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John Oliver on Missing Journalist, Trump's 'Bromance' With Saudi Leader 'MBS'
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=32437"><span class="small">Ryan Reed, Rolling Stone</span></a>   
Thursday, 18 October 2018 12:36

Reed writes: "John Oliver focused the main segment of Sunday's Last Week Tonight on the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Saudi Arabian citizen, and the controversial relationship between those two countries."

Donald Trump and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. (photo: AFP)
Donald Trump and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. (photo: AFP)

John Oliver on Missing Journalist, Trump's 'Bromance' With Saudi Leader 'MBS'

By Ryan Reed, Rolling Stone

18 October 18

‘Last Week Tonight’ report stemmed from disappearance of ‘Washington Post’ journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey

ohn Oliver focused the main segment of Sunday’s Last Week Tonight on the disappearance of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and Saudi Arabian citizen, and the controversial relationship between those two countries.

Khashoggi, whom Oliver described as a “thoughtful and by no means radical critic of the Saudi royal family,” has been missing since October 2nd, after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey to pick up some paperwork. Turkish authorities have alleged that a 15-person “team” assassinated and dismembered the journalist, citing audio and video proof, though Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (or MBS) has denied the claim.

“It’s absolutely horrific,” Oliver said. “Saudi officials have scrambled to explain all the suspicious activity surrounding his disappearance with the Saudi-owned channel Al Arabiya claiming that the 15 people who turned up in Istanbul were just tourists – which is clearly bullshit given that flight logs show that most of the men arrived on a private charter plane at 3:13 a.m. and that all of them departed the same day they arrived, which is a pretty weird vacation, isn’t it? ‘I want to see Istanbul but only for a few hours, mostly at night, and I need to bring my bone saw.'”

The comedian continued, “This is all worrying because the only reason to kill a journalist in your own consulate with 15 people and a bone saw you flew in that day is because you wanted to send a message and you were sure you could get away with it. Which raises the question: ‘Why would they be so sure with that?”

The answer, Oliver said, involves Saudi Arabia’s “long and morally compromised history” with the U.S. – including its particularly close ties with President Trump. The host briefed viewers on the dichotomy between MBS’ outwardly “progressive” policies (like ending a ban on women driving and bringing back movie theaters after a 35-year ban) and the “much grimmer truth” lurking under the surface, including the leader’s arrest of female rights activists and an “absolutely brutal war in Yemen” that has resulted in over 16,000 casualties. 

Still, Oliver noted, Trump has “catered [to Saudi Arabia] at every turn” – from supportive tweets to visiting the country on his first foreign trip as president. “It really shouldn’t be that surprising to anybody that Trump has so enthusiastically embraced the Saudi royal family,” the host said. “They have the two qualities he admires most in the world: having a lot of money and giving it to him.”

“I am by no means saying that Trump is the first U.S. president to make distasteful arms deals with the Saudis,” he continued. “We’ve been doing it for decades. The Obama administration still sold them weapons even as Saudi Arabia got involved in Yemen, but Trump has continued doing so even as signs mount of Saudi recklessness in air strikes. Two months ago, they dropped an American-made bomb on a school bus full of children. But just a month later, Trump’s defense secretary said that Saudi Arabia was doing everything it could to prevent civilian casualties.”

And even as Trump has vowed to inflict “severe punishment” if it’s proven that Saudi Arabia was behind the disappearance of Khashoggi, Oliver expressed doubt of the president’s commitment.

“Trump’s intense bromance with MBS is bad news because when you set no boundaries on an oppressive regime, they are always going to ask themselves, ‘How much can we get any with here?'” Oliver said. “And as we saw this week, the answer to that may well be ‘pretty much anything.'”

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+14 # treerapper 2018-10-19 02:16
What has been left out of this evaluation of the malevolent Saudis is their involvement with 911. In addition, there has been no mention of the increase in disappearances and murders that have taken place under the MSB sphere of "reform".
+17 # draypoker 2018-10-19 03:36
Forget all the "religious" talk, MBS is a typical fascist. Saudi should be sanctioned. The best way would be to stop using oil as soon as possible.
+9 # Observer 47 2018-10-19 10:18
And let's not forget Prince Bandar, aka "Bandar Bush," whose bromance with GWB made headlines for years. Not to mention Bush Sr.'s ties with the royal family. The U.S. has given the Saudis a pass for decades. More fools we.
0 # elkingo 2018-10-20 01:31
Fascist romance. If only Hitler were alive to complete the trio.
+4 # DongiC 2018-10-21 04:17
My God, not another Bromance. First, there was Putin, you know
the guy in Russia with all the money (and muscles), then, there was the rocket man in North Korea, Kim Jung Un and the torrid correspondence with him, then, a brief fling with Dutarte of the Philippines, change of pace, I guess, and, now it's the MidEast and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia who has the added feature of being incredibly rich and willing to share some of his wealth with Sir Donald. Plus, the Saudi's provide a terrific market for high tech (and high priced) American made military goods which they can use against less developed opponents like Yemen.

So, the US has another element in its foreign policy: dealing most respectfully with foreign leaders who are authoritarian and with whom our President has developed a special relationship. If they have money, even better. This new, perverse element in our foreign policy makes America great again?

How utterly pathetic our nation, under Trump and his Republican allies, has become. We are becoming a disgrace to humanity itself. Maybe, we should put Trump and McConnell and Ryan in a kennel. It might change their perception of minority children fleeing for their lives.