National Compass has consistently made the case
that Donald Trump, both personally and as president, has identified with and in terms of his public and private statements – given aid and comfort to repressive regimes void of any semblance of the rule of law, while simultaneously antagonizing our allies.
That was true with his past admiring comments about China’s premier Xi Jinping and China’s historical record of destroying political dissidents – most notably, the event many of us witnessed on live television; the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Trump described the brutal assault on students in 1989 as a legitimate response to a “riot”:
“When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it, then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.”
Trump made laudatory comments about North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, in numerous venues. “I learned he’s a very talented man. I also learned that he loves his country very much.”
Yes, Trump was actually referring to the same Kim Jong-un that has an extensive network of hellish prison camps in which hundreds of thousands of North Koreans, guilty of nothing more than suspected subversion, have been starved, tortured and murdered; continuing a tradition that has persisted through the reign of his father, Kim Jong-il and grandfather, Kim il-sung.
All the more damning in terms of this sickening endorsement of Jong-un, is the fact that Trump appears to know that his statement that Jong-un “loves his people” – is the furthest thing from the truth. Trump told the United Nations, in a prepared statement given in September of 2017, that the North Korean government, headed by Kim, is:
“responsible for the starvation deaths of millions of North Koreans, and for the imprisonment, torture, killing and oppression of countless more.”
So much has been reported about Trump’s admiration of Russian strongman, Vladimir Putin, that there is little additional value in reprising it here, but characteristic of Trump’s many compliments to Putin, this – a response from Trump to some supportive remarks made by Putin in December of 2015, is representative:
“It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond.”
All of this puts context to Donald Trump’s official statement on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, last month (October 2), at the hands of Saudi operatives in Istanbul, Turkey inside the Saudi consolate, issued by the White House today. In it, Trump states:
“After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body.”
So, reasonably, one would expect that Trump, would hold Crown Prince bin-Salman accountable. In that, one would be mistaken, because Trump goes on in the statement, to equivocate that:
“King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t! That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran.”
The above portion of Trump’s statement, is at once, typical and revealing. Trump has a propensity, when confronted with the evil deeds of regimes governed by the likes of Putin and Kim, to assert that it is impossible to clearly assign responsibility for criminal behavior on their part.
Following the election, in November 28 of 2016, Trump dismissed evidence the intelligence services uncovered as to Russia’s interference in our election:
“It could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey. I believe that it could have been Russia and it could have been any one of many other people. Sources or even individuals.”
There he is again, that “400 pound hacker”. So, it is apparent that if Trump’s political or financial interests align with that of a dictatorial, murderous regime, Trump will refuse, even in the face of clear and unambiguous evidence, to acknowledge the reality of their actions.
And the problem, among others, is that there is no deniability, plausible or otherwise, of the Saudi royal family’s knowledge and direction of the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded in it’s assessment of the event, that one of the key factors is an analysis they conducted on an intercepted phone call to Khashoggi from the Prince’s brother, Khalid bin Salman.
The conversation was one in which bin Salman recommended Khashoggi visit the consulate in to get the paperwork he needed in preparation for his upcoming marriage. The CIA has determined that the call was made at the behest of the Prince, in a gambit to lure Khashoggi to his death.
An additional factor in the determination made by U.S. intelligence experts, is that one of the named members of the assassination team launched by the royal family, security official Maher Mutreb, called one of bin Salman’s key executive assistants, saying to “tell your boss” that the mission to kill Khashoggi had been completed successfully.
Trump is not deceived as to the reality about this event. He is so certain, despite his equivocations, that the Saudi royal family directed this killing, that he refuses to even listen to the audio recordings of the murder, provided to us by the Turkish government. Even the president’s own party is not contesting the incontrovertible signs pointing to MBS and his father.
GOP Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee tweeted that:
“Everything points to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, MbS, ordering Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing. The Trump administration should make a credible determination of responsibility before MbS executes the men who apparently carried out his orders.”
Corker, after the release of Trump’s weasel manifesto, tweeted this response.
It is not a stretch of the imagination, knowing Trump’s state of rage about members of the media he considers his enemies, to assume that he would like nothing better than to wield the sort of authority that Mohammed bin-Salman has in apprehending and executing journalists with extreme prejudice, the way Khashoggi was dispatched.
If he were to compile a list of offenders, CNN White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, would likely head the list.