Why the Attempts to Smear the Missing WaPo Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi?

Why the Attempts to Smear the Missing WaPo Journalist, Jamal Khashoggi? October 13, 2018

It’s time to talk about Jamal Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalist who was allegedly murdered by the Saudi Arabian government, recently.

President Trump and the United States government have been unusually quiet about incident, given that Saudi Arabia are considered “allies.” Indeed, the diplomatic quagmire this situation has caused cannot be overstated.

The president will appear on CBS’ “60 Minutes” this weekend, and does say there will “severe punishment” if it is determined that Saudi Arabia is behind Khashoggi’s disappearance.

Some of the details surrounding the Khashoggi mystery are fascinating.

Khashoggi was a prominent journalist and outspoken critic of the Saudi royal family. In particular, he was critical of the policies of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

That would be the same Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman so warmly courted by senior White House adviser and boy genius, Jared Kushner.

Khashoggi was in exile in the United States, writing a monthly column for WaPo that targeted the prince.

Crackdowns on dissenters by the Crown Prince began last year, and Khashoggi had expressed fear that he would be taken into custody, if he ever returned.

He did return, however, in late September. He traveled back to obtain documents pertaining to his divorce from his first wife, as he was engaged to be married again.

He was told he would have to return, and that he would not have any problems.

On October 2, 2018 he returned to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, for a 1:30 pm appointment. He gave his Turkish fiancée two cell phones, with instructions to call an adviser to  President Recep Tayyip Erdogan if he didn’t return.

She waited over 10 hours for him to return, but he never reemerged from the consulate.

As if that were not odd enough, some stories out now are that he pressed the recorder function on his Apple watch before entering the consulate, and recorded his own torture and murder.

The Turkish government insists that there was a 15-member Saudi “hit squad” waiting for the journalist, and that nearly 2 hours of recordings were linked to one of the iPhones being held by his fiancée on the outside.

Flight records show the arrival of 15 Saudi agents into Istanbul that day. Those men left hours later, on the same day.

One of the men was identified as a colonel with Saudi intelligence.

This is the kind of international intrigue we can expect to see crafted into a major cinematic release, one day.

For now, however, with the case so sensitive, we can only look on and shake our heads in disbelief over our president’s oldest child, Donald Trump Jr., gleefully retweeting propaganda, meant to smear the missing/murdered journalist.

The end goal was to paint Khashoggi as a “terrorist sympathizer.”

The latest attack on Khashoggi’s reputation started Friday with Patrick Poole, a terrorism correspondent for conservative website PJ Media. Poole ran images from a 1988 article Khashoggi wrote showing Khashoggi holding a rocket-propelled grenade with fighters in Afghanistan opposing the Soviet Union.

Khashoggi was among a number of journalists who interviewed Bin Laden in the 1980s and ’90s. But the picture and article, Poole claimed, was proof that Khashoggi was “tooling around Afghanistan with Osama bin Laden.”

“He’s just a democrat reformer journalist holding a RPG with jihadists,” Poole tweeted.

Let’s keep in mind that our own government supported the rebel forces of Afghanistan, at that time, in an effort to defeat Russia. There was no way of knowing that a day would come when the very ones we were helping then would turn on us with such ferocity. It was a “choosing the lesser of two evils” situation, and at the time, Russia was seen as the greater evil.

After Poole’s post, it was promoted by one of the founders of the website, The Federalist, Sean Davis, who sought to make the point that the outrage over Khashoggi’s disappearance was manufactured drama by the Iranian government, determined to damage the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.

“Huh,” Davis wrote. “It’s almost like reality is quite different than the evidence-free narratives peddled by media with a long history of cooperating with or getting duped by Iran echo chamber architects.”

Donald Trump Jr. dove on the dog pile by retweeting Davis’ post.

It was quite a callous display, given the fact that the Saudi government may have very well ordered the assassination of a journalist who both lives and works in the United States.

For the Trump family, however, their financial well-being is deeply entrenched with Saudi Arabia.

In 1991, Trump was going bankrupt and needed fast cash. He sold his 200+ foot yacht to a Saudi billionaire for $20 million, at a loss.

In 2001, the same year of the 9/11 nightmare, carried out by 19 hijackers (with 15 of them being from Saudi Arabia), Trump sold the entire 45th floor of Trump World Tower to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for $12 million.

Diplomats for the Saudi government have also been frequent flyers with Trump properties since his inauguration.

So yeah, to go after Saudi Arabia and the royal family at this point could be more than just a diplomatic mess. It might also be financially uncomfortable for the Trump family.

While we’re watching the ongoing Russia probe, we wouldn’t be wrong to give Saudi Arabia a bit of side-eye, as well.

Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance could very well blow into the open some really ugly secrets.

 

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  • Brian Orion

    To be fair, Khashoggi was not some great guy. He whitewashed and defended the Muslim Brotherhood. Still, he didn’t deserve to be tortured to death by a team of hitmen from an equally evil regime. Have you ever known Trump not to side with brutal dictatorships?

  • Marcion

    Treating this like an issue with Trump misses the bigger picture. America has been allied with the Saudis for decades. It’s been helping the Saudis murder Yemenis for years. The alliance with Saudi Arabia is bipartisan, and even more rock-solid than America’s alliance with Israel. The death of one journalist isn’t going to change anything.

  • Brian Orion

    The point is that Trump promised us that he would drain the swamp, shake foreign relations up, and stand up to Islam… lol yeah right.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Treating this like an issue with Trump IS the bigger picture. This is about Trump attempting to cover up a Saudi assassination of an American Citizen. Far from defending the US citizen or seeking answers and recompense, Trump is assisting in the cover-up because he and his family are dependent on the flow of Saudi money into his bank account.

    Furthermore, this violates Trump’s responsibilities as President one of which is to defend the US Constitution and to protect US citizens (generally) wherever we travel around the world. If we get into trouble in foreign countries, that’s on us, but the US embassies and foreign services are supposed to be there to back us up against flagrant abuse of our basic rights as human beings. In this case, the loss of life with no apparent protest or investigation coupled with Trump’s clear prior relationship and prior (continuing?) dependence on Saudi goodwill to keep himself out of bankruptcy is not only a clear conflict-of-interest that Trump is not dealing with (choosing to side with the Saudis over Americans), but also a violation of his implied commitment to the American people as President of this country.

    The Saudis apparently tortured and killed a US citizen. Will Trump take action ? Does Trump even care ? It appears not. I don’t see the GOP making any noises like they care either.

  • Bruce

    It’s hard to sympathize with Junior’s approaching legal problems. If he ends up in prison, too bad.

  • MuttsRule

    Don Jr. probably has no idea that the U.S. CIA backed the mujahideen, most notably providing vast quantities of shoulder-fired Stinger missiles that efficiently brought down Soviet helicopter gunships, due in large part to the efforts of Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson. It worked (although it backfired later) — the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989. But Sean Davis probably knew better.

  • Steven Andrew

    This may be one of the few times I halfway agree with Trump’s course of action. I questions his motives and judgement on pretty much anything, and it’s a really ugly incident, absolutely no doubt about it. But the rule in Saudi Arabia has always been that male residents get all kinds of goodies if they just avoid criticizing the government, and the Saudis really can throw oil prices into chaos. I’m not sure how many people here are old enough to remember the oil shortages and price hikes of the 70s, but from what I remember just as a 10 – 12 year-old, it really sucked.

  • TinnyWhistler

    Sounds like an argument for diversifying energy sources and reducing our dependence on oil.

  • swbarnes2

    Not like it makes a moral difference, but I don’t believe Jamal Khashoggi is an American citizen; just a resident of America, writing for an American newspaper.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Upon re-reading the article, I believe you are correct. The key word I missed on first reading was “exile”.

    That does not mean that while in exile from Saudi Arabia he has not applied for and been granted citizenship (though such status is not mentioned in the article). I see he wants to get married again (which would have granted him citizenship through marriage), but the reason for his return was to retrieve documents confirming his divorce from Saudi Arabian records.

    I also agree with you that the status of his citizenship makes no overall moral difference but I should note that his citizenship was pending (through his upcoming marriage).

    In any event, thank you for the correction. I’ve updated my post to reflect your comment. I think your observation actually improved the quality of my response.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Trump has done 1 of the 3. He has shaken up foreign relations. He has alienated our allies and comforted our enemies. He has allied the US on the side of bullies and those that would deny basic human rights to their citizens while attempting to deny those same basic human rights to Americans by discrediting our judicial branch and attempting to prove the liberal / Atheist stereotypes of religion, of Christianity, and of American values to be correct by masquerading as a Republican and claiming that “Republican” = “conservative”.

  • swbarnes2

    CNN is calling the fiancee Turkish.

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/10/middleeast/jamal-khashoggi-fiancee-hatice-cengiz-intl/index.html

    And marrying an American citizen doesn’t make one an automatic citizen, it just gets you a green card.

  • IllinoisPatriot

    Whether citizen or green-card-holder, he is a legal denizen of the US and Trump has a duty to protect him.
    I think the duty to protect may be a miniscule amount less if a US refugee that returns to a country he’s exiled from voluntarily.

    In this case, it appears he had little choice but to return to Saudi soil (embassy) since he wanted to remarry and needed documentation (though he likely could have authorized someone else to get that documentation for him).

    As to marrying a US citizen, yes – it gets the green card automatically, which usually implies and requires eventual citizenship. Thanks for the correction.

    As to the fiancee being Turkish, clearly I’m not following this issue very closely. Nevertheless, from what I’ve seen, it looks like a clear case of Trump siding with murderous dictators (Saudis) in order to protect or improve his personal cash-flow and insure his own pockets stay lined. It also looks like a foolish return to to Saudi soil by a man that has been exiled from the kingdom. Did he deserve to be tortured & killed ? no. Was he ? It’s hard to tell whether this is another case of the media lying or spinning a story or not. Is the story plausible ? yes. Is it plausible that Trump chose the side of the Saudis over his responsibilities to a US resident ? yes. Is it plausible that Trump did this out of his extreme ignorance and arrogance and his desire to suck-up to yet another murderous dictator ? yes.

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