By Roger Cottrell, PhD
Much like the car bomb assassination of Daphne Carvana Galazia in Malta on October 16, 2017, the squalid butchery and dismemberment of Washington Post correspondent Jamal Karshoggi, in a Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018 tells us what we already know: namely that there has never been a more dangerous time to be a journalist.
According both to the US based Committee for the Protection of Journalists and Reporters without Borders, there is abundant evidence to back this claim. Just weeks and even days before Jalal Karshoggi was slain three Russian journalists, all late of the Noveya Gazetta newspaper in Russia itself, were murdered in the Central African Republic by members of the Wagner corporate mercenary army owned by the deeply sinister Yevgeny Prigozhin, known as “Putin’s Chef.” In Bulgaria, meantime, and with equally little coverage or official comment, 30 year old journalist Viktoria Marinova was raped and murdered on October 8, 2018, after she started to expose official corruption involving EU funds in an EU member country that is also a signatory to the convention on human rights.
While the Saudi regime’s history of internal repression and involvement, both in the repression of popular dissent in Bahrain and genocide in Yemen is nothing new the regime has not (in contrast to Putin’s Russia) exported the murder of its regime’s critics to this point.
As we shall see, however, there may well be more parallels between the GRU’s inept poisoning of the Skripal’s in Salisbury (that resulted in the death of a British citizen) and the subsequent murder of Jalal Karshoggi in Turkey. This has a lot to do with the motives for the killings, not as revenge but in an attempt to kill investigations and suppress information.
In the case of the Salisbury poisonings on March 4, 2018, as an example, why try to kill the Skrpals in such an obvious manner, that links the murder attempt straight back to the Kremlin, when 15 previous Kremlin-initiated murders both of British and Russian citizens in the UK have mostly been accepted as either accidents or suicides by the Police? In particular, why do this when Theresa May’s Conservative Party has accepted £80 000 in donations from Putin supporting Oligarch’s?
In the case of Jamal Karshoggi, why kill a high profile journalist on The Washington Post, however critical and outspoken against the murderous Saudi regime and its atrocities, when Donald Trump has just pulled off the biggest arms sale in history, to Saudi Arabia? Why do this, moreover, when the current Washington administration, by shredding the Iran nuclear deal, stands firmly behind the new Israeli-Saudi Axis in their trampling of Palestinian national rights and in preparation for a US war by proxy against Iran?
True, the Washington Post is hated by the White House, especially since the publication of Bob Woodward’s recent book, but even Trump can’t be seen to say or do nothing when a Post journalist is murdered in this way.
Part of the answer to this question, no doubt, lies in what Salon magazine calls the “new axis of evil” between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. This is epitomized by the collusion between the Kremlin and Kremlin linked entities (such as Prighozhin’s Internet Research Agency and its 10 000 strong army of trolls) and companies such as Israel’s sinister Black Cube and UK based Emerdata Ltd, (hitherto Cambridge Analytica and SCL) in the manipulation of the BREXIT vote in the UK, the Trump vote in the US and in support for Putin financed fascist parties across Europe. In this latter instance, what Steve Bannon calls the” weaponization of information“ directly serves the strategic objective of the Kremlin to destroy all democratic institutions in Europe, plunging the continent into fascism and war in order to dominate its gas and oil market.
While the kind of open season that Trump has declared on journalists in the US, already compared in some sober quarters to that of Adolf Hitler, is well established in Russia it is this new export of the murder of journalists that marks an alarming trend. This point was made by Zeid Ra’dal Hussein when she resigned from the UN Commission on Human Rights explicitly in response to the threat posed by Donald Trump to journalists worldwide. In Russia, the murder of journalists began as a domestic affair when reporters on Noveya Gazeta in particular revealed the covert origins of the Second Chechen War in false flag bombings in Moscow organized by the FSB. Rather significantly, their initial source for this story was Alexander Litvenenko, an FSB agent who had refused to murder anti-Putin Oligarch Victor Berezovsky for the Kremlin. A few years later, following a decree by Putin’s rubber stamp Parliament, the Duma, which sanctioned assassinations overseas, Litvenenko died a painful death of polonium poisoning in London on November 21, 2006. His book, published posthumously, should be essential reading.
If it is Putin who has taken the lead in exporting the murder of journalists and dissidents abroad then it is Trump’s war on the press that cheapens and degrades journalists’ lives. While Robert Mercer of Emerdata Ltd. schmoozes with Prigozhin in the Virgin Islands, on board Mercer’s yacht, The Sea Owl, and Prigozhin’s troll farms pump out fake news strategically targeted on social media by algorithm, Trump refers to “fake news” and “the deep state” in an Orwellian way that strips these phrases of any legitimate meaning. And each time Trump refers to fake news, somewhere in the world a journalist is incarcerated or murdered. The pattern is reproduced, conspicuously, in the Philippines under Rodrigo Duerte while in Egypt, alJazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein has been incarcerated for months for the Orwellian “crime” of “creating fake news to create chaos.”
This culture of terror, however, does not explain the precise reason why Jallal Karshoggi was murdered and dismembered in a Saudi diplomatic station at this time and why the Trump administration will allow the Saudi regime to get away with it..
Historically, the corrupt relationship between Riyadh and Washington dates from 1974. Specifically, it dates from the oil embargo of the West and subsequent crisis that arose from the October Arab-Israeli War of 1973. Richard Nixon, a domestic anti-Semite who had already declared Israel his beat cop in the Middle East after the Black September Rising of 1970, dispatched William Simon, his newly appointed US Treasury Secretary, to Riyadh in July 1974 to cut a deal that would end the embargo. Under the terms of the arrangement, endorsed by the Federal Reserve, the Saudis would invest substantially in the US economy in exchange for Saudi purchases first of US infrastructure and then arms, and more arms, from the US and its closest allies. The highly corrupt al Yamamah arms deal in the UK, in 1987 that made Mark Thatcher a multi-millionaire was also part of this process.
Later, permanence and force would be lent to this Saudi-US covenant by the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in February 1979 and the deeply corrupt relationship between the Bush political dynasty and the Saudi bin Laden Group. Trump’s endorsement of the new Israeli-Saudi axis, against Iran, builds on this and was consolidated by his moving of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, on the anniversary of the Nakhba, which led to the state murder of 100 unarmed civilians in the Gaza Strip on May 15, 2018. Not one Arab regime aligned to Saudi Arabia, in its burial of the Arab Spring, condemned this action by which the Israeli government demonstrated its resolve to annex both East Jerusalem and the illegally occupied West Bank. Neither, significantly, did Vladimir Putin.
Concurrent with these developments Trump has also stood behind Saudi Arabia in its militarization of the Gulf Cooperation Council and embargo against Qatar, as well as its continued occupation of Bahrain (where the al Khalifa monarchy is now nothing more than a corrupt vassal) and in the Western backed war of genocide waged by Saudi Arabia and its puppet government in Yemen. This, together with the scrapping of the Iran nuclear deal, stands behind Trump’s preparation for war by proxy against Iran.
No show boating from Washington, over the murder of Jamal Karshoggi, and especially given Trump’s contempt for journalists’ lives, is going to change this any more than it will lead to a cancellation of the arms sales (the biggest in US history) to the most odious and disgusting regime on the planet A useful parallel, indeed, is with Bashar Asad’s resumed use of chemical weapons against his civilian population after Trump made it clear that he was no longer interested in regime change in those regions of Syria (Damascus, Lakatia and the Lebanese border) still controlled by the Moscow backed Ba’ath regime. After Asad used chemical weapons Trump had to be seen to do something but a 70 hour bombardment of which Putin had prior warning was a non- event. The Syrian air bases were up and running within 24 hours and the de facto partition of Syria between Russia and Turkey complete with Bosnian style population transfers and the creation of ethnic “kill boxes” proceeds.
Most conspicuously, no action has been taken against the mercenaries of Wagner, owned by Prigozhin, that are regularly ferried from Rostock on Don to Lakatia on board Dart Airlines Flights owned by Gresham Holdings, to conduct atrocities in Syria. As these are unlawful combatants not covered by the Geneva Convention, they could be legitimately blasted out of the skies the moment they left Russian airspace.
The real parallel with Trump’s duplicity over Karshoggi’s murder, however, is with that of Theresa May over the Skripals. As previously stated the British Police and particularly the Met, have been happy enough to sweep most of the 15 Moscow directed murders in the UK under the rug given that Britain’s Criminal Justice system is in fact completely broken in any case. When the GRU who, unlike the FSB, don’t use underworld subcontractors (as with Daphne Galizia in Malta) to do their dirty work, had the audacity to use a nerve agent on British soil then even May, whose Party received £80 000 from Putin supporting Oligarchs, had to be seen to do something. But taking the issue to the United Nations Security Council was a pointless exercise when Putin has a veto. Meanwhile, not a penny of the Oligarch’s dirty money that passes through the City of London or British Overseas territories has been touched despite the publication of the Panama Papers that has made Falconi a fugitive and cost Daphne Galazia her life.
There is also another likely parallel between the murder of Jmlal Karshoggi and the attempted murder of the Skripals in that each were targeted for specific reasons due to what they were working on at the time. In the Russian example, Alexander Litvenenko only started working as an asset of MI6’s Moscow Desk under Christopher Steele, after he refused to murder Victor Berezovsky, for the FSB, and alerted Noveya Gazeta as to the bogus “legitimation” of the atrocity exhibition in Chechnya. In other words, he was a reluctant asset of MI6 in contrast to an overt traitor like Oleg Godiefsky, eager to further trash the economy of his own country and work for Rupert Murdoch and other Neo Cons in spreading slanders against their political opponents in the West.
In the end, Victor Berezovsky was murdered anyway, as were two British citizens who worked for him. The police accepted all as either accidents or suicides. However, one of these British victims of Kremlin sanctioned murder, the Sunderland born lawyer Stephen Curtis, who died in a helicopter crash in 2004, was in possession of seriously damaging information about Putin that still exists and to which one of my sources has access. At the time of the Skripal poisoning Skripal himself, a Right wing Russian nationalist who actually supports the annexation of the Crimea, was once more working for Christopher Steele, only this time as a private intelligence contractor under the rubric of Obis Business Intelligence.
According to an excellent article in The New Yorker, published at the time of the Skripal poisonings, Orbis had been hired by the US Democrat Party to investigate Kremlin interference in the American election but this, together with the manipulation of the BREXIT vote and Putin’s support for Europe’s fascist Right, was already in the public domain when the GRU unleashed chemical weapons in a Wiltshire Cathedral City last winter. My source thinks that Skripal had been commissioned by Steele, his former MI6 “handler,” to track down the information to which my source has access and which is, frankly, nothing less than dynamite! It links Putin, as a then senior officer in the KGB station in Dresden, at the time that the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, to the theft of a computer software program subsequently developed by what was to become Cambridge Analytica, financed by Lukoil. It also links Putin to the murder of Alfred Herrhausen, a senior official at Deutschebank (now the bank of choice both of the Russian Mafia and Donald Trump), at a time when Herrhaussen was advocating the cancellation of Third World Debt. In particular, the information links Putin to the theft of £58 billion from a multi-trillion dollar loan to the USSR, underwritten by the US Federal Reserve, that provided the seed money to the rise of the Oligarchs after Yeltsin’s great voucher swindle stripped the former USSR of its assets.
This is very probably the crime of the century. Other information which Stephen Curtis had in his possession, at the time of the helicopter crash, and which is now in possession of my source, relates to how Putin is selling nuclear weapons technology on the black market via Paraguay. All of which makes a mockery of Trump’s opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.
Where Jamal Karshoggi is concerned there may be a similar back story and motive in that the only time I ever met Karshoggi, in Exeter in the late 1980s, he was raising funds for the Afghan Mujahedin, a rag-bag coalition of drug lords and mullahs created by both the CIA and MI6 under the rubric of Operation Cyclone. The operation was funded through heroin revenues laundered by the BCCI Black Unit established, in London, by Gassan and Monzer al Kasser, in 1977 and the Black Unit also initially procured arms for the Afghan terrorists from CENZIN, the Polish arms manufacturer. A documentary on which I am currently working identifies Monzer al Kasser as the real architect of the Lockerbie bombing on December21, 1988.
By the time I met Karshoggi the West’s shameful arming of the Mujahedin, that brought down the most progressive government Afghanistan had ever had and produced far reaching negative consequences worldwide, was out in the open and the weapons were being provided on Pakistani end users provided by General Hamed Gul of the Inter Service Intelligence Unit, later the founder of the Lahskar-e-Taiba terrorist fund raising and quartermaster network linked to generation one al Qaeda. Indeed, it was through Gul that Karshoggi knew Osama bin Laden, at that time a CIA asset in Afghanistan linked to Monzer al Kasser.
Perhaps ironically, al Kasser’s principle business associate, in relation both to the arming of the Nicaraguan Contras, again on the back of drug revenues laundered through Lebanon and al Kasser’s criminal associates in the Cali Cartel, was Adnan Karshoggi, the brother in law of Mohammed al Fayed. Both men were also involved in the sale of arms to Iran on the back of hostage abductions that al Kasser had arranged through a “ghost organization” calling itself Islamic Jihad. .
In a dress rehearsal for Putin’s subsequent atrocity exhibition in Chechnya, the Balkan conflict was precipitated by Serbian fascism in the 1990s. Shamefully, the UN imposed an arms embargo on the Bosnians and Croats in the face of five million Cetniks under arms and the UN actively colluded in the massacre at Screbrenica. Unfortunately, the CIA’s big idea in response to the Chamberlain-esque appeasement of the UN was to bring in Arab Jihadis and all its usual suspects from Afghanistan, including bin Laden and Gul and Monzer al Kasser, despite the latter’s proven links both to the Achille Lauro hijack and bombing of Pan Am 103. This meant that Jamal Karshoggi was close to all these people when, out of the Balkan conflict and General Gul’s growing network in Africa, al Qaeda was born.
Indeed it was Jamal Karshoggi who had tried to get bin Laden to return to Saudi Arabia after a member of Gul’s African network, Mohammed Abdullah, masterminded the US embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar el salaam in 1998. But General Gul had other ideas, persuading Mullah Omar of the Taliban to offer sanctuary to bin Laden and his motley crew in Afghanistan, just as the Taliban were becoming part of the Caspian Shield oil pipeline project. Originally a French project but now controlled by the shadowy Carlyle Group, this was a plan to pump oil and gas from Azerbaijan into Europe that threatened both the economic interests of Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Gul’s reasoning was that the Taliban, in imposing moderation on al Qaeda, could also use them as a bargaining chip in oil pipeline negotiations. In fact, elements of Saudi intelligence now highly prominent in the regime used al Qaeda as cannon fodder in the 9/11 attacks, Afghanistan was invaded and the Caspian Shield oil and gas pipeline never built. It is likely that Jamal Karshoggi had information on this, when he was murdered, along with the fact that Saudi Arabia is now using generation one al Qaeda as mercenaries in its war of genocide in Yemen, ahead of its resurrection roughly 20 years after 9/11.
Which also broadly coincides with Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup – long considered a legitimate target by al Qaeda websites.