We are at a horrific crossroads in history, where freedom of speech and dissemination of truth are at stake. A dissident journalist known throughout the Arab world for his commitment to getting out the truth, was horrifically murdered October 2 in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate, by a 15-man security detail that beat, drugged, and tortured him to death with a bone saw. Donald Trump either doesn’t care about this crime, or he approves of the fact that a journalist was murdered.
Jamal Khashoggi wrote a final column for the Washington Post shortly before his death. The Post delayed publication after Khashoggi disappeared, hoping that he would reappear. His last message to the world concerns the importance of freedom of the press in the Arab world — but the concepts which he addresses are universal: poverty, mismanagement, poor education, and the need to know the truth. Washington Post:
The Arab world was ripe with hope during the spring of 2011. Journalists, academics and the general population were brimming with expectations of a bright and free Arab society within their respective countries. They expected to be emancipated from the hegemony of their governments and the consistent interventions and censorship of information. These expectations were quickly shattered; these societies either fell back to the old status quo or faced even harsher conditions than before.
My dear friend, the prominent Saudi writer Saleh al-Shehi, wrote one of the most famous columns ever published in the Saudi press. He unfortunately is now serving an unwarranted five-year prison sentence for supposed comments contrary to the Saudi establishment. The Egyptian government’s seizure of the entire print run of a newspaper, al-Masry al Youm, did not enrage or provoke a reaction from colleagues. These actions no longer carry the consequence of a backlash from the international community. Instead, these actions may trigger condemnation quickly followed by silence.
As a result, Arab governments have been given free rein to continue silencing the media at an increasing rate. There was a time when journalists believed the Internet would liberate information from the censorship and control associated with print media. But these governments, whose very existence relies on the control of information, have aggressively blocked the Internet. They have also arrested local reporters and pressured advertisers to harm the revenue of specific publications.
Donald Trump is apparently constitutionally incapable of understanding the full dimension of the horror that has taken place, or the human rights implications. All he can do is talk about money, which is apparently not only the main concern driving the engine of his life, it is the only concern. Trump tried to sweep the issue under the rug, blaming “rogue killers” and then he talked about what’s really important, the arms deals worth billions. As stated, he either doesn’t give a good goddamn that this atrocity has taken place, or he is actually glad. And he’s not the only one in his administration with this twisted take. Man of God Pat Robertson chimed in. Vox:
Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, appeared on its flagship television show The 700 Club on Monday to caution Americans against allowing the United States’ relationship with Saudi Arabia to deteriorate over Khashoggi’s death.
“For those who are screaming blood for the Saudis — look, these people are key allies,” Robertson said. While he called the faith of the Wahabists — the hardline Islamist sect to which the Saudi Royal Family belongs — “obnoxious,” he urged viewers to remember that “we’ve got an arms deal that everybody wanted a piece of…it’ll be a lot of jobs, a lot of money come to our coffers. It’s not something you want to blow up willy-nilly.”
I wonder what Jesus would think of this deference to the dollar and doing business with murderers as long as the price tag is high enough. Unfortunately, Robertson’s not in this alone. New York Magazine:
You have to figure Robertson got this idea from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who recently quashed staff concerns about the horrific civilian casualties accompanying the U.S.-backed Saudi war in Yemen on grounds that it “could undercut plans to sell more than 120,000 precision-guided missiles to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.” Or President Trump, who just shot down the idea of withholding future arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the journalist’s killing, saying that “would be hurting us.” Robertson probably finds it easy to adopt the views of his friends in the Trump administration.
You could argue, though, that the 1988 Republican presidential candidate (he finished ahead of ultimate nominee George H.W. Bush in Iowa) has by now become so contaminated by politics that he sees nothing wrong with an alleged follower of the Prince of Peace fretting about weapons sales in order to defend a a murderous authoritarian regime. It’s the same twisted thinking that led him to call Trump “God’s man for this job.” Robertson is free to prefer the administration’s policies at home and abroad. But he should really, really leave God out of it.
Amen to that. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is defending the Saudis, “Here we go again, you know you’re guilty until proven innocent.” Trump clearly wants to preserve the financial set up with the Saudis, especially since son-in-law Jared is best buds with them. Kushner tried to sell them nuclear reactors when he went there for a visit last year with Steve Bannon and Mike Flynn.
We have the most blatantly corrupt administration in history in office right now and this is yet another glaring black eye for the American people. A world where the United States regards Saudi Arabia and Russia as friends and Canada as a menace is a world gone insane.
We need to vote these bums out.
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