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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