KHASHOGGI MURDER, CIA Points Finger at SALMAN
US Vice President Mike Pence has said Washington is “not going to stand for” the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, as Turkey suggested that the Saudi journalist’s body was possibly carried out of Turkey in diplomatic bags.
While in Papua New Guinea on a foreign trip, Pence said the US was “committed to ensuring that all of those responsible” for Khashoggi’s death are held “accountable.”
“The murder of Jamal Khashoggi was an atrocity. It was also an affront to a free and independent press and the United States is determined to hold all of those accountable who are responsible for that murder.”
The Vice President’s comments Saturday came the day after after the CIA concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing of Khashoggi, despite the Saudi government’s denials that the de facto ruler was involved, according to a senior US official and a source familiar with the matter.
Khashoggi’s Body Carried Through Airport
Speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada, the Turkish minister, Hulusi Akar, said that an 18-strong “kill team” from Saudi Arabia carried out the murder of Khashoggi and could have smuggled his body parts out of the country thanks to their diplomatic status.
Because they wouldn’t be searched by airport security due to their diplomatic status, Akar added that it was possible that “within the luggage they carried the dismembered body of Jamal Khashoggi.”
“Because of the diplomatic immunity, they left very easily without having any problems with the luggage,” Akar said. “Under the title of a diplomatic immunity passenger — coming, going — they have the diplomatic right to carry some of the luggage without leaving their control.”
Khashoggi, a former Saudi royal insider who became a critic of the country’s government, went missing in October after he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain papers for his upcoming marriage. The Saudi government offered changing explanations for his disappearance.
On Thursday, the Saudi Public Prosecutor’s Office said 11 people had been charged for their involvement in the killing, adding that five are facing capital punishment for being directly involved in “ordering and executing the crime.”
Trump Refuses to Listen to Tape of Murder
Donald Trump has refused to listen to audio tape of the murder of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, while saying the killing was “vicious”.
In an interview with Fox News broadcasting on Sunday, the president told presenter Chris Wallace: “I don’t want to hear the tape, no reason for me to hear the tape.”
In Trump’s pre-recorded interview with Fox, it emerged that he told the TV channel that Khashoggi’s killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last month was “very violent, very vicious and terrible”. The Turkish authorities had said soon after Khashoggi went missing that there was audio tape of his killing, although the White House was slow to acknowledge this.
After telling Wallace that he wouldn’t listen to the tape, during the Fox interview at the White House, the presenter then asks him: “Why don’t you want to hear it, Sir?”
The president replies: “It’s a suffering tape. It’s a terrible tape. I’ve been fully briefed on it.”
On Saturday, Trump called a CIA assessment blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi “very premature” and said he will receive a complete report on the case on Tuesday.
Trump also said the CIA finding that bin Salman was responsible for the killing was “possible.” Trump made the remarks hours after the State Department said the government was still working on determining responsibility for the death of Khashoggi, a U.S.-based Washington Post columnist.
“Recent reports indicating that the U.S. government has made a final conclusion are inaccurate,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. “There remain numerous unanswered questions with respect to the murder of Mr. Khashoggi.”
Nauert said the State Department will continue to seek facts and work with other countries to hold those involved in the journalist’s killing accountable “while maintaining the important strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia.”
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