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Thread: Jamal Khashoggi’s Disappearance Is Even Stranger Than It Seems

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    Jamal Khashoggi’s Disappearance Is Even Stranger Than It Seems

    Jamal Khashoggi’s Disappearance Is Even Stranger Than It Seems

    What in the world? No seriously, what the…? When it comes to Saudi Arabia these days, things could not get weirder or uglier. Last November, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman forced Lebanon’s Prime Minister to resign—from Riyadh in a television appearance that had all the characteristics of a hostage video. At the same time, Saudi authorities detained almost 400 people in the Ritz-Carlton over corruption charges, only to release them after they handed over significant sums of cash and assets in what appeared to be little more than a shakedown. This past spring and summer, the government began arresting women activists, some of whom had been at the forefront of the decadeslong fight to drive that ended with a lift on the ban in June, and declared them traitors. Then, in August, Saudi leaders lashed out at Canada over a tweet criticizing their treatment of oppositionists—canceling flights, preventing Saudi students on government scholarship from studying at Canadian universities, and transferring sick Saudis from Canada’s hospitals. All of this was going on against the backdrop of the ill-conceived war in Yemen.

    And now, a Saudi journalist named Jamal Khashoggi—a onetime confidant of senior Saudi officials and princes—has vanished. He disappeared into Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate on Oct. 2 and has not been heard from since. The Turks say he is dead, killed in the consulate by a hit team, with his body removed in boxes. The Saudis have declared this grisly tale nonsense and insist Khashoggi left the consulate not long after he arrived.

    When the story broke on Saturday by way of a thinly sourced Reuters story followed by more substantial coverage from the Washington Post—where Khashoggi had become a columnist last year—a social media uproar ensued. Twitter was alight with frightened and outraged fellow journalists, analysts recounting a litany of alleged Saudi crimes, politicians demanding accountability, activists with maudlin paeans to a now apparently martyred critic, Saudis arguing that Khashoggi disappeared because he got cold feet over his impending marriage to a Turkish woman, and a few voices cautioning that the declarations of known Justice and Development Party (AKP) provocateurs and unnamed “Turkish security sources” should be taken with a grain of salt. It was a massive outpouring of bile and one-upmanship that was notable even by the notoriously low standards of Twitter.

    The most important question has been left unanswered, of course: What happened to Jamal Khashoggi? It seems abundantly clear that he never left the consulate, and the Saudi explanation that they cannot prove it because their security cameras weren’t working that day has a “dog ate my homework” quality to it. If he is not dead and really is a runaway groom, then surely someone must have seen him somewhere—there must be a trail of credit card charges, ATM transactions, or grainy footage from the departure gates at the airport in Istanbul before he made his getaway. For their part, Turkish police sources claim it was premeditated murder, but thus far they have not offered any proof. The Turkish state’s Anadolu news agency, which has often had a problem with the truth, added to the story with ominous reports that 15 Saudis flew into Istanbul aboard two different private jets, that this apparent hit team was in the consulate at the time of Khashoggi’s disappearance, and they all left on Oct. 2. Still, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seemed to back away from these claims on Sunday, before taking a tougher stand the following day. Either he is being atypically diplomatic—the Saudis and Turks are wary of each other but have worked to remain cordial despite significant differences—or the Turks have suspicions, but little evidence of Saudi misdeeds.
    This Saudi Prince is just off-the-charts despotic.

    And these children that you spit on
    As they try to change their worlds
    Are immune to your consultations
    They're quite aware of what they're going through
    -David Bowie, Changes

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    And here's a bonus story:

    Saudi Arabia arrests economist on terror charges after he criticises Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman's financial plans

    Essam al-Zamel is an engaged economist and a successful businessman, a self-described “serial entrepreneur” and social media star who used his expertise in finance to politely punch holes in Saudi Arabia’s ambitious growth visions. He was planning to travel to the US this year, hoping to return to academia, and finally obtain a doctorate in economics, a longtime dream.

    But a year ago, before he could head abroad, Essam al-Zamel was arrested, rounded up along with other Saudi activists, dissidents and scholars. And in recent days it has emerged that the mild-mannered number cruncher has been charged with draconian terrorism and treason charges, and possibly faces the death penalty or years in prison.

    ...

    He appeared to have run afoul of Saudi authorities after publicly criticising the Saudi Crown Prince’s ambitious Vision 2030 scheme to evolve the country’s economy beyond petrochemicals.

    As part of the plan, the Crown Prince wanted to pressure Saudi businesses into replacing expat workers with locals. But Mr Zamel – who at one point had close to one million followers on Twitter – warned that the plan would cause a recession by reducing demand.

    “He dug into the economic aspect and concluded it was unworkable,” said Iyad al-Baghdadi, an Oslo-based Arab political activist.

    Mr Zamel also criticised the Crown Prince’s plan to the take the country’s national oil company, Aramco, public to raise $2 trillion (£1.5bn). To reach such a valuation, Mr Zamel argued, the firm would have to sell off reserves, which he deemed not the property of the company.

    “The current valuation implies that everything will be sold, including the oil under the ground,” he wrote to his followers on Twitter.

    “It is neither fair nor logical to sell the oil from under our feet in a commercial transaction at this juncture. If all the oil is sold, and we take its price in cash, and then we still fail to diversify, then we’ll have nothing left, no diversified economy and no oil either.”

    And these children that you spit on
    As they try to change their worlds
    Are immune to your consultations
    They're quite aware of what they're going through
    -David Bowie, Changes

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    Trump says he is 'concerned' about the journalist, but somehow I doubt that is genuine. He's probably slightly engorged at the thought that there are countries where journalists are routinely hassled, arrested and murdered. It's his version of paradise.

    trump-saudi-12.jpg

    1605-trump-erdogan-m.jpg

    This president has never met a despot he didn't like. Putin was just the tip of the iceberg.
    Any system that only offers two choices is already halfway to having no choices.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Servo View Post
    Trump says he is 'concerned' about the journalist, but somehow I doubt that is genuine. He's probably slightly engorged at the thought that there are countries where journalists are routinely hassled, arrested and murdered. It's his version of paradise.


    This president has never met a despot he didn't like. Putin was just the tip of the iceberg.
    You mis-spelled "Barack Obama."
    Leftists have unquestionably demonstrated their hatred for due process, and Democrats have undeniably obstructed justice for, and thoroughly victim-shamed and smeared, Karen Monahan.

  5. Likes scott, Gingersnap liked this post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam View Post
    You mis-spelled "Barack Obama."
    Another insightful and witty riposte.
    Any system that only offers two choices is already halfway to having no choices.

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    Obama bowed to Saudi leaders (including religious leaders), accepted the traditional gifts they gave (ceremonial swords), and shook hands with them.

    At least Trump isn't bowing and scraping in front of them on camera as our previous President did (or the one before that).

    I assume you think that Obama had more than a bit of a boner when he bowed and dressed up in costume to entertain them.
    "Alexa, slaughter the fatted calf."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Servo View Post
    He's probably slightly engorged at the thought that there are countries where journalists are routinely hassled, arrested and murdered. It's his version of paradise.
    Oh, get real. Or have you lost any reality...……...

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    Why Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance will haunt the Saudi government

    Will a body ever be found...…..

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opini...=.0771b8855a89
    The disappearance and reported killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi will have many victims, starting with his family and his fiancee. But unless the Saudi government speaks and acts quickly and honestly about this terrible event, its own reputation will incur irreparable damage.

    Since the emergence of the current government under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, critics (including Khashoggi) have argued that its central characteristic and greatest flaw was despotism: one-man rule by the young crown prince. To this critique were added descriptions of his impulsiveness, inexperience and repression of any criticism of his approach to modernization.

    Defenders of the new regime (including me) have argued in essence that MBS, as the crown prince is known, is in the traditional and positive sense of the term an “enlightened despot.” Though he was an absolute ruler, in this reading, he was one who used his power rationally to bring economic and social reforms, modernize his country and address the many developmental problems that hamper Saudi Arabia despite its wealth. He appears, for example, to have reined in the ultra-conservative clergy, has begun to improve the status and role of women, and has adopted plans aimed at creating a productive economy not dependent solely on oil production.[/quote]
    Continued with video at link

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Servo View Post
    Trump says he is 'concerned' about the journalist, but somehow I doubt that is genuine.
    Wow! I'm surprised.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________
    “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.”
    — Ernest Hemingway

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frostbit View Post
    Wow! I'm surprised.
    Concern doesn't seem high on the list of priorities from someone who said journalists were the enemy of the American people.
    Any system that only offers two choices is already halfway to having no choices.

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