Anything To Save The Prince

It is a complex tale of murder and mayhem worthy of John le Carré or Vince Flynn, but no writer of fiction made this one up.  The question is, will the real killer go unpunished?  I doubt there is a thinking person on the globe who doesn’t believe that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the brutal murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi, but the Saudis are doing their level best to insulate the prince from paying the price.

The facts:

Missing Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi with his fiance Hatice Cengiz

Murdered Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi with his fiance Hatice Cengiz

Jamal Khashoggi went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain documents he needed to get a license to marry his fiancé, Hatice Cengiz.  This was on September 28th, but he was told he would need to return at 1:30 p.m. on the afternoon of October 2nd.  On the morning of the 2nd, embassy staff were instructed not to report for work.  Meanwhile, Saudi officials traveling in two charter planes arrived at the consulate early that morning. Khashoggi entered the consulate after telling his fiancé, who remained outside, to get help if he did not return.  He was never seen again outside the consulate. 

His murder, according to Turkish officials, was brutal, including torture, strangulation, beheading and dismemberment. 

The lies:

The Saudi government has told so many lies that it’s hard to keep up.  At first, the Saudi government said that Khashoggi had left the consulate via a back entrance shortly after arriving.  They claimed the reports of his disappearance were “completely false and baseless”.

On October 20th, the Saudi government changed its story and said that Khashoggi had indeed died inside the consulate, but that it was an accident, simply a fistfight gone bad.  And then, a few days later, they changed the story yet again, still denying any involvement, and said that his murderers had been trying to kidnap him to return him to Saudi Arabia, and that his death had been unintentional, a ‘choke-hold’ gone bad.  They also claimed it was a ‘rogue operation’ that was not sanctioned by the government.

The Turkish government was investigating, but at this point the Saudis opened their own investigation, saying that they had arrested 18 Saudi nationals and terminated 2 Saudi officials as a result of their findings.  Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir described the killing as “murder”, yet still denied that Crown Prince bin Salman was involved.

On October 25th, the Saudi public prosecutor said the evidence pointed to a ‘premeditated’ murder.  Although the Saudi government denies it, bin Salman is on record as having told Trump, in a phone conversation, that he considered Khashoggi to be a ‘dangerous Islamist’.

The speculation:SaudisFour of the men arrested have ties to the crown prince, and another, Maher Mutreb, served as a colonel in Saudi intelligence and was based at the country’s embassy in London.  The group brought a bone saw into the country and one of its members was the head of forensics at the National Intelligence Service and specialized in post-mortems.  This was no fly-by-night operation, but rather one that was relatively well-planned and well-funded, given the 4-day time period.  According to Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, “The necessary equipment and people were previously brought in to kill and later dismember him”.MBSSources both in and outside the Saudi government claim that this ‘hit’ could not have taken place without the knowledge and consent of none other than Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.  Turkish President Erdoğan has said the order to murder Khashoggi came from “the highest levels” of the Saudi government. The former head of MI6, Sir John Sawers, has described Saudi claims that Prince Mohammed was unaware of the murder plot as a “blatant fiction”.  Prince Mohammed’s most influential domestic aide, Saud al-Qahtani, has been forced to leave. Qahtani is accused of being the figure who organized the hit squad. The crown prince’s critics, and even some loyalists inside the kingdom, say it is inconceivable that such an operation could have been ordered without his authority.

The scapegoats:

Yesterday, Saudi Arabia announced it will pursue the death penalty for five suspects charged.  While I have no doubt that these five men were complicit in the murder and deserve harsh punishment, charging them was done in an attempt to draw attention away from the crown prince, away from the head of the government who, it is almost certain, ordered the killing.  These five, and likely more to follow, are scapegoats being sacrificed to save the hide of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

Too many lies were told, the story changed too many times for this to be anything but an order from the highest-ranking official in the government.  Jamal Khashoggi had been critical of both bin Salman and Donald Trump.  And now, though the U.S. has imposed sanctions freezing assets of 17 Saudis said to be involved in Khashoggi’s murder, Donald Trump refuses to even discuss implicating bin Salman.  No mystery there, for both Trump’s and Jared Kushner’s companies do business with the Saudis. 

Conclusion:

Who is more guilty, the men who carried out the execution or the man who ordered it to be done?  While none are without guilt, and I would certainly expect to see everyone who was involved, either directly or indirectly, tried and sentenced to life in prison, I think the greater punishment ought to be for the one who said, “Do it.”  There are, I’m sure, many good people in Saudi Arabia … Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is NOT one of them and in the minds of most, he caused the death of a man whose only crime was honesty.  Nations around the globe are calling for the truth, condemning the Saudi government and most of all, Mohammed bin Salman.  The U.S., meanwhile, is more concerned about the profits of Trump & Co.  Mr. Khashoggi was a permanent resident of the U.S. and employed by one of the most reputable news sources in the country, yet Trump takes a lackadaisical approach, merely shrugging his shoulders. Once again, the U.S. stands alone, not by the choice of the nation, but by the whims of one ‘man’ … and on the wrong side of justice.

22 thoughts on “Anything To Save The Prince

  1. Jill, there has never been any doubt that the Prince ordered the execution. It has been a Keystone Kops episode of changing stories. It rivals and actual exceeds the Trump White House on changing stories, which is not a compliment to either group. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • Today the CIA went on record as saying they had a high degree of certainty of MBS’ involvement, but Trump will almost certainly either discredit them or just shrug it off. I’ve actually wondered if it’s possible that Trump had knowledge of what was to happen beforehand.

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  2. I’m still betting on an even higher mastermind of this murder, not the how, but the why. Donald J “Junk Truck” Trump. I have no doubt he gave the order. Nothing to base it on, but he was not at all surptised when it happened. And, in fact, wore a smug smile on his orange puss. This man is complicit, and wouldn’t it be nice to evidence that truth. Bin Salman is a player, but Trump is the commanding force!

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    • Frankly, it is something I’ve considered, and I would not be surprised to find he was well aware of what was to happen before it happened. The CIA has concluded, based on embassy phone calls both before and after the murder, that bin Salman did, indeed, order the hit. It’s only a small step further to think that Trump was ‘clued in’ at the very least, for Khashoggi had criticized Trump as well as bin Salman. We’ll likely never know for sure.

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      • Maybe not never. Nixon was arrogant enough to save the Watergate tapes. It would surprise me if Trump doesn’t have a tape of every call he makes or receives. Every word he speaks is god-like, and fake news…

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        • Good point! I wish … I wish if he even had knowledge of what would happen to Khashoggi, it would come out now so that the world would not be able to deny the evil that is Trump while he’s still alive and in office. For some reason, though I am a pacifist and not generally a cruel person, I want him to experience degradation, shame and pain. Sigh.

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  3. There’s really no doubt of the truth of this story. The Saudi’s are well practised at ridding themselves of nuisances, including women who drive too far or attend the wrong games.It’s a lost cause though as the Saudi’s will never give up Salman unless the Country starts to suffer and finds him an embarrassment. It’s actually funny to see Erdogan ‘looking for justice’ with the number of reporters he’s disappeared.
    Cwtch

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    • This evening, the news is that the CIA has concluded that bin Salman did, indeed, order the hit. I have to wonder if Trump wasn’t in on it as well, although I have no evidence, just a feeling, of such. Apparently there were some phone calls between bin Salman’s second-in-command and the Saudi embassy in Washington both before and after the murder took place that were definitive. We will likely never know the whole truth, but I’m sure there is enough evidence that we should be considering more than simply sanctioning the men who carried out the orders. There is definitely an irony in Erdogan’s position, given that he has threatened to behead reporters and now there is rumour of a deal between he and Trump regarding Gülen, which is worrisome. Sigh. I feel like I’ve awakened in the middle of a le Carre book!!!
      Cwtch

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  4. One problem I see in the report, and quote: “The group brought a bone saw into the country…” If I were an investigator, I would seriously examine that statement. Why “bring in” a bone saw, which would be inspected and its importation recorded and questioned, when such an item could be purchased without any trace on the local scene? How stupid can these people be, really? Still a huge kerfuffle… but there is more to this story than meets the eye and I still can’t buy the official version, or versions. Meanwhile, where’s the fiancee? I’d like to talk to her because Kahshoggi’s actions in this brutal tale also demonstrate an abysmal lack of wariness on his part seeing as he had to know exactly the kinds of people we was dealing with, and the threats against him… Why didn’t he go to an embassy in the US where his safety would have had a much greater guarantee? Why not hire private “muscle” to back him up in case of problems? Why… a lot of questions! Plots within plots within plots. I’ll give you one answer: Khashoggi is alive and well, as part of an elaborate plot to sink the hated Bin Salman. Salman believes it was the journalist who was killed when it was an innocent patsy. And now, as intended, the intents of the plot fester and spread. Not good enough? Maybe I can do better, give me time (as if I wanted to spend more time unraveling this one!) but since ‘the general public’ has chosen to eat the official versions, why bother? Everything happens just like it’s reported, whether it’s the Kennedy assassination, 9/11, the reason behind the war on Iraq, the 2008 bailouts and on and on. “When we tell you the story, it become the truth.”

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      • Ah Jill, writing books takes time and I’m just too busy to have the luxury to focus on writing at this time. If/when my body forces me to slow down, I’ll probably get more serious about writing then. It is fun. I’ve got several novels already written, one a dystopian sci-fi based on extreme misogyny in a distant future, not on earth; a dystopia I wrote years ago on the local scene of a possible future now fast approaching, one on transgendering (based on personal history and experience), a fantasy I wrote recently meant to be a trilogy but ran out of time after the first one, and a collection of short stories and essays. I do intend to publish on Smash Words as soon as I can figure out how its done and I can find the time. Thanks for the reminder…

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        • I hear you on the element of time … I am the same. I hope someday you do publish some of your work, though … you have a way with words and concepts. Our mutual friend Roger can point you to some help when you get ready to publish!

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