The slow-rolling snuff movie of Jamal Khashoggi

The slow-rolling snuff movie of Jamal Khashoggi

The Jamal Khashoggi incident keeps increasing in horror.

The New York Times just broke a story where a Turkish official says that audio recordings detail Khashoggi’s brutal torture and death.

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.

It was all over within a few minutes, the recordings suggested.

A senior Turkish official confirmed the details that were published in the pro-government daily newspaper Yeni Safak.

The story goes into further gruesome detail.

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.

Let’s make no mistake about what’s happening. The Saudi government murdered a dissident. It lured him into a consulate, where a hit team was waiting. This was no “interrogation gone wrong,” and it wasn’t carried out by “rogue killers”. The Saudis, specifically Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, ordered this murder, and have dissembled and prevaricated ever since. And what’s worse, the Trump regime has aided and abetted its lies.

I can imagine that Donald Trump grows tumescent at being able to do what Prince Mohammed did: do away with meddlesome journalists with the wave of a hand. Of course, what we’re finding out, is that even kings have limits in this modern world. One cannot just disappear a journalist and expect to get away with it. And the fact that the Saudis were naive enough to think that the Istanbul consulate wasn’t bugged beggars belief. They carried out this barbarous act under the illusion of impunity. But even in our tumultuous world, where old verities are being challenged daily, some standards still apply.

I’m not going to go into how, assuming Democrats take over the House, this can be added to articles of impeachment. It appears increasingly likely that the US at the very least just stood by as a legal resident was lured to his death. At worst, the Saudis were given the green light to go ahead with the murder.

Right now, the one thing which matters is obtaining justice for Khashoggi and his loved ones. He was the victim of a medieval state employing medieval methods of crushing dissent. Preventing this country from its internal enemies regressing us to such a condition is what we’re fighting for.

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