Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #1026 The So-Called “Arab Spring” Revisited, Part 2

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This broad­cast was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

Intro­duc­tion: In FTR #‘s 733 through 739, we pre­sent­ed our view that the so-called Arab Spring was a U.S. intel­li­gence oper­a­tion, aimed at plac­ing the Broth­er­hood in pow­er in Mus­lim coun­tries dom­i­nat­ed either by a sec­u­lar dic­ta­tor or absolute monar­chy.

Con­tin­u­ing analy­sis from our pre­vi­ous pro­gram, this broad­cast delves fur­ther into the net­work­ing between the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and Al-Qae­da. Against the back­ground of the occu­pa­tion of Idlib Province in Syr­ia by Al-Qae­da, we high­light the appar­ent role of Mor­si’s gov­ern­ment and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in the events sur­round­ing the 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beng­hazi, Libya.

The over­throw of Khadafy in Libya was an out­growth of the so-called Arab Spring, as was the pre­cip­i­ta­tion of the civ­il war in Syr­ia. Of par­tic­u­lar sig­nif­i­cance is the fact that the GOP-led inves­ti­ga­tions of the Beng­hazi attack led direct­ly to both the inves­ti­ga­tion of Hillary Clin­ton’s e‑mails and the deci­sive­ly sig­nif­i­cant FBI tam­per­ing with the 2016 elec­tion, as well as the alleged “hack” of Hillary’s e‑mails!

An Egypt­ian news­pa­per pub­lished what were said to be inter­cept­ed record­ings of Mor­si com­mu­ni­cat­ing con­spir­a­to­ri­al­ly with Muham­mad al-Zawahiri, the the broth­er of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of Al-Qae­da. Much of this checks out with infor­ma­tion that is already on the pub­lic record.

Note the net­work­ing of GOP Sen­a­tors John McCain and Lind­say Gra­ham with Khairat El-Shater of the Egypt­ian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood while he was in prison, as well as the alleged links between the Egypt­ian Broth­er­hood and the cells involved in attack­ing the U.S. Embassy in Libya.

What we may well be look­ing at is a gam­bit along the lines of what has become known as the Octo­ber Surprise–collusion between the Iran­ian Islamists and George H.W. Bush/CIA/GOP to (among oth­er things) desta­bi­lize the Carter admin­is­tra­tion and 1980 re-elec­tion cam­paign.

In addi­tion, we won­der about a deal hav­ing been struck to have Al-Qae­da fight against Bashar Assad in Syr­ia, while avoid­ing attacks inside the U.S.?

Of pri­ma­ry focus in the mate­r­i­al below is Khairat El-Shater (translit­er­at­ed spellings of his name dif­fer.) We empha­size key points which are repeat­ed in the fol­low­ing analy­sis. El-Shater:

  1. Was the num­ber two man in the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, though not for­mer­ly a mem­ber of Mor­si’s gov­ern­ment.
  2. Net­worked with U.S. Ambas­sador Anne Pat­ter­son and GOP Sen­a­tors John McCain and Lind­say Gra­ham and Khairat El-Shater (alter­na­tive­ly translit­er­at­ed with two “t’s”), short­ly after Mor­si was deposed. ” . . . . It is inter­est­ing to note here that, pri­or to these rev­e­la­tions, U.S. ambas­sador Anne Pat­ter­son was seen vis­it­ing with Khairat El-Shater—even though he held no posi­tion in the Mor­si government—and after the oust­ing and impris­on­ment of Mor­si and lead­ing Broth­er­hood mem­bers, Sens. John McCain and Lind­say Gra­ham made it a point to vis­it the civil­ian Shater in his prison cell and urged the Egypt­ian gov­ern­ment to release him. . . .”
  3. Was deeply involved in mobi­liz­ing Al-Qae­da on behalf of Mor­si and the Broth­er­hood: ” . . . . Also on that same first day of the rev­o­lu­tion, Khairat al-Shater, Deputy Leader of the Broth­er­hood, had a meet­ing with a del­e­gate of jiha­di fight­ers and reit­er­at­ed Morsi’s request that all jihadis come to the aid of the pres­i­den­cy and the Broth­er­hood. . . . ”
  4. Was the appar­ent source of a $50 mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion by the Broth­er­hood to Al Qae­da: ” . . . . That the Mus­lim Brotherhood’s inter­na­tion­al wing, includ­ing through the agency of Khairat al-Shater, had pro­vid­ed $50 mil­lion to al-Qae­da in part to sup­port the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in Egypt. . . .”
  5. Had the pass­port of the alleged leader of the Beng­hazi attack in his home when he was arrest­ed: ” . . . . Most recent­ly, on July 29, 2013, Ahmed Musa, a promi­nent Egypt­ian polit­i­cal insid­er and ana­lyst made sev­er­al asser­tions on Tahrir TV that fur­ther con­nect­ed the dots. . . . Musa insist­ed that he had absolute knowl­edge that the mur­der­er of Chris Stevens was Mohsin al-‘Azzazi, whose pass­port was found in Broth­er­hood leader Khairat El-Shater’s home, when the lat­ter was arrest­ed. . . .”
  6. Epit­o­mized the GOP-beloved, cor­po­ratist eco­nom­ic ide­ol­o­gy and lifestyle: ” . . . . Arguably the most pow­er­ful man in the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood is Khairat El-Shater, a mul­ti­mil­lion­aire tycoon whose finan­cial inter­ests extend into elec­tron­ics, man­u­fac­tur­ing and retail. A strong advo­cate of pri­va­ti­za­tion, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood busi­ness­men who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Free­dom and Jus­tice Party’s impres­sive elec­toral vic­to­ry this win­ter and is now craft­ing the FJP’s eco­nom­ic agen­da. . . . . . . . the Brotherhood’s ide­ol­o­gy actu­al­ly has more in com­mon with America’s Repub­li­can Par­ty than with al-Qai­da. Few Amer­i­cans know it but the Broth­er­hood is a free-mar­ket par­ty led by wealthy busi­ness­men whose eco­nom­ic agen­da embraces pri­va­ti­za­tion and for­eign invest­ment while spurn­ing labor unions and the redis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth. Like the Repub­li­cans in the U.S., the finan­cial inter­ests of the party’s lead­er­ship of busi­ness­men and pro­fes­sion­als diverge sharply from those of its poor, social­ly con­ser­v­a­tive fol­low­ers. . . .”

In the wake of over­throw of Mor­si, the Egypt­ian gov­ern­ment sen­tenced more than 500 mem­bers of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, to the resound­ing con­dem­na­tion of West­ern coun­tries, includ­ing the U.S. What we were not told was why. THIS appears to be why.

This broad­cast begins with con­clu­sion of read­ing of a key arti­cle that was fea­tured in our last pro­gram.

Key points of analy­sis in dis­cus­sion of the Morsi/Zawahiri/Brotherhood con­nec­tion include:

  1. Muhamed Zawahir­i’s promise to bol­ster Mor­si’s gov­ern­ment with mil­i­tary sup­port, in exchange for Mor­si steer­ing Egypt in the direc­tion of Sharia law. ” . . . . The call end­ed in agree­ment that al-Qae­da would sup­port the Broth­er­hood, includ­ing its inter­na­tion­al branch­es, under the under­stand­ing that Mor­si would soon imple­ment full Sharia in Egypt.  After this, Muham­mad Zawahiri and Khairat al-Shater, the num­ber-two man of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood orga­ni­za­tion, report­ed­ly met reg­u­lar­ly. . . .”
  2. Mor­si’s agree­ment with Zawahir­i’s pro­pos­al. ” . . . . Zawahiri fur­ther request­ed that Mor­si allow them to devel­op train­ing camps in Sinai in order to sup­port the Broth­er­hood through trained mil­i­tants. Along with say­ing that the Broth­er­hood intend­ed to form a ‘rev­o­lu­tion­ary guard’ to pro­tect him against any coup, Mor­si added that, in return for al-Qaeda’s and its affil­i­ates’ sup­port, not only would he allow them to have such train­ing camps, but he would facil­i­tate their devel­op­ment in Sinai and give them four facil­i­ties to use along the Egypt­ian-Libyan bor­der. . . .”
  3. The net­work­ing between U.S. Ambas­sador Anne Pat­ter­son and GOP Sen­a­tors John McCain and Lind­say Gra­ham and Khairat El-Shater (alter­na­tive­ly translit­er­at­ed with two “t’s”), short­ly after Mor­si was deposed. ” . . . . It is inter­est­ing to note here that, pri­or to these rev­e­la­tions, U.S. ambas­sador Anne Pat­ter­son was seen vis­it­ing with Khairat El-Shater—even though he held no posi­tion in the Mor­si government—and after the oust­ing and impris­on­ment of Mor­si and lead­ing Broth­er­hood mem­bers, Sens. John McCain and Lind­say Gra­ham made it a point to vis­it the civil­ian Shater in his prison cell and urged the Egypt­ian gov­ern­ment to release him. . . .”
  4. Note that Mor­si sanc­tioned and Broth­er­hood-aid­ed Al-Qae­da mil­i­tants were appar­ent­ly involved in the Behg­hazi attacks that led to the Beng­hazi inves­ti­ga­tion, the Hillary e‑mails non-scan­dal and all that fol­lowed: ” . . . . Accord­ing to a Libyan Ara­bic report I trans­lat­ed back in June 2013, those who attacked the U.S. con­sulate in Beng­hazi, killing Amer­i­cans, includ­ing Ambas­sador Chris Stevens, were from jiha­di cells that had been formed in Libya through Egypt­ian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood sup­port.  Those inter­ro­gat­ed named Mor­si and oth­er top Broth­er­hood lead­er­ship as accom­plices. . . . ”
  5. Khairat El-Shater was deeply involved in mobi­liz­ing Al-Qae­da on behalf of Mor­si and the Broth­er­hood: ” . . . . Also on that same first day of the rev­o­lu­tion, Khairat al-Shater, Deputy Leader of the Broth­er­hood, had a meet­ing with a del­e­gate of jiha­di fight­ers and reit­er­at­ed Morsi’s request that all jihadis come to the aid of the pres­i­den­cy and the Broth­er­hood. . . . ”
  6. Khairat El-Shater was the appar­ent source of a $50 mil­lion con­tri­bu­tion by the Broth­er­hood to Al Qae­da: ” . . . . That the Mus­lim Brotherhood’s inter­na­tion­al wing, includ­ing through the agency of Khairat al-Shater, had pro­vid­ed $50 mil­lion to al-Qae­da in part to sup­port the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in Egypt. . . .”

Next, we high­light anoth­er impor­tant arti­cle from Ray­mond Ibrahim about the Mor­si/Al-Qae­da con­nec­tion to the Beng­hazi attack. Sup­ple­ment­ing the infor­ma­tion about net­work­ing between U.S. Ambas­sador to Egypt Anne Pat­ter­son, John McCain, Lind­say Gra­ham and Khairat al-Shater, we note that:

  1. The Beng­hazi attack­ers were appar­ent­ly linked to Mor­si and the Broth­er­hood: ” . . . . days after the Beng­hazi attack back in Sep­tem­ber 2012, Mus­lim Broth­er­hood con­nec­tions appeared.  A video made dur­ing the con­sulate attack records peo­ple approach­ing the belea­guered U.S. com­pound; one of them yells to the besiegers in an Egypt­ian dialect, ‘Don’t shoot—Dr. Mor­si sent us!’ appar­ent­ly a ref­er­ence to the for­mer Islamist pres­i­dent. . . .”
  2. The pass­port of the alleged leader of the Beng­hazi attack was found in the home of McCain/Graham con­tact Kharat al-Shater’s home when he was arrest­ed: ” . . . . Most recent­ly, on July 29, 2013, Ahmed Musa, a promi­nent Egypt­ian polit­i­cal insid­er and ana­lyst made sev­er­al asser­tions on Tahrir TV that fur­ther con­nect­ed the dots. . . . Musa insist­ed that he had absolute knowl­edge that the mur­der­er of Chris Stevens was Mohsin al-‘Azzazi, whose pass­port was found in Broth­er­hood leader Khairat El-Shater’s home, when the lat­ter was arrest­ed. . . .”
  3. The attack on the U.S. Embassy may well have been intend­ed to take Chris Stevens hostage, in order to use him as poten­tial barter for the Blind Sheikh: ” . . . . The day before the embassy attacks, based on lit­tle known but legit­i­mate Ara­bic reports, I wrote an arti­cle titled ‘Jihadis Threat­en to Burn U.S. Embassy in Cairo,’ explain­ing how Islamists—including al-Qaeda—were threat­en­ing to attack the U.S. embassy in Cairo unless the noto­ri­ous Blind Sheikh—an Islamist hero held in prison in the U.S. in con­nec­tion to the first World Trade Cen­ter bombing—was released.  The date Sep­tem­ber 11 was also delib­er­ate­ly cho­sen to attack the embassy to com­mem­o­rate the ‘hero­ic’ Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 al-Qae­da strikes on Amer­i­ca. . . .”
  4. The Unit­ed States: ” . . . . first with Anne Pat­ter­son, and now with Sen­a­tors John McCain and Lind­say Gra­ham, keep pres­sur­ing Egypt to release Broth­er­hood lead­ers; McCain per­son­al­ly even vis­it­ed the civil­ian El-Shater, whose raid­ed home revealed the pass­port of Azzazi, whom Musa claims is the mur­der­er of Stevens. . . .”

Fol­low­ing the Beng­hazi dis­cus­sion, we recap an arti­cle about the Broth­er­hood and appar­ent Al-Qaeda/Beng­hazi col­lab­o­ra­tor Khairat El-Shater, not­ing the pow­er­ful res­o­nance between his and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood’s val­ues and those of the GOP and the cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ty:

  1. ” . . . . the Brotherhood’s ide­ol­o­gy actu­al­ly has more in com­mon with America’s Repub­li­can Par­ty than with al-Qai­da. Few Amer­i­cans know it but the Broth­er­hood is a free-mar­ket par­ty led by wealthy busi­ness­men whose eco­nom­ic agen­da embraces pri­va­ti­za­tion and for­eign invest­ment while spurn­ing labor unions and the redis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth. Like the Repub­li­cans in the U.S., the finan­cial inter­ests of the party’s lead­er­ship of busi­ness­men and pro­fes­sion­als diverge sharply from those of its poor, social­ly con­ser­v­a­tive fol­low­ers. . . .”
  2. ” . . . . Arguably the most pow­er­ful man in the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood is Khairat El-Shater, a mul­ti­mil­lion­aire tycoon whose finan­cial inter­ests extend into elec­tron­ics, man­u­fac­tur­ing and retail. A strong advo­cate of pri­va­ti­za­tion, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood busi­ness­men who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Free­dom and Jus­tice Party’s impres­sive elec­toral vic­to­ry this win­ter and is now craft­ing the FJP’s eco­nom­ic agen­da. . . .”

We con­clude with infor­ma­tion about the train­ing of activists in high-tech and social media in order to launch the Arab Spring.

In a remark­able and very impor­tant new book, Yasha Levine has high­light­ed the role of U.S. tech per­son­nel in train­ing and prep­ping the Arab Spring online activists.

Note while read­ing the fol­low­ing excerpts of this remark­able and impor­tant book, that:

  1. The Tor net­work was devel­oped by, and used and com­pro­mised by, ele­ments of U.S. intel­li­gence.
  2. One of the pri­ma­ry advo­cates and spon­sors of the Tor net­work is the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors. As we saw in FTR #‘s 891, 895, is an exten­sion of the CIA.
  3. Jacob Appel­baum has been financed by the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, advo­cates use of the Tor net­work, has helped Wik­iLeaks with its exten­sive use of the Tor net­work, and is a the­o­ret­i­cal accolyte of Ayn Rand.

1. An Egypt­ian news­pa­per pub­lished what were said to be inter­cept­ed record­ings of Mor­si com­mu­ni­cat­ing con­spir­a­to­ri­al­ly with Muham­mad al-Zawahiri, the the broth­er of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the head of Al-Qae­da. Much of this checks out with infor­ma­tion that is already on the pub­lic record. Note the net­work­ing of GOP Sen­a­tors John McCain and Lind­say Gra­ham with Khairat El-Shater of the Egypt­ian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood while he was in prison, as well as the alleged links between the Egypt­ian Broth­er­hood and the cells involved in attack­ing the U.S. Embassy in Libya.

In the wake of over­throw of Mor­si, the Egypt­ian gov­ern­ment sen­tenced more than 500 mem­bers of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, to the resound­ing con­dem­na­tion of West­ern coun­tries, includ­ing the U.S. What we were not told was why. THIS appears to be why.

Note the pro­found con­nec­tion between the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood gov­ern­ment of Mor­si and Al Qae­da.

“Exposed: The Mus­lim Brotherhood/Al Qae­da Con­nec­tion” by Ray­mond Ibrahim; Ray­mond Ibrahim: Islam Trans­lat­ed; 2/4/2014.

. . . . Con­cern­ing some of the more severe alle­ga­tions, one of Egypt’s most wide­ly dis­trib­uted and read news­pa­pers, Al Watan, recent­ly pub­lished what it said were record­ed con­ver­sa­tions between Mor­si and Muham­mad Zawahiri, al-Qae­da leader Ayman Zawahiri’s broth­er.

In these reports, Watan repeat­ed­ly asserts that Egypt­ian secu­ri­ty and intel­li­gence agen­cies con­firmed (or per­haps leaked out) the record­ings.

Much of the sub­stance of the alleged con­ver­sa­tions is fur­ther cor­rob­o­rat­ed by events that occurred dur­ing Morsi’s one-year-rule, most of which were report­ed by a vari­ety of Ara­bic media out­lets, though not by West­ern media.

In what fol­lows, I relay, sum­ma­rize, and trans­late some of the more sig­nif­i­cant por­tions of the Watan reports (ver­ba­tim state­ments are in quo­ta­tion marks).  In between, I com­ment on var­i­ous anec­dotes and events—many of which were first bro­ken on my web­site—that now, in light of these phone con­ver­sa­tions, make per­fect sense and inde­pen­dent­ly help con­firm the authen­tic­i­ty of the record­ings.

The first record­ed call  between Muham­mad Mor­si  and  Muham­mad Zawahiri last­ed for 59 sec­onds. Mor­si con­grat­u­lat­ed Zawahiri on his release from prison, where he had been incar­cer­at­ed for jihadi/terrorist activ­i­ties against Egypt, and assured him that he would not be fol­lowed or observed by any Egypt­ian author­i­ties, and that he, Mor­si, was plan­ning on meet­ing with him soon.  Pri­or to this first call, Refa’ al-Tahtawy, then Chief of Staff, medi­at­ed and arranged mat­ters.

The pres­i­den­tial palace con­tin­ued to com­mu­ni­cate reg­u­lar­ly with Muham­mad Zawahiri, and sources con­firm that he was the link between the Egypt­ian pres­i­den­cy and his broth­er, Ayman Zawahiri, the Egypt­ian-born leader of al-Qae­da.

It should be not­ed that, once released, the pre­vi­ous­ly lit­tle-known Muham­mad Zawahiri did become very vis­i­ble and vocal in Egypt, at times spear­head­ing the Islamist move­ment.

The next record­ing between Mor­si and Zawahiri last­ed for 2 min­utes and 56 sec­onds and took place one month after Mor­si became pres­i­dent.  Mor­si informed Zawahiri that the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood sup­ports the mujahidin (jihadis) and that the mujahidin should sup­port the Broth­er­hood in order for them both, and the Islamist agen­da, to pre­vail in Egypt.

This makes sense in the con­text that, soon after Mor­si came to pow­er, the gen­er­al pub­lic did become increas­ing­ly crit­i­cal of him and his poli­cies, includ­ing the fact that he was plac­ing only Broth­er­hood mem­bers in Egypt’s most impor­tant posts, try­ing quick­ly to push through a pro-Islamist con­sti­tu­tion, and, as Egyp­tians called it, try­ing in gen­er­al to “Broth­er­hood­ize” Egypt.

This sec­ond phone call being longer than the first, Zawahiri took it as an oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­grat­u­late Mor­si on his recent pres­i­den­tial victory—which, inci­den­tal­ly, from the start, was por­trayed by some as fraud­u­lent—and expressed his joy that Morsi’s pres­i­den­cy could only mean that “all sec­u­lar infi­dels would be removed from Egypt.”

Then Zawahiri told Mor­si: “Rule accord­ing to the Sharia of Allah [or “Islam­ic law”], and we will stand next to you.  Know that, from the start, there is no so-called democ­ra­cy, so get rid of your oppo­si­tion.”

This asser­tion com­ports extreme­ly well with his broth­er Ayman Zawahiri’s views.  A for­mer Mus­lim Broth­er­hood mem­ber him­self, some thir­ty years ago, the al-Qae­da leader wrote Al Hissad Al Murr (“The Bit­ter Har­vest”), a scathing book con­demn­ing the Broth­er­hood for “tak­ing advan­tage of the Mus­lim youths’ fer­vor by … steer[ing] their one­time pas­sion­ate, Islam­ic zeal for jihad to con­fer­ences and elec­tions.” An entire sec­tion ded­i­cat­ed to show­ing that Islam­ic Sharia can­not coex­ist with democ­ra­cy even appears in Ayman Zawahiri’s book (see “Sharia and Democ­ra­cy,” The Al Qae­da Read­er, pgs. 116–136).

The call end­ed in agree­ment that al-Qae­da would sup­port the Broth­er­hood, includ­ing its inter­na­tion­al branch­es, under the under­stand­ing that Mor­si would soon imple­ment full Sharia in Egypt.  After this, Muham­mad Zawahiri and Khairat al-Shater, the num­ber-two man of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood orga­ni­za­tion, report­ed­ly met reg­u­lar­ly.

It is inter­est­ing to note here that, pri­or to these rev­e­la­tions, U.S. ambas­sador Anne Pat­ter­son was seen vis­it­ing with Khairat al-Shater—even though he held no posi­tion in the Mor­si government—and after the oust­ing and impris­on­ment of Mor­si and lead­ing Broth­er­hood mem­bers, Sens. John McCain and Lind­say Gra­ham made it a point to vis­it the civil­ian Shater in his prison cell and urged the Egypt­ian gov­ern­ment to release him.

The next call, record­ed rough­ly six weeks after this last one, again revolved around the theme of solid­i­fy­ing com­mon coop­er­a­tion between the Egypt­ian pres­i­den­cy and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood on the one hand, and al-Qae­da and its jiha­di off­shoots on the oth­er, specif­i­cal­ly in the con­text of cre­at­ing jiha­di cells inside Egypt devot­ed to pro­tect­ing the increas­ing­ly unpop­u­lar Broth­er­hood-dom­i­nat­ed gov­ern­ment.

As I report­ed back in Decem­ber 2012, Egypt­ian media were say­ing that for­eign jiha­di fight­ers were appear­ing in large numbers—one said 3,000 fighters—especially in Sinai.  And, since the over­throw of the Broth­er­hood and the mil­i­tary crack­down on its sup­port­ers, many of those detained have been exposed speak­ing non-Egypt­ian dialects of Ara­bic.

Dur­ing this same call, Zawahiri was also crit­i­cal of the Mor­si gov­ern­ment for still not apply­ing Islam­ic Sharia through­out Egypt, which, as men­tioned, was one of the pre­req­ui­sites for al-Qae­da sup­port.

Mor­si respond­ed by say­ing “We are cur­rent­ly in the stage of con­sol­i­dat­ing pow­er and need the help of all parties—and we can­not at this time apply the Iran­ian mod­el or Tal­iban rule in Egypt; it is impos­si­ble to do so now.”

In fact, while the Broth­er­hood has repeat­ed­ly declared its aspi­ra­tions for world dom­i­na­tion, from its ori­gins, it has always relied on a “grad­ual” approach, mov­ing only in stages, with the idea of cul­mi­nat­ing its full vision only when enough pow­er has been con­sol­i­dat­ed.

In response, Zawahiri told Mor­si that, as a show of good will, he must “at least release the mujahidin who were impris­oned dur­ing the Mubarak era as well as all Islamists, as an assur­ance and pact of coop­er­a­tion and proof that the old page has turned to a new one.”

After that call, and as con­firmed by a gov­ern­men­tal source, Mor­si received a list from Zawahiri con­tain­ing the names of the most dan­ger­ous ter­ror­ists in Egypt­ian jails, some of whom were on death row due to the enor­mi­ty of their crimes.

In fact, as I report­ed back in August 2012, many impris­oned ter­ror­ists, includ­ing from Egypt’s noto­ri­ous Islam­ic Jihad organization—which was once led by Ayman Zawahiri—were released under Mor­si.

One year lat­er, in August 2013, soon after the removal of Mor­si, Egypt’s Inte­ri­or Min­istry announced that Egypt was “prepar­ing to can­cel any pres­i­den­tial par­dons issued dur­ing Morsi’s era to ter­ror­ists or crim­i­nals.”

Dur­ing this same call, and in the con­text of par­dons, Mor­si said he would do his best to facil­i­tate the return of Muhammad’s infa­mous broth­er and al-Qae­da leader, Ayman Zawahiri, back to Egypt—“with his head held high,” in accor­dance with Islamist wishes—as well as urge the U.S. to release the “Blind Sheikh” and ter­ror­ist mas­ter­mind, Omar Abdul Rah­man.

In March 2013, I wrote about how Mor­si, dur­ing his Pak­istan vis­it, had report­ed­ly met with Ayman Zawahiri  and made arrange­ments to smug­gle him back to Sinai.  Accord­ing to a Pak­istan source, the meet­ing was “facil­i­tat­ed by ele­ments of Pak­istani intel­li­gence [ISI] and influ­en­tial mem­bers of the Inter­na­tion­al Orga­ni­za­tion, the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.”

The gist of the next two calls between Mor­si and Muham­mad Zawahiri was that, so long as the for­mer is pres­i­dent, he would see to it that all released jihadis and al-Qae­da oper­a­tives are allowed to move freely through­out Egypt and the Sinai, and that the pres­i­den­tial palace would remain in con­stant con­tact with Zawahiri, to make sure every­thing is mov­ing to the sat­is­fac­tion of both par­ties.

Zawahiri fur­ther request­ed that Mor­si allow them to devel­op train­ing camps in Sinai in order to sup­port the Broth­er­hood through trained mil­i­tants. Along with say­ing that the Broth­er­hood intend­ed to form a “rev­o­lu­tion­ary guard” to pro­tect him against any coup, Mor­si added that, in return for al-Qaeda’s and its affil­i­ates’ sup­port, not only would he allow them to have such train­ing camps, but he would facil­i­tate their devel­op­ment in Sinai and give them four facil­i­ties to use along the Egypt­ian-Libyan bor­der.

That Libya is men­tioned is inter­est­ing.  Accord­ing to a Libyan Ara­bic report I trans­lat­ed back in June 2013, those who attacked the U.S. con­sulate in Beng­hazi, killing Amer­i­cans, includ­ing Ambas­sador Chris Stevens, were from jiha­di cells that had been formed in Libya through Egypt­ian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood sup­port.  Those inter­ro­gat­ed named Mor­si and oth­er top Broth­er­hood lead­er­ship as accom­plices.

More evi­dence—includ­ing some that impli­cates the U.S. administration—has mount­ed since then.

Next, Watan makes sev­er­al more asser­tions, all of which are pre­ced­ed by “accord­ing to security/intelligence agen­cies.”  They are:

  • That Mor­si did indeed as he promised, and that he facil­i­tat­ed the estab­lish­ment of four jiha­di train­ing camps.  Mor­si was then Chief in Com­mand of Egypt’s Armed Forces, and through his pow­er of author­i­ty, stopped the mil­i­tary from launch­ing any oper­a­tions includ­ing in the by now al-Qae­da over­run Sinai.
  • That, after Mor­si reached Pak­istan, he had a one-and-a-half hour meet­ing with an asso­ciate of Ayman Zawahiri in a hotel and pos­si­bly spoke with him.
  • That, after Mor­si returned to Egypt from his trip to Pak­istan, he issued anoth­er  list con­tain­ing the names of 20 more con­vict­ed ter­ror­ists con­sid­ered dan­ger­ous to the nation­al secu­ri­ty of Egypt, giv­ing them all pres­i­den­tial pardons—despite the fact that nation­al secu­ri­ty and intel­li­gence strong­ly rec­om­mend­ed that they not be released on grounds of the threat they posed.
  • That the Mus­lim Brotherhood’s inter­na­tion­al wing, includ­ing through the agency of Khairat al-Shater, had pro­vid­ed $50 mil­lion to al-Qae­da in part to sup­port the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in Egypt.

One of the longer con­ver­sa­tions between Mor­si and Zawahiri report­ed by Watan is espe­cial­ly telling of al-Qaeda’s enmi­ty for sec­u­lar­ist Mus­lims and Cop­tic Christians—whose church­es, some 80, were attacked, burned, and destroyed, some with the al-Qae­da flag furled above them, soon after the oust­ing of Mor­si.  I trans­late por­tions below:

Zawahiri: “The teach­ings of Allah need to be applied and enforced; the sec­u­lar­ists have stopped the Islam­ic Sharia, and the response must be a stop to the build­ing of church­es.” (An odd asser­tion con­sid­er­ing how dif­fi­cult it already is for Copts to acquire a repair per­mit for their church­es in Egypt.)

Zawahiri also added that “All those who reject the Sharia must be exe­cut­ed, and all those belong­ing to the sec­u­lar media which work to dis­sem­i­nate debauch­ery and help deviants and Chris­tians to vio­late the Sharia, must be exe­cut­ed.”

Mor­si report­ed­ly replied: “We have tak­en deter­rent mea­sures to com­bat those few, and new leg­isla­tive mea­sures to lim­it their media, and in the near future, we will shut down these media sta­tions and launch large Islam­ic media out­lets.  We are even plan­ning a big bud­get from the [Broth­er­hood] Inter­na­tion­al Group  to launch Islam­ic and jiha­di satel­lite sta­tions  to urge on the jihad. There will be a chan­nel for you and the men of al-Qae­da, and it can be broad­cast from Afghanistan.”

Unde­terred, Zawahiri respond­ed by say­ing, “This [is a] Chris­t­ian media—and some of the media per­son­nel are paid by the [Cop­tic] Church and they work with those who oppose the Sharia… sec­u­lar­ist forces are allied with Chris­t­ian forces, among them Naguib Sawiris, the Chris­t­ian-Jew.”

Mor­si: “Soon we will uphold our promis­es to you.”

In fact, there was a peri­od of time when the sec­u­lar media in Egypt—which was con­stant­ly expos­ing Broth­er­hood machinations—were under severe attack by the Broth­er­hood and Islamists of all stripes (come­di­an Bassem Youssef was the tip of the ice­berg).  In one instance, which I not­ed back in August 2012, six major media sta­tions were attacked by Broth­er­hood sup­port­ers, their employ­ees severe­ly beat.

The last call record­ed between Muham­mad Mor­si and Muham­mad Zawahiri took place on the dawn of June 30, 2013 (the date of the June 30 Rev­o­lu­tion that oust­ed Mor­si and the Broth­er­hood).  Mor­si made the call to Zawahiri in the pres­ence of Asad al-Sheikha, Deputy Chief of Pres­i­den­tial Staff, Refa’ al-Tahtawy, Chief of Pres­i­den­tial Staff, and his per­son­al secu­ri­ty.

Dur­ing this last call, Mor­si incit­ed Zawahiri to rise against the Egypt­ian mil­i­tary in Sinai and asked Zawahiri to com­pel all jiha­di and loy­al­ist ele­ments every­where to come to the aid of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and neu­tral­ize its oppo­nents.

Zawahiri report­ed­ly respond­ed by say­ing “We will fight the mil­i­tary and the police, and we will set the Sinai aflame.

True enough, as I report­ed on July 4, quot­ing from an Ara­bic report: “Al-Qae­da, under the lead­er­ship of Muham­mad Zawahiri, is cur­rent­ly plan­ning reprisal oper­a­tions by which to attack the army and the Mor­si-oppo­si­tion all around the Repub­lic [of Egypt].”  The report added that, right before the depos­ing of Mor­si, Zawahiri had been arrest­ed and was being interrogated—only to be ordered released by yet anoth­er pres­i­den­tial order, and that he  had since fled to the Sinai.

Also on that same first day of the rev­o­lu­tion, Khairat al-Shater, Deputy Leader of the Broth­er­hood, had a meet­ing with a del­e­gate of jiha­di fight­ers and reit­er­at­ed Morsi’s request that all jihadis come to the aid of the pres­i­den­cy and the Broth­er­hood.

As Morsi’s tri­al con­tin­ues, it’s only a mat­ter of time before the truth of these allegations—and their impli­ca­tions for the U.S.—is known.  But one thing is cer­tain: most of them com­port incred­i­bly well with inci­dents and events that took place under Morsi’s gov­ern­ment.

2. A fol­low-up arti­cle by Ibrahim dis­cuss­es the Beng­hazi attack in detail, impli­cat­ing the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and Khairet El-Shater.

“Behind Bengazi: The Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and the Oba­ma Admin­is­tra­tion” by Ray­mond Ibrahim; Ray­mond Ibrahim.com; 8/16/2013.

Evi­dence that Egypt’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood was direct­ly involved in the Sep­tem­ber 11, 2012 ter­ror­ist attack on the U.S. con­sulate in Beng­hazi, where Amer­i­cans includ­ing U.S. ambas­sador to Libya Chris Stevens were killed, con­tin­ues to mount.

First, on June 26, 2013, I pro­duced and par­tial­ly trans­lat­ed what pur­port­ed to be an inter­nal Libyan gov­ern­men­tal memo which was leaked and picked up by many Ara­bic web­sites.  Accord­ing to this doc­u­ment, the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, includ­ing now oust­ed Pres­i­dent Mor­si, played a direct role in the Beng­hazi con­sulate attack. “Based on con­fes­sions derived from some of those arrest­ed at the scene,” assert­ed the report, six peo­ple, “all of them Egyp­tians” from the jihad group Ansar al-Sharia (Sup­port­ers of Islam­ic Law), were arrest­ed.  Dur­ing inter­ro­ga­tions, these Egypt­ian jiha­di cell mem­bers: con­fessed to very seri­ous and impor­tant infor­ma­tion con­cern­ing the finan­cial sources of the group and the plan­ners of the event and the storm­ing and burn­ing of the U.S. con­sulate in Beng­hazi…. And among the more promi­nent fig­ures whose names were men­tioned by cell mem­bers dur­ing con­fes­sions were: Egypt­ian Pres­i­dent Mohamed Mor­si; preach­er Safwat Hegazi; Sau­di busi­ness­man Man­sour Kadasa, own­er of the satel­lite sta­tion, Al-Nas; Egypt­ian Sheikh Muham­mad Has­san; for­mer pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, Haz­im Sal­ih Abu Isma’il…

Four days after this memo appeared, the mil­i­tary-backed June 30 Egypt­ian rev­o­lu­tion took place.  Many of the Islamists in the Libyan doc­u­ment have either been arrested—including Safwat Hegazi and Abu Isma’il—or have arrest war­rants under ter­ror­ism charges.

Walid Shoe­bat fol­lowed up with some impor­tant inves­tiga­tive work con­cern­ing the Libyan doc­u­ment, includ­ing by doc­u­ment­ing that West­ern sources had final­ly acknowl­edged that there is a group called Ansar al-Sharia oper­at­ing in Egypt with a cell in Libya, and that, with the ouster of Muham­mad Mor­si, it (along with al-Qae­da) had declared jihad on Egypt’s mil­i­tary (not to men­tion reg­u­lar civil­ians in gen­er­al, and Cop­tic Chris­tiansin par­tic­u­lar).

The fact is, days after the Beng­hazi attack back in Sep­tem­ber 2012, Mus­lim Broth­er­hood con­nec­tions appeared.  A video made dur­ing the con­sulate attack records peo­ple approach­ing the belea­guered U.S. com­pound; one of them yells to the besiegers in an Egypt­ian dialect, “Don’t shoot—Dr. Mor­si sent us!” appar­ent­ly a ref­er­ence to the for­mer Islamist pres­i­dent.

Most recent­ly, on July 29, 2013, Ahmed Musa, a promi­nent Egypt­ian polit­i­cal insid­er and ana­lyst made sev­er­al asser­tions on Tahrir TV that fur­ther con­nect­ed the dots.  Dur­ing his pro­gram, while berat­ing U.S. ambas­sador Anne Pat­ter­son for her many pro-Broth­er­hood policies—policies that have earned her the hate and con­tempt of mil­lions of Egyp­tians—Musa insist­ed that he had absolute knowl­edge that the mur­der­er of Chris Stevens was Mohsin al-‘Azzazi, whose pass­port was found in Broth­er­hood leader Khairat El-Shater’s home, when the lat­ter was arrest­ed. Accord­ing to the firm assur­ances of polit­i­cal ana­lyst Musa, ‘Azzazi is cur­rent­ly present in Raba‘a al-Adawiya, where he, the sea­soned ter­ror­ist, is prepar­ing to do what he does best—terrorize Egypt, just as the Broth­er­hood have promised, in revenge for the oust­ing of Mor­si.

But why would Mor­si and the Broth­er­hood attack the con­sulate in Libya in the first place?  The day before the embassy attacks, based on lit­tle known but legit­i­mate Ara­bic reports, I wrote an arti­cle titled “Jihadis Threat­en to Burn U.S. Embassy in Cairo,” explain­ing how Islamists—including al-Qaeda—were threat­en­ing to attack the U.S. embassy in Cairo unless the noto­ri­ous Blind Sheikh—an Islamist hero held in prison in the U.S. in con­nec­tion to the first World Trade Cen­ter bombing—was released.  The date Sep­tem­ber 11 was also delib­er­ate­ly cho­sen to attack the embassy to com­mem­o­rate the “hero­ic” Sep­tem­ber 11, 2001 al-Qae­da strikes on Amer­i­ca.  (Regard­less, the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, fol­lowed by the so-called main­stream media, por­trayed the embassy attacks as unplanned reac­tions to an offen­sive movie.)

The the­o­ry is this: in order to nego­ti­ate the release of the Blind Sheikh, the Islamists need­ed an impor­tant Amer­i­can offi­cial to barter in exchange.  And while the vio­lence on U.S. embassies began in Egypt, it seemed log­i­cal that kid­nap­ping an Amer­i­can offi­cial from neigh­bor­ing Libya would be less con­spic­u­ous than in Egypt, where Egyp­tians, includ­ing Mor­si, were call­ing for the release of the Egypt­ian Blind Sheikh.   Thus the U.S. con­sulate in Libya was attacked, Chris Stevens kid­napped, but in the botched attempt, instead of becom­ing a valu­able hostage, he wound up dead.

Add to all this the fact that, despite the very seri­ous charges filed against them—including incit­ing mur­der and ter­ror­ism, and grand treason—the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion, first with Anne Pat­ter­son, and now with Sen­a­tors John McCain and Lind­say Gra­ham, keep pres­sur­ing Egypt to release Broth­er­hood lead­ers; McCain per­son­al­ly even vis­it­ed the civil­ian El-Shater, whose raid­ed home revealed the pass­port of Azzazi, whom Musa claims is the mur­der­er of Stevens.

Need­less to say, at this point, tens of mil­lions of Egyp­tians are con­vinced that U.S. lead­er­ship is ful­ly aware of the Brotherhood’s con­nec­tion to Benghazi—and hence des­per­ate­ly push­ing for the release of Broth­er­hood lead­er­ship, lest, when they are tried in Egypt’s courts, all these scan­dals become com­mon knowl­edge.

Mean­while in the Unit­ed States, to a main­stream Amer­i­can public—conditioned as it is by a main­stream media—all of the above is just a “con­spir­a­cy the­o­ry,” since sure­ly the U.S. gov­ern­ment is trans­par­ent with the Amer­i­can people—except, that is, when it’s not.

3. More about the cor­po­ratist eco­nom­ic phi­los­o­phy of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood fol­lows. Note that Khairat el-Shater was alleged by Egypt­ian intel­li­gence to have been run­ning Mohamed Mor­si, in effect. (We cov­ered this in FTR #787.) In turn, he was report­ed to be serv­ing as a liai­son between Mor­si and Mohamed Zawahiri, the broth­er of Al-Qae­da leader Ayman Zawahiri. Shater was also net­worked with: Anne Pat­ter­son, U.S. ambas­sador to Egypt, GOP Sen­a­tor John McCain and GOP Sen­a­tor Lind­say Gra­ham. In turn, Shater was alleged to have trans­ferred $50 mil­lion from the Egypt­ian Mus­lim Broth­er­hood to Al-Qae­da at the time that he was net­work­ing with the Amer­i­cans and Mor­si. Hey, what’s $50 mil­lion between friends?

“The GOP Broth­er­hood of Egypt” by Avi Ash­er-Schapiro; Salon.com; 1/25/2012.

While West­ern alarmists often depict Egypt’s Mus­lim Broth­er­hood as a shad­owy orga­ni­za­tion with ter­ror­ist ties, the Brotherhood’s ide­ol­o­gy actu­al­ly has more in com­mon with America’s Repub­li­can Par­ty than with al-Qai­da. Few Amer­i­cans know it but the Broth­er­hood is a free-mar­ket par­ty led by wealthy busi­ness­men whose eco­nom­ic agen­da embraces pri­va­ti­za­tion and for­eign invest­ment while spurn­ing labor unions and the redis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth. Like the Repub­li­cans in the U.S., the finan­cial inter­ests of the party’s lead­er­ship of busi­ness­men and pro­fes­sion­als diverge sharply from those of its poor, social­ly con­ser­v­a­tive fol­low­ers.

The Broth­er­hood, which did not ini­tial­ly sup­port the rev­o­lu­tion that began a year ago, reaped its ben­e­fits, cap­tur­ing near­ly half the seats in the new par­lia­ment, which was seat­ed this week, and vault­ing its top lead­ers into posi­tions of pow­er.

Arguably the most pow­er­ful man in the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood is Khairat El-Shater, a mul­ti­mil­lion­aire tycoon whose finan­cial inter­ests extend into elec­tron­ics, man­u­fac­tur­ing and retail. A strong advo­cate of pri­va­ti­za­tion, Al-Shater is one of a cadre of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood busi­ness­men who helped finance the Brotherhood’s Free­dom and Jus­tice Party’s impres­sive elec­toral vic­to­ry this win­ter and is now craft­ing the FJP’s eco­nom­ic agen­da.

At El-Shater’s lux­u­ry fur­ni­ture out­let Istak­bal, a new couch costs about 6,000 Egypt­ian pounds, about $1,000 in U.S. cur­ren­cy. In a coun­try where 40 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion lives on less than $2 a day, Istakbal’s clien­tele is large­ly lim­it­ed to Egypt’s upper class­es.

Although the Broth­ers do draw sig­nif­i­cant sup­port from Egypt’s poor and work­ing class, “the Broth­er­hood is a firm­ly upper-mid­dle-class orga­ni­za­tion in its lead­er­ship,” says Sha­di Hamid, a lead­ing Mus­lim Broth­er­hood expert at the Brook­ings Insti­tu­tion in Wash­ing­ton.

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, these well-to-do Egyp­tians are eager to safe­guard their eco­nom­ic posi­tion in the post-Mubarak Egypt. Despite ris­ing eco­nom­ic inequal­i­ty and pover­ty, the Broth­er­hood does not back rad­i­cal changes in Egypt’s econ­o­my.

The FJP’s eco­nom­ic plat­form is a tame doc­u­ment, rife with promis­es to root out cor­rup­tion and tweak Egypt’s tax and sub­si­dies sys­tems, with occa­sion­al allu­sions to an unspe­cif­ic com­mit­ment to “social jus­tice.” The plat­form prais­es the mech­a­nisms of the free mar­ket and promis­es that the par­ty will work for “bal­anced, sus­tain­able and com­pre­hen­sive eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment.” It is a pro­gram that any Euro­pean con­ser­v­a­tive par­ty could get behind. . . .

4. In a remark­able and very impor­tant new book, Yasha Levine has high­light­ed the role of U.S. tech per­son­nel in train­ing and prep­ping the Arab Spring online activists.

Note while read­ing the fol­low­ing excerpts of this remark­able and impor­tant book, that:

  1. The Tor net­work was devel­oped by, and used and com­pro­mised by, ele­ments of U.S. intel­li­gence.
  2. One of the pri­ma­ry advo­cates and spon­sors of the Tor net­work is the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors. As we saw in FTR #‘s 891, 895, is an exten­sion of the CIA.
  3. Jacob Appel­baum has been financed by the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, advo­cates use of the Tor net­work, has helped Wik­iLeaks with its exten­sive use of the Tor net­work, and is a the­o­ret­i­cal accolyte of Ayn Rand.

Sur­veil­lance Val­ley by Yasha Levine; Copy­right 2018 by Yasha Levine; Pub­lic Affairs Hatch­ette Book Group [HC]; ISBN 978–1‑61039–802‑2; pp. 248–250.

. . . . With­in weeks, mas­sive antigov­ern­ment protests spread to Egypt, Alge­ria, Oman, Jor­dan, Libya, and Syr­ia. The Arab Spring had arrived.

In Tunisia and Egypt, these protest move­ments top­pled long-stand­ing dic­ta­tor­ships from with­in. In Libya, oppo­si­tion forces deposed and sav­age­ly killed Muam­mar Gaddafi, knif­ing him in the anus, after an exten­sive bomb­ing cam­paign from NATO forces. In Syr­ia, protests were met with a bru­tal crack­down from Bashar Assad’s gov­ern­ment, and led to a pro­tract­ed war that would claim hun­dreds of thou­sands of lives and trig­ger the worst refugee cri­sis in recent his­to­ry, pulling in Sau­di Ara­bia, Turkey, Israel, the CIA, the Russ­ian Air Force and spe­cial oper­a­tions teams, Al-Qae­da, and ISIL. Arab Spring turned into a long, bloody win­ter. . . .

. . . . The idea that social media could be weaponized against coun­tries and gov­ern­ments deemed hos­tile to US inter­ests was­n’t a sur­prise. For years, the State Depart­ment, in part­ner­ship with the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors and com­pa­nies like Face­book and Google, had worked to train activists from around the world on how to use Inter­net tools and social media to orga­nize oppo­si­tion polit­i­cal move­ments. Coun­tries in Asia, the Mid­dle East, and Latin Amer­i­ca as well as for­mer Sovi­et sites like the Ukraine and Belarus were all on the list. Indeed, the New York Times report­ed that many of the activists who played lead­ing roles in the Arab Spring–from Egypt to Syr­ia to Yemen–had tak­en part in these train­ing ses­sions.

“The mon­ey spent on these pro­grams was minute com­pared with efforts led by the Pen­ta­gon,” report­ed the New York Times in April of 2011. “But as Amer­i­can offi­cials and oth­ers look back at the upris­ings of the Arab Spring, they are see­ing that the Unit­ed States’ democ­ra­cy-build­ing cam­paigns played a big­ger role in foment­ing protests than was pre­vi­ous­ly known, with key lead­ers of the move­ments hav­ing been trained by the Amer­i­cans in Cam­paign­ing, orga­niz­ing through new media tools and mon­i­tor­ing elec­tions.” The train­ings were polit­i­cal­ly charged and were seen as a threat by Egypt, Yemen, and Bahrain–all of which lodged com­plaints with the State Depart­ment to stop med­dling in their domes­tic affairs, and even barred US offi­cials from enter­ing their coun­tries.

An Egypt­ian youth polit­i­cal leader who attend­ed State Depart­ment train­ing ses­sions and then went on to led protests in Cairo told the New York Times, “We learned how to orga­nize and build coali­tions. This cer­tain­ly helped dur­ing the rev­o­lu­tion.” A dif­fer­ent youth activist, who had par­tic­i­pat­ed in Yemen’s upris­ing, was equal­ly enthu­si­as­tic about the State Depart­ment social media train­ing: “It helped me very much because I used to think that change only takes place by force and by weapons.”

Staff from the Tor Project played a role in some of these train­ings, tak­ing part in a series of Arab Blog­ger ses­sions in Yemen, Tunisia, Jor­dan, Lebanon, and Bahrain, where Jacob Appel­baum taught oppo­si­tion activists how to use Tor to get around gov­ern­ment cen­sor­ship. “Today was fan­tas­tic . . . . real­ly a fan­tas­tic meet­ing of minds in the Arab world! It’s enlight­en­ing and hum­bling to have ben invit­ed. I real­ly have to rec­om­mend vis­it­ing Beirut. Lebanon is an amaz­ing place. . . . Appel­baum tweet­ed after an Arab Blog­gers train­ing event in 2009, adding“IF you’d like to help Tor please sign up and help trans­late Tor soft­ware in Ara­bic.”

Activists lat­er put the skills taught at these train­ing ses­sions to use dur­ing the Arab Spring, rout­ing around Inter­net blocks that their gov­ern­ments threw up to pre­vent them from using social media to orga­nize protests. “There would be no access to Twit­ter or Face­book in some of these places if you did­n’t have Tor. All of the sud­den, you had all these dis­si­dents explod­ing under their noses, and then down the road you had a rev­o­lu­tion,” Nass­er Wed­dady, a promi­nent Arab Spring activist from Mau­ri­ta­nia, lat­er told Rolling Stone. Wed­dady, who had tak­en part in the Tor Pro­jec­t’s train­ing ses­sions and who had trans­lat­ed a wide­ly cir­cu­lat­ed guide on how to use the tool into Ara­bic, cred­it­ed it with help­ing keep the Arab Spring upris­ings alive. “Tor ren­dered the gov­ern­men­t’s efforts com­plete­ly futile. They sim­ply did­n’t have the know-how to counter that move.” . . . .

 

 

Discussion

7 comments for “FTR #1026 The So-Called “Arab Spring” Revisited, Part 2”

  1. Yasha Levine’s book was eye-open­ing, in many ways com­pat­i­ble with the excel­lent work you’ve been doing on tech­no­crat­ic fas­cism.

    Specif­i­cal­ly with regards to Jacob Apple­baum and Libya, on social media (specif­i­cal­ly Twit­ter) Apple­baum open­ly bragged about delib­er­ate­ly launch­ing cyber attacks on Libya from Feb­ru­ary 2011 through­out the war. (See image for a sum­ma­ry, cred­it to “@UmfuldCares” https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DoloqP_UwAAeatM.jpg)

    Much of his pub­licly-hint­ed exploits may have been false or even delib­er­ate decep­tion in them­selves, but in any event the impli­ca­tions are extreme­ly dis­turb­ing. Wik­ileaks is a pro-West­ern far-right extrem­ist oper­a­tion mas­querad­ing as exact­ly the oppo­site of what it actu­al­ly is!

    Posted by Richard Schroeder | October 5, 2018, 8:30 pm
  2. The donors list of the Alter­na­tive Influ­encers Net­work (hit piece) Report Is like see­ing all the peo­ple Dave talks about in one place.

    Posted by Ken Lee | October 8, 2018, 9:05 pm
  3. As the mys­tery of the dis­ap­pear­ance, and like­ly mur­der, of the miss­ing Sau­di jour­nal­ist Jamal Khashog­gi con­tin­ues to roil Wash­ing­ton, here’s an inter­est­ing WSJ arti­cle that describes the nature of Khashog­gi’s dis­si­dent views. And, sur­prise!, it sounds like Khashog­gi was a long-time Sau­di insid­er with views that were broad­ly aligned with the Sau­di monar­chy. He was a scion of a promi­nent Sau­di fam­i­ly and embraced the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-inspired polit­i­cal Islam ide­ol­o­gy in his youth.

    As a jour­nal­ist, he trav­eled to Afghanistan dur­ing the 80’s and became the first Arab jour­nal­ist to inter­view Osama bin Laden. Dur­ing the 90’s, he would report from across the Mid­dle East and was removed as edi­tor of a lead­ing Sau­di dai­ly, Al Watan, three times for his rel­a­tive­ly dis­sent­ing views like as crit­i­ciz­ing the reli­gious estab­lish­ment.

    And yet he remained close to the Sau­di estab­lish­ment dur­ing this peri­od as a dis­si­dent Sau­di jour­nal­ist, includ­ing being a friend of the bil­lion­aire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal and work­ing as an advi­sor for Prince Tur­ki al-Faisal, a for­mer head of Sau­di intel­li­gence, dur­ing the prince’s time as ambas­sador to the U.K. and the U.S. Al-Faisal became ambas­sador to the UK in 2003 and suc­ceed­ed Prince Ban­dar as the ambas­sador to the US in 2005. Keep in mind that close ties to Sau­di intel­li­gence chief and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in the lat­er 1990’s/early 2000’s places Khashog­gi in a rather inter­est­ing spot regard­ing the 9/11 attacks and the role Sau­di intel­li­gence and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood played in financ­ing, exe­cut­ing, and cov­er­ing up those attacks.

    As we’re going to see in the sec­ond arti­cle below, Khashog­gi was appar­ent­ly close to Khaled Saf­fu­ri. Recall how Saf­fu­ri co-found­ed the Islam­ic Free Mar­ket Insti­tute with Grover Norquist and how Saf­fu­ri attend­ed the 2003 meet­ing in the Bush White House when the inves­ti­ga­tion into Bank al-Taqwa and its role in the 9/11 attacks was inter­ced­ed and thwart­ed.

    Khashog­gi’s sup­port for the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood appears to be the fatal line he crossed. He held the view that democ­ra­cy in the Mus­lim world was insep­a­ra­ble from polit­i­cal Islam and that the dri­ve by the Sau­di monar­chy to crush the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood rep­re­sent­ed a cam­paign against democ­ra­cy in gen­er­al in the Mus­lim world. On August 28, he wrote, “The erad­i­ca­tion of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood is noth­ing less than an abo­li­tion of democ­ra­cy and a guar­an­tee that Arabs will con­tin­ue liv­ing under author­i­tar­i­an and cor­rupt regimes...There can be no polit­i­cal reform and democ­ra­cy in any Arab coun­try with­out accept­ing that polit­i­cal Islam is a part of it.” So from Khashog­gi’s stand­point, the only accept­able form of democ­ra­cy is the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood form of democ­ra­cy. But as we’ve seen places like Turkey — where Erdo­gan is mak­ing a mock­ery of Turk­ery’s democ­ra­cy — and Egypt — where the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-led Mor­si gov­ern­ment was in the process of rad­i­cal­ly cor­rupt­ing Egyp­t’s fledg­ling democ­ra­cy and turn­ing it into a state run by an Islamist high court before the mil­i­tary retook pow­er — the real­i­ty is that democ­ra­cy in the Mus­lim world is incom­pat­i­ble with a crypt-fas­cist author­i­tar­i­an move­ment like the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

    Khashog­gi was also close to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan and his Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-led gov­ern­ment. He knew Erdo­gan per­son­al­ly and was a friend to some of Erdo­gan’s clos­est advis­ers. This prob­a­bly helps explain Turkey’s extreme pub­lic anger in response to Khashog­gi’s mur­der.

    It was­n’t until the rise of Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) as the de fact head of the Sau­di gov­ern­ment that Khashog­gi tru­ly con­sid­ered flee­ing his coun­try. Recall that that peo­ple as pow­er­ful as Prince Alwaleed bin Talal were arrest­ed in ‘anti-cor­rup­tion’ mass arrests last year, so it’s not like Khashog­gi did­n’t have rea­sons to fear arrest him­self despite his decades of being a tol­er­at­ed crit­ic of the Sau­di regime. Inter­est­ing­ly, it sounds like it was Khashog­gi’s crit­i­cisms of Pres­i­dent Trump after the 2016 elec­tions, dur­ing the peri­od when the Sau­di gov­ern­ment was but­ter­ing Trump up for bet­ter rela­tions, that led to the MBS gov­ern­ment ban­ning Khashog­gi from speak­ing pub­licly. It was fol­low­ing this ban from speak­ing that Khashog­gi left Sau­di Ara­bia. It was after leav­ing that he became an opin­ion writer for the Wash­ing­ton Post.

    Khashog­gi was also appar­ent­ly plan­ning on some sort of pro-democ­ra­cy dri­ve for the Arab world and formed an orga­ni­za­tion, Democ­ra­cy for the Arab World Now, in ear­ly 2018. So when we try­ing to under­stand why it is that the Sau­di gov­ern­ment thought the brazen kid­nap­ping and mur­der on for­eign soil of one of its more promi­nent crit­ics, it’s going to be impor­tant to keep in mind that the Sau­di regime may have seen Khashog­gi as the like­ly leader of an upcom­ing regime change oper­a­tion against them. It points to the mul­ti-dimen­sion­al tragedy of the sit­u­a­tion: it’s trag­ic this guy was mur­dered by his gov­ern­ment for being a dis­si­dent. It’s espe­cial­ly trag­ic that he was a dis­si­dent who appeared to be gear­ing up for a pos­si­ble regime change cam­paign against a regime that most assured­ly deserves to be over­thrown. But per­haps the most trag­ic part is that it was going to be a ‘pro-democ­ra­cy’ move­ment ded­i­cat­ed to installing the cryp­to-fas­cist Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in pow­er under the guise of being ‘pro-democ­ra­cy’:

    The Wall Street Jour­nal

    Miss­ing Jour­nal­ist Was an Insid­er Will­ing to Cross Sau­di Red Lines
    Jamal Khashog­gi ran­kled author­i­ties with social­ly lib­er­al views and sym­pa­thy for the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood

    By Margheri­ta Stan­cati in Beirut and
    Nan­cy A. Youssef in Wash­ing­ton
    Oct. 12, 2018 4:33 p.m. ET

    The mys­tery sur­round­ing Jamal Khashog­gi, who dis­ap­peared after enter­ing the Sau­di con­sulate in Istan­bul on Oct. 2, has drawn scruti­ny to the Sau­di government’s efforts to silence crit­ics at home and abroad.

    But Mr. Khashoggi’s case is more com­pli­cat­ed.

    While he had become known as a dis­si­dent writer in recent years, he was a long­time insid­er who remained close to some of Sau­di Arabia’s most pow­er­ful princes.

    One of the country’s best-known jour­nal­ists, he clashed with the cler­i­cal estab­lish­ment for his social­ly lib­er­al views. His sym­pa­thy for demo­c­ra­t­ic move­ments drew the ire of the Sau­di gov­ern­ment, par­tic­u­lar­ly for the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, which the roy­al fam­i­ly views as a threat to its absolute monar­chy.

    The rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the crack­down he over­saw against dis­si­dents rang­ing from cler­ics to women’s rights activists, pit­ted Mr. Khashog­gi against the estab­lish­ment that had long tol­er­at­ed him, and ulti­mate­ly he decid­ed to leave for the U.S. last year.

    Fel­low Saud­is implored him to return with a mix­ture of blunt intim­i­da­tion and sub­tle flat­tery he sus­pect­ed was a trap. Sau­di offi­cials told him that his views were val­ued, and that he could con­tribute to the monarchy’s new vision—maybe even work with the gov­ern­ment, accord­ing to his friends who recount­ed these con­ver­sa­tions. Pro-Sau­di gov­ern­ment Twit­ter users hound­ed him, brand­ing him a trai­tor.

    “Your end will be painful, Mr. Jamal,” one Twit­ter user told him in March.

    Turk­ish offi­cials now sus­pect Mr. Khashog­gi was mur­dered by a Sau­di intel­li­gence hit squad in the con­sulate the day he vis­it­ed. The Sau­di gov­ern­ment has denied the accu­sa­tion, and claimed Mr. Khashog­gi left the build­ing short­ly after he entered it. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for the Sau­di gov­ern­ment didn’t respond to requests for com­ment for this arti­cle.

    The jour­nal­ist, who was 59 when he dis­ap­peared, had believed he was safe in Istan­bul. “He trust­ed Turkey even more than the U.S.,” said a Sau­di friend of Mr. Khashog­gi.

    Mr. Khashog­gi was close to the gov­ern­ment of Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan, whose ties with Sau­di Ara­bia had become increas­ing­ly strained in recent years. Turkey backed Qatar in its diplo­mat­ic spat with Sau­di Ara­bia last year, and like Qatar, Turkey also dif­fers with Sau­di Ara­bia over its view of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

    Mr. Khashog­gi knew Pres­i­dent Erdo­gan per­son­al­ly and was a friend to some of his clos­est advis­ers, say peo­ple who knew him. Dur­ing a con­fer­ence in Turkey this past spring, he met Hat­ice Cen­giz, a Ph.D. stu­dent. Over the sum­mer they agreed to mar­ry.

    For most of his life, Mr. Khashoggi’s views broad­ly aligned with those of the Sau­di estab­lish­ment. A scion of a promi­nent Sau­di fam­i­ly, he embraced in his youth the wave of Islamist fer­vor that swept the king­dom and was influ­enced by Mus­lim Broth­er­hood ide­ol­o­gy.

    He trav­eled to Afghanistan as a jour­nal­ist, where he became the first Arab jour­nal­ist to inter­view Osama bin Laden in the late 1980s. “A lot of them went to fight. He went to report,” said Peter Bergen, an Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist and aca­d­e­m­ic who knew Mr. Khashog­gi.

    In the 1990s, he report­ed from across the Mid­dle East, where he became acquaint­ed with dif­fer­ent schools of polit­i­cal Islam. He was removed three times as edi­tor of a lead­ing Sau­di dai­ly, Al Watan, for cross­ing red lines, such as crit­i­ciz­ing the reli­gious estab­lish­ment.

    Through it all, he main­tained close ties to some of Sau­di Arabia’s most pow­er­ful princes. In the ear­ly 2000s, he served as an advis­er to Prince Tur­ki al-Faisal, a for­mer head of Sau­di intel­li­gence, dur­ing the prince’s time as ambas­sador to the U.K. and the U.S. He was a friend of the bil­lion­aire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal.

    “He had been part of the estab­lish­ment,” said Ger­ald Feier­stein, a for­mer top State Depart­ment offi­cial for the Mid­dle East, who knew him.

    Until the cur­rent Sau­di lead­er­ship came to pow­er, Mr. Khashog­gi nev­er thought of leav­ing his home­land, he said over mul­ti­ple con­ver­sa­tions with The Wall Street Jour­nal before his death.

    That began to change in 2016. After the elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Trump, Mr. Khashog­gi made com­ments crit­i­cal of him. The Sau­di gov­ern­ment, eager to cul­ti­vate bet­ter rela­tions with the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, swift­ly banned him from speak­ing pub­licly, Mr. Khashog­gi told the Jour­nal.

    Fear­ing he would be arrest­ed or banned from leav­ing, he left Sau­di Ara­bia. In the U.S., he became a con­trib­u­tor to the opin­ion pages of The Wash­ing­ton Post, which along with his near­ly two mil­lion Twit­ter fol­low­ers, gave his praise and crit­i­cism of the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly enor­mous weight. In his penul­ti­mate col­umn, Mr. Khashog­gi said democ­ra­cy in the Mid­dle East couldn’t hap­pen with­out the inclu­sion of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

    “The erad­i­ca­tion of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood is noth­ing less than an abo­li­tion of democ­ra­cy and a guar­an­tee that Arabs will con­tin­ue liv­ing under author­i­tar­i­an and cor­rupt regimes,” Mr. Khashog­gi wrote Aug. 28. “There can be no polit­i­cal reform and democ­ra­cy in any Arab coun­try with­out accept­ing that polit­i­cal Islam is a part of it.” ?

    He main­tained cor­dial rela­tions with some Sau­di offi­cials.

    “Jamal has many friends in the king­dom, includ­ing myself, and despite our dif­fer­ences, and his choice to go into his so-called self-exile, we still main­tained reg­u­lar con­tact when he was in Wash­ing­ton,” Prince Khalid bin Salman, the Sau­di ambas­sador to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and a son of King Salman, told reporters ear­li­er this week. He has dis­missed accu­sa­tions of offi­cial Sau­di involve­ment in the journalist’s dis­ap­pear­ance as base­less.

    Among the Sau­di offi­cials who con­tact­ed him after his depar­ture was Crown Prince Mohammed’s media advis­er, Saud al-Qah­tani, accord­ing to a Sau­di friend of Mr. Khashog­gi.

    “They told him: ‘You are a valu­able voice, you should return to Sau­di Ara­bia,’” recalled the friend. “They were try­ing to lure him back.”

    His depar­ture had come around the time when Sau­di Ara­bia and its clos­est allies broke diplo­mat­ic ties with neigh­bor­ing Qatar, cit­ing Doha’s sup­port for the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood among the rea­sons.

    Much to the frus­tra­tion of the Sau­di gov­ern­ment, Mr. Khashog­gi con­tin­ued to write favor­ably about the group.

    U.S. offi­cials have point­ed to Mr. Khashoggi’s views on the Broth­er­hood as one issue that like­ly irri­tat­ed Sau­di roy­al­ty.

    “There is very lit­tle nuance in how the Per­sian Gulf monar­chies see the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood,” Andrew Miller, deputy direc­tor for pol­i­cy at the Project on Mid­dle East Democ­ra­cy. “They view them as an inher­ent threat and evil.”

    Although he denounced the rapid­ly shrink­ing space for pub­lic dis­course in the king­dom, he applaud­ed some of the social reforms spear­head­ed by Crown Prince Mohammed, such as the deci­sion to allow women to dri­ve.

    Mr. Khashog­gi became deeply home­sick, but he didn’t feel safe enough to return.

    Mr. Khashog­gi has four adult chil­dren, three of whom are U.S. cit­i­zens, a U.S. offi­cial said. The fourth, a son named Salah, is in Sau­di Ara­bia and holds Sau­di cit­i­zen­ship. The Sau­di gov­ern­ment barred Salah from trav­el­ing out­side the king­dom after his father left the coun­try, accord­ing to friends of the jour­nal­ist. Mr. Khashog­gi lob­bied to have the ban lift­ed, appeal­ing to Sau­di offi­cials includ­ing Mr. al-Qah­tani, the crown prince’s media advis­er, and Prince Khalid, the ambas­sador, but to no avail.

    Still, his crit­i­cism of the monar­chy alien­at­ed him from his fam­i­ly back home, and he and his Sau­di wife soon agreed to divorce.

    Dur­ing his time in exile, Mr. Khashoggi’s views on the monar­chy hard­ened. In ear­ly 2018, he found­ed a pro-democ­ra­cy non­prof­it group called Democ­ra­cy for the Arab World Now, accord­ing to a friend.

    Mr. Khashog­gi was prepar­ing to start a new life with his Turk­ish fiancée, Ms. Cen­giz, who accom­pa­nied him to the con­sulate on Oct. 2 and said he nev­er came out it. He had an appoint­ment to pick up doc­u­ments relat­ed to his divorce.

    ...

    ———-

    “Miss­ing Jour­nal­ist Was an Insid­er Will­ing to Cross Sau­di Red Lines” by Margheri­ta Stan­cati in Beirut and Nan­cy A. Youssef; The Wall Street Jour­nal; 10/12/2018

    “While he had become known as a dis­si­dent writer in recent years, he was a long­time insid­er who remained close to some of Sau­di Arabia’s most pow­er­ful princes.

    A dis­si­dent Mus­lim Broth­er­hood insid­er. That’s more or less who Jamal Khashog­gi was dur­ing his decades as a jour­nal­ist, which high­lights how deeply inter­twined the Sau­di regime and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood real­ly are despite the fact that the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood has offi­cial­ly become one of the pri­ma­ry ene­mies of the Sau­di monar­chy in recent years. Khashog­gi even became the first Arab jour­nal­ist to inter­view Osama bin Laden — who was lead­ing a heav­i­ly Sau­di-backed mil­i­tary oper­a­tion in Afghanistan that was basi­cal­ly a mil­i­tant Mus­lim Broth­er­hood off­shoot — in the late 80’s:

    ...
    For most of his life, Mr. Khashoggi’s views broad­ly aligned with those of the Sau­di estab­lish­ment. A scion of a promi­nent Sau­di fam­i­ly, he embraced in his youth the wave of Islamist fer­vor that swept the king­dom and was influ­enced by Mus­lim Broth­er­hood ide­ol­o­gy.

    He trav­eled to Afghanistan as a jour­nal­ist, where he became the first Arab jour­nal­ist to inter­view Osama bin Laden in the late 1980s. “A lot of them went to fight. He went to report,” said Peter Bergen, an Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist and aca­d­e­m­ic who knew Mr. Khashog­gi.

    In the 1990s, he report­ed from across the Mid­dle East, where he became acquaint­ed with dif­fer­ent schools of polit­i­cal Islam. He was removed three times as edi­tor of a lead­ing Sau­di dai­ly, Al Watan, for cross­ing red lines, such as crit­i­ciz­ing the reli­gious estab­lish­ment.
    ...

    Khashog­gi was also close to one of the biggest cen­ters of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood pow­er in the world today: Erdo­gan’s AKP-led gov­ern­ment:

    ...
    One of the country’s best-known jour­nal­ists, he clashed with the cler­i­cal estab­lish­ment for his social­ly lib­er­al views. His sym­pa­thy for demo­c­ra­t­ic move­ments drew the ire of the Sau­di gov­ern­ment, par­tic­u­lar­ly for the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, which the roy­al fam­i­ly views as a threat to its absolute monar­chy.

    ...

    Mr. Khashog­gi was close to the gov­ern­ment of Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan, whose ties with Sau­di Ara­bia had become increas­ing­ly strained in recent years. Turkey backed Qatar in its diplo­mat­ic spat with Sau­di Ara­bia last year, and like Qatar, Turkey also dif­fers with Sau­di Ara­bia over its view of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

    Mr. Khashog­gi knew Pres­i­dent Erdo­gan per­son­al­ly and was a friend to some of his clos­est advis­ers, say peo­ple who knew him. Dur­ing a con­fer­ence in Turkey this past spring, he met Hat­ice Cen­giz, a Ph.D. stu­dent. Over the sum­mer they agreed to mar­ry.
    ...

    And in his final col­umn as a Wash­ing­ton Post opin­ion writer, Khashog­gi wrote that the Sau­di gov­ern­men­t’s attempts to crush the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood “is noth­ing less than an abo­li­tion of democ­ra­cy and a guar­an­tee that Arabs will con­tin­ue liv­ing under author­i­tar­i­an and cor­rupt regimes...There can be no polit­i­cal reform and democ­ra­cy in any Arab coun­try with­out accept­ing that polit­i­cal Islam is a part of it.” In oth­er words, the only accept­able for of democ­ra­cy for the Mus­lim world is the theo­crat­ic style of democ­ra­cy backed by the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, which isn’t real­ly a democ­ra­cy but a theoc­ra­cy with a veneer of democ­ra­cy:

    ...
    Until the cur­rent Sau­di lead­er­ship came to pow­er, Mr. Khashog­gi nev­er thought of leav­ing his home­land, he said over mul­ti­ple con­ver­sa­tions with The Wall Street Jour­nal before his death.

    That began to change in 2016. After the elec­tion of Pres­i­dent Trump, Mr. Khashog­gi made com­ments crit­i­cal of him. The Sau­di gov­ern­ment, eager to cul­ti­vate bet­ter rela­tions with the Trump admin­is­tra­tion, swift­ly banned him from speak­ing pub­licly, Mr. Khashog­gi told the Jour­nal.

    Fear­ing he would be arrest­ed or banned from leav­ing, he left Sau­di Ara­bia. In the U.S., he became a con­trib­u­tor to the opin­ion pages of The Wash­ing­ton Post, which along with his near­ly two mil­lion Twit­ter fol­low­ers, gave his praise and crit­i­cism of the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly enor­mous weight. In his penul­ti­mate col­umn, Mr. Khashog­gi said democ­ra­cy in the Mid­dle East couldn’t hap­pen with­out the inclu­sion of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

    “The erad­i­ca­tion of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood is noth­ing less than an abo­li­tion of democ­ra­cy and a guar­an­tee that Arabs will con­tin­ue liv­ing under author­i­tar­i­an and cor­rupt regimes,” Mr. Khashog­gi wrote Aug. 28. “There can be no polit­i­cal reform and democ­ra­cy in any Arab coun­try with­out accept­ing that polit­i­cal Islam is a part of it.” ?
    ...

    A despite his long-stand­ing pro-Mus­lim Broth­er­hood views, he remained quite close to the Sau­di estab­lish­ment, even serv­ing as an advis­er to Prince Tur­ki al-Faisal:

    ...
    Through it all, he main­tained close ties to some of Sau­di Arabia’s most pow­er­ful princes. In the ear­ly 2000s, he served as an advis­er to Prince Tur­ki al-Faisal, a for­mer head of Sau­di intel­li­gence, dur­ing the prince’s time as ambas­sador to the U.K. and the U.S. He was a friend of the bil­lion­aire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal.

    “He had been part of the estab­lish­ment,” said Ger­ald Feier­stein, a for­mer top State Depart­ment offi­cial for the Mid­dle East, who knew him.
    ...

    But Khashog­gi clear­ly did­n’t see those estab­lish­ment ties as being enough to pro­tect him dur­ing the MBS crack­down last year, so he fled. And then start­ed plan­ning a pro-democ­ra­cy move­ment, which seems like a like­ly trig­ger for his pre­sumed mur­der:

    .
    ...
    Dur­ing his time in exile, Mr. Khashoggi’s views on the monar­chy hard­ened. In ear­ly 2018, he found­ed a pro-democ­ra­cy non­prof­it group called Democ­ra­cy for the Arab World Now, accord­ing to a friend.

    Mr. Khashog­gi was prepar­ing to start a new life with his Turk­ish fiancée, Ms. Cen­giz, who accom­pa­nied him to the con­sulate on Oct. 2 and said he nev­er came out it. He had an appoint­ment to pick up doc­u­ments relat­ed to his divorce.
    ...

    So he cre­at­ed Democ­ra­cy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) ear­li­er this year and months lat­er he’s mur­dered by his gov­ern­ment on Turk­ish soil.

    Now let’s take a clos­er at the pro-democ­ra­cy plans Khashog­gi had in mind for the Mid­dle East. In addi­tion to DAWN, he also had plans to set up a media watch orga­ni­za­tion to track press free­doms and an eco­nom­ic-focused web­site to trans­late inter­na­tion­al reports into Ara­bic. And, of course, polit­i­cal Islamists were going to be pro­mot­ed.

    And as the arti­cle also notes, one of his friends hap­pens to be Khaled Saf­fu­ri, co-founder of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-affil­i­at­ed Islam­ic Free-Mar­ket Insti­tute (also known as the Islam­ic Insti­tute) he co-found­ed with Grover Norquist. So between his close ties to Erdo­gan’s gov­ern­ment and key Mus­lim Broth­er­hood fig­ures like Saf­fu­ri it’s pret­ty clear that Khashog­gi’s pro-democ­ra­cy project was real­ly going to be a pro-Mus­lim Broth­er­hood project.

    And that’s part of why killing Khashog­gi in such an out­ra­geous man­ner was such a mas­sive risk for the Sau­di monar­chy. Because while the Saud­is may have killed Khashog­gi, it’s not like they killed the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and now Khashog­gi’s death can be used as a pro-democ­ra­cy (pro-Mus­lim Broth­er­hood) ral­ly­ing cry:

    Asso­ci­at­ed Press

    Miss­ing Sau­di writer had big plans for his trou­bled region

    By SARAH EL DEEB
    10/12/2018

    BEIRUT (AP) — The Sau­di con­trib­u­tor to the Wash­ing­ton Post who went miss­ing more than a week ago and is feared dead had major plans, includ­ing a string of new projects to pro­mote inclu­sive­ness and account­abil­i­ty lack­ing around the Arab world, his friends say.

    Jamal Khashog­gi, a pro­lif­ic writer and com­men­ta­tor, was work­ing qui­et­ly with intel­lec­tu­als, reformists and Islamists to launch a group called Democ­ra­cy for the Arab World Now. He want­ed to set up a media watch orga­ni­za­tion to keep track of press free­dom.

    He also planned to launch an eco­nom­ic-focused web­site to trans­late inter­na­tion­al reports into Ara­bic to bring sober­ing real­i­ties to a pop­u­la­tion often hun­gry for real news, not pro­pa­gan­da.

    Part of Khashoggi’s approach was to include polit­i­cal Islamists in what he saw as democ­ra­cy build­ing. That — along with his sharp crit­i­cisms of the kingdom’s crack­downs on crit­ics, its war in Yemen and its pol­i­cy on Iran — put him at odds with the rulers of Sau­di Ara­bia, which deeply oppos­es Islamists like the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, see­ing them as a threat.

    The Sau­di jour­nal­ist, whose 60th birth­day is this week­end, had also per­son­al plans. He bought an apart­ment in Istan­bul and planned to mar­ry the day after he dis­ap­peared. He planned to com­mute between Istan­bul and his home in Vir­ginia.

    Khashog­gi entered the Sau­di con­sulate in Istan­bul on Oct.2 and has yet to emerge. Turk­ish offi­cials believe he was killed in side the build­ing by a death squad that flew in from Sau­di Ara­bia.

    A friend and neigh­bor in the Unit­ed States, where Khashog­gi had a con­do since 2008, said the Sau­di writer had the con­tacts and resources to make his plans work.

    “He had the wis­dom of a 60-year-old. He had the ener­gy and a cre­ativ­i­ty of a 20-some­thing,” he said, ask­ing to remain anony­mous out of respect for Khashoggi’s fam­i­ly.

    Khashog­gi had incor­po­rat­ed his democ­ra­cy advo­ca­cy group, DAWN, in Jan­u­ary in Delaware, said Khaled Saf­fu­ri, anoth­er friend. The group was still in the plan­ning stages, and Khashog­gi was work­ing on it qui­et­ly, like­ly con­cerned it could cause trou­ble for asso­ciates, includ­ing activists in the Gulf, Saf­fu­ri said.

    The project was expect­ed to reach out to jour­nal­ists and lob­by for change, rep­re­sent­ing both Islamists and lib­er­als, said anoth­er friend, Azzam Tami­mi, a promi­nent Pales­tin­ian-British activist and TV pre­sen­ter.

    Tami­mi had planned to inter­view Khashog­gi about the project on his show on Thurs­day, air­ing from Istan­bul. Instead, the show was held with an emp­ty chair with Khashoggi’s pic­ture on it as guests dis­cussed the case.

    “Democ­ra­cy is cur­rent­ly being slaugh­tered every­where. He want­ed to alert West­ern pub­lic opin­ion to the dan­gers of remain­ing silent in the face of the assas­si­na­tion of democ­ra­cy,” Tami­mi told the AP. “The Mus­lim Broth­ers and Islamists were the biggest vic­tims of the foiled Arab spring.”

    Tami­mi said he and Khashog­gi had set up a sim­i­lar pro-democ­ra­cy project togeth­er in 1992 when they first met. It was called Friends of Democ­ra­cy in Alge­ria, he said, and fol­lowed the botched elec­tions in Alge­ria, which the gov­ern­ment annulled to avert an immi­nent Islamist vic­to­ry.

    Khashog­gi spoke out against pow­er­ful ultra­con­ser­v­a­tive cler­ics in Sau­di Ara­bia. He was a voice of reform when Sau­di Ara­bia came under intense crit­i­cism fol­low­ing the 9/11 attacks, in which a dozen Saud­is were impli­cat­ed.

    When Sun­ni Islamists rose to pow­er in oth­er parts of the region, Khashog­gi was prag­mat­ic. He argued that the future of the region can’t be with­out Islamists and denounced gov­ern­ments’ crack­downs on them. He argued the most effec­tive way to chal­lenge Iran’s grow­ing influ­ence in the region is by allow­ing Sun­ni polit­i­cal Islam— a rival to Shi­ite Iran— to be rep­re­sent­ed in gov­ern­ments.

    Khashog­gi was to mar­ry his Turk­ish fiancée on Oct. 3.

    ...

    Saf­fu­ri said he was sur­prised Khashog­gi returned to the con­sulate. He said his friend avoid­ed going to the Sau­di Embassy in Wash­ing­ton and didn’t talk to diplo­mats.

    “He didn’t trust them. He knew they were up to some­thing bad.”

    ———–

    “Miss­ing Sau­di writer had big plans for his trou­bled region” by SARAH EL DEEB; Asso­ci­at­ed Press; 10/12/2018

    “Jamal Khashog­gi, a pro­lif­ic writer and com­men­ta­tor, was work­ing qui­et­ly with intel­lec­tu­als, reformists and Islamists to launch a group called Democ­ra­cy for the Arab World Now. He want­ed to set up a media watch orga­ni­za­tion to keep track of press free­dom.”

    He want­ed to set up a media watch orga­ni­za­tion to keep track of press free­dom. And was also close to the Erdo­gan gov­ern­ment. It’s quite a con­tra­dic­tion.

    And, of course, part of this pro-democ­ra­cy project was to include polit­i­cal Islamists (which are typ­i­cal­ly pro-theoc­ra­cy in real­i­ty) into this democ­ra­cy build­ing project. But giv­en his views that democ­ra­cy can’t func­tion in the Arab world with­out polit­i­cal Islam, it’s hard to fore­see his project as mere­ly includ­ing polit­i­cal Islamists as opposed to being run by and for polit­i­cal Islamists:

    ...
    He also planned to launch an eco­nom­ic-focused web­site to trans­late inter­na­tion­al reports into Ara­bic to bring sober­ing real­i­ties to a pop­u­la­tion often hun­gry for real news, not pro­pa­gan­da.

    Part of Khashoggi’s approach was to include polit­i­cal Islamists in what he saw as democ­ra­cy build­ing. That — along with his sharp crit­i­cisms of the kingdom’s crack­downs on crit­ics, its war in Yemen and its pol­i­cy on Iran — put him at odds with the rulers of Sau­di Ara­bia, which deeply oppos­es Islamists like the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, see­ing them as a threat.
    ...

    High­light­ing this is the fact one of his friends who is famil­iar with is pro-democ­ra­cy plans is none oth­er than ibe if the more impor­tant con­tem­po­rary fig­ures in the glob­al net­work of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood enti­ties with ties a broad array of Sun­ni ter­ror groups, Khaled Saf­fu­ri:

    ...
    Khashog­gi had incor­po­rat­ed his democ­ra­cy advo­ca­cy group, DAWN, in Jan­u­ary in Delaware, said Khaled Saf­fu­ri, anoth­er friend. The group was still in the plan­ning stages, and Khashog­gi was work­ing on it qui­et­ly, like­ly con­cerned it could cause trou­ble for asso­ciates, includ­ing activists in the Gulf, Saf­fu­ri said.

    ...

    Saf­fu­ri said he was sur­prised Khashog­gi returned to the con­sulate. He said his friend avoid­ed going to the Sau­di Embassy in Wash­ing­ton and didn’t talk to diplo­mats.

    “He didn’t trust them. He knew they were up to some­thing bad.”
    ...

    And the oth­er friend of Khashog­gi cit­ed in the arti­cle is Assam Tami­mi, an open backer of Hamas, anoth­er Mus­lim Broth­er­hood affil­i­ate:

    ...
    The project was expect­ed to reach out to jour­nal­ists and lob­by for change, rep­re­sent­ing both Islamists and lib­er­als, said anoth­er friend, Azzam Tami­mi, a promi­nent Pales­tin­ian-British activist and TV pre­sen­ter.

    Tami­mi had planned to inter­view Khashog­gi about the project on his show on Thurs­day, air­ing from Istan­bul. Instead, the show was held with an emp­ty chair with Khashoggi’s pic­ture on it as guests dis­cussed the case.

    “Democ­ra­cy is cur­rent­ly being slaugh­tered every­where. He want­ed to alert West­ern pub­lic opin­ion to the dan­gers of remain­ing silent in the face of the assas­si­na­tion of democ­ra­cy,” Tami­mi told the AP. “The Mus­lim Broth­ers and Islamists were the biggest vic­tims of the foiled Arab spring.”

    Tami­mi said he and Khashog­gi had set up a sim­i­lar pro-democ­ra­cy project togeth­er in 1992 when they first met. It was called Friends of Democ­ra­cy in Alge­ria, he said, and fol­lowed the botched elec­tions in Alge­ria, which the gov­ern­ment annulled to avert an immi­nent Islamist vic­to­ry.
    ...

    So it’s look­ing like the mur­der of Khashog­gi is lat­est chap­ter in this long, weird love/hate rela­tion­ship between the Sau­di monar­chy and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. A rela­tion­ship that has soured sub­stan­tial­ly in recent years. Recent years that hap­pened to show­case the util­i­ty of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood as a ‘pro-democ­ra­cy’ fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion capa­ble of deliv­ery a pati­na of ‘demo­c­ra­t­ic legit­i­ma­cy’ to a coun­try while still main­tain­ing an under­ly­ing pro-cor­po­ratist neolib­er­al and author­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ing mod­el.

    The nur­tur­ing of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood by the Saud­is was always a gam­ble. A gam­ble that they were nur­tur­ing their even­tu­al replace­ment. And giv­en that the Sau­di monar­chy’s staunch west­ern allies are also staunch Mus­lim Broth­er­hood allies it’s hard to argue that the Sau­di regime should fear a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-led rev­o­lu­tion some­day.

    So let’s hope that one of the lessons the world learns from the grim chap­ter of Jamal Khashog­gi’s appar­ent mur­der is the les­son of the pro­found need for the nur­tur­ing of pro-democ­ra­cy move­ments for the Arab world that aren’t fronts for the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and oth­er cryp­to-fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions.

    If this this sto­ry serves as a tan­gen­tial pub­lic reminder of the coverup of the pro­found role played by both the Sau­di gov­ern­ment and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood in the 9/11 attacks that would also be nice.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 13, 2018, 3:06 pm
  4. The New York Times has a piece on Jamal Khashog­gi’s back­ground that answers one of the obvi­ous ques­tions that’s raised by any sto­ries involv­ing some­one named Khashog­gi: So was Jamal relat­ed to famed Sau­di arms deal­er Adnan Khashog­gi? And it turns out the answer is yes, Adnan was Jamal’s Uncle. Although it does­n’t sound like Jamal was a ben­e­fi­cia­ry of Adnan’s wealth. In addi­tion to all the scan­dals that Adnan Khashog­gi was involved with — Iran Con­tra, BCCI, etc — it’s also worth recall the var­i­ous shows done with Daniel Hop­sick­er that cov­ered the ties of peo­ple mov­ing in the orbit of the 9/11 hijack­ers who had ties to Adnan Khashog­gi.

    The arti­cle gives more infor­ma­tion about his back­ground work­ing with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and it con­tains two pret­ty reveal­ing obser­va­tions: He’s believed by friends to have joined the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood at some point, although he lat­er stopped attend­ing its meet­ings. But he remained con­ver­sant in its con­ser­v­a­tive, Islamist and often anti-West­ern rhetoric and he could deploy or hide that rhetoric depend­ing on whom he was seek­ing to befriend. So it sounds like the extent of his rela­tion­ship and sup­port for the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood was some­thing he kept some­what obscured. This is under­stand­able giv­en the tricky line he had to walk as a promi­nent Sau­di fig­ure but it also high­lights the fact that he was prob­a­bly a big­ger sup­port­er of the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood than he actu­al­ly pub­licly let on. To the extent of being a secret mem­ber.

    Anoth­er inter­est­ing anec­dote comes for Khashog­gi’s pro-Hamas friend, and Mus­lim Broth­er­hood leader, Azzam Tami­mi. Fol­low­ing a mil­i­tary coup in Alger­ian in 1992 that pre­vent­ed an Islamist polit­i­cal par­ty from win­ning con­trol of the Par­lia­ment, Khashog­gi and Tami­mi qui­et­ly set up an orga­ni­za­tion in Lon­don called “The Friends of Democ­ra­cy in Alge­ria”. Tami­mi act­ed as the pub­lic face of the group and hid Khashog­gi’s role. So that’s one exam­ple of Khashog­gi secret­ly work­ing on a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood project.

    The arti­cle goes on to say that by the time he reached his 50’s, Khashog­gi’s rela­tion­ship with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood was ambigu­ous. Mus­lim Broth­er­hood mem­bers say they always felt he was with them but Khashog­gi’s sec­u­lar friends would have nev­er believed it. This, again, points towards a rela­tion­ship with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood that was much deep­er than pub­licly revealed:

    The New York Times

    For Khashog­gi, a Tan­gled Mix of Roy­al Ser­vice and Islamist Sym­pa­thies

    By Ben Hub­bard and David D. Kirk­patrick
    Oct. 14, 2018

    BEIRUT, Lebanon — Jamal Khashog­gi land­ed in Wash­ing­ton last fall, leav­ing behind a long list of bad news back home.

    After a suc­cess­ful career as an advis­er to and unof­fi­cial spokesman for the roy­al fam­i­ly of Sau­di Ara­bia, he had been barred from writ­ing in the king­dom, even on Twit­ter, by the new crown prince. His col­umn in a Sau­di-owned Arab news­pa­per was can­celed. His mar­riage was col­laps­ing. His rel­a­tives had been for­bid­den to trav­el to pres­sure him to stop crit­i­ciz­ing the kingdom’s rulers.

    Then, after he arrived in the Unit­ed States, a wave of arrests put a num­ber of his Sau­di friends behind bars, and he made his dif­fi­cult deci­sion: It was too dan­ger­ous to return home any­time soon — and maybe for­ev­er.

    So in the Unit­ed States, he rein­vent­ed him­self as a crit­ic, con­tribut­ing columns to The Wash­ing­ton Post and believ­ing he had found safe­ty in the West.

    But as it turned out, the West’s pro­tec­tion extend­ed only so far.

    Mr. Khashog­gi was last seen on Oct. 2 enter­ing the Sau­di Con­sulate in Istan­bul, where he need­ed to pick up a doc­u­ment for his wed­ding. There, Turk­ish offi­cials say, a team of Sau­di agents killed and dis­mem­bered him.

    Sau­di offi­cials have denied harm­ing Mr. Khashog­gi, but near­ly two weeks after his dis­ap­pear­ance, they have failed to pro­vide evi­dence that he left the con­sulate and have offered no cred­i­ble account of what hap­pened to him.

    His dis­ap­pear­ance has opened a rift between Wash­ing­ton and Sau­di Ara­bia, the chief Arab ally of the Trump admin­is­tra­tion. And it has bad­ly dam­aged the rep­u­ta­tion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the 33-year-old pow­er behind the Sau­di throne, who this time may have gone too far for even for his staunchest sup­port­ers in the West.

    The pos­si­bil­i­ty that the young prince ordered a hit on a dis­si­dent pos­es chal­lenges for Pres­i­dent Trump and may turn once warm rela­tion­ships tox­ic. It could con­vince those gov­ern­ments and cor­po­ra­tions that had over­looked the prince’s destruc­tive mil­i­tary cam­paign in Yemen, his kid­nap­ping of the Lebanese prime min­is­ter and his waves of arrests of cler­ics, busi­ness­men and fel­low princes that he is a ruth­less auto­crat who will stop at noth­ing to get his ene­mies.

    While the dis­ap­pear­ance has cast a harsh new light on the crown prince, it has also brought atten­tion to the tan­gled sym­pa­thies through­out Mr. Khashoggi’s career, where he bal­anced what appears to have been a pri­vate affin­i­ty for democ­ra­cy and polit­i­cal Islam with his long ser­vice to the roy­al fam­i­ly.

    His attrac­tion to polit­i­cal Islam helped him forge a per­son­al bond with Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan of Turkey, who is now demand­ing that Sau­di Ara­bia explain his friend’s fate.

    The idea of self-exile in the West was a blow for Mr. Khashog­gi, 60, who had worked as a reporter, com­men­ta­tor and edi­tor to become one of the kingdom’s best known per­son­al­i­ties. He first drew inter­na­tion­al atten­tion for inter­view­ing a young Osama bin Laden and lat­er became well-known as a con­fi­dant of kings and princes.

    His career left him extra­or­di­nar­i­ly well-con­nect­ed, and the tall, gre­gar­i­ous, easy­go­ing man seemed to know every­one who had any­thing to do with Sau­di Ara­bia over the last three decades.

    But set­tling in Wash­ing­ton had advan­tages. A friend invit­ed him for Thanks­giv­ing last year and he shared a pho­to of him­self at din­ner with his 1.7 mil­lion Twit­ter fol­low­ers, tuck­ing into turkey and yams.

    When his turn came to share what he was thank­ful for, he said: “Because I have become free, and I can write freely.”

    Accord­ing to inter­views with dozens of peo­ple who knew Mr. Khashog­gi and his rela­tion­ship with the Sau­di lead­er­ship, it was his pen­chant for writ­ing freely, and his orga­niz­ing to push for polit­i­cal reform from abroad, that put him on a col­li­sion course with the crown prince.

    While Sau­di Ara­bia has long been ruled accord­ing to the con­sen­sus of senior princes, Crown Prince Mohammed has dis­man­tled that sys­tem, leav­ing his own pow­er large­ly unchecked. If a deci­sion was tak­en to silence a per­ceived trai­tor, it like­ly would have been his.

    Osama, Adnan and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood

    Mr. Khashoggi’s first claim to fame was his acquain­tance with Osama bin Laden. Mr. Khashog­gi had spent time in Jid­da, Bin Laden’s home­town, and, like Bin Laden, he came from a promi­nent non­roy­al fam­i­ly. Mr. Khashoggi’s grand­fa­ther was a doc­tor who had treat­ed Sau­di Arabia’s first king. His uncle was Adnan Khashog­gi, a famous arms deal­er, although Jamal Khashog­gi did not ben­e­fit from his uncle’s wealth.

    Mr. Khashog­gi stud­ied at Indi­ana State Uni­ver­si­ty and returned to Sau­di Ara­bia to report for an Eng­lish-lan­guage news­pa­per. Sev­er­al of his friends say that ear­ly on Mr. Khashog­gi also joined the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

    Although he lat­er stopped attend­ing meet­ings of the Broth­er­hood, he remained con­ver­sant in its con­ser­v­a­tive, Islamist and often anti-West­ern rhetoric, which he could deploy or hide depend­ing on whom he was seek­ing to befriend.

    His news­pa­per col­leagues recalled him as friend­ly, thought­ful and devout. He often led com­mu­nal prayers in the news­room, recalled Shahid Raza Bur­ney, an Indi­an edi­tor who worked with him.

    Like many Saud­is in the 1980s, Mr. Khashog­gi cheered for the jihad against the Sovi­ets in Afghanistan, which was sup­port­ed by the C.I.A. and Sau­di Ara­bia. So when he got an invi­ta­tion to see it for him­self from anoth­er young Sau­di, Bin Laden, Mr. Khashog­gi jumped at the chance.

    In Afghanistan, Mr. Khashog­gi wore local dress and had his pho­to tak­en hold­ing an assault rifle, much to his edi­tors’ cha­grin. But it does not appear that he actu­al­ly fought while on assign­ment there.

    “He was there as a jour­nal­ist first and fore­most, admit­ted­ly as some­one sym­pa­thet­ic to the Afghan jihad, but so were most Arab jour­nal­ists at the time — and many West­ern jour­nal­ists,” said Thomas Heg­gham­mer, a Nor­we­gian researcher who inter­viewed Mr. Khashog­gi about his time in Afghanistan.

    His col­leagues con­curred.

    “To say that Jamal was some kind of an extrem­ist is all lies,” said Mr. Bur­ney, now a news­pa­per edi­tor in India.

    But the war’s fail­ure to put Afghanistan on sound foot­ing haunt­ed Mr. Khashog­gi, as did Bin Laden’s lat­er turn to ter­ror­ism.

    “He was dis­ap­point­ed that after all that strug­gle, the Afghans nev­er got togeth­er,” said a Sau­di friend of Mr. Khashoggi’s who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymi­ty for fear of reprisals.

    Mr. Khashoggi’s trips to Afghanistan and his rela­tion­ship with Prince Tur­ki al-Faisal, who head­ed Sau­di intel­li­gence, made some of Mr. Khashoggi’s friends sus­pect he was also spy­ing for the Sau­di gov­ern­ment.

    Years lat­er, after Amer­i­can com­man­dos killed Bin Laden in Pak­istan in 2011, Mr. Khashog­gi mourned his old acquain­tance and what he had become.

    “I col­lapsed cry­ing a while ago, heart­bro­ken for you Abu Abdul­lah,” Mr. Khashog­gi wrote on Twit­ter, using Bin Laden’s nick­name. “You were beau­ti­ful and brave in those beau­ti­ful days in Afghanistan, before you sur­ren­dered to hatred and pas­sion.”

    From Reporter to Roy­al Insid­er

    As his jour­nal­ism career took off, Mr. Khashog­gi report­ed from Alge­ria and drove into Kuwait dur­ing the first Gulf War. He climbed the lad­der of the kingdom’s media world, where princes own news­pa­pers, con­tent is cen­sored and scan­dals involv­ing roy­als are buried.

    After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he blast­ed the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries com­mon in the Arab world, writ­ing that the hijacked planes “also attacked Islam as a faith and the val­ues of tol­er­ance and coex­is­tence that it preach­es.”

    He was named edi­tor of the Sau­di news­pa­per Al Watan in 2003, but fired less than two months lat­er over an arti­cle blam­ing an esteemed Islam­ic schol­ar for teach­ings used to jus­ti­fy attacks on non-Mus­lims. He was rein­stat­ed in 2007 and last­ed a bit longer in his sec­ond tenure.

    He trav­eled with King Abdul­lah and grew close to Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the bil­lion­aire investor, who was lat­er arrest­ed by Crown Prince Mohammed. Prince Tur­ki, the for­mer intel­li­gence chief, hired Mr. Khashog­gi as an advis­er when he served as ambas­sador to Britain and the Unit­ed States.

    It was dur­ing his time there that Mr. Khashog­gi bought the con­do in McLean, Va., where he would live after flee­ing the king­dom.

    Back­ing Upris­ings Abroad, Reforms at Home

    Many of Mr. Khashoggi’s friends say that through­out his career of ser­vice to the monar­chy, he hid his per­son­al lean­ings in favor of both elec­toral democ­ra­cy and Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-style polit­i­cal Islam.

    When a mil­i­tary coup in Alge­ria in 1992 dashed the hopes of an Islamist polit­i­cal par­ty to win con­trol of the Par­lia­ment there, Mr. Khashog­gi qui­et­ly teamed up with an Islamist friend in Lon­don to start an orga­ni­za­tion called “The Friends of Democ­ra­cy in Alge­ria.”

    The group took out adver­tise­ments in news­pa­pers in Britain before its par­lia­men­tary elec­tions that read, “When you go to cast your vote, remem­ber that this is a boun­ty many peo­ple around the world are denied, includ­ing Alge­ri­ans,” recalled his friend, Azzam Tami­mi, who act­ed as the pub­lic face of the effort and hid Mr. Khashoggi’s role.

    By the time he reached his 50s, Mr. Khashoggi‘s rela­tion­ship with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood was ambigu­ous. Sev­er­al Mus­lim Broth­ers said this week that they always felt he was with them. Many of his sec­u­lar friends would not have believed it.

    Mr. Khashog­gi nev­er called for more than grad­ual reforms to the Sau­di monar­chy, even­tu­al­ly sup­port­ing its mil­i­tary inter­ven­tions to deter what the Saud­is con­sid­ered Iran­ian influ­ence in Bahrain and Yemen. But he was enthu­si­as­tic about the upris­ings that broke out across much of the Arab world in 2011.

    Like the Afghan jihad before them, how­ev­er, the move­ments of the Arab Spring dis­ap­point­ed him as they col­lapsed into vio­lence and as Sau­di Ara­bia and the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates used their wealth to crush oppo­si­tion and bol­ster auto­crats.

    “He nev­er liked that Sau­di Ara­bia used their poli­cies accel­er­at­ing the crack­down around the region,” said Sig­urd Neubauer, a Mid­dle East ana­lyst in Wash­ing­ton who knew Mr. Khashog­gi.

    The kingdom’s tol­er­ance for even min­i­mal crit­i­cism fad­ed after King Salman ascend­ed to the throne in 2015 and gave tremen­dous pow­er to his son, Mohammed, the crown prince known infor­mal­ly by his ini­tials as M.B.S.

    The young prince announced a pro­gram to diver­si­fy the econ­o­my and loos­ened social struc­tures, includ­ing by grant­i­ng women the right to dri­ve.

    Mr. Khashog­gi applaud­ed those moves, but chafed at the author­i­tar­i­an way the prince wield­ed pow­er. When Mr. Khashog­gi crit­i­cized Mr. Trump after his elec­tion, for exam­ple, Sau­di offi­cials for­bade him to speak, fear­ing he would harm their rela­tion­ship with the new admin­is­tra­tion.

    Crown Prince Mohammed went after his crit­ics with all his pow­er, bar­ring them from trav­el and throw­ing some in jail. Mr. Khashog­gi left the king­dom last year, before scores of his friends were round­ed up and hun­dreds of promi­nent Saud­is were locked in the Riyadh Ritz-Carl­ton on accu­sa­tions of cor­rup­tion. A num­ber of them, includ­ing at least two sons of for­mer kings, are still detained.

    Mr. Khashog­gi began con­tribut­ing columns to The Wash­ing­ton Post, com­par­ing Crown Prince Mohammed to Pres­i­dent Vladimir V. Putin of Rus­sia. Mr. Khashoggi’s friends assumed such writ­ing land­ed him on the prince’s black­list.

    “Mohammed bin Salman had been pay­ing mil­lions of dol­lars to cre­ate a cer­tain image of him­self, and Jamal Khashog­gi was destroy­ing all of it with just a few words,” said Mr. Tami­mi, the friend. “The crown prince must have been furi­ous.”

    But Mr. Khashog­gi didn’t stop.

    He was plan­ning to start a web­site to pub­lish trans­lat­ed reports about the economies of Arab coun­tries, includ­ing Sau­di Ara­bia, where he felt many peo­ple did not under­stand the scale of cor­rup­tion or the lim­it­ed future of the oil wealth.

    He was also found­ing an orga­ni­za­tion called Democ­ra­cy in the Arab World Now, or DAWN, an advo­ca­cy group. Mr. Khashog­gi was try­ing to secure fund­ing and set up a board when he dis­ap­peared, friends said.

    Receiv­ing an award in April from the Islamist-lean­ing Cen­ter for the Study of Islam and Democ­ra­cy, Mr. Khashog­gi said democ­ra­cy was under attack across the Arab world by rad­i­cal Islamists, author­i­tar­i­ans and elites who feared that pop­u­lar par­tic­i­pa­tion would bring chaos. Pow­er shar­ing, he said, was the only way to stop civ­il wars and ensure bet­ter gov­er­nance.

    Crown Prince Mohammed “is invest­ing hun­dreds of bil­lions of dol­lars into future projects and he’s doing that depend­ing on his own abil­i­ty to judge and the abil­i­ty of a small cir­cle of advis­ers,” Mr. Khashog­gi said. “Is that enough? No, it is not enough.”

    ...

    ———-

    “For Khashog­gi, a Tan­gled Mix of Roy­al Ser­vice and Islamist Sym­pa­thies” by Ben Hub­bard and David D. Kirk­patrick; The New York Times; 10/14/2018

    “The idea of self-exile in the West was a blow for Mr. Khashog­gi, 60, who had worked as a reporter, com­men­ta­tor and edi­tor to become one of the kingdom’s best known per­son­al­i­ties. He first drew inter­na­tion­al atten­tion for inter­view­ing a young Osama bin Laden and lat­er became well-known as a con­fi­dant of kings and princes.”

    A con­fi­dant of kings and princes and a friend of Osama bin Laden. It’s an inter­est­ing back­ground. A back­ground that includes being the nephew of Adnan Khashog­gi:

    ...
    Osama, Adnan and the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood

    Mr. Khashoggi’s first claim to fame was his acquain­tance with Osama bin Laden. Mr. Khashog­gi had spent time in Jid­da, Bin Laden’s home­town, and, like Bin Laden, he came from a promi­nent non­roy­al fam­i­ly. Mr. Khashoggi’s grand­fa­ther was a doc­tor who had treat­ed Sau­di Arabia’s first king. His uncle was Adnan Khashog­gi, a famous arms deal­er, although Jamal Khashog­gi did not ben­e­fit from his uncle’s wealth.
    ...

    And then there’s Jamal Khashog­gi’s ambigu­ous ties to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood. Ambigu­ous because it sounds like he was hid­ing much deep­er ties:

    ...
    Mr. Khashog­gi stud­ied at Indi­ana State Uni­ver­si­ty and returned to Sau­di Ara­bia to report for an Eng­lish-lan­guage news­pa­per. Sev­er­al of his friends say that ear­ly on Mr. Khashog­gi also joined the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood.

    Although he lat­er stopped attend­ing meet­ings of the Broth­er­hood, he remained con­ver­sant in its con­ser­v­a­tive, Islamist and often anti-West­ern rhetoric, which he could deploy or hide depend­ing on whom he was seek­ing to befriend.
    ...

    At the same time, his rela­tion­ship with Prince Tur­ki al-Faisal led his friends to sus­pect he was also a Sau­di spy:

    ...
    Mr. Khashoggi’s trips to Afghanistan and his rela­tion­ship with Prince Tur­ki al-Faisal, who head­ed Sau­di intel­li­gence, made some of Mr. Khashoggi’s friends sus­pect he was also spy­ing for the Sau­di gov­ern­ment.
    ...

    And then there’s the anec­dote of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood fig­ure Azzam Tami­mi, one of Khashog­gi’s friends, where the two set up a orga­ni­za­tion in 1992 to protest the Alge­ria coup to stop an Islamist par­ty from tak­ing pow­er. And the they Tami­mi describes it, Khashog­gi’s role in this was kept hid­den, rais­ing ques­tions about how many oth­er projects like this Khashog­gi may have secret­ly worked on with the Broth­er­hood over the years:

    ...
    Back­ing Upris­ings Abroad, Reforms at Home

    Many of Mr. Khashoggi’s friends say that through­out his career of ser­vice to the monar­chy, he hid his per­son­al lean­ings in favor of both elec­toral democ­ra­cy and Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-style polit­i­cal Islam.

    When a mil­i­tary coup in Alge­ria in 1992 dashed the hopes of an Islamist polit­i­cal par­ty to win con­trol of the Par­lia­ment there, Mr. Khashog­gi qui­et­ly teamed up with an Islamist friend in Lon­don to start an orga­ni­za­tion called “The Friends of Democ­ra­cy in Alge­ria.”

    The group took out adver­tise­ments in news­pa­pers in Britain before its par­lia­men­tary elec­tions that read, “When you go to cast your vote, remem­ber that this is a boun­ty many peo­ple around the world are denied, includ­ing Alge­ri­ans,” recalled his friend, Azzam Tami­mi, who act­ed as the pub­lic face of the effort and hid Mr. Khashoggi’s role.

    By the time he reached his 50s, Mr. Khashoggi‘s rela­tion­ship with the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood was ambigu­ous. Sev­er­al Mus­lim Broth­ers said this week that they always felt he was with them. Many of his sec­u­lar friends would not have believed it.
    ...

    “Sev­er­al Mus­lim Broth­ers said this week that they always felt he was with them. Many of his sec­u­lar friends would not have believed it.”

    And that’s all part of why Jamal Khashog­gi real­ly does appear to qual­i­fy for ‘Inter­na­tion­al Man of Mys­tery’ sta­tus. He’s got deep ties to the Sau­di estab­lish­ment, the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, fig­ures like his uncle Adnan Khashog­gi (anoth­er Inter­na­tion­al Man of Mys­tery), and yet he appar­ent­ly man­aged to obscure much of this from his sec­u­lar friends. That’s pret­ty mys­te­ri­ous.

    In tan­gen­tial fun fact, it’s worth recall­ing that Adnan Khashog­gi sold his famous yacht, the Nabi­la, to none oth­er than Don­ald Trump fol­low­ing Khashog­gi’s legal down­fall. It was a $70 mil­lion yacht sold for a bar­gain price of $30 mil­lion:

    Van­i­ty Fair

    Khashoggi’s Fall

    Lav­ish vil­las, per­fumed houris, cos­tume balls, fab­u­lous deals with for­eign pow­ers and Ori­en­tal potentates—Adnan Khashoggi’s life was an eight­ies remake of The Thou­sand and One Nights. The rumors start­ed dur­ing the Iran-con­tra scan­dal, and the Sau­di arms deal­er once tout­ed as the rich­est man in the world had to resort to such incon­ve­nient economies as sell­ing his famous yacht to Don­ald Trump. Now, after three months in a Swiss jail, he’s been extra­dit­ed to the U.S. on charges of mail fraud and obstruc­tion of jus­tice.
    by

    Dominick Dunne
    Sep­tem­ber 1989

    Adnan Khashog­gi was nev­er the rich­est man in the world, ever, but he flaunt­ed the myth that he was with such relent­less per­se­ver­ance and pub­lic-rela­tions know-how that most of the world believed him. The pow­er of great wealth is awe­some. If you have enough mon­ey, you can bam­boo­zle any­one. Even if you can cre­ate the illu­sion that you have enough mon­ey you can bam­boo­zle any­one, as Adnan Khashog­gi did over and over again. He under­stood high vis­i­bil­i­ty bet­ter than the most shame­less Hol­ly­wood press agent, and he made him­self one of the most famous names of our time. Who doesn’t know about his yachts, his planes, his dozen hous­es, his wives, his hook­ers, his gifts, his par­ties, his friend­ships with movie stars and jet-set mem­bers, and his com­pan­ion­ship with kings and world lead­ers? His daz­zling exis­tence out­shone even that of his prime bene­fac­tors in the roy­al fam­i­ly of Sau­di Arabia—a bedaz­zle­ment that led to their even­tu­al dis­af­fec­tion for him.

    Now, report­ed­ly broke, or broke by the stan­dards of peo­ple with great wealth—his yacht gone, his planes gone, his dozen hous­es gone, or going, and his rep­u­ta­tion in smithereens—he has recent­ly spent three months pac­ing rest­less­ly in a six-by-eight-foot prison cell in Bern, Switzer­land, where the major­i­ty of his fel­low pris­on­ers were in on drug charges. True, he dined there on gourmet food from the Schweiz­er­hof Hotel, but he also had to clean his own cell and toi­let as a small army of inter­na­tion­al lawyers fought to pre­vent his extra­di­tion to the Unit­ed States to face charges of rack­e­teer­ing and obstruc­tion of jus­tice. Final­ly, Khashog­gi dropped his efforts to avoid extra­di­tion when the Swiss ruled that he would face pros­e­cu­tion only for obstruc­tion of jus­tice and mail fraud, not for the more seri­ous charges of rack­e­teer­ing and con­spir­a­cy. On July 19, accom­pa­nied by Swiss law-enforce­ment agents, he arrived in New York from Gene­va first-class on a Swis­sair flight, hand­cuffed like a com­mon crim­i­nal but dressed in an olive-drab safari suit with gold but­tons and epaulets. He was imme­di­ate­ly whisked to the fed­er­al cour­t­house on Foley Square, a tiny fig­ure sur­round­ed by a cadre of lawyers and fed­er­al mar­shals, where Judge John F. Keenan refused to grant him bail. He spent his first night in three years in Amer­i­ca not in his Olympic Tow­er aerie but in the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Cor­rec­tion­al Cen­ter. No mem­ber of his imme­di­ate fam­i­ly was present to wit­ness his humil­i­a­tion.

    Alleged­ly, he helped his friends Fer­di­nand and Imel­da Mar­cos plun­der the Philip­pines of some $160 mil­lion by fronting for them in ille­gal real-estate deals. When Unit­ed States author­i­ties attempt­ed to return some of the Mar­cos booty to the new Philip­pine gov­ern­ment, they dis­cov­ered that the own­er­ship of four large com­mer­cial build­ings in New York City—the Crown Build­ing at 730 Fifth Avenue, the Her­ald Cen­ter at 1 Her­ald Square, 40 Wall Street, and 200 Madi­son Avenue—had passed to Adnan Khashog­gi. On paper it seemed that the sale of the build­ings had tak­en place in 1985, but author­i­ties lat­er charged that the doc­u­ments had been fraud­u­lent­ly back­dat­ed. In addi­tion, more than thir­ty paint­ings, val­ued at $200 mil­lion, that Imel­da Mar­cos had alleged­ly pur­loined from the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Mani­la, includ­ing works by Rubens, El Gre­co, Picas­so, and Degas, were being stored by Khashog­gi for the Mar­coses, but it turned out that the pic­tures had been sold to Khashog­gi as part of a cov­er-up. The art trea­sures were first hid­den on his yacht and then moved to his pent­house in Cannes. The pent­house was raid­ed by the French police in a search for the pic­tures in April 1987, but it is believed that Khashog­gi had been tipped off. He turned over nine of the paint­ings to the police, claim­ing to have sold the oth­ers to a Pana­man­ian com­pa­ny, but inves­ti­ga­tors believe that he sold the pic­tures back to him­self. The rest of the loot is thought to be in Athens. If he is found guilty, such charges could get him up to ten years in an Amer­i­can slam­mer.

    In a vain delay tac­tic meant to fore­stall the extra­di­tion process as long as pos­si­ble, he had at first refused to accept hun­dreds of pages of Eng­lish-lan­guage legal doc­u­men­ta­tion in any lan­guage but Ara­bic, although he has spo­ken Eng­lish near­ly all his life and was edu­cat­ed par­tial­ly in the Unit­ed States.

    ...

    Short­ly after I was asked to write about Adnan Khashog­gi, fol­low­ing his arrest, his exec­u­tive assis­tant, Robert Sha­heen, con­tact­ed this mag­a­zine, aware of my assign­ment. He said that I should call him, and I did.

    “I under­stand,” I said, “that you are the num­ber-two man to Mr. Khashog­gi.”

    “I am Mr. Khasoggi’s num­ber-one man,” he cor­rect­ed me. Then he said, “What is it you want? What will be your angle be in your sto­ry?” I told him that at that point I didn’t know. Shaheen’s rev­er­ence for his boss was evi­dent in every sen­tence, and his descrip­tions of him were some­times florid. “He dared to dream dreams that no one else dared to dream,” he said with a bit of a catch in his voice. He pro­ceed­ed to list some of the accom­plish­ments of his boss, whom he always referred to as the Chief. The Chief was respon­si­ble for open­ing the West to Sau­di Ara­bia. “The Chief saved the Cairo tele­phone sys­tem. The Chief saved Lock­heed from going bank­rupt.” He then told me, “You must talk with Max Helzel. He is a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Lock­heed. Get him before he dies. He is get­ting old. Men­tion my name to him.”

    An Amer­i­can of Syr­i­an descent, Sha­heen went to Sau­di Ara­bia to teach Eng­lish in the late fifties, and there he met Khashog­gi. He has described his job with Khashog­gi in their long asso­ci­a­tion as being sim­i­lar to that of the chief of staff at the White House. Any­one wish­ing to meet with Khashog­gi for a busi­ness propo­si­tion had to go through him first. He car­ried the Chief’s mon­ey. He sched­uled the air fleet’s flights. He trav­eled with him. He became his apol­o­gist when things start­ed to go wrong. After the deba­cle in Salt Lake City, he said, “Peo­ple in Salt Lake City can’t hold Adnan respon­si­ble. He del­e­gat­ed all respon­si­bil­i­ty to Amer­i­can exec­u­tives, and it was up to them to make a suc­cess. Adnan still believes in Salt Lake City.” And he became, like his boss, a very rich man him­self through the con­tacts he made. At the close of our con­ver­sa­tion, Sha­heen told me that it was very unlike­ly that I would get into the prison in Bern, although he would do what he could to help me.

    The night before I left New York, I was at a din­ner par­ty in a beau­ti­ful Fifth Avenue apart­ment over­look­ing Cen­tral Part. There were six­teen peo­ple, among them the high-fly­ing Don­ald and Ivana Trump, one of New York’s rich­est and most dis­cussed cou­ples, and a major top­ic of con­ver­sa­tion was Khashoggi’s impris­on­ment. “I read every word about Adnan Khashog­gi,” Don­ald Trump said to me.

    A sto­ry that Trump fre­quent­ly tells is about his pur­chase of Khashoggi’s yacht, the 282-foot, $70 mil­lion Nabi­la, thought to be the most opu­lent pri­vate ves­sel afloat. In addi­tion to the inevitable dis­cotheque, with laser beams that pro­ject­ed Khashoggi’s face, the float­ing palace also had an oper­at­ing room and a morgue, with coffins. Forced to sell it for a mere $30 mil­lion, Khashog­gi did not want Trump to keep the name Nabi­la, because it was his daughter’s name. Trump had no inten­tion, ever, of keep­ing the name. He had already decid­ed to rename it the Trump Princess. But for some rea­son Khashog­gi thought Trump meant to retain the name, and he knocked a mil­lion dol­lars off the ask­ing price to ensure the name change. Trump accept­ed the deduc­tion.

    “Khashog­gi was a great bro­ker and a lousy busi­ness­man,” Trump said to me that night. “He under­stood the art of bring­ing peo­ple togeth­er and putting togeth­er a deal bet­ter than almost anyone—all the bull­shit­ting part, of talk and entertainment—but he nev­er knew how to invest his mon­ey. If he had put his com­mis­sions into a bank in Switzer­land, he’d be a rich man today, but he invest­ed it, and he made lousy choic­es.”

    ...
    ———-

    “Khashoggi’s Fall” by Dominick Dunne; Van­i­ty Fair; Sep­tem­ber 1989

    “The night before I left New York, I was at a din­ner par­ty in a beau­ti­ful Fifth Avenue apart­ment over­look­ing Cen­tral Part. There were six­teen peo­ple, among them the high-fly­ing Don­ald and Ivana Trump, one of New York’s rich­est and most dis­cussed cou­ples, and a major top­ic of con­ver­sa­tion was Khashoggi’s impris­on­ment. “I read every word about Adnan Khashog­gi,” Don­ald Trump said to me.

    Yep, Don­ald Trump was read­ing every world about Adnan Khashog­gi and his down­fall. The fact that he got Khashog­gi’s yacht at a bar­gain price may have had some­thing to do with that keen inter­est, but it’s also pret­ty clear Trump had a his­to­ry with Khashog­gi:

    ...
    A sto­ry that Trump fre­quent­ly tells is about his pur­chase of Khashoggi’s yacht, the 282-foot, $70 mil­lion Nabi­la, thought to be the most opu­lent pri­vate ves­sel afloat. In addi­tion to the inevitable dis­cotheque, with laser beams that pro­ject­ed Khashoggi’s face, the float­ing palace also had an oper­at­ing room and a morgue, with coffins. Forced to sell it for a mere $30 mil­lion, Khashog­gi did not want Trump to keep the name Nabi­la, because it was his daughter’s name. Trump had no inten­tion, ever, of keep­ing the name. He had already decid­ed to rename it the Trump Princess. But for some rea­son Khashog­gi thought Trump meant to retain the name, and he knocked a mil­lion dol­lars off the ask­ing price to ensure the name change. Trump accept­ed the deduc­tion.

    “Khashog­gi was a great bro­ker and a lousy busi­ness­man,” Trump said to me that night. “He under­stood the art of bring­ing peo­ple togeth­er and putting togeth­er a deal bet­ter than almost anyone—all the bull­shit­ting part, of talk and entertainment—but he nev­er knew how to invest his mon­ey. If he had put his com­mis­sions into a bank in Switzer­land, he’d be a rich man today, but he invest­ed it, and he made lousy choic­es.”
    ...

    So Khashog­gi knocked mil­lions of dol­lars off the price of his yacht in order to get Trump to agree to change the name, which he was already plan­ning on doing? Yeah, that’s mys­te­ri­ous.

    Regard­ing Adnan Khashog­gi’s rela­tion­ship with Fer­di­nand and Imel­da Mar­cos and the help he alleged­ly pro­vid­ed them in laun­der­ing $160 mil­lion, it’s worth recall­ing that this prob­a­bly over­lapped with the peri­od with Paul Man­afort was act­ing as a con­sul­tant for the Mar­cos gov­ern­ment in the 80’s. So when we read that US author­i­ties dis­cov­ered this mon­ey laun­der­ing result­ed in the pur­chase of four large com­mer­cial build­ings in New York City, you have to won­der what role Trump, a New York real estate mogul, may have played in those deal­ings:

    ...
    Alleged­ly, he helped his friends Fer­di­nand and Imel­da Mar­cos plun­der the Philip­pines of some $160 mil­lion by fronting for them in ille­gal real-estate deals. When Unit­ed States author­i­ties attempt­ed to return some of the Mar­cos booty to the new Philip­pine gov­ern­ment, they dis­cov­ered that the own­er­ship of four large com­mer­cial build­ings in New York City—the Crown Build­ing at 730 Fifth Avenue, the Her­ald Cen­ter at 1 Her­ald Square, 40 Wall Street, and 200 Madi­son Avenue—had passed to Adnan Khashog­gi. On paper it seemed that the sale of the build­ings had tak­en place in 1985, but author­i­ties lat­er charged that the doc­u­ments had been fraud­u­lent­ly back­dat­ed. In addi­tion, more than thir­ty paint­ings, val­ued at $200 mil­lion, that Imel­da Mar­cos had alleged­ly pur­loined from the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Mani­la, includ­ing works by Rubens, El Gre­co, Picas­so, and Degas, were being stored by Khashog­gi for the Mar­coses, but it turned out that the pic­tures had been sold to Khashog­gi as part of a cov­er-up. The art trea­sures were first hid­den on his yacht and then moved to his pent­house in Cannes. The pent­house was raid­ed by the French police in a search for the pic­tures in April 1987, but it is believed that Khashog­gi had been tipped off. He turned over nine of the paint­ings to the police, claim­ing to have sold the oth­ers to a Pana­man­ian com­pa­ny, but inves­ti­ga­tors believe that he sold the pic­tures back to him­self. The rest of the loot is thought to be in Athens. If he is found guilty, such charges could get him up to ten years in an Amer­i­can slam­mer.
    ...

    It’s exam­ple how small a world it is when you’re mov­ing in the inter­na­tion­al men of mys­tery cir­cles. A mys­te­ri­ous cir­cle that appears to include Adnan’s nephew Jamal.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 15, 2018, 3:47 pm
  5. The Nabilia/Trump Princess yacht sto­ry gets even more inter­est­ing. Three years after Adnan Khashog­gi sold it to Trump at a $51 mil­lion loss Trump turned around and sold it to Prince al-Waleed bin Talal for a $9 mil­lion prof­it.

    Prince al-Waleed par­tic­i­pat­ed in at least two fund­ing rounds for Twit­ter total­ing at least $300 mil­lion, in August & Sept of 2011, right in the mid­dle of the Arab Spring. As not­ed above, Prince al-Waleed was among those detained in the Ritz by MbS.

    By fol­low­ing the yacht it looks like a sort of “pass­ing the torch” between two gen­er­a­tions of Saudi/US mid­dle­men, with bin Talal pick­ing up where Khashog­gi left off.

    I’m also very curi­ous wether Jamal Khashog­gi’s father might have been Adnan’s broth­er Essam, who part­nered with him on the Tri­ad projects with the Mor­mons in Utah.

    Posted by Covert Sphere | October 16, 2018, 8:41 pm
  6. @Covert Sphere–

    Jamal’s uncle is indeed Adnan.

    He was also con­nect­ed to MANY oth­er inter­est­ing inter­ests.

    Check out the latest–FTR #1027. Only the audio is avail­able, now.

    http://emory.kfjc.org/archive/ftr/1000_1099/f‑1028.mp3

    I’m still work­ing on the writ­ten descrip­tion.

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | October 16, 2018, 9:58 pm
  7. Here’s a pair of arti­cle about the mur­der of Jamal Khashog­gi with some infor­ma­tion that might help explain the motive for his mur­der. First, here’s a Bloomberg arti­cle that give a gen­er­al back­ground of the Khashog­gi fam­i­ly and its ties to be both Sau­di Ara­bia and Turkey. And at the very end of the arti­cle it includes a quote from Yasin Aktay, described as an advis­er to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan and a long time friend of Khashog­gi. Accord­ing to Aktay, “Jamal may have been seen as the focal point of an alter­na­tive gov­ern­ing pow­er.” On the one hand, that could be a ref­er­ence to Khashog­gi’s close ties to rival fac­tions of Sau­di princes who were tar­get­ed by MBS’s ‘anti-cor­rup­tion’ crack­down. But when you look at Khashog­gi’s exten­sive ties to the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood and Turkey and you look at all the plans he had for ‘democ­ra­cy build­ing’ project, that sure sounds like a ref­er­ence to the threat of a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-led regime change oper­a­tion. And, again, this is com­ing from some­one described as Khashog­gi’s friend and an advis­er to Erdo­gan:

    Bloomberg

    Khashoggi’s Name Runs Through Mid­dle East His­to­ry

    From the Ottoman Empire to inter­view­ing Osama bin Laden, the family’s ties are a tapes­try of intrigue.

    By Onur Ant
    Octo­ber 17, 2018, 6:45 AM CDT

    Jamal Khashoggi’s fam­i­ly his­to­ry was bound up with polit­i­cal intrigue and promi­nent fig­ures in the Mid­dle East even before his mys­te­ri­ous dis­ap­pear­ance from a Sau­di Ara­bi­an con­sulate.

    The Wash­ing­ton Post colum­nist, who van­ished in Istan­bul and Turkey says was killed by the Saud­is, count­ed rel­a­tives who rubbed shoul­ders with the high and mighty. He, too, became a con­sum­mate Sau­di insid­er, before shift­ing to crit­ic of the roy­al court and dis­ap­pear­ing in a sus­pi­cious fash­ion that has roiled the kingdom’s rela­tions with the U.S. and Turkey.

    Some of his rel­a­tives were famous, oth­ers infa­mous. The Khashog­gi fam­i­ly served the Ottoman Empire in Islam’s holy lands for cen­turies after leav­ing Ana­to­lia, the heart­land of cur­rent-day Turkey. A grand­fa­ther became per­son­al physi­cian to mod­ern Sau­di Arabia’s first ruler, King Abdu­laz­iz Al Saud, after the Ottomans left in the ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry.

    One of the doctor’s sons, the late arms deal­er Adnan Khashog­gi, gained noto­ri­ety for his involve­ment in the Iran-Con­tra scan­dal that rocked Ronald Reagan’s admin­is­tra­tion. But at the peak of his career in the 1980s, he owned one of the world’s largest pri­vate jets and a super-yacht, as well as an entire hill in Spain’s Mar­bel­la. He host­ed pres­i­dents and princes at extrav­a­gant par­ties to keep his busi­ness empire hum­ming.

    ...

    A grand­son of the king’s doc­tor was Princess Diana’s lover Dodi Fayed, who met his death in the same car crash that took her life in a Paris tun­nel in 1997. Jamal Khashog­gi him­self was cat­a­pult­ed to promi­nence at home with an ear­ly inter­view of Osama bin Laden, who had gone to Afghanistan to fight Sovi­et invaders.

    Like Adnan and his father Moham­mad, Jamal Khashog­gi was court­ed by the House of Saud for his intel­lect and influ­ence. He was the edi­tor of a major news­pa­per, Al Watan, and a trust­ed advis­er in both offi­cial and unof­fi­cial roles.

    One roy­al ally was Prince Tur­ki Al-Faisal, who led the Sau­di intel­li­gence ser­vices for more than two decades until short­ly before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, in which Sau­di assailants were heav­i­ly involved. He con­tin­ued his advi­so­ry role in an offi­cial capac­i­ty when Prince Tur­ki served as Sau­di Arabia’s ambas­sador to the U.S. and U.K. start­ing in the ear­ly 2000s.

    By June 2017, the Sau­di jour­nal­ist had fall­en out of favor with the Sau­di roy­al court and left his coun­try, fear­ing for his free­dom. He set­tled in the U.S., where he wrote columns for the Wash­ing­ton Post that crit­i­cized the pow­er behind the throne, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS.

    His ances­tors are believed to have hailed from Turkey’s Kay­seri province before immi­grat­ing to Sau­di Arabia’s Hejaz province on the Red Sea coast three cen­turies ago, accord­ing to Turk­ish his­to­ri­an Murat Bar­dak­ci. The Khashog­gi sur­name derives from the Turk­ish word Kasik­ci, or spoon-mak­er.

    The Khashog­gis have main­tained their ties with Turkey, and the name still pops up in the Turk­ish press with some reg­u­lar­i­ty. Anoth­er mem­ber of the fam­i­ly, Hasan Khashog­gi, made the news in 2017 when he sur­vived a ter­ror­ist attack on a night club in Istan­bul in which a gun­man mas­sa­cred 39 peo­ple.

    A for­mer col­league who worked with Khashog­gi in 2015 said he was long a fan of the Turk­ish mod­el for the Mid­dle East, which until recent years had been held up as a paragon of coex­is­tence between democ­ra­cy and Islam.

    But it was romance that sent Khashog­gi to the Sau­di con­sulate in Istan­bul, to wind up paper­work so he could mar­ry his Turk­ish fiancee, Hat­ice Cen­giz, she has said. While Sau­di Ara­bia ini­tial­ly said he left the build­ing unharmed, it’s since launched an inter­nal inves­ti­ga­tion. A new sto­ry line that’s being float­ed qui­et­ly by Sau­di offi­cials sug­gests he was killed dur­ing a botched inter­ro­ga­tion. Skep­tics say he was killed on the order of the roy­al court.

    “The peri­od that began with MBS’s com­ing to pow­er left no room for him to express him­self as an intel­lec­tu­al,” said Yasin Aktay, an advis­er to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan and a long time friend of Khashog­gi. “Jamal may have been seen as the focal point of an alter­na­tive gov­ern­ing pow­er.”

    ———-

    “Khashoggi’s Name Runs Through Mid­dle East His­to­ry” by Onur Ant; Bloomberg; 10/17/2018

    ““The peri­od that began with MBS’s com­ing to pow­er left no room for him to express him­self as an intel­lec­tu­al,” said Yasin Aktay, an advis­er to Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan and a long time friend of Khashog­gi. “Jamal may have been seen as the focal point of an alter­na­tive gov­ern­ing pow­er.””

    “The focal point of an alter­na­tive gov­ern­ing pow­er.” It’s quite a char­ac­ter­i­za­tion com­ing from some­one like Yasin Aktay.

    Next, here’s an arti­cle from The Inter­cept from back in March that has sud­den­ly become very top­i­cal: MBS alleged­ly told con­fi­dants that Jared Kush­n­er dis­cussed the names of dis­loy­al Saud­is with him dur­ing an unan­nounced tip to Riyadh in Octo­ber 2017. The arti­cle also notes that this kind of infor­ma­tion on dis­loy­al Saud­is was part of the Pres­i­den­t’s Dai­ly Brief dur­ing the months that fol­lowed MBS’s pow­er grab that put him next in line to the throne, and Kush­n­er was report­ed­ly an avid con­sumer of those Dai­ly Briefs. A week lat­er, MBS starts his ‘anti-cor­rup­tion’ crack­down that led to the jail­ing of a num­ber of promi­nent Saud­is.

    Inter­est­ing­ly, one of the peo­ple MBS alleged­ly con­fid­ed in about Kush­n­er shar­ing these names with him was UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MBZ). Recall that MBZ is deeply involved with both the ‘Sey­chelles backchan­nel’ mys­tery and the UAE/Saudi pro­pos­al to hire Psy-Group to pro­vide Cam­bride Ana­lyt­i­ca-like ser­vices for the Trump cam­paign.

    Keep in mind that Khashog­gi report­ed­ly only start­ed his pro-democ­ra­cy orga­ni­za­tion in ear­ly 2018, sev­er­al months after Kush­n­er alleged­ly passed this infor­ma­tion along. But odds are the plan­ning for such an oper­a­tion would have pre­ced­ed the announced cre­ation of the group. So if Jamal Khashog­gi real­ly was plan­ning some sort of Mus­lim Broth­er­hood-led ‘Arab Spring 2.0’ type of oper­a­tion it seems high­ly like­ly the US intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty would have known about this in the fall of 2017 and that means Jared Kush­n­er prob­a­bly would have known too. So this might, in part, explain the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s hes­i­tan­cy in con­demn­ing the Sau­di gov­ern­ment over Khashog­gi’s mur­der: Jared may have hand­ed over the hit list:

    The Inter­cept

    Sau­di Crown Prince Boast­ed That Jared Kush­n­er Was “In His Pock­et”.

    Alex Emmons, Ryan Grim, Clay­ton Swish­er
    March 21 2018, 4:09 p.m.

    Until he was stripped of his top-secret secu­ri­ty clear­ance in Feb­ru­ary, pres­i­den­tial advis­er Jared Kush­n­er was known around the White House as one of the most vora­cious read­ers of the President’s Dai­ly Brief, a high­ly clas­si­fied run­down of the lat­est intel­li­gence intend­ed only for the pres­i­dent and his clos­est advis­ers.

    Kush­n­er, who had been tasked with bring­ing about a deal between Israel and Pales­tine, was par­tic­u­lar­ly engaged by infor­ma­tion about the Mid­dle East, accord­ing to a for­mer White House offi­cial and a for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence pro­fes­sion­al.

    In June, Sau­di prince Mohammed bin Salman oust­ed his cousin, then-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and took his place as next in line to the throne, upend­ing the estab­lished line of suc­ces­sion. In the months that fol­lowed, the President’s Dai­ly Brief con­tained infor­ma­tion on Sau­di Arabia’s evolv­ing polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, includ­ing a hand­ful of names of roy­al fam­i­ly mem­bers opposed to the crown prince’s pow­er grab, accord­ing to the for­mer White House offi­cial and two U.S. gov­ern­ment offi­cials with knowl­edge of the report. Like many oth­ers inter­viewed for this sto­ry, they declined to be iden­ti­fied because they were not autho­rized to speak about sen­si­tive mat­ters to the press.

    In late Octo­ber, Jared Kush­n­er made an unan­nounced trip to Riyadh, catch­ing some intel­li­gence offi­cials off guard. “The two princes are said to have stayed up until near­ly 4 a.m. sev­er­al nights, swap­ping sto­ries and plan­ning strat­e­gy,” the Wash­ing­ton Post’s David Ignatius report­ed at the time.

    What exact­ly Kush­n­er and the Sau­di roy­al talked about in Riyadh may be known only to them, but after the meet­ing, Crown Prince Mohammed told con­fi­dants that Kush­n­er had dis­cussed the names of Saud­is dis­loy­al to the crown prince, accord­ing to three sources who have been in con­tact with mem­bers of the Sau­di and Emi­rati roy­al fam­i­lies since the crack­down. Kush­n­er, through his attorney’s spokesper­son, denies hav­ing done so.

    ...

    On Novem­ber 4, a week after Kush­n­er returned to the U.S., the crown prince, known in offi­cial Wash­ing­ton by his ini­tials MBS, launched what he called an anti-cor­rup­tion crack­down. The Sau­di gov­ern­ment arrest­ed dozens of mem­bers of the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly and impris­oned them in the Ritz-Carl­ton Riyadh, which was first report­ed in Eng­lish by The Inter­cept. The Sau­di fig­ures named in the President’s Dai­ly Brief were among those round­ed up; at least one was report­ed­ly tor­tured.

    ...

    It is like­ly that Crown Prince Mohammed would have known who his crit­ics were with­out Kush­n­er men­tion­ing them, a U.S. gov­ern­ment offi­cial who declined to be iden­ti­fied point­ed out. The crown prince may also have had his own rea­sons for say­ing that Kush­n­er shared infor­ma­tion with him, even if that wasn’t true. Just the appear­ance that Kush­n­er did so would send a pow­er­ful mes­sage to the crown prince’s allies and ene­mies that his actions were backed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment.

    One of the peo­ple MBS told about the dis­cus­sion with Kush­n­er was UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, accord­ing to a source who talks fre­quent­ly to con­fi­dants of the Sau­di and Emi­rati rulers. MBS bragged to the Emi­rati crown prince and oth­ers that Kush­n­er was “in his pock­et,” the source told The Inter­cept.

    Access to the President’s Dai­ly Brief is tight­ly guard­ed, but Trump has the legal author­i­ty to allow Kush­n­er to dis­close infor­ma­tion con­tained in it. If Kush­n­er dis­cussed names with MBS as an approved tac­tic of U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy, the move would be a strik­ing inter­ven­tion by the U.S. into an unfold­ing pow­er strug­gle at the top lev­els of an allied nation. If Kush­n­er dis­cussed the names with the Sau­di prince with­out pres­i­den­tial autho­riza­tion, how­ev­er, he may have vio­lat­ed fed­er­al laws around the shar­ing of clas­si­fied intel­li­gence.

    On Novem­ber 6, two days after the deten­tions in the Ritz began, Trump took to Twit­ter to defend the crack­down:

    I have great con­fi­dence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Sau­di Ara­bia, they know exact­ly what they are doing....— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Novem­ber 6, 2017

    ....Some of those they are harsh­ly treat­ing have been “milk­ing” their coun­try for years!— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Novem­ber 6, 2017

    In the months that fol­lowed, the arrestees were coerced into sign­ing over bil­lions in per­son­al assets to the Sau­di gov­ern­ment. In Decem­ber, the Lon­don-based Ara­bic-lan­guage news­pa­per Al-Quds Al-Ara­bi report­ed that Maj. Gen. Ali al-Qah­tani had been tor­tured to death in the Ritz. Qahtani’s body showed signs of mis­treat­ment, includ­ing a neck that was “twist­ed unnat­u­ral­ly as though it had been bro­ken,” bruis­es, and “burn marks that appeared to be from elec­tric shocks,” the New York Times report­ed ear­li­er this month.

    Senior U.S. gov­ern­ment offi­cials have long wor­ried about Kushner’s han­dling of sen­si­tive for­eign pol­i­cy issues giv­en his lack of diplo­mat­ic expe­ri­ence. They have also raised con­cerns about the pos­si­bil­i­ty that for­eign offi­cials might try to influ­ence him through busi­ness deals with his family’s real estate empire. Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller is report­ed­ly exam­in­ing Kushner’s busi­ness ties as part of his ongo­ing probe.

    The Wash­ing­ton Post report­ed this week that for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Rex Tiller­son and Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Advis­er H.R. McMas­ter “expressed ear­ly con­cern that Kush­n­er was free­lanc­ing U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy.” Accord­ing to the Post, Tiller­son once asked staffers in frus­tra­tion: “Who is the sec­re­tary of state here?”

    Indeed, Kush­n­er has grown so close to the Sau­di and Emi­rati crown princes that he has com­mu­ni­cat­ed with them direct­ly using What­sApp, a rea­son­ably secure mes­sag­ing app owned by Face­book and pop­u­lar in the Mid­dle East, accord­ing to a senior West­ern offi­cial and a source close to the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly.

    Asked about Kushner’s use of What­sApp to com­mu­ni­cate with for­eign offi­cials, his attorney’s spokesper­son Mir­i­jan­ian said, “With­out com­ment­ing on who he talks with and how he does his work, Mr. Kush­n­er is in con­for­mi­ty with the Pres­i­den­tial Records Act and oth­er rules.” Kushner’s attor­neys have since told him not to use the app for offi­cial busi­ness, accord­ing to a source with direct knowl­edge of the exchange.

    Kushner’s uncon­ven­tion­al com­mu­ni­ca­tions with region­al lead­ers exclud­ed diplo­mats dur­ing the sum­mer of 2017, when Sau­di Ara­bia and the UAE ini­ti­at­ed an eco­nom­ic block­ade aimed at weak­en­ing their Gulf neigh­bor Qatar. Tillerson’s attempts to medi­ate the cri­sis were quick­ly under­cut by Trump and Kush­n­er, who sup­port­ed the block­ade. Three State Depart­ment offi­cials told The Inter­cept that Tiller­son was large­ly in the dark about Kushner’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions with MBS dur­ing that peri­od.

    In the wake of MBS’s crack­down in Sau­di Ara­bia, the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Council’s pol­i­cy coor­di­na­tion com­mit­tee sug­gest­ed that Tiller­son inter­vene and try to rea­son with the crown prince, accord­ing to a for­mer White House offi­cial and a for­mer State Depart­ment offi­cial. Tiller­son declined, telling col­leagues doing so would be “point­less” giv­en that Kush­n­er was already in close and direct con­tact with him.

    The Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Council’s Mid­dle East advis­er, retired U.S. Army Col. Michael Bell, has also com­plained in recent months that he was out of the loop on the Gulf cri­sis and the Arab-Israeli con­flict, the for­mer White House offi­cial said. Bell has told col­leagues that Kush­n­er fre­quent­ly micro­man­aged those sub­jects through direct inter­ac­tion with region­al lead­ers, with­out offer­ing Bell any worth­while read­out on their inter­ac­tions.

    Bell, speak­ing through Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Coun­cil spokesper­son Anton, denied that Kush­n­er has kept him out of the loop and said he respects Kushner’s lead role in the region.

    Kushner’s sup­port for Sau­di Ara­bia and the UAE over Qatar in the Gulf cri­sis has raised ques­tions about a pos­si­ble con­flict of inter­est. Kush­n­er backed the block­ade a month after Qatar’s min­istry of finance rebuffed an attempt by Kushner’s real estate firm, Kush­n­er Com­pa­nies, to extract financ­ing for the firm’s trou­bled flag­ship prop­er­ty at 666 Fifth Avenue.

    In 2007, Kush­n­er bought the land­mark Man­hat­tan build­ing for $1.8 bil­lion, putting down $500 mil­lion in cash raised large­ly by sell­ing thou­sands of rental units the fam­i­ly had owned in New Jer­sey. It was wide­ly regard­ed as over­priced at the time, and when the finan­cial cri­sis hit, the val­ue plum­met­ed, wip­ing out much of the ini­tial invest­ment. The clock is now tick­ing toward a Feb­ru­ary 2019 dead­line when a major mort­gage pay­ment will come due.

    Since 2011, Kush­n­er and his rel­a­tives have been search­ing the globe for a new investor. As recent­ly as the spring of 2017, Charles Kush­n­er, Jared’s father, asked for­mer Qatari prime min­is­ter Sheikh Hamad bin Jas­sim al-Thani to invest in the build­ing. Then in April 2017, Charles Kush­n­er made a direct pitch to the Qatari gov­ern­ment through the country’s min­is­ter of finance.

    Qatar reject­ed the deal as not finan­cial­ly viable. In May, Trump trav­eled to Riyadh with Kush­n­er, where the famous glow­ing orb pho­to was tak­en. In the wake of the meet­ing, Sau­di Ara­bia, the UAE, and a hand­ful of allied coun­tries announced the block­ade of rival Qatar, accus­ing it of foment­ing ter­ror. The cri­sis con­tin­ues today.

    ...
    ———-

    “Sau­di Crown Prince Boast­ed That Jared Kush­n­er Was “In His Pock­et”” by Alex Emmons, Ryan Grim, Clay­ton Swish­er
    ; The Inter­cept; 03/21/2018

    “Until he was stripped of his top-secret secu­ri­ty clear­ance in Feb­ru­ary, pres­i­den­tial advis­er Jared Kush­n­er was known around the White House as one of the most vora­cious read­ers of the President’s Dai­ly Brief, a high­ly clas­si­fied run­down of the lat­est intel­li­gence intend­ed only for the pres­i­dent and his clos­est advis­ers.

    So Jared got to read the pres­i­den­t’s Dai­ly Briefs for a whole year before get­ting stripped of his secu­ri­ty clear­ance in Feb­ru­ary. It was clear­ly one year too many.

    Then, in Octo­ber 2017, Jared makes an unan­nounced trip to Riyadh. Fol­low­ing that trip, MBS report­ed­ly tells con­fi­dants that Jared dis­cussed the names of dis­loy­al Saud­is. A week lat­er, MBS starts his ‘anti-cor­rup­tion crack­down’:

    ...
    Kush­n­er, who had been tasked with bring­ing about a deal between Israel and Pales­tine, was par­tic­u­lar­ly engaged by infor­ma­tion about the Mid­dle East, accord­ing to a for­mer White House offi­cial and a for­mer U.S. intel­li­gence pro­fes­sion­al.

    In June, Sau­di prince Mohammed bin Salman oust­ed his cousin, then-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and took his place as next in line to the throne, upend­ing the estab­lished line of suc­ces­sion. In the months that fol­lowed, the President’s Dai­ly Brief con­tained infor­ma­tion on Sau­di Arabia’s evolv­ing polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, includ­ing a hand­ful of names of roy­al fam­i­ly mem­bers opposed to the crown prince’s pow­er grab, accord­ing to the for­mer White House offi­cial and two U.S. gov­ern­ment offi­cials with knowl­edge of the report. Like many oth­ers inter­viewed for this sto­ry, they declined to be iden­ti­fied because they were not autho­rized to speak about sen­si­tive mat­ters to the press.

    In late Octo­ber, Jared Kush­n­er made an unan­nounced trip to Riyadh, catch­ing some intel­li­gence offi­cials off guard. “The two princes are said to have stayed up until near­ly 4 a.m. sev­er­al nights, swap­ping sto­ries and plan­ning strat­e­gy,” the Wash­ing­ton Post’s David Ignatius report­ed at the time.

    What exact­ly Kush­n­er and the Sau­di roy­al talked about in Riyadh may be known only to them, but after the meet­ing, Crown Prince Mohammed told con­fi­dants that Kush­n­er had dis­cussed the names of Saud­is dis­loy­al to the crown prince, accord­ing to three sources who have been in con­tact with mem­bers of the Sau­di and Emi­rati roy­al fam­i­lies since the crack­down. Kush­n­er, through his attorney’s spokesper­son, denies hav­ing done so.

    ...

    On Novem­ber 4, a week after Kush­n­er returned to the U.S., the crown prince, known in offi­cial Wash­ing­ton by his ini­tials MBS, launched what he called an anti-cor­rup­tion crack­down. The Sau­di gov­ern­ment arrest­ed dozens of mem­bers of the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly and impris­oned them in the Ritz-Carl­ton Riyadh, which was first report­ed in Eng­lish by The Inter­cept. The Sau­di fig­ures named in the President’s Dai­ly Brief were among those round­ed up; at least one was report­ed­ly tor­tured.
    ...

    And one of the peo­ple MBS report­ed­ly con­fid­ed in about his talks with Kush­n­er with the UAE’s MBZ, who is also noto­ri­ous­ly close to the Trump team at this point:

    ...
    It is like­ly that Crown Prince Mohammed would have known who his crit­ics were with­out Kush­n­er men­tion­ing them, a U.S. gov­ern­ment offi­cial who declined to be iden­ti­fied point­ed out. The crown prince may also have had his own rea­sons for say­ing that Kush­n­er shared infor­ma­tion with him, even if that wasn’t true. Just the appear­ance that Kush­n­er did so would send a pow­er­ful mes­sage to the crown prince’s allies and ene­mies that his actions were backed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment.

    One of the peo­ple MBS told about the dis­cus­sion with Kush­n­er was UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, accord­ing to a source who talks fre­quent­ly to con­fi­dants of the Sau­di and Emi­rati rulers. MBS bragged to the Emi­rati crown prince and oth­ers that Kush­n­er was “in his pock­et,” the source told The Inter­cept.
    ...

    It’s worth not­ing that the source for the above fun fact is described as some­one “who talks fre­quent­ly to con­fi­dants of the Sau­di and Emi­rati rulers.” You have to won­der if that’s George Nad­er.

    Kush­n­er is so close to the Sau­di and UAE crown princes that he appar­ent­ly com­mu­ni­cates with them direct­ly using What­sApp. Jared appears to be the main point of con­tact between the US and Sau­di gov­ern­ment at this point, a sen­ti­ment shared by Rex Tiller­son:

    ...
    Indeed, Kush­n­er has grown so close to the Sau­di and Emi­rati crown princes that he has com­mu­ni­cat­ed with them direct­ly using What­sApp, a rea­son­ably secure mes­sag­ing app owned by Face­book and pop­u­lar in the Mid­dle East, accord­ing to a senior West­ern offi­cial and a source close to the Sau­di roy­al fam­i­ly.

    Asked about Kushner’s use of What­sApp to com­mu­ni­cate with for­eign offi­cials, his attorney’s spokesper­son Mir­i­jan­ian said, “With­out com­ment­ing on who he talks with and how he does his work, Mr. Kush­n­er is in con­for­mi­ty with the Pres­i­den­tial Records Act and oth­er rules.” Kushner’s attor­neys have since told him not to use the app for offi­cial busi­ness, accord­ing to a source with direct knowl­edge of the exchange.

    Kushner’s uncon­ven­tion­al com­mu­ni­ca­tions with region­al lead­ers exclud­ed diplo­mats dur­ing the sum­mer of 2017, when Sau­di Ara­bia and the UAE ini­ti­at­ed an eco­nom­ic block­ade aimed at weak­en­ing their Gulf neigh­bor Qatar. Tillerson’s attempts to medi­ate the cri­sis were quick­ly under­cut by Trump and Kush­n­er, who sup­port­ed the block­ade. Three State Depart­ment offi­cials told The Inter­cept that Tiller­son was large­ly in the dark about Kushner’s com­mu­ni­ca­tions with MBS dur­ing that peri­od.

    In the wake of MBS’s crack­down in Sau­di Ara­bia, the Nation­al Secu­ri­ty Council’s pol­i­cy coor­di­na­tion com­mit­tee sug­gest­ed that Tiller­son inter­vene and try to rea­son with the crown prince, accord­ing to a for­mer White House offi­cial and a for­mer State Depart­ment offi­cial. Tiller­son declined, telling col­leagues doing so would be “point­less” giv­en that Kush­n­er was already in close and direct con­tact with him.
    ...

    It’s also worth not­ing that Pres­i­dent Trump actu­al­ly has the legal author­i­ty to allow Kush­n­er to dis­close the infor­ma­tion in his Dai­ly Briefs, so it’s very pos­si­ble Trump told Kush­n­er to reveal these names. He was cer­tain­ly quite sup­port­ive of the ‘anti-cor­rup­tion’ crack­down that fol­low the meet­ing with Kush­n­er:

    ...
    Access to the President’s Dai­ly Brief is tight­ly guard­ed, but Trump has the legal author­i­ty to allow Kush­n­er to dis­close infor­ma­tion con­tained in it. If Kush­n­er dis­cussed names with MBS as an approved tac­tic of U.S. for­eign pol­i­cy, the move would be a strik­ing inter­ven­tion by the U.S. into an unfold­ing pow­er strug­gle at the top lev­els of an allied nation. If Kush­n­er dis­cussed the names with the Sau­di prince with­out pres­i­den­tial autho­riza­tion, how­ev­er, he may have vio­lat­ed fed­er­al laws around the shar­ing of clas­si­fied intel­li­gence.

    On Novem­ber 6, two days after the deten­tions in the Ritz began, Trump took to Twit­ter to defend the crack­down:

    I have great con­fi­dence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Sau­di Ara­bia, they know exact­ly what they are doing....— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Novem­ber 6, 2017

    ....Some of those they are harsh­ly treat­ing have been “milk­ing” their coun­try for years!— Don­ald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Novem­ber 6, 2017

    ...

    In a fore­shad­ow to the tor­ture mur­der of Khashog­gi, ine of the vic­tims of that crack­down was also tor­tured to death: Maj. Gen. Ali al-Qah­tani:

    ...
    In the months that fol­lowed, the arrestees were coerced into sign­ing over bil­lions in per­son­al assets to the Sau­di gov­ern­ment. In Decem­ber, the Lon­don-based Ara­bic-lan­guage news­pa­per Al-Quds Al-Ara­bi report­ed that Maj. Gen. Ali al-Qah­tani had been tor­tured to death in the Ritz. Qahtani’s body showed signs of mis­treat­ment, includ­ing a neck that was “twist­ed unnat­u­ral­ly as though it had been bro­ken,” bruis­es, and “burn marks that appeared to be from elec­tric shocks,” the New York Times report­ed ear­li­er this month.
    ...

    So we have a report from back in March about Jared hand­ing MBS the names of dis­loy­al Saud­is short­ly before ‘anti-cor­rup­tion’ crack­down. And now we have com­ments from one of Erdo­gan’s advis­ers spec­u­lat­ing that Khashog­gi rep­re­sent­ed “focal point of an alter­na­tive gov­ern­ing pow­er.” Did Jared tip off MBS about a Mus­lim Broth­er­hood regime change oper­a­tion to be led by Khashog­gi? Might this explain all the reports indi­cat­ing that the Sau­di hit team almost imme­di­ate­ly began tor­tur­ing and dis­mem­ber­ing Khashog­gi and he was dead with­in min­utes? Because it sure does­n’t sound like they had many ques­tions for him. Which sug­gests they already had all the answers they need­ed. Answers pos­si­bly pro­vid­ed by Jared.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 18, 2018, 1:48 pm

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