“Kashoggi interrogated, tortured and then murdered.”

Recordings prove Jamal Khashoggi was killed, Turkish investigators claim

Sources say audio and video evidence show journalist died at Saudi consulate in Istanbul

saudi

Friends of the USA – Don’t upset them!

Turkish investigators have claimed video and audio recordings exist that prove Jamal Khashoggi was killed, a sign that Ankara is willing to keep up the pressure on Riyadh to back up its claims it has nothing to do with the dissident journalist’s disappearance.

US government officials told the Washington Post late on Thursday that their Turkish counterparts claimed the recordings from 2 October proved Khashoggi was murdered and his body dismembered during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to pick up marriage paperwork.

The alleged audio evidence – which Turkish sources have also suggested exists in comments to the Guardian – is particularly strong, according to officials.

“You can hear his voice and the voices of men speaking Arabic,” a source told the Washington Post. “You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured and then murdered.”

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United States spin-doctors – Have they no shame? More on Jamal Kashoggi

I always hated that English expression “gobsmacked”, meaning “shocked beyond the point of incredulity”.

Nevertheless, I have to accept that the word can serve a purpose – and I was pretty close to smacking my gob as I read this article in Time online about the disappearance of rebel Saudi journalist Jamal Kashoggi.

Kashoggi’s disappearance is attracting some media attention since he entered the door of the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, and hasn’t been seen since. I’ve already posted the Turkish version of the story – but here is, I guess, the beginning of the US spin.

There is a saying in Turkish “Hem suçlu, hem güçlü”– which means something like: “Guilty as hell but toughing it out.” While reading the following, keep in mind that the unelected royal family of Saudi Arabia are close allies of the United States, and currently using weapons supplied by Washington to bomb the bejabers out of poor little Yemen. Don’t lose sight of the fact that: “Since the September 11 attacks, the United States government has carried out drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Libya.

US drone strikes4

This is just Pakistan

Drone strikes are part of a targeted killing campaign against jihadist militants; however, non-combatant civilians have also been killed in drone strikes. Determining precise counts of the total number killed, as well as the number of non-combatant civilians killed, is impossible; and tracking of strikes and estimates of casualties are compiled by a number of organizations.” (Wikipedia)

“As Donald Trump assumes office today, he inherits a targeted killing program that has been the cornerstone of U.S. counterterrorism strategy over the past eight years. On January 23, 2009, just three days into his presidency, President Obama authorized his first kinetic military action: two drone strikes, three hours apart, in Waziristan, Pakistan, that killed as many as twenty civilians. Two terms and 540 strikes later, Obama leaves the White House after having vastly expanding and normalizing the use of armed drones for counterterrorism and close air support operations in non-battlefield settings—namely Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia.” (The Council on Foreign Relations)

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These are extracts from the Time article:

Jamal Khashoggi’s Disappearance Comes as Autocrats Are Growing Bolder in their Brutality

As of Oct. 10, the assumption is that the Saudi regime took the opportunity to silence one of its more prominent critics.

The mystery is how. Turkish authorities, albeit not the most trusted bunch themselves, believe Khashoggi was murdered inside the building by a team of 15 operatives, his corpse dismembered and transported outside in boxes. The Saudis claim he left alive and have pledged to investigate—though few believe a Saudi regime that has long been unafraid to detain or punish dissidents.

Although the murder of a critic on foreign soil would, if confirmed, be an unprecedented act even for a brutal kingdom,it fits within a larger pattern. Across the world, authoritarian countries like Saudi Arabia have developed a rising sense of impunity when it comes to human rights and the rule of international law. Behavior once hidden behind palace doors now happens beyond borders and in the full view of the world.

Take China. Aside from the legion of human-rights abuses committed inside its own borders, including the detention of 1 million Uighurs, Beijing arrested Meng Hongwei, who as head of Interpol was a symbol of the international rule of law. Both have been ensnared by an antigraft campaign that President Xi Jinping and his regime have used to target critics and rivals. Russia too has taken its crackdown on dissenters global, most recently with the brazen poisoning attempt on former double agent Sergei Skripal in the U.K. 

This is happening with the implicit acceptance of the U.S., which under President Donald Trump has rejected its role as a champion of universal values like human rights.

But Trump is only one facet of this diminution of the U.S. as a moral lodestar for the world. . . A century of moral diplomacy begun by Woodrow Wilson is coming to an end under Trump.

The U.S. Congress may yet do so. And if Khashoggi’s murder can be confirmed, then economic sanctions will likely follow. But defending and spreading liberal values requires a more patient approach than crude dollar diplomacy.

Worryingly, this trend toward impunity comes as voters worldwide seem more attracted to strongmen and dictators.

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Pardon my lapse of memory – When exactly was it that “the U.S. [w]as a moral lodestar for the world”?

Oh, sorry, I see . . . apparently “A century of moral diplomacy [was] begun by Woodrow Wilson”, but “under President Donald Trump has rejected its role as a champion of universal values like human rights”.

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Are you as gobsmacked as me?

Saudi journalist murdered, dismembered and “disappeared” in Turkey

JAMAL-ONE-At this stage Saudi official sources are denying it – but it seems increasingly likely that veteran journalist Jamal Kasshoggi was lured into the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, murdered and smuggled in pieces out of the building.

Kashoggi had been living in the United States and writing articles critical of the Saudi regime which were published in the Washington Post and elsewhere.

President Erdoğan says following case of missing Saudi journalist Khashoggi ‘personally’

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Oct. 7 he was “personally” following the case of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared last week, and added that he still hoped for a positive outcome to the matter.

“Whatever comes of this, we will be the ones to declare it to the world,” the president said, while answering reporters’ questions in the capital Ankara. “It is very, very upsetting for us that it happened in our country,” he said.

A presidential adviser said on Oct. 7 that Khashoggi had not left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in “normal ways.” Turkish authorities have concrete information on Khashoggi’s disappearance and the case would not go unsolved, Yasin Aktay told broadcaster CNN Türk.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported on the night of Oct. 6 that Turkish investigators believe Khashoggi was killed in “a preplanned murder” at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, citing two anonymous officials.

Kashoggi

It’s probably too late for that!

One Turkish official also told The Associated Press that detectives’ “initial assessment” was that Khashoggi was killed at the consulate, without elaborating. Saudi authorities early Oct. 7 called the allegation “baseless.”

Khashoggi, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. for the last year, vanished on Oct. 2 while on a visit to the consulate.

The Post cited one anonymous official who said investigators believe a 15-member team “came from Saudi Arabia.” The official added: “It was a preplanned murder.”

Khashoggi, 59, went missing while on a visit to the consulate in Istanbul for paperwork to marry his Turkish fiancée. The consulate insists the writer left its premises, contradicting Turkish officials.

saudi1As a contributor to the Post, Khashoggi has written extensively about Saudi Arabia, including criticizing its war in Yemen, its recent diplomatic spat with Canada and its arrest of women’s rights activists after the lifting of a ban on women driving. All those issues have been viewed as being pushed by Prince Mohammed, who similarly has led roundups of activists, businessmen and others in the kingdom.

“With young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s rise to power, he promised an embrace of social and economic reform,” Khashoggi wrote in his first column for the Post. “But all I see now is the recent wave of arrests.”

Khashoggi maintained ties with Saudi elites, including those in its intelligence apparatus, and launched a satellite news channel, Al-Arab, from Bahrain in 2015 with the backing of Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

The channel was on air for less than 11 hours before it was shut down. Its billionaire backer was detained in the Ritz Carlton roundup overseen by Prince Mohammed in 2017.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, the Connecticut Democrat who sits on the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, expressed shock over the news.

“If this is true—that the Saudis lured a U.S. resident into their consulate and murdered him—it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” Murphy wrote on Twitter.saudi arabia

Giuliani: U.S. ‘Sympathizes’ With Attempt to Overthrow Iran’s Government

Well, they’ve done it before, in Iran and pretty much everywhere else in the world! The United States and their allies invaded Russia back in 1918, trying to overturn Russia’s revolution. They supported the exiled/defeated Chinese Kuomintang party after they fled to Taiwan in 1949. 70 years later, maybe the US is still hoping those guys will make a comeback! They organized a coup to get rid of Iran’s democratically elected government in 1952, and supported the puppet Shah for 27 years until Iranians threw him out.

Now, it seems Uncle Sam wants to bring that puppet government back – and they talk about democracy!!

Time report(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump’s attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, told members of Iran’s self-declared government in exile on Saturday that the U.S. sympathizes with their efforts to overthrow that country’s official government.

Funeral of John McCain, Washington DC, USA - 01 Sep 2018

Bringing democracy to the world – at gunpoint if necessary

The former New York mayor spoke to members and supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the biggest opposition group to Iran’s Islamic regime. Two U.S.-based members who joined the gathering have been targeted for assassination by alleged Iranian agents named last month in criminal complaints issued by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

“So I say to the Iranian government, you must truly be afraid of being overthrown,” Giuliani said. “We will not forget that you wanted to commit murder on our soil.”*

After Saturday’s attack on a military parade in Iran that killed more than 20 people, security was tight surrounding more than 1,500 people who came to a midtown Manhattan hotel for the meeting.

Giuliani said the Paris-based opposition organization is the democratic answer* to an Iranian regime he called “a group of outlaws and murderers and people who pretend to be religious people and then have so much blood on their hands it’s almost unthinkable.”

Instead, Giuliani said, “Iran is entitled to freedom and democracy.”

Several months ago, Trump withdrew from a nuclear deal with Iran put in place by President Barack Obama and sanctions were reinstated.

The National Council comes to New York annually during the United Nations General Assembly, staging protests outside the world body against Iran’s leaders who are in town.

The U.S. government considered the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, linked politically to the council, to be a terrorist group the U.S. State Department removed from its list of such organizations in 2012.

Since the beginning of the year, Iranians have kept protesting and marching against the clerical regime, and the national currency has lost about two-thirds of its value, said Maryam Rajavi, leader of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK, and the declared president-elect in exile of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.

Speaking via video, she said: “The regime is surrounded, politically and internationally, and in economic terms it is on the brink of collapse.”*

The new Iran, she said, would be based on free elections resulting in the separation of religion and state, human rights including equal participation of women in politics and the abolition of the death penalty.*

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*“We will not forget that you wanted to commit murder on our soil.” – Which, of course, the United States would NEVER do!

*Overthrowing Iran’s “official government” with a “Paris-based organization is the democratic answer”! Democracy, American style!

*“a group of outlaws and murderers and people who pretend to be religious people and then have so much blood on their hands it’s almost unthinkable.” Seems to me that could perhaps better apply to the US government and its backers.

*“The regime is surrounded, politically and internationally, and in economic terms it is on the brink of collapse.” Certainly that’s what US leaders have been trying to do for 40 years. Interestingly, Iran seems to be winning support from some important members of the international community.

*”abolition of the death penalty” – Which, of course, they don’t have in civilized countries like the United States, oh no!

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Meanwhile, what does the Iranian government have to say for itself? And who would you choose to believe?

Report in Turkey’s Hürriyet Daily News:

Rouhani says Iran ready to confront US after military parade attack

President Hassan Rouhani said on Sept. 23 Iran was ready to confront the United States and its Gulf Arab allies, a day after an attack on an Iranian military parade killed 25 people, including 12 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards.

rouhani

More and more countries seem prepared to stand up against US bullying tactics

Speaking before leaving Tehran to attend the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York, Rouhani accused U.S.-backed Gulf Arab states of providing financial and military support for anti-government ethnic Arab groups in Iran.

“America is acting like a bully towards the rest of the world…and thinks it can act based on brute force,” said Rouhani, who engineered Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal that ushered in a cautious detente with Washington before tensions flared anew with President Donald Trump’s decision to quit the accord.

“But our people will resist and the government is ready to confront America. We will overcome this situation [sanctions] and America will regret choosing the wrong path.”

Iran’s Foreign Ministry on Sept. 23 summoned the United Arab Emirates’ charge d’affaires over comments made about the bloodshed in the southwestern city of Ahvaz.

State-run PressTV said the action was taken over comments by an unnamed UAE official, without giving details.

The Gulf Arab state of Qatar, which is at odds with U.S. allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE, condemned the assault on the military parade, which wounded at least 70 people.

Gunmen fired on a viewing stand where Iranian officials had gathered to watch an annual event marking the start of the Islamic Republic’s 1980-88 war with Iraq. Soldiers crawled as gunfire crackled. Women and children fled for their lives.

It was one of the worst ever attacks against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp, the sword and shield of Shi’ite clerical rule in Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution.

It answers to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and runs its own business empire in Iran, a major oil producer which has been relatively stable compared with Arab states that have grappled with unrest since uprisings in 2011.

Since pulling out of the big powers’ nuclear pact with Iran in May, Trump has reimposed U.S. sanctions meant to isolate Tehran and force it to negotiate tougher curbs on its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Iran has ruled this out.

“America wants to cause chaos and unrest in our country so that it can return to this country, but these are unreal fantasies and they will never achieve their goals,” said Rouhani.

Shiite Iran is at odds with Western-allied Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia for predominance in the Middle East.

The regional powers back opposing sides in the conflicts in Yemen and Syria as well as rival political groups in Iraq and Lebanon, with the Guards defending Iranian interests.

“The small puppet countries in the region are backed by America, and the United States is provoking them and giving them the necessary capabilities,” said Rouhani.

An Iranian ethnic Arab opposition movement called the Ahvaz National Resistance, which seeks a separate state in oil-rich Khuzestan province, claimed responsibility for the attack.

“The Persian Gulf states are providing monetary, military and political support for these groups,” said Rouhani.

ISIL militants also claimed responsibility. Neither claim provided evidence. All four attackers were killed.

“Hopefully we will overcome these sanctions with the least possible costs and make America regret its aggressiveness towards other countries, and particularly Iran,” said Rouhani.

Open admission of US guilt!

Do you need further evidence that the “money markets”, transnational bankers and financiers, and the “credit agencies” are in cahoots with the United States Government, and vice versa?

US-Turkey crisis could end “instantly” if pastor freed: Bolton

Turkey could end the crisis with the United States “instantly” by freeing a detained American pastor, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said, adding that a Qatari cash infusion would not help Ankara’s economy.

John Bolton

Do you REALLY want me to say that, Don?

“Look, the Turkish government made a big mistake in not releasing Pastor Brunson,” Bolton told Reuters in an interview during a visit to Israel.

“Every day that goes by that mistake continues, this crisis could be over instantly if they did the right thing as a NATO ally, part of the West, and release pastor Brunson without condition.”

Qatar’s Emir this month approved a package of economic projects, including a $15 billion pledge of support, for Turkey, giving a boost to a lira that has lost some 37 percent of its value this year.

Bolton was skeptical about the intervention by the Gulf state, which has been feuding with U.S. allies in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

“Well, I think what they pledged is utterly insufficient to have an impact on Turkey’s economy. It’s certainly not helpful but we’ll actually see what develops from their pledge,” he said.

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So, either the US Government ordered the financiers to punish Turkey, or more likely, the financiers ordered the government. And it’s not just Turkey! In the past, however, the US would deny responsibility, and blame the target country’s inefficient management etc – which, of course, they are still trying to do. The importance of Turkey for the world, in terms of democracy and national sovereignty, is that they are forcing out into the open what the United States is doing – and has been doing for decades!

It is also clear that the US Government does not want the Brunson case to come to court in Turkey. Why not? Are they afraid that his connections with the CIA will become public knowledge?

And furthermore, the Trump administration seems to be calling for Turkey’s government to interfere in the judicial process. Isn’t that one of the things that Turkey is being criticised for?

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Bolton remarks proof US targeting Turkey in economic war

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s spokesperson said on Aug. 22 remarks by the U.S. National Security Adviser regarding Turkey’s economic situation were proof that the U.S. administration is targeting a NATO ally as part of an economic war.

İbrahim Kalın

Turkey’s presidential spokesperson, İbrahim Kalın

In a written statement responding to an interview whichJohnBoltongave to Reuters, [the presidential] spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said the U.S. administration’s most recent policies were at odds with the fundamental principles and values of the NATO alliance.

Turkey and the United States are embroiled in a deep dispute focused on a U.S. pastor, Andrew Brunson, being tried on terrorism charges in Turkey. The row has fuelled a slide in the lira, which has lost more than a third of its value against the dollar this year.

“The Trump administration has … established that it intends to use trade, tariffs and sanctions to start a global trade war,” he said, pointing to similar disputes with Mexico, Canada, Europe and China.

“Turkey has no intention of starting an economic war with any party. It cannot, however, be expected to keep silent in the face of attacks against its economy and judiciary,” he said.

Kalın said Turkey would work with the rest of the world against restrictive and punitive measures.

“The U.S. administration’s most recent policies are at odds with the fundamental principles and values of the NATO alliance,” he added.

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This opinion piece by Murat Yetkin makes some important points:

Is it OK for the West if there is a coup in Turkey?

[O]n Aug. 22, Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton told Reuters in Jerusalem “the Turkish government made a big mistake in not releasing Brunson” and “this crisis could be over instantly if they did the right thing as a NATO ally, part of the West and release the pastor without condition.”

This is arrogant and vague language, which could be used against an enemy or a rival but not an “ally.” What kind of a deal Bolton is talking about is also unclear. If “the government,” not the court would release Brunson, does Bolton mean all subjects of crisis, from Gülen to the U.S. support of PKK offshoots in Syria, would be over “instantly”?

The U.S. and NATO have turned a blind eye on the coups inTurkeyin 1960, 1971 and 1980; [or] have supported and shed crocodile tears as long asTurkey served Western military interests. That was the Cold War. It is no excuse, but the U.S. priority then was to be against the Soviet Union, which has now been succeeded by the Russian Federation.

Is this hypocrisy still valid? Is it OK for the West if there is a coup in Turkey, as long as it serves their military interests?

US economists oppose Trump’s trade tariffs

WASHINGTON – U.S. business economists are concerned about the risks of some of President Donald Trump’s economic policies, saying they fear his tariffs and higher budget deficits could eventually slow the economy.

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Everyone’s out of step but us!

More than 90 percent of economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) in a report being released Monday said they think the Trump administration’s current and threatened tariffs will harm the U.S. economy.

The administration has imposed tariffs on goods from many of America’s main trading partners — from China and Europe to Mexico and Canada. Trump officials argue that the tariffs, which are taxes on imports, will help the administration gain more favorable terms of trade. But so far, U.S. trading partners have simply retaliated with tariffs of their own.

Source

signe_cartoon_1_percenters_600AND . . . Why is there serious unemployment in the USA? Why are their former industrial cities rusting away? Not because of cheap imports from exporters like Turkey, but because of the greed of US industrialists who chose to move their factories offshore to exploit cheap Third World labour. The Big DT should realise that the United States’ “One Percent” have no loyalty to their own flag, country and people – their only interest is increasing their profit margin.

world-inequality

And the Top 1%?

Who is Andrew Brunson?

The guy claims he’s innocent – Trump is demanding his unconditional release . . . But check this out:

U.S. missionary thrust to the center of Turkey-U.S. crisis

By Ezgi Erkoyun and Humeyra Pamuk

IZMIR, Turkey (Reuters) – When Andrew Brunson saw a police summons on his door in late summer 2016, the U.S. evangelical pastor thought it was a routine appointment to sort out his residency papers in Turkey*, his home for nearly a quarter of a century.

Turkey-Lira-crisis-Paster-Andrew-Brunson-trump-news-1003731

Let him go or we’ll destroy your economy!

He went to the police station on Oct. 7, 2016, was detained and later charged with involvement in a coup attempt. He is still in detention and is now at the center of a diplomatic row that has fueled Turkey’s most serious currency crisis for almost two decades.

In July, after nearly two years in prison, Brunson was moved to house arrest. A court on Friday rejected an appeal to release him, saying evidence was still being collected and he posed a flight risk, according to a copy of the ruling seen by Reuters.

U.S. President Donald Trump has demanded Brunson’s unconditional release, describing him as a “great patriot hostage”, and has slapped sanctions and tariffs on Turkey which have helped push the lira currency to record lows.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has linked Brunson’s release to the fate of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Muslim cleric living in the United States whom he blames for the July 2016 coup attempt. Erdogan has raised tariffs on U.S. cars, alcohol and tobacco in a tit-for-tat response.

“You have one pastor as well. Give him (Gulen) to us… Then we will try him (Brunson) and give him to you,” Erdogan said in a speech last September to police officers Halavurt, Brunson’s lawyer, said the North Carolina pastor was not unduly alarmed when he first went to the police station. He expected at worst to be given a two-week deadline to leave the country – standard practice with residency violations – and to return to Turkey when his papers were sorted out*.

Instead, he was held in a detention center for two months before being formally arrested on Dec. 9, 2016.

He was charged with crimes committed on behalf of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a Kurdish militant group which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state, and on behalf of Gulen’s network, according to the indictment seen by Reuters. Both are designated terrorist groups by Ankara.

He was also charged with disclosing state information “for political or military espionage”.

Brunson has denied all the charges against him.

Prosecutors questioned why he traveled hundreds of miles from his church on Turkey’s western coast to the mainly Kurdish southeast interior, where the PKK is active.**

Messages on his phones, travel details, testimony from his congregation and what the indictment refers to as three secret witnesses, codenamed “Prayer”, “Fire” and “Meteor”, were cited in evidence against him.

The indictment cites GPS data showing trips to Suruc, near the Syrian border, and the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, as well as a meeting in 2010 with a man described by one of the secret witnesses as a U.S. special forces soldier.

Brunson said his trips to Kurdish areas were to help refugees who had escaped war in neighboring Syria.**

“I do not accept that I acted in accordance with PKK targets … We wanted to convert Syrian refugees coming to Izmir. I do not differentiate between their ethnic identities,” he said.**

“Prayer”, the secret witness, was quoted in the indictment as saying Brunson was linked to prominent suspected members of Gulen’s network.

Halavurt said the witness had failed to offer concrete evidence of any such connections.

The prosecution said in its indictment that Brunson’s phone records and witness testimony did establish the connections.

Brunson was not in the country at the time of the coup attempt but returned soon afterwards, according to his lawyer. In a text message cited in the indictment, he said the coup attempt “was a shock”.

“We were waiting for some events that would shake the Turks – preparing the conditions for Jesus’ return … I think the situation is going to get worse. We’ll win in the end,” said the message, which was dated July 21, 2016 and addressed to a fellow pastor, according to the indictment.***

Brunson did not deny sending the message but said it had been misunderstood, the indictment said.***

Reuters

POINTS TO PONDER

* It is very easy for foreign residents to extend their residence permit in Turkey for two years. What was Brunson’s problem? Clearly he knew he was in violation of Turkey’s laws before the police came knocking on his door.

**Convert Syrian refugees coming into Turkey? Yeah sure! I suspect they’ve got more pressing worries on their mind.

***How can you “misunderstand” a message like that? Christian “missionaries” have a long history of stirring up trouble in Turkey, and before that, in the Ottoman Empire. These biblical fundamentalist, evangelist, Zionist, anti-Muslim extremists are either ignorant unwitting tools of imperialist governments, or else they are knowingly working for them. Either way, they are going to upset locals. The only reason they can operate in Turkey is that it is the only majority Muslim country that will tolerate their incendiary activities.