This Is the Kind of Scandal That Starts Wars

Trump Maladministration

Nicholas Kristof writes,

Turkey claims to have audiotape of Saudi interrogators torturing Jamal and killing him in the Saudi Consulate. None of this is confirmed, and we still don’t know exactly what happened; we all pray that Jamal will still reappear. But increasingly it seems that the crown prince, better known as M.B.S., orchestrated the torture, assassination and dismemberment of an American-based journalist using diplomatic premises in a NATO country.

That is monstrous, and it’s compounded by the tepid response from Washington. President Trump is already rejecting the idea of responding to such a murder by cutting off weapons sales. Trump sounds as if he believes that the consequence of such an assassination should be a hiccup and then business as usual.

Frankly, it’s a disgrace that Trump administration officials and American business tycoons enabled and applauded M.B.S. as he imprisoned business executives, kidnapped Lebanon’s prime minister, rashly created a crisis with Qatar, and went to war in Yemen to create what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis there. Some eight million Yemenis on the edge of starvation there don’t share this bizarre view that M.B.S. is a magnificent reformer.

There are credible reports that the U.S. knew the Saudis intended to seize Jamal Khashoggi before it happened, and did nothing.

Did I mention how much Trump loves the Saudis? His personal business ties to the Saudis are deep and go back many years. And in spite of his claims to the contrary, those ties appear to continue.

Since Trump took the oath of office, the Saudi government and lobbying groups for it have been lucrative customers for Trump’s hotels.

A public relations firm working for the kingdom spent nearly $270,000 on lodging and catering at his Washington hotel near the Oval Office through March of last year, according to filings to the Justice Department. A spokesman for the firm told The Wall Street Journal that the Trump hotel payments came as part of a Saudi-backed lobbying campaign against a bill that allowed Americans to sue foreign governments for responsibility in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Attorneys general for Maryland and the District of Columbia cited the payments by the Saudi lobbying firm as an example of foreign gifts to the president that could violate the Constitution’s ban on such “emoluments” from foreign interests.

The Saudi government was also a prime customer at the Trump International Hotel in New York early this year, according to a Washington Post report.

The newspaper cited an internal letter from the hotel’s general manager, who wrote that a “last-minute” visit in March by a group from Saudi Arabia accompanying Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had boosted room rentals at the hotel by 13 percent for the first three months of the year, after two years of decline.

Saudi Arabia has also helped on one of Trump’s key policy promises, and helped the president’s friends along the way.

And, of course, Trump’s first foreign trip as POTUS was to Saudi Arabia, and Mr. Ivanka appears to have developed a close relationship with MBS.

So how will the Trump administration respond to the apparent murder of  Jamal Khashoggi?

Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday that though he didn’t like the fact that Khashoggi had disappeared under mysterious circumstances, he didn’t want to risk losing a very lucrative arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

“This took place in Turkey, and to the best of our knowledge, Khashoggi is not a United States citizen, he’s a permanent resident,” the president said. “We don’t like it, even a little bit. But as to whether or not we should stop $110 billion from being spent in this country, knowing they [Saudi Arabia] have four or five alternatives, two very good alternatives, that would not be acceptable to me.”

So no, he’s not going to do anything, and I’m sure the Saudis were counting on that when they decided to take out Jamal Khashoggi. But I don’t think this issue is going to go away, either.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. moonbat  •  Oct 14, 2018 @2:54 pm

    Expect a lot more of this kind of thing. Trump has no use for the State department, or diplomacy, or restraints of any kind, and so this means he's one on one with various strongmen and despots all over the world. It will give free reign to whatever autocrats like MBS want to do.

    Recall that the US recently pulled out of the International Criminal Court, in September. If we're not going to follow the law, why should anybody else?

  2. Swami  •  Oct 14, 2018 @3:28 pm

    Saudi Arabia says it's going to retaliate if sanctions or even if accusations of killing Khasksoggi are placed against it…I'm sure to the likes of which the world has never seen.

    Maybe people should take a minute and reflect to see the damage that Trump is causing.

  3. uncledad  •  Oct 14, 2018 @4:04 pm

    "But as to whether or not we should stop $110 billion from being spent in this country, knowing they [Saudi Arabia] have four or five alternatives, two very good alternatives, that would not be acceptable to me.”

    So I guess Trump would let his buddy lil'Kim have all the nukes he wants as long as he buys them from us? As to whether or not the US will retaliate against the Saudi's, fat chance. Fifteen of the sixteen 9-11 high-jackers were Saudi's, 3000 dead Americans and we did absolutly nothing to the Saudi's!

  4. csm  •  Oct 14, 2018 @4:26 pm

    Trump is being nakedly honest, inadvertently, about what its always been about: money.  As cold and callous as he sounds, e.g. the life of one man is not worth the billions of dollars we could make.  And its not just the billions, its who they're in bed with to make it.

    Some republicans probably truly aren't happy about it, whereas others are just faking it.  But it says something about America, when its president takes a position like this, and its not good.

    Even after Trump's gone, I don't see how we ever recover from this.

  5. omama  •  Oct 14, 2018 @6:37 pm

    Isn' this the same leader who imprisoned a bunch of rich Saudi's in a fancy shmancy hotel and kept them for a month and did some torture on some of them?  

  6. jrkrideau  •  Oct 15, 2018 @7:36 am

    CBC Radio reports this morning that 15 million Yemenis are threatened by starvation according to the UN.

    Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are only able to sustain their genocidal campaign because of US & UK logistics support and weapons sales. The war would be stopped in its tracks if the US withdrew support.

    We should expect Donald Trump to really worry over one Saudi citizen when sales of that magnitude would be at risk? Heck, he'd probably happily sacrifice a few US Republican senators for another contract that large.

  7. c u n d gulag  •  Oct 15, 2018 @11:34 am

    tRUMP is the walking, talking epicenter for every Category 5 World Scandal.

    And he likes it that way.

    This countries Constitution was supposed to have built-in conflicts, with which to keep any one branch from gaining control.

    And this was all well and good for 200+ years.

    But now, with the worst possible US "leader" in office, the Legislative Branch just abdicated its responsibility to to the Executive Branch.  GUTLESS!

    I'm tired.

    Time for my nap.

  8. aj  •  Oct 15, 2018 @12:36 pm

    This is like Mrs ford. A little  hiccup. 

    Notice same thing: if there's proof.

    Even possibly taping your own execution isn't good enough. It's only true when he says it is.

  9. aj  •  Oct 15, 2018 @12:54 pm

    Okay , it's Rogue killers.

    Or maybe a 400 lb man on a bed somewhere? 

    See it's whatever he says it is.

    No matter Kim's brother murdered in an airport, Russians murdered in Britain or journalists murdered everywhere. Thuglite loves it.

  10. Bernie  •  Oct 15, 2018 @2:36 pm

    If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, smells like a duck, flies like a duck then it must be rouge killers. Nothing insane about that sort of thinking if you are top republican.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/15/us/politics/trump-saudi-king-journalist-khashoggi.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

     

     

  11. Swami  •  Oct 15, 2018 @3:19 pm

    Bernie …LMAO. Of course it's a rogue killer*. What else could it be?

    What I'm seeing as strange is that guy's like Rubio and Corker are now experiencing a burgeoning sense of morality in their condemnation of Trump's amorality. Talk about a creating Frankenstein monster?

    * Fifteen rogue killers to be exact.

  12. uncledad  •  Oct 15, 2018 @3:32 pm

    Looks like now the Saudi's are saying: yeah we killed him, but we didn't mean too, it was an accident! How Trumpian of them, move along nothing more to see here. In other news the deficit is up almost 18% this year, this must somehow be that colored fella's fault, right?

  13. Swami  •  Oct 15, 2018 @8:14 pm

    https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/15/middleeast/saudi-khashoggi-death-turkey/index.html

    Sure I believe them…That's because I'm one of those rare individuals who never leaves home without my bone saw. You never know when circumstances will arise when you need to dismember a dissident who dies as the result of an overactive interrogation. And I thought only the boy scouts had the motto of "Be Prepared".

     

  14. uncledad  •  Oct 15, 2018 @9:19 pm

    Swami: "I'm one of those rare individuals who never leaves home without my bone saw"

    Right what's the big, I keep at least one bone saw in my trunk right next to my stash of perfume bottles filled with A-234 organophosphate nerve agent!

  15. doug  •  Oct 15, 2018 @10:20 pm

    IMO, there will be consequences if there are no consequences. The game plan seems to be to "accept responsibility" and do nothing responsible beyond that. Will any of the 'rogue' agents of the government who were charged with doing the interrogation lose their heads (it happens over there) as a result of murder? 

     It looks like they got caught red-handed. There must be absolute proof of they wouldn't be in damage control mode – admitting the murder but trying to pretend it wasn't government ordered. If they shuffle a few seats and pretend there's been reform, will people just accept it? The media has noticed the assassination of one of their own for the crime of reporting the truth. They aren't going to take it lightly anywhere in the world, and that's a problem for S.A.

  16. Swami  •  Oct 15, 2018 @10:53 pm

    The Saudi's are calling Kashoggi's murder an interrogation that went awry. Maybe it's me, but I've always thought that to interrogate someone you'd be trying to extract some information from them. In Kashoggi's case what information could they be looking to find? Seems to me, that their only intention was to take him out and silence his voice of opposition to the policies of the crown prince. Why make it seem like the situation got away from them?

     I think they'd be better served if they just came out and said..Yeah, we killed him and there ain't shit you're gonna do about it. This way, at least Trump wouldn't have to go through the gymnastics of covering their crime with a bunch of lies and excuses. And the American public could have a better understanding what exactly our relationship with Saudi Arabia is. No point in deceiving ourselves that the rule of law or moral imperatives factor into that relationship.

     I guess the crown prince will send a investigative delegation to Washington and rent a couple of floors from Trump's old post office hotel while they sort out the details what transpired in Turkey. With a result that will be inconclusive except for the fact Trump's coffers will be engorged with blood money in the process.

     

     

  17. aj  •  Oct 16, 2018 @12:52 am

    And those 15 flew in on 2 royal charter jets. But royals knew nothing.  Must have said will no one rid of this bothersome journalist?

  18. c u n d gulag  •  Oct 16, 2018 @10:34 am

    Who among us roguish liberals hasn't had the foresight to bring along a bone-saw on a business trip?

    Yeah, me neither.  Not ever.

    I'm not a butcher of any creatures.  And especially, I'm not the type of guy who does contract dismemberments of humans.  What kind of monster is a butcher of humans?

  19. maha  •  Oct 16, 2018 @12:09 pm

    “Who among us roguish liberals hasn’t had the foresight to bring along a bone-saw on a business trip?”

    I’ll have to put one on my list for the next time.

  20. Swami  •  Oct 16, 2018 @4:51 pm

    A big commendation goes out to Mike Pompeo. His undaunted efforts to get to the bottom of Kashoggi's murder shows that he gave it his all..You could say he left it all on the field.. But, unfortunately it was the remnants of his integrity that got left on the field. Another Trump lackey succumbs to his poisonous spell.

     I just don't get it… why would any man surrender his integrity just to nozzle up to a creep like Trump? Is access to power that alluring?

  21. uncledad  •  Oct 16, 2018 @7:59 pm

    I just don't get it… why would any man surrender his integrity just to nozzle up to a creep like Trump?

    What makes you think Pompeo had any integrity to begin with? He is certainly one of the Trump cultists, like Miller, Kelly, Conway, these people are fucking republicans!

  22. Swami  •  Oct 16, 2018 @8:01 pm

    After careful consideration the Saudi's have decided that they didn't kill Kashoggi after all.. They thought they might have inadvertently killed and dismembered him in an aggressive interrogation, but upon reflection they realized they don't know what happen to him. The Saudi's are just as mystified as the rest of us as to what happened to him. It could be he's off wandering the Turkish countryside seeking some time alone to reflect on his upcoming marriage.

  23. Swami  •  Oct 16, 2018 @8:08 pm

    What makes you think Pompeo had any integrity to begin with?

    I know it's just an assumption, but Pompeo is a graduate of West Point. I have have to credit him with some degree of integrity after undergoing that experience. Their creedo is duty and honor, so I assume integrity would naturally fall in unspoken somewhere between those two virtues.

  24. Aj  •  Oct 16, 2018 @9:27 pm

    The sight of an American Secretary of State smiling and participating in a cover-up of a Saudi crime is truly disgusting.

    What do we owe MBS

    Iraqi and Iranian oil is just as good

     

  25. Bardi  •  Oct 16, 2018 @9:52 pm

    'There are credible reports that the U.S. knew the Saudis intended to seize Jamal Khashoggi before it happened, and did nothing."

    I suggest we do the same to those who knew, bind them over to the Saudis, with all their dalliances exposed.(I know a couple who would be executed, on the spot).

  26. uncledad  •  Oct 16, 2018 @10:52 pm

    " Their creedo is duty and honor, so I assume integrity would naturally fall in unspoken somewhere between those two virtues."

    I'm not so sure, Pompeo showed his cards when he was in congress, he's a right-wing teabagger miscreant!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2okOuZ8T_o

  27. doug  •  Oct 17, 2018 @8:36 am

    It looks like the Saudis have adopted the novel strategy of permanently being on the cusp of accepting responsibility. The exact nature and limits of their admission is open to interpretation. They will give you details next week – kinda like Trump's tax returns. The method is based on exploiting the media's short attention span. It might not work so well in this case. A reporter was lured to his place of execution BECAUSE OF HIS REPORTING. Every journalist who prints the unhappy truth exposing corruption is in peril if SA is permitted without consequence to use lethal force to silence critics. (Do you think Trump doesn't think it would be a boon to his administration if he had the power to off his critics?) The assassination threatens the free press everywhere and they know it.

  28. aj  •  Oct 17, 2018 @1:34 pm

    Off subject : the bus with 40 senior citizens stopped from going to poll in Jefferson County ga, needs to keep rolling right up to Scotus  and tell them voting discrimination and suppression still exists. Scotus needs to pull heads out of white robes

     

  29. Bernie  •  Oct 17, 2018 @3:13 pm

    Last night, in conjunction with the story of the hit job on the Washington Post journalist, the BBC ran a piece on a school bus full of children that was nearly vaporized by a Saudi air strike.  One of the fathers was able to identify his child's remains only by his teeth.  Other's were not lucky enough to find recognizable remains.  The Saudi's called it a case of collateral damage.  The area where the bus was destroyed was shown in the report, an urban area obviously unsuitable for use of that sort of weaponry.

    The BBC announcer cited some evidence that the ordinance used was of USA manufacture, though he noted about 40% of Saudi's arms come from the United Kingdom while about 60% are sold to them by the USA.

    Along with video of the graveyard and schoolchildren morning their friends they showed a video found on one of the student's phones of the bus just minutes before it's destruction.  It showed a bus full of excited lively students full of joy for the impending school outing.  

    Out damned spot! Out I say!—One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Hell is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him.

    Shakespeare, Lady Macbeth

    No such juxtaposition of stories I saw appearing on FOX news.  The gospel of greed must ban reporting such as that.  The link below is to one of many articles about the Saudi air strike.

    https://www.bing.com/news/search?q=Saudi+Airstrike+On+School+Bus&qpvt=Saudi+airstrike+on+school+bus&FORM=NWRFSH

  30. uncledad  •  Oct 17, 2018 @5:46 pm

    Swami, I understand your instinct to assume a person who graduated first in his class at west-point would have had some integrity, I would like to think so as well, but I don't think he does, at least not anymore!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2okOuZ8T_o

  31. Swami  •  Oct 17, 2018 @6:06 pm

    uncledad …What I'm saying is that he must have had some integrity at some point in his life. He might have still had some up until the time he joined the repuglican party, but once he signed on with Trump I'm pretty near positive that all hope and residue of integrity was gone. Nothing lasts forever, and I'd guess that would include Pompeo's  suspected integrity.

     It should be fun to watch him come back with his "report", and watch how Trump reduces him to being a boot licking bag of shit.