UK – the murder of Sgt Matiu Ratana

Missy has posted from the UK on the murder of Sgt Matiu Ratana at Croydon Police station.

Hi All, Yes it is yet another (very rare) post from the UK.

This week we have moved on from COVID (sort of) and have other stories. For those interested I will summarise most of what has been happening in the UK over the last few months in a series of posts for all.

First, one of the main stories early this week was the murder of Sgt Matiu Ratana at Croydon Police station. This has shocked everyone on a number of levels, mostly though because it happened in what should be a (relatively) safe area for police.

There has been a lot of comment on this, and whilst the Met Police have not officially commented until the investigation and internal inquiry have been completed, many former police have been happy to comment publicly. One former police officer said that full searches are unable to be undertaken in public (ie: outside police stations), so when he was arrested he would have been patted down, but not searched, and as it appears the weapon was hidden in an intimate area they would not have found it at arrest.

The suspect was handcuffed, some media are suggesting behind the back but my understanding is that the handcuff in the front now as it is less stressful for the person being handcuffed (I could be wrong, I heard that third hand).

The suspect had just had his temperature taken for COVID check, and was about to be searched with a metal detector to check for weapons when he pulled the gun, he shot Sgt Ratana five times before shooting himself. The suspect has been named, and was apparently ‘good with weapons’ as well as being on the terrorist watch list.

His death, on first look and information provided so far, appears to have been due to a failure in police procedure.

The High Commissioner for NZ laid a wreath today in his memory, and a condolence book has been opened.

Arrest and murder charge following killing of police officer

Yesterday morning in Massey, Auckland a police officer was shot and killed and another was shot and wounded after what was described as a routine traffic stop.

https://i.imgur.com/M9jOyfj.png

A member of the public was also wounded when hit by a car.

Last night a man was arrsted and charged with murder.

From Police news:  Person charged with murder following shooting of Police officers

Police investigating the fatal shooting of a Police officer in Massey have charged a man with Murder.

A 24-year-old man has been arrested and charged with multiple serious offences including Murder, Attempted Murder and Dangerous Driving Causing Injury.

He will be appearing in the Waitakere District Court tomorrow.

The investigation into this incident is ongoing and Police are not able to rule out the possibility of further persons being charged.

Our thoughts are with the family of the slain Police officer and we are continuing to ensure they are provided with all possible support.

The other injured Police officer and member of public remain in hospital in a serious but stable condition and we are also supporting them and their families.

Police will not be in a position to confirm the identity of the Police officer until tomorrow at the earliest.

Earlier – Commissioner’s statement following Massey incident

It is with a heavy heart that I confirm that one of our colleagues injured in the incident in Massey, West Auckland, today has died.

This is devastating news and absolutely the worst thing for us to deal with. We have lost a colleague and friend in our Police whānau.

Our thoughts are with the officer’s family and loved ones, and with the other officer and member of the public who were injured in the same incident and their loved ones.

From the information we have this was a routine traffic stop and is the type of work our officers do every day to keep the public safe. At this stage there is nothing to indicate that the job was going to be anything out of the ordinary.

At around 10.30am, a police unit has performed a routine traffic stop on Reynella Drive.

The attending officers were shot and a member of the public has also been hit by the vehicle.

The second officer and the member of the public are in hospital where they are being treated for their injuries. The member of the public has minor injuries and the officer has serious injuries.

The alleged offender has fled the scene and enquiries are ongoing to locate them.

While efforts to locate the offender are ongoing staff in Tāmaki Makaurau will be armed.

Our priority is to support our officers and to locate this alleged offender as soon as possible.

This incident points to the real risks our officers face on the streets, doing their jobs, every day.

Staff safety and welfare are our absolute priority and our whole organisation is in a state of shock after these horrific events.

It is bad and sad news when police officers are attacked and shot and killed in the line of duty.

This has already brought up the debate again about the arming of police. This incident will be investigated, but it’s hard to see how police could be prepared for a routine traffic stop on a Friday mid-morning turning so violent.


More on ‘routine traffic stop’:

At 10.28am on Friday morning, two officers responded to an alert involving a vehicle of interest in Massey. It is unclear what the alert was, or why it was a vehicle of interest.

Putting on their lights and sirens, the two officers attempted to pull the car over, but soon lost sight of it.

The car, fleeing police, hit and injured a member of the public before coming to a crashing halt on Reynella Drive about 10.30am.

A man got out of the car, armed with a long-barrelled firearm and fired multiple shots at the officers – striking them both. The officers were unarmed.

It’s understood the officer who died was shot in the abdomen. The second officer was shot in the leg and taken to Auckland City Hospital in a serious condition, where he is now in a stable condition.

After opening fire, the shooter got into another vehicle and fled the scene with a second person.

The Armed Offenders Squad was called in, cordoning off the suburban streets, and a manhunt was instigated.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/121892361/man-struck-by-car-involved-in-fatal-police-shooting-just-10cm-from-death


Stuff: Officer killed identified by police

Police have released the name of the officer killed on duty on Friday.

He was Constable Matthew Dennis Hunt, aged 28 of Auckland.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said in a statement Hunt’s family gave their blessing to release his name.

Hunt, who grew up on the Hibiscus Coast, joined the New Zealand Police in October 2017 as a member of Wing 312. His family said it was his “lifelong dream” to become a police officer.

Hunt was the 33rd to have been killed in New Zealand in the line of duty since 1890, and the first since 2009.

Police officer who killed George Floyd charged with murder, manslaughter

Derek Chauvin, the officer seen kneeling on George Floyd’s neck until he died died, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter

This had to happen. Riots are almost as inexcusable as the callous way George Floyd was killed, but they were an inevitable reaction.

The cellphone footage showed Floyd repeatedly moaning and gasping while he pleaded to Chauvin, kneeling on his neck, “Please, I can’t breathe.” After several minutes, Floyd gradually grows quiet and ceases to move.

Several minutes of casual callous killing.

Officer seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck in video facing murder, manslaughter charge, officials announce

Officer seen kneeling on Floyd’s neck in video facing murder, manslaughter charge, officials announce

Reuters: Former Minneapolis police officer charged with murder of George Floyd

The white Minneapolis policeman who pinned an unarmed black man with a knee to the throat before the man died was arrested and charged with murder, a prosecutor said on Friday, after three nights of violent protests rocked the Midwestern city.

Derek Chauvin, the officer seen on a bystander’s cellphone video kneeling on George Floyd’s neck on Monday before the 46-year-old man died, has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter, Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman told a news briefing.

“He is in custody and has been charged with murder,” Freeman said of Chauvin. “We have evidence, we have the citizen’s camera’s video, the horrible, horrific, terrible thing we have all seen over and over again, we have the officer’s body-worn camera, we have statements from some witnesses.”

The cellphone footage showed Floyd repeatedly moaning and gasping while he pleaded to Chauvin, kneeling on his neck, “Please, I can’t breathe.” After several minutes, Floyd gradually grows quiet and ceases to move.

Chauvin and three fellow officers at the scene were fired on Tuesday from the Minneapolis Police Department. The city identified the other officers as Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng.

Freeman said the investigation into Chauvin – who, if convicted, faces up to 25 years in prison on the murder charge – was ongoing and that he anticipated charges against the other officers. He said it was appropriate to charge “the most dangerous perpetrator” first.

Tucker Carlson (Fox News): Our leadership class is fanning racial flames. They’re doing nothing to calm the situation

If you were watching any of the coverage from Minneapolis about what happened Wednesday night, you know perfectly well that what’s happening on the streets there. No matter what it may look like, is actually a quest for justice.

It’s long overdue search for answers by legitimately frustrated protesters who, if we are going to be honest about it, have been oppressed for so long they can no longer stand idle. What you’re seeing in Minneapolis is democracy in its purest form.

Effectively, it’s a political rally.

“Now, wait a second,” you may be thinking. “That didn’t look like a political rally. Those people look like looters. They were smashing cash registers with hammers to steal other people’s money.”

Well, yes, technically they were doing that. And yes, as a factual matter, they were smashing the cash registers because they had already stolen everything else in the store. So no, it doesn’t look like conventional political activism.

But before you judge them, keep in mind, it could have been far worse. It’s not like they were doing something immoral, like protesting Gretchen Whitmer‘s coronavirus lockdowns in Michigan. That would have been a different story.

Defiant armed protests against life protection measures were encouraged by President Trump.

Joy Reid, MSNBC host: Black people’s right to protest is secondary to white people’s right to be an armed protest with long guns, terrifying-looking war weapons.

Chris Hayes, MSNBC host: This is how the protest of George Floyd’s death ended up. Police in riot gear, flooding the streets with teargas and shooting rubber bullets into the crowd.

Another example of how this pandemic has been a kind of black light, exposing all the inequalities in American life.

Eddie Glaude, Jr.. chairman of African-American Studies at Princeton University and MSNBC contributor: It says if some people are accorded the rights of citizenship and other folks are just expected to be obedient.

Reid: Europeans came to this country to get away from being subjects of the kings in Europe. But what they did was they created for themselves sort of a kingdom — every man a king, but the subjects are black people.

These armed white men who can get armed up and walk into a state capitol [in Michigan], and that’s okay and the police are benign. They don’t even act afraid.

But let black people show up and protest the death of an innocent black man, and suddenly, you know what, we need tear gas. We’ve got to go full force.

Charlottesville, the same thing. The police were there to protect the people who were marching as Neo-Nazis, not to protect the black people.

But the problem is much bigger this time than mere hypocrisy. We’re very used to that. This problem is far more ominous.

Here it is in three sentences. There are 320 million of us in this country. A lot of us are very different from one another, yet we all have to live together. In fact, most of us want to live together. But suddenly our leaders are making that dangerously difficult.

But after the riots subside and Chauvin works his way through the legal system will anything significant actually change? This sort of thing has happened before, and has kept happening. US leaders either don’t want to to address this pox on then country, or don’t know how to.

 

 

More background on man found guilty of murdering Grace Millane

Since the trial is over after a jury verdict of guilty of the murder of Grace Millane media are revealing more of the narcissist responsible.

Stuff – Grace Millane trial: What the jury didn’t hear

The man who murdered Grace Millane could not handle being rejected by women.

The 27-year-old man with name suppression was found guilty on Friday, following a three week trial at the High Court at Auckland.

While the jurors heard from four of his previous dates, the police spoke to other young women who did not end up giving evidence at trial.

Many of those young women spoke of a man who had an interest in violent sex and a tendency to “switch” when his sexual advances were turned down.

Stuff can now report the evidence for the first time, following the man’s conviction.

The Crown sought to have the 10 women and one man give evidence, arguing it showed the man had a pattern of behaviour over the two and-a-half year period before he killed Grace.

The man’s defence lawyers argued the jurors would use the witness evidence to “backfill” their knowledge on what happened to Grace inside the apartment.

Following legal argument initially in the High Court and then the Court of Appeal, many of the witnesses were not included.

In a pre-trial ruling in August, Justice Simon Moore ruled evidence from nine of the 11 witnesses was relevant.

“What emerges from many of the women’s accounts is the independent portrayal of [the man] as unusually needy, demanding and insecure,” Justice Moore said.

Despite having met some of the women only a handful of times, the killer expected “emotional support and nourishment”.

“He is possessive and overbearing towards women he barely knows… When the recipients display understandable discomfort, even shock, at what is frankly bizarre, clumsy and narcissistic conduct or otherwise try to distance themselves from him, [the man] reacts in anger and professes betrayal.”

The article has more details.

There was enough evidence able to be put in front of the jury to convince them beyond reasonable doubt that not only did his story not stack up, the man had a dangerous personality.

Unfortunately there are a number of men in our society who abuse power in relationships, who use emotional blackmail, and who react very badly to rejection.

Yeah there could be women who are a bit like this too, but males are all too often the ones who resort to violence and in cases like this, lethal violence.

Grace Millane trial – closing arguments

I have tried to avoid a lot of the media detail on the Grace Millane murder trial, but what I had seen made me think it was tending to look like not guilty of murder, but as the defence has claimed, ‘rough sex’ gone badly wrong.

But I read through a summary of the prosecution and defence final arguments in the case yesterday, and that leant me back towards a reasonably possibility of a guilty verdict. There are some aspects that just don’t seem to be accidental, like if someone is being strangled this takes time – several minutes at least – and surely the person putting pressure on another persons throat would notice the victim go limp.

And what is alleged to have happened immediately after death – watching porn, googling Waitakere ranges (where the body ended up being buried) and “hottest fire”, and taking photos of the body (the defence claim there is no proof she ws dead then), don’t fit with the defendant’s claim that they had sex, he had a shower and went to bed and found Millane dead on the floor in the morning.

And then there is the burying of the body and the lying to police.

Stuff have a detailed report on the prosecution and defence final arguments here (read from the Live section bottom to top) – Grace Millane murder trial: Crown and defence sum up the case

Reports from Stuff – Grace Millane murder trial: A ‘compelling case of murder’ or an unforeseen accident?

And: Grace Millane murder trial: Judge to sum up the case

The jury deciding the case of the man accused of murdering Grace Millane will hear a summing up from Justice Simon Moore on Friday.

The jurors will then retire to consider their verdict at the High Court in Auckland.

They have heard closing arguments from the Crown and defence lawyers, as well as weeks of evidence.

It’s difficult to know what the outcome of a trial like this will be from a smattering of media reports only. The jury has heard all the evidence and arguments, and will make decisions based on all of that.

It looks unlikely there will be verdict today or this week.

Searchable database of homicides in New Zealand

Stuff has put a searchable database of homicides in New Zealand online in The Homicide Report:

It encompases 1068 cases involving 591 men, 283 women and 194 young people from January 2004 to March 2019.

The project, which has been years in the making, aims to provide the public with a greater insight into the issue of homicide in New Zealand.

The Homicide Report asks: why do New Zealanders kill one another? Our unprecedented database yields some answers.

In many ways it illuminates the worst impact of some of New Zealand’s biggest social problems.

It shows there is a clear relationship between a neighbourhood’s homicide rate and the level of social and economic deprivation.

And it reveals the extent to which family violence, alcohol and drug abuse contribute to homicidal death in New Zealand.

The Homicide Report  relies on information from more than 800 coronial findings, hundreds of court documents, police sources and news stories from Stuff’s archives.

We categorised each case according to the victim’s age and gender, their relationship to the killer, cause of death, location and a host of others.

We then analysed them to look for significant groupings of homicides with similar characteristics that might reveal some underlying problem or cause.

The analysis reveals stark differences in the way men, women and children who are victims of homicide die and who kills them.

Being from 2004 only it does not include some of the most high profile murders, some of which keep coming up in the news and discussions.

The database search engine is here.

 

‘Men’ have a collective problem with violence, abuse…

‘Men’ have a collective problem with violence, abuse, murder, rape, misogyny – and should do more collectively to address these problems and the ingrained cultures that contribute to the problems.

Obviously not all men are violent, not all men are thugs or rapists or murderers. It can be quite confronting to be held responsible as a gender for individual crimes, rapes, murders, assaults. We are not all responsible for specific crimes. But we are all responsible for the social culture in which they occur all too frequently.

A number of women have been expressing themselves in reaction to the shocking murder of English backpacker Grace Millane. There has been a lot of emotion, and I think that in the heat of the moment some things that have been said maybe be a bit over the top, off the mark and unfair.

But I think we should listen, learn, and resolve to do more to stand up to the debilitating and destructive behaviours that cause so much grief and anger.

WARNING: the following may put some male noses out of joint. But I think that men should read, digest, and consider carefully what is being expressed.

Women, many women, have to deal with problems that most men have to deal with, and that most men are probably largely unaware of.

Kirsty Johnston: I’m angry about Grace Millane’s murder after a year reporting on rape

I was angry before Grace Millane’s death and I’m seething now.

In the days following Grace’s death, I tried to explain this feeling to the men in my life, to tell them why many women felt so upset by her killing.

“It could have been any of us,” I said. “It is a reminder that we aren’t yet equal. She was just a kid. She was just trying to live her life.”

I watched them grapple with this idea, to try not to get defensive. I wondered how it must feel to be on the other end, to be told that you have the power to be frightening. I felt sorry for them, these men who I love. Right now, however, I’m too tired to make it okay for them. It’s been a long year. I’m tired of explaining. I’m tired of feeling second-class. And I’m tired of being angry. It’s a burden none of us asked for.

I have spent most of 2018 writing about rape. It wasn’t planned. It began with a single story about unresolved sexual assault cases handled by the police, and grew, and grew.

After every article, more women came forward to talk to me about sexual violence and their experience with the justice system. For a while, I became part reporter, part counsellor. I didn’t mind. Journalism is as much in the listening as the telling. But unlike with previous projects, this time the stories stayed with me, waking me at night, leaving a deep aching in my chest around my heart. Sometimes, I felt sick, my throat constricted. Worst was when I felt the deep chill of recognition settle in my bones.

It was deeply confronting to realise these women’s long-held secrets were so similar to my own. As I listened to them, memories long-repressed began to bubble to the surface. Small things, like unwanted touches or sexist comments. Bigger things, like sexual coercion or a lack of consent. Other things. Cowering in corners.

With the lid lifted, it felt like I was viewing the world through a new lens. Everywhere I looked was rape culture, the dominance of the patriarchy, ingrained misogyny. Once you see, I said to one victim, you can’t unsee. She said, “I wish I could. I don’t want to be this person.” Same, I said. It’s exhausting. As the year went on my heartache shifted to anger. In June, after a nasty incident at a bar, I wrote a furious column about male entitlement, begging men to think about their behaviour. In response, I got emails threatening rape. My anger twisted to despair.

The only thing that saved me was the kindness of other women.

Wouldn’t it be good if the kindness of men also helped saved people from angst, saved people from violence and abuse, saved people’s lives?

It can, and does. But not enough.

I think that men as a group need to listen more, learn more about the problems they are being linked to and are a part of.

‘Men’ cannot be held responsible for individuals, for individual murders, for individual rapes, for individual assaults, for individual families battered and scarred by violence.

But as a significant segment of a society that is too often violent and dysfunctional I think men have a collective responsibility to stand up and confront the issues more and better.

Many men lead non-violent lives, many men are members of decent families and decent communities. But our society as a whole has a pervading sickness, not just a sickness of violent behaviour, of abusive behaviour, but a sickness of attitudes and behaviours that disrespect, demean, destroy.

This is too prevalent in family and social situations. It is also too prevalent in politics. It is far too prevalent in online forums, social media – as a society we haven’t adapted well to technological changes. Yet.

When it comes down to it we don’t care about women enough. Most men do not know what it is to be afraid, to realise if your worst fear comes true, there is nothing you can do.

We as men can imagine what this may be like but will probably never understand how it feels.

I can’t speak for women, but I can try to understand their angst and anger better.

And as a man I should do more to make our society less violent, better. I think this will benefit from collective action from men.

I admit that some of what I have read lately, including from Kirsty Johnston, got my hackles up a bit, made me feel indignant, dumped on. Maybe that’s in part because I know, I feel, that men are not doing enough to address male problems in our society. Society will only change for the better if we change – change our attitudes, change our behaviours, and change what we do (from little to more) to confront a beast of a problem.

 

Murder, men, shame and blame

The murder of young tourist Grace Millane is terrible, and very sad for her family in particular. Horrendous crimes like murder can impact on many people.

There have been appropriate reactions online, like:

I think that most people would agree with that as some have.

There have also been a noticeable number of different reactions. Like calling on the Government to deal with mental health issues, even going as far as implying blame on the current and past Governments. I think that’s unfair.

Apparently there has been some blaming of the murder victim for her own death – I haven’t seen this but have seen this: “Fuck all of you who are blaming Grace for her own death.” Aand:

I’ve had to go on a blocking spree cos I’ve had so many people tweet me to say she should have been more careful. Women and men alike. It’s as if we’ve regressed a couple of hundred years.

It’s sad that there has been victim blaming. Angry responses to that are understandable, but some go into women versus men territory.

When you argue that women shouldn’t travel alone for fear of violence, you’re arguing that women don’t have the same right to life as men because in effect there are some instances and spaces where women should expect their lives are rendered precarious and meaningless.

Also prevalent is the implication and blaming of all men for murders, and violence generally. There have been many variations to this, including attacks on men for questioning the ‘all men’ blaming. people who have suggested anything like ‘not all men are to blame for the crimes of some’.

And some responses combine things and generalise, like:

Ironically, many of the “What did she expect; she should have been more careful” people are exactly the same ones shouting “ “ the rest of the time.

Men are also effectively blaming all men, or at least all men who say things they disagree with.

To all the guys responding to women’s pain, despair and outrage right now with , please go fuck yourselves. You are part of the problem. We are part of the problem unless we actively confront toxic masculinity and the culture of violence against women.

This troubles me. I don’t feel any responsibility for this crime. I think that ‘all men’ type attacks are likely to be counter-productive, alienating many men who oppose violence, who speak up against violence, who act against violence.

I don’t see how I have any responsibility for a murder in Auckland. Are all Aucklanders responsible in some way? Are all New Zealanders responsible for the safety of tourists?

It’s very sad to hear of the murder of a young tourist, but I also find it sad to see all the blaming and shaming of men generally. I don’t think that will do anything to make tourists or women safer.

The changing story of Khashoggi’s murder

Saoudi Arabia’s explanation of the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has kept changing, but their foreign minister now admits that Khashoggi was murdered. However he says it was ‘a rogue operation’. It is difficult to accept any official Saudi claims given how much they have kept changing.

The Saudis gave up trying to deny they were responsible for Khashoggi’s death, and are now left trying to distance  Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from any responsibility.

Saudi officials had first denied any knowledge of Khasoggi’s disappearance, despite video evidence of him going into their consulate in Istanbul and never being seen again. Under international pressure and condemnation they eventually admitted Khasoggi had died in the consulate but claimed it was as a result of a fight. The now concede he was murdered.

BBC – Khashoggi death: Saudi Arabia says journalist was murdered

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told Fox News “the murder” had been a “tremendous mistake” and denied the powerful crown prince had ordered it.

Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

The Saudis, under intense pressure to explain Khashoggi’s whereabouts, have offered conflicting accounts.

They initially said he had left the consulate on 2 October – but on Friday admitted for the first time he was dead, saying he had been killed in a fight. This claim met widespread scepticism.

Turkish officials believe Khashoggi, a prominent critic of the Saudi government, was murdered by a team of Saudi agents inside the building and say they have evidence to prove it.

Adel al-Jubeir’s comments, describing the incident as murder, are some of the most direct to come from a Saudi official.

“We are determined to find out all the facts and we are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder,” he said.

“The individuals who did this did this outside the scope of their authority,” he added. “There obviously was a tremendous mistake made, and what compounded the mistake was the attempt to try to cover up.”

Khashoggi entered the consulate on 2 October. The denials and attempted cover up extended over 20 days, despite being told by US officials to end the crisis ‘quickly’ on 10 October.

NY Times (9 October): Turkish Officials Say Khashoggi Was Killed on Order of Saudi Leadership

Top Turkish security officials have concluded that the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on orders from the highest levels of the royal court, a senior official said Tuesday.

Business Insider: The Saudi crown prince reportedly couldn’t understand the outrage over Khashoggi’s killing

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, the man suspected of ordering the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, could not understand why the Saudi journalist’s disappearance was such a big deal, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Mohammed bin Salman was shocked to see Khashoggi’s disappearance in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul provoke such international outrage, and he called the White House adviser Jared Kushner to ask why, the paper said.

Crown Prince Mohammed called Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East adviser, on October 10, The Journal said, eight days after Khashoggi disappeared.

Crown Prince Mohammed asked in English what the outrage was about, the report said, citing two people who were briefed on the conversation.

Kushner and John Bolton, the US national security adviser, reportedly told the crown prince in response that he had to solve the crisis quickly.

Kushner is close to Crown Prince Mohammed and – according to CNN – texts him directly sometimes on WhatsApp. He has not taken a public role in the US response to the Khashoggi crisis, but reports suggest he has advised Trump to stand by Saudi Arabia until the episode blows over.

If this is all true then unless Kushner and Bolton did not inform Donald Trump (that seems very unlikely) then Trump knew what was going on but tried to play down Khasoggi’s disappearance.

The Trump administration appeared reluctant to hold the Saudi leadership responsible for weeks after Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Trump has continued to tout billions of dollars’ worth of arms contracts struck between Washington and Riyadh, which he has repeatedly claimed could create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the US.

After Saudi Arabia acknowledged Khashoggi’s death, Trump told The Post that “obviously there’s been deception, and there’s been lies” in the Saudi explanation of the disappearance and death.

He must have known well before the Saudi admission.

But the president said he “would love if he wasn’t responsible,” referring to Crown Prince Mohammed.

Many of the 15 men identified in the Turkish news media as suspects in Khashoggi’s killinghave been seen in the crown prince’s entourage.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised that he would reveal the “naked truth”about Khashoggi’s death on Tuesday.

That could be embarrassing for both Crown Prince Mohammed and Trump (and also Kushner). They both at least look complicit in an inept attempt to cover up the murder.

Guardian (12 October) – Trump: Khashoggi case will not stop $110bn US-Saudi arms trade

Donald Trump has made it clear that whatever the outcome of the inquiry into the disappearance of the journalist from the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, the US will not forgo lucrative arms deals with Riyadh. The president says the possibility of Saudi Arabia sourcing its arms from Russia or China instead is unacceptable.

Vox (21 October) – “It’s not going to create or take away a single job”: why Trump’s excuse on the Saudis doesn’t hold up

When President Donald Trump explained over the past two weeks why he was reluctant to damage the relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia over the disappearance and murderof dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, he kept coming back to one reason: jobs.

“I don’t want to hurt jobs,” Trump said in an interview with 60 Minutes that aired last weekend, explaining that there are “other ways of punishing.”

“Who are we hurting? It’s 500,000 jobs,” he told Fox Business on Wednesday.

“I’d rather keep the million jobs, and I’d find another solution,” he said at a defense roundtable in Arizona on Friday.

But while there’s a multitude of reasons Trump might be hesitant to condemn the Saudi government, tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs from an arms deal with the Saudi government isn’t one of them — at least a legitimate one.

The White House has been conspicuously cautious in its reaction to Khashoggi’s disappearance, even after the government admitted on Friday that he was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul earlier this month. Part of Trump’s explanation — beyond that it’s unfair to consider Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “guilty before proven innocent” — is that a $110 billion arms deal would be at risk. Trump claims the arms deal will lead to thousands of jobs, and it’s a risk he’s not willing to take.

There could also be other economic reasons leading Trump to avoid destabilizing the relationship — including Saudi influence over the world’s supply of oil, which would be particularly crucial if the US imposes sanctions on Iran.

“What’s at stake is global oil price stability,” Ashley Peterson, a senior oil market analyst at energy advisory firm Stratas Advisors, told me. “Saudi Arabia excels at talking up and talking down the oil market.”

But:

“They have the oil card and the arms sales card, neither of which, to me, is particularly compelling in these circumstances,” Chollet, from the German Marshall Fund, said.

Beyond the economic factors in play here, there are also geopolitical considerations — it also goes into the broader context of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the Iran deal.

As the New York Times’s David Sanger pointed out, Saudi Arabia is an important player in the United States’ plan to go after Iran. The White House is hoping the Saudis will help it keep oil prices from spiking when it reimposes sanctions on Iran, including cutting off Iranian oil exports.

As usual with international issues things are complicated. And in any case, arms sales to Saudi Arabia, oil and Iran are all interrelated.

The death of one journalist is just a nuisance – but it could become a very influential nuisance.

 

 

Police recently visited Whangarei killer

In a new development in the Whangarei shooting, in which two female property inspectors were shot dead and a maintenance man injured, the police have revealed that they visited the property last month.

RNZ:  Whangarei shooting: Police recently visited killer

Quinn Patterson killed property manager Wendy Campbell, 60, and her 37-year-old daughter Natanya on Wednesday morning when they visited his home with a contractor to install smoke alarms. The contractor was also shot, but managed to escape and raise the alarm.

Northland District Commander Superintendent Russell Le Prou said police investigated a structure being built there last month, and were told it was to be used for target practice.

Police decided it was a tenancy matter, rather than one for them.

Police said the visit to the property formed part of the ongoing investigation into Patterson’s background.

There have been reports that Patterson, aged in his 50s, had multiple guns and other weapons, including grenades and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

People using firearms in rural areas is common. There can be many legitimate and innocent reasons for using them.

I wouldn’t mind if police asked to see my firearms license just as a check.

Perhaps if there are any checks on rural properties it should include a check of whether firearms are present and whether there are firearms licenses.