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US Companies Back Out of Saudi Events as Tensions Mount

Published: October 16, 2018
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Source: antiwar.com

<i>Jamal Khashoggi , Image Source: <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/pomed/26087328517'>POMED</a></i>
Jamal Khashoggi , Image Source: POMED

(ANTIWAR.COM— Cash-rich oil exporter Saudi Arabia is always a sure thing for US companies. The recent controversy surrounding journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and apparent murder, along with rising international tensions, has many companies rethinking that.

An upcoming investment conference in Saudi Arabia is losing participants left and right. JP Morgan Chase, Ford, Mastercard, and Blackrock have all announced that their CEOs have cancelled their planned attendance in the past couple of days. Google has also dropped its participation, and almost all major Western media outlets that were supposed to cover it have backed away.

Saudi officials say the conference will be going on as scheduled, despite having lost most of their major US participants and media coverage. Officials emphasized that they’re still going to have quite a few speakers in spite of this.

The other big even coming up in Saudi Arabia, WWE Crown Jewel, has yet to be cancelled. The company is, however, facing growing political pressure to back out of the event, and a number of their professional wrestlers have reportedly expressed discomfort with participating in the show.

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Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist, who disappeared in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week is not quite the critic of the Saudi regime that the Western media says he is.

A Turkish official told AP that police have found evidence inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul which confirms that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed there. The "high level official" spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity, but said that police had found "certain evidence"that Khashoggi had died in the building. The official did not provide any more details about the evidence uncovered by police.

And as more media organizations confirmed reports about Saudi's plans to spin Khashoggi's murder as a botched interrogation (we can only imagine what was said in that room to justify the use of such extreme violence), CNN calculated the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh for approximately 15 minutes early Tuesday, following his 12-hour-plus flight to the kingdom.

The Saudis are preparing a report that will acknowledge that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong, one that was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey, according to two sources.

What does it say about the credibility of an investigation when a cleaning crew fully equipped with boxes of chemicals, mops, trash bags, and... milk arrives at the scene of the alleged crime right before the probe begins?

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?

Saudi Arabia rejected threats to punish it over the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, saying the kingdom would retaliate against any sanctions with tougher measures, the official state news agency said on Sunday. The comments came after US President Donald Trump threatened “severe punishment” for Riyadh if it turned out Khashoggi, a prominent critic of Saudi authorities and a legal resident of the United States, was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Ottawa will keep its $15bn arms deal with Riyadh despite concerns over Saudi involvement in the disappearance of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the diplomatic row over human rights, Prime Minister Trudeau said.

Sites dealing with government transparency, pages dedicated to police brutality and alternative media – take a closer look at the top ten accounts with millions of followers that were recently suspended by Twitter and Facebook.

THE STORY OF Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and possible murder has riveted the world’s attention with its macabre, and mysterious, details... For some, the prospect that the Saudi government would order the assassination of one of its own citizens abroad seems unthinkable. Yet Khashoggi’s case would not be without precedent. Saudi Arabia’s government has long sought to exert control of its people beyond the kingdom’s borders — a practice that has only intensified in recent years.

Media companies are pulling out of a Saudi investment conference as outrage grows over the journalist who went missing inside a Saudi consulate in Turkey earlier this month, Reuters reports. Economist Editor-In-Chief Zanny Minton Beddoes will not participate in the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, spokeswoman Lauren Hackett said in an email.

The Washington Post has provided further details on its prior reporting that US intelligence knew full well that Saudi Arabia was seeking to lure the now disappeared and allegedly murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi to its embassy in Istanbul in order detain or kill him... What's more is that NBC now reports that the Turks had the Saudi consulate bugged with listening devices before the disappearance and what now appears to be gruesome murder — which suggests Turkey is currently in possession of an audio recording of the alleged killing.

British billionaire Richard Branson said on Thursday that his Virgin Group would suspend its discussions with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund over a planned $1 billion investment in the group’s space ventures, in light of the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Reuters reports.

Twenty-two US senators on Wednesday forced a US investigation of whether human rights sanctions should be imposed over the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist last seen as he entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey on Oct. 2, Reuters reports. In a letter, the senators said they had triggered a provision of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act requiring the president to determine whether a foreign person is responsible for a gross human rights violation.

Washington knew... and apparently did nothing, reports Bloomberg based on a bombshell Washington Post report: U.S. intelligence services intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture Saudi journalist and government critic Jamal Khashoggi, whose disappearance in Turkey last week threatens to damage the warm ties between the kingdom and Washington.

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