In Khashoggi case: Saudi calls, ‘body double’ after killing
By SUZAN FRASER and JON GAMBRELL
Monday, October 22
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A man appearing to wear Jamal Khashoggi’s clothes left the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul following his killing there, according to a surveillance video, while a member of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage made four calls to the royal’s office around the same time, reports said Monday.
The reports by CNN and a pro-government Turkish newspaper came just a day before Prince Mohammed’s high-profile investment summit is to begin in Riyadh and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised that details of Khashoggi’s killing “will be revealed in all its nakedness.”
That yet again adds to the pressure Saudi Arabia faces over the slaying of the Washington Post columnist. The kingdom’s claim on Saturday that Khashoggi died in a “fistfight” met international skepticism and allegations of a cover-up to absolve the 33-year-old crown prince of direct responsibility.
Turkish media reports and officials maintain that a 15-member Saudi team flew to Istanbul on Oct. 2, knowing Khashoggi would arrive for a document he needed to get married. Once he was inside the diplomatic mission, the Saudis accosted Khashoggi, cut off his fingers, killed and dismembered the 59-year-old writer.
CNN aired surveillance footage on Monday showing the man in Khashoggi’s dress shirt, suit jacket and pants. It cited a Turkish official as describing the man as a “body double” and a member of the Saudi team sent to Istanbul to target the writer. The man is seen in the footage walking out of the consulate via its back exit with an accomplice, then taking a taxi to Istanbul’s famed Sultan Ahmed Mosque, where he went into a public bathroom, changed back out of the clothes and left.
The state-run broadcaster TRT later also reported that a man who entered the consulate building was seen leaving the building in Khashoggi’s clothes.
In the days after Khashoggi vanished, Saudi officials initially said that he had left the consulate, implying premeditation on the part of the Saudi team.
“After Turkish authorities and the media were allowed to inspect the consulate building in its entirety, the accusations changed to the outrageous claim that he was murdered, in the consulate, during business hours, and with dozens of staff and visitors in the building,” Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Prince Khalid bin Salman, a brother of the crown prince, wrote on Oct. 8. “I don’t know who is behind these claims, or their intentions, nor do I care frankly.”
A separate report by newspaper Yeni Safak said Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a member of Prince Mohammed’s entourage on trips to the United States, France and Spain this year, made the calls from the consulate. The newspaper said the four calls went to Bader al-Asaker, the head of Prince Mohammed’s office. It said another call went to the United States.
Yeni Safak cited no source for the information. However, pro-government newspapers have been leaking information about Khashoggi’s killing, apparently with the help of Turkish security forces. Yeni Safak reported last week that Saudi officials cut off Khashoggi’s fingers and then decapitated him at the consulate as his fiancée waited outside.
Officials in Saudi Arabia have not answered repeated requests for comment from The Associated Press in recent days, including on Monday. Saudi Arabia so far has not acknowledged or explained Mutreb’s presence in Istanbul — nor that a forensics and autopsy expert was also on hand for Khashoggi’s arrival at the consulate.
Last week, a leaked photograph apparently taken from surveillance footage showed Mutreb at the consulate, just ahead of Khashoggi’s arrival. Mutreb’s name also matches that of a first secretary who once served as a diplomat at the Saudi Embassy in London, according to a 2007 list compiled by the British Foreign Office.
Meanwhile, Saudi state media reported that both Prince Mohammed and King Salman made calls to Khashoggi’s son, Salah, early on Monday morning. Statements from the agency said both the king and the crown prince expressed their condolences for Khashoggi’s death.
A Saudi friend of Khashoggi who was in frequent touch with him before his death told the AP that Salah Khashoggi had been under a travel ban and barred from leaving the kingdom since last year as a result of his father’s criticism of the government. The friend spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of repercussion. The Saudi statements did not acknowledge the ban.
Five Turkish employees of the consulate also gave testimonies to prosecutors on Monday, Turkish media reported. Istanbul’s chief prosecutor had summoned 28 more staff members of the Saudi Consulate, including Turkish citizens and foreign nationals, to give testimony. Some Turkish employees reportedly said they were instructed not to go to work around the time that Khashoggi disappeared.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Sunday told Fox News that Khashoggi’s killing was “a rogue operation” and that “we don’t know where the body is.”
“The individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority,” he said. “There obviously was a tremendous mistake made and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up. That is unacceptable to the government.”
However, leading Republicans and Democrats in Congress are saying Saudi Arabia should face punishment over Khashoggi’s killing. President Donald Trump also had talked about possible punishment but said he didn’t want to halt proposed arms sales to Saudi Arabia because, he maintained, it would harm U.S. manufacturers.
Britain, Germany and France issued a joint statement condemning the killing of Khashoggi, saying there is an “urgent need for clarification of exactly what happened.”
In a statement Sunday, the governments said attacks on journalists are unacceptable and “of utmost concern to our three nations.” They said the “hypotheses” proposed so far in the Saudi investigation need to be backed by facts to be considered credible.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Berlin on Sunday that she supports a freeze on arms exports to Saudi Arabia. German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier underlined that point Monday, calling for a joint European position as Germany “won’t at this point approve any further arms exports because we want to know what happened.”
Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Aya Batrawy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to this report.
Arms sales to Saudi Arabia give Trump all the leverage he needs in Khashoggi affair
October 19, 2018
Author: Terrence Guay, Clinical Professor of International Business, Pennsylvania State University
Disclosure statement: Terrence Guay has received research funding from the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute.
Partners: Pennsylvania State University provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
Among Donald Trump’s many unusual characteristics as president is his frankness.
Last week, after the disappearance and apparent torture and murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Trump argued that “we would be punishing ourselves” by canceling arms sales to Saudi Arabia over a human rights concern. Few world leaders, or former U.S. presidents, would have been so bold as to publicly admit that a Saudi journalist’s life is not worth the loss of arms sales.
And it’s true that the armaments relationship between these two countries is long-established and lucrative for U.S. companies, as my own research on the global defense industry shows.
However, the president has it wrong when he argues the U.S. would be “foolish” to use these sales as leverage with the Saudis, claiming they could just get their tanks and fighter jets from other countries. In fact it’s one of the best bargaining chips he has with the kingdom.
An arms-buying behemoth
Saudi Arabia is indeed a major weapons buyer.
Saudi Arabia spent US$69.4 billion on military expenditures in 2017, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the world’s leading research organization on conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Only the U.S. and China spent more.
But since it doesn’t have an arms industry – like the U.S. and China – Saudi Arabia must import most of that from other countries. That’s why, over the past decade, Saudi Arabia has imported more armaments than every country but India.
And U.S. companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have benefited most from all that spending, making up the 55 percent of its weapons imports from 2008 to 2017.
That has made Saudi Arabia the top buyer of American arms, with 11.8 percent of all sales over that period. In fact, U.S. defense contractors have made almost $90 billion selling arms to Saudi Arabia since 1950.
In recent years, fighter planes like the F-15 and their spare parts have become particularly important to the weapons trade with Saudi Arabia because it needs them to conduct its bombing campaigns in Yemen.
For example, a 2011 contract awarded $30 billion to U.S. defense contractors to produce 84 F-15 jets and other weaponry for the Saudi military. Boeing stands to earn $24 billion of this total, which the company claimed will support over 50,000 U.S. jobs.
A bargain over human rights
As president, Trump clearly hopes that the money continues to pour in and helps him with his “America First” campaign, intended to create jobs for Americans.
It’s no surprise, then, that he made his first foreign trip as president to Saudi Arabia in May 2017. During the trip, he reportedly struck a bargain with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: Trump wouldn’t lecture his kingdom on human rights, and Saudi Arabia would buy more American weapons.
Unfortunately, Trump’s claim to have secured $110 billion in arms sales has not materialized. Although the Saudis signed numerous letters of intent and interest, some of which had been approved by the Obama administration, no new contracts have resulted, due mainly to lower oil prices and the Saudis’ costly war in Yemen.
So in the Khashoggi affair, it appears that Trump is eager to keep to his end of the bargain. He has avoided criticizing the Saudi government over its alleged role in Khashoggi’s disappearance to curry favor with the monarchy over arms sales. Even in the face of Turkish reports that Saudi agents tortured Khashoggi and dismembered his body and U.S. intelligence supporting those allegations, Trump has preferred to blame “rogue killers” for any crime.
In defending this course of action, Trump claimed that “if they don’t buy [weapons] from us, they’re going to buy it from Russia or they’re going to buy it from China or they’re going to buy it from other countries.”
While it’s true that Russia and China are indeed major exporters of armaments, the claim that U.S. weapons can easily be replaced by other suppliers is not – at least not in the short term.
First, once a country is “locked in” to a specific kind of weapons system, such as planes, tanks or naval vessels, the cost to switch to a different supplier can be huge. Military personnel must be retrained on new equipment, spare parts need to be replaced, and operational changes may be necessary.
After being so reliant on U.S. weapons systems for decades, the transition costs to buy from another country could be prohibitive even for oil-rich Saudi Arabia.
The second problem with Trump’s argument is that armaments from Russia, China or elsewhere are simply not as sophisticated as U.S. weapons, which is why they are usually cheaper – though the quality gap is quickly decreasing. To maintain its military superiority in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has opted to purchase virtually all of its weapons from American and European companies.
That is why the U.S. has significant leverage in this aspect of the relationship. Any Saudi threat to retaliate against a ban on U.S. arms sales by buying weapons from countries that have not raised concerns about the Khashoggi disappearance would not be credible. And is probably why, despite worries in the White House, such a threat has not yet been made.
Selling ideals for short-term gains
Since the end of World War II, the U.S. has developed a global reputation as a moral authority championing human rights.
Yes, there have been many times when realpolitik took priority.
But despite these moments, the U.S. managed also to maintain its authority by advocating respect for human rights as a global norm during the Cold War, and within many repressive regimes ever since.
With Khashoggi, Trump is choosing to give up that mantle completely by showing his priority is purely economic, regardless of the impact on the United States’ global reputation. Such a bald-faced strategy, in my view, sells American values short and weakens U.S. global credibility.
The Khashoggi Affair: A Murder Mystery in Four Acts
By Mel Gurtov
Act 1 (Washington, DC): Upon learning of the disappearance and possible murder of the Saudi journalist and critic, Jamal Khashoggi, Pres. Trump expresses concern and vows to get to the bottom of the case. Turks say they have indisputable evidence Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Trump sayshe won’t use arms sales as leverage — it would hurt Raytheon et al. — and besides, Khashoggi isn’t a US citizen.
Act 2 (Washington and Riyadh): Trump reports that in a phone conversation with Mohammed bin Salman, the “reformist” crown prince, Salman vigorously denies having anything to do with Khashoggi’s disappearance. Trump says “rogue killers” may have been responsible, implies Salman’s denials are believable. Meantime, many invitees to “Davos in the Desert” drop out, but US officials participate.
Act 3 (Riyadh): Trump dispatches Mike Pompeo to “investigate” the case. He is warmly received by Salman, who touts the alliance and says the two countries will face the future together. “Absolutely,” Pompeo chimes in. They go into private session, where Pompeo apologizes for the “headache”this “incident” must be causing the king. The king smiles, says he appreciates Trump’s “helpful” comments, tells Pompeo he’s coming around to the “rogue killers” idea.
Act 4 (Riyadh and Washington): Pompeo reports that the Saudis are cooperating in an investigation and are “adamant” that the royal court was not involved. Salman speaks to the Saudi people, sounds contrite, vows to pursue justice. (Meantime, nearly all the hit men have been sent out of the country; one has been executed.) Trump professes relief, Jared Kushner urges a refocus on “the Middle East peace plan.” Trump sends Salman warm regards, looks forward to overcoming this tragic affair. Congressional critics find little support for sanctions on Saudi Arabia. The US-Saudi alliance is saved, Salman’s rule is saved, and Trump tells Kushner to “lie low for a while” with his friendship with the king. Next day, Trump lashes outat the Washington Post for convicting the king before any proof has been found. END
Mel Gurtov, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Portland State University.
Kenny McDonald Elected Vice Chair of the International Economic Development Council
Columbus, OH – Kenny McDonald, president and CEO of Columbus 2020, the economic development organization for the 11-county Columbus Region, was recently elected vice chair of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) at the organization’s Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA. McDonald will serve in the position starting January 2019 for a one-year term.
IEDC’s mission is to help economic developers do their jobs more effectively, and to raise the profile of the profession. The organization provides information on best practices and trends, professional development, networking opportunities and more. With more than 4,000 members from communities around the world, IEDC is the largest organization of its kind.
McDonald currently serves as chair of external member relations on IEDC’s Governance Committee. He brings to the board more than 20 years of regional economic development and management consulting experience focused on helping companies develop and execute their location strategies and helping communities achieve their goals. McDonald holds the professional designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD), and serves on several boards in the Columbus Region, including the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, NAIOP Central Ohio, MidAmerican Global Ventures and Transportation Research Center.
“We look forward to Kenny McDonald’s leadership as vice chair of the Board of Director’s Governance Committee,” said Craig David, CEcD, FM, president and CEO of Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and 2018 IEDC Chair. “The new leadership role will ensure great accomplishments in 2019.”
Earlier in the month at the IEDC 2018 Annual Conference, Columbus 2020 was also recognized. The organization received a gold IEDC Internet and New Media award for its ColumbusRegion.com website. The award was presented at the IEDC award ceremony on October 2.
About the International Economic Development Council
The International Economic Development Council (IEDC) is the world’s largest membership organization for economic development professionals. Economic developers promote economic well-being and quality of life in their communities by creating, retaining, and expanding jobs that facilitate growth and provide a stable tax base. From public to private, rural to urban, and local to international, our members represent the entire range of economic development. Learn more at iedconline.org.
About Columbus 2020
As the economic development organization for the Columbus Region, Columbus 2020’s mission is to generate opportunity and build capacity for economic growth across 11 Central Ohio counties. In 2010, hundreds of business and community leaders developed the Columbus 2020 Regional Growth Strategy, and the Columbus Region is now experiencing the strongest decade of growth in its history. The Columbus 2020 team conducts business outreach, promotes the Columbus Region to market-leading companies around the world, conducts customized research to better understand the Columbus Region’s competitiveness, and works to leverage public, private and institutional partnerships. Funding is received from more than 300 private organizations, local governments, academic institutions and JobsOhio. Learn more at ColumbusRegion.com.
St. Mary’s hosts Day of Remembrance for German-American WWII internment
Friday marks the 75th anniversary of internment
St. Mary’s University is hosting a Day of Remembrance in Chicago and San Antonio on Friday, Oct. 26, to commemorate the 75th year of German-American internment during World War II.
Three former child-internees and their representatives — internees Frances Ott Allen and Jo Anna Wartemann Terwege Howell; and the children of the late Eberhard Fuhr: Anna Skoda, Rob Fuhr and John Fuhr — will share memories from the day they and their families were taken from their homes and sent to detention centers. They will also call for a historical marker to be placed at the Chicago detention site, 4800 S. Ellis Ave.
In October 1943, armed guards took then 8-year-old Allen from Chicago to Texas to internment for nearly two years. Howell was interned in Texas at the age of 9 months and then expatriated in February 1944 to an active war zone in Germany where she experienced bombardment. Howell was one of 1,117 interned Americans aboard the M.S. Gripsholm bound for Nazi Germany, said Teresa Van Hoy, Ph.D., Professor of History at St. Mary’s University and faculty adviser for the event.
Chicago had the second-highest detention rate of German-Americans, interning civilians from the Midwest region, Van Hoy said. The former internees, their families and their supporters are calling on Congress to pass a bill officially recognizing German-American internment as they have already recognized Japanese-American and Italian-American internment.
“American-born children throughout the United States, notably Chicago, the Midwest and greater New York, were sent with their parents to live behind a barbed wire fence in an internment camp in South Texas 75 years ago. Some of these children were then shipped to war-torn Germany, including to the prison at Hohenasperg. Most have since died,” Van Hoy said. “The last survivors, including Frances and Jo Anna, urge the public to know this history and to remember.”
Eighty-five students studying Public History at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, have organized the commemoration in Chicago, including a re-enactment of the internees’ forced march across the Chicago Loop, and a candlelight vigil at the internment site. They and student-leader, Nicole Johnson, have also organized Satellite Remembrance Rallies to be shared by 800 supporters from San Antonio to London and Berlin.
Events in Chicago and San Antonio, Texas:
The public is invited to three events during the Day of Remembrance in Chicago on Friday, Oct. 26:
Noon to 1 p.m.: Re-enactment of the internees’ forced march across the Loop 75 years ago. The march starts from the Great Hall at Chicago Union Station, 225 S. Canal St., to the corner of Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road — the original site of Central Station, from which internees were shipped to a camp in Texas.
2:30 to 3:30 p.m.: Rally from Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell Avenue, which will include internees’ offering a public preview of artifacts from their personal collection that will go on display in November at the Bullock Texas State History Museum for a year-long exhibit.
4:30 to 5 p.m.: Candlelight remembrance at the internment site, 4800 S. Ellis Ave.
The public in San Antonio is also invited to join a Remembrance Rally hosted at St. Mary’s University from 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, in front of St. Louis Hall. This rally will be linked by live feed to the program in Chicago. Participants will unveil an interactive map of internment history and share facts and poetry on German-American internment. The event will conclude by surrounding participants with a rope to suggest internment in Texas 75 years ago as participants hold yellow pinwheels — the symbol of child abuse prevention.
This Day of Remembrance is part of a three-part Year of Remembrance, which will include a third gathering in New York on Feb. 15, 2019.
St. Mary’s University, founded in 1852, is the first institution of higher learning in San Antonio and the oldest Catholic university in the Southwest. It offers 75 programs, including doctoral and law programs, and has a diverse student population of about 3,650 of all faiths and backgrounds. Its vision, as a Catholic and Marianist liberal arts institution, is to become one of the finest private universities in the region, a gateway for graduates to professional lives as ethical leaders in Texas, the nation and the world.