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Saudi Arabia modifies intelligence service following Khashoggi murder

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Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday the creation of three new government bodies aimed at improving the country’s intelligence operations in the wake of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which has sparked international outrage.

King Salman ordered a restructuring of the intelligence service in October after the authorities, following initial denials, acknowledged that Khashoggi had been killed inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate by a team of Saudi intelligence and security agents.

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Saudi officials have said, without providing proof, that the 15-man team was put together by the deputy head of the General Intelligence Presidency, Ahmed al-Asiri, whom the king fired along with royal adviser Saud al-Qahtani.

The new government departments – for strategy and development, legal affairs, and performance evaluation and internal review – are meant to ensure that intelligence operations align with national security policy, international law and human rights treaties, state news agency SPA reported.

They were created by a committee headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s defense minister. He has denied accusations of ordering the hit against Khashoggi, a royal insider who became a critic of the crown prince.

Western allies have called on Riyadh to hold those responsible for the murder accountable. The Saudi public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty for five suspects, as the kingdom tries to contain its biggest political crisis for a generation.

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The U.S. Senate last week blamed Prince Mohammed for the murder, in a rare rebuke to President Donald Trump, who has said he wants Washington to stand by the 33-year-old de facto leader, despite a CIA assessment it was likely he ordered the killing.

Reporting by Nayera Abdallah; Writing by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Alison Williams

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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2020 Election

Democrats could flip the Texas state house in 2020 — and reshape the national map

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Blue Texas? Democrats have long dreamt of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes in the presidential election. That may still be a long shot, but a recent “Texodus” from Congress has given new talk to a political transformation across the Lone Star State that could have massive ramifications down the ballot and for decades to come.

This article was originally posted at Salon.

Four of the state’s GOP members of Congress have announced their retirements in recent weeks, an unusual torrent of departures signaling that a storm is coming. And evidence shows that it’s not just hitting Texas’s federal delegation. It’s coming to Austin, too.

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‘There’s an awful lot of really good Republicans out there’: Joe Biden at Cape Cod fundraiser

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Former Vice President Joe Biden defended Republican lawmakers in DC as "decent people" during a campaign fundraiser held at Cape Cod.

"There’s an awful lot of really good Republicans out there," Biden argued, according to Washington Post reporter Matt Viser.

"I get in trouble for saying that with Democrats, but...every time we ever got in trouble with our administration, remember who got sent up to Capitol Hill to fix it? Me," he said.

”Because they know I respect the other team. I do. They’re decent people," Biden claimed. "They ran because they care about things, but they’re intimidated right now.”

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Neo-Nazi ‘Atomwaffen Division’ holding live-fire militia trainings at ‘The Base’ near Spokane: report

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One sign of the growing white nationalist crisis in America is a new outreach effort for paramilitary training.

"A neo-Nazi group focused on providing paramilitary-style training to far-right extremists has been conducting a massive recruitment drive and claims to have already conducted live-fire training with its members," Vice News reports.

"The Base, which is connected to extreme-right groups the Atomwaffen Division and the Feuerkrieg Division, has been promoting its growth on social media with photos announcing its presence in major cities across North America, including New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, and in Europe, South Africa, and Australia," Vice reported. "The images often include a small contingent (typically one to three) of masked, camo-clad men holding weapons standing in front of The Base's flag, a black flag with three white lines running down the centre."

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