What About That Saudi Death Penalty and Our “New Journalism”?

You can get the death penalty in Saudi Arabia for apostasy, adultery and sodomy, among other crimes, but… something tells me that the fifteen plus individuals involved in the recent “rogue” murder of Jamal Khashoggi — “rogue” meaning MBS, the “reformist” Saudi leader, had zero knowledge of the planned assassination — will NOT be subject to capital punishment.

There are a number of crimes defined by national regulation — such as drug trafficking — which will get you beheaded in the Kingdom. But the killing of the slated-to-be-wedded journalist — dismembered, and not to be remembered by the world press if Trump has anything to say about the horror — is not likely to bring about the kind of punishment which most concerned citizens expect.

Thing is, there’s very little talk going on about how NOTHING of significance in the realm of MBS is done without his “green light.” He runs an anally-tight ship, to say the least, and every beast under his umbrella shakes in their jackboots morning, noon and night. There’s no time, opportunity nor inclination to deviate from the Master Plan of MBS. He’s got such overweening oversight and personal immunity from consequences (of any kind for bad behavior) that he could actually get away with executing the aforementioned 15 and more for the simple show of his own innocence in this whole affair, not bat an eyelash, and continue to lash out against Yemenis with full Western support uninterrupted. No one budges, let alone kills anyone, to support the Kingdom without an MBS imprimatur.

Not unless we’re talking about the exception to the rule that Khashoggi has represented for a very brief period of time.

Journalists killed in 2017 and journalists who have died this year worldwide deserve special attention in the context of the Khashoggi abomination, which Trump is trying to cover up or spin with his major ally. But focus should also be placed on the former Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings right now, his early “accidental” demise… on the eve of his breaking a highly flammable story*. For it should serve as food for thought for anyone who understands the degree to which Bezos’ Washington Post is being complicit in the cover up, deflection… whatever you want to call it… respecting its former employee. Sins of omission. Looking the other way when the bottom line is threatened, financially or otherwise.

*Search for alternatives to the “negative” take provided by Wikipedia above; both a WikiLeaks POV and a piece which draws the fate of journalist Gary Webb into this loop can be a good point of departure for informing yourself.

It will not be wise for activists to let go of this issue. One keeps hearing the self-fulfilling prophecy regarding how our mainstream news outlets are likely to keep replacing their focus, how this “story” is fated to fall off the radar. Alternative sites, for the most part, seem to agree with that, not interjecting any dialogue about how that can be prevented. This, even though the very soul of their operations — its health and effectiveness — is being undermined, a planting of seeds designed to acclimate the public to a New Journalism, investigative reporting which can only go so far. 26% of the general public already believe that the president should be able to get rid of undesirable news? Where did I read that? 46% of Republicans feel the same? Do I really have to search for the source of that polling information? Don’t you feel the pulse of this nation? Doesn’t it tell you quite clearly that if a Michael Hastings can be lost in the shuffle in 2013 working for Jann Wenner and Khashoggi can be dismembered in an embassy five years later something’s going on that John and Jane Q. Public doesn’t really want to face up to? Like a patient ” upon a table,” unable to accept that their cancer has metastasized.

If a citizen of Saudi Arabia appeared before MBS and attempted to cover something up with feeble spins, I’d put all the assets I own down on a bet in Vegas that that mendacious individual might be given a death sentence. As it is MBS and his underlings will be getting the proverbial slaps on the wrist, and pain killers will be provided for that punishment in the form of continued movement in abominable solidarity.

There IS something we can do, nonetheless.

Readers can reach Muhammad Othman by writing to couriercrescent@gmail.com. couriercrescent@gmail.com. Read other articles by Muhammad.