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The Infiltrator

THE INFILTRATOR

How an Undercover Oil Industry Mercenary Tricked Pipeline Opponents Into Believing He Was One of Them

A former Marine working for the private security firm TigerSwan infiltrated an array of anti-Dakota Access pipeline groups at Standing Rock and beyond.

JESSE HORNE STILL struggles to talk about the day he was kicked out of the anti-Dakota Access pipeline movement. It had been an intense week. Searching for direction and ideological fulfillment ever since Iowa’s stand against the pipeline wound down, the 20-year-old had reconnected with some of the state’s more radical pipeline opponents, and the group was now taking on drone warfare. After a protest outside a drone base in Des Moines in which Horne and several others were arrested, two of his fellow activists, Jessica Reznicek and Ruby Montoya, sat him down and told him to stay away.

“They were asking me if I was an infiltrator,” Horne told The Intercept. “My response was absolutely not.”

There was a lot Horne says he didn’t know at the time — for one, that Reznicek and Montoya had recently been involved in a series of acts of pipeline sabotage. Between March and May 2017, above-ground valves along the Dakota Access pipeline in Iowa and South Dakota were pierced with welding torches, creating new costs for the pipeline company, Energy Transfer, and sending its security personnel into a frenzy. A few weeks after their conversation with Horne, the two women would claim responsibility for the sabotage.

Another thing Horne says he didn’t know: that someone he considered a “brother in the cause” was indeed an infiltrator. For months, a man calling himself Joel Edwards had posed as a pipeline opponent, attending protests, befriending water protectors, and paying for hotel rooms, supplies, and booze.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Texas Elementary School Speech Pathologist Refused to Sign a Pro-Israel Oath, Now Mandatory in Many States — so She Lost Her Job

A CHILDREN’S SPEECH PATHOLOGIST who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin, Texas, has been told that she can no longer work with the public school district, after she refused to sign an oath vowing that she “does not” and “will not” engage in a boycott of Israel or “otherwise tak[e] any action that is intended to inflict economic harm” on that foreign nation. A lawsuit on her behalf was filed early Monday morning in a federal court in the Western District of Texas, alleging a violation of her First Amendment right of free speech.

The child language specialist, Bahia Amawi, is a U.S. citizen who received a master’s degree in speech pathology in 1999 and, since then, has specialized in evaluations for young children with language difficulties (see video below). Amawi was born in Austria and has lived in the U.S. for the last 30 years, fluently speaks three languages (English, German, and Arabic), and has four U.S.-born American children of her own.

Amawi began working in 2009 on a contract basis with the Pflugerville Independent School District, which includes Austin, to provide assessments and support for school children from the county’s growing Arabic-speaking immigrant community. The children with whom she has worked span the ages of 3 to 11. Ever since her work for the school district began in 2009, her contract was renewed each year with no controversy or problem.

But this year, all of that changed. On August 13, the school district once again offered to extend her contract for another year by sending her essentially the same contract and set of certifications she has received and signed at the end of each year since 2009.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

From Obama to Trump, Climate Negotiations are Being Run by the Same Crew of American Technocrats

FROM OBAMA TO TRUMP, CLIMATE NEGOTIATIONS ARE BEING RUN BY THE SAME CREW OF AMERICAN TECHNOCRATS

ON MONDAY, THE Trump administration hosted an event on behalf of the fossil fuel industry at the United Nations climate talks in Poland, known as COP24. It was almost identical to the one it hosted at last year’s climate talks in Germany: trying to write coal, oil, and gas into the world’s response to climate change, and bemoaning “alarmism” on climate. Both were disrupted by organizers from the United States voicing their opposition, and both received more media coverage than just about anything else happening at either talks, which this year are focused on arriving at a deeply technical rulebook to implement the Paris agreement.

What the flashy White House sideshow obscured, though, is that the U.S. position in Poland, when it comes to the substance of the talks, is indistinguishable on many fronts from the approach taken by the Obama administration. In fact, that agenda is being carried out by many of the very same people, a largely overlapping crew of career technical negotiators keeping a lower profile than Donald Trump team’s at the White House.

That’s not necessarily good news. While the rhetoric coming from the Obama administration was 180 degrees from that of the Trump administration, American negotiators under President Barack Obama were not intent on driving the world toward the most aggressive climate action possible. Quite the opposite.

Since Trump’s election, the narrative surrounding the team of U.S. negotiators at U.N. climate talks has been a largely sympathetic one, of well-meaning career diplomats simply trying to keep their heads down and make the best of it before the administration can officially pull out of the Paris agreement in late 2020.

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The Extinction Rebellion’s Direct-Action Climate Activism Comes to New York

THE EXTINCTION REBELLION’S DIRECT-ACTION CLIMATE ACTIVISM COMES TO NEW YORK

THE NEW YORK CHAPTER of Extinction Rebellion held its first planning meeting on Thursday. Incensed and terrified by the accelerating climate crisis, activists gathered in Manhattan to discuss how they might replicate some of the successes the direct-action group has had in the United Kingdom.

In London, less than a month after Extinction Rebellion activists blocked roads, occupied bridges, lay down in the street and got arrested to draw immediate attention to the climate crisis, Mayor Sadiq Khan declared a climate emergency, vowing to do “everything in our power to mitigate the risk” of climate catastrophe. Coincidence? Greg Schwedock doesn’t think so.

“That was unthinkable before the Extinction Rebellion,” Schwedock told a standing room-only crowd gathered in a Manhattan co-working space on Thursday night. Dressed in office gear and “Rise and Resist” sweatshirts, accompanied by their children and at least one dog, the attendees came together with the hope that a New York chapter of the group might have similar success in sparking a response commensurate with the dire crisis.

“Getting a million people to D.C. isn’t enough. We need to escalate,” said Schwedock, who emphasized that the group will take the path of disruptive, attention-grabbing civil disobedience, rather than just marching and chanting about the importance of climate change. “We’re not the ‘Extinction Yell About It.’”

The explosive growth of the Extinction Rebellion — which began in England with the support of a group of academics just a few months ago and already has 190 affiliates on five continents — is fueled by the ballooning ranks of people around the world who are frustrated, alarmed, and depressed by the failure to tackle the accelerating climate disaster.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Here’s Facebook’s Former “Privacy Sherpa” Discussing How to Harm Your Facebook Privacy

HERE’S FACEBOOK’S FORMER “PRIVACY SHERPA” DISCUSSING HOW TO HARM YOUR FACEBOOK PRIVACY

IN 2015, RISING star, Stanford University graduate, winner of the 13th season of “Survivor,” and Facebook executive Yul Kwon was profiled by the news outlet Fusion, which described him as “the guy standing between Facebook and its next privacy disaster,” guiding the company’s engineers through the dicey territory of personal data collection. Kwon described himself in the piece as a “privacy sherpa.” But the day it published, Kwon was apparently chatting with other Facebook staffers about how the company could vacuum up the call logs of its users without the Android operating system getting in the way by asking for the user for specific permission, according to confidential Facebook documents released today by the British Parliament.

“This would allow us to upgrade users without subjecting them to an Android permissions dialog.”

The document, part of a larger 250-page parliamentary trove, shows what appears to be a copied-and-pasted recap of an internal chat conversation between various Facebook staffers and Kwon, who was then the company’s deputy chief privacy officer and is currently working as a product management director, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The conversation centered around an internal push to change which data Facebook’s Android app had access to, to grant the software the ability to record a user’s text messages and call history, to interact with bluetooth beacons installed by physical stores, and to offer better customized friend suggestions and news feed rankings . This would be a momentous decision for any company, to say nothing of one with Facebook’s privacy track record and reputation, even in 2015, of sprinting through ethical minefields. “This is a pretty high-risk thing to do from a PR perspective but it appears that the growth team will charge ahead and do it,” Michael LeBeau, a Facebook product manager, is quoted in the document as saying of the change.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Counterinsurgency Paradigm: How U.S. Politics Have Become Paramilitarized

THE COUNTERINSURGENCY PARADIGM: HOW U.S. POLITICS HAVE BECOME PARAMILITARIZED

DONALD TRUMP RAN a campaign promising to refill the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison, to “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding,” to “take out” the families of suspected terrorists, to ban Muslims from entering this country, and to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Yet these policies didn’t start with Trump: Torture, indefinite detention, extraordinary renditions, record numbers of deportations, anti-Muslim sentiment, mass foreign and domestic surveillance, and even the killing of innocent family members of suspected terrorists all have a recent historical precedent.

Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, continued some of the worst policies of the George W. Bush administration. He expanded the global battlefield post-9/11 into at least seven countries: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen, and Syria. At the end of Obama’s second term, a reportby Council of Foreign Relations found that in 2016, Obama dropped an average of 72 bombs a day. He used drone strikes as a liberal panacea for fighting those “terrorists” while keeping boots off the ground. But he also expanded the number of troops deployed in Afghanistan. Immigrants were deported in such record numbers under Obama that immigration activists called him the “deporter-in-chief.” And then there were the “Terror Tuesday” meetings, where Obama national security officials would order pizza and drink Coke and review the list of potential targets on their secret assassination list.

For his liberal base, Obama sanitized a morally bankrupt expansion of war, and used Predator and Reaper drones strapped with Hellfire missiles to kill suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens stripped of their due process. The Obama administration harshly prosecuted whistleblowers in a shocking attack on press freedoms. By the end of his presidency, official numbers on civilian deaths by drone were underreported; we may never know the true cost of these wars, which continue today.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

As the Obama DOJ Concluded, Prosecution of Julian Assange for Publishing Documents Poses Grave Threats to Press Freedom

THE TRUMP JUSTICE DEPARTMENT inadvertently revealedin a court filing that it has charged Julian Assange in a sealed indictment. The disclosure occurred through a remarkably amateurish cutting-and-pasting error in which prosecutors unintentionally used secret language from Assange’s sealed charges in a document filed in an unrelated case. Although the document does not specify which charges have been filed against Assange, the Wall Street Journal reported thatthey may involve the Espionage Act, which criminalizes the disclosure of national defense-related information.”

Over the last two years, journalists and others have melodramatically claimed that press freedoms were being assaulted by the Trump administration due to trivial acts such as the President spouting adolescent insults on Twitter at Chuck Todd and Wolf Blitzer or banning Jim Acosta from White House press conferences due to his refusal to stop preening for a few minutes so as to allow other journalists to ask questions. Meanwhile, actual and real threats to press freedoms that began with the Obama DOJ and have escalated with the Trump DOJ – such as aggressive attempts to unearth and prosecute sources – have gone largely ignored if not applauded.

But prosecuting Assange and/or WikiLeaks for publishing classified documents would be in an entirely different universe of press freedom threats. Reporting on the secret acts of government officials or powerful financial actors – including by publishing documents taken without authorization – is at the core of investigative journalism. From the Pentagon Papers to the Panama Papers to the Snowden disclosures to publication of Trump’s tax returns to the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, some of the most important journalism over the last several decades has occurred because it is legal and constitutional to publish secret documents even if the sources of those documents obtained them through illicit or even illegal means.

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U.S. Elections Are Neither Free Nor Fair. States Need to Open Their Doors to More Observers.

U.S. Elections Are Neither Free Nor Fair. States Need to Open Their Doors to More Observers.

Observers from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) monitor a polling place in Washington, DC during the US presidential election on November 8, 2016. / AFP / YURI GRIPAS        (Photo credit should read YURI GRIPAS/AFP/Getty Images)

Observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitor a polling place in Washington, D.C., during the presidential election on Nov. 8, 2016.

Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP/Getty Images

VOTER SUPPRESSION. DISENFRANCHISEMENT. Gerrymandering. Can Tuesday’s midterms in the United States really be considered free and fair elections?

Perhaps we should consult with the experts. Few Americans have heard of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE; even fewer are aware that OSCE observers have been keeping tabs on U.S. elections since 2002, at the invitation of the U.S. State Department.

On October 26, the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights in Washington, D.C., issued an interim report on the 2018 midterms. It didn’t make for pleasant reading. “The right to vote is subject to many limitations,” warned the report, “with racial minorities disproportionately impacted.”

This isn’t the first time the OSCE has sounded the alarm. In the wake of the 2016 presidential race, OSCE observers praised the U.S. for holding a “highly competitive” election while also criticizing a campaign “characterized by harsh personal attacks, as well as intolerant rhetoric” and changes to election rules that “were often motivated by partisan interests, adding undue obstacles for voters.”

“Suffrage rights,” the 2016 observers concluded, were “not guaranteed for all citizens, leaving sections of the population without the right to vote.”

Is that what a free and fair election is supposed to look like? It should be a source of shame that the United States, once held up as a model to emerging democracies around the globe, now needs outside observers to remind it of its most basic democratic obligations.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Wall Street Moves to Gut Post-Crisis Financial Rules

WALL STREET MOVES TO GUT POST-CRISIS FINANCIAL RULES

ON THE CAMPAIGN trail, Donald Trump frequently pledged to “dismantle” the Dodd-Frank financial reforms passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. On Wednesday, with the Federal Reserve’s release of a proposal to roll back capital and liquidity requirements, he caught his big whale.

Those requirements, imposed by the Dodd-Frank Act, were put in place to ensure that critical financial institutions could weather economic storms. The liquidity ratio was only finalized in September 2014. And yet, just four years later, on October 31, the Federal Reserve announced proposed changes that would reduce liquidity requirements by almost a third for banks such as Capital One and Charles Schwab with assets of $250 billion to $700 billion. Smaller banks would have even fewer restrictions.

In the lone dissent on the Fed’s four-member board, Lael Brainard said she could not support the proposal, which, among other things, would “weaken the buffers that are core to the resilience of our system.”

The proposal was one of a series of dramatic changes pushed forward by the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, which Congress passed in May with bipartisan support. That bill also weakened the Volcker Rule, implemented in 2015 to limit banks’ ability to make speculative proprietary investments — another centerpiece of Dodd-Frank designed to rein in potentially fatal risk-taking by big banks.

The bill exempted smaller banks from compliance with Volcker. The same month it passed, the Fed proposed sweeping changes to further weaken Volcker, shifting the burden of proof on compliance on each trade from the banks to oversight agencies.

Thanks, but We Want More

Both Fed proposals — on liquidity and Volcker — were promoted as an effort to reduce compliance costs. Jerome H. Powell, chair of the Fed, said of the Volcker proposal that it simply offered “a more streamlined set of requirements” for banks.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Killing Journalists Is Wrong When the Saudis Do It — and When the United States Does It, Too

Killing Journalists Is Wrong When the Saudis Do It — and When the United States Does It, Too

Fatima Ayyoub (top R), 4, daughter of Jordanian Al Jazeera correspondent Tareq Ayyoub, is seen next to pictures of her father with Naeem Ayoub (L), father of Tareq Ayyoub, during a protest outside the Al Jazeera office in Amman Novmber 24, 2005. Ayyoub was a victim of a missile attack that hit the Al Jazeera bureau in Baghdad on April 8, 2003. Britain has warned media organisations they are breaking the law if they publish details of a leaked document said to show U.S. President George W. Bush wanted to bomb Arabic television station Al Jazeera. REUTERS/Majed Jaber - RP2DSFHMGFADTareq Ayoub’s daughter, Fatima, 4, and father, Naeem Ayoub, during a protest outside the Al Jazeera office in Amman on Nov. 24, 2005.

Photo: Majed Jaber/Reuters

WHAT LESSON SHOULD be learned from the brutal murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi and the ongoing geopolitical fallout from his death? That governments cannot be allowed to kill journalists with impunity, correct? Everyone from the secretary general of the United Nations to hawkish Republican senators have lined up to make this point and to express their concern and anger.

But is this a lesson that only applies to Middle Eastern dictatorships? Or to Western democracies, too? The United States, perhaps? The reason I ask is that we all now know the name of Arab journalist Jamal Khashoggi, but very few of us know the name of Arab journalist Tareq Ayoub.

The difference between them? An unelected crown prince in the Gulf is blamed for killing Khashoggi, while an elected president of the United States has been blamed for killing Ayoub.

We rightly demand justice in the case of Khashoggi, so why not in the case of Ayoub?

On the morning of April 8, 2003, less than three weeks after U.S. President George W. Bush ordered the illegal invasion of Iraq, Al Jazeera reporter Tareq Ayoub was on the rooftop of his network’s Baghdad bureau. The 35-year-old Palestinian from Jordan and his Iraqi cameraperson, Zoheir Nadhim, were reporting live on a pitched battle between U.S. and Iraqi forces for control of the capital. It was just three days after Ayoub had arrived in the country.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

MSNBC and Daily Beast Feature UAE Lobbyist David Rothkopf With No Disclosure: a Scandalous Media-Wide Practice

UAE lobbyist and consultant David Rothkopf speaks about Saudi Arabia on MSNBC on October 16, 2018.

ON THURSDAY, the Daily Beast published an article about the Saudi/US relationship by David Rothkopf, a long-time member in good standing of the U.S. Foreign Policy elite. Until last year, he was the editor-in-chief of the establishment journal Foreign Policy, named to that position in 2012 when it was owned by the Washington Post. He’s also a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and a visiting professor at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He was previously deputy undersecretary of commerce for international trade policy in the Clinton administration and managing director of Kissinger Associates, the advisory firm founded by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger.

But, unbeknownst to Daily Beast readers consuming his commentary about Saudi Arabia, Rothkopf is something else: a paid lobbyist for the Saudi regime’s close ally, the equally despotic regime of the United Arab Emirates. Last month, Rothkopf formally registered as a foreign agent for the Emiratis.

On September 12, Rothkopf personally signed a contract with the UAE regime to be paid $50,000 every month, for a period of three years, to, among other services, “provide day-to-day advice on the development of messages”; to work on “media projects [and] outreach efforts”; and to “prepare memoranda [and] talking points” for the “Embassy of the United Arab Emirates to develop and support specific programs and initiatives within the United States.”



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Jamal Khashoggi’s Murder Could Drive Congress to Finally End Support For Brutal Saudi War in Yemen

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 20: President Donald Trump meets Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office at the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

THE SUSPECTED MURDER of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi Arabia is pushing the U.S. government toward a major internal confrontation over its role in the war in Yemen, one that could have significant consequences for a Saudi-led, U.S.-backed intervention that has exacerbated the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

On Monday, 55 members of Congress, led by Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Ro Khanna, D-Calif., wrote to the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, asking whether the intelligence community knew about a plot to apprehend Khashoggi ahead of time, and whether the U.S. government fulfilled its “duty to warn” him.

The letter — the text of which was already made public by Khanna and Pocan — states that the DNI’s answers will inform coming votes on the Yemen war. “We look forward to your timely response to our inquiry as both the House of Representatives and the Senate consider privileged resolutions this fall … which invoke Congress’s sole constitutional authority over the offensive use of force to end illegal U.S. military participation with Saudi Arabia in Yemen,” the letter reads. It also promises to “use the full force of Congressional oversight and investigatory powers” if the Trump administration does not respond.

The Post reported earlier this month that U.S. intelligence had intercepts of Saudi government officials, which showed “that the crown prince ordered an operation to lure … Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from his home in Virginia.” But it is not known whether U.S. officials knew of the threats to harm him, and if they did, whether they took any action to make Khashoggi aware of them as required by a 2015 intelligence community directive.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Does Saudi Arabia Own Donald Trump?

DOES SAUDI ARABIA OWN DONALD TRUMP?

ON TUESDAY MORNING, President Donald Trump tweeted: “For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter). Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!”


For the record, I have no financial interests in Saudi Arabia (or Russia, for that matter). Any suggestion that I have is just more FAKE NEWS (of which there is plenty)!


Is this yet another barefaced lie from the commander-in-chief?

In this video essay, I examine Trump’s long history of doing deals with Saudi royals and look back at how the former reality TV star even bragged about his financial ties to the kingdom during the election campaign. I also highlight the controversial payments made by the Saudi government to Trump-owned properties since the Republican businessman entered the White House.

With the president refusing to take a strong stance against the Saudi government’s alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, I ask: “Does Saudi Arabia own Donald Trump?”

Saudi Media Casts Khashoffi Disappearance as a Conspiracy, Claims Qatar Owns Washington Post

TOPSHOT - Protestors hold pictures of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a demonstration in front of the Saudi Arabian consulate on October 8, 2018 in Istanbul. - Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who has been critical towards the Saudi government has gone missing after visiting the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, the Washington Post reported. Turkey has sought permission to search Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul after a prominent journalist from the kingdom went missing last week following a visit to the building, Turkish television reported on October 8. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo: Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images

SAUDI MEDIA CASTS KHASHOGGI DISAPPEARANCE AS A CONSPIRACY, CLAIMS QATAR OWNS WASHINGTON POST

IN SAUDI ARABIA, major media outlets have cast the disappearance and apparent murder of Saudi dissident and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi as a foreign conspiracy to denigrate the image of the kingdom. The media accounts, which come from outlets run with the backing of Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf monarchies, are spinning the coverage of Khashoggi’s disappearance as a plot by rival governments and political groups to hurt the kingdom — going so far as to make false claims about the Washington Post’s owners.

The English-language arm of the news channel Al Arabiya, for instance, claimed that reports of Khashoggi’s detention inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul were pushed by “media outlets affiliated with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar” — the pan-Arab Islamist political movement and rival Persian Gulf monarchy, respectively. A subsequent story on Al Arabiya casts doubt that Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, is truly who she says she is, claiming that her Twitter profile shows that she follows “critics of Saudi Arabia.”

Al Arabiya is owned by the Saudi royal family and based in Dubai, one of the Gulf monarchies that has sided closely with Saudi Arabia amid the regional row with Qatar and others. It’s among a handful of other Saudi- and Gulf-controlled outlets — such as Al Riyadh Daily, Al-Hayat, and the Saudi Gazette — that toe their governments’ line, including frequently casting a conspiratorial light on critics of the governments’ human rights records.

Saudi media outlets are kicking into overdrive to both deny any Saudi involvement and disparage Khashoggi.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is This the Beginning of the End of the U.S.-Saudi Alliance?

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., right, speaks during a news conference about journalist Jamal Khashoggi's disappearance in Saudi Arabia, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in front of the Washington Post in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF THE END OF THE U.S.-SAUDI ALLIANCE?

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF Jamal Khashoggi last Tuesday is threatening to upend the terms of the decades-long alliance between the United States and Saudi Arabia. In the nine days since Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian resident of Virginia and a Washington Post columnist, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, politicians, media figures and foreign policy elites – even those who have fawned over the authoritarian Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman — have grown increasingly critical of the U.S.-Saudi alliance.

The U.S. has long given the Saudis a blank check, politically and militarily, and there have been voices advocating for a rethinking of that decades-old relationship for nearly as long as it has lasted. But the widespread belief that the Saudis assassinated Khashoggi inside their consulate has brought those voices squarely into the center. Suddenly, the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States is being called into fundamental question.

President Donald Trump initially responded to questions about Khashoggi’s disappearance by saying “I don’t like hearing about it, and hopefully that will sort itself out.”  But on Thursday, he began to sound much less confident in his defense of Saudi Arabia, the first foreign country he visited as president. He said that it was beginning to look as though Khashoggi, a critic of the crown prince, was indeed murdered, but worried that jobs would be at risk if arms sales to the country were halted.

In the Senate, the kingdom is starting to lose its traditional bipartisan support, with almost every member of the Foreign Relations Committee calling on Trump to investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance. The Washington Post, meanwhile, has devoted extraordinary resources, both on the reporting and editorial side, to the case of its columnist.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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