ACTION ALERT: Accused of Brutal Murder, Saudi Regime Threatens to Retaliate Against Sanctions
October 15, 2018
Medea Benjamin / CODEPINK & Patrick Wintour / The Guardian
Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was apparently lured to the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey. Mounting evidence suggests he was then murdered by a Saudi hit-team at the behest of the Saudi government. Governments and businesses around the world are pulling back from dealing with the Saudis over this brutal crime. The Saudi monarchy has replied by warning any attempts to oppose sanctions on the operations of the Saudi Royal family will result in economic retaliation on the Saudis part.
ACTION ALERT: Journalist Apparently Murdered by Saudi Regime
Medea Benjamin / CODEPINK
(October 8, 2018) -- It has only been a month since I last saw him. Now he is missing, presumed dead.
The last anyone has heard from prominent Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was when Saudi Arabia lured him into their embassy in Turkey last week. It seems he was then murdered by a Saudi hit-team at the behest of the Saudi government.
Members of Congress and the media are crying out for answers and accountability but, so far, the State Department has politely "requested information" and said it is "closely following" the case.
Where is the outrage? Senator Chris Murphy summed it up perfectly: "If this is true -- that the Saudis lured a US resident into their consulate and murdered him -- it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia."
We agree and we are turning up the heat to demand justice for our colleague. If the Saudis are indeed guilty of Jamal's murder, the US must recall the senior government official at the US Embassy in Saudi Arabia and take immediate measures to sanction this regime.
Turkish investigators have leaked that they believe happened: A 15-person hit team was sent from Saudi Arabia to Turkey to get rid of Jamal Khashoggi. They knew he would be entering the consulate to get paperwork he needed for his marriage. With his fiance waiting outside, he went into the consulate and never came out -- alive, that is. Turkish officials speculate that his body was cut to pieces and removed in diplomatic boxes!
It is outrageous that the US maintains a special relationship with the Saudi regime. Saudi-led bombings of Yemen have created the worst humanitarian catastrophe on earth, yet the US continues to sell them weapons and refuel their jets in mid-air.
Recently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo even gave a renewed stamp of approval to the Saudi war on Yemen. So far, the State Department is quiet about what appears to be a brutal murder of a Washington Post journalist. This is outrageous.
ACTION: Add your name to our demand to the US State Department:
If it is clear that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by the Saudi government, the US must recall its senior official and take measures to sanction the Saudi regime.
On October 2, prominent Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi embassy in Turkey to obtain paperwork for his marriage. Little did he know that he would never get out alive. Join our demand to the US State Department: If the Saudi government was behind Jamal's murder, the US must recall its senior official to Saudi Arabia (there is no US ambassador to Saudi Arabia) and take immediate measures to sanction the Saudi regime.
To: US Department of State,
It is unacceptable that you have remained quiet about the murder of prominent Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. From the war on Yemen to the imprisoning of women activists, Saudi Arabia is a persistent and vile perpetrator of human rights abuses. Now it appears that they have carried out the cold-blooded murder of a journalist who wrote for a leading US paper and was a US resident.
If it is verified by investigators in Turkey that Jamal was murdered by the government of Saudi Arabia, you must take immediate action to recall our senior official to Saudi Arabia and place sanctions on the Saudi government.
No country that commits egregious human rights abuses and murders journalists should receive special status and friendship from the US You must demand answers and hold Saudi Arabia accountable.
We send our condolences to Jamal's finance, and all his family and friends. Please help us demand justice and accountability for his murder.
P.S. If you are in D.C. on Wednesday, please join me to deliver these signatures to the State Department and to protest in front of the Saudi embassy.
Fox News Mocks Missing Reporter Jamal Khashoggi
Medea Benjamin / CODEPINK
Following the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, companies are embarrassed to be associated with Saudi Arabia. Media companies and business leaders, scheduled to participate in the Saudi Future Investment Initiative conference next week in Riyadh (dubbed Davos in the Desert), are suddenly dropping out.
First The New York Times said that due to Khashoggi’s disappearance, it would be cancelling. Moments later, The LA Times, Economist, Financial Times, CNBC and Bloomberg followed suit. Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi announced he would not be attending and even the Harbour Group, which had been receiving $80,000 per month to lobby for the Saudis in Washington, announced they were ending their contract.
The only media outlet that is still planning to attend the Future Investment Initiative (FII) is Fox Business Network. Tell Fox to join the boycott of a regime so repressive that it carried out a cold-blooded, premeditated murder of a Washington Post columnist.
Repression and death are nothing new for the Saudi Kingdom. Saudi bombings in Yemen have created the largest humanitarian crisis of modern times. In April 2018, Human Rights Watch reported Saudi Arabia had beheaded 48 people over a 4-month period. And Saudi prisons are filled with bloggers, human rights activists, women's advocates, religious minorities, and lawyers who support them.
So many business leaders have cancelled their participation in the Saudi conference that FII has removed the list of speakers from its webpage. While BlackRock CEO Larry Fink and US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are still planning to attend, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, AOL co-founder Steve Chase and so many others are not.
Fox News has said it is considering whether or not to participate in the conference, giving Khashoggi's murder. Add your name to our petition telling Fox not to support murder and war. Tell Fox to cancel its participation in the Future Investment Initiative.
People often say that appealing to Fox is a complete waste of time. But over the past few weeks, on four occasions, Ariel and Medea have been guests on Fox News shows, reaching millions of people. With so many others pulling out of the conference, we think it's possible to get Fox Business Network to join the pack.
ACTION: Add your name to our petition now.
Towards justice for Jamal Khashoggi,
Medea and the entire CODEPINK team: Ann, Ariel, Brienne, Carley, Caroline, Jodie, Kirsten, Lily, Mark, Mary, Nancy, Paki, Rita, Sarah, Tighe and Ursula
P.S. Sign up now to join our one-day Peace with Iran summit December 1, in Washington, D.C.
Saudi Arabia to Hit Back
In Case of Sanctions over Jamal Khashoggi
Riyadh combative as UK, German and
French ministers call for credible investigation
Patrick Wintour, Diplomatic Editor / The Guardian
LONDON (October 14, 2018) -- Saudi Arabia has said it will retaliate against any sanctions imposed over the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, as the Riyadh stock market had its biggest fall in years.
A host of western companies have distanced themselves from the Gulf state following the journalist's disappearance, imperiling Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's efforts at economic reform.
Khashoggi has been missing since he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October and is presumed to have been murdered.
Donald Trump has threatened the US ally with "severe punishment" if Khashoggi, who has been critical of Bin Salman, has been killed.
The French, German and UK foreign secretaries ratcheted up the pressure by releasing a joint statement calling on the Saudi government to give a complete and detailed account of Khashoggi's disappearance, adding that those found to be responsible must be held to account.
Riyadh vowed to hit back against any action. "The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats and attempts to undermine it, whether through economic sanctions, political pressure or repeating false accusations," it said.
"The kingdom also affirms that if it is [targeted by] any action, it will respond with greater action." The statement also pointed out that the oil-rich kingdom "plays an effective and vital role in the world economy".
The country's foreign ministry issued a series of tweets rejecting the accusations as "attempts to undermine" Saudi Arabia, writing in one post "demise is the outcome of these weak endeavors".
The Saudi response came after the Tadawul exchange in Riyadh dropped by 7% at one point on Sunday, the week's first day of trading in Saudi Arabia, with 182 of its 186 listed stocks showing losses by early afternoon. The market later pulled back some of the losses.
Business leaders as well as media companies including Bloomberg and CNN have pulled out of an investment conference next week in Riyadh, dubbed "Davos in the desert".
Jamie Dimon, the powerful boss of JP Morgan, became the latest to boycott the event after the bank said on Sunday that he would not be attending the conference. It did not give a reason for the cancellation.
The belligerence of the Saudi statement is likely to anger US senators pressing for the Trump administration to take tough economic action against Riyadh, including sanctions.
It showed no sign of contrition or clarification of the promise last week to conduct an inquiry into Khashoggi's disappearance. Instead, Riyadh condemned a "campaign of false allegations and falsehoods". In what is likely to be a reference to Turkey, and possibly its Gulf rival Qatar, Saudi Arabia claimed some were "rushing and seeking to exploit rumors and accusations to achieve goals and agendas unrelated to the search for truth".
Saudi Arabia's vast oil reserves, said to be about 260bn barrels, give it enormous clout in the global economy. It has significant power to drive up prices, which would hurt every major developed economy.
Riyadh is the world's second-biggest arms importer after India, and 61% of its imports come from the US, supporting thousands of jobs. Trump signed a $110bn (£84bn) defence agreement last year, which stands to benefit US employers such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing and General Electric.
Turki Aldhakhil, the general manager of Al Arabiya, the official Saudi news channel, claimed in an opinion piece that Riyadh was ready to implement 30 measures "without flinching" the moment US sanctions were imposed, including cuts to oil production that could lead to prices rising to $100 a barrel.
"The truth is that if Washington imposes sanctions on Riyadh, it will stab its own economy to death, even though it thinks that it is stabbing only Riyadh," he wrote.
Aldhakhil warned the repercussions of US sanctions could include a military alliance between Saudi Arabia and Russia, and an end to intelligence sharing.
In the firmest joint language to appear from Europe since the crisis broke, the European foreign ministers said "light must be shed on Khashoggi's disappearance".
They said they shared the "grave concerns" expressed by the UN secretary general, António Guterres, and "are treating this incident with the utmost seriousness. There needs to be a credible investigation to establish the truth about what happened, and -- if relevant -- to identify those bearing responsibility for the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi and ensure that they are held to account."
The statement added: "We encourage joint Saudi-Turkish efforts in that regard, and expect the Saudi government to provide a complete and detailed response. We have conveyed this message directly to the Saudi authorities."
Over the weekend, Turkey pressed the UK to use its influence to ensure Saudi Arabia abides by its commitment to launch a joint investigation into Khashoggi's disappearance.
The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, is due to meet his British counterpart, Jeremy Hunt, in London on Monday afternoon. He complained that Saudi Arabia was not allowing Turkish investigators to enter the consulate.
Speaking on Sunday, Hunt said: "What they need to do is cooperate fully with the investigations . . . and to get to the bottom of this.
"If, as they say, this terrible murder didn't happen then where is Jamal Khashoggi? If they have got nothing to hide then they will, and should, cooperate."
The UK also suggested the international trade secretary, Liam Fox, may withdraw from the investment conference if it is shown the Saudi government was involved in the suspected murder.
The official UK position is that Fox's diary for that week is yet to be finalised. Any British action is likely to be coordinated with the US.
Speaking at the weekend, Trump said -- without being specific -- there were "very powerful" things the west could do to hurt the Saudis, but stopping arms sales would in the end be America punishing itself.
"There's something really terrible and disgusting about that [Khashoggi's suspected murder], if that was the case, so we're going to have to see. We're going to get to the bottom of it and there will be severe punishment," he said.
Democratic senators on the US foreign relations committee said classified intelligence briefings suggested Khashoggi had been murdered by the Saudis or rendered back to Saudi Arabia.
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