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A Murder Most Foul
Author: BobR    Date: 10/18/2018 13:22:45

It's one of the most disturbing stories that's come out in quite a while: A journalist for the U.S. was tortured, murdered, and cut into pieces inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey. Jamal Khashoggi wrote for the Washington Post, often criticizing the tenets of Wahhabism which uses extreme violence very loosely based in Islam as a governing principal.

Along with the grotesque violence (they apparently began dismembering him while he was still alive), the lack of outrage from pResident tRump is also disturbing. He even made comparisons to Bret Kavanaugh, suggesting the world was jumping the gun with accusations before all the evidence was in.

Americans (most westerners, really) are dumbstruck by this. The violence seems so over-the-top, so blatant. It sounds like something out of a mafia movie from years past. Why wouldn't the Saudis be more secretive about it? My guess is that this like putting peoples heads on stake in olden times, as a warning to others. The Saudis have been rather forceful with silencing their critics (including imprisoning, torturing, and murdering their own family members) and Khashoggi certainly was an outspoken critic. That they made such an example of him in such gruesome fashion is likely a calculated tactic to silence others.

While there is outrage around the world (and in the U.S.), there is very little coming from the White House, and it seems the Saudis expected that as well. The tRump family has financial ties to the Saudis, and they seem to believe they have bought tRump's acquiescence. The crown prince has bragged that he had Jared Kushner "in his pocket", and there is a belief that Kushner provided U.S. intelligence to them. There is also a lawsuit which indicates that a bad investment by Kushner was paid off by the Saudis:
In 2007, Kushner bought the landmark Manhattan building for $1.8 billion, putting down $500 million in cash raised largely by selling thousands of rental units the family had owned in New Jersey. It was widely regarded as overpriced at the time, and when the financial crisis hit, the value plummeted, wiping out much of the initial investment. The clock is now ticking toward a February 2019 deadline when a major mortgage payment will come due.

Since 2011, Kushner and his relatives have been searching the globe for a new investor. As recently as the spring of 2017, Charles Kushner, Jared’s father, asked former Qatari prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani to invest in the building. Then in April 2017, Charles Kushner made a direct pitch to the Qatari government through the country’s minister of finance.

Qatar rejected the deal as not financially viable. In May, Trump traveled to Riyadh with Kushner, where the famous glowing orb photo was taken. In the wake of the meeting, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and a handful of allied countries announced the blockade of rival Qatar, accusing it of fomenting terror. The crisis continues today.

“We could not understand why the Trump administration was so firmly taking the Saudis’ side in this dispute between the Saudis, the Emiratis, and Qatar, because the United States has very important interests in Qatar,” Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s “This Week,” after The Intercept reported on Kushner Companies’ efforts to obtain financing from Qatar. Murphy was referring to Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, home of U.S. Central Command, where thousands of U.S. troops are stationed.

“If the reason this administration put U.S. troops at risk in Qatar was to protect the Kushners’ financial interests, then that’s all the evidence you need to make some big changes in the White House,” Murphy said.

MBS is in Washington this week. On Tuesday, he was warmly received by Trump, who told reporters that the U.S.-Saudi relationship is “probably the strongest it’s ever been.”
(apologies for the using the Intercept)

I know about the base in Qatar, because my brother was stationed there for a while when he was in the Navy. This may seem unrelated to the murder, but it shows that tRump will consider his (and his family's) financial interests over our geo-political allies and the ties we have with them.

In addition to financial entanglements with the tRump family, there is an ongoing weapons sale with Saudi Arabia that tRump wants to keep in place to keep the Republican's financial benefactors in the the green, and a blatant payoff bribe of $100M they sent immediately after this crime went public.

What - if anything - can be done? Congress can level severe sanctions (if they're willing to cut off one of the biggest oil producers in the world). A week ago, tRump ass-licker Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said "there will be hell to pay" if the Saudis abducted and murdered Khashoggi. Now that it's apparent that they did, we'll have to see if his big talk leads to big action.

I won't be holding my breath - oil (and cash) are thicker than blood.
 

24 comments (Latest Comment: 10/18/2018 20:04:20 by Raine)
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