Could killing of Washington Post writer by Saudi 'murder team' finally put crack in US support of 'criminal regime'?
Spurring fresh outrage among those who criticize the cozy relationship between the U.S. government and the Saudi monarchy—with emphasis on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS)—political dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabia national living in self-imposed exile abroad, was tortured and killed last week by a Saudi government 'murder team,' according to Turkish sources, while inside the Saudi consulate building in Istanbul, Turkey.
"The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate," one of the two Turkish officials told Reuters on Saturday. The writer, the news agency reported, entered the consulate last Tuesday to secure documents for his forthcoming marriage while his fiancee waited outside. He never came back out, she said, and has not been seen or heard from since.
Citing two people with knowledge of Turkey's probe, the Post's reporting says that the 15-member Saudi hit team was sent "specifically for the murder" and that the entire thing was "pre-planned." According to the Post:
The killing, if confirmed, would mark a startling escalation of Saudi Arabia's effort to silence dissent. Under direction from the crown prince, Saudi authorities have carried out hundreds of arrests under the banner of national security, rounding up clerics, business executives and even women’s rights advocates.
"If the reports of Jamal's murder are true, it is a monstrous and unfathomable act," Fred Hiatt, the director of The Post’s editorial page, said in a statement. "Jamal was — or, as we hope, is — a committed, courageous journalist. He writes out of a sense of love for his country and deep faith in human dignity and freedom. He is respected in his country, in the Middle East and throughout the world. We have been enormously proud to publish his writings."
Khashoggi may have been considered especially dangerous by the Saudi leadership, analysts said. His criticisms of the royal family and its vast powers were delivered from his self-imposed exile in the United States and could not be dismissed as the complaints of a longtime dissident.
"Unbelievable" and "WTF!!!" declared CodePink's Medea Benjamin, a U.S. peace activist and expert on the Saudi's human rights record, after reading the news.
Unbelievable! You’ve gotta read this Reuters piece: https://t.co/yVzNXbgrnd— Medea Benjamin (@medeabenjamin) October 7, 2018
Turkish authorities say #Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared after entering Saudi consulate in Istanbul, was killed inside by Saudi hit team. #MBSMurdersKhashoggi
WTF!!! Turkey says @WashingtonPost journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of the #Saudi government, was killed in Saudi consulate in Turkey by a hit team! https://t.co/Abm0j1cqJC— Medea Benjamin (@medeabenjamin) October 7, 2018