latest, media watch, Saudi Arabia

CNN: “Twitter has suspended accounts” that “appear” to smear Khashoggi

Further indication of the alleged murder of Khashoggi being a narrative issued from high levels in the power structure is rolling out all the time. But this is a significant little pointer:

The Khashoggi murder narrative, true or false, is being protected and promoted aggressively by the mainstream media. I don’t think this is simply because the press are mad about the attack on “one of their own” or because the scandal is just too big to ignore. In fact I think these frequently-repeated claims are based on a fundamental and dangerous misapprehension about the relationship between the media and its masters and how narratives are currently produced.

Whatever happens with the Khashoggi story we need to keep talking about these misapprehensions because they fatally undermine people’s ability to grasp the reality of our current situation. I guess I’ll be returning to it in the future.

In the meantime, I note several articles in alt media outlets that ought to know better – all discussing what the murder of Khashoggi might mean for this or that foreign policy question, or this or that aspect of the western narrative. None, or shamefully few of them, pointing out that we have as yet seen no evidence the murder has actually happened.

This erosion of our requirement for verification is appalling. I don’t care what beneficial longterm interests may be served by climbing on this bandwagon and screaming for vengeance on the Saudis, if we agree to live in a world where allegation becomes evidence simply by repetition, we are allowing the propagandists an easy victory.

Co-founding editor at OffGuardian. Writer. Occasional polemicist. Lives in UK.

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  1. John says

    As far as I’m concerned he was a possible CIA agent working for the CIA newspaper (Washington Post) and potentially got killed by a CIA backed government security service trained by the CIA in another country that is infested with CIA personel. I’m not the only person who doesn’t particularly care about this story. It stinks

  2. Rhisiart Gwilym says

    Well said, Catte. None of we chatterati flotsam know anything much yet about the Khashoggi thing, not for sure, and especially not about >why< it’s being cried up so hysterically – and so intriguingly – by the Western lamestream mediawhores and the pocket-politicians. But lots of us can’t escape the delusion that we do know what’s what already – just a priori; by the sheer power of logic alone! Yeah, right…

    Yet what have we got to go on, so far? Why, the posturing outpourings of these same media and politics whores. Just that! People for whom constant, carefully-doublethunk intellectual-cheating, distortion, and outright bare-faced lying are essential basic skills of their toxic professions. People like Freedland or La Highly-Likely in Downing Street – FFS!

    As Tom Campbell likes to re-iterate: open-minded scepticism is always the best way – with the emphasis equally on both parts of that formula. Also, I always find that a little patient wait-and-see works wonders. Hindsight clarifies many things.

    Remember: apart from the stuff that you actually witness >directly< yourself, everything that we >think< we know comes to us through the propaganda and socialisation system that works on us every day of our lives, ‘from childhood on’, as Cúchulainn puts it. (See: ‘Cúchulainn’s Fight With The Sea’ – Yeats)

  3. Occam says

    Btw, why so much hatred towards MBS in the MSM?
    Well… why so much hatred towards Trump in the MSM?

    In short: yes it is better to look at the facts rather than at what the MSM is saying. Therefore it is also better not to make theories based on what the MSM is saying.

    If business with SA continues as usual this whole affair was just an unfortunate side affect of putting a psychopath in charge of SA and of conflicting interests in the Middle East. (Turkey leading the way in the smear campaign.)

    • John says

      Apparently the thing that got kashoggi kicked out of Arabia was criticizing trump.

  4. Occam says

    Occam’s razor: the theory that makes the least amount of assumptions is statistically speaking the most likely to be correct.

    Here is one such theory:

    Mohammed bin Salman was put on top in Saudi Arabia with the help of the US.
    Mohammed bin Salman is a murderous psychopath that has left a trail of bloody murder in his wake on the way to power in Saudi Arabia. All of this is documented fact.

    Now the theory: murderous psychopaths with unlimited power do things like what happened to Khashoggi.

    (I’ve also read somewhere that his death might have been the result of an interrogation gone wrong, again fairly plausible I would say, considering Mohammed bin Salman’ track record.)

    The US is now terribly embarrassed but no fear, Trump has already said he hopes the arms deals can continue as usual.

    Saudi Arabia has now more or less admitted btw:

  5. Frankly Speaking says

    Please allow me to try and be a bit more concise than my earlier post on the earlier thread by Catte.

    To understand what’s happening with this event we need to remind ourselves as to what’s been going in Syria, Turkey, Israel and Russia, not just SA.

    Increasingly Erdogan is siding with the Russians and Iranians after the Russians gave him intel as to who was behind the attempted coup against him. That’s the key. Turkey is no longer playing along entirely to the US script. The Americans have royally fucked up with their plan by trying to remove him.

    Erdogan is now working against them as much as he can get away with. He’s also making sure that the Saudis headchopping mates are not sent into Turkey in large numbers by MBS. I think he decided that MBS is too dangerous and he needs to be removed, hence releasing the recordings of what happened to Khashoggi.

    The MSM could hardly ignore this one, there’s too much revenue to made from the gory clickbait. But who ultimately controls most of our western media owners?

    Enter stage left, the Israeli’s. They can see this is a great opportunity to show who is boss of the region and remove MBS because he was competing for attention and investment in “their” part of the world. They sanctioned their media controllers in the US and UK to dish out the dirt on MBS and they responded faithfully, as ever. This is the second key.

    So, Turkey initially, followed by Israel, are the keys to what’s going on. They have different motivations to bring down MBS, but this opportunity suits them both. The Israeli involvement is the explantion as to why even the likes of Lindsay Graham are now condeming MBS and announcing a regime change. Not only that, but the Yanks want to give MBS a good kicking for buying Russian S-400s and coordinating oil prices with them.

    • Roya Royaii says

      dont tell us israel want remove mbs no way israel want mbs in power to fight Iran the US /israeli trump agandas mbs fu..up with killing khashoggi in his embassy !!

    • John says

      Well it’s only to be expected that Israelis would have some involvement somewhere. Did the Turks release the audio of his murder or interrogation?

  6. Franly Speaking says

    It’s a Pavlovian reation by some in our community to simply assume all MSM is wrong and that it is always wrong.

    We lose credibility by such irrational viewpoints. Yes, the MSM is massively wrong and misleading on countless occasions, but it’s not ALWAYS wrong.

    By pushing this nonsensical viewpoint we also lose people who would otherwise be persuaded that the MSM is often wrong.

    • LadyDi says

      well you’re certainly drinking the KoolAid on this one.

  7. MichaelK says

    I don’t think Khashoggi will ever been seen again. He’s dead and gone. The circumstances around his brutal and blatant murder are, contradictory, murky and very complex indeed. First he’s a guy under American ‘protection.’ He lived in Virginia, just down the road from the CIA in Langley. He was an American ‘asset’ and a journalist working for the NYT and he had a broad network of contacts in commerce, politics and the media, so killing him was never going to go unnoticed and be easily accounted for. His uncle was the famous, infamous, Khashoggi, who for decades was the biggest private arms dealer in the world.

    Why would the Saudi regime and the Crown Prince kill Khashoggi in such a brutal and open way? Making an enemy of the NYT isn’t something one does lightly. How crazy is the Crown Prince? He’s now the virtual dictator of Saudi Arabia, but seemingly unstable and prone to striking out at his perceived enemies angrily and without thinking about the consequences, as in Yemen. Usually the Americans have created a kind of ‘balance’ inside Saudi Arabia between the various clans and factions within the ruling aristocratic elite, so that no one faction had too much power. That ended with the rise of the Crown Prince, who seems to have close to unlimited power and he isn’t even King yet! When power becomes too concentrated it often creates an opposition to itself. This is dangerous for stability and the longterm interests of the United States.

    What happened to Khashoggi’s US protection? Why did they allow him to walk into a Saudi trap in Istabul, walk into his own grusom death? There are a lot of unanswered questions and more are coming and more information ‘leaks’ out from various sources. Now it’s a political issue in the US too, a tool to bash Trump with in the intense partisan political struggle within the US elite.

    This whole thing reminds me of an episode of Game of Thrones.

    • PSJ says

      Are we just assuming everyone who fails to turn up when expected has been brutally murdered until we see data to refute it? Or is it the fact the Turks and CNN have told us it’s true that you find so persuasive?

    • Jen says

      Excuse me but Jamal Khashoggi wrote opinion pieces for The Washington Post, not The New York Times. It is WaPo that has been talking up his disappearance and the rest of the US MSM latched on later.

      His fiancee Hatice Cengiz, whom Khashoggi apparently only met in May this year, and who is said to be linked to a pro-ISIS / pro-al Qaeda charity, wrote an opinion editorial for the NYT.

      The simple explanation for the failure of the US to protect Khashoggi is that he never had any such protection. Why would the US government protect him if it didn’t protect his last sponsor, the billionaire Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, presumably holding a lot of his wealth in the US, from being imprisoned and beaten in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh last year?

      Most of the information leaks about JK’s death are coming from Yeni Safak, a pro-government Turkish newspaper. This is reason enough to doubt the official developing narrative on how JK disappeared.

  8. “attack on one of their own”

    …like those sociopathic, elitist egomaniacs who work in the media have solidarity with anyone.
    All their relationships seem determined by sycophancy or supercilliousness.

  9. Denis Hehir says

    A possible motive or two for the widespread condemnation of KSA is simply money, a Saudi carcass is being circled by the vultures looking to make a killing on stock trading, and as KSA is looking to diversity its economy, the real elite (us whites) are now going to ruin them, as Trump said “let’s take their oil”. Good riddance.

  10. Kathy says

    What ever the truth is. The fact that the media are all out over it and the fact as Catte points out. That as yet there is no evidence in the public arena to verify anything suggests that a level of cautious skepticism is a good thing. The anti Assad propaganda has been ramped up of late in the UK. BBCs panorama and Assad is a monster program for starters. A power struggle is under way and it looks as though a retreat of western illegal interference in Syria is going to have to happen soon.Hopefully Syria will be free before long. At this point there must be all sorts of panicked covering of tracks and burying of information and as always dead men tell no tales.The UK government have so far been rather quiet on this one. Certainly not the vitriol that happened over the Russians and the Skrippal case.

  11. Thomas Peterson says

    Bellingcat is doing an article about Khashoggi’s murder, that’s always a warning sign

  12. Michael Cromer says

    Surely people realise how damaging these false stories can be – We have a National Team of Script Writers working from Westminster called the Government who make good money at this and we have never suspected that any of it was pure invention that was made up to dupe the masses.

  13. summitflyer says

    Yes of course ,we really don’t know if Khashoggi is dead and this could be a massage psy-op .But why and who benefits .The Saudis need to be reined in ,is all I know and feel about it . For their massive support of the jihadists in Syria , their continued bombing of civilians in Yemen,their beheadings of people in SA for protesting ,etc.etc. The atrocious war in Yemen must stop and if this a way to force them to do so , it would make me a content man.

    • Seamus Padraig says

      You assume that would be the purpose of any such ‘reigning in’. I see no evidence whatsoever that The Empire is displeased with the war in Yemen, for example. Isn’t Washington helping to arm the Saudis to fight Yemen? What if this is just about protecting the petro-dollar? Or what if this is jus the next phase of the Oded Yinon Plan? I once saw a Ralph Peters map showing virtually all the countries of the ME carved up into tiny, bite-sized pieces – including Saudi Arabia. What if …?

  14. DunGroanin says

    OT – Groaniad censorship.

    Steve Bell’s ‘if’ strip from yesterday AND the editorial cartoon wasn’t put on the website. Just taking the piss out of McVey and her UC bollox. Why?
    Often his work is put up in low resolution too to make it illegible.
    Available at his own site

    The pathetic censorship by La Viner, and the zio/spooky crowd at Kingspalace is hillarious.

    I imagine that everytime Bell turns up in her office she ends up involuntarily twitching, gurning, blinking, foaming and generally losing it – like inspector Clouseaus poor boss!


  15. Yup, considering within last 12 months we saw that Ukraine episode with a guy coming back from the dead…


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