Monday, October 15, 2018


Did Saudis, CIA Fear Khashoggi 9/11 Bombshell?

Jamal Khashoggi may have gleaned highly sensitive inside information on what actually happened on 9/11. 
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The macabre case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi raises the question: did Saudi rulers fear him revealing highly damaging information on their secret dealings? In particular, possible involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks on New York in 2001.
Even more intriguing are US media reports now emerging that American intelligence had snooped on and were aware of Saudi officials making plans to capture Khashoggi prior to his apparent disappearance at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. If the Americans knew the journalist’s life was in danger, why didn’t they tip him off to avoid his doom?
Jamal Khashoggi (59) had gone rogue, from the Saudi elite’s point of view. Formerly a senior editor in Saudi state media and an advisor to the royal court, he was imminently connected and versed in House of Saud affairs. As one commentator cryptically put it: “He knew where all the bodies were buried.”
For the past year, Khashoggi went into self-imposed exile, taking up residence in the US, where he began writing opinion columns for the Washington Post.
Khashoggi’s articles appeared to be taking on increasingly critical tone against the heir to the Saudi throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The 33-year-old Crown Prince, or MbS as he’s known, is de facto ruler of the oil-rich kingdom, in place of his aging father, King Salman.
While Western media and several leaders, such as Presidents Trump and Macron, have been indulging MbS as “a reformer”, Khashoggi was spoiling this Saudi public relations effort by criticizing the war in Yemen, the blockade on Qatar and the crackdown on Saudi critics back home.
However, what may have caused the Saudi royals more concern was what Khashoggi knew about darker, dirtier matters. And not just the Saudis, but American deep state actors as as well.
He was formerly a media aide to Prince Turki al Faisal, who is an eminence gris figure in Saudi intelligence, with its systematic relations to American and British counterparts. Prince Turki’s father, Faisal, was formerly the king of Saudi Arabia until his assassination in 1975 by a family rival. Faisal was a half-brother of the present king, Salman, and therefore Prince Turki is a cousin of the Crown Prince – albeit at 73 more than twice his age.
For nearly 23 years, from 1977 to 2001, Prince Turki was the director of the Mukhabarat, the Saudi state intelligence apparatus. He was instrumental in Saudi, American and British organization of the mujahideen fighters in Afghanistan to combat Soviet forces. Those militants in Afghanistan later evolved into the al Qaeda terror network, which has served as a cat’s paw in various US proxy wars across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, including Russia’s backyard in the Caucasus.
Ten days before the 9/11 terror attacks on New York City, in which some 3,000 Americans died, Prince Turki retired from his post as head of Saudi intelligence. It was an abrupt departure, well before his tenure was due to expire.
There has previously been speculation in US media that this senior Saudi figure knew in advance that something major was going down on 9/11. At least 15 of the 19 Arabs who allegedly hijacked three commercial airplanes that day were Saudi nationals.
Prince Turki has subsequently been named in a 2002 lawsuit mounted by families of 9/11 victims. There is little suggestion he was wittingly involved in organizing the terror plot. Later public comments indicated that Prince Turki was horrified by the atrocity. But the question is: did he know of the impending incident, and did he alert US intelligence, which then did not take appropriate action to prevent it?
Jamal Khashoggi had long served as a trusted media advisor to Prince Turki, before the latter resigned from public office in 2007. Following 9/11, Turki was the Saudi ambassador to both the US and Britain.
A tentative idea here is that Khashoggi, in his close dealings with Prince Turki over the years, may have gleaned highly sensitive inside information on what actually happened on 9/11. Were the Arab hijackers mere patsies used by the American CIA to facilitate an event which has since been used by American military planners to launch a global “war on terror” as a cover for illegal wars overseas? There is a huge body of evidence that the 9/11 attacks were indeed a “false flag” event orchestrated by the US deep state as a pretext for its imperialist rampages.
The apparent abduction and murder last week of Jamal Khashoggi seems such an astoundingly desperate move by the Saudi rulers. More evidence is emerging from Turkish sources that the journalist was indeed lured to the consulate in Istanbul where he was killed by a 15-member hit squad. Reports are saying that the alleged assassination was ordered at the highest level of the Saudi royal court, which implicates Crown Prince MbS.
Why would the Saudi rulers order such a heinous act, which would inevitably lead to acute political problems, as we are seeing in the fallout from governments and media coverage around the world?
Over the past year, the House of Saud had been appealing to Khashoggi to return to Riyadh and resume his services as a media advisor to the royal court. He declined, fearing that something more sinister was afoot. When Khashoggi turned up in Istanbul to collect a divorce document from the Saudi consulate on September 28, it appears that the House of Saud decided to nab him. He was told to return to the consulate on October 2. On that same day, the 15-member group arrived from Riyadh on two private Gulfstream jets for the mission to kill him.
Official Saudi claims stretch credulity. They say Khashoggi left the consulate building unharmed by a backdoor, although they won’t provide CCTV images to prove that. The Turks say their own CCTV facilities monitoring the front and back of the Saudi consulate show that Khashoggi did not leave the premises. The Turks seem confident of their claim he was murdered inside the building, his remains dismembered and removed in diplomatic vehicles. The two private jets left the same day from Istanbul with the 15 Saudis onboard to return to Riyadh, via Cairo and Dubai.
To carry out such a reckless act, the Saudis must have been alarmed by Khashoggi’s critical commentaries appearing in the Washington Post. The columns appeared to be delivering more and more damaging insights into the regime under Crown Prince MbS.
The Washington Post this week is reporting that US intelligence sources knew from telecom intercepts that the Saudis were planning to abduct Khashoggi. That implicates the House of Saud in a dastardly premeditated act of murder.
But furthermore this same disclosure could also, unwittingly, implicate US intelligence. If the latter knew of a malicious intent towards Khashoggi, why didn’t US agents warn him about going to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul? Surely, he could have obtained the same personal documents from the Saudi embassy in Washington DC, a country where he was residing and would have been safer.
Jamal Khashoggi may have known too many dark secrets about US and Saudi intel collusion, primarily related to the 9/11 terror incidents. And with his increasing volubility as a critical journalist in a prominent American news outlet, it may have been time to silence him. The Saudis as hitmen, the American CIA as facilitators.
http://theduran.com/did-saudis-cia-fear-khashoggi-9-11-bombshell/

Sunday, October 14, 2018

"Kritik der Migration" Hannes Hofbauer im Gespräch

Trend des Tages
Normalerweise kennt man Kritik an Migration eher vom rechten politischen Spektrum. Nun aber hat ein linker Historiker ein ganzes Buch zum Thema geschrieben. Hannes Hofbauers neues Werk "Kritik der Migration" stellt die Frage, wer dabei verliert und wer davon profitiert.

The Killing of Saudi Journalist Khashoggi Could Spell the End for Mohammad bin Salman

The death of famous journalist Saudita Jamal Khashoggi is likely to have important repercussions, revealing the hypocrisy of the mainstream media, tensions inside the Saudi regime, and the double standards of Western countries.
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On October 2nd, 2018, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was allegedly killed inside Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Turkey. The sequence of events seems to show that the murder was premeditated. Two days before his death, Khashoggi went to the Saudi embassy in Istanbul to obtain documents pertaining to his divorce in preparation to remarry in the United States.
The Saudi embassy instructed him to return on October 2nd to collect the documents, which he duly did. He entered the embassy around 1pm on October 2nd but never exited. Khashoggi’s fiancée, after waiting several hours, raised the alarm as Khashoggi had instructed her to do should he not reemerge after two hours.
It is from here that we should start to reconstruct this story that resembles a science-fiction novel even by Saudi standards, a country that does not hesitate to kidnap heads of state, as was the case with the Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, about a year ago.
Jamal Khashoggi is a controversial figure, a representative of the shadowy world of collaboration that sometimes exists between journalism and the intelligence agencies, in this case involving the intelligence agencies of Saudi Arabia and the United States.
It has been virtually confirmed by official circles within the Al Saud family that Khashoggi was an agent in the employ of Riyadh and the CIA during the Soviet presence in Afghanistan.

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From 1991 to 1999, he continued to serve in several countries like Afghanistan, Algeria, Sudan, Kuwait and other parts of the Middle East, often maintaining an ambiguous role in the service of his friend Turki Faisal Al-Saud, the future Saudi ambassador to Washington and London and later supreme head of Saudi intelligence for 24 years.
Khashoggi was named editor of the leading English-language magazine in Saudi Arabia, Arab News, from 1999 to 2003. In late 2003, he transferred to Al Watan, one of the most liberal, Western and pro-reform newspapers in the country.
His job lasted only 52 days, with him being removed strongly criticizing the Wahhabi clerical extremist Ibn Taymiyyah. Khashoggi had turned into a critical voice of the Saudi regime following the internal struggles between King Abdullah and Turki Faisal Al-Saud.
One of the main criticisms of Khashoggi coming from factions loyal to Abdullah was that he had recruited and paid several journalists on behalf of the CIA during his time as an editor. Such an accusation would conform with the widespread practice of the CIA seeking to influence the media, and therefore public opinion, and to put pressure on leaders failing to do what Washington wants.
To fully understand what has led to the disappearance of Khashoggi, it is important to dissect the career of Turki bin Faisal Al-Saud, Khashoggi’s political protector.
During the reign of King Khalid (1975-1982), Turki bin Faisal Al-Saud was at the center of relations between Washington and Saudi Arabia, committed to inflicting as much damage as possible on the USSR while it was in Afghanistan, with the help of foreign fighters (those who later became known as Al Qaeda) armed by Pakistan and financed by the Saudis. Following the end of the war in Afghanistan in 1982, Fahd bin Abdulaziz Al Saud became king until 2005.
During this period, Faisal became a respected man within Saudi intelligence, leading to him becoming the undisputed leader. He was removed from his post on May 24, 2001, a few months before September 11, 2001. The connections he had with Osama bin Laden, following the attacks of September 11, 2001, continued to hound the Turki bin Faisal in subsequent years, even being sued by relatives of 9/11 victims in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit directed at him and other Saudi operatives.
From 2003 to 2005, Turki bin Faisal served as ambassador to the UK, emphasizing his role as a leading Saudi in the international community, and came across Khashoggi, taking him under his wing as a personal advisor.
In the ensuing years there was an explosive internal fracture within the Kingdom, accentuated by the death in 2005 of King Abdulaziz Al Saud, who was succeeded by King Abdullah until 2015.
In 2005, Turki bin Faisal was appointed Saudi ambassador to the US during the Bush administration, with Khashoggi accompanying him as a media advisor. During this period, Khashoggi became one of the strongest supporters of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, invoking diplomatic discussions between Riyadh and Tehran and travelling to over 37 American states to explain his point of view.
While advancing the interests of the Saudi regime bent on Wahhabism, while at the same time being a friend to Israeli Zionism and the American neocons, Turki bin Faisal took a less extremist position, one more directed towards dialogue. For these reasons, he was not often received at the White House during his reign as ambassador, with the US administration openly preferring the extremist Bandar bin Sultan (a great friend of the Bush family) to the apparently moderate Turki bin Faisal.
The natural result was that King Abdullah excluded him more and more from the main meetings that occurred between the Saudis and the Americans. Finally, bin Faisal resigned in protest. He was succeeded by Bandar bin Sultan.
Back to Khashoggi. It is important to note that after his departure from Al Watan he moved to London and became a senior advisor in Turki bin Faisal’s team. During Turki bin Faisal’s ambassadorship in Washington, Khashoggi assumed the position of head of press relations, coming into direct contact with major national and international organs of US media.
In the years following Turki bin Faisal’s ambassadorship in Washington, Khashoggi became a new publisher of the liberal Saudi newspaper Al Watan, publishing an article that was highly critical of the Saudi clerics and of Salafism in general. A few days later, he was again forced to resign and left the newspaper. It was after this event that Khashoggi came into direct contact with Al-Waleed bin Talal, one of the richest men in Saudi Arabia, who had been appointed director of the Al Arab news channel based in Bahrain.
The news channel sought to offer an impartial and objective view of events in the Middle East and in Saudi Arabia. As director of Al Arab, he often released statements and interviews for international organs like the BBC, ABC News, Al Jazeera and Dubai TV. In recent years, he became a recurring guest on Al Jazeera and had a weekly column in The Washington Post.
What happened to Khashoggi is the story not so much of a dissident as of a struggle within the highly complicated Zionist-Saudi-Neoconservative nexus that is intertwined with the struggle against the neoliberal component of US imperialism. It is a story that deserves to be fully explored to understand the behind-the-scenes struggles that afflict US politics, the hypocrisy of the media when it comes to the Saudi dictatorship, and the ambiguous role of Turkey.
Returning to Khashoggi, it was during the Obama presidency that the journalist played a primary role in encouraging important reforms in Saudi Arabia as being essential to the survival of the Kingdom. During this time, relations between Riyadh and Washington steadily worsened for many reasons, primarily in regard to diverging policies on Egypt and Syria as well as on human rights in Saudi Arabia.
Many in the Saudi royal family suspected that Obama was willing to use the Arab springs to get rid of the Al Saud family in Saudi Arabia. The relationship between Riyadh and Washington subsequently sunk to an all-time low. Khashoggi was the spearhead of this media and political strategy against Riyadh. An intimate friend of the royal family who ends up publicly criticizing them causes quite a stir, selling copies and drawing attention to what he writes.
Keep in mind that we are splitting the atom of the Saudi universe. But it should never be forgotten that we are talking about a regime that tortures and kills its fellow citizens as well foreigners. It is a regime that creates terrorism as a weapon used to further its own political goals. These are not people burdened by moral scruples.
Yet in spite of this, no country is monolithic in terms of those who hold the reigns of power, especially when it comes to foreign affairs. It is the competing views and internal struggles that determine the course of events, as with the case of Khashoggi’s death.
During the Obama administration, the former Saudi intelligence man and intimate of the royals continued to work as a house organ linked to the US world of soft power (color revolutions, Arab Spring), the form of power that was particularly favored by the Obama administration as a new strategy to extend US imperialist domination following the disasters of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The criticism of the Saudi royal family was constant, even though the journalist appreciated the role Riyadh played in the region, especially with regard to the aggression against Syria.
In the following years, with the rise to power of King Salman, and especially after the victory of Donald Trump, everything changed for the worse in the region and for the “dissident” journalist. Bin Salman became the strongman holding power in Saudi Arabia, triggering, with a nod from Trump, a near war with Qatar, especially over the role of Al Jazeera, which often hosted Khashoggi and was increasingly critical of bin Salman and his vision for the Kingdom’s future (Vision 2030).
During bin Salman’s campaign of repression, the King’s nephew took the opportunity to attack all his opponents, with many people close to Khashoggi being arrested, tortured and killed. His old acquaintance in particular, Al-Waleed bin Talal, was arrested and tortured, much to the displeasure of the West, given that he was one of the most famous Saudis abroad, being involved with companies like Twitter.
In a climax of repression, even the Lebanese prime minister, Saad Hariri, was kidnapped and spirited to Riyadh to be re-educated over a number of days. Khashoggi sensed the looming danger, and in 2017 escaped from Saudi Arabia to settle in the United States.
Khashoggi continued with his columns criticizing the Saudi regime, attacking its campaign in Yemen on Al Jazeera, and accusing bin Salman of being anything but a positive revolutionary for the Kingdom. Khashoggi’s criticism pointed to the lack of democracy as well as the sclerosis at the top in the Saudi kingdom, accusations that bin Salman chafed at, finally deciding to be rid of the journalist.
The events in Istanbul are the culmination of a grotesque situation whereby Donald Trump has granted a free hand to his two close allies in the region, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Analyzing the actions of these two countries over the last 24 months, the extent of Washington’s carte blanche has become clear.
We could venture into fanciful speculation about Khashoggi’s death, citing anonymous Saudi sources; or we could simply come to the most obvious conclusion. Khashoggi was arrested in the embassy before being tortured, killed and dismembered by about 15 Saudi operatives who arrived in Istanbul on a day flight from Riyadh and departed a few hours after Khashoggi’s killing. It is hard to believe that the Turkish services, which have always played the double- and triple-crossing game, did not know what was happening.
Khashoggi himself had probably received assurances that the Saudi embassy in Istanbul was a safe place to collect the documents. He was obviously betrayed by someone in whom he had strong trust.
Turkey is a strong ally of Qatar and plays a major role in the region. Relations between Riyadh and Ankara have not been the best in recent years, but their common interests in the region are so high that it is not surprising that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization has closed more than one eye to allow Khashoggi’s assassination and the exit of the 15 operatives.
Besides, Erdogan was well aware of the problems that this story would have created between the United States and Saudi Arabia, especially within the ranks of the liberal media of the US establishment.
The problems flowing from this settling of internal accounts are manifold. They range from the indignation of such mainstream media as The Washington Post, CNN and ABC News that are beginning to reveal grisly details about Khashoggi’s death, even if they treat the news with detachment, not openly attributing blame to Riyadh. Saudi money from various lobbies dampens the effect of such media attention, succeeding in dissuading direct accusations of Saudi involvement in Khashoggi’s disappearance.
The more time that passes the more obvious it becomes how Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate on the orders of bin Salman as a critic of the Kingdom. At some point, the mainstream media will no longer be able to cover up for the Saudis. It all comes down to the possibility of plausible deniability or legitimate justification. Both these elements are difficult for the US to employ in this case.
The upshot is an explosive situation that threatens to further isolate Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States from the rest of the world. Thus the White House had to even express in an official note confusion and concern, asking the Saudis to provide real evidence of Khashoggi’s exit from the Saudi consulate. We must also consider that Riyadh planned to blame Turkey for the disappearance of the journalist, stating that, having come out from the embassy, ​​the disappearance was the fault of Turkey.
It is not surprising, therefore, that Erdogan has insisted that “the burden of demonstrating how Khashoggi is still alive belongs to Saudi Arabia.” Even the tour of the consulate offered to foreign journalists has failed to silence what seems too obvious. Riyadh overreached following Trump’s wink and nod, eliminating an uncomfortable voice that was also very close to Riyadh’s geopolitical enemies like Qatar as well the US neoliberal faction (linked to Obama and to the faction close to the Muslim Brotherhood, outlawed in Saudi Arabia because it presents itself as a political alternative to the state religion of Wahhabism).
In an series of reckless actions, the last 12 months have seen all sorts of provocations from Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia. There was the downing of a Russian Il-20 through the intentionally reckless maneuvers of Israeli pilots, the more than 200 bombings on the sovereign state of Syria, cooperation with Riyadh in the war in Yemen, the threats to Hezbollah and Iran that Netanyahu even proclaimed in front of the United Nations General Assembly.
Saudi Arabia even managed to do worse, with the abduction of the Lebanese prime minister, the continued funding of extremists like Daesh and al Qaeda, the nefarious actions against Qatar and Iran, the bombing of Yemen, and recently the killing of a journalist in a Saudi embassy. For its part, the US in recent days has made two unthinkable declarations, namely, threatening a first strike against Moscow to eliminate some military weaponry, as well as a naval blockade to prevent energy exports.
With the Khashoggi incident and the ensuing media outcry, the ideological hatred of the mainstream media against Trump and the increasingly precarious situation of Netanyahu (accused of corruption, with his wife also being investigated), it should not be surprising if this latest incident only serves as ammunition in the political war amongst the elite that shows no signs of subsiding and is instead growing in intensity by the day.
One of the last alliances that the United States has available to influence events in the Middle East risks falling apart as a result of bin Salman’s ill-advised actions. Erdogan has already challenged the Saudis by asking them to prove that the journalist is alive. There is open speculation in the Kingdom about the implications of the clash between Ankara and Riyadh and between bin Salman and Erdogan. There are those who are willing to bet that this latest reckless action could prove fatal for the ruler who, after just a year and a half, seems to have exhausted his whole store of experience as the Kingdom’s young despot.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Did Saudi dictatorship Murder & dismember Critic in Turkey? George Galloway

Boxed off: If Saudi dictatorship murdered & dismembered critic in Turkey, how would Erdogan respond?

George Galloway
Boxed off: If Saudi dictatorship murdered & dismembered critic in Turkey, how would Erdogan respond?
As Riyadh is accused of allegedly murdering their critic Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, the key question is how President Erdogan would respond if suspicions are confirmed. My money is on him responding with blood and iron.
Khashoggi was allegedly killed inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey last week. If a Washington Post columnist had been ‘murdered and dismembered’ in Moscow, the UN Security Council would already be in session. If he had been carried out in boxes from an Iranian Embassy, the US and its allies would already be at war with Iran.
Not one British newspaper has reported the story on their front page despite the UK's kissing-close relationship with the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) and the fact that Khashoggi was, only a week ago, a visitor to London where he appeared on the state broadcaster BBC.
Saudi Arabia denies having murdered Khashoggi, a writer on the Washington Post and exiled critic of the absolutist monarchy, inside his country's consulate in Istanbul. But Turkish sources close to President Erdogan say that is the preliminary finding of their police officers examining the alleged scene of the crime.
For certain, Khashoggi, a resident in Washington, has disappeared.
His fiancée waited for him outside the consulate into which he had gone to attend to paperwork in connection to his impending marriage in Turkey. He never came out. Turkish sources report a 15-man potential hit and disposal team which had flown in from Riyadh and left the country on the day of Khashoggi's disappearance.
If Turkish suspicions are confirmed, sharp questions - sharper than any cleaver - arise for a large circle of international players.
The first is Turkey itself. If true, the Khashoggi murder in Istanbul is a blood-insult to Turkish strong-man president Erdogan. Khashoggi is/was close to the political line of the Muslim Brotherhood which Erdogan supported.   
Turkey sides with Qatar in the comic-opera stand-off between the emirate and its bigger neighbor Saudi Arabia. The Qatari-funded international media network is in concert with Turkish media in a chorus of condemnation.
If Erdogan keeps schtum about this apparently unspeakable crime it will be a major blow to his prestige - inside and outside Turkey. If he responds severely, he will place himself on yet another collision course with Donald Trump and his administration - who are deeply in the pockets of MbS.
Precisely because of the Trump family financial exposure to the Saudi regime, the US opposition will ramp up demands for Trump to take serious action against the Crown Prince (even though the Clinton family are equally in hock to Saudi beneficence).
After all, Khashoggi was living in political exile in the United States and working for the country's flagship newspaper, the Washington Post. Were Trump to do so, the extent of his true links - and those of his son-in-law - to MbS might become exposed.
Britain has been engaged in a kind of Dutch-auction with the US over the “modernizing” Prince, desperately touting for Saudi privatizations to be listed on the stock exchange in London rather than New York, selling weapons worth billions to massacre school children in Yemen and seconding British military personnel to help them do so. Resisting all opposition efforts, from shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry and even Corbyn himself, for an arms embargo.
The very newspapers which downplayed the crime today were only yesterday accepting lavish advertising of the “rock-star prince” during his recent visit to London, including the liberal ‘Guardian’. The entire British establishment may now find they have invested heavily in a man who turns out to be a gruesome Mafia-style killer though even Gambino's stomach might have turned at this one.
Inside the kingdom it is impossible to say what the impact of this and subsequent events will be, literally incalculable. The schismatic Al Saud ruling family is already deeply split. MbS only recently was said to be hanging his own relatives upside down in a luxury hotel turned prison until enough money fell out of their pockets to satisfy his shakedown of billions of dollars for his treasury. Whether this crime, or rather its consequences, will be the straw which broke the camel's back only time will tell.
Finally, let us examine the likelihood of these allegations being true.
The Al Saud family has a long and grisly history of abduction and murder.
The former Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad al Hariri was famously “kidnapped” whilst still in office by the current Crown prince and humiliatingly forced to fly to Riyadh and make a televised broadcast, like a hostage blinking into the cameras, reversing his policy on internal domestic Lebanese policies.
Even members of their own family are not exempt. In 2003, Sultan bin Turki bin Abdulaziz was drugged and kidnapped in Geneva by Saudi agents and flown home against his will. At least that's what he said when he escaped and launched a court action against his own family in Switzerland in 2016.
Prince Turki bin Bandar Al Saud was another suspected of being abducted and rendered to the kingdom. When he escaped and moved to Paris he began opposition to the regime in 2012. His whereabouts are unknown but a Moroccan newspaper reported that subsequently Morocco detained him and sent him back to Riyadh.
Another prince, Saud bin Saif al Nasr, a Twitter opponent of the regime, is said also to have been tricked onto a Saudi-bound plane and his current whereabouts are unknown.
Other less princely opponents of the Saudi regime are of course beheaded, crucified and tortured in record numbers last year and this. Many others languish on Death Row.
The Crown Prince is gambling everything on a series of clearly failing policies. His war on Yemen is an unmitigated disaster. Despite 80% of Yemen's already poor population facing starvation according to the UN, and scores of thousands of deaths from bombing and from Cholera, Saudi Arabia is no closer to winning the war against its impoverished neighbor than it was when it started.
His multi-billion pound investment in the crucifixion of Syria has been a catastrophic failure, and not just for the hundreds of thousands of dead Syrians. As the Chinese say “sometimes the enemy struggles mightily to lift a huge stone, only to drop it on their own feet.”
My own guess is that Trump is already tiring of MbS, not least because the economy of Saudi Arabia is making it hard for the rulers to keep their hysterical financial promises to the Americans. Certainly Trump's recent insult, that he told the Saudi monarch “King: you wouldn't last two weeks in power without our support” can be read that way.
My money is on Erdogan responding with blood and iron to the Crown Prince's alleged outrage against Turkish sovereignty.
A new sense of outrage might even begin to emerge from the so-called mainstream media fan-club of the rock star prince, though I wouldn't put money on that.
In the end, even Elvis had to finally leave the building.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.
  • Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad bin Salman in London, March 7, 2018 © Reuters / Simon Dawson

Friday, October 5, 2018

NATO Coordinates Information War on Russia

NATO Coordinates Information War on Russia
EDITORIAL | 05.10.2018 | EDITORIAL

NATO Coordinates Information War on Russia

The US, Britain and other NATO allies upped the ante this week with a coordinated campaign of information war to criminalize Russia. Moscow dismissed the wide-ranging claims as “spy mania”. But the implications amount to a grave assault recklessly escalating international tensions with Russia.
The accusations that the Kremlin is running a global cyberattack operation are tantamount to accusing Russia of “acts of war”. That, in turn, is creating a pretext for NATO powers to carry out “defensive” actions on Moscow, including increased economic and diplomatic sanctions against Russia, as well as “counter” cyberattacks on Russian territory.
This is a highly dangerous dynamic that could ultimately lead to military confrontation between nuclear-armed states.
There are notably suspicious signs that the latest accusations against Russia are a coordinated effort to contrive false charges.
First, there is the concerted nature of the claims. British state intelligence initiated the latest phase of information war by claiming that Russian military intelligence, GRU, was conducting cyberattacks on infrastructure and industries in various countries, costing national economies “millions of pounds” in damages.
Then, within hours of the British claims, the United States and Canada, as well as NATO partners Australia and New Zealand followed up with similar highly publicized accusations against Russia. It is significant that those Anglophone countries, known as the “Five Eyes”, have a long history of intelligence collaboration going back to the Cold War years against the Soviet Union.
The Netherlands, another NATO member, added to the “spy mania” by claiming it had expelled four members of Russian state intelligence earlier this year for allegedly trying to hack into the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), based in The Hague.
There then followed predictable condemnations of Russia from the NATO leadership and the European Union. NATO was holding a summit in Brussels this week. It is therefore plausible that the timing of the latest claims of Russian “malign activity” was meant to coordinate with the NATO summit.
More sanctions against Moscow are expected – further intensifying tensions from already existing sanctions. More sinister were NATO warnings that the military alliance would take collective action over what it asserts are Russian cyberattacks.
This is creating a “casus belli” situation whereby the 29 NATO members can invoke a common defense clause for punitive actions against Russia. Given the rampant nature of the claims of “Russian interference” and that certain NATO members are rabidly Russophobic, it is all too easily dangerous for cyber “false flags” to be mounted in order to criminalize Moscow.
Another telltale factor is that the claims made this week by Britain and the other NATO partners are an attempt to integrate all previous claims of Russian “malign activity”.
The alleged cyber hacking by Russia, it is claimed, was intended to disrupt OPCW investigations into the purported poison-assassination plot against Sergei Skripal, the former Russian spy living in Britain; the alleged hacking was also claimed to be aimed at disrupting investigations into alleged chemical weapons atrocities committed by the Syrian government and by extension Syria’s ally Russia; the alleged Russian hacking claims were also linked to charges of Olympic athletes doping, as well as “interference in US elections”; and even, it was asserted, Russia trying to sabotage investigations into the downing of the Malaysian civilian airliner over Ukraine in 2014.
Up to now, it seems, all such wildly speculative anti-Russia narratives have failed to gain traction among world public opinion. Simply due to the lack of evidence to support these Western accusations. The Skripal affair has perhaps turned into the biggest farce. British government claims that the Kremlin ordered an assassination have floundered to the point of ridicule.
It is hardly coincidence that Britain and its NATO allies are compelled to shore up the Skripal narrative and other anti-Russian narratives with the ramped up “global cyberattack” claims made this week.
Photographs of alleged Russian intelligence operatives have been published. Potboiler indictments have been filed – again – by US law enforcement agencies. Verdicts have been cast by NATO governments and compliant news media of Russian state culpability, without Moscow being given a fair chance to respond to the “highly likely” claims. Claims and narratives are being accelerated, integrated and railroaded.
It is well-established from the explosive disclosures by Edward Snowden, among other whistleblowers, that the American CIA and its partners have the cyber tools to create false “digital fingerprints” for the purpose of framing up enemies. Moreover, the vast cyber surveillance operations carried out by the US and its “Five Eyes” partners – much of which is illegal – is an ironic counterpoint to accusations being made against Russia.
It is also possible in the murky world of all foreign states conducting espionage and information-gathering that attribution of wrongdoing by Russia can be easily exaggerated and made to look like a campaign of cyberattacks.
There is a lawless climate today in the US and other Western states where mere allegations are cited as “proof”. The legal principle of being innocent until proven guilty has been jettisoned. The debacle in the US over a Supreme Court judge nominee is testament to the erosion of due process and legal standards.
But what is all the more reprehensible and reckless is the intensification of criminalization of Russia – based on flimsy “evidence” or none at all. When such criminalization is then used to “justify” calls for a US-led naval blockade of Russian commercial oil trade the conditions are moving inevitably towards military confrontation. The blame for belligerence lies squarely with the NATO powers.
A further irony is that the “spy mania” demonizing Russia is being made necessary because of the wholly unsubstantiated previous claims of Moscow’s malfeasance and “aggression”. Illusions and lies are being compounded with yet more bombastic, illusory claims.
NATO’s information war against Russia is becoming a self-fulfilling “psy-op”. In the deplorable absence of normal diplomatic conduct and respect for international law, NATO’s information war is out of control. It is pushing relations with Russia to the abyss.