[Marxism] WaPo: Conservatives mount a whisper campaign smearing Khashoggi in defense of Trump
aktiv at rkob.net
Fri Oct 19 20:02:48 MDT 2018
And here is another article on this issue. I insert it in full as it is
not openly accessible.
*Conservatives mount a whisper campaign smearing Khashoggi in defense of
By Robert Costa <https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/robert-costa/>
and Karoun Demirjian
<https://www.washingtonpost.com/people/karoun-demirjian/> October 19
Hard-line Republicans and conservative commentators are mounting a
whispering campaign against Jamal Khashoggi that is designed to protect
President Trump from criticism of his handling of the dissident
journalist’s alleged murder by operatives of Saudi Arabia — and support
Trump’s continued aversion to a forceful response to the oil-rich desert
In recent days, a cadre of conservative House Republicans allied with
Trump has been privately exchanging articles from right-wing outlets
that fuel suspicion of Khashoggi, highlighting his association with the
Muslim Brotherhood in his youth and raising conspiratorial questions
about his work decades ago as an embedded reporter covering Osama bin
Laden, according to four GOP officials involved in the discussions who
were not authorized to speak publicly.
Those aspersions — which many lawmakers have been wary of stating
publicly because of the political risks of doing so — have begun to
flare into public view as conservative media outlets have amplified the
claims, which are aimed in part at protecting Trump as he works to
preserve the U.S.-Saudi relationship and avoid confronting the Saudis on
Trump’s remarks about reporters amid the Khashoggi fallout have inflamed
existing tensions between his allies and the media. At a Thursday rally
Trump openly praised Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) for assaulting a
reporter in his bid for Congress last year.
“Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of — he’s my guy,” Trump
Hours earlier, prominent conservative television personalities were
making insinuations about Khashoggi’s background.
“Khashoggi was tied to the Muslim Brotherhood,” Fox News anchor Harris
on Thursday’s highly rated “Outnumbered” show. “I just put it out there
because it is in the constellation of things that are being talked
about.” Faulkner then dismissed another guest who called her claim “iffy.”
In a statement on Friday, Faulkner defended her comments. “My job as a
journalist is to ask the tough questions,” Faulker said, citing news
reports. “My questions surrounding the disappearance of Kashoggi are
unwavering and does not differ from the way I do my job on other
stories. The Oct. 2nd disappearance is a terrifying reminder of the
dangers facing journalists and we will continue to report on all areas
of this case as we search for answers.”
Faulkner’s on-air message was echoed on the campaign trail. Virginia
Republican Corey A. Stewart, who is challenging Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.),
a local radio program Thursday that “Khashoggi was not a good guy himself.”
While Khashoggi was once sympathetic to Islamist movements, he moved
toward a more liberal, secular point of view, according to experts
on the Middle East who have tracked his career. Khashoggi knew bin Laden
in the 1980s and 1990s during the civil war in Afghanistan, but his
with bin Laden were as a journalist with a point of view who was working
with a prized source.
Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen, left his home country last year and was
granted residency in the United States by federal authorities. He lived
and wrote for The Washington Post.
Nevertheless, the smears have escalated. Donald Trump Jr., the
president’s eldest son and key political booster, shared
another person’s tweet last week with his millions of followers that
included a line that Khashoggi was “tooling around Afghanistan with
Osama bin Laden” in the 1980s, even though the context was a feature
story on bin Laden’s activities.
A Tuesday broadcast
<https://twitter.com/CRTV/status/1052718404010995712> of CRTV, 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
in far-right FrontPage magazine casts Khashoggi as a “cynical and
manipulative apologist for Islamic terrorism, not the mythical martyred
dissident whose disappearance the media has spent the worst part of a
week raving about,” and features a garish cartoon of bin Laden and
Khashoggi with their arms around each other.
The conservative push comes as Saudi government supporters on Twitter
have sought in a propaganda campaign to denigrate Khashoggi as a
supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement once tolerated
but now outlawed in Saudi Arabia as a terrorist organization.
“Trump wants to take a soft line, so Trump supporters are finding
excuses for him to take it,” said William Kristol, a conservative Trump
critic. “One of those excuses is attacking the person who was murdered.”
Several Trump administration aides are aware of the Khashoggi attacks
circulating on Capitol Hill and in conservative media, the GOP officials
said, adding that aides are being careful to not encourage the
disparagement but are also doing little to contest it.
The GOP officials declined to share the names of the lawmakers and
others who are circulating information critical of Khashoggi because
they said doing so would risk exposing them as sources.
Fred Hiatt, The Post’s editorial page editor who published Khashoggi’s
work, sharply criticized the false and distorted claims about Khashoggi,
who is feared to have been killed and dismembered by Saudi operatives.
“As anyone knows who knew Jamal — or read his columns — he was dedicated
to the values of free speech and open debate. He went into exile to
promote those values, and now he may even have lost his life for his
dogged determination in their defense,” Hiatt said in a statement. “It
may not be surprising that some Saudi-inspired trolls are now trying to
distract us from the crime by smearing Jamal. It may not even be
surprising to see a few Americans joining in. But in both cases it is
Trump said Thursday it appears Khashoggi is dead and warned that his
administration could consider “very severe” measures against Saudi
Arabia, which is conducting its own self-investigation. Treasury
Secretary Steven Mnuchin also announced that he would not attend the
Future Investment Initiative summit in Saudi Arabia next week,
delivering the Trump administration’s first formal rebuke of Saudi
Arabia’s royal family.
“The president is concerned. He believes the relationship is important,
so do I, but he also understands he’s a leader on the world stage and
everybody is watching and he is very concerned,” said Sen. Lindsey O.
Graham (R-S.C.), who met with Trump on Thursday.
Trump, whose grip on his party remains strong less than three weeks
before the midterm elections, has seen his cautious approach to Saudi
Arabia bolstered not only by the maligning of Khashoggi, but also by a
conservative media infrastructure that is generally wary of traditional
news organizations and establishment Republicans. As criticism of Trump
grows, powerful players in that orbit have stood by the president.
“Donald Trump is keeping his eye on the ball, keeping his eye on the
geopolitical ball, the national security ball. He’s not going to get
sidetracked by what happened to a journalist, maybe, in the consulate
there. He’s not giving cover to anybody,” syndicated talk-radio host
Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday.
“For those who are screaming blood for the Saudis — look, these people
are key allies,” evangelical leader Pat Robertson said
this week. “We’ve got an arms deal that everybody wanted a piece of.
. . . It’ll be a lot of jobs, a lot of money come to our coffers. It’s
not something you want to blow up willy-nilly.”
Some Republicans on Capitol Hill, on the other hand, are discussing the
possibility of legislative action against Saudi Arabia or other ways to
lessen U.S. support.
Intelligence community officials this week have been providing
continuous briefings on the investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance
to the intelligence committees, whose members enjoy special clearance to
view and hear sensitive information.
But in both the House and Senate, lawmakers without such clearance,
including the leading Republicans on foreign policy matters, have grown
frustrated with what many see as a deliberate attempt by the Trump
administration to slow-walk responses to congressional requests for
information about Khashoggi’s disappearance, or in some cases ignore
lawmakers’ questions outright.
Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) have taken the step of
invoking the Global Magnitsky Act to force Trump to report to Congress
on whether people should face sanctions over Khashoggi’s alleged death,
including Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Yet there has been little confidence among senators that Trump will
suddenly feel pressure to penalize high-ranking Saudi officials or take
other sweeping punitive measures.
In the House, a perceived lack of cooperation from the White House on
Khashoggi has compelled some Republicans to take new interest in a bill
to invoke the War Powers Resolution to curtail U.S. military support for
the Saudi-led coalition operating in Yemen’s civil war. But the
legislation has not secured the support of leading Republicans.
Last year, the House voted 366 to 30 to approve a nonbinding resolution
stating that the United States’ support for the Saudi-led coalition had
not been congressionally authorized — an effort that did not rattle the
administration, which continued to build its relationships with Saudi
Earlier this year, the Senate failed to enact legislation that would
have curtailed U.S. support for the Saudi war effort, after appeals from
Saudi officials and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis not to pass the measure.
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