Donald Trump has Jamal Khashoggi’s blood on his hands.
It’s not just his initial indifference to the US-based Saudi journalist’s disappearance in Istanbul, nor the president’s indifference toward human rights abuses, not his obsequiousness toward the Saudis, nor a transactional approach to foreign policy that puts the “deal” ahead of any principle.
And it’s not just because the Saudi king “vehemently” denied any role in the reporter’s disappearance or because the president offered him a possible “excuse,” saying it was probably “rogue killers.”
Any of those would have been enough to signal this president’s guilt. Dayenu.
Trump is an enabler.
His intensifying war against the press may play well at campaign rallies with his most ardent supporters, but it poses a grave threat to the constitutional principles that have been core values of American conservativism, as well as the progressive movement. And that war may already have had tragic consequences.
Did Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman (MBS) feel his friend in the White House, who puts business deals above human rights, would understand his decision to send a hit squad to Istanbul to silence a reporter and constant critic?
If Trump likes you, he buys your excuses at face value. He used virtually the same language to say he believed Vladimir Putin’s denial of election meddling, Roy Moore’s denial of pedophilia and Brett Kavanaugh’s denial of sexual assault. And now he’s vouching for MBS. [Continue reading…]
His killers were waiting when Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. They severed his fingers and later beheaded and dismembered him, according to details from audio recordings described by a senior Turkish official on Wednesday.
Mr. Khashoggi was dead within minutes, and within two hours the killers were gone, the recordings suggested.
The leaking of such details, on the same day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was visiting Turkey, reflected an escalation of pressure by the Turkish government on Saudi Arabia and the United States for answers on the fate of Mr. Khashoggi, a prominent dissident journalist who wrote for The Washington Post.
More than two weeks after he entered the consulate in Istanbul and was never seen coming out, the Saudis have yet to give an explanation. [Continue reading…]