Mohammad Bone Saw Strikes Again, And This Time Trump Is Helping!
BONESAW WEEK WILL NEVER END! It's like Infrastructure Week, only stuff actually happens. And the stuff is all horrible! This morning, Saudi authorities indicted 11 suspects in the October killing of Jamal Khashoggi, announcing their intention to execute five of them. Despite copious evidence that the killing in the Turkish consulate was ordered by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, lackeys are going to take the fall -- with their heads. And the US Treasury Department dutifully responded by imposing sanctions on 17 Saudis "involved in the abhorrent killing" of a legal US resident who was in the process of applying for citizenship. So, we're good now, yes? We can go back to selling them murder machines to kill Yemeni civilians?
And then SHIT GOT WEIRD.
NBC reports that the Trump administration is so desperate to resume normal relations with Jared Kushner's BFF MBS that they're trying to trade 77-year-old cleric Fetullah Gülen -- a lawful resident of Pennsylvania for 20 years -- to the Turkish government in exchange for them dropping the inquiry into the Khashoggi murder.
Trump administration officials last month asked federal law enforcement agencies to examine legal ways of removing exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in an attempt to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government, the four sources said.
The effort includes directives to the Justice Department and FBI that officials reopen Turkey's case for his extradition, as well as a request to the Homeland Security Department for information about his legal status, the four people said.
These lunatics are 100 percent serious! Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been desperate to get his hands on Gülen for a decade. Blaming Gülen for the 2016 coup against his government, Erdogan offered Michael Flynn $15 million to kidnap the reclusive cleric and black helicopter him out of the country. And now the Trump government is so intent upon sweeping the Khashoggi murder under the rug before the Turks get pissed and release the audio tape that we're contemplating handing Gülen over for certain torture and imprisonment?
WHAT THE FUCK!
Career officials at the agencies pushed back on the White House requests, the U.S. officials and people briefed on the requests said.
"At first there were eye rolls, but once they realized it was a serious request, the career guys were furious," said a senior U.S. official involved in the process.
If only they could shuffle Gülen through a third country, en route to Diyarbakir prison.
One option that Turkish and Trump administration officials recently discussed is forcing Gulen to relocate to South Africa rather than sending him directly to Turkey if extradition is not possible, said the U.S. officials and people briefed on the discussions. But the U.S. does not have any legal justification to send Gulen to South Africa, they said, so that wouldn't be a viable option unless he went willingly.
Maybe they'll smuggle him out in a giant blue crocodile handbag made by Mar-a-Lago purse designer and new South African Ambassador Lana Marks. We only wish we were kidding.
Make no mistake: If the Turks get their hands on Gülen, they will kill him. NPR asked the cleric about it last year.
GULEN: With regards to the extradition demand by Turkey, I think the United States is mindful of its reputation for democracy and the rule of law. And if they are willing to risk that reputation by extraditing me based on the request and claims made by Turkey, I would never say no.
I would go willingly. I am living my final years, even if they decide to kill me or poison me or bring back the death sentence to hang me. When I was a young Imam a long time ago, I was present at the execution of two men, and I asked them their final wish. If they asked me what my final wish is, I will say the person who caused all this suffering and oppressed thousands of innocents, I want to spit in his face.
SIEGEL: Are you speaking of President Erdogan?
GULEN: (Through interpreter) It can't be anyone else. He is the oppressor.
But if the Gülen kidnapping doesn't work out, the Turks have another ask.
Trump and Erdogan also recently discussed another option to relieve tensions — the release of Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla, who was sentenced in May to 32 months in prison by a U.S. federal judge for his role in a scheme to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, two people familiar with the discussion said. Erdogan has criticized the case against Atilla as a political attack aimed at undermining his government.
Mehmet Hakan Atilla? Isn't that ...
Okay, glove up, Wonkers. It's time to go deep. Remember last year we told you about that federal trial in New York over the Turkish government's scheme to evade Iranian oil sanctions using gold bars? (We kid, every year in Trumptime is like a decade. We barely remember what we wrote yesterday.) The important things to keep in mind are:
- The Turkish government bank, Halkbank, had a complicated scheme to help Iran avoid oil sanctions by trading gold bars through a bunch of shell companies;
- Rudy Giuliani lobbied on behalf of the Turkish government to get the US to trade one of the defendants, Reza Zarrab, for American pastor Andrew Brunson, who was imprisoned in Turkey;
- Michael Flynn also tried to get the Trump government to cut Zarrab loose to Turkey, instead of having Zarrab testify in federal court about the Turkish government's illegal sanctions-busting scheme;
- Zarrab did testify, after sitting down with Robert Mueller and PROBABLY telling him all about Michael Flynn's dirrrrty dirt with the Turkish government; and
- Zarrab's testimony resulted in the conviction of ... Mehmet Hakan Atilla!
And now we're contemplating handing Atilla over to Turkey, when he's ass deep in the Michael Flynn investigation. HECKUVA COINCIDENCE.
TL, DR? The Saudis assassinated a US person, and the Turks got proof of it. The Turks have everyone's nuts in a wringer, and they're squeezing for concessions or they'll spill the beans on Jared Kushner's pal MBS. Jared and his father-in-law are desperate to protect the Saudis and stop Turkey from making such a stink that the US Congress is forced to invoke Magnitsky sanctions, which would put a crimp in US arms sales to the Saudi kingdom. So the Trump administration wants to hand over another US person, despite the fact that he will certainly be murdered if Erdogan gets his hands on him. And maybe we'll extradite someone who can testify in the Mueller investigation, too. Sure, why not!
These assholes are inventing new ways to BREAK THE COUNTRY every damn day.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.