What was originally designed to bring Russian oligarchs to justice is now thought to being used against Saudi Arabia to punish the killers of Mr. Khashoggi. Nothing has yet been proven and we are dangerously close to another Kavanaugh moment where we rush to judgement based on some evidence but many unanswered questions. Does Trump need this on his plate at this time?
But there is some evidence. Turkish officials have released footage of Jamal Khashoggi walking into the Saudi consulate on Tuesday, October 2, 2018 as seen in CCTV footage. That is some strong evidence even though it actually doesn’t show a conclusive face but a very close match.
The Magnitsky Act was signed into law in 2012 by Barrack Obama to punish Russian officials who were thought to be responsible for the death of tax accountant Sergei Magnitsky. The background on this act has its own intrigue and may be part of a larger plot than bringing the perpetrators of Mr. Magnitsky killer to justice (he died while in police custody – he had multiple health issues, he developed gall stones, pancreatitis, and a blocked gall bladder, and received inadequate medical care) so there is a great chance there is more to the bill than helping a Russian lawyer who helped Bill Browder cash in on Russia.
So why would Saudi Arabia want to assassinate its own citizen and member of the royal inner circle? The fact he was a journalist that worked for the Washington Post (has been known to be a CIA mouthpiece) and was critical of the Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS for short) should give some clues, but are there others?
Suspects in disappearance of Khashoggi linked to Saudi security services https://t.co/JKCQyU6nO3
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) October 17, 2018
Khashoggi, a Saudi citizen who was an outspoken critic of his government, went to his country’s consulate in Istanbul on Oct.2 to pick up a document showing he was divorced so he could marry his fiancée. He did not emerge, and has not been seen since. Little has been independently confirmed, but the Turkish government claims Saudi agents tortured, killed, and dismembered Khashoggi, and fled the country, carrying his remains.
If it is shown that Khashoggi was indeed murdered in this grotesque way, this presents a fundamental challenge to the civilized world. He was a Washington Post journalist, a respected member of the international community, and he was in a NATO-member country trying to start a new life. If what is alleged turns out to be true, and the Saudis get away with Khashoggi’s grisly murder on Turkish soil, then it will give a green light to any thin-skinned ruler to go ahead and assassinate critics without fear of consequences.
Although our policy tools are limited, there is a way to create consequences for this kind of atrocity: the Global Magnitsky Act. This is a piece of legislation that has the power to freeze assets and ban visas of gross human rights abusers from anywhere in the world. It was named after my Russian lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, who uncovered a massive Russian government corruption scheme in 2008.
Turkish officials have told Middle East Eye and other media organisations that investigators suspect Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate building, but have no evidence corroborating those suspicions have been made public.
Describing his own journalism, Khashoggi refused to regard himself as an “opposition” dissident, and said: “I just want to be an independent writer… I’m just writing my views assuming that I am Saudi Arabian.”
So he was part of the inner circle and saw a lot of the behind the scenes of the royal family. He was careful not to be too harsh as what now appears to be the consequence of being critical of the young prince.
Khashoggi was once part of the Saudi establishment. But in recent years he had become critical of the kingdom’s rulers, and in September 2017 he moved to Washington amid fears of a new crackdown on dissenting voices. At the time of his disappearance he lived there in self-imposed exile, writing regular columns for the Washington Post newspaper.
Here is a timeline from Turkish sources:
Friday 28 September: Istanbul
Time unknown: Khashoggi goes to the Saudi consulate on Akasyalı Sk in Istanbul. He is planning to marry Hatice Cengiz, his Turkish fiancee, but first he needs to obtain paperwork from the Saudi authorities.
Officials at the consulate tell the journalist to return on Monday. Khashoggi flies to London on Friday evening.
Saturday 29 September: London
Morning: Khashoggi is one of the speakers at a MEMO (Middle East Monitor) conference about the 25th anniversary of the Oslo Accords at the Wellcome Collection on Euston Road.
Khashoggi tells the gathering that Saudi Arabia realises it has gone too far in promoting President Donald Trump’s “Deal of the Century” for the Middle East, and that it is now backing away as the plan has become a burning issue in the kingdom.
Later, Khashoggi is interviewed by the BBC World Service about the Middle East peace process. Off-air, he is asked about his own circumstances and whether he can return to Saudi Arabia.
Three days before he disappeared, we interviewed Jamal Khashoggi. Off air, we asked him about the possibility of returning to Saudi Arabia. We wouldn't normally release this conversation but we've decided to make an exception in light of the circumstances. https://t.co/Qj9pQ2ExbP pic.twitter.com/cmWimMj93H
— BBC Newshour (@BBCNewshour) October 8, 2018
Khashoggi says: “People who get arrested are not even dissidents. They just have an independent mind.”
Sunday 30 September: London
11.00: Khashoggi meets with his friend Saad Djebbar at The Fine Cheese Co in the upscale Belgravia neighbourhood.
Djebbar, an international lawyer based in London, has known Khashoggi for 22 years. “Jamal always came to me to help settle matters regarding Saudi institutions – businessmen, those who are loyal institutions or members,” Djebbar later tells MEE.
The two chat at the shop for less than an hour. Djebbar says that a car then came to collect Khashoggi.
Monday 1 October: Istanbul
UPDATE Khashoggi meets with his friend Azzam Tamimi, a British Palestinian academic and chairman and editor in chief of Alhiwar TV Channel, and spends much of the day with him.
UPDATE 10pm: Khashoggi takes the last flight from Heathrow to Istanbul on Turkish Airlines.
01.44-01.45: Three Saudi men pass through passport control at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport after arriving aboard a scheduled flight. Although the flight they were on is unknown, several inbound flights from Cairo landed shortly beforehand. They later check in at the Wyndham Grand Istanbul Levent on Buyukdere Cd in the Levent district, close to the Saudi consulate.
The Turkish authorities subsequently identify them as Meshal Saad M Albost, Khaled Aedh G Altaibi and Abdulaziz Muhammed M Alhawsawi. They are the first three of 15 Saudi nationals to arrive in Istanbul on that day who are later linked to Khashoggi’s disappearance.
03.13: A private jet, with the tail registration HZ-SK2, arrives at Ataturk Airport from Riyadh via Cairo (below). On board are nine Saudi nationals.
03.38 – 03.41: The second group of Saudi nationals pass through passport control (below). Later they check in at the Movenpick Hotel Istanbul at Eski Buyukdere Caddesi No.3 in the Levent district, also near the Saudi consulate. The Turkish authorities later identify them as Salah Muhammad A Tubaigy, Turki Musharraf M Alsehri, Waleed Abdullah M Alsehri, Thaar Ghaleb T Alharbi, Maher Abdulaziz M Mutreb, Fahad Shabib A Albalawi, Badr Lafi M Alotaibi, Saif Saad Q Alqahtani and Mustafa Muhammed M Almadani.
Approx 12.45: Turkish staff at the consulate are told to take the day off.
UPDATE 13.14: Khashoggi enters the Saudi Arabian consulate at 6 Akasyalı Sk (below). It is the last time he is seen in public. Saudi officials subsequently say that Khashoggi left the building 20-30 minutes after he arrived.
Khashoggi leaves his iPhone with Cengiz as mobile devices are not allowed inside the consulate and tells her to raise the alarm if he fails to return after more than four hours.
An official greets Khashoggi as he enters by the door, and he is taken to the consul general’s office, according to reports.
A Turkish source close to the investigation later tells Middle East Eye that Khashoggi was dragged from the consul general’s office by two men and onto the table of his study next door.
The source, who has listened in full to an audio recording of what happened, says: “The consul himself was taken out of the room. There was no attempt to interrogate him. They had come to kill him.” The source said Khashoggi stopped screaming when he was injected with an as yet unknown substance.
Tubaigy then begins to cut up Khashoggi’s body on the table while he is still alive, the Turkish source tells MEE, using earphones to listen to music and advising other members of the team to do likewise. “When I do this job, I listen to music. You should do [that] too,” Tubaigy was recorded as saying, the source tells MEE.
A Turkish source had told the New York Times that Tubaigy was equipped with a bone saw. He is listed as the president of the Saudi Fellowship of Forensic Pathology and a member of the Saudi Association for Forensic Pathology.
Saudi officials have strenuously denied allegations that Khashoggi was killed.
15.15: A convoy of six Saudi diplomatic cars leaves the consulate: four vehicles head for the consulate-general’s residence, where they remain for several hours, while the other two head for a hotel. A black van with diplomatic number plates also departs at around the same time. It’s destination is not known.
16.00: Cengiz becomes concerned and calls Yasin Aktay, an adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. She also contacts an organisation that represents the interests of Turkish journalists. CCTV (below) later shows her outside the Saudi consulate.
16.12 – 16.53: A group of three Saudi nationals pass through passport control at Ataturk Airport. They are understood to have arrived on a scheduled flight, possibly Saudia flight V263 from Riyadh, which landed at 1525. They check into the Wyndham Grand Hotel. They are subsequently identified by Turkish authorties as Naif Hassan S Alarifi, Muhammed Saad H Alzahrani and Mansur Othman M Abahuseyin.
17.15: A private jet, with the tail registration HZ-SK1, arrives at Ataturk Airport.
18.00: Cengizis is told by staff at the Saudi consulate that Khashoggi has already left the building.
18.20: Private jet HZ-SK1 leaves Ataturk Airport for Riyadh via Cairo. On board are six Saudi nationals.
20.00: Cengiz calls the police to report Khashoggi’s disappearance.
22.46: Private HZ-SK2 leaves Ataturk, first for Dubai, then for Riyadh. On board are seven Saudi nationals.
00.18 – 00.20: The final two Saudi nationals pass through passport control at Ataturk Airport and leave on a scheduled flight.
Saudi officials have strongly denied any knowledge of Khashoggi’s whereabouts and say that he left the consulate soon after arriving. They have yet to present any evidence to corroborate their comments and say that video cameras at the consulate were not recording at the time.
Photo source: AFP/ Washington Post/Hatice Cengiz
This is explosive information from Turkish officials and makes you wonder if this has anything to do with the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson and the coming change in the Middle East?