Search for justice in the Kashoggi case? How sincere are leaders in the West?

We Must Use the Global Magnitsky Act to Punish the Killers of Jamal Khashoggi

As details emerge of what happened to Jamal Khashoggi, one can’t help but be truly terrified.

Teresa and saud salman

What have you got to say, Trees? Apparently they’re just good friends

Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who was an outspoken critic of his government, went to his country’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct.2 to pick up a document showing he was divorced so he could marry his fiancée. He did not emerge, and has not been seen since. Little has been independently confirmed, but the Turkish government claims Saudi agents tortured, killed, and dismembered Khashoggi, and fled the country, carrying his remains.

If it is shown that Khashoggi was indeed murdered in this grotesque way, this presents a fundamental challenge to the civilized world. He was a Washington Post journalist, a respected member of the international community, and he was in a NATO-member country trying to start a new life. If what is alleged turns out to be true, and the Saudis get away with Khashoggi’s grisly murder on Turkish soil, then it will give a green light to any thin-skinned ruler to go ahead and assassinate critics without fear of consequences.

saudi palace

$300 million Saudi-owned chateau in France

Although our policy tools are limited, there is a way to create consequences for this kind of atrocity: the Global Magnitsky Act. This is a piece of legislation that has the power to freeze assets and ban visas of gross human rights abusers from anywhere in the world. It was named after my Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered a massive Russian government corruption scheme in 2008.

He bravely exposed the officials involved, was subsequently arrested by some of the very people he testified against, tortured for 358 days, and killed in November 2009 in Russian police custody. Versions of the Global Magnitsky Act now exist in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. It is currently on the agenda in the European Union.

Saudi plane

Saudi private jet – $500 million Airbus A380

The Global Magnitsky Act is like a modern-day cancer drug. Instead of targeting the whole body, it specifically targets the cancer cells. In this case, instead of sanctioning an entire country and punishing innocent citizens for crimes of the regime, the Global Magnitsky Act goes directly after the individuals who made the criminal decisions and carried them out. It has been successfully used against Burmese generals, Nicaraguan security operatives, and the Russian officials responsible for killing Sergei Magnitsky.

Now, almost every lawmaker on the Senate Foreign Relations committee is pushing for the Trump administration to use Global Magnitsky Sanctions on whoever is found responsible for Khashoggi’s disappearance and/or murder. If the Turkish reports are confirmed, then we in the West must act.

Saudi yacht

$134 million Saudi yacht

Applying the Global Magnitsky Act to Saudi officials would be particularly powerful. These officials are extremely rich, and they keep their money all over the world. They have bank accounts in every major financial capital, and they own luxury properties in London, Paris, and New York.

The moment that a person is added to a Magnitsky List in the West, it destroys their way of life. Every financial institution will close their account, and they will be denied entry to every desirable area in the world. While asset freezes and travel bans don’t constitute real justice for pre-meditated murder, they’re a lot better than total impunity.

saudi cars

Fleet of gold-plated Saudi cars

Saudi girlfriends

Saudi girlfriends on board the yacht. Don’t know how much they cost

This is a defining moment in our history. We can either allow savagery to rule the world, or use the tools we’ve created to maintain civilization and stability. The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe must impose Global Magnitsky sanctions on the Saudi officials who carried out and sanctioned this atrocity — even if the buck stops at the very top.

Source: Time

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10 thoughts on “Search for justice in the Kashoggi case? How sincere are leaders in the West?

  1. Apparently most of this (about Kashoggi being a staunch critic of Saudi Arabia) seems to be pure spin by the Washington Post. His record as a Saudi “journalist” was one of a reactionary who supported all monarchies and sultanates in the region and contended they were “reformable.” To him, only the secular republics, in tense relations with the Saudis, such as Iraq, Syria and Libya, defied reform and needed to be overthrown. He favored Islamization of Arab politics along Muslim Brotherhood lines. See https://alethonews.com/2018/10/15/khashoggi-was-no-critic-of-saudi-regime/

    I also have it on good authority he is a long time CIA asset.

    • Well, that certainly is a new twist! Who are these Aletho people? I couldn’t find much about them. I notice they’re using a Greek version of the name on their site. Can’t help wondering why the Sauds would bother luring the guy into their consulate and murdering him (which seems to be an inescapable fact) if he wasn’t creating problems for them – unless it was to embarrass Turkey, given that they’re not great friends these days. Wheels within wheels, huh!
      I’m also not sure how favoring the Muslim Brotherhood is consistent with support for the Saudis and other “Islamic” monarchies and sultanates. The Sauds for sure are not keen on them!

  2. Aletho is just reposting an an article that originally appeared in Consortium News, founded by late investigative journalist Robert Parry. It’s my impression that different Saudi factions have supported the MB in the past when it suited their interests (https://www.washingtoninstitute.org/fikraforum/view/the-muslim-brotherhood-and-saudi-arabia-from-then-to-now). I’m inclined to agree the author’s premise that MB supporters are inclined to be conservative and reactionary when it suits their interests. The only motivation I can see for killing him is if he was a CIA asset and playing a double game – like Uncle Adnan.

    • Well, whatever their reason, they seem to be digging an ever-deepening hole for themselves and the US – or at least the Trump administration. And no doubt that will make a lot of people in the USA very happy – letting them assuage their liberal pseudo-democratic consciences.
      Re the Muslim Brotherhood – I think it’s not as complex as that article makes out. Of course the Saudi royals want to pretend they are good Muslims. They let their Wahhabi nutcase extremists flog women, cut hands off etc – while themselves living a totally non-Islamic lifestyle. The real Muslims outside SA, of course, are not that stupid. Even a lot of Saudis themselves, eg Osama bin Ladin, have contempt for the regime’s relationship with Uncle Sam.
      And the result is, even though the Sauds want to pretend they love the MB, they can’t because it is openly critical of them and their hypocrisy.

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