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Sorry to interrupt today's panic attack over the deterioration of US America, but shit's off the rails all over Planet Earth right now. So let's see if we can connect the dots from two stories that came out yesterday while breathing into a brown paper bag. Because at the same moment when Turkish investigators were accusing a Saudi hit squad of murdering dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul and dismembering his body with a bone saw, Nikki Haley was assuring the world that THIS IS ALL FINE because "hidden genius" Jared Kushner has got his steady hands on the wheel. And those are two sides of the same story.

Rewind the tape to last November, when Jared Kushner had a fun sleepover with Saudi princeling Mohammed bin Salman where the two thirty-somethings decided that they alone could fix the Middle East. Because they're good enough, they're smart enough, and doggonit they've been installed by weak old men and there's literally no one who can stop them from burning it all down.


Did Kushner tell MBS that no one in Trumpland was going to bat an eye at human rights violations, no matter how ugly, as long as the Kingdom opposed Iran and tacitly allied with Israel? Did MBS promise that the Saudis and their allies would offer only token resistance to Israeli land seizures and moving the American embassy to Jerusalem if the Americans would sell them alllll the weapons and ignore the ensuing bloodshed? Dunno! But about 10 minutes later, MBS starting rounding up his royal relatives and "persuading" them to hand their assets over to the Kingdom, arresting dissidents, and bombing the shit out of Yemen's starving civilian population. And Israel no longer even pretends to worry about foreign finger-wagging. So, safe bet JarJar and Mo worked that all out last year.

Which is how you wind up with an assassination squad brazenly executing Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Because the US has made it clear that we don't care about that stuff any more.

So last Tuesday, the journalist made an appointment to pick up his proof of divorce at the Saudi consulate. After assuring his fiancée that he'd be safe on Turkish soil, he walked in the door at 1:14pm, and was never seen again. The Post has a chilling video of the 15-man hit team at the airport and hotel, and the van they rode to and from the consulate.

The Times reports that the Saudi government flew in a CORONER to deal with Khashoggi's body after he'd been murdered.

Fifteen Saudi agents had arrived on two charter flights last Tuesday, the day Mr. Khashoggi disappeared, the official said.

All 15 left just a few hours later, and Turkey has now identified the roles that most or all of them held in the Saudi government or security services, the official said. One was an autopsy expert, presumably there to help dismember the body, the official said.

And despite the fact that there are security cameras all over the building, the Saudis blithely assert that he walked out unharmed half an hour after entering.

Worse still, the American government knew that Khashoggi was in danger for his criticism of the Saudi regime, and they did nothing to protect or even warn him, in contravention of US policy which imposes a "duty to warn the intended victim or those responsible for protecting the intended victim" when it discovers "credible and specific information indicating an impending threat of intentional injury, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping." The Post reports,

Before Khashoggi's disappearance, U.S. intelligence intercepted communications of Saudi officials discussing a plan to capture him, according to a person familiar with the information. The Saudis wanted to lure Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia and lay hands on him there, this person said. It was not clear whether the Saudis intended to arrest and interrogate Khashoggi or to kill him, or if the United States warned Khashoggi that he was a target, this person said.

We don't care who gets killed any more. So long as we can sell bombs, we're happy to look the other way at the grossest human rights abuses. Every despot knows there aren't going to be any more Magnitsky-type sanctions with Donald Trump in the White House. Which is why the Russians feel free to poison defectors in England and the Chinese have kidnapped the head of Interpol. Like Nikki Haley says, Jared and Ivanka "do a lot of things behind the scenes that I wish more people knew about." Yeah, us too, Ambassador. But maybe not quite in the same way.

[WaPo / NYT / IC Directive]

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It started with them damn hats. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)

A guest post by "Knitsy McPurlson," which we suspect is not a real name.

Yr Wonkette is not the only website run by brilliant peoples unafraid to poke people with sharp, pointy sticks. Ravelry.com – a website for knitters, crocheters, and other folks interested in textiles and fiber arts – is poking people with knitting needles, which are very sharp indeed.

This past weekend, Ravelry.com's founders showed the world how easy it is to de-platform white nationalists and racists when they banned all "support of Donald Trump and his administration" from their website, concluding they "cannot provide a space that is inclusive of all and also allow support for open white supremacy." Seems like people smart enough to decode a knitting pattern are also smart enough to decode Trump's not-so-hidden message of racism and white nationalism.

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One day, God willing, my grandchildren will click open their history textbooks and read about the Central American migrant internment camps. They'll learn about sick kids, locked in cages, kept hungry and dirty and cold for weeks on end, and they'll be horrified.

"Bubbie," they'll say, "how could this happen in America? How could there be toddlers sleeping on the ground without blankets, without soap or toothbrushes to clean themselves?"

"I don't know. I wish I had done more. I'm ashamed," I'll say. We will all have to answer for this atrocity. But some of us will have to answer more than others. Not just the archvillains like Stephen Miller and John Kelly, but the people who kept right on doing their jobs, even as those jobs morphed into defending concentration camps.

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