No meeting or Dealing with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman when he visits LA.
Today Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman began his visit to Los Angeles, where among other business leaders he and his entourage will not only meet major defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing but also executives at Disney and RAND Corporation in Santa Monica.
We demand/call upon/urge Santa Monica and specifically RAND Corporation to refuse to meet with bin Salman, a mass murderer, war criminal and absolute dictator who is not only the de facto leader of one of the world most repressive regimes, but has single-handedly led the charge in one of the most disastrous conflicts of the post-cold War era with his relentless war on the people of Yemen. Santa Monica’s Responsible Investing Policy states “No investments are to be made to support the production of weapons, military systems, or nuclear power.”
RAND Corporation says they develop solutions to public policy challenges to make communities throughout the world safer and more secure. Precisely how does this record square with the values espoused by RAND? How can they justify meeting with, never mind doing deals with, a man who only a month ago was holding much of his countries wealthiest businessman hostage, reportedly hanging them upside down and even torturing them to death, in what is easily history’s most public and brazen shakedown -to the tune of over $100 billion that went straight into his pocket, which will no doubt go to fuel more war, religious extremism and repression?
Recent stories about Saudi women finally being allowed to drive and even attend sporting events might have the patina of a feel-good Hollywood screenplay, but the reality is that Saudi women and men remain deprived of almost every conceivable political and civil right. Even worse, bin Salman’s war in Yemen, launched he was Defense Minister, has killed tens of thousands of civilians, caused the world’s worst cholera outbreak in decades, the worst humanitarian disaster since World War II- worse even than Syria, destroyed numerous irreplaceable world heritage sites, and has pushed the Middle East closer to disintegration than it’s been since the first World War.
We call on Santa Monica to stand up for their values, say no to racism, sexism, extreme violence and repression, and refuse to meet or do business with bin Salman or any representative of the Saudi government until it ends its murderous war on Yemen and the innumerable other large-scale abuses of human rights and international law that have long defined business as usual in the Kingdom.
The protest will be Tuesday, April 3, 11 a.m. in front of RAND Corporation, 1776 Main Street.
Kirsten Iverson is Community Manager for CODEPINK: Women for Peace