Biden inaction on Saudis’ Khashoggi assassination angers News Guild
People hold posters of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, near the Saudi Arabia consulate in Istanbul, marking the two-year anniversary of his death, Oct. 2, 2020. The posters read in Arabic:' Khashoggi's Friends Around the World'. | Emrah Gurel / AP

WASHINGTON (PAI)—Democratic President Joe Biden’s decision to take no action, including no sanctions, against Saudi Arabia’s de facto supreme ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, for ordering the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is angering The News Guild.

A Bin Salman-sent hit squad murdered and dismembered Khashoggi, a contributing writer for The Washington Post, when he entered the Saudi consulate in Ankara, Turkey, to get a visa for his fiancée in 2018.

U.S. intelligence concluded Salman, also known as MBS, was responsible. The squad included members of MBS’s personal staff. Khashoggi had criticized Saudi Arabia’s monarchy and repression and advocated more democracy in the key oil-rich Middle Eastern country.

“The Crown Prince viewed Khashoggi as a threat to the kingdom and broadly supported using violent measures if necessary to silence him,” the intelligence report’s summary, released Feb. 25, said.

The Washington-Baltimore News Guild, TNG-CWA Local 32035, represents workers at the paper, though not outside writers such as Khashoggi. His assassination angered both the local and then-News Guild President Bernie Lunzer, who demanded a formal investigation and sanctions.

Pitched towards guaranteeing profits for oil firms and weapons companies and headed by a White House occupant with a marked affinity for tyrants, the GOP Trump regime turned a deaf ear to protests over the Khashoggi assassination and sat on the probe’s findings.

Biden released the report summary, but his inaction on sanctions against MBS upset the union all over again.

“The Washington-Baltimore News Guild is profoundly disappointed in President Joe Biden’s decision not to penalize the Saudi Arabian government for its role” in Khashoggi’s murder, WBNG said. Current News Guild President Jon Schleuss endorsed the statement.

U.S. intelligence has fingered Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as the mastermind behind the Khashoggi assassination, but the Biden administration is taking no action on the matter. | AP

“A recently declassified report by U.S. intelligence agencies found that the Saudi government, directed by its highest ranking leader, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, commissioned this heinous crime against an agent of truth and free speech.

“Despite this evidence, our nation’s leadership declined to hold Khashoggi’s murderers accountable. He was killed for simply exercising press freedom and his killers will not be punished. Khashoggi’s death, and our government’s tacit acceptance of his murder, sends a signal that journalists are free targets for aggression and violence around the world.

“Our government cannot accept human rights violations against members of the press, especially in an era where journalists around the world face unprecedented danger just for doing their jobs.”

The Society for Professional Journalists was also unhappy. A media newsletter published by the Columbia Journalism Review, though not the Review itself, issued a blistering denunciation. It said Biden wasn’t much better than Trump on the matter of Saudi Arabia, putting economic interests first.

SPJ President Matthew Hall called the intelligence summary “too little, too late.”

“Many Americans have now read—and all should read—the four-page declassified intelligence report on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi,” Hall added. “Seeing its conclusions in print under government letterhead makes me angry all over again. This reprehensible action needs a strong response from the Biden administration.”

SPJ is demanding Biden soon impose one of “the range of actions” it’s planning against the Saudis, “to send the message to Saudi Arabian leaders and people everywhere that the killing of a journalist is unacceptable anywhere on this planet… We will continue to demand justice for Jamal Khashoggi.”


CONTRIBUTOR

PAI
PAI

Press Associates Union News Service provides national coverage of news affecting workers, including activism, politics, economics, legislation in Congress and actions by the White House, federal agencies and the courts that affect working people. Mark Gruenberg is Editor in chief and owner of Press Associates Union News Service, Washington, D.C.

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