Archive | October 25th, 2018

US Slap on the Wrist Response to Khashoggi’s Murder

NOVANEWS

There’s virtually no doubt that Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) ordered Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal abduction and murder.

No lower level regime officials would dare order elimination of a prominent figure within or outside kingdom borders without his authorization – how all despotic states operate.

Trump, Pompeo and Bolton failed to blame king Salman or MBS for the incident. The secretary of state and Treasury secretary Mnuchin schmoozed with them in Riyadh, clearly showing US/Saudi relations remain solid. Khashoggi’s murder did nothing to alter the longstanding alliance.

On Tuesday, Trump stopped short of blaming MBS for the incident, saying

“(w)hoever thought of (killing Khashoggi), I think is in big trouble.”

“Somebody really messed up. And they had the worst coverup ever…There should have never been an execution or a cover-up because it should have never happened. It was a total fiasco.”

Interviewed by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Trump said he won’t suspend or end lucrative US contracts with the kingdom in response to the incident, mainly arms sales.

He’s convinced King Salman didn’t know about the killing in advance. Asked about likely MBS responsibility for what happened, for the first time he suggested it’s possible saying:

“Well, the prince is running things over there more so at this stage. He’s running things and so if anybody were going to be, it would be him.”

He spoke to MBS by phone, saying:

“My first question to him was, ‘Did you know anything about it in terms of the initial planning?’”

MBS replied no.

“I said, ‘Where did it start?’ And he said it started at lower levels.”

Asked if he believed the crown prince’s denial, DLT said

“I want to believe them. I really want to believe them.”

At the same time, his accusing Riyadh of a “coverup” flies in the face of its public remarks since Khashoggi’s October 2 disappearance, showing everything its officials said were bald-faced lies, including comments by its foreign minister days earlier.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said 21 Saudis will have their US visas revoked. Pompeo said targeted individuals include “those in the intelligence services, the royal court, the foreign ministry, and other Saudi ministries,” naming no names, adding:

“These penalties will not be the last word on this matter from the United States. We will continue to explore additional measures to hold those responsible accountable” – short of holding MBS responsible for Khashoggi’s murder.

Separately in addressing Turkey’s parliament on Tuesday, President Erdogan sounded like Trump, saying

“Saudi authorities have taken an important step confirming the killing, and now we ask Saudi authorities to work hard to reveal the names of those involved, from the bottom to the top” in what he called premeditated “savage murder.”

Erdogan wants to avoid a rupture in relations with Riyadh and the West. He allowed revelations about Khashoggi’s abduction and murder to drip out.

He’s likely seeking economic and financial concessions from MBS in return for not telling all he knows, what’s most damning, including likely intercepted phone calls and other audio evidence showing his direct involvement in what happened.

His Tuesday remarks were less than fully candid, failing to deliver the “naked truth” as promised, only information about Khashoggi’s elimination already known – earlier reported by Western, Turkish and other media.

The world community and human rights groups slammed one fabricated Saudi explanation about what happened after another – from for two weeks claiming he left the consulate unharmed, to a fist fight/brawl in the consulate resulting in his death, to his “strangulation” in the facility, to kingdom foreign minister al-Jubeir calling the killing a “grave mistake,” claiming no MBS involvement in the incident, adding:

“He was killed in the consulate. We don’t know in terms of details how. We don’t know where the body is. We are determined to uncover every stone.”

“We are determined to punish those who are responsible for this murder. We are not an authoritarian government. We are a monarchy.” Khashoggi’s murder was an “aberration.”

Al-Jubeir was the first high-level Saudi official to comment publicly on the incident, shielding MBS from responsibly.

There was nothing aberrant about a ruthless regime’s action, ruling with an iron fist, notorious for public whippings and beheadings, imprisoning kingdom critics, and countless other horrendous human rights abuses throughout its existence.

Western and most other countries turned a blind eye to them until now over one incident, largely silent about others, including Riyadh’s alliance with Washington’s imperial wars and support for regional terrorist groups.

Ahead of Erdogan’s Tuesday address, Mike Pence and CIA director Gina Haspel went to Turkey on the pretext of aiding the investigation into Khashoggi’s murder.

They’re real purpose for coming was likely to convince Erdogan not to reveal all he knows, mostly about virtually certain MBS direct involvement in what happened.

Reportedly audio evidence showed Khashoggi was murdered in about seven minutes shortly after arriving in the Saudi consulate, his body dismembered inside the facility, according to an unnamed Turkish source, adding:

His body was dragged from the consul general’s office onto a table in his adjacent study. Consulate personnel uninvolved in the killing heard his screams. The consul was ordered out of the room where Khashoggi was killed and dismembered.

US sanctions, if imposed on Saudi officials, will likely exclude king Salman, MBS, and other key kingdom figures.

Trump regime hardliners want nothing interfering in longstanding US/Saudi dirty business as usual.

Khashoggi’s murder changes nothing in the bilateral relationship – nor with the West and most other countries, including Russia and China.

Representatives from both countries are attending Riyadh’s ongoing Davos in the desert investment conference.

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So It Turns Out That Saudi Arabia Isn’t Exactly an American Puppet After All

NOVANEWS

The US’ decision to revoke the visas of 21 Saudis who it claims are responsible for dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing and possibly impose Magnitsky Act sanctions against them proves that Saudi Arabia isn’t exactly the “American puppet” that many people had previously thought that it was if Washington is willing to punish its so-called “ally” in such a humiliating way, but this realization also risks shattering the worldview that many in the Alt-Media Community worked for years to reinforce.

Analysis is an art, and just like any other, its practitioners’ final product is rarely perfect. This understanding is more apt than ever when it comes to deciphering the ins and outs of contemporary Saudi geostrategy amidst the paradigm-changing shifts that have thus far characterized the emerging Multipolar World Order. It had hitherto been taken for granted that Saudi Arabia is an “American puppet”, and truth be told, the author himself also firmly believed that it was as recently as a few years ago, and with good reason. Saudi Arabia has a history of siding with the US and behaving as its “cat’s paw” in the region, especially whenever its destabilizing activities can be argued to have had even the most remote anti-Iranian purposes. Saudi Arabia is also extremely close to the US’ top ally “Israel”, so it follows that these three powers are strategically inseparable given their many overlapping interests.

The Kingdom’s Geostrategic Recalculations

That much is certainly true, except that Saudi Arabia has drastically “rebalanced” its foreign policy priorities over the past year and is no longer as solidly in the unipolar camp as it once was. A lot of this has to do with its game-changing rapprochement with Russia and also its newfound Silk Road relations with China. See author’s previous articles:

These developments were largely suppressed by both the Mainstream Media and its Alt-Media counterparts, each for their own reasons though nevertheless because they both felt uncomfortable. The first-mentioned was uneasy with the pace and scope of the Saudis’ geostrategic shift, while the latter considered it “politically incorrect” because it contradicts the “Resistance’s” (Iran’s) interests.

Backstabbing MBS

Now, however, it’s indisputable that the US isn’t on as excellent terms with Saudi Arabia anymore as many had assumed that it would always remain, given how Pompeo announced that 21 Saudis who he claimed were behind the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi will have their visas revoked and might even be subject to infamous Magnitsky Act sanctions that had previously been implemented against Russians. This unprecedented move is meant to signal to the world that there’s a serious rift emerging between the US and Saudi Arabia, or at least elements of the American “deep state” hostile to Trump and the ruling faction of the Wahhabi Kingdom like the author suggested in his previous piece titled “Khashoggi Mystery: Rogue Killers Or Rogue Royals?” About that, it’s increasingly looking likeCrown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) might have been informed of Khashoggi’s interrogation as it was happening but didn’t have advance knowledge of it, nor authorized his assassination.

Moving beyond the unverifiable speculation, the point to focus on in this piece is that the US thought it fitting to humiliate the Saudis by revoking the visas of 21 of them and then threatening the possible imposition of forthcoming Magnitsky Act sanctions. This should leave no doubt as to the US’ displeasure with Saudi Arabia since it wouldn’t have otherwise punished it in such a public manner had it any serious concern for the Kingdom’s sensitivities. This profound lack of respect certainly isn’t lost on Riyadh, which now has more than enough reasons to accelerate its movement towards multipolarity, but just like with its earlier outreaches to Russia and China, it’s very likely that Mainstream Media and Alt-Media will continue to remain in denial about this development. “Old habits die hard”, as the saying goes, and nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to the long-standing presumption that Saudi Arabia will always be an “American puppet”.

Alt-Standards For Alt-Media

The Alt-Media Community is particularly insufferable when it comes to its incessant spewing of this discredited narrative, driven as it mostly is by a desire to virtue signal loyalty to the Saudis’ Iranian enemies who exert disproportionate influence over this informational sphere. Instead of maturely recognizing the reality of what the US’ threatened Magnitsky Act sanctions against Saudi Arabia geostrategically entail, there’s nothing but hypocritical gloating over the fact that the Kingdom is now on the brink of being betrayed by its American “ally”. Not only that, but many of the same folks who vehemently oppose the Saudis’ beheading policy are braying for blood and hoping that heads will literally roll as a result of Khashoggi’s killing. It’s understandable that years of Saudi-led destabilization operations in the Mideast would result in such schadenfreude, but inexplicable that emotions would trump reason when it comes to making accurate political analyses about this situation.

It’s illogical that sincere multipolar supporters would be against the US sanctioning Russia and Iran but support it doing the same to Saudi Arabia because this implies an unstated belief that America is at least partially the “arbiter” of “justice” across the world. The sentiments of the so-called “silent majority” on any given issue rarely have any influence on the course of International Relations so it doesn’t really matter how delusional some people might remain as they celebrate the US’ backstabbing of Saudi Arabia, though it’s nevertheless important to call out blatant hypocrisy for principle’s sake. Furthermore, exposing the alt-standards that Alt-Media applies to certain significant issues such as this one can explain why many of the analyses that emerge from this Community are so inaccurate in reflecting the reality of the situation. Most people will never openly say so, but the reason is largely attributable to “Israel”, though not in the way that some might think.

The Issue Of “Israel’s” Strategic Independence

Perhaps the most important pillar of Alt-Media Dogma is the blind belief that “Israel” and the US are one in the same and that there aren’t ever any strategic disagreements between them whatsoever. Just like with Saudi Arabia and the US, however, this may no longer be the case like it once was, and opening the proverbial can of worms over the Kingdom’s actual closeness or lack thereof nowadays to the US naturally leads to one questioning the true state of American-“Israeli” relations too, which is probably the most “politically incorrect” taboo that there ever could be in the Alt-Media Community. The groupthink that’s been vigorously maintained by generations of gatekeepers in this informational sphere is that “Israel” and the US always see eye-to-eye on everything, and that the rare public disagreements between them such as over the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal during the Obama era are just carefully choreographed perception management operations designed to deceive the world.

For as much as many might want to believe that this is the case for whatever their reasons may be, it isn’t, and “Israel’s” newfound joint protectorate status with the US and Russia over this summer proves it. So too does Russia passively facilitating“Israel’s” 200+ bombings of Syria over the past 18 months before the September mid-air tragedy, prior to which the two were strategic partners due to President Putin’s philo-Semitism and never-ending praise of the self-proclaimed “Jewish State” over his past 18 years in office.  In addition, it appears as though last month’s incident off the Syrian coast won’t have any real effect on their relationship after Russian Deputy Prime Minister Maxim Akimov and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov cleared the air on this a few weeks ago. Another powerful point is that “Israel” is poised to join the Silk Road in open defiance of the US, further proving its strategic independence.

Shattering The Alt-Worldview

There will undoubtedly remain some who refuse to recognize these “inconvenient facts” and will continue to concoct the most convoluted conspiracy theories to explain how the US and “Israel” are supposedly working hand-in-hand against Russia & China even though Presidents Putin & Xi appear to be more than eager to play along with this scheme probably due to their mastery of “5D chess”, but such narratives are discredited in the real world because they don’t reflect what’s really happening on the ground. Many in Alt-Media, however, have staked their entire reputations on perpetuating this storyline despite the plethora of evidence against it, but instead of maturely modifying their worldview in light of recent developments and more accurately portraying the paradigm-changing dynamics of the day, they’re instead much more prone to doing everything within their power to distract their audiences from ever thinking about this, ergo the main motivation that they have in covering up the incipient Saudi-American split.

Recognizing the growing strategic and “deep state” divergences between Saudi Arabia and the US would naturally lead to one wondering what’s really going on with “Israel” and the US too, but this is absolutely forbidden by the Alt-Media Community’s gatekeepers because it runs the risk of complicating their oversimplified narrative of Russia being an “anti-Zionist crusader state” and “Israel” functioning as the US’ “puppet” no matter what, neither of which are true. The Alt-Worldview is therefore at risk of being shattered because of this since its gatekeepers never responsibly educated their audience about the nuances of Russia’s “balancing” act, which could have avoided the current crisis that the Community is about to be plunged into as it becomes ever more impossible to sweep all of this under the rug. Unfortunately, like it was earlier remarked, emotions have a tendency of influencing Alt-Media’s analyses more so than reason, which cumulatively led to an outright Alt-Reality being constructed with time.

Concluding Thoughts

Saudi Arabia still shares many strategic commonalities with the US and has a documented history of acting as its regional proxy, but the two Great Powers are in the midst of their worst-ever diplomatic disagreement after America revoked the visas of 21 Saudi citizens and humiliatingly threatened to unprecedentedly impose Magnitsky Act sanctions against them. It’s impossible at this point in time to seriously assert that Riyadh and Washington are on the same page with one another in the manner that they previously had been because otherwise the US wouldn’t have disrespected Saudi Arabia in such a high-profile way. Having said that, there are powerful forces in the Alt-Media Community desperate to suppress this realization because of how much it risks undermining their prevailing dogma, especially in the sense that it might get people to question whether “Israel” is really as close to the US as they were led to believe after undeniable proof emerged of its strategic cooperation with Russia and China.

Accepting these geostrategic truths isn’t akin to “whitewashing” Saudi Arabia and “Israel” or “smearing” Russia and China because of their very close relations with the aforementioned pair, but is simply acknowledgment of the state of affairs as they presently exist at this specific moment in the emerging Multipolar World Order. Nor, for that matter, is any of this intended to suppress the activist voices within the Alt-Media Community who feel very strongly about voicing their views on Saudi Arabia and “Israel”, since the purpose of this analysis isn’t to replace one “politically correct” gatekeeping dogma with another, but rather to encourage free thinking within the Community after liberating its members with knowledge about the actual relations between these four players and the US. It’s ultimately up to each and every individual to make normative judgements about this if they so choose, just as it’s their choice whether to remain in denial of these facts or maturely accept them for what they are.

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France: Macron Denounces Inequality as Root Cause of Current Global Crisis

NOVANEWS

With dazzling clarity, French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the UN General Assembly in a remarkable speech highlighting:

“Now we must tackle the deep causes of our imbalances, we must look together at the weaknesses of our international order and – beyond the crises I’ve just mentioned – look at the deep inequalities that have set in. For me, this is the crux of our problem today: what is rekindling nationalism and doubts about our Assembly? What is generating crises everywhere? These deep inequalities that we have been unable to resolve.

Ten years ago, when the financial crisis broke out, we took emergency measures but we did not solve the deepest problem, we did not curb the trend towards the hyper-concentration of wealth on our planet and we did not really provide an answer to all those who were left behind by globalization. All those who were marginalized and frustrated by the humiliations they had suffered harboured a despair whose price we are collectively paying today….We owe an answer, my friends, to the 265 million children, more than half of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa, who have no access to schooling, to the girls who enjoy fair access to education in less than 40 percent of all countries. We owe an answer to the 700 million children who live in the regions most exposed to the effects of climate change, who are the victims of floods, drought, rising waters, diminishing resources. ..We owe an answer to the 783 million people who live below the poverty line, who suffer from hunger or chronic malnutrition, to those who don’t have access to basic care…….The time when a club of rich countries could alone define the world’s inequalities is long gone, because the fate of every country belonging to it is inseparable from that of every member of this Assembly. Yes, we must tackle present-day inequalities today because they’re at the root of the evil I was denouncing at the beginning of my speech. We must tackle inequalities of destiny. It’s a moral aberration as much as a reality which is untenable. It is unacceptable not to enjoy the same opportunities depending on the country you are born in, not to be able to go to school in countries because you are a woman, not to access to certain basic care….Six hundred and twenty million more children in the world need to be provided with schooling between now and 2030, included 444 million Africans. …Education and health care won’t just be the pillars of our societies in the 21 century; they will be the basic components of our economies too.”

Following this address, President Macron gave one of the most democratic press conferences in United Nations memory. Charismatic, unpretentious, without a phalanx of security guards, or a spokesperson to cherry-pick journalists known to ask flattering questions, and exclude those raising controversial issues, Macron arrived alone at the podium, stating simply:

“Ministers, Ambassadors, Ladies and Gentlemen, I am available for you.”

Journalists freely asked a series of questions on a variety of subjects, and I asked Macron directly to elaborate on his impassioned and realistic identification of inequality as one of the root causes of the crisis in the world today, and asked Macron how he would solve this appalling injustice. And, as a follow-up question, I asked for Macron’s comment regarding the concept of a “Global New Deal” called for by the late UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and by former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. I added that since Macron deplored the disintegration and increasing violence in the world today, what would he think of this possibility of a new, more progressive and egalitarian social and economic order.

Macron replied that he would address inequalities by increasing investment in education, health, agriculture and economic opportunities. He added that regarding the concept of a “Global New Deal,”: “In Europe the Prime Minister of Sweden and Kofi Annan launched a very similar idea, “ and Macron added “I support that precisely.” He added:

“We need a more comprehensive and consistent view of development. It is necessary to reform, in depth, global organization of trade, and not sign trade deals with countries not compliant with the Paris agreement on environment. We need more consistent day to day social commitments, new social rules and standards.”

I later, privately, asked President Macron if he thinks the increasing inequality in the world is contributing to the increase in terrorism. He replied:

“Of course. This inequality causes great frustration, humiliation and desperation that often inevitably results in terrorism.”

French President Macron appeared on the cover of Time Magazine on November 20, 2017, with a headline stating: “The Next Leader of Europe…If Only He Can Lead France.” Macron also appeared on the May, 2018 cover of Forbes Magazine, as a leader of the “free market.” His very progressive remarks at the United Nations would appear to be in contradiction with his reputation as an exponent of “neoliberalism,” which is the economic framework which spawns those very global inequalities Macron detests and devotes a huge section of his United Nations speech denouncing, as the cause of global disasters today and, if not redressed, tragedy in the future. This seeming contradiction within Macron’s position may ultimately be resolved by the very force of Macron’s personality and intellect: he is young and fortunately extremely intelligent, and there are aspects of his personality which may compel him to make the difficult choice which has already led him to support the concept of the global new deal. He is fully aware that such a global deal requires the very restructuring of the global financial order, and there is little doubt that he possesses the agility to choose the more humanitarian, and ultimately the more sustainable arrangement involved in the construction of the global new deal hailed by Kofi Annan. According to the Time magazine article, Macron is unswervingly committed to the course he considers correct, regardless of ferocious opposition, and has demonstrated this personally, which gives promise that he can ultimately prevail over those economic and politically reactionary forces which are today causing such misery throughout the world, and endangering the very survival of humanity.

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Palestine: Nazi photo

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