I've become obsessed with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi Arabia hit squad, and the Trump administration's despicable attempt to absolve Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of that country (who goes by MBS, which I translate at Murdering Big Shit) of a horrendous crime.
Since Khashoggi's death, many times a day I check my iPhone or laptop to see what new information about his murder has come to light. I'm pleased with my anger. I don't want to lose it. And I hope that lots of Americans express their own anger in the upcoming mid-term election by voting for Democrats -- which means, against Trump.
Today I saw that someone on Twitter said that now we can add "aiding and abetting a murderer" to the long list of Trump's misdeeds.
This isn't far from the truth. In fact, at the moment it seems to be absolutely true. The Washington Post reported this today:
The Trump administration and the Saudi royal family are searching for a mutually agreeable explanation for the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi — one that will avoid implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is among the president’s closest foreign allies, according to analysts and officials in multiple countries.
But it will be difficult for the young ruler to escape scrutiny, as mounting evidence points not only to the Saudi government’s knowledge of Khashoggi’s fate, but also to a connection by Mohammed to his disappearance.
"Searching for a mutually acceptable explanation" for Khashoggi's death -- WOW.
The truth doesn't matter to Trump, or his lapdog Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, who was all smiles when he met with MDS yesterday in Saudi Arabia. They're leaving it up to Saudi leaders to investigate Khashoggi's murder in the Saudi consulate, which is akin to O.J. Simpson's search for the "real killer."
All Simpson had to do was look in the mirror. Ditto with Mohammed bin Salman.
Khashoggi is shown on video walking into the Saudi embassy. He never came out. Today Turkish officials spoke about what happened to Khashoggi, as reported by the New York Times.
Saudi agents were waiting when Jamal Khashoggi walked into their country’s consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. Mr. Khashoggi was dead within minutes, beheaded, dismembered, his fingers severed, and within two hours the killers were gone, according to details from audio recordings described by a senior Turkish official on Wednesday.
...The new leaks, which were also splashed in lurid detail across a pro-government newspaper, came a day after Mr. Pompeo and the Trump administration had appeared to accept at face value the promises of the Saudi rulers to conduct their own investigation into Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance — regardless of Turkish assertions that senior figures in the royal court had ordered his killing.
As the Saudis and the Americans tried to put the crisis behind them, the brutality described in the leaks served as a reminder of why Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance has triggered an international backlash more severe than countless mass killings or rights violations.
"His fingers severed." We don't know whether Khashoggi was alive or dead when this happened.
Regardless, let's never forget the courage of this brave journalist, who was a permanent American resident who wrote a column for the Washington Post. And again, let's never forget our anger at MDS and Trump, both of whom are complicit in Khashoggi's murder.
Trump loves to call journalists the "enemy of the people." That's music to the ears of authoritarians like MDS.
They know that under Trump's failed leadership, the United States no longer has any moral standing in the w0rld. All Trump cares about is money and power. He's said that even if MBS murdered Khashoggi, American arms sales to Saudi Arabia must move forward.
A few Republicans are criticizing Trump's attempt to excuse Khashoggi's death and dismemberment. But only a few. Trump gets away with this crap because his supporters are willing to put up with horrible stuff, so long as they get tax cuts for the rich and conservative judges.
This is why voting for Democrats honors Jamal Khashoggi. So long as Republicans control the White House and both houses of Congress, there can't be effective oversight of Trump's horrific behavior.
Yes, a lot of what Trump does is ridiculous. But turning a blind eye to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi isn't funny in the slightest. For me, it is one of the worst things Trump has done since he became president, and believe me, he has done a lot of bad things in the past two years.
Khashoggi went into the Saudi consulate to get a divorce document so he could get married the next day. The Crown Prince must have ordered his murder, since so many of the hit squad were closely linked to MBS, and they arrived and departed from Istanbul on Saudi jets.
Plus, Saudi Arabia is tightly controlled by the Royal Family, so the notion of "rogue agents" Trump is trying to peddle makes no sense.
Tomorrow the Washington Post is publishing Khashoggi's final column, written shortly before he was murdered. It's titled "What the Arab world needs most is free expression." Here's some excerpts from the online version:
My dear friend, the prominent Saudi writer Saleh al-Shehi, wrote one of the most famous columns ever published in the Saudi press. He unfortunately is now serving an unwarranted five-year prison sentence for supposed comments contrary to the Saudi establishment.
The Egyptian government’s seizure of the entire print run of a newspaper, al-Masry al Youm, did not enrage or provoke a reaction from colleagues. These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence.
As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate. There was a time when journalists believed the Internet would liberate information from the censorship and control associated with print media.
But these governments, whose very existence relies on the control of information, have aggressively blocked the Internet. They have also arrested local reporters and pressured advertisers to harm the revenue of specific publications.
Brave words like these led to Khashoggi's murder by cowardly Saudi leaders, almost certainly led by Mohammed bin Salman. There's no good that has come from Khashoggi's death.
However, many more people now are going to read his columns. Hopefully one day we will be able to look back and view his murder as a turning point that led to much-needed reforms in Saudi Arabia and other repressive Muslim nations.
Well said, Brian.
Posted by: Norm Baxter | October 17, 2018 at 10:05 PM
Posted by: Skyline | October 18, 2018 at 06:56 AM
It's MBS -- Muhammed BIN Salman.
Anyone wanting to keep up, minute by minute, on this issue, as well as have knowledgeable and intelligent discussion to read, would do well to go to this site, and look at the past several days' worth of postings:
Some of the most intelligent political discussions on the web.
Then there's this, from the Koran:
“I (Allah) shall strike terror into the hearts of the kafirs (unbelievers). Strike off their heads; strike off even the tips of their fingers.” (Koran 8:12)
Posted by: Jack Holloway | October 18, 2018 at 08:41 AM
The DJT response to the Saudi linked Khashoggi disappearance highlights his instinctual preference to ignore reality, emphasize personal relationships e.g. MBS and focus on economic benefits over the moral quagmire surrounding the disappearance of a "fake news" (information & opinions that contradicts DJT beliefs) commentator.
As DJT has publicly stated: “I have a natural instinct for science." Someone who relies on his/her instincts (a personal belief system) is clearly unwilling to be influenced by reality or logical facts. Why bother gathering information or data when your instincts are your primary and apparently the only acceptable decision making guide?
Posted by: E.M. | October 18, 2018 at 10:44 AM
I agree with E.M.
DJT's comments would have been MUCH more credible if he would have appeared on the White House lawn alongside the Secretary of State and blamed Khashoggi disappearance on a U-Tube video and then jailed a small-time video producer for the entire incident.
That would have been MUCH MORE presidential.
Posted by: Skyline | October 18, 2018 at 06:18 PM