Canadian documents show new link between Khashoggi killers and Saudi Crown Prince

Source Al Jazeera

"We base this assessment on the Crown Prince's control of decision making in the Kingdom, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Muhammad bin Salman's protective detail in the operation, and the Crown Prince's support for using violent measures to silence dissidents overseas, including Khashoggi", the report says.

According to news agency Reuters, a declassified USA intelligence report finds that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) allegedly approved the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"We base this assessment on the Crown Prince's control of decision making in the Kingdom, the direct involvement of a key adviser and members of Muhammad bin Salman's protective detail in the operation, and the Crown Prince's support for using violent measures to silence dissidents overseas, including Khashoggi".

The classified report is believed to say that, based on intelligence collected by the CIA and other spy bodies, the kingdom's de facto leader directed the assassination of the respected US-based writer in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

People take part in a vigil to remember Khashoggi outside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 25, 2018.

Khashoggi, who wrote Washington Post columns critical of the crown prince's policies, had been a USA resident.

The declassified USA intelligence report, released on Friday, could escalate pressure on the Biden administration to hold the kingdom accountable for a murder that sparked worldwide outrage. Those efforts met with mixed success.

The report named a 15-member Saudi squad that went to Istanbul and said it had "high confidence" that they participated in the killing, although it said it was unclear if they knew the operation would result in Khashoggi's death.

President Biden has already made clear that he plans to take a more critical position toward Saudi Arabia, which has had close ties with many USA presidents, including former President Trump. In June 2019, a United Nations investigator found that it was "inconceivable" the royal heir hadn't been aware of the operation.

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Washington choreographed events to soften the blow, with Biden on Thursday speaking with the crown prince's 85-year-old father, King Salman, in a call in which both sides said they reaffirmed their decades-old alliance and pledged co-operation.

Trump's longtime refusal to release the report, in defiance of a congressional mandate, drew scrutiny about the administration's ties to the Kingdom, particularly those of the 45th president's son-in-law Jared Kushner.

The Saudi government maintains that Khashoggi was killed in a "rogue" operation without Prince Mohammed's prior knowledge.

The release of the declassified U.S. intelligence report into the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi represents a blow to the power, prestige and global standing of one of the most powerful men in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He also ordered an end to US support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen and said he would stop the sale of offensive weapons to Saudi Arabia. Many U.S. administrations have been all but silent on Saudi Arabia's lack of democracy, the restrictions it places on women, and its human rights violations.

"The President told King Salman he would work to make the bilateral relationship as strong and transparent as possible", it continues. The White House argued the report compiled by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), if made public, could undermine sources and methods.

During a recent interview on Law&Crime's podcast "Objections", Wyden made clear that he fully expected Haines to live up to that promise, anticipating the release of the report in a "matter of weeks". "Yet, for years, the last administration shielded the Saudi regime from any kind of responsibility or scrutiny".

The U.S. has long imported Saudi oil and relied on the kingdom's output to help stabilize world oil prices.

DAWN and other human rights groups are calling on the Biden administration to impose further travel bans and financial sanctions on senior Saudi officials, including MBS. "Fallon's life ended far too soon and justice for her death has taken far too long". The Oregon Democrat is the son of a journalist.

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