Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Khashoggi 'torture kit': Turkish government reveals airport X-rays of Saudi hitmen's luggage

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a news conference Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a news conference
Leonard Rios | 15 November, 2018, 13:21

The United States wants Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to get to the bottom of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's death and wrap up the Saudi-led air war in Yemen, while using Riyadh as the centerpiece of a military alliance to check Iran.

"That is not the conclusion that the people who have heard it have come to", John Bolton told reporters in Singapore.

"I think the administration is wise to appoint someone with some experience in the region to Riyadh now after the government's murder of Jamal Khashoggi", Robert Ford, a former USA ambassador to Syria, told Al-Monitor in an email.

An article in Tuesday's New York Times also claimed that a member of the Saudi "kill team" instructed a superior over the phone to "tell your boss" - believed to refer to bin Salman - that the operatives had carried out their mission, according to three people familiar with a Turkish recording of Khashoggi's killing.

"We categorically deny the reporting referencing the crown prince in this matter or that he had any knowledge whatsoever of it", a Saudi official told the Journal on Tuesday.

Last year, Saudi Arabia arrested dozens of billionaires and princes in a crackdown on corruption that the business community read as a shake-down.

Sen. Lindsey Graham called Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman "unstable and unreliable" and said he and other senators were discussing sanctions against the longtime USA ally in the wake of a Saudi columnist's murder.

And American intelligence officials believe "your boss" was a reference to Prince Mohammed. Bolton has said he has not heard the tape himself.

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Journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a contributor to "The Washington Post", who vanished on 2 October 2018 during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

The Turkish chief prosecutor has previously said that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate as part of a premeditated plan, and his body dismembered.

"The Saudis do not have rogue operations ever", Baer said "It's never occured".

USA officials have speculated that such a mission - including the 15 men sent from Riyadh - could not have been carried out without the authorization of bin Salman, heir apparent to the Saudi throne.

Ankara has already shared voice recordings linked to the murder with a number of countries including Saudi Arabia, the United States and its Western allies.

They include the killing itself and conversations before the operation which Turkey subsequently uncovered, the sources said.

Earlier President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Turkey had given the recordings of the killing of Khashoggi to some countries, including Saudi, UK, U.S., Germany and France. Indeed when the Saudi intelligence officer listened to the recordings he was so shocked he said: 'This one must have taken heroin, only someone who takes who heroin would do this, ' he added.

Trump now says Saudi Arabia misused USA -supplied weapons in the Saudi-led coalition's bombing campaign in Yemen, which has helped trigger the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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