Trump son-in-law and Middle East “peace negotiator” Jared Kushner was communicating with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) prior to and after the Saudis brutally murdered Washington-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi on October 2 at the Saudi consulate-general in Istanbul. Kushner and MBS reportedly used the WhatsApp encrypted messaging service.
Although WhatsApp provides end-to-end encryption to its users, thanks to the National Security Agency’s “Man-in-the-Middle” operations, the U.S. code-breaking agency is able to monitor all communications using WhatsApp and other encrypted services. Whatever Kushner and MBS transmitted to one another using WhatsApp, which concerned the Saudi plot against Khashoggi, is now, presumably, in the hands of Justice Department and FBI investigators. In cases in which the NSA intercepts communications dealing with criminal activity, minimization steps used to protect the privacy of “U.S Persons” are void and the NSA has a mechanism to share such intercepts with federal law enforcement agencies. That evidence may also contain references to Kushner’s friends in the Israeli government and U.S. embassy in Jerusalem being aware of the operation against Khashoggi.
The minimization policy for NSA is contained in U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18). Communications on U.S. persons may be shared with law enforcement if the “information is evidence that the individual may be involved in a crime that has been, is being, or is about to be committed.”
Khashoggi, as a vocal opponent of the MBS regime in Riyadh, was a threat to the ever-closer relations that now exist between the Israeli and Saudi regimes. On October 16, Israeli armed forces chief General Gadi Eizenkot met with his Saudi counterpart, Major General Fayyad bin Hamid Raqed al-Ruwaili, at the Pentagon-sponsored Counter Violent Extremist Organizations conference at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, outside of Washington, DC. The meeting came as Kushner was urging his father-in-law not to alienate MBS because the international outrage about MBS’s role in the murder of Khashoggi would soon “blow over.” That is also the hope of the Israelis, who are banking on MBS to solidify the Saudi relationship with Israel in preparation for what they hope will be a joint U.S.-Israeli-Saudi military campaign against Iran.
Kushner rarely takes any action involving the Middle East without the advice from Israel’s two other influence merchants inside the Trump administration: Jason Greenblatt, the assistant to the president and special U.S. representative for international negotiations, and David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel. Greenblatt and Friedman both served as lawyers for the Trump Organization. Friedman further antagonized the Palestinians by convincing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to close the U.S. Consulate-General in Jerusalem, which had long been accredited to the Palestinians, and having the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem assume its responsibilities. That decision, coming on the heels of the State Department ordering the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington to close, essentially severed all relations between the United States and Palestine.
Khashoggi was opposed to the warming of Saudi and Israeli relations because it came at the expense of the rights of the Palestinian people. In fact, Israeli news organizations, including the relatively moderate Ha’aretz, and U.S. propaganda operations—including those run by David Horowitz and Sheldon Adelson—have been celebrating Khashoggi’s death, calling him an ally of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi-linked media operations have also been desperately trying to link Khashoggi to groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, and the Islamic State. In addition, Twitter bots are pushing pro-MBS propaganda in a campaign similar to Twitter messaging that supports Trump and attacks his opponents. The one country that benefits from these campaigns is Israel and the modus operandi behind the social media operations supporting Trump and MBS are carbon copies of past Israeli efforts.
Israeli Lobby efforts are now supplemented by alt-right and neo-Nazi groups that have abandoned anti-Semitism and embraced the racist policies of Zionism and Israel. Alt-right attacks by the same online sources that demonized Brett Kavanaugh accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, are currently waging a defamation campaign against Khashoggi.
Khashoggi was a participant in a conference in London, sponsored by Middle East Monitor, just prior to his flying to Istanbul to obtain Saudi government divorce documentation so that he could marry his Turkish fiancee. Khashoggi, who was a permanent resident of the United States, had two children from his previous marriage and both are U.S. citizens.
After attending the conference in London, Khashoggi tweeted: “I am leaving London and Palestine is still on my mind. I attended a conference where I met researchers and activists from all over the world who believe in the justice of their cause . . . Despite the power of the Israeli lobby . . . the voice of Palestine is still loud here. They are trying to marginalize the Palestinian cause . . . but it remains ever-present in the popular conscience.”
The “lobby” to which Khashoggi was referring includes Kushner, his family, Greenblatt and Friedman, and other top Trump administration officials, including national security adviser John Bolton, departing ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, and Pompeo.
As Kushner and his cabal were trying to talk administration officials out of penalizing the Saudis for their murder and grisly dismemberment of Khashoggi, Trump was at an October 18 rally in Montana, where he praised GOP Congressman Greg Gianforte for physically assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in 2017. Gianforte was later convicted of assault. Trump said of Gianforte, “Any guy that can do a body slam . . . he’s my guy.” Press groups around the world, as well as British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the remarks of Trump, who constantly refers to journalists as the “enemy of the people,” as unacceptable.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
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Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).