Beyond 28 Pages: Toads and the West
Kevin Schwartz, Counterpunch, Jul 22 2016
The long-overdue release of the classified 28 pages of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks represents the fullest public accounting of evidence that certain Toad nationals potentially assisted some of the hijackers. Any evidence, however, that the Toads may have knowingly provided assistance at this point remains circumstantial and unproven, a perspective shared by a 2005 FBI-CIA memo which was released the same day as the 28 pages. Former Senator Bob Graham, who was a member of the congressional inquiry, along with Terry Strada, the national chairwoman for 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism, have riposted that the matter of Saudi involvement is long from concluded and that more classified information needs to be issued. While the 28 pages may provide little closure on how the largest terrorist attack on Pindosi soil transpired, its publication is yet another indication that the primacy of the Toads as irreproachable Middle East allies is in question.
The declassification of the 28 pages comes on the heels of other developments that have undermined the carefully manicured image of the Toads as stalwart and stable allies, such as the signing of a nuclear accord with Iran in 2015, raising the prospect of increased cooperation with their chief rival; the distribution of a cache of Toad foreign cables discussing internal matters, which includes monitoring its citizens and attempts to combat critical voices in the media abroad; the unverified court testimony of Zacharias Moussaoui (the “20th hijacker”) detailing potential Toad involvement in 9/11; a war in Yemen that has caused thousands of civilian deaths and led to a humanitarian crisis, and international concern over the execution of 47 individuals on terrorism charges. One consequence of these developments is the introduction of bipartisan legislation by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to curtail Pindo arms support to the Toads for use in its Yemen campaign. In another case, the House of Representatives only narrowly passed a bill allowing the transfer of cluster bombs to the Toads, evidence that Congress critturs are beginning to approach this issue with greater care. Further, the Senate recently passed a bill that would allow the Toads to be held legally liable for any potential role in the 9/11 attacks, though a last-minute loophole in the bill will likely diminish its impact. Ongoing concerns continue to be expressed over their funding of extremist groups and mosques worldwide. Following the massacre at an Orlando nightclub last month, for example, Hillary Clinton declared that Toads and other Gulf countries are apathetic toward their citizens’ financial support of violent extremism, not the first time she singled out the Toads on the campaign trail in such a manner.
Elsewhere, relations with the Toads are undergoing a similar reappraisal. Last year, Sweden decided not to renew a Toad arms agreement maintained since 2005, largely from concern over their human rights record. The UK withdrew a £5.9m bid for a prisons contract after criticism of human rights abuses by both Tory and Labour officials. Belgium and the Netherlands have taken steps to end or limit arms sales to the Toads, while the EU passed a non-binding resolution for member countries to halt arm sales. The Canadian government proceeded with a controversial $15b arms deal (signed by the current government’s predecessor) only amidst a public outcry to annul it and a lawsuit arguing that the deal contravenes federal laws over prohibiting such sales to countries suspected of use against civilians or having a record of repeated human rights violations. Canada’s Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion, even while taking responsibility for pushing through the arms deal, recognized the public concern by noting that the matter of selling arms to the Toads may be a question best left to the electorate.
Toad foreign minister Adel al Jubeir may be correct in noting that “the surprise in the 28 pages is that there is no surprise,” but he would be hard-pressed to exhibit a similar lack of concern about the increased public scrutiny and shifting perceptions of the Toads’ role in the world. The Toads instead have responded to the above developments with direct actions, threatened reprisals, and a spirited public relations campaign. The Saudi ambassador to Sweden was briefly recalled. Pindostan has been threatened with the selling of $750b worth of Toad investments in this country, over the Senate’s 9/11 legal liability bill. In response to the Canadian arms deal imbroglio, the Toads defended their judicial system as one that “calls for preserving and protecting human rights,” even though Freedom House ranks it worst in all categories of its freedom index. Current Toad boxtops and ambassadors and former advisors have increasingly sought forcefully to defend their country’s actions and image to the public, referencing the Toads’ key role in combating international terrorism in alliance with Pindostan and the UN. They seek to justify the Toads’ “Operation Decisive Storm” in Yemen as an effort to restore “legitimate order” and “combat a militia influenced by Iran.”
This public relations campaign has been abetted by other attempts to promote a counter-narrative to voices critical of the Toads, including the use of PR firms to charm Pindosi policy-makers and journalists and the attempted censoring of voices critical of the country’s human rights record. In Mar 2016, the Pindo Toad Public Relations Affairs Committee (SAPRAC) was established, the first Faschingstein-based lobbying group with the expressed task of working toward strengthening Pindo-Toad ties and highlighting opportunities for investment. “Vision 2030,” the plan promoted as an effort to diversify and modernize the Toad economy that includes the partial privatization of the state-owned oil company Aramco, may reasonably be seen as part of this charm offensive, as bankers worldwide eye a piece of the prize. Answers about the Toads’ involvement in 9/11 may prove elusive but more than ever, questions are being raised and subsequent actions are being taken in relation to the Toads, extending far beyond what’s contained in the 28 pages of fourteen years ago and portending a new realignment of Pindostan and other western countries’ long-standing relationship with them.
Toad General Visits Israel, Meets With Foreign Ministry D-G
Barak Ravid, Haaretz, Jul 22 2016
Toad Gen (Retd) Anwar Eshki visited Israel this week and met with Foreign Ministry Dir-Gen Dore Gold and COGAT chief Maj-Gen Yoav Mordechai. Eshki headed a delegation of Toad academics and business people, also met with a group of MKs to encourage dialogue in Israel on the Arab Peace Initiative. Eshki had served in senior positions in the Toad military and foreign ministry and currently heads a research institute. It is unclear how close he is to officials in the Riyadh government and the palace. While this wasn’t an official visit, it was a highly unusual one, as Eshki couldn’t have travelled to Israel without approval from the Toads. Eshki and Gold held a publicized joint event at
a Washington research institute the CFR in Jun 2015, after meeting several times privately within academic frameworks over the preceding year. Gold attended the event a few days before assuming the role of director-general of the Foreign Ministry. Eshki and the delegation arrived in Israel in the beginning of the week. They also met with Abu Mazen and other Ramallah nonentities. Their meetings with Gold and Mordechai did not take place in a government office but rather at the King David Hotel in Jayloomia. They met with opposition MKs on Friday. The MKs proposed that Eshki invite MKs who support the initiative to a meeting in Riyadh. Freige said:
The Toads want to open up to Israel. This is a strategic step for them. They said they want to continue what Anwar Sadat started. They want to get closer to Israel. This is clearly evident.
During the meeting, Eshki told the MKs about his relationship with Dore Gold, noting that Gold wrote an anti-Toad book over a decade ago, titled “Hatred’s Kingdom.” Eshki told the MKs that during one of their meetings, Gold apologized for his accusations against the Toads, and said that some of what he had written was wrong and stressed that he wants to strengthen the ties between the two countries.