Warning: Graphic details follow.
For the first time, the public is getting a painful glimpse of the horrifying and gruesome last moments of the life of US legal resident Jamal Khashoggi, which began the minute he walked into the Saudi consulate.
In an exclusive CNN report, according to a source who has read a transcript accounting of the audio tape of the murder of the Washington Post columnist and contributor after being set upon by a Saudi Arabia hit squad, saying, “the killing on October 2 was no botched rendition attempt, but the execution of a premeditated plan to murder the journalist.”
During the course of the gruesome scene, the source describes Khashoggi struggling against a group of people determined to kill him.
“I can’t breathe,” Khashoggi says.
“I can’t breathe.”
“I can’t breathe.”
The transcript notes the sounds of Khashoggi’s body being dismembered by a saw, as the alleged perpetrators are advised to listen to music to block out the sound.
And, according to the source, the transcript suggests that a series of phone calls are made. Turkish officials believe the calls were placed to senior figures in Riyadh, briefing them on progress.
Some of the details in the transcript seen by CNN’s source have emerged in previous reports of the recording’s content. But this is the fullest account of the transcript that has so far been published.CNN; Dec 7 2018
Discernable voices are identified in the tape. First, Khashoggi is met by someone well known to him, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a Saudi diplomat who worked for bin Salman as an intelligence officer, someone Khashoggi knew “from their time together at the Saudi Embassy in London.”
According to CNN’s source, when Khashoggi asked him what was he doing there, Mutreb tells Khashoggi, “You are coming back.” After telling Mutreb, “You can’t do that, people are waiting outside,” no further dialogue is heard as “noises follow” as Khashoggi is set upon.
The only other discernable voice identified, other than those of Khashoggi and Mutreb, is, as earlier reported by the Turkish authorities, that of the so-called “head of forensic medicine at Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry,” Dr. Salah Muhammad al-Tubaiqi.
“As the transcript continues, it is clear Khashoggi is not yet dead.”
The transcript notes the noises that can be heard on the tape, almost in the manner that subtitles describe moments in movies where there is no dialogue.
Then, the transcript notes other descriptions.
Tubaiqi is noted giving some advice to other people in the room, apparently to help them deal with the appalling task.
“Put your earphones in, or listen to music like me.”CNN
What follows next, the source says, “with almost step-by-step details” are a series of phone calls during the gruesome murder made by Mutreb to, who is it believed, Saud al-Qahtani, close aid and “media chief” to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the last ending with, “Tell yours, the thing is done, it’s done.”
According to the source, because there is only Mutreb’s side of the conversation that is known at this point there is not enough information, such as the phone number or the other side of the conversation in which “further conclusion based on the transcript alone cannot be made,” saying the transcript is not a “smoking gun” that ties the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salam “directly” to the assassination .
However, for what it is worth, according to earlier reports from October, after a series of lies and coverups, the Saudi Attorney-General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said in a statement for the Saudi government that “18 Saudi nationals [had] been arrested” and or detained, of which Saud al-Qahtani was one of those eighteen.
Asked to comment on the transcript, CNN reports, the Saudi officials replied, “The relevant Saudi security officials have reviewed the transcript and tape materials through Turkish security channels and nowhere in them is there any reference or indication of a call being made.”
“If there is additional information Turkish authorities have that we are unaware of, we would welcome it being officially handed over to us for review, which we have requested numerous times and are still requesting. And, up until now; we have not received anything.” The official did not address the transcript’s characterization of the scene inside the Saudi consulate, nor Khashoggi’s last words.”
Lindsay Graham is reported to have said after being briefed by the CIA that “he agreed with the conclusions of the US security services that bin Salman was implicated in the case,” saying that “There’s not a smoking gun, there’s a smoking saw.”