CIA Director Hears Audio Evidence of Khashoggi's Murder
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), the kingdom's de facto ruler, personally ordered or approved Jamal Khashoggi's murder. There's no ambiguity about it.
Saudi officials, including its foreign minister, lied claiming otherwise, shifting blame to lower level kingdom officials.
Clearly a number were involved, including 15 members of the hit squad dispatched to Istanbul to brutally abduct, torture and murder Khashoggi - acting on higher authority orders, clearly coming from MBS.
In Riyadh, nothing of importance goes on with his authorization or direct order. No underlings would dare act on their own.
It's how all despotic regimes operate, Saudi Arabia the worst in the Arab world, a ruling family controlling a territory masquerading as a nation state.
Its longstanding horrendous human rights abuses from inception need no elaboration. Its oil reserves, super-wealth, large-scale foreign investments, purchases of Western weapons, and alliance with Washington's imperial agenda protects king Salman and MBS from accountability no matter how heinous their high crimes.
In Ankara meeting with Turkish officials, CIA director Gina Haspel reportedly heard damning audio evidence, documenting Khashoggi's cold-blooded murder.
America's intelligence community, including the CIA and NSA, likely has the same or similar recordings, probably by bugging Turkish facilities, including its Istanbul consulate.
Haspel's visit had nothing to do with aiding Turkey investigate Khashoggi's murder, most likely everything to do with pressuring Erdogan not to reveal all he knows.
He complied so far by not revealing the "naked truth" about the incident as promised, stopping far short in his address to parliament and separate comments this week.
He allowed a steady drip of damning evidence, short of blaming MBS for what happened. With Turkey's economy in serious trouble, he's likely seeking large-scale Saudi financial aid to help bail it out - perhaps already offered.
He also aims to weaken the kingdom to elevate Turkey's regional status. Both countries are on opposite sides of key issues, including Iran, Qatar, and to some extent US-led, Saudi-supported, war in Syria.
In his first public remarks Wednesday at the kingdom's three-day investment conference, MBS tried shifting blame for Khashoggi's murder onto others, saying:
The "heinous crime…cannot be justified. (We are) carrying out all legal measures" in cooperation with Turkish authorities to "present the perpetrators to the court" in the case, adding:
"We will prove to the world that (Riyadh and Ankara) are cooperating to punish any criminal, any culprit and at the end justice will prevail."
On Wednesday, MBS and Erdogan spoke by phone, according to AP News and Lebanon's Daily Star, the latter broadsheet saying the following:
They spoke about "the issue of joint efforts and the steps that need to be taken in order to shed light on the Jamal Khashoggi murder in all its aspects."
MBS wants plausible deniability no matter how implausible. Erdogan wants the kingdom milked for all he can get in return for not implicating the crown prince in Khashoggi's murder.
They'll both likely get what they want. Most important for MBS and the kingdom is maintaining full US-led Western support.
It's virtually certain, including support from Russia, China, and most other countries.
Khashoggi's murder won't alter longstanding kingdom relations with at least most other countries.
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