47% of Democrats view capitalism positively, down from 56% in 2016
57% of Democrats now view socialism positively, little changed from 2010
Republicans very positive about capitalism; 16% positive on socialism
Annie Holmquist, GALLUP POLL|AIWA! NO!|November 6, 2018 is approaching fast which means is US elections are on the horizon and individuals young and old are making their list, checking it twice, and… deciding which candidates are worthy of support.
The younger generation is especially getting into the spirit of things, most recently evidenced by Taylor Swift’s endorsement of candidates in her home state.
Naturally, this surge of civic responsibility seems like a good thing. But are today’s young Americans equipped with the knowledge they need to make sound, sensible decisions in the voting booth?
I thought of this question while watching a new video segment from John Stossel. Stossel stepped away from the microphone for once and gave his place as host to young Gloria Álvarez, who explains her experience growing up in the shadow of democratic socialism. She explains:
I’m from Guatemala. I’ve seen the impact of socialism.
My father escaped Cuba. My grandfather suffered under communists in Hungary before escaping. As a child, I was taught socialism was wrong. I grew up mocking it. But democratic socialism sounded okay. It made sense to me that government should take care of the economy.
But then I watched socialism fail in Latin America. I learned that every time a country started down the socialist path, it failed.
Álvarez has had enough experience to recognize that democratic socialism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but many of her young American counterparts haven’t come to this conclusion. In fact, a new survey suggests the opposite.
In September of 2018, Maru/Blue and BuzzFeed News performed a random survey on the political views of young millennials aged 22 to 37. Particularly striking was the question on socialism, which asked young people whether they would call themselves “democratic socialist, a socialist or neither.”
A solid third responded by saying they would never identify with that label. However, another third of respondents were happy to identify with some facet of socialism. Perhaps even more revealing is the fact that a quarter of respondents pleaded ignorance, recognizing that they needed to know more about the viewpoint before claiming it as their own.
Ignorance Is Driving Socialism’s Growing Popularity
Where does such ignorance come from? Thomas Jefferson would likely suggest it stems from the minimal instruction today’s students receive in history:
“History, by apprising them of the past, will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views. In every government on earth is some trace of human weakness, some germ of corruption and degeneracy, which cunning will discover, and wickedness insensibly open, cultivate and improve.”
Only 12 percent of America’s high school seniors are proficient in U.S. history. If we made this subject a bigger focal point of the education system, would the next generation of voters be more aware and able to discern the pros and cons of socialist government, democratic or not?
Annie is a research associate with Intellectual Takeout. In her role, she writes for the blog, conducts a variety of research for the organization’s websites and social media pages, and assists with development projects. She particularly loves digging into the historical aspects of America’s educational structure.
|AIWA! NO! Michael Cohen’s lawyer defended his client Tuesday night against allegations made by President Donald Trump in an interview which said the former was lying under oath when he testified the POTUS directed him to break the law.
In the interview, Trump said he was “totally uninvolved” with Cohen’s dealings, and added his former attorney had other clients.
“Michael Cohen, if you take a look at what he did, this had to do with loans, and I guess the taxi industry is something that I have nothing to do with, he did this on his own time,” he said.
Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, told USA Today his client had two words as reply to the president’s statements: “Audio and tape.” Davis also stated the president should be worried.
Davis took to Twitter on Tuesday to reply to Trump’s statement. “Under oath @MichaelCohen212 [Michael Cohen] acknowledged and took responsibility for @realdonaldtrump @potus [Donald Trump] bad behavior. Trump calling anyone a #liar is a compliment!” he said.
In another tweet, he said Trump would never testify under oath as he could not afford to tell the truth.
In an Associated Press interview, transcripts of which were released Tuesday, Trump talked about Cohen, Jamal Khashoggi, Brett Kavanaugh, and the upcoming elections, among other things.
“Michael Cohen was your personal attorney for many years. He testified under oath in federal court that you directed him to commit a crime. Did you, sir?” the interviewer asked Trump, to which the president said, “Totally false. It’s totally false.”
Following Trump’s reply, the interviewer asked whether Cohen was lying under oath, and the president replied, “Oh, absolutely he’s lying. And Michael Cohen was a PR person who did small legal work, very small legal work. And what he did was very sad, when you look. By the way, he was in trouble not for what he did for me; he was in trouble for what he did for himself. You do know that? Having to do with loans, mortgages, taxicabs, and various other things, if you read the paper. He wasn’t in trouble for what he did for me; he was in trouble for what he did for other people.”
In August, Cohen pleaded guilty to eight criminal counts which included violating federal campaign finance laws. Some of the violations were linked to the attorney’s hush payment to two women who alleged they had an affair with Trump. Cohen said the president also directed him to pay $130,000 to porn star Stormy Daniels.
Earlier this year, Cohen released a tape of the conversation he had with the president in 2016. In the three-minute recording, the two can be heard talking about how to purchase the rights to the story of former Playboy model Karen McDougal who alleged she had a yearlong affair with Trump. Though the audio was not clear at the time, Trump can be heard saying “pay with cash.”
Last week, Davis announced his client, Cohen, changed his registration back to Democrat from Republican. The conversion happened Friday, which was the deadline for New Yorkers to register to vote in the upcoming midterm elections.
Cohen had initially converted to Republican in 2017. “It took a great man to get me to the make the switch,” he said at the time referring to Trump. He described his current move as an effort to distance “himself from the values of the current” administration.
|AIWA!NO!|An explosion has been heard at Kerch polytechnic college in Russia-annexed Crimea. 10 people have died and a further 50 injured, according to Russian information agency RIA Novosti, citing the press service for occupied Crimea’s so-called health ministry. However, the information is still being clarified.
Russian news agency Interfax have stated, citing sources from Russia’s anti-terrorist committee, that the explosion was caused by an unidentified explosive device.
In Europe, a shadow conflict is capturing headlines: The Salisbury poisonings and the unmasking of alleged Russian agents in the Netherlands suggest a return to Cold War-style spy games between Russia and the West.
In Ukraine, the picture is more stark. A hot war is continuing in the eastern Donbas region, and the conflict between Moscow and Kiev appears set to escalate.
The latest flashpoint? Ukraine’s bid for greater spiritual independence from Russia.
On Monday, the Russian Orthodox Church broke ties with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, the titular head of Orthodox Christianity, after Ukraine secured approval last week to establish an independent Orthodox church.
That move drew immediate condemnation from Russia, which said the decision set the stage for a potential split within the global Orthodox community.
In groups on the social media site Vkontakte, local residents also claim to have heard gunfire at the college and witnessed people with guns. One witness also commented on local radio Kerch.fm that she heard shots fired before the explosion.
Previously Russian media reported that the incident was caused by a gas explosion.
US lawmakers have pointed the finger at the Saudi leadership, while Western pressure has mounted on Riyadh to provide answers.
In an interview with Fox Business Network, Mr Trump said if Saudi Arabia knew what happened in the disappearance, “that would be bad.”
“I think we have to find out what happened first,” he said yesterday.
Speaking to reporters, he also drew comparisons with the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court scandal, adding: “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that.”
The 15 suspects identified by Turkey are accused of dismembering the journalist’s body with a bone saw, the New York Times (NYT) reports.
At least nine of the suspects worked for the Saudi security services, military or other government ministries, according to the newspaper.
It is alleged they flew out the same day as the killing, and brought the saw with them for the purpose of chopping up Mr Khashoggi’s body.
According to the NYT, records show that two private jets chartered by a Saudi firm arrived and departed from Istanbul on October 2.
Mr Khashoggi, a US resident, wrote columns for the Washington Post and was critical of the Saudi government, calling for reforms.Mr Trump earlier tweeted that Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman denied knowing what happened in the Saudi consulate.
The latest claims follow US media reports that Saudi Arabia will admit the vanished journalist died following a botched interrogation.
“The most critical threat to our freedom is a failure to appreciate the power of truth;” Michael Novak
Trump doubles down on his defense of Saudi Arabia in an AP interview. John Kasich says that Trump should call out Saudi Arabia’s human rights abuses. |CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|SPEAKING WITH CHRIS WALLACE ON MSNBC: “I think it’s terrible.
“Let’s just say the President is right. We don’t know.
Nobody really knows yet for sure; even though the Germans, French and the British have all called for thorough investigation.
The evidence has mounted – in terms of the US intelligence picking things up.
MICHAEL NOVAK: “There is an alternative to terror. It is called, in the political order, democracy. In the economic order, it is called the dynamic enterprise economy. . . It empowers poor people from the bottom up. . . . A dynamic economic sector is the poor’s best hope of escaping the prison of poverty. It is the only system so far known to human beings to take poor people and make them, quite soon, middle class, and some of them even (horrors!) rich.”
I have read a lot, I have studied a lot and have thought a lot about this. But let’s just say with benefit of the doubt. Ok! But you don’t go to a conference over there so they can expand their economic power. You don’t talk about having arms sales. Let’s freeze the arms sales. We are not gonna do that until when we get to the bottom of this.
Chris; I have heard people say – I have heard the President say; “This about money.” The arms trade.
I have had somebody coming to me and say:”America is an idea.” The things that we believe in and the things that we stand for, that we believe in the human rights, and for the past 70-years; so money should not trump our foreign policy, never trump our foreign policy actions.
And also,we gotta say – a lot of these CEOs who thought they needed to be in Saudi Arabia and for many many big companies in the United States, stood up and said ‘we are not going there’ – and they deserve credit for that. And they need to be held up, and we need to be able to say to them they have put some principle before profit which is critical for the economic system of our country.
Putting business before principle; that’s not how you do foreign policy. Foreign policy is not just about; of course we need jobs and we need a strong economy, we want economic context but that’s why we shouldn’t have these trade wars, we should keep our tariffs down so we can have more free trade and free enterprise. We believe in profit but also that there are principles that underlie profit.
To drum home his point Kasich referenced and paraphrased Michael Norvak the greatest Catholic Philosopher and Scholar. He said: “A free enterprise system that is not under-laid with values – and we should all think how we conduct our lives – yes free enterprise is great, profits are great. But there have to be some values that underlay it.
The Governor has a point. When the markets don;t achieve our philosophical goals; when they achieve results counter to our cultural values, we have to act outside the market. Our government has to step in and create guidelines that ensure that our economic system exists within our democratic and moral framework and that are consistent with our country’s values.
Fighting disinformation with media literacy—in 1939. SEE from a Nazi propaganda poster below in 1936; the stylized head of an eagle with beak open emitting circles like broadcast radio waves.
ANYA SCHIFFRIN, CJR|AIWA!NO!|“THERE ARE THREE WAYS to deal with propaganda—first, to suppress it; second, to try to answer it by counterpropaganda; third, to analyze it,” the journalist turned educator Clyde R. Miller said in a public lecture at Town Hall in New York in 1939. At that time, faced with the global rise of fascist regimes who were beaming propaganda across the world, as well as US demagogues spouting rhetoric against the government and world Jewry, the rise of Stalinism, and the beginning of the Red-baiting that foreshadowed McCarthyism, scholars and journalists were struggling to understand how people could fall for lies and overblown rhetoric.
In response to this growing problem, Miller, who had been a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, founded the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in 1937. To get the institute up and running, Miller got a $10,000 grant from the department store magnate Edward A. Filene, who had by then begun making a name for himself as a liberal philanthropist. Based at Columbia University’s Teachers College, with a staff of seven people, the IPA devoted its efforts to analyzing propaganda and misinformation in the news, publishing newsletters, and educating schoolchildren to be more tolerant of racial, religious, and ethnic differences.
In order to understand what kind of people, under certain circumstances would be susceptible to fascism, some sociologists studied personality traits. While it was clear that Germany’s defeat in World War I and subsequent economic conditions there, including widespread unemployment, had paved the way for the rise of Adolf Hitler, academics and journalists tried to parse just what made Nazi propaganda so effective at galvanizing public support for the regime. Theodor Adorno produced his famous “F-scale” (the “F” stands for fascist), which aimed to identify individuals more susceptible to the persuasions of authoritarianism. In recent years, the research of behavioral economist Karen Stenner has similarly examined the ways that innate personality traits coupled with changing social forces can push some segments of society toward intolerance.)
For its part, the IPA, under Miller’s leadership, maintained that education was the American way of dealing with disinformation. “Suppression of propaganda is contrary to democratic principles, specifically contrary to the provisions of the United States Constitution,” Miller said in his 1939 speech. “Counterpropaganda is legitimate but often intensifies cleavages. Analysis of propaganda, on the other hand, cannot hurt propaganda for a cause that we consider ‘good.’” In other words, analyzing propaganda for a good cause would not undermine the cause itself—but analysis of “bad” propaganda would allow audiences to dismantle its effects.
IN THE 80 YEARS since Clyde Miller first set out to tackle this problem, the dissemination of propaganda in our society has become only more sophisticated and perhaps more ubiquitous. The recent rise of Facebook and Twitter, along with the capabilities they offer to micro-target specific particular audience demographics, and the ongoing controversies of the 2016 election—among them the prospect that ideologically motivated foreign actors used social media to disseminate false information—have brought a renewed flurry of interest in the kind of propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation that pervaded the country nearly a century ago. So it’s not surprising that we again see growing interest in developing techniques for identifying and unraveling them.
Foundations including Hewlett Foundation, Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, have begun slow and expensive efforts to educate people to think critically, build trust in media outlets, analyze disinformation, and fight propaganda. Governments around the world, including in Germany, Malaysia and the European Union, are starting to regulate social-media platforms, as evidenced by recent efforts by European governments to require Facebook and Twitter to crack down on illegal hate speech. But social media platforms have largely taken the stance that the onus is on the audience to figure out what is fake and what is not. Meanwhile, they tweak their algorithms, mount an array of technical fixes, and employ human moderators to block inflammatory content.
In light of all this, it’s worth looking back to one of the earliest attempts to tackle this age-old problem. What, if anything, can we learn from the efforts of the IPA in the 1930s? And why are we again falling prey to the kinds of disinformation campaigns that it aimed to inoculate society against?
IN HER GROUP LEADERS GUIDE TO PROPAGANDA ANALYSIS, the IPA’s educational director, Violet Edwards, argued that industrialization and urbanization made society bigger and more complicated and so the “common man” had become “tragically confused” by an overload of secondhand information and the need to make decisions about subjects without having firsthand information.
Instead of the town hall or the cracker barrel of yore, where citizens could meet to discuss the topics that affected them personally, Edwards wrote, they now had to rely on information from others about how society should be organized and which policies should be pursued far from home. Meanwhile, many others, including the American writer Walter Lippmann and the French philosopher Jacques Ellul, had begun arguing that journalism could become a means to sift through and distill the excessive information now available to the masses in part because of increasing newspaper circulation and radio broadcasts.
To properly understand the secondhand information on which citizens depend, Edwards wrote, readers should adopt a scientific mindset of fact-finding and logical reasoning and think critically when confronted with secondhand information. The IPA developed techniques for analyzing information that would help audiences think rationally. They brought media literacy training into US schools in an attempt to inoculate young people from the contagion of propaganda by teaching them how to thoughtfully analyze what they read and heard. (Again, something that is being tried today.)
Miller categorized propaganda into seven types. These included “glittering generalities,” “name calling,” “testimonials,” and “transfer,” a means by which “the propagandist carries over the authority, sanction, and prestige of something we respect and revere to something he would have us accept.” Using another tactic, “Plain Folks,” Miller argued, propagandists “win our confidence by appearing to be people like ourselves,” while “bandwagon” was a “device to make us follow the crowd to accept the propagandists’ program en masse.”
Soon after the founding of the IPA, Miller was praised for bringing “the newspaper man’s passion for simplifying complicated subjects”: Among the IPA’s regular output, were analyses of political speeches, with little icons—the emoji of the day—printed next to each phrase to explain which of these techniques the speaker was using. One such book analyzed the anti-Semitic radio broadcasts of the infamous Father Coughlin, a Catholic priest in Detroit who was estimated to draw 30 million listeners for his attacks on the international Jewish population and President Roosevelt, among other topics.
Miller also published something he called the “ABCs of Propaganda Analysis,” which exhorted readers to first concern themselves with propaganda, then figure out the agenda of the propagandist, view the propaganda with doubt and skepticism, evaluate one’s reactions to it, and finally seek out the facts. He hoped audiences would use the ABCs to become active readers who could carefully analyze their reactions to propaganda.
Additionally, Miller published a weekly Bulletin that described an important topic in the news, analyzed the propaganda techniques used by all sides, and included a detailed list of sources he’d used and recommended further reading and discussion questions. This struck a nerve: Some 10,000 people subscribed to the Bulletin, which cost $2.00 a year (about $32.00 in today’s terms), and 18,000 people bought the bound volume of back issues that was published at the end of each year.
Here’s a sample analysis of the fake news of the day, taken from the May 26, 1941, issue of the Bulletin:
Persistently since the influx of refugees from the war areas began, a story has bobbed up in numerous American cities about the alleged heartless—and actually unreal—discharging of regular employes [sic] by stores to make places for ‘foreigners’. The story usually is anti-Semitic; the store with which it is connected has Jewish owners, and Jews are said to get the jobs.
One large store in New York City which has been a victim of the story has spent considerable sums trying to trace the source and find some way of stopping it. The efforts have been fruitless. The story keeps reappearing, and mimeographed leaflets have even been circulated picturing the Jewish manager welcoming a long line of Jewish refugees while turning away another line of fine Nordic types.
As part of the IPA’s attempts to spread its message and techniques, the organization sought to put young students on guard against propaganda and to form them into sophisticated news consumers. The institute formed a relationship with Scholastic magazine, and in 1939 and 1940 produced a series that was distributed in schools, called “What Makes You Think So?; Expert Guidance to Help You Think Clearly and Detect Propaganda in Any Form.” By the late 1930s, 1 million school children were using IPA’s methods to analyze propaganda, and the IPA corresponded with some 2,500 teachers. Anticipating contemporary critiques, such as the argument by Danah Boyd, founder of the technology-analysis organization Data & Society, that media-literacy programs can cause audiences to become dangerously mistrustful, the IPA maintained, in its teaching guides, that students needed to think critically as part of being engaged citizens:
The teacher who acts as a guide to maturity helps her pupils to think critically and to act intelligently on the everyday problems they are meeting…. [B]y its very nature [the] process will not build attitudes of cynicism and defeatism.
The IPA also helped design curriculum aimed at promoting civic engagement and racial and religious tolerance that was piloted in the Springfield, Massachusetts, school district, whose superintendent was sympathetic to the IPA’s mission. The “Springfield Plan” was influential and replicated in other districts but petered out in Springfield itself after a few years partly due to criticism by the Catholic Church and lack of local support as religious tensions rose locally after World War II. By the early ’50s, as McCarthyism was taking hold, there were murmurings that the plan contained “subversive” elements.
MILLER SPENT 10 YEARS at Columbia Teachers College as Communications Director and as an associate professor. In that time, IPA used up $1 million of Filene’s money. It was World War II that caused the end of the IPA, in part because the US began producing its own propaganda to galvanize support for the fight against Hitler. Publication of the weekly Bulletin ceased in 1942, as the US entered the war. In its farewell issue of January 9, 1942, headlined “We Say Au Revoir,” the IPA explained that its board of directors had voted to suspend operations:
The publication of its dispassionate analysis of all kinds of propaganda, ‘good’ and ‘bad,’ is easily misunderstood during a war emergency, and more important, the analyses could be misused for undesirable purposes by persons opposing the government’s efforts.
This final Bulletin expressed satisfaction with the work achieved by the IPA, warned that wartime is usually accompanied by a rise in intolerance, and expressed the hope that IPA techniques for analyzing propaganda would be used in the future, which indeed they were.
Miller’s time at Teachers College came to a sad end, as he apparently fell victim to the very intolerance he had warned against. Along with some other faculty members, he was put on leave from the college in 1944, amid a financial crisis at the institution, and he never resumed work there. In 1948 Miller was officially let go. Miller was told his dismissal was the result of departmental restructuring—but William Randolph Hearst’s animosity towards Miller may have contributed. Hearst was known for attacking “Reds” in the universities and schools and his paper, The World Telegram, had criticized some of the educational activities Miller was involved with. Hearst had complained to Teacher’s College about Miller, saying he should “lay off.” The House Unamerican Activities Committee in 1947 also attacked the IPA calling it a “Communist front organization.” The late 1940s were a prelude to the McCarthy years of the 1950s and HUAC had begun going after members of the American left. As far as we know, Miller was not a Communist or a “Fellow Traveler” but his involvement with IPA, the Methodist Church and the Springfield plan was enough to cause Hearst’s papers to smear him. There were a lot of gray areas during the McCarthy era blacklists. Some professors were fired by their Universities while others were let go quietly. Miller may have been one of these.
Miller lost his Columbia housing and salary and wrote repeatedly to Columbia’s president decrying the “violation of tenure and academic freedom.” He also told the New York Tribune, “I can understand that during the depression and now in this period of post-war hysteria, academic freedom is a pretty hard thing to preserve.” For a while Miller worked at The League for Fair Play, which was based in New York and helped publicize the Springfield Plan. But then the trail goes cold. On a trip to Australia in 1999, Miller died; he’s buried there.
YET MILLER’S LEGACY LIVES ON. Although it was phased out in Springfield, the ideas of his education plan continued. According to Boston College education professor Lauri Johnson, “the Springfield Plan became the most well-publicized intercultural educational curriculum in the 1940s, talked about and emulated by school districts across the country and into Canada.”
And after the dust from WWII had settled, researchers, led by Yale’s Carl Hovland, once again took up the discussion of media effects and propaganda. Rather than focusing on specific propaganda techniques, Hovland took a broader view, attempting to understand how the media garnered credibility. Among other topics, Hovland and his group of scholars tried to understand if the source of a message affects whether people trust it, whether the content of the message matters or (as with Adorno’s F-scale) if audience characteristics are the most important. Hovland believed that highly intelligent people may be more able to absorb new information but are also more skeptical. People with low self-esteem who “manifested social inadequacy…showed the greatest opinion change.” However, despite extensive studies as to what caused media persuasion, Hovland’s findings were inconclusive. Scholars still grapple with the questions he tried to answer.
Additionally, many of the techniques the IPA pioneered are still used today in media-literacy training classes in US schools. Many take as their foundation the IPA’s pioneering ideas about how best to understand and combat propaganda, including a belief in the need for personal reflection and for understanding how personal experience shapes one’s ideas.
In fact, it’s striking how closely the IPA’s discussions about disinformation and possible remedies to it resemble the conversation we’re having on this topic today. For instance, researchers such as Claire Wardle, the executive director of First Draft, a think tank at Harvard’s Kennedy School that aims to fight disinformation, along with various others, have called out the techniques used by people spreading propaganda, and delineated taxonomies of the different kinds in use.
It would be nice to think that the IPA’s efforts worked and a generation of children became inured to propaganda and disinformation. In fact, the rise of Nazism in Germany happened in part because of the effectiveness of German propaganda and the US also went down the road of McCarthyism and anti-Communist propaganda. Moreover, it turns out that it’s devilishly hard to provethat media literacy is very effective. New research by University of Pennsylvania Annenberg Professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson suggests that the Russian disinformation campaign on social media may have worked because it reinforced the points made by Trump in his campaign. Moreover, people who believe in fake news keep believing it even when confronted with information.
The lesson of the IPA is not just that media literacy education is hard to do well but that when societies become truly polarized, just teaching tolerance and critical thinking can be controversial. In the 1940s Clyde Miller was attacked for his efforts. In today’s polarized world it’s not hard to imagine a similar backlash.
Author’s Note:Thanks to Chloe Oldham for her research, Andrea Gurwitt for her editing, and Professors Andie Tucher, Richard John, and Michael Schudson for their comments. Thanks to Thai Jones and the librarians working with the archives at the New York Public Library, Nicholas M. Butler Papers and the Columbia University Archives Central Files.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Oct. 16 to discuss the disappearance of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi.(Reuters)
President Trump says Saudi’s crown prince “totally denied any knowledge” of what happened at the consulate in Turkey, and promises answers “shortly” on Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance.
|AIWA! NO!|RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pressed Saudi leaders Tuesday to move quickly with a “transparent” investigation of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, even as Turkish officials sifted through possible evidence at the last place the journalist was seen alive.
Some areas have been repainted at the Saudi consulate where missing Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was last seen alive, the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has said, as investigators prepared to enter the nearby Saudi consul’s house after the diplomat left the country.
Erdoğan told reporters on Tuesday that police had found evidence of toxic materials and signs that some surfaces had been repainted at the consulate where investigators say the missing journalist was killed.
“My hope is that we can reach conclusions that will give us a reasonable opinion as soon as possible, because the investigation is looking into many things such as toxic materials and those materials being removed by painting them over,” he said.
Turkish officials have asserted that a Saudi hit team killed Khashoggi earlier this month after he entered the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. On Monday, forensic experts had their first chance to comb the site, and they now plan to expand the searches to diplomatic vehicles and the main residence.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered an operation to lure Washington Post contributing journalist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia where he was to be detained, U.S. intercepts show. The whole torture, dismemberment, and death inside the Saudi embassy thing that apparently happened was a rendition gone bad, according to this report.
The intelligence pointing to a plan to detain Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia has fueled speculation by officials and analysts in multiple countries that what transpired at the consulate was a backup plan to capture Khashoggi that may have gone wrong.
A former U.S. intelligence official — who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter — noted that the details of the operation, which involved sending two teams totaling 15 men, in two private aircraft arriving and departing Turkey at different times, bore the hallmarks of a “rendition,” in which someone is extralegally removed from one country and deposited for interrogation in another.
But Turkish officials have concluded that whatever the intent of the operation, Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate. Investigators have not found his body, but Turkish officials have released video surveillance footage of Khashoggi entering the consulate on the afternoon of Oct. 2. There is no footage that shows him leaving, they said.
The intelligence about Saudi Arabia’s earlier plans to detain Khashoggi have raised questions about whether the Trump administration should have warned the journalist that he might be in danger.
Intelligence agencies have a “duty to warn” people who might be kidnapped, seriously injured or killed, according to 2015 federal directive. “The obligation applies regardless of whether the person is a U.S. citizen. Khashoggi was a U.S. resident,” Harris writes.