In a thorough and damning report on the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi released Wednesday, United Nations special rapporteur Agnes Callamard found that Khashoggi was “the victim of a brutal and premeditated killing” that was likely orchestrated by top officials in the Saudi government, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
“Evidence points to the 15-person mission to execute Mr. Khashoggi requiring significant government coordination, resources, and finances,” Callamard wrote. “Every expert consulted finds it inconceivable that an operation of this scale could be implemented without the crown prince being aware, at a minimum, that some sort of mission of a criminal nature, directed at Mr. Khashoggi, was being launched.”
On top of the 101-page report’s (pdf) conclusion that the Saudi kingdom is responsible for the killing, Callamard’s findings also provided “chilling” new details of the final moments leading to Khashoggi’s murder last year.
According to Callamard—who listened to audio recordings provided by Turkish authorities—Saudi agents Maher Mutreb and Dr. Salah Tubaigy discussed how they would dismember and dispose of Khashoggi’s body just minutes before he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to obtain marriage papers.
“Joints will be separated,” Tubaigy told Mutreb, according to Callamard’s report. “First time I cut on the ground. If we take plastic bags and cut it into pieces, it will be finished.”
Mutreb described Khashoggi as a “sacrificial animal,” according to audio obtained by Callamard.
“Assessments of the recordings by intelligence officers in Turkey and other countries suggest that Mr. Khashoggi could have been injected with a sedative and then suffocated using a plastic bag” after he entered the consulate, Callamard wrote.
Khashoggi’s remains have yet to be found, and—despite the evidence implicating top Saudi officials in the killing—the Trump administration has yet to blame the Saudi kingdom.
As Common Dreams reported last November, Trump publicly smeared Khashoggi with Saudi government talking points and warned that breaking relations with the kingdom over the journalist’s murder would cause oil prices to rise.
Callamard said her findings, which are the product of a five-month probe, demand further investigation into the Saudi crown prince and other officials who may have played a role in the murder of Khashoggi.
The report also calls on the U.S. government to launch an “FBI investigation into the execution of Mr. Khashoggi… and pursue criminal prosecutions within the United States, as appropriate.”
Ex-Peru president wanted for corruption arrested in the US
Former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo was arrested in the United States Tuesday to face extradition to his home country on corruption charges, authorities in the South American nation said.
The 73-year-old is suspected of involvement in the sprawling Odebrecht scandal in which the construction giant paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes throughout the continent to secure huge public works contracts.
The Peruvian attorney general's office announced on Twitter that Toledo "was arrested this morning for extradition, in the United States."
Toledo has been formally charged with receiving a $20 million payment from Odebrecht to grant it the tender to build the Interoceanic Highway that links Peru with Brazil.
Comic-Con mines past for future hits on 50th edition
A smorgasbord of sequels, prequels and reunions from "Terminator" to "Game of Thrones" awaits thousands of misty-eyed comic book geeks and sci-fi nerds descending on San Diego this week for the world's largest celebration of pop culture fandom.
The 50th edition of Comic-Con International will see 135,000 cosplayers, bloggers, movie executives and humble fans pile into a sweaty convention center for glimpses of their heroes, in town to promote the next mega-hit films, TV shows and comic books.
This anniversary edition promises to be more nostalgia-laden than most -- among those expected to appear are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, who will soon reunite on screen for the first time since 1991's "Terminator 2" for Paramount's killer cyborg sequel "Dark Fate."
‘Washington is no longer functional’: Brian Williams admits he’s sad to report that ‘our government is broken’
MSNBC anchor Brian Williams on Tuesday reported that America's federal government is broken.
"This was day 908 of the Trump Administration and while there is no joy in it, one way of summing up today is this: Our government’s broken, our politics are broken, Washington is no longer functional, and the cracks in our society are deepening," Williams reported.
"Much of this day was taken up by the discussion of racist statements by the president. Then tonight came the news that had so many people thinking back to when we were different, the death just tonight of retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens at the age of 99," he said.