By Pål Steigan.
In November 2017 Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the arrest of many of the country’s princes. The prisoners were tortured and some of them were supposedly hung from their feet. One of the princes who was strung up by his feet was Alaweed bin Talal who had a fortune of 7 billion dollars. Sources that Daily Mail talked to claimed that the American mercenary firm Blackwater participated in the events and performed the torture. The Saudi crown prince has supposedly confiscated more than 194 billion dollars from the accounts of the arrested.
This is resurfacing now that the details of the events surrounding the savage murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi are spreading. When you read about a hit squad of 15 persons, with close ties to the crown prince MBS, who have supposedly tortured, killed and quartered the body of the journalist you start wondering whether you are holding a newspaper or a morbid crime novel. Even though the information that is coming from Turkish intelligence seems real, it is still hard to believe.
A criminal organization
This feeling of disbelief probably stems from the mistake of regarding Saudi Arabia as a normal state, if we can call an autocratic regime of decapitators a normal state. It becomes easier to understand how they act when one realizes that this state is no more than a «vertical- and horizontally integrated criminal organization,» as Sarah Chayes and Alex de Waal puts it in The Atlantic.
«In fact, Saudi Arabia is no state at all. There are two ways to describe it: as a political enterprise with a clever but ultimately unsustainable business model, or as an entity so corrupt as to resemble a vertically and horizontally integrated criminal organization.»
They describe the Saudi king as the CEO of a family business that transforms oil revenue to bribes for acquiring political loyalty. The bribes are given as cash and contracts for the members of the royal family and the numerous princes they ally with. It is all held together by a brutal security force geared to the teeth with US equipment.
Norway maintains a close relationship to Saudi Arabia, regardless of which party occupies the foreign minister post.
Buying loyalty and influence abroad
It is not just internally that the organization buys loyalty, they also spend their oil money abroad. This is how they bought the loyalty of a certain American millionaire alcoholic by the name of George W. Bush long before he became president, and kept it when he was voted in. In this way they bought the support of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, and the bribes continues under Donald Trump.
When the Saudis and their mob like way of dealing with domestic and foreign policy get away with it, it is because many leaders around the world have accepted their bribes.
For USA an important part of the mechanism is the fact that the dollar, and by extension US’ empire, would suffer if it wasn’t grounded in the petrodollar system, a system that forces countries that deal in oil (in other words: all countries) to first buy dollars.
This corruption also applies to media, private companies and those in positions of power. The Intercept shows that quite a few higher ups in American media are on Saudi payroll and get juicy handouts. Washington Post, who has recently been attacking the Saudis because of the murder of their writer Jamal Khashoggi ask in their editorial: «Will you work for a murderer?»
Media in the murderers’ service
The Post doesn’t have to look far to find someone who is guilty of that charge. Carter Eskew, who writes editorials for the paper, and who was an advisor to Al Gores presidential campaign, runs the second most active lobbying firm for Saudi Arabia in the US and receives 150.000 dollar per month for his work. The firm was established by central players in Hillary’s campaign.
Ed Rogers, who also writes editorials in The Post, works as a political agent for the Saudi regime inside the US and is massively rewarded. Rogers has worked for the Republican Party for a long time, and his consulting business, BGR Group which he runs, recently renewed its contract with the Saudis. They work to maintain healthy connections between Riyadh and the US, both regarding politicians and the media. The contract is for 80.000 dollars per month.
Davis Ignatius has close ties with CIA and Saudi Arabia and writes appraisals of MBS in, you guessed it, The Post. He is trumped only by Tom Friedman of the New York Times who has written panegyric for MBS.
CEOs and politicians have made criminal pilgrimages
After the murder in Istanbul the dam was breeched and NYT admits how the entire elite of American media and corporations have sucked up to the decapitators in Riyadh. Those who celebrated MBS was Rupert Murdoch, boss of Walt Disney Robert A. Iger, the CEO of Warner Bros and last but not least CEO of Amazon and owner of Washington Post Jeff Bezos.
As to be expected by the Prime minister of Sweden, Stefan Löfven with his feminist foreign policy has been to Riyadh and asked the Saudis forgiveness for slightly excessive Swedish critique of their regime. His king has also been there to secure a significant weapons deal. Other pilgrims to Riyadh include Børge Brende, Jonas Gahr Støre and Espen Barth Eide. The latter even managed to say that «Norway and Saudi Arabia have good bilateral relations and conjoining opinions on several areas of our foreign policies,» and was enthusiastic about Norwegian businesses investing in Saudi Arabia.
We return to the question posed by The Post: Will you work for murderers?