Anyone planning to get away with murdering journalists can learn a lot from the murder of Washington Post journalist’s Jamal Khashoggi and the factors which helped Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman get away with it, at least as far the official White House response goes.
The Four Elements
Whether you’ll be able to get away with murdering a journalist depends on the four factors:
- Arms trade: Are you paying large sums for American military equipment? As President Trump explained, Saudis in a fairly short period of time might invest $110 billion in buying military equipment from the US defense contractors. ($110 billion is a truly impressive number, and the only thing that could make it even more impressive is if it was based on something more than a fantasy.)
- Do you have some business relations with the Trump family, perhaps some real estate deals or maybe your country has something else valuable to offer?
- Are you a head of state or a member of some important royal family?
- Does your country align with the geopolitical interests of the United States (for example, does your country produce a lot of oil or does it oppose Iran or some other well-known adversary of the United States?) Again, as President Trump, in his infinite wisdom, summarized this issue:
“… we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. 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.”
The Murder Calculus
How much each of these elements will matter depends on a particular journalist you want to murder and where and how you’re going to do it. In essence, what role each of these four factors will play depends whether there will be a lot of public outcry and public pressure to punish you.
First, ask yourself what kind of journalist you want to murder. Is it someone well-known and whether he or she will be missed by influential people or media organizations? If so, make a significant arms deal – it should be a noticeable order for American guns.
Are you going to do it on the foreign soil? These days many journalists make it very hard to kill them as they avoid coming to your home country, so understandably you occasionally need to carry it out on the foreign soil. If you eliminate someone well-known and you do it on the foreign soil, there is a good chance that it will lead to a significant public outcry. So take that into account and plan to make an even bigger arms deal – at least in the double digits of billions of dollars.
Do you want to not simply murder the journalist but dismember him or her. Cutting a journalist into pieces will cost you extra – there will be a greater public outcry, so you need to plan accordingly – a huge arms deal is a must, but you’ll also need to make sure that the Trump family has at has some business interests tied to your country.
Also, consider how much there will be evidence that you are directly behind the murder? If there will be a lot of certainty that you ordered it personally, there will be an even greater public outcry. In such a case, you’ll need not only huge arms deals and the Trump family’s business interests, but it will also help a lot if your country produces a lot of oil and its policy aligns with the American foreign policy and you also happen to be a head of the state or a member of some important royal family.
That’s it. You need just the four of these basic elements and consider a specific journalist you want treat in the Saudi fashion and how much of a public outcry there will be. In short, if you’re going to embrace the Saudi style for dealing with a critical journalist who is relatively well-known and you are going to do it on the foreign soil and you want to dismember him or her, then make sure you buy lots of American weapons and the Trump family has some interests tied with your country and you’re a member of an important royal family.
If you can nail these four factors, then don’t overthink it. Go ahead and you’ll get away with it.