August 02, 2019
A Tale of Two Khashoggis

It is becoming increasingly evident from recent investigations by the likes of “Bellingcat” and from leaked witness statements by U.S. corporate executives, that a network of interlocking billionaire-owned “shell companies” has been taking a cut of at least five percent every year on most US military technology and equipment export sales to Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East. The take could be on the order of $4 billion, a loss to buyers, sellers and US taxpayers. These anonymous “shell” companies do not report to anyone or government their ownership, investors, partners, sources of funds, taxable income, or where the money goes. One thing is sure: A Saudi named Adnan Khashoggi was among the network founders. There is also (as yet unproven) evidence that the Trump and Kushner enterprises may be among the anonymous “investors.” ( Frankly, I have long suspected this, as reflected in my 2018 article below.) — Tony Piel

The recent assassination of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, whether by official or "rogue" actors, was a horrifying event violating all international laws and moral standards. President Trump's reaction, showing neither compassion for the victim, nor concern for bringing the perpetrators justice, is (as usual) mystifying.

Jamal Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian journalist, owner of media outlets there, who criticized his country's war on the citizenry of Yemen. Sensing the risk, he went into self-imposed exile and became a legal resident (but not a citizen) of the US, where he continued his work in journalism including with the Washington Post. Jamal had previously been involved in darker under-cover work, and at one time had maintained covert personal contacts with Osama bin Laden. (But that's another story.)

The reason Jamal Khashoggi went into the Saudi Consulate on October 2, 2018 was to finalize documents in preparation for a forthcoming marriage. The evidence so far is that he was assassinated almost immediately in the Consulate, beheaded, dismembered, and fingers severed, presumably to prevent identification, and dissolved in acid. How the body was disposed of is still unknown.

Most Americans probably do not realize that Jamal Khashoggi was the nephew of the infamous Adnan Khashoggi, the greatest and wealthiest ($ 2-4 billion) illicit arms dealer of all times. I had heard of Adnan Khashoggi when collaborating (unofficially) with Interpol in Paris, France, helping track suspicious international money flows in the 1960s. Later, while working with the WHO in the Middle East, I got to know him personally in the wild beach party scene of Alexandria, Egypt in the mid-1980s. Adnan was a seemingly open, friendly person, but his covert life was something else - illicit arms deals totaling in the billions (e.g. siphoning off arms sales to Saudi Arabia), as well as involvement in clandestine schemes, such as the Iran-Contra and Imelda Marcos affairs.

It is entirely possible that some of Adnan's deals may have intersected with the world of American real estate magnates Fred and Donald Trump. In the mid nineteen eighties, Adnan owned the largest private yacht in the world, a 281 foot super-yacht called " the Nabila," outfitted with bullet-proof glass windows, gold bathroom fixtures, billiard tables, and lavish reception and dining facilities. The yacht got impounded in Spain in connection with one of a number of European indictments for customer fraud, tax evasion and arms dealing, and when Adnan ran into financial difficulty with Swiss creditors in 1987 he decided to sell the yacht.

Sell to whom ? To an American real estate developer he knew, named Donald J. Trump, for about $ 29 million. Trump re-named the yacht “TRUMP Princess.” Now you might think that $29 million is a lot to pay for a boat, but as Trump explained, the purchase would "ensure a certain level of quality." The Trumps and Khashoggis need and prefer "a certain level of quality." Adnan Khashoggi died peacefully of natural causes in London in April 2017. Considering his line of work, you might say he enjoyed" an exceptional exit. Jamal did not.

It is unclear to what extent the stories of Jamal and Adnan Khashoggi connect or diverge, and to what extent there is or is not a link between the Khashoggis and the Trump/Kushner financial world, including arms deals with Saudi Arabia. We need to investigate two things: (1) Who killed Jamal Khashoggi, when, how and why, and (2) What is the connection, if any, between Trump, Kushner, the Saudi government and arms dealing in the Middle East ? Is this a case of just some more "fake news," or is it a tale of duplicity and illicit arms dealings on steroids? That remains to be seen.

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at August 02, 2019 05:07 PM
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While we're sharing theories and playing with speculations, allow me to speculate a bit:

Prior to his election, Donald Trump wanted to build a hotel in Saudi Arabia. The biggest builders in Saudi Arabia are, or at least were, Osama bin Laden's family. In doing business with the bin Ladens, (that is, assuming he did any business with them), Donald Trump might very well have had to give them money or received money from them. Given the size of the projects Trump does, this would likely be a considerable sum of money — say enough to finance a few Al Queda activities around the world?

Donald Trump refused to show us his tax returns.

That's all I have to say. I of course draw no inferences.

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

Posted by: The New York Crank on August 2, 2019 9:16 PM
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