Dissident Saudi journalist in America probably killed on Turkish soil after going to Saudi consulate in Istanbul

I’m not absolutely sure that Jamal Kashoggi has been murdered, but it’s pretty likely. Kashoggi, a Saudi journalist became self-exiled when he began criticizing —in the pages of the Washington Post—the new Saudi government (i.e., Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and his father King Salman). Last Tuesday, Kashoggi went to the Turkish consulate in Istanbul to get a document saying he had divorced his ex-wife so he could marry his Turkish fiancée. He never left the consulate, and had warned his fiancée that this might happen. It’s not clear why he didn’t emerge, but Turkish officials say he was killed. As the BBC reports:

Turkish officials made the accusation [of murder] on Sunday. They said their investigators had “concrete proof” of the killing which, they said, was carried out by a 15-person Saudi team who arrived in the country last week.

No evidence has been presented. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has previously said officials are welcome to conduct a search as there is nothing to hide.

The Saudis claim that there was no foul play, and don’t even admit that Kashoggi entered the consulate, though there’s likely video documentation. SInce he wasn’t seen leaving, the Saudis have to explain what happened to him.

The Washington Post, or at least its editorial page editor Ruth Marcus, also suspects the worst.

BBC security analyst Frank Gardner says it’s a big mystery:

The allegations of what the Saudi authorities may have done to one of their most prominent critics are – if proven – horrific. But the evidence has yet to be produced, leaving everyone guessing what could have happened to him after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

I have known Jamal Khashoggi for 18 years and although outspoken, he was not one to take unplanned risks. Yes, he knew he had riled the all-powerful Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman with his widely read criticisms of MBS’ increasingly heavy-handed rule. But Mr Khashoggi thought he had the situation under control.

Instead, Saudis I have spoken to believe that, despite official denials, one possible scenario is that he was abducted inside the consulate, driven out in a diplomatic vehicle and “rendered” back to Saudi Arabia to either face retribution or be held incommunicado under indefinite house arrest.

The worrying thing is, we may never know.

Everyone is excited because the new Saudi rulers are said to be slowly liberalizing the country, but I suspect that’s just window-dressing. Women can drive! But remember that in August the Saudis arrested two women activists, part of a continuing suppression of dissident writers and other activists. The Crown Prince is simply pretending he’s liberalizing the country, tossing progressives a few scraps like women’s permission to drive. Saudi Arabia is as repressive as ever, and the U.S. is in bed with them.

This latest event is horrific: the possible abduction and murder of a self-exiled dissident journalist on foreign soil by an imported squad of goons. The U.S., like Turkey, should be demanding answers now. 

If you want to read a selection of Khashoggi’s columns for the Washington Post, go here.



  1. Posted October 8, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  2. Posted October 8, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    Para 1, third sentence, should be SAUDI Consulate, not Turkish…

    • Michael Waterhouse
      Posted October 8, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I was confused for a bit.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 8, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Why he thought it was safe to got in there??

    • Posted October 8, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Especially when he was told earlier to come back in a week, giving the Saudis ample time to send in an assassination team.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 8, 2018 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

        He probably figured they wouldn’t do the deed on their own premises.

        ‘Deniability’ and all that.


        • Posted October 8, 2018 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          There is a claim that he might have left the embassy in pieces. Pretty gruesome. Of course, blowing up a school bus full of Yemeni children is pretty gruesome too, and the world yawned.

  4. Merilee
    Posted October 8, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Saudi Consulate, not Embassy, in Istanbul. Embassy would be in Ankara.

  5. JezGrove
    Posted October 8, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Of course, now the Saudis are saying that the CCTV cameras at both entrances weren’t working. Hmmm…

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 8, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    MBS craves the reputation as a reformer, hence the window-dressing of women driving. But he brooks no internal dissent and wants to lead the House of Saud by ruling with an iron first.

    Yes, “[t]he U.S. … should be demanding answers now.” But don’t count on it. MBS has boasted he has Jared Kushner “in his pocket,” ever since the two of them held a pajama party staying up all night braiding each other’s hair and swapping state secrets about Saudi dissidents (including members of the royal family who were later arrested and interrogated). And the Saudis are aces in Trump’s book, since they gave him his first state visit, replete with sword dancing and glowing orbs.

    In its nearly two years in office, the Trump administration hasn’t lifted a finger, or a voice, to support freedom-loving people seeking their basic human-rights anywhere around the globe. Don’t look for it to start now.

  7. allison
    Posted October 8, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Trump has emboldened thugs and dictators worldwide.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 8, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Far as Trump’s concerned, Kashoggi’s just a guy with a funny name from some shithole country working for Jeff Bezos’s fake newspaper. No biggie.

      • Posted October 8, 2018 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

        Is EVERYTHING always about Trump (ie about Americans)?

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 9, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          The only thing we Americans have a direct voice in is how our government react to such international incidents and the foreign policy it sets.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 8, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Trump will have second thoughts before launching into his “enemies of the people” routine at his next Nuremberg rally.

    Nah, forget it, Jake; it’s Trump.

  9. Posted October 8, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    He would not have been killed “on Turkish soil.” The grounds of embassies and consulates are considered the sovereign territory of that nation — in this instance, Saudi Arabia.

    • Posted October 8, 2018 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      That is wrong. Embassies and consulates have immunity not extraterritorial sovereignity.

      • Posted October 8, 2018 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

        For all intents & purposes.

        • Posted October 8, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

          You’re the one who wanted to nit-pick about the meaning of “Turkish soil.”

  10. Posted October 8, 2018 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    The US has asked for an explanation.

  11. Diane G
    Posted October 9, 2018 at 2:34 am | Permalink


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