"Groveling In Excrement": Thomas Friedman Mercilessly Mocked For Bizarre Saudi Puff Piece

On the same day that New York Times columnist Thomas "suck on this" Friedman penned what reads like a fawning hagiography of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and which glowingly presents the soon to be king as a modernizing reformer intent on liberalizing Islam, Human Rights Watch issued a report exposing a new Saudi counterterrorism law as little more than a dictator's tool for crushing dissent.

The new law, published on November 1 of this year, replaces a 2014 law which defined specific acts of terror and corresponding sentencing guidelines; however, the November decree is described as incredibly vague and broad in its application while allowing for severe consequences for so much as criticizing the king or crown prince. The kingdom has long aggressively rooted out dissentarresting and prosecuting individuals for engaging in protest, even if merely on social media.


According the Human Rights Watch (HRC) report:

It includes criminal penalties of 5 to 10 years in prison for portraying the king or crown prince, directly or indirectly, “in a manner that brings religion or justice into disrepute,” and criminalizes a wide range of peaceful acts that bear no relation to terrorism.

The law also brings terror-related cases under the direct administrative oversight of the king. HRW provides examples of the types of vague protest related activities that Saudi Arabia can now deem "terrorism":

The new law, however, does not restrict the definition of terrorism to violent acts. Other conduct it defines as terrorism includes “disturbing public order,” “shaking the security of the community and the stability of the State,” “exposing its national unity to danger,” and “suspending the basic laws of governance,” all of which are vague and have been used by Saudi authorities to punish peaceful dissidents and activists. Prominent human rights activists Abdullah al-Hamid and Mohammed al-Qahtani are serving 11-year and 10-year sentences respectively, based on charges that contain similar language. Human rights activist Essam Koshak is currently on trial on similar charges.

Though HRW has consistently shown itself to be merely critical of countries and regimes considered enemies of the West (for example rarely criticizing US/UK allies while focusing on Syria or Russia), the report comes amidst growing public awareness of the long ignored and forgotten Saudi-US bombing of Yemeni civilians, and consequent humanitarian disaster still unfolding.

Even less known is that fact that Saudi Arabia recently flattened an entire civilian townAwamiya, in the country's restive Shia-dominated east in a sectarian driven campaign to crush dissent with overwhelming military force. The siege of Awamiya last summer was well documented, with Saudi war crimes caught on video, yet fawning pro-Saudi journalists in major newsrooms in the West have never so much as raised the issue with the Saudis or their US State Department backers.

But of course, most astute observers of developments in the Saudi kingdom of horrors hardly need convincing that Saudi's rulers are among the most backwards and repressive on earth, which makes Thomas Friedman's interview and column on MbS all the more absurd and laughable.

Friedman is now being roundly mocked on social media, and surprisingly even among some mainstream media pundits who tend to me more reserved in their sycophant tendencies.

*****

Below are some of the more obscene and comical highlights from Friedman's "Saudi Arabia's Arab Spring, at last".

Friedman introduces the current MbS crackdown as "the most significant reform process underway in the Middle East today:

I never thought I’d live long enough to write this sentence: The most significant reform process underway anywhere in the Middle East today is in Saudi Arabia. Yes, you read that right. Though I came here at the start of Saudi winter, I found the country going through its own Arab Spring, Saudi style.

Friedman gets worn out by the "fire hose of new ideas" from the late night session with the charming young dictator:

After nearly four hours together, I surrendered at 1:15 a.m. to MBS’ youth, pointing out that I was exactly twice his age. It’s been a long, long time, though, since any Arab leader wore me out with a fire hose of new ideas about transforming his country.

The kingdom's recent spate of mass arrests, which now include allegations of torture and asset shakedowns by the state, is based in the supposedly heroic vision of noble-minded MbS: 

...his government arrested scores of Saudi princes and businessmen on charges of corruption and threw them into a makeshift gilded jail — the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton — until they agreed to surrender their ill-gotten gains. You don’t see that every day.

And apparently Friedman knows what the "silent majority" thinks while being entertained at one of the royal family's private palaces:

The Saudi silent majority is clearly fed up with the injustice of so many princes and billionaires ripping off their country. While foreigners, like me, were inquiring about the legal framework for this operation, the mood among Saudis I spoke with was: “Just turn them all upside down, shake the money out of their pockets and don’t stop shaking them until it’s all out!”

With zero substantive evidence, we are assured MBS is a liberalizing and moderating force who will deliver universal human rights and equality to the Wahhabi kingdom:

MBS is on a mission to bring Saudi Islam back to the center. He has not only curbed the authority of the once feared Saudi religious police to berate a woman for not covering every inch of her skin, he has also let women drive. And unlike any Saudi leader before him, he has taken the hard-liners on ideologically. As one U.S.-educated 28-year-old Saudi woman told me: MBS “uses a different language. He says, ‘We are going to destroy extremism.’ He’s not sugarcoating. That is reassuring to me that the change is real.”

"It blew my mind" says Friedman:

But as someone who has been coming here for almost 30 years, it blew my mind to learn that you can hear Western classical music concerts in Riyadh now, that country singer Toby Keith held a men-only concert here in September, where he even sang with a Saudi, and that Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji will be among the first female singers to perform a women-only concert here on Dec. 6.

"Perfect is not the menu" concludes Friedman as the Saudis kill and maim tens of thousands of Yemeni civilians just across the border:

But can MBS and his team see this through? Again, I make no predictions. He has his flaws that he will have to control, insiders here tell me. They include relying on a very tight circle of advisers who don’t always challenge him sufficiently, and a tendency to start too many things that don’t get finished. There’s a whole list. But guess what? Perfect is not on the menu here. Someone had to do this job — wrench Saudi Arabia into the 21st century — and MBS stepped up. I, for one, am rooting for am rooting for him to succeed in his reform efforts. 

MBS a liberal icon of "moderate" Islam:

Indeed, MBS instructed me: “Do not write that we are ‘reinterpreting’ Islam — we are ‘restoring’ Islam to its origins — and our biggest tools are the Prophet’s practices and [daily life in] Saudi Arabia before 1979.” At the time of the Prophet Muhammad, he argued, there were musical theaters, there was mixing between men and women, there was respect for Christians and Jews in Arabia. “The first commercial judge in Medina was a woman!” So if the Prophet embraced all of this, MBS asked, “Do you mean the Prophet was not a Muslim?” 

Friedman concludes by quoting an anonymous woman on "hope" and "change" and a clichéd line, "anything is possible":

And the fact that starting in June that will never again be so “gives me so much hope. It proves to me that anything is possible — that this is a time of opportunity. We have seen things change and we are young enough to make the transition.”

Comments

shitshitshit bobcatz Sun, 11/26/2017 - 09:14 Permalink

You are witnessing peak radical islamism here:

  • A 32 y/o spoiled rich kid has the brain, the balls and the nerves to do it all by himself, ha ha
  • He's helped by an army of totally devout mercenaries that do not work for any other government in the first place, ha ha
  • and of course there's still plenty of oil in saudi arabia, ha ha
  • they'll be just fine to finance moar mosques in europe and wherever to sustain their agenda, yes yes yes

If you believe any of this I have a couple of bridges for sale. 

In reply to by bobcatz

C_Tacitus ebworthen Sat, 11/25/2017 - 23:35 Permalink

Is it not the least tantalizing that when the ever shifting Israeli interests whirl around like the winds-of-change all the Israeli-firsters' true allegiance stands out in vivid contrast to the purported NYT "newspaper of record" reputation it made for itself?  Then they all come out of the woodwork.For amusing read on Friedman's latent homo desires check out this moon of Alabama piece:http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/11/and-then-the-clown-prince-told-fri…

In reply to by ebworthen

Mr. Kwikky Croesus Sat, 11/25/2017 - 20:01 Permalink

Rare, medium or well done a beer on the side perhaps? What Are the Levels of Steak Doneness?

  • Well done: Grayish-brown with no sign of pink. It's usually slightly charred on the outside. Cooking a good steak to this level of doneness is a challenge. It has to be done slowly on low heat, or else you end up with shoe leather.
  • Medium well: Mostly gray-brown throughout, but with a hint of pale pink inside. Good for someone who wants an ever-so-slightly juicy steak, but detests any sign of "blood" in their meat.
  • Medium: A more pronounced band of pink in the middle of the steak. However, there should still be slightly more gray-brown than pink coloration.
  • Medium rare: Warm and has a mostly pink-to-red center. Firm on the outside, soft and juicy on the inside.
  • Rare: Cool or warm red center. It's nearly like raw meat, but obviously cooked on the outside.
  • Very rare or blue: Red, cool, and practically raw. It's barely cooked for the true carnivores amongst us.
  • Raw: I think this one is self-explanatory. Die-hard carnivores can go for this.

In reply to by Croesus

Ms No Ghost of Porky Sat, 11/25/2017 - 20:12 Permalink

"After an exquisite lunch of grilled albino fetuses with gold flake, and chocolate mousse served on the abdomen of a naked 9 year old slave-girl, the Saudi Crown prince wowed me with his vision of political reform."ROFL  The shitty part is that HAS PROBABLY HAPPENED, right after the orb.  If not, give it five minutes.  They're trying to starve an entire nation right now.

In reply to by Ghost of Porky

bonin006 Gorgeous Sat, 11/25/2017 - 17:38 Permalink

You are incorrect. I have it from a reliable source that MBS is a true reformer. The plan is to stop wasting valuable resources. Rather lock up woman who want to wear skirts (even more wasteful, chop off their heads or stone them), the plan is to encourage them. Of course it is still against Islamic law, but there will be no religious police stopping them. In accordance with the teachings of the Koran, they will be subject to forced sexual relations with any men who so desire. I believe it is not considered rape under the Koran, but rather a corrective measure intended to help them.

In reply to by Gorgeous

max_is_leering bonin006 Sat, 11/25/2017 - 18:54 Permalink

"I have it from a reliable source that MBS is a true reformer." BWAHHHHHHHHHHH HAAAAAAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!! That has to be the funniest, as well as the stupidest, line EVER!!! MbS is a warmongering inbreed and a goat-fucking POS. Ask the Yemenis. There's a true genocide. And no religious police? In Saudi Arabia? Get the fuck out! They're called the Mutawa, and they're not going anywhere. Plus, they'll whip your legs with canes if you miss prayers. Period!! Hey Bonin006, MbS would love to have you fly right over, suck his cock, and then write platitudes about him. Just like Joo-boy Friedman did. Only difference is that he'll get published, you won't.

In reply to by bonin006

Tugg McFancy Sat, 11/25/2017 - 17:11 Permalink

The Liberal bias at home of papers like the New York Times is really a smokescreen to play into the Dem/Rep false dichotomy.The main game is always imperialism and for that they're always in lockstep with the government's overseas agenda or favoured pet dictators.

hooligan2009 Sat, 11/25/2017 - 17:20 Permalink

the egos of MSM journalists is surpassed only by their ignorance.this is beyond the fable "the emperor has no clothes" - this is the puke inducing ability of denial of the highest order and represents the paradigm shift needed to cleanse the MSM of psycho-phants - that is to say.. eli-phants, minus the eli and plus the psycho.friedman needs serious psycho-logical and medical help, but then, so does the MSM that supports the status quo of 40 years of libtard socialist populism.

serotonindumptruck Sat, 11/25/2017 - 17:18 Permalink

Friedman is no different than most other Western MSM mouthpieces.They all write what they are paid to write.Investigative journalism has suffered an ignoble and dishonorable death in the West.The few well-intentioned independent journalists who remain are attacked and ostracized by the well-compensated sycophants in the MSM, who have all sold their souls at the altar of intellectual dishonesty. 

GunnerySgtHartman serotonindumptruck Sat, 11/25/2017 - 17:27 Permalink

True investigative journalism doesn't get page hits or sell ads.I'm sure everyone remembers the "Weekly World News" tabloid that you could buy at the supermarket years ago, how it was good for a laugh and bird-cage liner, and how "proper journalism" disavowed it - well, now "proper journalism" has become what it turned its collective nose up at.  And they wonder why viewerships/subscriptions continue to decline.

In reply to by serotonindumptruck

Gorgeous serotonindumptruck Sat, 11/25/2017 - 18:22 Permalink

"What they are paid to write."  That is the plain truth of it.  This piece is part of a planned rollout of psychoprop that is needed to win over US public opinion.  It is interesting to watch how the Zio agenda unfolds.  Israel's agenda hinges on US support.  US support hinges on public opinion.  And public opinion depends on what the MSM feeds it.  Unless we have a POTUS that calls BS.

In reply to by serotonindumptruck

Neochrome Sat, 11/25/2017 - 17:25 Permalink

Funny how Friedman has no problem with Saudi Arabia killing thousands in Yemen in order to establish it's regime in the country, yet he was calling on Serbia to be bombed into dark ages for it's fight against KLA terrorists on Serbian soil. Then again, consistency, justice and rules are signs of a weak minds, just ask Hillary Clinton.

bobdog54 Neochrome Sat, 11/25/2017 - 18:42 Permalink

Here’s my question, are Friedman and Krugman twin brothers!! They are tied in my book for the most ignorant men in this world. Can they be as stupid as they write or are they making big $$$ via the deep state.

The only reason I can consider global warming a human problem is that people like these two are oxygen thieves.

In reply to by Neochrome