What does it take?


So…a Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, was brutally murdered by a Saudi pathologist in the Saudi embassy with the full knowledge of the Saudi consul, apparently at the request of the Saudi government, who didn’t like the reporter’s coverage of the repressive Saudi regime. Audio of his death was recorded.

It took seven minutes for Jamal Khashoggi to die, a Turkish source who has listened in full to an audio recording of the Saudi journalist’s last moments told Middle East Eye.

Khashoggi was dragged from the consul-general’s office at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and onto the table of his study next door, the Turkish source said.

Horrendous screams were then heard by a witness downstairs, the source said.

“The consul himself was taken out of the room. There was no attempt to interrogate him. They had come to kill him,” the source told MEE.

The screaming stopped when Khashoggi – who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on 2 October – was injected with an as yet unknown substance.

We even know who did it.

Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, who has been identified as the head of forensic evidence in the Saudi general security department, was one of the 15-member squad who arrived in Ankara earlier that day on a private jet.

Tubaigy began to cut Khashoggi’s body up on a table in the study while he was still alive, the Turkish source said.

The killing took seven minutes, the source said.

As he started to dismember the body, Tubaigy put on earphones and listened to music. He advised other members of the squad to do the same.

“When I do this job, I listen to music. You should do [that] too,” Tubaigy was recorded as saying, the source told MEE.

When he does this job? This is something he’s done before?

This is a horrific and unforgivable act. So what does the “leader of the free world” have to say about it?

I’m not giving cover at all, Trump said. I just want to find out what’s happening.

With that being said, Saudi Arabia has been a very important ally of ours in the Middle East, he added, pointing to a US-Saudi arms deal that he valued at $110 billion, even though just $14.5 billion of that figure has actually begun to materialize.

Speaking in Washingon, Trump said he was hopeful the crisis would resolve itself, while Pompeo told reporters in Brussels the US takes the journalist’s suspected killing and dismemberment seriously, even as both men stressed the importance of the US-Saudi relationship.

I guess $110 billion will buy you the right to torture-murder someone. Is it just the one? Or do the Saudis get to slaughter any journalist they want while they hold the promise of a fucking “deal”?

Also, the deal doesn’t exist. It’s a loose collection of non-binding promises, nothing more.

A real leader would have cut these barbaric killers off at the knees, immediately announced a suspension of all these arms deals to a backward, vicious kingdom, and made it clear that that murder was intolerable. All Trump sees is dollar signs, even illusory dollar signs are enough to keep him in line.

It’s also not just Trump. These “deals” were made during the Obama years, and once again we see that a much-admired president had a thoroughly reprehensible foreign policy. Fuck these monsters. Why are we even selling arms to Saudi Arabia in the first place, even before they’d started openly torturing journalists?

Comments

  1. Bill Buckner says

    Why are we even selling arms to Saudi Arabia in the first place, even before they’d started openly torturing journalists?

    Yep, that’s the 64k$ question.

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    These “deals” were made during the Obama years, and once again we see that a much-admired president had a thoroughly reprehensible foreign policy. Fuck these monsters. Why are we even selling arms to Saudi Arabia in the first place, even before they’d started openly torturing journalists

    Typical Mainstream Democrat: “Blah blah diplomacy blah blah compromise blah blah blah position of authority blah blah blah pragmatism blah blah uniateralism, blah Real Politick blah blah THE REPUBLICANS WOULD BE WORSE!!!!

  3. weylguy says

    There’s something about 15 Saudis committing murder and getting out of the country scot-free. I can’t quite put my finger on it … 15 Saudis …

  4. says

    Why are we even selling arms to Saudi Arabia in the first place, even before they’d started openly torturing journalists

    Raif Badawi was arrested, tortured, and imprisoned in 2012. I believe he is still in prison. Obama wasn’t the golfer Trump is, so it’s not fair to say the Obama Administration’s response to that was to play a couple rounds of golf. But we gotta move ahead not look back, you know?

  5. starfleetdude says

    Here’s some context for the contextless regarding Obama’s relationship with the Saudis. Might be of interest, or not, but it’s clear that MbS did not like Obama.

    A Fatal Abandonment of American Leadership

    The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi has shocked many in the United States, but it should not come as a surprise. Indeed, it is a logical outgrowth of the policies that the Saudi leadership has been pursuing for the past two years, and the support that it has found for its approach in the Trump White House and parts of the American establishment.

    In April 2016, President Barack Obama was making his final visit to Saudi Arabia. He sat opposite King Salman, a septuagenarian battling illness who tended to sit stoic and staid throughout meetings. Despite the king’s poor health, the two of them went back and forth on various issues, many of which included disagreements—on the Iran nuclear agreement, the counter-isis campaign, Yemen, Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On several of these issues, Obama counseled the Saudis to pursue dialogue with the Iranians instead of sliding further into the sectarian war that was engulfing the region. Then Obama raised human rights.

    The Saudis had recently executed 47 prisoners, including a prominent Shiite sheikh, and imprisoned a high-profile blogger critical of the kingdom. In blunt language, Obama protested these actions, and warned the king that Saudi Arabia’s human-rights record was going to bring greater international isolation, since the United States and Europe wouldn’t defend the Saudis’ actions internationally. The sustainability of the U.S.-Saudi relationship was potentially at stake. I was sitting in a long row of U.S. officials along one side of the room and noticed one of the Saudis opposite me stirring irritably in his seat. It was the deputy crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman—widely known by his initials, MbS. …

  6. vucodlak says

    I see this as being as much about normalizing extreme violence against journalists as it is about money, if not more so. Trump has made it very clear he’d like to silence his critics in the press, and this horrific incident was an absolute gift. Now, if when the regime starts arresting journalists, they can just lock them up and deny them outside contact (beyond proof of life) all while saying “See? It’s not like we’re vivisecting them, so it’s not a big deal.”

    His base would be ok with whatever grotesque thing the administration came up with, but that comparison will allow the so-called moderates to say “Now, now, it’s not that bad, it’s necessary to protect us, blah blah blah.” The centrists don’t ask much, expect much, or need much to justify atrocities, and this will be all the fig-leaf they need.

  7. monad says

    And yet Obama still supported them, even if it was with qualifications they found annoying. In some horrible way, Trump is the one being consistent. Why should he care about the torturous killing of one dissident, if he didn’t be bothered to care about the thousands to millions being bombed and starved in Yemen?

  8. says

    Well the fact is they’ve been bombing the shit out of Yemen and starving them with a blockade since 2015, killing tens of thousands of civilians including children. I’m not sure why all of a sudden they’re bad now because they killed one guy.

  9. Dunc says

    This is something he’s done before?

    Well, duh. Saudi Arabia is a brutally repressive dictatorship which makes extensive use of torture, and has been for as long as it’s existed. I’ll bet you a week’s wages he’s done a hell of a lot worse.

    Here’s something to think about: professional torturers don’t grow on trees. They need to be trained. In order to train torturers, you need disposable, unimportant people for them to practice on, so it doesn’t matter when they screw up and kill someone too quickly.

    Every single American President since the creation of Saudi Arabia has been 100% behind the regime. In fact, Saudi Arabia and the vicious, kleptocratic regime that rules it with a bloody iron fist is entirely the creation of Anglo-US (primarily US) foreign policy.

    And when they say the current guy is a “moderate” and a “reformer”, they’re not entirely wrong, relatively speaking – he’s not as bad as every other Saudi ruler that the US has backed to the hilt.

    So they kill a journalist. Big whoop. What’s one more skull on a mountain of skulls?

    You created this, America. Don’t try and act surprised now.

  10. Dunc says

    Also, I’m sure that the furor about this is entirely unrelated to the fact that he was Adnan Khashoggi’s nephew…

  11. says

    @PZ: “When he does this job? This is something he’s done before?”
    You sound surprised. Get real, there has always been people like that, working for even bigger sadistic bastards. If history has taught us one thing it’s that people can justify pretty much any horror imaginable. The only thing I find incredible is that the story got out.
    I don’t think the evidence is bogus, but the story about the watch sounds a bit shaky. The alternative is that the Turks were bugging the place, and are openly admitting it. Now everybody knows that everybody tries to bug everybody else, but isn’t admitting it like giving them the finger?

  12. Ragutis says

    Oh look, yet another reason to switch to a fossil fuel free economy. We’ve long been hamstrung in our relations with them because the Saudi’s know they have us by the balls, and now they’ve lucked into a dictator groupie with no moral compass and his personal wealth deeply tied to the regime. Russia, North Korea and Saudi Arabia are now our best pals, but Canada and Europe are out to get us? What the fucking fuck?!

    By 2020, I’m guessing Trump’ll be as deserving of a cell at the Hague as Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld are, but I’d settle for a straitjacket, lots of medication and a padded room (NOT at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.) I suspect that would make Pence just as happy. Anyone else notice that the more shit Trump gets into, the less Pence is visible? I wonder how much rent he’s paying Cheney for that “undisclosed location” while tapping his fingers together and murmuring “Soon“.

  13. ardipithecus says

    Megabucks vs. megabucks?

    I wonder if the Khashoggi family put pressure on Erdogan to Get Justice Done for Jamal the nephew? Could Uncle Adnan’s arms-dealer billions be a factor?

  14. Reginald Selkirk says

    A real leader would have cut these barbaric killers off at the knees…

    I know that’s a metaphor, but in the current context it doesn’t come across right.

  15. says

    You sound surprised. Get real, there has always been people like that, working for even bigger sadistic bastards.

    But don’t you normally hide such people in obscure, anonymous positions? I mean, we all know that America has torturers on the payroll, but it would still be shocking to learn that the surgeon general had personally tortured someone.

    This is dirty work. You don’t do it yourself. You have disposable underlings to do that kind of thing for you. That’s the civilized way.

  16. rcs619 says

    Oil. Pretty much oil. There’s a reason that the new prince running the show over there is so desperately trying to diversify Saudi Arabia. He knows as well as anyone that if the oil ever stops flowing, they’re looking at an economic collapse that’ll make Venezuela look tame, and the royals will be the first heads on the chopping block.

    Until then though, they’re one of the richest countries to ever exist, and they need to buy a lot of weapons to kill all the various people they don’t like. That, on top being in control of the world’s most important resource, pretty much lets them do whatever the hell they want. It’s not like the US is going to go get its oil from Iran if they cut us off.

    What’s extra frustrating is how openly and unabashedly the saudis work against our interests in the region. The spread of wahhabism is a gigantic business there. It’s a multimedia empire devoted to radicalizing anyone that will listen to them. There’s a reason ISIS subscribed to wahhabism, there’s a reason Bin Laden was a saudi, and there’s a reason most of the 9/11 hijackers were saudis.

    There’s a lot of perfectly fine people just trying to make do under a repressive regime over there, but their government and their religious leadership is the worst.

  17. hemidactylus says

    There’s a leader of a bigly adversarial country having his birthday coincide with the murder of a critical journalist. There have been curious poisoning poisonings and deaths of other threats over the years. And jailing of a naughty punk rock group with poignant videos. And this leader is alleged to have had an interest in the 2016 US election outcome.

    So consider me surprised if Trump ever gives a sincere damn about Khashoggi’s fate though he may be pressured by members of his own party to make a superficial attempt at a hand slap toward the House of Saud. He cares more about HRC and Elizabeth Warren. They are his version of Navalny.

    And how jealous is he of world leaders who can act with impunity against journalists and other assorted threats? Best he can do is bully on social media.

  18. hemidactylus says

    Anyone recall Orlando Letelier? Dissidents have been eliminated for time immemorial*. The US has gone after our own citizens via things such as COINTELPRO and other means. Anyone recall Fred Hampton?

    *-related to my lifetime

  19. hemidactylus says

    And Newsy just reminded me. In pointing an index finger Turkey ignores the three pointing back at their own stained record on how dissidents are treated.

  20. says

    Sordid Arabia has threatened to cut off oil supplies if sanctions are imposed. Let them. They need the money more than America needs the oil. Besides I am sure Iranians would happily make up the slack. The US still has an agreement with them doesn’t it?

  21. dianne says

    You serious? Trump’s taking notes for getting rid of his pesky journalists.

    Also, anyone remember the School of the Americas? The US has been training torturers for decades, conservative estimate.

  22. Mrdead Inmypocket says

    Murdering an educated journalist, a member of the technocratic elite is a bridge too far. All deaths are an outrage and there are many. Do you think this particular murder is being covered in the media because a despotic state targeted one of their own or because they’re stepping on Jeff Bezos’ toes. Hard to tell why some stories create the proper level of outrage in the media these days. There are certain people you’re just not supposed to kill apparently.

  23. John Morales says

    Mrdead:

    Do you think this particular murder is being covered in the media because a despotic state targeted one of their own or because they’re stepping on Jeff Bezos’ toes.

    Because blatant.

  24. Sunday Afternoon says

    @#23 diane:

    Also, anyone remember the School of the Americas? The US has been training torturers for decades, conservative estimate.

    Yes, I remember. I also remember the apologist for the SotA that was interviewed on NPR who said, and I quote, “We do not obviously …” when referencing the allegations of teaching torture techniques. Clearly he was hoping that the audience would recall “Obviously we do not…” rather than the literally correct meaning of the words spoken, viz: we do not do it so outside people can observe. I’ll agree that he didn’t lie, but that was one slimy f*(@$r.

  25. dianne says

    And then there’s Guantanamo, rendition, waterboarding…I’m surprised Saudi Arabia is willing to associate with the US. Oh, right, they’re the greatest material prize and don’t get a choice.

  26. raven says

    But don’t you normally hide such people (hands on torturers) in obscure, anonymous positions?

    Not if you are Donald Trump.
    Gina Haspel was a notorious torturer for the USA.
    Gina Haspel was recently nominated to head the CIA and confirmed by the US Senate.
    Gina Haspel is the head of the CIA!!!

  27. Dunc says

    LykeX, @ #17:

    But don’t you normally hide such people in obscure, anonymous positions? I mean, we all know that America has torturers on the payroll, but it would still be shocking to learn that the surgeon general had personally tortured someone.

    This is dirty work. You don’t do it yourself. You have disposable underlings to do that kind of thing for you. That’s the civilized way.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that “the head of forensic evidence in the Saudi general security department” is somewhat euphemistic. I’m not 100% sure, but from what I know if it, I don’t think the Saudi legal system much goes in for the CSI-style niceties of forensic evidence gathering that title seems to imply (or any kind of evidence gathering at all, for that matter). I suspect that his actual role is rather more “Spanish Inquisition” than “Quincy, ME”… If you wanted to get the sort of formal medical training that’s required for modern, scientific torture, then pathology would seem to be a pretty good specialism to choose – you get the detailed knowledge of anatomy and physiology, and you also learn what to avoid if you don’t want to actually kill people (since dead people can’t be tortured).

    I’m going to go out on another limb and suggest that the brazenness of this is entirely deliberate. MbS is sending a message about what happens to people who go beyond the “acceptable” bounds of dissent. The real purpose of torture is to instil fear, and in order for that to be effective, it has to be known about.

  28. says

    Orange Yeller is fond of “they said they didn’t do it” except when it comes to young black men, Muslims who aren’t buying his tacky apartments, and Latinx immigrants.

    Weird that…

  29. dianne says

    Trump is actively praising people who commit violence against journalists in the US. For example. He’s looking forward to the time when he can saw journalists up alive himself.

  30. tim rowledge, Ersatz Haderach says

    Let’s not, even for a moment, pretend that trump’s reaction on hearing of the Khashoggi murder was anything other than “ooh, ooh, I wanna do that”.
    He’s even made it publicly obvious with the “my kinda guy” blather.

Leave a Reply