Trump to send state secretary to Saudi Arabia over disappearance of journalist

Marco Green
October 16, 2018

However, a column published in English a short time later by the general manager of the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya satellite news network suggested Saudi Arabia could use its oil production as a weapon.

"The kingdom rejects any threats", the Saudi Press Agency reported, citing an official it didn't identify. Turkish officials say they have proof of his murder and torture at the hands of the Saudis in the form of audio and video taken from Khashoggi's Apple Watch (the Apple Watch portion is nearly certainly a lie made in order to protect Turkish surveillance methods). They provided no further details.

Khashoggi, who was considered close to the Saudi royal family, had become a critic of the current government and Prince Mohammed, the 33-year-old heir apparent who has shown little tolerance for criticism.

"I sounded to me like maybe there could have been rogue killers - who knows", Trump told reporters at the White House.

The U.S. president gave no evidence to support the theory.

The State Department has urged a thorough investigation and called on Saudi Arabia to be transparent about the results - advice broadly tracking messages from allies in Europe.

Mr. Trump, as he did in a tweet Monday, has highlighted that Khashoggi is not a US citizen, although he is a lawful permanent resident in Virginia.

The crown prince, ambitious, aggressive and just 33 in a kingdom long ruled by aging monarchs, has considerable weight in Saudi government actions.

But late Monday evening - after Turkish authorities placed high iron barriers in front of the consulate - a motorcade of six cars drew up and Turkish police and prosecutors entered the premises.

Executives from media, technology and financial firms have in the last few days withdrawn from the conference, scheduled for October 23-25, after the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Turkish officials fear Khashoggi was killed and dismembered.

A Saudi official, not authorized to speak publicly, told Reuters that the king had ordered an internal investigation based on information from the joint team in Istanbul.

In this February 1, 2015, file photo, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi speaks during a press conference in Manama, Bahrain.

During an interview with "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday night, President Donald Trump threatened "severe punishment" against Saudi Arabia if it was found to have been involved in the journalist's disappearance.

Following Riyadh's assertion it would retaliate, Britain, France and Germany released a joint statement saying they were treating Khashoggi's disappearance "with the utmost seriousness".

British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt told his Turkish counterpart Khashoggi's disappearance remains "deeply concerning".

Economic adviser Larry Kudlow says that when Trump "warns, people should take him at his word".

Fox News commentator Melissa Francis questioned if the Saudi government is actually behind the disappearance of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, who Turkish intelligence services believe was killed in Turkey by the gulf state regime.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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