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Saudi Arabia underestimated the response to Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance

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Saudi Arabia underestimated the response to Jamal Khashoggis disappearance

Saudi Arabia denies any part in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi. All evidence points to the theory that they have either abducted or killed Khashoggi after luring him to the consulate to obtain wedding documents. The Washington Post columnist has been a critic of the Saudi regime.

At this point, either Saudi Arabia ambushed Khashoggi or Turkey is going to great lengths to fabricate evidence pointing at them. While still possible, the latter seems highly unlikely, especially in light of a new report that shows the U.S. may have been aware of the plot.

Jamal Khashoggi: Saudis discussed plan to lure journalist to Saudi Arabia

https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/11/politics/khashoggi-us-intelligence-saudi-plan-to-lure-journalist/index.htmlThe US has intercepts of Saudi officials discussing a plan to lure journalist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and detain him, according to a US official familiar with the intelligence.

The official would not go so far as to say Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the operation but said that, although he may not have known the specifics such a plan couldn’t have taken place without his approval.

This was a bold move made on foreign soil against a Saudi citizen with ties to the United States. In retrospect, it may seem obvious the world would pay attention, but it’s likely the Saudis expected this to be a blip on the news radar.

It hasn’t been. Between the Washington Post using every ounce of clout and reach they have to push out the story to nearly every U.S. news outlet covering it, the exposure Saudi Arabia is receiving from this had to be underestimated. If they’d known taking and/or killing a journalist would have this much blowback, it’s hard to imagine them executing the plan.

Now, they’re stuck with an international incident that isn’t going to go away until Khashoggi is returned unharmed. That is likely impossible.

Saudi Arabia has been one of the harshest dictatorships in the world when it comes to silencing dissidents. Khashoggi is far from the first journalist to be punished for his criticisms, which may have helped push the notion through Saudi leadership that they could sweep this under the rug as they have so many times in the past.

There are huge implications if the White House is forced to respond. Saudi Arabia is the key to peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Any successful peace deal will go through Riyadh and pass through the hands of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. This puts the White House in a predicament. If they call out bin Salman, they could jeopardize their strong relationship with their second most important ally in the region. If they say nothing and the story continues to have legs, it could make the White House seem complicit in the coverup.

Some on Capitol Hill have taken steps to make the White House act:

Senators trigger law forcing Trump to probe Saudi journalist’s disappearance

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/410865-senators-force-trump-to-investigate-disappearance-of-saudi-journalistThe Magnitsky law requires that the president conduct an investigation after a request from the leaders of the Foreign Relations Committee into whether a foreign person is responsible for an extrajudicial killing, torture or other gross violation of internationally recognized human rights against an individual exercising freedom of expression.

Under the law, the president has to report the findings back to the committee in 120 days, along with a decision on imposing sanctions on the person or persons responsible.

If Saudi Arabia can be proven to have abducted and/or killed Khashoggi, should we continue to call them friends and engage with them as allies? To me, the answer is a resounding ‘No!”

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Foreign Affairs

Thanks to Trump, Americans still have free speech

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Thanks to Trump Americans still have free speech

In spite of what mainstream media says, Trump’s rejection of the “Christchurch Call” may spare Americans from the Orwellian censorship other Western countries have pledged their allegiance to

Using tragedies to push political agendas is nothing new.

While people are still reeling from some disaster, before they are thinking rationally again is the best time for the shrewd-minded to take advantage of the situation. These cunning individuals cite prevention of another catastrophe in order to pressure those soft hearts – yet to come down from the shock of recent horrific events – into taking rash, impulsive, immediate action.

This is exactly what happened on May 15, when several nations and big tech companies, such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon, and Microsoft, signed a pledge written up in response to the Christchurch mosque massacre which was live-streamed by the shooter on Facebook.

The “Christchurch Call To Action,” which can be read in its entirety here, outlined efforts to be taken in order “to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online,” including “strengthening the resilience and inclusiveness of our societies” and encouraging media to “apply ethical standards when depicting terrorist events online.”

Among the countries who signed the call were Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, the European Commission, Japan, Senegal, Jordan, India, and Indonesia.

But not America.

President Trump saw through the guise of humanitarianism that the Christchurch Call hid behind and refused to get on board.

In a statement regarding the president’s decision not to sign the Call, the White House claimed,

”We continue to be proactive in our efforts to counter terrorist content online while also continuing to respect freedom of expression and freedom of the press. Further, we maintain that the best tool to defeat terrorist speech is productive speech, and thus we emphasize the importance of promoting credible, alternative narratives as the primary means by which we can defeat terrorist messaging.”

Unsurprisingly, Trump has received a lot of backlash from mainstream media accusing him of being a “white supremacist bigot” contributing to “hate” for not signing the Call, but in reality, Trump was wise to stand against the crowd on this one.

The Christchurch Call is framed as a means for combating terrorism, but the vague terms sprinkled throughout the reactionary document like “inclusiveness” and “ethical standards” leave too much open to interpretation. Such loosely defined words make plenty of room for government censorship of any dissenting opinions on the Internet.

Other western countries are already sliding down the slippery slope towards an Orwellian future.

Just after the Christchurch shooting, New Zealand criminalized the video of the assailant’s livestream and his manifesto. Now, several citizens of New Zealand have been arrested and are facing up to 14 years of imprisonment just for sharing the video.

Some New Zealanders have also reported receiving visits from local police, who asked questions regarding their political views, such as if they liked Trump or not.

In Scotland, a man was fined £800 for making this video in the spirit of comedy:

Several U.K. citizens have been arrested, fined, or had the police visit them for criticizing Islam on social media.

While Americans like Alex Jones have questionably been banned from platforms like Facebook and Youtube, this is the worst it gets in the United States.

In America, government involvement in silencing online political dissidents through arrests and fines is unheard of. In declining to sign the Christchurch Call, Trump made a statement displaying his commitment to preserving his people’s right to voice their opinions, no matter how controversial.

While the Trump administration still stands, America will remain the land of freedom of speech.

Sources

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Trump hits Biden on China connections

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Trump hits Biden on China connections

One thing has been made clear by recent events as they pertain to China: They are dying for someone to beat President Trump next November. In many ways, they’re banking on it.

This should make every American, including Democrats, concerned because even more than Russia, China has the capabilities to get in and change the hearts and minds of Americans, hack the 2020 election, and set in motion events that will benefit them. We’re talking about a country with nearly unlimited resources when it comes to cyberwarfare and social engineering. If Russia was ever a real concern to Washington DC, China is the true 800-lb gorilla in the political influence room.

The President called out former Vice President Joe Biden for his and his family’s involvement in China. Speaking to Steve Hilton on the Fox News show, The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton, the President pointed to alarming facts about the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination.

The threat from China is far greater than that from Russia, both economically as well as geopolitically. They have been a stirring giant for years. For the 2020 election, their stirring may turn into game-changing action if we’re not watchful.

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Economic portion of Middle East peace plan to be unveiled June 25 in Bahrain

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Economic portion of Middle East peace plan to be unveiled June 25 in Bahrain

The long-anticipated “deal of the century” finally has an official date for a partial release. The economic portion, which will detail how Palestinians will be supported as well as how they can eventually support themselves, will be unveiled June 25, 2019, at the “Peace to Prosperity” economic forum in the Manama, Bahrain.

The plan, which has been brewing for over two years, is expected to trade land and economic considerations for peace and unity between Israel and a newly formed “New Palestine.” Earlier this month, an alleged leak of the highlights of the plan was leaked to Israeli press.

Opinion

We may be closer to actual peace in the Middle East than ever before. It may be a Pyrrhic victory for the administration and Israel if it’s successful; a two-state solution could mark the beginning of the end for the Jewish state as its enemies gain a nearer foothold where attacks can happen.

While the plan details are unknown, it must be assumed Israel wouldn’t risk it unless they were either coerced by the United States or if they were made to believe they could maintain security over the newly released lands on the West Bank.

But there’s a different specter that looms large over both Israel and a new Palestinian state. Iran and its proxies are bent on disrupting any peace plan that includes the continued existence of Israel, the dominance of Saudi Arabia in the region, or the influence of United States over the Middle East. They will do everything in their power to disrupt and subvert the peace plan efforts.

Quote

“We look forward to engaging with business and thought leaders from throughout the region and the world to build consensus around the best steps the international community can take to develop the foundation for a prosperous future.” – Jared Kushner

Final Thoughts

By releasing the economic portion first, the White House hopes to get support from the Arab world and Palestinians to pressure leadership into considering the plan. As of now, Palestinian leadership has preemptively rejected the plan.

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