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Skripal and Khashoggi: A Tale of Two Disappearances

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:

Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry by Western governments and media over the Skripal affair was deafening and resulted in Britain, the US and some 28 other countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats on the back of unsubstantiated British allegations that the Kremlin tried to assassinate an exiled spy with a deadly nerve agent. The Trump administration has further tightened sanctions citing the Skripal incident.

London’s case against Moscow has been marked by wild speculation and ropey innuendo. No verifiable evidence of what actually happened to Sergei Skripal (67) and his daughter Yulia has been presented by the British authorities. Their claim that President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a hit squad armed with nerve poison relies on sheer conjecture.

All we know for sure is that the Skripals have been disappeared from public contact by the British authorities for more than seven months, since the mysterious incident of alleged poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.

Russian authorities and family relatives have been steadfastly refused any contact by London with the Skripal pair, despite more than 60 official requests from Moscow in accordance with international law and in spite of the fact that Yulia is a citizen of the Russian Federation with consular rights.

It is an outrage that based on such thin ice of “evidence”, the British have built an edifice of censure against Moscow, rallying an international campaign of further sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.

Now contrast that strenuous reaction, indeed hyper over-reaction, with how Britain, the US, France, Canada and other Western governments are ever-so slowly responding to Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case.

After nearly two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the Saudi regime is this week finally admitting he was killed on their premises – albeit, they claim, in a “botched interrogation”.

Turkish and American intelligence had earlier claimed that Khashoggi was tortured and murdered on the Saudi premises by a 15-member hit squad sent from Riyadh.

Even more grisly, it is claimed that Khashoggi’s body was hacked up with a bone saw by the killers, his remains secreted out of the consulate building in boxes, and flown back to Saudi Arabia on board two private jets connected to the Saudi royal family.

What’s more, the Turks and Americans claim that the whole barbaric plot to murder Khashoggi was on the orders of senior Saudi rulers, implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The latest twist out of Riyadh, is an attempt to scapegoat “rogue killers” and whitewash the House of Saudi from culpability.

The fact that 59-year-old Khashoggi was a legal US resident and a columnist for the Washington Post has no doubt given his case such prominent coverage in Western news media. Thousands of other victims of Saudi vengeance are routinely ignored in the West.

Nevertheless, despite the horrific and damning case against the Saudi monarchy, the response from the Trump administration, Britain and others has been abject.

President Trump has blustered that there “will be severe consequences” for the Saudi regime if it is proven culpable in the murder of Khashoggi. Trump quickly qualified, however, saying that billion-dollar arms deals with the oil-rich kingdom will not be cancelled. Now Trump appears to be joining in a cover-up by spinning the story that the Khashoggi killing was done by “rogue killers”.

Britain, France and Germany this week issued a joint statement calling for “a credible investigation” into the disappearance. But other than “tough-sounding” rhetoric, none of the European states have indicated any specific sanctions, such as weapons contracts being revoked or diplomatic expulsions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “concerned” by the gruesome claims about Khashoggi’s killing, but he reiterated that Ottawa would not be scrapping a $15 billion sale of combat vehicles to Riyadh.

The Saudi rulers have even threatened retaliatory measures if sanctions are imposed by Western governments.

Saudi denials of official culpability seem to be a brazen flouting of all reason and circumstantial evidence that Khashoggi was indeed murdered in the consulate building on senior Saudi orders.

This week a glitzy international investor conference in Saudi Arabia is being boycotted by top business figures, including the World Bank chief, Jim Yong Kim, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Britain’s venture capitalist Richard Branson. Global firms like Ford and Uber have pulled out, as have various media sponsors, such as CNN, the New York Times and Financial Times. Withdrawal from the event was in response to the Khashoggi affair.

A growing bipartisan chorus of US Senators, including Bob Corker, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Chris Murphy, have called for the cancellation of American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as for an overhaul of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Still, Trump has rebuffed calls for punitive response. He has said that American jobs and profits depend on the Saudi weapons market. Some 20 per cent of all US arms sales are estimated to go to the House of Saud.

The New York Times this week headlined: “In Trump’s Saudi Bargain, the Bottom Line Proudly Stands Out”.

The Trump White House will be represented at the investment conference in Saudi Arabia this week – dubbed “Davos in the Desert” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He said he was attending in spite of the grave allegations against the Saudi rulers.

Surely the point here is the unseemly indulgence by Western governments of Saudi Arabia and its so-called “reforming” Crown Prince. It is remarkable how much credulity Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa and others are affording the Saudi despots who, most likely, have been caught redhanded in a barbarous murder.

Yet, when it comes to Russia and outlandish, unproven claims that the Kremlin carried out a bizarre poison-assassination plot, all these same Western governments abandon all reason and decorum to pile sanctions on Russia based on lurid, hollow speculation. The blatant hypocrisy demolishes any pretense of integrity or principle.

Here is another connection between the Skripal and Khashoggi affairs. The Saudis no doubt took note of the way Britain’s rulers have shown absolute disregard and contempt for international law in their de facto abduction of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. If the British can get away with that gross violation, then the Saudis probably thought that nobody would care too much if they disappeared Jamal Khashoggi.

Grotesquely, the way things are shaping up in terms of hypocritical lack of action by the Americans, British and others towards the Saudi despots, the latter might just get away with murder. Not so Russia. The Russians are not allowed to get away with even an absurd fantasy.


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of this site. This site does not give financial, investment or medical advice.

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Shaun Ramewe
Shaun Ramewe
October 18, 2018

Everyone knows the perverted cowardly Saudis and Zio-lying ZOG-Yanks are fellow sick-minded pro-terrorist war criminals hellbent on making money out of depravity and suffering. No denying it now.

Richard Steven Hack
Richard Steven Hack
October 18, 2018

The problem is that the whole story over Khashoggi makes as much sense as the Skripal story, which is to say none. The Saudis needed a fifteen-man hit team and a forensic doctor to conduct an interrogation inside Saudi soil (the consulate) where Khashoggi was already presumably imprisoned and secure? I realize the Saudi intelligence organization is not the brightest bulb in the intelligence community, but still this seems unlikely. Why do it in Turkey? They could have just as easily drove him to the airport in handcuffs in a Saudi consulate car under diplomatic immunity, put him on a… Read more »

Reply to  Richard Steven Hack
October 18, 2018

The early reports on Khasgoggi’s disappearance stated that he had asked his fiancee to raise the alarm if he failed to exit the embassy within two hours. She was waiting outside the front of the embassy for him to emerge, and security camera footage shows her waiting there. It seems certain that Khashoggi went into the embassy, and certain that he did not come out again, at least, not alive. I haven’t seen a reference to Khashoggi’s fiancee waiting for him in later reports. Why not? Just another question to add to yours.

October 19, 2018

When I was in Saudi Arabia if someone would abbreviate King(dom) Of Saudi as K.O.S he would be punished even a foreigner would be deported for such innocent act. I never understood what was wrong about that. They would punish with flogging or prison if one of their citizens would use that abbreviation in correspondence, communication with foreigners. It was not allowed even use K.o.S.A. Only K.S.A was allowed without O. It was said that their king does not like letter O.

Such a barbarism in the modern world is unprecedented.

john vieira
Reply to  Vigorous
October 19, 2018

“Barbarism”??? Comes across more like “ignorance”….

Ghifari AL Mukhtar
Ghifari AL Mukhtar
October 19, 2018

Interesting is that the 3 disappeared weren’t far from their disappearing hands friends and acolyte.

October 19, 2018

If this is what passes for reporting, I’m a monkey’s uncle. And if Jamal Khashoggi was a “journalist”, I’m Joan of Arc. News Flash to “Finian Cunnuingham”…Jamal Khashoggi was the nephew of ADNAN KHASHOGGI — you know — the biggest and baddest international, criminal arms dealer there ever was. It’s obvious Khashoggi needed to disappear, whether permanently from the face of the earth or to an “undisclosed location” with rhinoplasty. Either way, the world at large may never know.

Steve Hayes
October 21, 2018

The similarities between the two cases do call for a comparison. The differences, especially the different responses by the western liberal democracies, show with complete clarity the utter hypocrisy and the sociopathic pursuit of interests which lies at the heart of the western ruling elites.

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