Foreign Policy

WSJ, NY Times Confirm Gruesome Details of WaPo Contributor’s Killing

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Middle East Eye first reported the gruesome details of the recording of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi's death obtained by Turkish authorities. Their report has now been confirmed by the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times.

Citing Turkish officials who've listened to the recording, the Wall Street Journal reported last night that Khashoggi's was not accidentally killed while under interrogation as the Saudi government is reportedly preparing to admit. Officials say he wasn't interrogated at all.

The recording indicates how Mr. Khashoggi was killed in the office of the Saudi consul general, Mohammad al-Otaibi, minutes after he walked into the consulate building on Oct. 2, said people familiar with the matter. Mr. Khashoggi wasn’t interrogated, the people said. Instead, he was beaten up, drugged and killed by Saudi operatives who had flown in from Riyadh earlier in the day, the people said.

Then, on the recording, a voice can be heard inviting the consul to leave the room, the people familiar with the matter said. The voice of a man Turkish authorities identified as Saudi forensic specialist Salah Al Tabiqi can be heard recommending other people present to listen to some music while he dismembered Mr. Khashoggi’s body, the people said.

The New York Times reported a slightly conflicting account this morning that still corroborates the majority of previous reports.

The Times reports that Khashoggi was very briefly interrogated, but the outcome was still the same. They also report that the Saudi ambassador to Turkey was threatened by the agents doing the killing.

ISTANBUL — His killers were waiting when Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul two weeks ago. They severed his fingers during an interrogation and later beheaded and dismembered him, according to details from audio recordings published in the Turkish news media on Wednesday. [...]

After he was shown into the office of the Saudi consul, Mohammad al-Otaibi, the agents seized Mr. Khashoggi almost immediately and began to beat and torture him, eventually cutting off his fingers, the senior Turkish official said.

“Do this outside. You will put me in trouble,” Mr. al-Otaibi, the consul, told them, according to the Turkish official and the report in Yeni Safak, both citing audio recordings said to have been obtained by Turkish intelligence.

“If you want to live when you come back to Arabia, shut up,” one of the agents replied, according to both the official and the newspaper. [...]

As they cut off Mr. Khashoggi’s head and dismembered his body, a doctor of forensics who had been brought along for the dissection and disposal had some advice for the others, according to the senior Turkish official.

Listen to music, he told them, as he put on headphones himself. That was what he did to ease the tension when doing such work, the official said, describing the contents of the audio recording.

I certainly don't revel in sharing the details of this macabre killing, but in this case the details matter a great deal.

Half a dozen news organizations from the Middle East to London and America are now reporting the contents of these recordings and the reports tells us that even the admission of guilt the Saudi government was preparing to release is a lie.

The Saudi government was reportedly going to admit that Khashoggi was killed during an "interrogation gone wrong," but if he was questioned at all it's clear that he was going to be killed. Even the New York Times' account which says he was briefly interrogated also says they cut his fingers off while interrogating him.

Meanwhile, Trump is still running interference for the Saudis, telling reporters last night that there's no proof of what happened. Trump also told reporters this morning that we 'need the Saudis' in the fight against terrorism, which is obviously crazy because, from Yemen to Turkey, the Saudis are terrorizing plenty of people.

When Trump says he won't jeopardize our relationship with the Saudis over this, what he's really saying is he won't jeopardize his own relationship with them. The Saudis have pumped tens of millions of dollars into Trump's businesses and I'm certain they know things about him that he wouldn't to see released to the public.

Trump is deeply compromised by the worst governments in the world.

  • muselet

    That Mohammed bin Salman would be behind a grotesque barbarity like this is neither surprising nor shocking. It’s been clear for some time now that he is capable of atrocities.

    That Donald Trump prioritizes his private business dealings with the House of Saud far above their human rights abuses is likewise not shocking or surprising.

    It’s at times like these I sort of wish I believed in Hell.


  • katanahamon

    Another grotesque disfigurement of the American presidency. This heinous, heinous act must be punished at all levels by every civilized nation. Rump must also be punished..he has already conspired and colluded to cover this up.

  • How is this not further proof of Trumpov violating the Emoluments clause? Trumpov admitted in interviews and at rallies that he gets tens of millions of dollars from the Saudis and that is the reason why he won’t damage the relationship with them.

  • Badgerite

    trump is a POS. And a monster. I have more respect for the mafia than for him or his family.

  • Username1016

    That poor man. Absolutely horrifying.

    I just emailed both my senators to ask WTH they’re going to do about it, but I can tell you right now what that will be: Toomey, nothing; Casey, maybe an attempt, but minority party so oh well. And meanwhile the Saudis get away with it and Trump doesn’t care.

    We should have broken with the Saudis in 2001, when they harbored the 911 terrorists.

    • katanahamon

      And financed them, and secretly cheered them on.