Jamal Khashoggi — The Better Man

Jamal-KhashoggiJamal Khashoggi was a resident of the United States and a journalist for The Washington Post.  I am sure you all know at least some of the story of Mr. Khashoggi and his recent disappearance and likely murder, and some may have wondered why Filosofa had not yet written about Mr. Khashoggi.  I have not, to date, even touched upon this story, for there were too many unknowns and too many conflicting bits of information.  I try to ensure that what I write is fact-based, and frankly I could not discern what was fact in this story, for the story changed almost hourly it seemed.  Tonight, I am breaking my silence, for I think I know at least enough to make a start.  I am appalled and horrified at some of the responses from members of our government, including Donald Trump, and I will not remain silent.

Jamal Khashoggi was a citizen of Saudi Arabia and a journalist and author who had for years written for both Arabic and English-language newspapers.  He was among the first to cover the war in Afghanistan and had also covered the first Gulf war.  During the 1980s he had contact with Usama bin Ladin (aka Osama bin Laden) as he covered the battle of Jaji.

Always a defender of human dignity, freedom and reform in Saudi Arabia, Khashoggi came under fire in 2016 for remarks he made about his own government, as well as Donald Trump after his election.  The government of Saudi Arabia shut him down … he was no longer allowed to write or even tweet, and he knew the time had come for him to leave.  In early 2017, he self-exiled to the U.S. where he was provided temporary asylum, and later permanent resident status.

On September 28th, Khashoggi visited the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain the necessary paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, but he was told he would need to return four days later on the afternoon of October 2nd.  Long story short, he did return while his fiancée waited outside for him, but he never left the embassy.  He must have sensed something was off, for he told Ms. Cengiz to get help if he did not return.  After a few hours, she called the police and the search began.

A few pertinent facts of the matter:

  • Turkish staff at the consulate had been told to stay home that day
  • Two charter planes carrying nine Saudi officials and intelligence officers had arrived in Istanbul from Riyadh and the passengers had gone to the embassy
  • At around 4:00 p.m., six vehicles left the consulate carrying the nine Saudis. Two other vehicles with unidentified passengers drove to the Saudi consul’s residence and remained there for the next four hours
  • On the night of October 15th, Turkish officials searched the Saudi consulate and reported that it had recently received a coat of fresh paint throughout the interior

Those are the only absolute, verifiable facts in the case to the best of my knowledge.  The Saudi government has changed their story enough times to arouse suspicion. A Turkish official claims to have an audio tape of Mr. Khashoggi’s brutal murder, dismemberment and beheading, and the Turkish government claims that senior figures in the Saudi royal court had ordered his killing.  As yet, this is not verifiable, and I offer it at face value.  U.S. Intelligence agencies are reportedly convinced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia is culpable in the killing, although they have not yet been able to collect direct evidence.  The Turkish government has reiterated what they say happened and with great detail, but they have declined to share such evidence as they have with the U.S., and so I cannot speak to the veracity of their claims.

Mohammed bin Salman.jpg

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

What I will address, however, is the U.S. official response to the disappearance and likely murder of Jamal Khashoggi which is, in a word, shameful.  Abominable.  Sickening.  Disgusting.

Donald Trump, first of all, came out in support of Prince bin Salman and said he would not cut off arms sales to the Saudi government because Saudi Arabia would spend their money elsewhere, and for Trump, it’s more about money than human lives.  He also at that time stated that while it should be looked into, Mr. Khashoggi was not an American citizen and since the disappearance had taken place in Turkey, it was not a great concern, although, “We don’t like it”.  We don’t like it, but oh well, not my monkeys, not my circus is basically what he is saying.

Justice for JamalThis, as much as anything, exemplifies why the U.S. pulled out of the United Nations Human Rights Council in June.  The U.S. is, itself, in violation of human rights by the detention of children we separated illegally from their parents on our southern border, and Trump has no desire to be constrained by rules that dictate human rights or his response to violations.

Next week is the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, an event Trump swore he would not pull out of, even as other nations, horrified by the Khashoggi disappearance and the likely scenario, had dropped out of the conference.  Finally, yesterday, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that we, too, would withdraw from the conference, only because of the bipartisan backlash over his intent to attend.

And let’s not leave out the evangelicals.  None other than Pat Robertson said …

“You’ve got a $100-billion worth of arm sales which is, you know, that’s one of those things, but more than that we’ve got to have some Arab allies. I know it’s bad, but I mean we’ve had all kinds of stuff, but you don’t blow up an international alliance over one person. I mean, I’m sorry.”

I side with Stephen Colbert on this one when he responded, “Thank you, Reverend, for capturing the core message of Christianity. How important can one man’s death be?”

And now for the real kicker.  A ‘whisper campaign’, for those who may be unfamiliar with the term, is an unethical attempt to spread lies and venom about a person to discredit them.  Another term is ‘smear campaign’.  Yesterday, The Washington Post reported that …

“Hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a dark whisper campaign against Jamal Khashoggi that is designed to protect President Trump from criticism of his handling of the dissident journalist’s alleged murder by Saudi Arabian operatives — and support Trump’s continued aversion to a forceful response to the oil-rich desert kingdom.”

The right-wing media, starting with none other than Trump’s state-run media Fox News, has indeed launched a smear campaign to attempt to convince the public that Jamal Khashoggi was a ‘bad guy’.  And why?  To cover Donald Trump’s fat, white arse.  If you cannot convince Trump to act as a human being, then make the rest of the world look like they are donkeys too!  Angry?  Moi?  You betcha!

Conservative House republicans, read members of the House Freedom Caucus, have assisted in the effort, attempting to begin conspiracy theories about the time that Khashoggi covered bin Laden some 14 years before 11 September 2001.  It has even spilled over onto the campaign trail.  In Virginia, republican Corey Stewart who is running against Tim Kaine for his seat in the Senate, claimed with no facts or knowledge that, “Khashoggi was not a good guy himself.”

A Tuesday broadcast of CR-TV, a conservative online outlet founded by popular talk-radio host Mark Levin, labeled Khashoggi a “longtime friend” of terrorists and claimed without evidence that Trump was the victim of an “insane” media conspiracy to tarnish him. The broadcast has been viewed more than 12,000 times. A story in far-right FrontPage magazine casts Khashoggi as a “cynical and manipulative apologist for Islamic terrorism”.

None of these stories are true.  Remember, Khashoggi was a journalist.  Journalists often have contact in the course of their reporting with unsavory people.  It doesn’t mean they are affiliated or share their beliefs … it simply means they are doing their job.

I am sickened by this entire thing, starting with the murder of a good man, Donald Trump’s inhumane response, and ending with the attempts by Donald Trump’s boot-lickers to cover his utter inhumanity.  Thankfully, I am still able to believe that the vast majority of people in this nation are better than this, but unfortunately those in our government are naught but low-lifes.

 

35 thoughts on “Jamal Khashoggi — The Better Man

  1. Pingback: Jamal Khashoggi — The Better Man – Think Media NG.

  2. Dear Jill,

    Saudi Arabia went too far in the murder of the US resident and the honorable Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a foreign country, US ally, Turkey.

    I blame President Trump’s rhetoric against the press as being partly responsible for Saudis getting the wrong signal, that they could get away this murder. They had originally banned Mr. Khashoggi from reporting in Saudi Arabia because of his critical writings against President Trump.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • They went WAY too far! And … yes, Trump’s anti-press rhetoric may have played a role, but … I have just today begun to wonder if perhaps Trump had an even more … active? direct? role. I’m just speculating, and not trying to sound like an Alex Jones compadre, but … Trump is not honest, so no use listening to a word he says. bin Salman is evil, so he’s not going to come clean. Perhaps there was a bit of communication beforehand between these two?
      Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, greed seems to be the keyword these days. Even tonight, after Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi died in the embassy, but claimed it was merely a fistfight (b.s.!!!), Trump is saying he does not want any sanctions against the arms sales! Now … 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia, and now they have brutally murdered our journalist … but we still want to sell them weapons??? What is wrong with this picture? What is wrong with this country that they are still supporting the madman in Washington? If some morning you step out your front door and there is some old lady sitting on your doorstep … it is me. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel so ver much for Jamal Khashoggie’s girlfriend and family. This is an atrocity against free speech. We are ver close to losing our ability to say what we think, to hold those we elect accountable, and to expect a modicum of freedom within which we can conduct our own lives. I am not fearful of these bullies and tyrants but I think that unless we (the people) don’t stand up and take the power back, we will be annihilated and thrown into the pit of forgotten humanity. History for these days is being written by evil forces. Be very aware, it has happened before and it will happen again. Question is… Should we allow it?

    Liked by 4 people

    • You are quite right … albeit even bleaker than I am, and that’s pretty bleak. The thing is that we seem to forget the lessons of history, else we simply never learn from them. After WWII, for a while, it seemed we had learned and would not allow a repeat of Adolph Hitler. But, time passed, the people who lived through it, who had the first-hand experience, began to die off, a new generation was born, and then another, and here we are, 70+ years after the fact, and making the same mistakes. The Chinese believe that history is cyclic. I used to scoff at that notion, but no longer.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A Gold Star post! I too, as you and many others, have been watching the unfolding of events that preceded and followed the apparent atrocity against Jamal Khashoggi. I read the piece by his fiance, Hatice Cengiz, that appeared in The New York Times on October 13, 2018. It is a tribute and a glimpse into the man she knew and loved. Nicholas Kristof, a journalist from the same paper, had an excellent editorial about the man he knew and respected. A smear campaign against a man that can no longer defend himself is reprehensible. That its purpose is to defend the actions of a president, that are indefensible, just increases the reprehensibility. Should one be surprised? Not in the age of Trump. Any other response from this administration would be surprising and that is a damning commentary on our times. Thank-you!

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you for the gold star! Yes, and now that the Saudis have admitted that Khashoggi died in their embassy (although they are lying about the method), Trump is saying they are very good allies and he does not want them sanctioned if it would interfere with our sales of arms to them. Now … remember that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi nationals? And now this? Why the heck would we even consider selling them weapons that will only kill more people somewhere on this globe??? Argh!!!!

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  6. Very sad. Also sad is the growing gap between the governed and those that govern. In a Republic, the elected are supposed to answer to those who voted for them. Not any longer: they answer to those who financed their elections and control their lives. And those lives, of course, are controlled by those whose only concern is with profits.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is sad … tragic … and Trump’s response is an abomination. You are right … our opinions only matter one day every two years, and the rest of the time, we have little, if any, voice. Citizens United was one of the biggest mistakes the Supreme Court ever made, in my opinion, for as you say, the only people who matter now are those who have big bucks to finance campaigns. There is no way this nation can still be said to have a democratic republican form of government. I am, for the moment at least, calling it an oligarchical plutocracy.

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        • Stevens was rather like Kennedy … he could be counted on to be more moderate, even though he was conservative in most ways. He considered all angles and genuinely tried to do the right thing. That was what we needed, instead we got Kav. But yes, you notice you rarely hear any talk about repealing Citizens United anymore? The republicans are reaping big time from it, and as long as they are the dominant party, it will remain.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. The interesting argument known as the lesser of two evils is one used by Pat Robinson it’s a tough one to refute in a modern world where all are tarnished to a greater or lesser extent. I’ve heard it used by Christians when discussing the old testament in an evil world we must commit evil that good may come from our actions. We can carry such arguments a stage further and do business with governments and organisations that are morally dubious and we have our world in a nut shell. This leads us onto that modern lunacy of sanctions whereby we maintain a working relationship but show our disapproval by reducing our commerce.
    Of course journalists are in some ways fortunate in that they are uninvolved observers but this one , like many others , observed too closely for comfort and was eliminated.
    Archbishop of Salvador spoke out and was eliminated , now he is a saint , but Jamal Khashoggi is just as much a saint . Compromise makes our lives easy but our minds uneasy .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Kersten. I disagree with you on two areas. On the religious who constantly claim there can be no moderation or partial agreement with gay people having rights and equal treatment legally and civilly, who now say well we need not have moral absolutes when we could lose lots of money over it. Religious people who claim they must never compromise with the right of a woman to choose what to do with her body and the zygote growing in it, yet now saying being pro-life is not important when arms sales are in jeopardy.

      The USA use to have a high moral standing in the world. It gave us a position of authority and access as a standard bearer of decency and civil rights. That gave us abilities other countries did not have. Now it is gone, wasted, squandered by a greed ego maniace and his accomplices. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nice to hear from you Scottie and you are quite right about moral absolutes and compromise when it suits our purposes but the lesser of two evils is far more subtle and raises in the non religious thinker a great difficulty . There are numerous cases we can raise and Pat Robinson raised one , in fact history is awash with such cases. We go to war and kill innocent women and children for the greater good because by so doing we save many innocent women and children from the tyrant. We buy gas from Russia to turn the wheels of Europe’s industry knowing what sort of a man Putin is but our population needs the gas. I’m afraid when it comes to moral absolutes neither the religious or the non religious man has a leg to stand on that’s what makes the action of Jamal saintly because it is more than human just as that of the Archbishop of Salvador.
        Now as to the high moral standing of the USA in the past I think many would disagree , please do not think I am saying the UK is any better with its past activities. All the world’s nations contain some good people and among them are a small sprinkling of saintly men and women who do not compromise , they are the jems of humanity .
        Incidentally Pat Robinson is a compromiser because he is unable to think for himself but instead justifies the Bible , but there is much in that book that his actions deny.

        Liked by 2 people

        • @Kersten , I am afraid you lost me with the saintly and the Archbishop stuff.
          Lets try it this way. I can agree with the idea of the lesser of two evils in cases where there is no moral absolute declared. Like an election between Hillary Clinton and Donald tRump. Hillary would have been the lesser of the two evils. Or between two menu choices where the lessor wouldn’t give you more calories in one entray than you need to eat in four days.

          However when someone stakes their claim to a position, say being pro-life and will not let any circumstances be justification for an abortion including the death of the mother, they then do not get the right to say “Well shoot it was sad he was killed but we can not make a fuss because we will lose business with the people who killed him”. That is talking out both sides of your mouth and talking shit. It shows you were never serious about life, just controlling the bodies and sexual life of women. And that is what Pat Robertson has done and said all these years. Hugs

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          • You see that is Pat Robinson’s position he is saying we must let go of Jamal for the greater good of the nation. Not only is it Pat Robinson’s position but it is a common position of the majority of politicians and ordinary folk who have to deal with these matters. You are right Mr Robinson’s posturing about absolute morals is a mockery when we see him compromising in this case.
            Most of us lead lives of compromise and know we must for the sake of survival , those that don’t are soon dispensed with and we know many are tortured and killed in some countries because of their beliefs.

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            • I agree that most of us do ahve to compromise in life. However most of us do not go around demanding absolutes and then breaking them for ourselves only when it suits us. Religious people tend to and politicians also. Hugs

              Liked by 1 person

              • Let’s not lump all together in that “Religious people”, Scottie. Many women have died to save the lives of their unborn children rather than have them aborted to save their own. I remember reading of one who was declared a saint. Many mothers in other situations die to save their children also. I’m not judging women who make other choices but also, you’re not a woman so I think that weakens your argument a bit. —- Suzanne

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                • Those woman were given bad information. They felt their and their offspring had souls and would meet in a heaven. The woman gave their life for a myth. Now some may have just wanted their baby to live, but I will bet those people were a very small minority. I have read too many stories of Jehovah Witnesses dying in childbirth because they refused any life saving blood transfusions. Women who could easily been saved and gone on to enjoy life with their child died due to a religious belief.

                  The idea of a woman dying rather than abort a fetus was not the start of the conversation nor the subject of it. The idea was demanding everyone else value an unborn life in a females body yet then saying do not make a fuss about a person being killed by a foreign country due to the amount of money they spend on our products. No one is saying an abortion is OK if you buy my products.
                  I wrote

                  However most of us do not go around demanding absolutes and then breaking them for ourselves only when it suits us. Religious people tend to and politicians also.

                  Notice the words “most of us” and the word “tend”. Those words do not mean all or everyone. They do give room for someone who feels life is worth protecting regardless if it in the womb or on death row. Regardless if that life is three and needs healthcare, in grade school and needs free breakfast or lunch, if the life is an 16 year old who needs education help, or an adult who needs housing assistance. Even if that life is a journalist residing in the US, working for a newspaper in the US, and killed in a Saudi embassy in Turkey.

                  I do regret the the death of a person giving birth, I regret the loss of a fetus that is wanted and dies for some reason. I worked in ICU’s and I seen mothers die after childbirth, them rushing the baby to her so she could see it before she died. If possible spend time with the baby. But in those cases we were doing everything possible to save the mother, our hands were not tied by religious beliefs. I , like you, value life. I know that even though we all will die I hope we all could have a good long life. It simply doesn’t work out that way. I support life in all its stages, not just until it is born as some religious communities do. However the big difference is I do not demand behaviors from others that would cause them hardships and then waive those behaviors when money is involved, as Pat Robertson does, and sadly so many of the fundamentalist religious leaders such as: Toney PErkins, Ralph Reed, Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr, to name a few off hand.

                  My point is if you demand an absolute always be obeyed, you don’t get to waive it when it involves money and the sale of products. Especially when it is life and the selling of weapons. Thanks Suzanne, best wishes. Hugs

                  Liked by 2 people

                  • Scottie, it’s your opinion that religious beliefs are myths. To me and many others, these are not myths but very real. I said I don’t judge women who make other choices but those women who sacrifice their lives for their children are not doing it for a myth. They believe in what they’re doing. My mother used to work as a midwife and saw what she realized was an abortion in one case. She told the woman not to call on her again as it was truly terrible. The woman was close to my mother but my mother was truly repulsed as she said the woman was using abortion for family planning. It didn’t wreck their friendship with each other. I don’t force my beliefs on others and I don’t want them forcing them on me. I also don’t like people telling me my beliefs are myths as that’s insulting. You’re fully justified in your personal beliefs. I live here in India surrounded by Hindus including my husband’s relatives. I “never” tell them their beliefs are myths. They don’t tell me mine are. We respect each other’s beliefs. My caregiver who lives with me 24/7 is a devout Hindu and I never insult her beliefs. I try to always be kind and understanding. Hugs of kindness to you and yours. 🙂 — Suzanne

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                    • Hello Suzanne, I guess you do not read my stuff much so I have not fully explained myself to you. My fault for thinking you already knew me. You have what I would call personal faith. It is a code you try to live your life by. It is personal. It is honest. It is for you and you do not push it on to others. You share it if asked but otherwise it is for you and yours. That is honorable. I salute that faith even while I do not believe it anymore than pink unicorns. I do not disparage it as long as it harms no one and the practitioners are consenting.

                      Religion is a business. It is an organization designed to control the behavior of the people and to move money / valuables from the people at the base to the leaders at the top. It is more about ritual and show. It is about building members so that increases the income of the organization. Children are tools for these groups. Indoctrination and denial of anything not supported by the religions leaders. The members are told they have the true beliefs and that all overs must convert or are evil and damned. Religion is abusive, uncompromising, willing to do anything in the name of the religion. Again I reference those I named before, the Fundamentalist big money religious leaders and the mega churches that use a prosperity gospel to demand mansions and multiple private jets for the pastors paid for by the very last dollars of people who have to choose to either eat or get medications. Pat Robertson told a elderly woman who was having trouble paying her rent and getting her medications and still paying her tithe. He told her to get a job. A woman over 70 who had given all she could to the church for years, this millionaire living in a mansion with all his bills paid with no financial cares in the world told this older lady to get a job so she could keep giving to the religion. Those people anger me greatly, and I lash out at them because those are the ones trying to take my rights away. They are the ones wanting to make my 28 year plus relationship with my husband evil. They want to make my marriage worthless in the eyes of the law.
                      They are the ones demanding women carry a fetus to term even when the life of the mother is in danger. I read yesterday and will give you the link if you wish. A woman who had a miscarriage and was prescribed a medication to help stop the bleeding took the prescription to a local drug store. The pharmacist refused to fill it due to the fact it could be used WITH another medication to cause an abortion. He used his religion to not only refuse to fill the prescription but to also refuse to give her back the prescription. Yes he used his religion to destroy a prescription written by her doctor. He publicly berated her and called her a liar. She had to drive 6 hours ( 3 hours each way ) to get the medication in time after getting her doctor to write another prescription. These are the people whose religion is a myth. This is not faith, it is harm and grandstanding.

                      Suzanne understand I am trying to be very clear, and I am not accusing you of any action against any other. I see a huge difference between personal faith and religion. I would say from your response you have faith. I am not sure any two people have the same faith as it tends to be very personal. However millions can have an identical religion and not one follows it.

                      I wish you the best. I regret I was not clear and you were needlessly offended by my writing. I hope also you see that no true god would choose to kill a mother just to stay in its good grace. No being that petty to demand a sacrifie of a woman’s life to give birth when both could be saved is worthy of worship.

                      Be well. Hugs

                      Liked by 1 person

    • Ahhhh … so much of life is a moral dilemma, yes? But in this case, on one side of the scale we have the sales of weapons that will only be used to take more lives, and on the other side, the life of one man, a good man from all indications. 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi nationals, and now this. Why on earth would we sell them weapons??? Oh yeah … greed. Grease the palms of the already wealthy. Sigh. I think I was meant to be born into another universe. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • We need you in this one to steady the ship of state . The experts tell us there are multiple universes to which the devout reply but only this one was tuned for us. I did not know we were that important but I do know many think we are.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Awww … thank you Kersten. But let’s face it … I haven’t managed to steady the ship yet, and we are all getting seasick from the constant rolling. And you are so right … humans have an extremely bloated sense of self-worth or importance. 99.9% of us won’t even be remembered for more than a generation or two after our deaths, and our time on earth, relative to the age of earth, is miniscule. I think it was the opposable thumbs that gave us such arrogance. 😉

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  8. It shows again how strongly money/oil/economy overrules ethics/humanity/common sense … Terrible. It has been big on the news here too. One of the things that amazes me is how shamelessly they all lie. And everyone knows that it is a lie. And no one flinches. They go on talking about “important relations between two countries” and stuff like that. Makes me sick. Makes me furious. Make me want to …. – But maybe I am just naive, thinking that politicians would risk money/oil/diplomatic relationships because of a man with a pen. Sigh.

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    • Yes, greed seems to be the keyword these days. Even tonight, after Saudi Arabia admitted that Khashoggi died in the embassy, but claimed it was merely a fistfight (b.s.!!!), Trump is saying he does not want any sanctions against the arms sales! Now … 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia, and now they have brutally murdered our journalist … but we still want to sell them weapons??? What is wrong with this picture? What is wrong with this country that they are still supporting the madman in Washington? If some morning you step out your front door and there is some old lady sitting on your doorstep … it is me.

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