Monday, October 22, 2018


“You saved my arse again and again… So, I’ll save yours like Bush and Obama did!
"I doubt that Trump understands -- or cares about -- what message he's sending. Wealthy Saudis, including members of the extended royal family, have been his patrons for years, buying his distressed properties when he needed money. In the early 1990s, a Saudi prince purchased Trump's flashy yacht so that the then-struggling businessman could come up with cash to stave off personal bankruptcy, and later, the prince bought a share of the Plaza Hotel, one of Trump's many business deals gone bad. Trump also sold an entire floor of his landmark Trump Tower condominium to the Saudi government in 2001."

Sen. Rand Paul: Sanctions Against Saudi Arabia Don’t Go Far Enough

By Melanie Arter | October 22, 2018 | 2:57 PM EDT

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) (Screenshot)
( – Sanctions against the Saudi government aren’t enough punishment for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told “Fox News Sunday.”

The senator said for one thing, Saudi Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, often referred to as MBS, must be replaced.

“I think the Saudis are an authoritarian government. They are directed from the top down, and you don't have people just going off and doing things on their own. I feel certain that the crown prince was involved and that he directed this, and that's why I think we cannot continue to have relations with him,” Paul said.

“So, I think he is going to have to be replaced, frankly, but I think that sanctions don't go far enough. I think we need to look at the arm sale, because this is not just about this journalist being killed, it's about the war in Yemen where tens of thousands of civilians are being killed,” he said.

“It's about them spreading hatred of Christians and Jews and Hindus throughout the world. I mean, thousands and thousands madrassas teaching radical violence against the West. The Saudis have not acted as our friend and they need to change their behavior,” Paul added.
When asked whether he believed the Saudis’ account of what happened to Khashoggi, Paul said, “Absolutely not. I think it's insulting to anyone who's analyzing this with any kind of intelligent background to think that, oh, a fist fight led to a dismemberment with a bone saw.

“So, no, but I think we should put this brazen attack, this brazen murder in context with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has basically over the decades been the largest state sponsor of radical Islam and violent jihad. They sponsor thousands of madrassas that teach hatred of Christians and Jews and Hindus around the world. So, this isn't the first instance. This is just another in the line of long instances of Saudi insults to the civilized world,” he said.

Paul said “it stretches credulity to believe the crown prince wasn't involved in this,” and he thinks “that's the way they're going to write this off.”

“And people in Saudi Arabia ought to be aware when you were told what to do, you go and do it, and then they will execute you and put all the blame on someone else. There's no way 15 people were sent from Saudi Arabia to Turkey to kill a dissident without the approval of the crown prince. And that's why I say we have to be stronger than just saying, oh, we are going to sanction a few of these people and pretend like we're doing something,” he said.
Ken Livingstone: Stop double standards, sanction Saudis for Yemen war, kidnappings & killings

Ken Livingstone
Ken Livingstone is an English politician, he served as the Mayor of London between 2000 and 2008. He is also a former MP and a former member of the Labour Party.
Ken Livingstone: Stop double standards, sanction Saudis for Yemen war, kidnappings & killings
When we remember how rapidly the US imposed sanctions on Russia over Crimea and the Skripal poisonings, it's bizarre to watch US President Trump's reaction to the killing of journalist Khashoggi by the Saudis.
After more than two weeks of lies and deception, Saudi Arabia has finally admitted journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed, but it is clearly another lie when they claim that this 59-year old man died because he got involved in a fist fight with 15 Saudi security staff and officials.
The scale of media coverage of this murder has been breathtaking and has done more damage to the reputation of the Saudi royal family than anything in recent years, but this hasn't stopped the support of Britain and the US for the Saudi regime.
Britain increased its weapon sales to the Saudis from £820 million in 2016 to £1.5 billion in 2017 but what is appalling is that these UK fighter planes and bombs are being used to kill innocent civilians in Yemen.
Back in August, it was reported that at least 26 children had been killed in Saudi airstrikes. The United Nations Humanitarian Office also pointed out that at least four women died in another Saudi strike just two weeks after 29 children were killed by a bomb attack on a school bus. At the end of the month, another Saudi airstrike saw the death of twenty-two children and four women who were trying to escape the fighting in their area.
The UN said that they and their partners were doing all they can to reach people and provide assistance. Ever since, the Saudis provided their support for the attacks on the Shia community that live in the western part of Yemen. They have also now started blockading the port of Hodeida. This has cut supplies of food and medicine to the Shia community which means that Yemen is on the brink of its worst famine in over a century.
Famine could engulf the country in the next three months with at least 12 million civilians at risk of starvation, said the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen.
This civil war has been going on for three years with thousands of civilians caught in the middle and at least 10,000 killed and millions displaced. The UN agencies working in Yemen have condemned the attacks on civilians, but this horror continues. What is remarkable is how little coverage we have in the world's media about this horrific civil war compared with the killing of just one journalist in the Saudi consulate. There is nothing new about the horrors perpetrated by Saudi Arabia, who for decades have been spreading the extremist Wahhabi version of Islam.
When I was the Mayor of London, British television channel Channel 4 broadcast a documentary series based on a video footage gathered from an investigation into mosques across the UK. They covertly filmed preachers and obtained books and DVDs which were hate-filled invective against Christians and Jews. They presented women as intellectually deficient and in need of beating if they did not follow the Islamic dress code. One of the mosques where this was filmed was funded by Saudi Arabia.
Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal, a Jamaican who had converted and studied at a Saudi university, was caught saying "Jews are rotten to the core and sexually perverted, creating intrigue and confusion to keep their enemies weak." He was sentenced to nine years in prison for urging his audience to kills Jews, Hindus and Americans. One of the young men he inspired was Germaine Lindsay who was one of the terrorists who set off four bombs on London Underground trains and a bus in 2005, killing 52 people and injuring 700.
The majority of Muslims have always pointed out that these individuals are just a tiny minority of their community, but concerns are growing about the increased reach of Wahhabism funded by the Saudis which has now reached three billion dollars a year and has been spent to build 1,500 mosques, 210 Islamic centres and dozens of Muslim academies and schools.
They have also overwhelmed the Islamic book market with very cheap but high quality Wahhabi literature which has had the effect of forcing non-Wahhabi publishers across the Muslim world to close.
The Saudi regime keeps 85 percent of the student places at the Islamic University of Medina for foreign students which has led to hundreds of British Muslims returning to the UK espousing support for the Saudis. The Saudis were also behind the funding of schools in Pakistan that gave rise to the Taliban.
Police surveillance of Britain's 1,500 mosques back at that time identified only 68 that could be clearly acknowledged as promoting Wahhabism.
Clearly there is nothing new about the killing of Khashoggi, but what is new is the emergence of Mohammed bin Salman who has now been appointed heir to the Saudi throne in his early thirties. Immediately there was widespread publicity that he was going to progressively transform his country by allowing women to drive, reopening cinemas and restricting the powers of the morality police. He vowed to return to moderate Islam and curbed the reach of hard-line clerics as well as modernising the Saudi economy and making it less dependent on oil.
This was all very well received in the Western press, but little mention was made that he was responsible for rounding up dozens of intellectuals and activists and critics from the streets of other countries to bring them back to be imprisoned in Saudi jails.
Saudi Arabia is one of only a handful of absolute monarchies where the monarch controls all power, but the current monarch of Saudi Arabia has effectively devolved his powers to bin Salman. Unlike many of the Saudi elite who get a degree from a Western university, bin Salman stayed in his own country and studied law at King Saud University. His father is now in his eighties and rumoured to be suffering from pre-dementia so there is no doubt that the powers are in bin Salman's hands. He is depicted as impatient and reputed to spend eighteen hours a day on official business, but many say he cannot accept even the mildest criticism. One anonymous Saudi source said"People who tried to say no, even gently and diplomatically, faced consequences."
His sensitivity was revealed when a single tweet from Canada, calling on the kingdom to release jailed activists, prompted him to sever diplomatic and trade ties.
The simple fact is Saudi Arabia is the principal ally of the US in the Arab world and a huge purchaser of US weapons. How we can continue to allow these double standards in our foreign policy is unimaginable, but one of the reasons why the Saudis get away with it is that they spend so much money influencing our media and our senior politicians.
This Saturday, the Guardian exposed the scale of this infiltration. It listed the millions of pounds British firms have been earning for improving the image of Saudi Arabia. Some of the firms they listed included the PR agency Freuds, the Independent for its decision to form a partnership with a Saudi publisher linked to their government, the online publisher Vice which has been working on films to promote Saudi Arabia, and a Saudi publishing company, in partnership with Western media firms, has made massive donations to Tony Blair's Institute for Global Change. Blair is of course a well-paid adviser to Saudi Arabia.
The London PR film Consulum is working on communications programmes with the Saudis and a company, by staff of former PR firm Bell Pottinger, is advising the Saudis on its communication strategy.
I'm sure similar and most probably much more money is being spent influencing US media, but, if we want to live in a better and more peaceful world, we have to stand up to the Saudis and impose sanctions on them until they agree not to just to end their war in Yemen but stop their kidnappings and killings around the world.

Reports: Saudis Deployed Khashoggi Body Double, Wrapped Body in Rug

There is a law enforcement surveillance footage, part of the Turkish government's investigation, that appears to show the man leaving the consulate by the back door, wearing Khashoggi's clothes, a fake beard, and glasses.

CNN obtained surveillance footage from Turkish officials that shows a Saudi operative walking around Istanbul wearing slain journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s clothes and a fake beard, the news outlet reported on Monday.

According to the Turks, the impostor was Mustafa al-Madani, a member of the team allegedly sent from Saudi Arabia to kill Khashoggi when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.
Turkish officials who spoke to CNN charged that the Saudis brought Madani, who is about ten years older than the rest of the Saudi team and has a build similar to Khashoggi, to Istanbul specifically to serve as a body double after seizing the target. They said he left the consulate through its back door and made a point of walking to various places in Istanbul where he was certain to be caught on surveillance cameras, such as the famed Blue Mosque.
Madani was also caught on surveillance video entering the consulate four hours earlier, wearing different clothes and without a beard. The only items of his apparel that remained consistent after he departed the building were his shoes, a pair of dark-colored sneakers with white soles.
“Khashoggi’s clothes were probably still warm when Madani put them on,” a senior Turkish official told CNN.
“You don’t need a body double for a rendition or an interrogation. Our assessment has not changed since October 6. This was a premeditated murder and the body was moved out of the consulate,” the official said.
Although unsubstantiated leaks from anonymous Turkish officials have fueled a great deal of the reporting on Khashoggi’s disappearance, in this case, CNN said its reporters were able to see surveillance footage Turkish law enforcement provided and it published a few still photos of Madani walking around Istanbul in Khashoggi’s clothes.
The body double discovery inflicts considerable damage on the already shaky story of Khashoggi’s death provided by the Saudis, who ended two weeks of denying all knowledge of his fate and claiming he left the Istanbul consulate safely by admitting on Friday that he died in the building, but insisting he died in a “fistfight” gone wrong. A Saudi source “close to the royal palace” elaborated to CNN that Khashoggi supposedly died in a “chokehold” while security forces struggled to subdue the rambunctious unarmed 59-year-old.
Turkish media published a claim Sunday, citing an alleged senior Saudi official, that the Saudis rolled Khashoggi’s body up in a rug and gave it to a “local cooperator” for disposal. This account would be consistent with reports of Turkish police searching a forest near Istanbul and a farm 60 miles away for his remains.
Turkish investigators on Monday inspected an underground parking lot in Istanbul where they discovered a seemingly abandoned vehicle from the Saudi consulate. The police have inspected a number of consular vehicles looking for evidence they were used to transport Khashoggi’s body.
A spokesman for Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said on Monday the killing of Khashoggi was a “complicated” assassination that was “monstrously planned.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that the investigation will continue until the details are revealed in all their “naked truth.”
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Sunday told Bret Baier of Fox News the killing was a “rogue operation” where “individuals ended up exceeding the authorities and responsibilities they had.”
“They made the mistake when they killed Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate and they tried to cover up for it,” Jubeir said, implying that misinformation pouring from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul was intended to deceive Riyadh as much as the rest of the world. He insisted the killers have no connection to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Jubeir offered condolences to Khashoggi’s family during his Fox News interview, as did the crown prince and King Salman bin Abdulaziz in a phone call to Khashoggi’s son Salah on Sunday.

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