OPINION: CBS’s & NPR’s Rabidly False ‘News’ About the Khashoggi Case

Eric Zuesse


It’s a lie to say, as CBS ‘News’ did on October 24th, that Saudi Crown Prince Salman couldn’t have done what Turkey says he did in the Khashoggi case — couldn’t do it,  because it’s not in the Saud family’s “DNA” to do such things. To the exact contrary: it is the norm for the Saud family, and has been for decades if not longer. What’s not normal in the Khashoggi case is that it was being done to a Saudi who has so many admirers and friends at high places in The West. That’s what makes the Khashoggi case different from all the others. And the evidence for this — and for the pervasive propagandistic fakery in U.S. mainstream ‘news’ reporting about foreign affairs (such as CBS did there) — will be presented here. This routine and unchallenged lying by the ‘news’-media is a super-scandal that the U.S. and UK press don’t report, but instead they all hide that they had lied and routinely do lie. So, since it’s totally unaddressed, it continues, on and on, for at least decades. Probably none of the major American or British ‘news’-media will publish this American samizdat, exposing the press, but this is being submitted to them all, in the hope that maybe at last, some or at least one of them will finally relent, and break open this mega-scandal — about the press itself. It needs to be made public

The constant lying, at any rate, must stop, regardless how it’s done. Though the problem itself, of repeatedly deceiving-the-public-into-wars, is not being reported, some U.S. and UK ‘news’-media are starting to come clean on aspects of the resulting disaster. The New York Times had participated like all the others in helping George W. Bush lie America into invading and destroying Iraq, but that newspaper, fifteen years later, bannered in its Sunday magazine on August 12th, “War Without End”, and sub-headed “The Pentagon’s failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.” C.J. Chivers wrote, with rare honesty:

The governments of Afghanistan and Iraq, each of which the United States spent hundreds of billions of dollars to build and support, are fragile, brutal and uncertain. The nations they struggle to rule harbor large contingents of irregular fighters and terrorists who have been hardened and made savvy, trained by the experience of fighting the American military machine. Much of the infrastructure the United States built with its citizens’ treasure and its troops’ labor [and bodies!] lies abandoned. Briefly [these infrastructures were] schools or outposts, many [now] are husks, looted and desolate monuments to forgotten plans. Hundreds of thousands of weapons provided to would-be allies have vanished; an innumerable quantity are on markets or in the hands of Washington’s enemies. Billions of dollars spent creating security partners also deputized pedophiles, torturers and thieves. National police or army units that the Pentagon proclaimed essential to their countries’ futures have disbanded. The Islamic State has sponsored or encouraged terrorist attacks across much of the world — exactly the species of crime the global “war on terror” was supposed to prevent.

Even articles like that, however, fail to note that these invasions are enormously profitable for insider-connected American corporations, such as Blackwater and Halliburton and Raytheon. No lessons have been learned from these disasters, because the people in power in 2002, are still being honored, instead of despised today; they even are talking heads on news shows, and speech-makers at the think tanks. It’s all propaganda for the same group of billionaires’ products and services as before — no one is boycotting any of their companies. The problem is just the same now as it was in 2002. Nothing, at all, has yet been learned from these catastrophes. After George W. Bush’s unchallenged lying which fooled Americans into invading Iraq in 2003 and destroying that country, we had Barack Obama’s unchallenged lying which fooled Americans in 2011 into invading Libya and then Syria, and destroying those countries. And because those lies are still believed, both George W. Bush and Barack Obama are respected even now in the United States. There is no accountability, none. Unless things change, America is doomed, and will destroy the entire world, without stop.

Rabid lying results when a propagandistic purpose is being served by a false ‘news’ report and it encourages America’s evil such as America’s providing logistics and weapons for the Saudis to slaughter Yemen’s Houthis now by the millions. Such lying is what was done by not only CBS News and NPR during the lead-up to the criminal 2003 invasion of Iraq, but which propaganda-for-invasion all of America’s and UK’s mainstream news-media were doing (and they continue to do, regarding today’s news-events — they misrepresent, for a propagandistic purpose). Just as in the past, the purpose is for international invasions, such as the U.S. and UK billionaires want, because it’s good for the industrial part of the military-industrial complex, and because the same billionaires who control the ‘news’-media own those industries. The most blatant example of that lying-for-the-billionaires was displayed in 2002 here. George W. Bush knew that he was lying about the evidence, but he did it anyway, because he was determined to conquer Iraq. Anyone who trusts mainstream ‘news’ media in U.S. and UK after that is just a willing fool — a sucker — for the billionaires’ propaganda-machine, and consequently is a partner with their deceiving ‘news’-media, and their firms, such as Lockheed Martin, in the entire system of profit from the war-crimes that these billionaire owners support, and constantly engender, just like they did before. Essentially, nothing has changed, since 2002.

On October 23rd, CBS News bannered “Khashoggi case: Former top U.S. intel official says past Saudi activity suggests attempted rendition, not assassination” and reported that “intelligence veteran Norman Roule said an attempted rendition or interrogation sanctioned by the Kingdom’s leadership – rather than a state-directed assassination – appears for now to fit better with a known pattern of previous Saudi operations.” This lying by ‘experts’ is basically no different than what had happened with the rigged ‘news’-reporting in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. Back then it was fake and heavily biased (if not outright prostituted) ‘experts’ who were engaged to inform the American and British publics about how dangerous to us the “WMD” or weapons of mass destruction — which Saddam was, they said, building — were, and why we must therefore promptly kick the U.N. weapons-inspectors out and immediately invade Iraq in order to eliminate these fictitious WMD (which those inspectors had searched for but not found). But this time, we’re being deceived to continue supporting the most barbaric tyranny on the face of the Earth — the Saud regime, which is the top ally of the U.S. regime, which is the world’s most aggressive, internationally law-breaking, war-making government, and it’s joined-at-the-hip with the Saud family.

CBS presents Mr. Roule as “A career intelligence official who, before retiring last year, spent decades at the Central Intelligence Agency and Office of the Director of National Intelligence managing significant programs related to Iran and the Middle East.” In America’s invasion and destruction of Iraq, the CIA and DNI were tasked by the President to provide him evidence that Saddam Hussein still possessed or was producing WMD, but they couldn’t find any so put together whatever bogus ‘evidence’ they could locate to support George W. Bush’s determination to invade Iraq, and they did it, and suckers believed it. Does any intelligent person believe them now — after the CIA Director had privately assured Bush that the case about Saddam’s WMD would be “a slam-dunk,” meaning that it would fool the mass of suckers — which it was? What intelligent person would trust them after that — and after Obama and Hillary Clinton’s subsequent Libyan adventure, “We Came, We Saw, He Died. Ha ha!”, and after so many other psychopathic, catastrophic, conquests by America and its allies, which are based on official lies, all of which were backed-up by the CIA? The CIA ‘authenticates’ what the President wants it to ‘authenticate’.

No intelligent persons would trust them now, though many suckers still do. “Bad intelligence” isn’t unintelligent spies; it is the euphemism that’s used to apply to professional ‘intelligence’ that serves its actual purpose of deceiving the public to support a catastrophic invasion, an evil attack by the aristocracy’s operatives, and for the aristocracy’s other purposes.

Roule said: “the idea [that] a murder was approved by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia – I’ve seen no evidence for this. It’s not in the DNA of their past operational activity.” He went on: “Almost to a man and woman, they [the Saudi people] are hurting because of this event. There is a bit of pain that the entire country of Saudi Arabia is being painted with this action.” In other words: he presumed that the family who own Saudi Arabia, the Sauds, are beloved by (instead of terrify) the subjects over whom they rule. It’s “the entire country” and not bin Salman al-Saud himself that’s now being “painted with this action” (the murder of Khashoggi). Roule clearly lies. He does it yet again: “The Saudis have no recent history of engaging in assassination activity abroad,’ Roule said. ‘Even the alleged activities of the past are many, many years ago and may not have occurred.’” What, then, about “NAWAF AL RASHEED, SON OF PRINCE TALAL BIN ABDULAZIZ AL RASHEED, DISAPPEARED SINCE MAY 12 [2018] DEPORTATION TO SAUDI ARABIA”? Rasheed still hasn’t been heard from or about, since his abduction at the order of bin Salman, half a year ago. And, going back to even before this Crown Prince, to the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing ‘suspects’, all of them simply disappeared, never to be heard from (or about) again — no public trial, nothing at all. There are many such cases, of many different kinds. This is normal Saudi practice — not abnormal at all. The Saud clan are like the Mafia, but vastly richer. For other recent examples, all attributable to the reign of Crown Prince Salman: on 15 August 2017, the BBC headlined “Saudi Arabia’s missing princes”, and reported that, “Between 2015 and 2017, three Saudi princes living in Europe [Prince Sultan bin Turki bin Abdulaziz, Prince Turki bin Bandar, and Prince Saud bin Saif al-Nasr] disappeared. All were critical of the Saudi government — and there is evidence that all were abducted and flown back to Saudi Arabia, where nothing further has been heard from them.” And, yet, after all this, the ‘expert’ Norman T. Roule, says: “It’s not in the DNA of their past operational activity.”

Then, in the CBS transcript, Roule said that America’s support for and assistance to the Sauds’ bombing of the Houthis in Yemen is on the good side of that invasion: the Houthis are bad people — “Where you have famine is primarily in areas under Houthi control. And the reasons for the famine, it’s less the absence of food, and it’s more that the Houthis charge so much for food.” He blames the victims. As I had headlined on Monday, 11 June 2018, “America’s Genocide in Yemen Starts Tuesday”. I reported there:

The Houthis in Yemen are expected to start being slaughtered en-masse on June 12th. The U.S.-Saudi-UAE plan is to destroy the Yemenese port city of Al Hudaydah, which is the only entry-way by which food reaches approximately seven million Shiites, members of the Houthi tribe, who occupy the western third of Yemen, and who had recently ruled all of Yemen. The U.S. provides the weapons and the training, and the United Arab Emirates supplies the pilots for this operation, which is financed mainly by the Saudis. The objective is to establish a joint UAE-Saudi-run government of Yemen.

Roule provides his ‘expertise’ not only at CBS, but at NPR, and at Bloomberg, and at Belfer Center at Harvard’s Kennedy Schoool, and at many other prestigious forums.

And, of course, Roule isn’t the only reporter (or ‘expert’) who lies about Yemen and other matters. On August 10th, I bannered “Yemen: Fake ‘News’ That’s Mixed Into America’s Mainstream News — And Why” and reported that,

On Friday, August 10th, CNN headlined “Saudi-led strike kills dozens of children on school field trip in Yemen” and reported as if the United States doesn’t have any important role to play in targeting and supplying the bombs and missiles for what the news-report refers to as “the Saudi-led coalition.” It even says at 0:15 in the video, “Saudi Arabia, through air strikes, leads the coalition, including the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Sudan” and doesn’t even mention there the main party, other than the royal Saud family — the U.S. Government itself — which provides not only detailed authorization of each target but also the weapons and the training on how they’re used.

The lying is systematic, and across the major media, and academia.

Furthermore, Roule’s saying that “the Houthis charge so much for food” is irrelevant because the Sauds’ cutting off the food-supplies has caused food-prices to soar, but Roule uses this price-rise to blame the Houthis, and not the Saud-U.S.-UAE coalition. Of course, the food-prices soared. But what’s relevant is who did it — and he lies about that. He uses this irrelevant allegation as an excuse for what the Sauds, UAE and U.S. are doing to the Houthis — exterminating them.


Roule is hired because he’s a pro-Saud anti-Iran hack. On 20 October 2017, NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly interviewed Roule in “Former Intelligence Official On Iran Nuclear Deal”. He told her: “Any time you can push back a rogue nation’s capacity to develop a nuclear weapon you’ve done something good. … you don’t want to be in a position where you say to someone, if you stop robbing banks we won’t put you in jail, but because they’ve stopped robbing banks they can commit any other nefarious activity and say, well, if you put me in jail, I guess I get to go back to robbing banks.”

One of his many employers is the neoconservative (pro-imperialistic, pro-invasion) JustSecurity.org, which provides this background of him:

Norman Roule is an advisory board member of the Arabia Foundation. Mr. Roule served for 34-years in the Central Intelligence Agency, managing numerous programs relating to Iran and the Middle East. His service in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations included roles as Division Chief and Chief of Station, and he also served as the National Intelligence Manager for Iran at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In addition to his role with the Arabia Foundation, Mr. Roule also serves as Senior Adviser to the Counter Extremism Project, United Against Nuclear Iran, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

If he didn’t hate Iran and Shia Muslims as much as the Saud family do, he wouldn’t be hired there, nor here, nor here, nor here, nor here, just to mention a few of his benefactors. To make money in this field, one must lie in the ‘right’ way. People wonder: How can atrocities such as the invasions of Iraq and of Libya happen? This is how it happens.

Fawaz Gerges

On October 24th, NPR headlined “Erdogan’s End Game”, and opened with “NPR’s David Greene speaks with international relations professor Fawaz Gerges about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s handling of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” Gerges said:

2:20- “Almost everything we know that you and I and all of us [know], it really comes from leaks from Turkish security forces.”

3:10- “On the one hand, you have Turkey … provides support for religious activists or Islamists, support and refuge from all over the Arab world, while Saudi Arabia and Egypt and other Arab states view Islamists as subversive.”

4:10- “There are more correspondents jailed in Turkey than any other country in the world.”

He presented Erdogan as the “Islamist” and Salman as the non-Islamist. The interviewer didn’t challenge him, at all, on that absurd upside-down portrayal. The Sauds’ regime is much more religious-extremist than is the Turkish regime. But both interviewer and interviewee had doubtless been fully vetted by CIA, NATO, and other agencies of the billionaires that control such official bodies. This systematic consistently pro-NATO propaganda doesn’t “just happen.” It’s not by chance. And, now, NATO stands with Salman, and against NATO-member Turkey, on the Khashoggi affair; so, Gerges does too.

Here are Gerges’s sponsors:

Fawaz Gerges holds the Emirates Chair of the Contemporary Middle East at the  LSE and was the inaugural Director of the LSE Middle East Centre. Other than the London School of Economics, he also teaches at: Sarah Lawrence College, Oxford University, Harvard University, Columbia University, and Princeton University. But his main posting is at LSE, shown here:


Centre Funding 

Emirates Foundation

Aman Trust

Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science

UK Department for International Development

The Leverhulme Trust

Gerald Gray



LSE Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fund

British Institute for Persian Studies

British Institute for the Study of Iraq

Oxfam GB

LSE IGA–Rockefeller Fund

American Political Science Association 

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Research Councils UK

Both the Saudi and the UAE rulers are pro-Taliban, and fund Al Qaeda.

America’s aristocracy and also Britain’s are allied mainly with the fundamentalist-Sunni Saud family who own Saudi Arabia, and also with the fundamentalist-Sunni President of “the Emirates” or UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and both are fundamentalist Sunni Arabs. They are now jointly destroying Yemen to kill off the Shiites there, Houthis, and are using U.S. weapons, logistics, and guidance, to do it. They and Israel are also strongly against Iran and against the Government of Syria. The U.S. and UK ‘news’-media pump that same propaganda, and are now becoming also hostile toward the Sunni Governments of Turkey and Qatar, which are less extreme Sunni regimes than the ones that the U.S. regime is allied with. At the present time, the flash-point is the murder of Khashoggi. That could even break up the Western alliance. The U.S. and UK ‘news’-media want to prevent this break-up from happening.

And this explains how the ‘experts’ and the ‘news’-media get the public to vote for politicians who, on the basis of lies, authorize the destruction of nations, such as Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria, and Yemen. Will the corruption and viciousness of America’s aristocracy ever stop? The mainstream ‘news’-media are part of it. The prospects are grim.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.