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A Turkish pro-government television channel has broadcast video showing men carrying suitcases purportedly containing the remains of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi into the residence of his country’s consul general in Istanbul.
Saudi officials have rejected accusations that the crown prince ordered his death.
His murder has sparked global outrage and damaged the international reputation of the 33-year-old prince, the kingdom’s de facto leader.
After offering numerous contradictory explanations regarding the fate of Mr Khashoggi, Riyadh said he had been killed and his body dismembered when negotiations to persuade him to return to Saudi Arabia failed.
The journalist’s remains have not been found and Turkey has repeatedly asked Saudi Arabia where they are.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Democrat on the House intelligence committee says President Donald Trump isn’t telling the truth when he says a CIA report lacks evidence to blame Saudi Arabia’s crown prince for the killing in Turkey of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi (jah-MAHL’ khahr-SHOHK’-jee).
Trump said Thursday the CIA report had “feelings certain ways” but no clear conclusion.
Asked Sunday about Trump’s characterization, California Rep. Adam Schiff, who was briefed on the classified report, told CNN: “I think the president is being dishonest.”
Schiff, the committee’s incoming chairman, said the panel will look into the Trump family’s business ties with Saudi Arabia and whether “personal financial interests” drive U.S.-Middle East policy.
Schiff says Trump is telegraphing to despots he will have “their back” if they praise or do business with him.
More than three million displaced in Yemen – joint UN agency report
|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|SAUDI ARABIA faces international condemnation and censure for the apparent murder of its citizen at a Turkish Consulate in Istanbul in October; and its ongoing war in Yemen.
The United Kingdom and the US are working towards a joint resolution, and consequently a joint communique ending four-year conflict that has claimed millions of lives and made even more millions of peopled internally displaced.
Yemeni families are on the brink of famine. On top of forced displacement, hunger now looms across Yemen, leaving the lives of millions of children, women, and men at risk. UNHCR is working hard to provide displaced families with vital support like food, shelter and healthcare in their time of greatest need. But we cannot do it without you.
This is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and it deserves critical attention. Your donation could help to provide displaced families with the essentials they need to survive: shelter, blankets, medical care and emergency assistance. UNHCR can make your gift reach the people most in need – fast. We are on the ground within 72 hours from an emergency helping families forced to flee. It is our job to protect and safeguard refugees’ rights and help rebuild their lives.
More than three million displaced in Yemen – joint UN agency report
A joint report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has found that the conflict in Yemen has resulted in the displacement of some 3,154,572 people, of which 2,205,102 remain displaced across the country and some 949,470 have attempted to return home.
“The crisis is forcing more and more people to leave their homes in search of safety,” Ita Schuette, UNHCR’s Deputy Representative in Yemen said in a news release on Friday, announcing the report.
The news release added that due to the escalating conflict and worsening humanitarian conditions, displacement across the country has seen an increase of about seven per cent since April, with 152,009 individuals fleeing from violence during this period.
The report, prepared by the Task Force on Population Movement, a technical working group led by the two agencies as part of the humanitarian response to the crisis in Yemen, also said that a significant number of those displaced are attempting to return home, a 24 per cent increase of some 184,491 individuals. However, it cautioned that movements remained fluid and correlated to moments of lulls or perceived improvements in the conflict.
“IDP returnees are considered to remain within the displacement cycle as long as they have not achieved a sustainable reintegration and their needs remain high, as is also the case for the non-displaced host community,” said Laurent De Boeck, IOM Chief of Mission to Yemen.
The statement from the president dismisses this with a metaphorical wave of the hand, saying US intelligence agencies continue to assess all information about the killing, so “maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
|MATTHEW INGRAM, CJR|AIWA! NO!|Since reports first emerged in early October that Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident and a columnist for The Washington Post, had been killed inside the Saudi Arabian embassy in Istanbul by unknown agents of the Saudi government, those outraged by his brutal murder have been waiting for some kind of definitive statement from President Trump about how his government plans to respond to the crime. On Tuesday, they got a statement, but it’s not likely to appease anyone, except the Saudi Arabian government.
In a nutshell, the Trump administration says it has already done everything it plans to do to punish those responsible for Khashoggi’s death, by issuing sanctions against 17 Saudi citizens who were reportedly involved in killing the Post columnist and allegedly dismembering his body. And what about a CIA document that reportedly says Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman ordered the murder? The statement from the president dismisses this with a metaphorical wave of the hand, saying US intelligence agencies continue to assess all information about the killing, so “maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”
For the Trump White House, the most important thing about Saudi Arabia is not that its rulers appear to have ordered the extra-judicial killing of a journalist, or that it is arguably guilty of serious crimes against the people of Yemen (and against its own people). The most important fact is that the country is a close partner with the US in trying to keep a lid on Iran and Syria, and also that Trump says it has promised to invest $450 billion in the US economy, including $110 billion worth of spending on military equipment. The country “has been a great ally,” the Trump statement says. It goes on to say: “I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America.”
The statement was too much for Karen Attiah, the Global Opinions editor for The Washington Post and Khashoggi’s editor at the paper. In a blistering response, Attiah wrote that the president was “doing his best to help the Saudi regime get away with the murder of a US resident and one of the Arab world’s most prominent writers.” If the Trump administration continues down this path, she said, “it will further destroy what is left of America’s moral credibility on global human rights and freedom of expression. It puts truth-seekers and journalists who dare to challenge the Saudi regime and other intolerant governments in grave danger, no matter where they live.”
The Trump government’s response was also attacked by Washington Postpublisher Fred Ryan, who said in a statement that it was “a betrayal of long-established American values of respect for human rights, and the expectation of trust and honesty in our strategic relationships. An innocent man, brutally slain, deserves better.” Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said the suggestion that “our silence can be bought with arms sales undermines the Presidency, the credibility of our intelligence professionals, and our role as a champion of human rights.” And Senator Dick Durbin said the statement “adds to [Trump’s] track record of ignoring his own intelligence agencies, and undermining American values at home and abroad, by giving Saudi Arabia a pass for the brutal and premeditated murder of a US resident and journalist.”
Here’s more on the Khashoggi murder and the fallout from it:
The annotated Trump: Washington Post political reporter Aaron Blake has annotated the Trump statement using the online service Genius.com, adding notes to the text that explain some of the rationale behind Trump’s statements and also some of the mistakes he makes in the process.
Fictional money: Fact-checker Glenn Kessler has taken a look atTrump’s repeated statements about how many billions the Saudis plan to invest in the US and spend on military equipment, and found that they are mostly smoke and mirrors.
A baseless slur: Tamara Wittes, a Middle East policy fellow at the Brookings Institution, looks at the whisper campaign against Khashoggi that tries to paint him as a radical member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and finds there is little or no truth to it.
The Pompeo strategy: According to a report from Middle East Eye, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo personally handed Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman a document that laid out how to avoid repercussions from the Khashoggi murder, including a plan to pin the killing on another member of the al-Saud family.
Mugabe may have gone, but the young Itai Dzamara, journalist cum human rights activist’s family is still picking up the pieces after his disappearance and are still demanding answers.
|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|You see! Sometimes you begin by reminiscing those pleasant moments and occasions visiting friends and relatives in the villages. Often around Christmas festive season – when families and extended families gather for annual reunions. They would travel all the way from across Zimbabwe boundaries.
Myself. Not even a journalist then; barely through high school. Things were dandy. Happy days.
Itai Dzamara, 35, is Sheffra’s husband and Nokutenda and Nenyasha’s father. He was abducted three years ago today. He was getting a haircut on a Monday morning when four men bundled him into an unmarked vehicle and sped off. Itai’s whereabouts and the identities of those behind his kidnapping have remained unknown ever since. “Every day I think that I’ll hear him coming through the gate,” continues Sheffra. “I think maybe I’ll see him on the news, or someone will send me a WhatsApp. These days my phone is always on, ready to receive news that Itai has been found. Maybe someone will phone, and he’ll be on the other end, or someone will give us information about where he is or tell us he’s on his way back. It’s hard to live like this, every day waiting to hear good news.”
The season. Culminating into Christmas festivities; people celebrate and reflect the successes and failures of the year gone or going by, by way of feasts and prayers.
Bulls, goats, chickens, pigs and sheep or all of them and sometimes at once are slaughtered. This is ‘MEAT-CURE‘ Season at its best and for a REASON. People joke about this and say you can only come across vegetables at your next door neighbor’s – around this time.
People eat; drink, talk, sing and dance.
Little harmless verbal fights. Little harmless white lies here and there. Catching up and harmless gossip are in order. There are also sideline activities; plots: engagements or and birthdays.
People constantly talk and hardly sleep; sometimes music blurring uncontrollably and catatonic-ally on ‘fading and dying batteries’ throughout the night – and to be honest; this exhausts me a lot though.
There are no open quarrels except if they are, they are communicated via hidden messages in songs and folktale, proverbs and metaphors. Communication is delicate, deliberate as it is loose due to alcohol consumed and weed smoked – necessary tasks given the circumstances. This is one of the things so dear to me that I have missed for over – 20 -odd- years and counting. The thought of it alone sends my head into a spindle.
And often wonder allowed as to when I would one day visit the motherland Zimbabwe. I scratch my head often – only for my bare fingers to scratch over a bump, ‘dent on the middle of my head’ – a stuck reminder of how close I came close quarters with death. This dent on my head: left by a cocoa-cola bottle struck from one of Mr. Mugabe CIO agents. Challenging my lectures and my views on a current affairs programme I used to co-present on ZTV; Sundays.
On the Zimbabwe Television program. It was a Sunday evening current affairs program. I just happened to have been co opted onto presenting the program by the Head of Radio 4; Sam Munyavi. The editorial content comprised of simple question and answer sessions and general dialogue.
One fateful day though I drew the ire of the then minister of Environment and Tourism Francis Nhema. I queried the minister on the inflated fees for foreign tourists; that included ‘tourist price’ for things like transport, shopping and meals. I pointed out:
I had lived in Kenya in the previous years; had seen how Kenya promoted tourism, including nominal fees and such
Foreign tourists are arriving in droves simply because of President Chiluba’s land and business policy: “I don’t care whether a cat is black or white for as long as it catches the rats”
And that South Africa had embarked on amicable and equitable redistribution of the land
And that Nigeria had just offered Zimbabwean white commercial farmers land leases that span 90 – years if they chose to settle in Nigeria.
That query alone landed me the nickname: Mr. ‘Been-to’ although I would have rather Mr. Bantu.
It has taken me this long to face and accept the reality of my British-ness; and for Zimbabwe to remain a pipe- dream destination; probably as it should be.
In the beginning it used to get to my head and my dreams too.
I reminisce weekends of barbecues/braai KWA MEREKI – HARARE. Fake birthday parties from and among friends to attend to – excuses for PARTIES and having fun. That was grand.
But when mum went to be with the Lord on July, and realised still I couldn’t travel to Zimbabwe for the funeral – for the danger is still as real now as it was under Dictator Robert Mugabe. Imagine!
My beloved aunt remarked recently: “By the time you visit Zimbabwe all the people would be gone. Dead!. That scared me. For it is the stuck reality.
It doesn’t get any better. Thinking of my former graduate journalism student cum human rights activist Itai Dzamara who disappeared into ‘thin air’ from some hair salon downtown Harare; and in broad daylight.
He was abducted three years ago. He was getting a haircut one Monday morning in March 2016 when four men bundled him into an unmarked vehicle and sped off. Itai’s whereabouts and the identities of those behind his kidnapping have remained unknown ever since.
Rumors has it that he was ‘murdered’, his body soaked in sulfuric acid and dumped in Lake Chivero/McIlwaine – 5 miles west of capital Harare.
“Every day I think that I’ll hear him coming through the gate,” says Sheffra, his wife.
“I think maybe I’ll see him on the news, or someone will send me a WhatsApp. These days my phone is always on, ready to receive news that Itai has been found. Maybe someone will phone, and he’ll be on the other end, or someone will give us information about where he is or tell us he’s on his way back.
It’s hard to live like this, every day waiting to hear good news.”
And then there is the fateful Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi
A Saudi Arabian journalist, dissident, author, and a former general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel and Columnist for Washington Post who was assassinated at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018 by agents of the Saudi.
The CIA has a recording of a phonecall in which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gave instructions to “silence Jamal Khashoggi as soon as possible”, a Turkish news website has reported. Gina Haspel, CIA director, is said to have revealed the existence of a wiretapped call between Prince Mohammed and his brother Khaled bin Salman, who is Saudi’s ambassador to the US, to Turkish officials during a visit to Ankara last month, according to Hurriyet. “It is said that the crown prince gave an instruction to silence JamalKhashoggi as soon as possible and this instruction was captured during the CIA wiretapping,” Hurriyet columnist Abdulkadir Selvi wrote on Thursday. “The subsequent murder is the ultimate confirmation of this instruction.”
It sends shivers through my spine. My head goes into an ‘intoxicated’ like dangerous spin. Imagine a journalist; one so prominent at that; can be murdered in a Turkish consulate and nobody knows how it happened; and no knowledge of the whereabouts of his body so family can lay him to rest with respect.
And for President Trump to say ;
“Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Trump said. “In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!”
And for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to say:
“It’s a mean, nasty world out there — the Middle East in particular,” Pompeo told reporters at the State Department. “There are important American interests to keep the American people safe, to protect Americans — not only Americans who are here, but Americans who are traveling and working, doing business in the Middle East. It is the president’s obligation, indeed the State Department’s duty as well, to ensure that we adopt policies that further America’s national security.”
All in front of a ‘dead body.’
Shame! It is a shame.
Shall we ever live in fear for as long as we remain trained and practising journalists?