Saudi Crown Prince Implicated: Credible reports of Torture and Murder in Ritz Carlton: NYT

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The late Saudi Maj. Gen. Ali al-Qahtani is said to have shown up at the morgue from the Riyadh Ritz Carlton where he had been imprisoned by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, 32, with a broken neck, bruises and swelling all over his body, and burn marks from electric shock.

Ben Hubbard, David D. Kirkpatrick, Kate Kelly and Mark Mazzetti at The New York Times confirm through extensive interviewing the horror stories that leaked out of the Ritz Carlton this past fall, about the cream of the Saudi business class being imprisoned and tortured until they signed over their assets to Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman. This Marxist fantasy of bourgeois abuse was carried out by the young prince in the name of an anti-corruption campaign, but it appears to have been a bid to weaken the relatives of the late King Abdullah and to feather the nest of the future king.

The NYT report reveals that the some 200 victims of this arbitrary seizure of their property are still more or less under house arrest, forced to wear electronic bracelets, and that they and their close family members have not been allowed to leave the country. Many signed over virtually all their assets to gain their freedom, but no legal attachment of their property has yet been carried out, so they are in limbo, sitting in homes they do not know if they own and on no-fly watchlists.

Inside the Ritz Carlton, shower rods and glass doors were removed from the bathrooms to prevent suicide attempts. Detainees were systematically abused, 17 of them so badly they were sent to hospital.

Al-Qahtani, taken into custody in early November, had been the security chief for Prince Turki Bin Abdullah, a son of the late King Abdullah who may have been viewed by Bin Salman as a rival for power from a different branch of the royal family. The Arabic press has alleged that al-Qahtani’s phone conversations with Turki Bin Abdullah and Abdul ‘Aziz Bin Abdullah, both sons of the late king were the reason for the torture. The Saudi regime wanted to know the substance of those conversations. If this report is true, it suggests that Bin Salman, like Saddam Hussein, suffers from extreme paranoia. The sons of Abdullah pose no threat to him.

Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the world’s wealthiest men, allegedly had to hand over some $6 bn of his $18 bn fortune (this is from other sources not the NYT), and the grasping Crown Prince’s attempt to seize the assets of Kingdom Holding Co. outside Saudi Arabia were thwarted because those businesses required Alwaleed to come to the premises in person to sign them away and because a counter-signature was needed from foreign partners. Apparently, however, Alwaleed and his family are still being monitored in Saudi Arabia and have their movements restricted. Alwaleed, a notorious health nut, said in a Reuters interview on the eve of his release that he had been wandering around the Ritz Carlton eating fast food, which friends took as a signal that he was being coerced in his affirmation that he had not been abused. He had clearly lost a great deal of weight and looked as though he had been under severe pressure if not open abuse.

Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman is on a victory tour to Britain and the US, where he is hoping to drum up foreign investment in his country. The Tory government of Theresa May has just agreed to sell him large quantities of fighter jets, a move that is controversial because he is using them to bomb Yemen back to the stone age.

In Latin, Caveat Emptor means, “Buyer beware.”


Bonus video:

Guardian News: “Reformer or rogue? Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman”

11 Responses

  1. It is a shame that Theresa May does not have higher principles, and that the UK and the US are selective in their outrage with these nations. Saudi Arabia is notorious for human rights abuses, and discriminating women, yet they continue to ignore what they would have been outraged about, had this been Iran.

    This young Prince, has sold his soul, and his country, to the devil. He is in bed with Israel, and conspiring with it, to attack
    Iran, and as the world can see has also viciously blockaded Qatar (learnt it from the master of blockades, Israel). He is turning his country, into yet another aggressor in the region, using UK, US and most probably Israeli weapons and training, to kill innocent civilians in Yemen. Who thought the keepers of Islam’s two holiest Mosques, would be cohorts with Israel, the long time occupier of the ME? This is an evil and dangerous prince, and what he has done, is disgusting.

  2. The Dick Cheney/ Alberto Gonzales school of acceptable torture would say everything was done humanely and within the boundaries of international law.

  3. I wonder if Theresa May got payment for the jets up front in case MbS is not around to sign the check after delivery. It sounds like this may not be the end of the intrigue in the Saudi royal court.

  4. For some reason, MBS (as he is affectionately referred to in the US press) is a current media darling here. Tom Friedman is obviously in thrall to him and that gave him a big push. Apparently, giving Saudi women the right to drive has given him a free pass for whatever misconduct and evil he chooses to engage in.

    • Powerful interests are pimping for him. I was in a supermarket and saw a glossy magazine-format publication in the rack, full of color pictures and brainless blather kissing MbS’ ass as a modernizer and defeater of terrorism. I thought, who’s paying for this wretched foreign propaganda? On the inside cover: “The National Enquirer is an AmeriPress publication.”

      You know, the same National Enquirer inciting drooling idiots by calling Obama and Clinton traitors, by running as many cover stories about evil Black male celebrities as possible, by effectively becoming Trump’s Der Sturmer.

  5. The “English speaking democracies” love this kind of ally. Torturer, yes, and according to President Trump, terrorists. President Donald Trump wrote in his book Time to Get Tough: Making America #1 Again.: “Then look at Saudi Arabia. It is the world’s biggest funder of terrorism. Saudi Arabia funnels our petro dollars—our very own money—to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people, while the Saudis rely on us to protect them!” All this says more about the “English speaking democracies” than the Wahhabis.

    • Quoting Donald J. Trump’s incomplete and factually incorrect observations on Saudi Arabia is disturbing when the United States of America and Russia are hands-down the largest sponsors and perpetrators of terrorism, worldwide.

      The Saudi’s have merely learned to make their terrorist funding much more dramatic in effect.

  6. The principle enshrined in the 23rd of the 39 Articles is that the moral behaviour of the individual does not reflect on the role he performs. It is of no consequence to the UK PM what the prince does to his rivals. If he is overthrown, which seems not unlikely, one simply deals with his successor.

  7. From my reading of Saudi history, I too find it difficult to believe that the various branches of the Saudi royal family are not furiously plotting coups against MBS.

  8. Room service at Riyadh Ritz Carlton can include a broken neck, bruises and swelling all over the body, and burn marks from electric shock.


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