Alleged mob boss Joe Columbo was kind of high profile for people with his job description. He started something called the “Italian American Civil Rights League.” He wanted to end wrongful discrimination from the lives of Italian-Americans. To this end, he held rallies -- demonstrations.
Joe died of heart failure. His heart failed from bullets fired during one of those big enthusiastic gatherings in Brooklyn. There was a message sent. The message was “don’t be so public about what you do for a living.”
Joe died in the Spring of 1978 in Blooming Grove, New York -- near Newburgh on the Hudson River, a bucolic town of about 20-thousand. Members of what the press called the “Columbo Crime Family” were pretty quiet thereafter.
Jamal Khashoggi died in Istanbul, Turkey, inside the embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, his native land, though he lived in metro-Washington DC and was a columnist for that city’s last remaining print newspaper, the Washington Post.
The most recent version of the story of his death: He died during a fist fight in the Saudi embassy.
Who would have been involved in this fight, and what would it have been about? Well, Khashoggi, 59, had written extensively about how facts were hard to come by in the Saudi media. And that, he wrote, was because the government is a family business. Oh, and there were strange laws and stranger police forces to enforce them.
Who was in the “fight?” There’s Khashoggi, who’d gone to his country’s embassy to do some paperwork for his upcoming wedding on one side. On the other, a 15-man hit squad flown in from Riyadh.
One was a forensic scientist with a bone saw. Another was a guy carrying a box of Glad Bags. A third was someone with a knife. And all were “in no way connected with Saudi prince-in-chief Mohammad bin Salman.”
We all know about princes. They are special people. Like Charles over in England who shows his special-ness by tolerating the dreadful Camilla, his charming spouse. Or the prince who kisses Snow White awake without permission. Then there’s Lorenzo de Medici who learned princing at the hand of fear monger Niccolò Machiavelli. MBS is pretty special, too.
He’s the kind of prince who arrests his relatives and jails them in luxury hotels. He’s the kind of prince who okay’s kidnaping the president of Lebanon. He’s the kind of prince who starts unnecessary mini wars with smaller countries in his region. He’s the kind of prince who will try to drag America into a war with Iran.
And he’s the kind of prince who controls a lot of oil and its price, earns respect from cowardly wannabe dictators a hemisphere away and who hosts economic conferences where no one shows up except to make sure the oil and money spigots keep working smoothly.
Oh. And MBS, Mister Bone Saw, has rounded up a bunch of scapegoats to take the rap for offing Khashoggi. Probably, they won’t get the luxury hotel lockup treatment.
Khashoggi was tortured before he was killed. He was dismembered. They cut off his fingers. That “fist fight gone wrong,” which is a tough line to swallow about a guy with no fingers and therefore no fists.
This is really about more than a chubby, friendly looking guy wearing nerd glasses murdered because he had a big megaphone which he used to expose what goes on in his country. It is about the use and abuse of power and the need for secrecy.
Joe Columbo would understand.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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