Silenced forever: Saudi Arabia admits Khashoggi is dead
BEIRUT (AP) — Two days after Jamal Khashoggi vanished into the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, The Washington Post published a column featuring his byline and the headline “A missing voice.” The space below it was blank. That influential voice on Saudi affairs has been silenced forever after three decades as a writer, editor, commentator and media adviser.
Eighteen days after Khashoggi disappeared, Saudi Arabia acknowledged early Saturday that the 59-year-old writer has died in what it said was a “fistfight” inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The Saudi announcement shed little light on the mystery of Khashoggi’s disappearance and contradicted leaks from Turkish media that he was tortured, killed and dismembered.
Once close to the royal family and an adviser to the country’s former intelligence chief, Khashoggi became a sharp critic of its young and ambitious crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, for cracking down on any opposition and miring the country in a conflict in neighboring Yemen that killed thousands of people.
His disappearance and death ignited a diplomatic firestorm and shook Saudi Arabia’s alliances with its partners, brought calls for sanctions against the oil-rich kingdom and horrified free speech advocates and people around the world who never read his work.
In a final column for the Post, which the newspaper said it received from his assistant on Oct. 3 and was published Oct. 17, Khashoggi warned that governments in the Middle East “have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate.”
He noted that some Middle East leaders were blocking internet access so they could tightly control what their citizens can see.
“The Arab world is facing its own version of an Iron Curtain, imposed not by external actors but through domestic forces vying for power,” Khashoggi wrote.
Born into a family of wealth and connections — he was the nephew of Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi and a cousin of Princess Diana’s boyfriend Dodi Fayed — Khashoggi was a voice of moderation in a kingdom at war with terrorism in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States.
He spent years explaining its policies to outsiders, but made himself unpopular at home, saying the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen “would validate” those who compared the kingdom’s actions to what Russia and Iran were doing in Syria. He also was critical of Riyadh’s diplomatic break with Qatar.
After Khashoggi criticized the kingdom’s celebration of Donald Trump’s election as president in 2016, a royal court official who was close to him advised him to stop tweeting and publishing stories, a sign that his opinion was no longer welcome.
Khashoggi went into a self-imposed exile, moving to Washington in 2017, writing regular columns for the Post and pursuing pro-democracy projects.
The crown prince’s crackdown intensified after Khashoggi left, reaching some of his friends and associates. A former boss, Saudi billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal, was among dozens of businessmen and royals put under house arrest in an upscale hotel in November 2017 in a crackdown on corruption that soon resembled a shakedown of the kingdom’s most powerful people.
“Saudi royals view themselves as The Party, sharing power and ruling by consent, in an arrangement that is largely opaque,” Khashoggi wrote after the crackdown, adding that the crown prince “is upending this arrangement and centralizing all power within his position.”
But he told the Economist in May that he did not agree with Saudis who were “calling for regime change and stuff like that. … I believe in the system. I just want a reform system. Actually, I want the system to give me a voice to allow me to speak.”
While he supported fighting corruption, he described what was happening in Saudi Arabia as “selective justice.” He argued that corruption was so entrenched that royals monopolize land ownership and fewer than 40 percent of Saudis can own their homes.
“The crown prince is engaging in a major economic transformation. And since there is no one to debate it, he will not see the (mistakes) of these transformations,” he told the Economist.
A British-Palestinian friend, Azzam Tamimi, said Khashoggi spoke to Westerners in a language they understand.
Prince Mohammed “spent millions on PR and wanted to present himself as a modernist savior who brings rights to women,” Tamimi said. “Jamal used to show the other face that Mohammed bin Salam didn’t want to show.”
Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi was born in Medina in 1958 and graduated from Indiana State University. He began his career as a journalist in the 1980s, covering the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and the decade-long war that followed for the English-language daily, the Saudi Gazette. He covered Algeria’s 1990s war against Islamic militants, the Balkan wars and the rise of Islamists in Sudan.
In his youth, according to one friend, Khashoggi briefly joined the Muslim Brotherhood, the strongest organization of political Islam in the region. He soon left it, wanting to remain outside organized groups, but throughout his life kept good relations with all sides.
He was editor of Medina’s Islamist-leaning paper for nine years.
While in Afghanistan, he interviewed Osama bin Laden before he became the leader of al-Qaida. They later met again in Sudan in 1995.
“He could have done much better for himself, his family and his religion if he remained moderate,” Khashoggi said after bin Laden was killed by a U.S. raid in Pakistan in 2011.
In a column for The Daily Star in Lebanon on Sept. 10, 2002, Quote: : : “Osama bin Laden’s hijacked planes not only attacked the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. They also attacked Islam as a faith. They attacked the values of tolerance and coexistence that Islam preaches.”
He had a brief stint in 2003 as editor of a liberal Saudi paper, Al-Watan, founded after 9/11, and he was often Quote: : d in the West as a reformist voice and expert on Islamic radicals. But after two months, he was fired when the kingdom’s ultra-conservative clerics pushed back against his criticism of the powerful religious police.
Khashoggi served as media adviser to Turki Al-Faisal, the country’s former spy chief, who was at the time the ambassador to Britain and then the United States.
He returned to Al-Watan in 2007, where he continued his criticism of the clerics as the late King Abdullah began cautious reforms to try to shake their hold. Three years later, he was forced to resign after a series of articles critical of Salafism, the ultra-conservative Sunni movement.
In 2010, he was tapped to lead the new Bahrain-based broadcaster Al-Arab, touted as a rival to the Qatari-funded Al-Jazeera, a harsh critic of the kingdom. But it was shut down hours after its launch for hosting a Bahraini opposition figure.
After the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, he was critical of the crackdowns by various Arab governments on the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that Saudi Arabia considers an existential threat.
Friends recalled him as a devout Muslim who loved his homeland, an avid history buff and a humble man with a sense of humor, fond of video games, which he sometimes played while waiting to conduct an interview.
A first marriage that produced two sons and two daughters fell apart, and Khashoggi told friends that it failed because of pressure from the Saudi government over his criticism.
His visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 was to get documents needed for his wedding scheduled for the next day to Hatice Cengiz, who waited for him in vain to emerge from the compound.
Khashoggi said he had no plans to return to Saudi Arabia because he didn’t “want to risk losing my freedom. I really don’t like being in jail. … I just want to be a free writer. I think I am serving my people, my country.”
Sherif Mansour of the Committee to Protect Journalists said Khashoggi was one of the few Saudis who helped track news of missing or detained journalists and activists.
“Saudi was always a black hole in terms of information, and now after Jamal’s case, it is even harder to get any,” Mansour said. “Those journalists depended on Khashoggi to tell their stories. It is up to us now to tell his story and make sure the risks he took on those journalists’ behalf were not in vain.”
Anti-Patriot Prayer protesters to wave sex toys, clean streets in Vancouver | OregonLive.com
Anti-Patriot Prayer protesters to wave sex toys, clean streets in Vancouver Updated October 18, 2018 at 6:07 PM ; Posted October 18, 2018 at 5:55 PM The right-wing Patriot Prayer group rallied in downtown Portland’s Terry Schrunk Plaza on Saturday, June 30, 2018, amid a protest by anti-fascist groups. ( Mark Graves/Staff The Oregonian/OregonLive
Martin Connolly doesn’t harbor any ill will for Vancouver.
He just wishes street brawls didn’t break out in Portland when activists cross the Columbia River and stage political demonstrations that attract fringes from the left and right.
The most militant from each side come armed with fists. Others have concealed carry permits for firearms.
“How do you counter that?” Connolly said. “All I’ve got is a sense of humor and a discount to a bulk Chinese sex toy store.”
That discount is what inspired the longtime Portlander to stage a protest of his own on Oct. 27.
” Stop sending your dildos to Portland ,” the event description blares on posters and atop the website he built specifically for the weekend bar crawl. Participants are encouraged to bring the sex toys for the march.
But Connolly said the demonstration isn’t a dig at the people of Vancouver. Or residents of Clark County.
His ire is reserved for Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson and both the radical right-wing demonstrators that follow him to Portland and the left-wing counter-protesters that participate in the fistfights that make national news just as often .
“This is going to be the antithesis of that,” Connolly told The Oregonian/OregonLive in a phone interview.
The rally will begin at Esther Short Park at 2 p.m. From there, Connolly will announce to those gathered that the event is meant to be a peaceful rebuke to the violent clashes that have plagued Portland’s streets for the last year.
“If you’re wearing your stereotypical black antifa mask, maybe go home,” he said. “It’s not a turf war.”
From there, Connolly and his fellow rally-goers will march to the Tap Union Freehouse and circle a couple of blocks before returning to the park. They’ll wave sex toys as they walk.
And if Gibson or a group of Proud Boys show up to the rally?
“I’m ducking into the nearest bar,” Connolly said. “I’ve got a dance recital with my kid the next day. I’m not going to show up with a black eye.”
To ensure there’s no mistaking his intent, Connolly said he’ll be lugging a black trash bag and filling it with litter as he walks.
“We’re not leaving any ill will behind,” he said. “We’re leaving things better than we found them.”
It wouldn’t be the first time right-wing groups in the Northwest face ridicule and rebuke via sex toys.
When Nevada ranchers Ammon and Ryan Bundy led the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Burns in early 2016, internet activists conspired to flood the property with deliveries of lube, dildos and other such paraphernalia .
At one point, occupier Jon Ritzheimer uploaded a video diary entry in which he railed against jokesters spending their money on “hate and hate and hate” before angrily sweeping the assembled deliveries off a table.
Connolly remembers the video but said his rally wasn’t inspired by the episode. Nor was he thinking of the so-called “dildo epidemic” that struck Portland in 2015 when an unnamed artist began hanging the sex toys on power lines across the city.
He wants to send a message to folks who travel to the city just to start trouble, he said.
“There’s some sort of civic pride I have,” Connolly said. “Sure, Portland is a toilet sometimes. But you know what? It’s our toilet.”
Pleas For Civility Mark Neil Gorsuch’s Early Tenure On Supreme Court
Pleas For Civility Mark Neil Gorsuch’s Early Tenure On Supreme Court 1:27 PM 10/21/2018 | Politics Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter Justice Neil Gorsuch has made pleas for good faith and civility a watch word of his early tenure on the U.S. Supreme Court, regularly decrying the decline of respect in civic life.
Gorsuch’s latest entreaty came Wednesday when he made a brief opening statement at a Supreme Court Historical Society lecture on former Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes.
According to SCOTUSblog , Gorsuch lamented that decency, good will, and kindness are “under assault in our society right now, and in our profession,” and feared that appeals to dignity have become blasé. He went on to say that people may disagree sharply but share a deep sense of patriotism.
The justice hit a similar register when he delivered a luncheon address to The Fund for American Studies in September 2017, where he warned that acrimony would compromise core constitutional values.
“Without civility our bonds of friendship in our communities dissolve,” Gorsuch said.
“To be worthy of our First Amendment freedoms, we have to all adopt certain civil habits that enable others to enjoy them as well,” he added. “It’s no exaggeration to say, I think, that to preserve our civil liberties, we have to constantly work on being civil with one another.” (RELATED: The American Legion Is Asking The Supreme Court To Save A Cross-Shaped War Memorial)
One month later in October 2017, Gorsuch told a conference of the American Inns of Court that attorneys should not use offensive “junk yard dog” tactics in litigation, but proceed with respect for the parties and opposing counsel.
“The rewards of an ethical practice are a lot more profound than the dollars and cents, the mansions, the cars,” he said, according to the ABA Journal .
Gorsuch’s Wednesday speech was his first public appearance since the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh , which heaved the high court into the kind of bitter political conflict it prefers to avoid. Hundreds of anti-Kavanaugh demonstrators were arrested during the rancorous confirmation week on Capitol Hill, while the Court itself hosted over one thousand protesters as Kavanaugh was formally installed during a private ceremony.
Brett Kavanaugh is sworn in as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court by Chief Justice John Roberts as Kavanaugh’s wife Ashley holds the family bible and his daughters Liza and Margaret look on. Fred Schilling/Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States
In the days following Kavanaugh’s confirmation, the Court has tried to project sobriety and seriousness of purpose. Chief Justice John Roberts promised to protect the high court’s independence and impartiality during a speech at the University of Minnesota Law School on Oct. 16, where he approvingly quoted a portion of Kavanaugh’s speech during his ceremonial swearing-in at the White House.
The other justices appear to be of the same mind, as normalcy and humor were the order of the day when Kavanaugh appeared for his first public session on the bench on Oct. 9.
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