How is it that any lobbyist is on the staff for any newspaper? Isn’t it already hard enough having writers who have complex past corporate and ideological affiliations, then again isn’t that what the business section is all about, touting co-mingled with journalism. Especially in a “company town” like DC, one person’s deep state is another’s FARA scofflaw.
Ed Rogers certainly has no music to face, not unlike the Trumps’ conflicts of interest still omnipresent. In the latter instance, it’s now combined state-sanctioned murder with oil embargoes and arms sales.
The Washington Post told a prominent Republican lobbyist he’d lose his gig as a contributing opinion writer unless he stopped lobbying for Saudi Arabia, a spokesperson for the newspaper confirmed Tuesday.
The ultimatum came after the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S. permanent resident who was a columnist for the Post and wrote critically of the Saudi government. Khashoggi was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul earlier this month, and allegations that he was killed by Saudi authorities have strained the U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia.
The lobbyist, Ed Rogers, the chairman of the BGR Group, writes for the newspaper’s PostPartisan blog.
It’s not clear what role the Post’s ultimatum played in BGR’s decision to stop lobbying for Saudi Arabia. Rogers declined to comment.
And the Wall Street Journal seems to want a stake in the grisly details, but also to triangulate on any possible torture angle in the Khashoggi murder.
By reporting that he was killed immediately after entering the consulate, the “interrogation gone wrong” angle goes away. The timetable indicated by surveillance tapes leaves little time for questioning, but also opens up the problem of whether a rendition was even considered. Pro tip: listen to music if you have to witness evisceration or dismemberment.
Turkey has an audio recording indicating Khashoggi was killed minutes after walking into the consulate—not after any interrogation. A voice ID'd as a Saudi forensic specialist then tells others present to listen to music while he dismembers the body. https://t.co/x741GVzcsc
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) October 17, 2018
Interesting slant from Egyptian TV is speculation that Khashoggi was investigating a Kushner/Trump/MBS deal to shake down Bin Talel for money to pay for the weapons deal:
Jamal Khashoggi interview on Egyptian TV revealing classified deal between Trump and the Royal king of Saudi Arabia to take money from Royal Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal to bail him self out after being arrested for corruption the money end up to Trump / Kushner weapon deal pic.twitter.com/4Pv9WzGIQT
— Mousa ???????? (@AmericanMousa) October 16, 2018
Like Iran-Contra, there are rogue elements and there are rogue elements… that make plausible deniability even less so.
A Saudi mission to interrogate and possibly abduct journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul was organized by a high-ranking officer with the General Intelligence Presidency, Saudi Arabia’s main intelligence service, three sources familiar with the case told CNN.
According to the usual WH incompetence and crony capitalism, the attempt to squeeze Iran gets screwed up by the kelptocratic lust of a brutal combination of characters involved in sectarian and tribal blood feuds.
White House officials are worried that the apparent killing of the dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and Saudi Arabia’s changing account of his fate, could derail a showdown with Iran and jeopardize plans to enlist Saudi help to avoid disrupting the oil market.
Officials said the dilemma comes at a fraught moment for the Trump administration, which is expected to reimpose harsh sanctions against Iran on Nov. 5, with the intent of cutting off all Iranian oil exports.
But to make the strategy work, the administration is counting on its relationship with the Saudis to keep global oil flowing without spiking prices, and to work together on a new policy to contain Iran in the Persian Gulf.
If that carefully coordinated plan moves forward, the Saudis would likely see a significant increase in oil revenue at exactly the moment Congress is talking about penalizing the kingdom over the Khashoggi case. It is one reason that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was sent, with a few hours’ notice, to see King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.