Just a reminder that all major media outlets in America are not a "free press" but corporate-owned producers of news as a product, and there's no more vivid reminder of this than billionaire Trump buddy Tom Barrack defending Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Sultan's involvement in the death of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi by saying the US has done "equal or worse" acts of murder.
Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a billionaire real estate investor who is one of President Trump’s closest confidants, apologized Wednesday after defending Saudi Arabia in the wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing and saying the United States has committed “equal or worse” atrocities.
Barrack’s remarks on Khashoggi, made Tuesday at a summit in Abu Dhabi organized by the Santa Monica-based Milken Institute think tank, were first reported by Dubai’s Gulf News.
“Whatever happened in Saudi Arabia, the atrocities in America are equal or worse to the atrocities in Saudi Arabia,” Barrack told the crowd at the Milken Institute’s MENA Summit, according to audio provided by Gulf News reporter Ed Clowes.
“The atrocities in any autocratic country are dictated by the rule of law,” Barrack continued. “So, for us to dictate what we think is the moral code there — when we have a young man [Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] and a regime that’s trying to push themselves into 2030 — I think is a mistake.”
In a statement Wednesday, Barrack called the murder of Khashoggi “atrocious” and “inexcusable” and apologized for “not making this clear in my comments earlier this week.”
But he appeared to suggest responsibility for the killing should not rest on Saudi leadership.
“I feel strongly that the bad acts of a few should not be interpreted as the failure of an entire sovereign kingdom,” Barrack said, maintaining that “rule of law and monarchies across the Middle East are confusing to the West.”
Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing columnist and prominent critic of Mohammed’s policies, was killed and dismembered by a team of Saudi agents inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, Turkish and Saudi prosecutors say.
These are the words of a man who has enough money to feel comfortable enough to believe governments killing journalists not only are an acceptable part of international business realpolitik, but that they should continue to be. And yes, Barrack's real estate ties go back to a four-decade plus relationship with the House of Saud.
But let's not forget why Barrack might want to keep a low profile these days...
Barrack, the executive chairman of real estate firm Colony NorthStar, has been a friend of Trump’s for more than three decades.
He was also a top fundraiser during Trump’s 2016 campaign and raised more than $100 million as chairman of Trump’s inaugural committee, which is under investigation by federal prosecutors.
Mr. Barrack is soon to get a visit from our friends at the Justice Department.
It's all connected, folks.