It is really stunning that President Trump is standing by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
Bizarrely, Trump, in an interview with the Associated Press, compared the case of Jamal Khashoggi, who Turkish officials have said was murdered in the Saudis’ Istanbul consulate, to the allegations of sexual assault leveled against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing.
“I think we have to find out what happened first,” Trump said. “Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that. We just went through that with Justice Kavanaugh and he was innocent all the way as far as I’m concerned.”
The Kavanaugh charge was made about an event that occurred more than 35 years ago, with no current evidence or witnesses.
With the Khashoggi case, we have seen strong supporting evidence in the forms of photos and videos and what appear accurate reports that the Turkish government has audio recordings of the Khashoggi killing.
Now, this from The Wall Street Journal:
Saudi operatives beat, drugged, killed and dismembered a dissident Saudi journalist in the presence of the kingdom’s top diplomat in Istanbul, Turkish officials said Tuesday...Here are more gory details from The Middle East Eye:
urkish officials said they shared evidence in recent days, including the details of an audio recording, with both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to support their conclusion that Mr. Khashoggi was killed at the hand of Saudi operatives. It wasn’t clear how Turkish officials had an audio recording.
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...Turkish officials have said they suspect the Saudi crown prince had a hand in Mr. Khashoggi’s disappearance because some of the operatives who took part in the alleged killing appear to have ties to him.
It took seven minutes for Jamal Khashoggi to die, a Turkish source who has listened in full to an audio recording of the Saudi journalist's last moments told Middle East Eye.
Khashoggi was dragged from the Consul General’s office at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and onto the table of his study next door, the Turkish source said.
Horrendous screams were then heard by a witness downstairs, the source said.
"The consul himself was taken out of the room. There was no attempt to interrogate him.
They had come to kill him,” the source told MEE.
The screaming stopped when Khashoggi - who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on 2 October - was injected with an as yet unknown substance.
Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, who has been identified as the head of forensic evidence in the Saudi general security department, was one of the 15-member squad who arrived in Ankara earlier that day on a private jet.
Tubaigy began to cut Khashoggi’s body up on a table in the study while he was still alive, the Turkish source said.
The killing took seven minutes, the source said.
As he started to dismember the body, Tubaigy put on earphones and listened to music. He advised other members of the squad to do the same.
“When I do this job, I listen to music. You should do [that] too,” Tubaigy was recorded as saying, the source told MEE...
A Turkish source 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.It is extremely difficult to understand how MBS is going to be able to maneuver international opinion to his side with the types of details that are emerging.
Trump's support for MBS appears to be extremely reckless behavior at this point. And Trump's Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, appears to be a complete amateur when it comes to diplomacy and clean up operations.
Pompeo thanks Salman for " thorough, transparent, timely investigation" of Khashoggi disappearance. Gone are old days when James Baker slammed his notebook shut and told Assad, Shamir and Palestinians It's gonna be long time before I'm coming back here. https://t.co/oXt2wHV28c— Aaron David Miller (@aarondmiller2) October 16, 2018
The U.S. shouldn't be meddling in foreign affairs but Trump and Pompeo are also exposing themselves as nitwits when it comes to complex international crises the way they are positioning themselves with regard to the Khashoggi murder.Pompeo gives MBS a stern talking-to. pic.twitter.com/x5xqc6x83W— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) October 16, 2018
Here are even more gruesome details via The New York Post:
Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was tortured and decapitated inside Riyadh’s consulate in Istanbul, a Turkish newspaper reported Wednesday, saying it had heard audio recordings of the brutal slaying.
Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist who vanished after visiting the consulate on Oct. 2 to pick up paperwork ahead of his wedding, had his fingers chopped off before he was beheaded, according to the pro-government Yeni Safak.
Saudi Consul Mohammed al-Otaibi can be heard on one tape saying during Khashoggi’s torture: “Do this outside. You are going to get me in trouble,” according to the paper, which did not reveal how it obtained the tapes.
In another tape, an unknown person tells Otaibi: “If you want to live when you come to Saudi Arabia, be quiet!”