plan to boost US manufacturing jobs, and the questions remained, what foreign militaries were doing with the weapons?
The Saudi-led coalition has killed thousands of civilians with American-made bombs, including at least 40 children who were riding a school bus. The United Nations now considers the situation in Yemen “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”
It could very well be that Turkish officials deliberately wanted to sabotage the upcoming investment conference event in Davos to prevent the financial partnerships between the US and Saudi Arabia and at the same time thwarting the $110 billion dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia.
Or Jamal Khashoggi had become too much of a threat to the Crown Prince stoking the fires with independent thinking and threatening the Crown Prince’s long term plans of more investments in US companies and thereby affecting the $110 billion dollar arms sale to Saudi Arabia. In any case Jamal Khashoggi continued to communicate with important people in Saudi Arabia who still very desperately want Democracy.
This terrible crime is reminiscent of the first scene in the movie “Scarface” where Tony played by Al Pacino had a gun to his head while he watched his partner swing on a shower rod being hacked to death by a chainsaw. The blood was splattering on Tony’s face as he prepared himself mentally to be next. But his other partner was on his way after flirting with a couple of young women in bikinis in Miami, Florida. Tony made it out of there and chased down the chainsaw murderer and shot him between the eyes on a public street. But this isn’t a movie this is real life.
The Scapegoat – General Asiri Blamed for Khashoggi’s Murder:
The Scapegoat: It was announced on Saudi state television that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his investigative team targeted/blamed one of his favored generals for the death of dissident columnist Jamal Khashoggi. General Ahmed al-Asiri, one of the Crown Prince’s most trusted security officials and Deputy Head of Saudi intelligence, was blamed along with 18 others.
Asiri, a senior Air Force Officer, was the Saudi face of the Yemen war for more than a year before being promoted to Head of Saudi Intelligence. He was entrusted with the most sensitive state secrets. Sandhurst-educated, US-trained and fluent in English, he had a steady rise through the Saudi Air Force. He was seen by other senior officers as meritorious.
Before the sacking of General Asiri, there were several explanations from the Royal Monarchy each continuing to evolve and change: 1) He’s not dead, he left the consulate and disappeared; 2) He may be dead 3) He’s dead but we had nothing to do with his death; 4) It was a rogue faction who turned on the Crown Prince; 5) Khashoggi is dead and there was a fight that broke out.
It is unlikely Khashoggi would have started any fight knowing this would certainly lead to his death. He probably knew from the moment he stepped into the Saudi Consulate what was going down. Maybe he attempted to escape when his assassins wrestled him down and dragged him to his tortured demise.
There is video footage of the some of the 15 Saudis who were strolling through the halls of the hotel when they checked in and it doesn’t appear that General Asiri was with the assassins.
It could be General Asiri is to blame for ordering the assassination for the Crown Prince. Or maybe Asiri wasn’t convinced about ordering Khashoggi’s assassination trying to save the Crown Prince from going down a rabbit hole and not necessarily coming out the other end unscathed. Either way, General Asiri’s Intelligence career was cut short and the Crown Prince looks like the culprit.