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    • Happy Thanksgiving
      Be happy and be well. Please be careful about Covid. Viral load matters for infection, spending hours in a house with people is a great way to get infected. Feel free to use comments to discuss topics unrelated to recent posts. I’m doing my annual fundraiser. If you like my writing and can afford to, […]
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Murder on 5th Avenue

Today, I learned that if our intelligence agencies discover a plot to kill someone, they are supposed to warn the target. This did not happen with Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi dissident and permanent resident of the United States. Mr. Khashoggi was also an opinion writer for the Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder and richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos.

The short story is that Khashoggi’s fiancé is a Turk living in Istanbul. After their wedding, they planned to split their time between turkey and the US. To marry her, he had to obtain some documents from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. When he tried to get them last week, the consulate told him to come back in a few days. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince flew an assassination squad to Turkey. When Khashoggi returned to the consulate with his fiancé, he had her wait outside for him while he retrieved his documents. Three hours later, he still hadn’t come out.

CCTV cameras in Istanbul show Khashoggi entering the building and some time later, a black van was seen exiting and driving to the home of a diplomat.

The Turks say they know where the body is buried.

We may now have a clue as to what made Nikki Haley resign so precipitously. Her resignation letter had a “please don’t hurt me” feeling about it when she mentioned she was going back to being a private citizen and really, REALLY wouldn’t be running for president in 2020. Oh, and Jared Kushner is a “hidden genius”. I thought she meant a cunning trickster in the Descartes tradition but she may have meant a diabolical fiend. Jared is supposedly tight with the Saudi crown prince.

In any case, I suspect the circumstances of Khashoggi’s death and the expected presidential response had something to do with Haley leaving. Because how could the UN ambassador from the United States defend the actions of a president or his administration that lead to the death of a journalist? Even for Haley, that must have been a bridge too far.

So, what did the president know and when did he know it? Did he blow off a PDB where his national security advisor tried to show him in pictures what the Saudi’s were planning? Did he get the heads up and just forget about it? Or did he decide that he would teach Jeff Bezos and the Washington Post a lesson? The truth will come out.

At this point, what can the Washington Post do? They have seen that Congress in the hands of Republicans will not make Trump accountable – for anything. Nevertheless, the leaders of both parties have started a procedure that would trigger the Magnitsky Act on the Saudis. The president has 120 days to respond. But this president and his family consider the Saudi’s friends and allies. And so far, Trump has done and said nothing on the matter officially.

Well, Khashoggi was only a Muslim citizen residing in the US. Had it coming to him after he started writing for WaPo. That’ll learn’em, is what I expect to hear from Trump’s defenders. But this is much more serious than Trump’s reprehensible treatment of strangers in our land. Khashoggi was a journalist working for an American paper. Allowing him to be assassinated is crossing a sacred Constitutional line.

I only hope the press stands up courageously. We need it now to do its job as it didn’t before the 2016 election or we will enter our own Dark Age.

Khashoggi’s fiancé said, “I have this strange feeling like I have failed to look after something so dear,”

We may all have that feeling before this administration is over.