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America's great “clown show”…


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: November 23, 2018, 04:36:57 pm »


from The Press…

A world leader in thrall to the enemies of justice

By JOE BENNETT | 5:00AM — Wednesday, 21 Noember 2018

A man holds a poster showing images of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman and murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, describing the prince as “assassin” and Khashoggi as “martyr” during funeral prayers in absentia for Khashoggi. — Photograph: Associated Press.
A man holds a poster showing images of Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman and murdered
journalist Jamal Khashoggi, describing the prince as “assassin” and Khashoggi as “martyr”
during funeral prayers in absentia for Khashoggi. — Photograph: Associated Press.


CALL ME ISIAH. A few weeks ago on this page I prophesied that Trump would help the Saudi Crown Prince to get away with murder. And we've spent the last month watching it happen.

In case you've forgotten - and how easy it is to forget when headlines break upon us as ceaselessly as waves upon a beach — the man murdered was Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist. He went to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to get a marriage licence. Fifteen men were waiting for him. They killed him, cut him into bits and dissolved the bits in acid.

The 15 men, including close associates of Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince, had been sent from Saudi for the sole purpose of committing the murder, bringing with them the tools they needed, including a bone saw. But the official Saudi story, which has shifted half a dozen times to conform with facts as they emerged, is that they were rogue killers acting independently. The men have been arrested and the Saudi authorities have ‘asked for’ the death penalty for five of them, thereby implying that they have such a thing as an independent judiciary. They love a good laugh in Saudi.

The Saudi lies are transparent and self-serving, but Trump has chosen to go along with them. Immediately the story broke he sent an emissary to Riyadh. This emissary was Mike Pompeo, who looks exactly like his surname. Pompeo grinned for the cameras, shook the hand of the man who'd ordered the murder, and sat down with him to plot how to get him off the hook.

Of course there is nothing new in Western governments siding with murderous regimes. Geopolitics is a filthy business. And Saudi Arabia buys huge quantities of weapons from the USA, as it does from the UK, France and elsewhere.

Here, however, Trump is at odds with his own government agencies. The CIA has determined that Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Khashoggi, but Trump doesn't want to know. Just as he didn't want to know when US intelligence determined that Russia had meddled in the election Trump won.

What drives Trump is not the American national interest. It is the Trump family interest, and in this case the interests of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Somehow Kushner, who is Jewish, has become close friends with Mohammed bin Salman, who is Muslim. It may be, of course, that the two of them just hit it off like a latter-day Romeo and Juliet's brother. But it seems more likely that money came into it.

Bin Salman has limitless supplies of the stuff whereas Kushner was in danger of going bankrupt. But then his father-in-law ran for the presidency and the money poured in to save Kushner's business, not least from the Middle East. Bin Salman has since been heard to boast he has Kushner ‘in his pocket’ which means he has Trump in the same location. Saudi Arabia, you will recall, was the first country Trump visited after being elected.

It may yet happen that Trump will be forced to impose some feeble sanction on the Crown Prince. But that will not alter the fact that the United States, like many another corrupt country, is now run by a man who seeks only to enrich himself and his family. And for the first time in my life the ostensible leader of the democratic world is in thrall to the tyrants and bastards, the Putins and bin Salmans, the enemies of justice and the murderers of journalists.

How will it pan out? Worse before it gets better, sayeth Isaiah.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Julian “Joe” Bennett is a writer, columnist and retired English school teacher living in Lyttelton, New Zealand. Born in England, Bennett emigrated to New Zealand when he was twenty-nine.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/opinion/108722398/a-world-leader-in-thrall-to-the-enemies-of-justice
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