Will Saudi Arabia Have Me Killed 

The title is a little facetious but a real question none the less. You see, my goal is to become a trusted national security and cybersecurity commentariat.  Achieving this goal would mean I tell it like it is under all circumstances.  I believe digital oppression is the new civil rights issue.  I plan to be a voice for digital access and against government oppression limiting free speech.  But clearly, this could be dangerous. 

Even though achieving the title of journalist one day maybe be a career stretch, it appears you can step into harm’s way just by simply speaking up.  Being an affective activist is proving dangerous as social media has the power to carry your voice across the world.  Tyranny is no longer confined to the country you reside.  Dictators now deal with you as if you are one of their subjects.  It is the new agreement between the boys in the club.  Its members can be described as weak, powerful and wealthy.  They are all small people who happen to be world leaders.

As a former Department of Homeland Security official, I relish truth, partnership and opportunities for capacity building.  Delivering great insights and assisting communities to build towards their goals is a privilege of working for the U.S. Government.  However, this is not the case in many countries.  Typically, the dissenting voices of influence in these nations are potential victims of mysterious car accident or death by poison.  Now, you don’t need to step into the countries you are criticizing to become a target.  We have moved from shared economies to shared tyranny.   

This only occurs when there is an agreement in principle between leaders of different countries.  Whereas the beatdown only went so far under traditional unspoken rules of democracy, all is far game in this new world order.  Just last year we witnessed a U.S. citizen being tied to the pounding hand of the Saudi Crown Prince.  This should have given everyone pause.  It signaled that becoming a successful beacon for truth could be a dangerous career aspiration; no matter where you live. 

Tyranny has no borders.  

Prince of a Guy

We know for a fact the Saudi Arabian Government had a U.S. journalist named Jama Khashoggi killed in 2018.  Not just killed, but they cut him into pieces like pulled pork.  Yes, that is a graphic way of detailing the referenced event that took place in an embassy of all places.  However, the murder was so barbaric that recounting it as anything more tasteful would be disrespectful to the deceased.

The murder of Jama Khashoggi unleashed some truth that can’t be put back into the bottle or behind the doors of the palace.  The pretty covers usually making us comfortable with our free speech privileges in the U.S. have all been pulled back.  This has exposed a dark new world that shines a light on what was formally called “injustice.”   

The arrogance and the evil in the Prince have taken the center stage.  He now represents what modern day dictatorship looks like.  Worse, if it can get worse, we all have a pretty good seat of the political theatrics.  We are witnessing how world leaders do their dealing to get what they want without regard for the health and welfare of their citizens.  We can clearly make out the corruption stage right, that allows the murder of a U.S. citizen in a foreign land at the direction of a dictator.  

This tells me that there are different sets of partners than a generation ago.  The government and the citizens may longer be “one nation.”  Rather, the world leaders who need support to achieve their personal agendas, are now active partners. 

Maybe I am overthinking this…….  Maybe, these world leaders are just spoiled, wealthy and cowardly boys that biology has forced into manhood.  And, they were forced into positions of leadership as a consequence of their societal positions.  They come together, not as leaders, but as scared little boys. 

When I was in school, these large kids would have been called bullies.  They were the kids who lacked the capacity to use effective social skills and resorted to the lowest form of communications, violence.  All the while, they were just one brave kid away from getting their butts kicked.  It was just a matter of time.  

Big Man Behind That Money

Wealth has never made men brave, strong or even empathetic.  It does, however, have the power to elevate people above the earthly realities the rest of us live with daily.  Don’t get me wrong, money and influence aren’t bad; we all want a taste.  But it seems when it is birth to you it takes the role of “mammy” to cuddle and protect your soft feelings. 

It appears the Prince is still concerned about who is talking about him.  Just this week there were two employees of U.S. based Twitter indicted by the Justice Department for trying to make him feel better.  Allegedly, Ali Alzabarah, a Saudi Arabian citizen, and Ahmad Abouammo, a US citizen, both went to work as employees of Twitter to do the Prince’s bidding.  The men used their network access to riffle through user accounts and identify Twitter users who were critical of Saudi Arabia and the Prince.

The interesting part of this story is that one of the accounts singled out by the alleged criminals belonged to Omar Abdulaziz.  Omar is an activist against the policies of Saudi Arabia and a friend of Jama Khashoggi.  So, even in death these tyrannical dictators will still not let Jama Khashoggi rest in peace.  

Therefore, I will press forward.  Even if the Saudi Arabia has me killed, Jama Khashoggi taught me you can still taunt the Prince from the grave.