It’s been almost a month since Saudi Arabia belatedly admitted that journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd. By October 19 the kingdom had finally conceded as much, but only as part of a statement which dubiously claimed he was killed during a brawl with 15 rogue Saudi operators — a clear attempt to shield Riyadh and crown prince MbS from any culpability in the crime.
But Turkish media and government officials released a slow methodical drip of information which poked holes in the official Saudi version, confirming it was actually a state-sanctioned execution and dismemberment.
And now the New York Times has taken everything known, including damning CCTV footage and other evidence, and produced a carefully detailed chronological sequence and reconstruction of events, down to the very layout of the consulate and room Khashoggi was in when he died.
The New York Times released its 8-minute video reconstruction and analysis of how the murder and conspiracy to hide the evidence was carried out.
The story has held the constant attention of the world for the past month-and-a-half. Notoriously, among the men that arrived in Turkey just before the killing included a group that had served as part of MbS' security detail, as well as an autopsy expert armed with a bone saw — himself with longtime ties the regime.
Underscoring the outrageous and seeming Hollywood movie nature of the whole bizarre plot, the Saudis even brought in a body double to give the appearance that Khashoggi had exited the consulate that fateful day of his own volition and in perfect health. The Times video utilizes the established and known chronology of events to pull together the various threads of the narrative. This comes after Turkish media recently signaled the audio recording may soon be leaked and revealed to the world.
Meanwhile on Friday a funeral was held in Istanbul in front of an empty marble slab where Khashoggi's body would have been. Memorial prayers were also conducted in Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
Early this month top Turkish officials said that they believe Khashoggi's body was dissolved in acid after being cut up. At the time presidential adviser Yasin Aktay, said the "only logical conclusion", was that the team of killers destroyed the body "to leave no trace behind".
Last week, the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah revealed that a second team of Saudis were sent into Turkey nine days after the October 2nd slaying to dispose of the body and destroy any evidence. The report said the team included eleven officials to clean up the scene amidst grown international outrage and demands for an on-site investigation. Among the clean-up and evidence disposal crew was a chemist and toxicologist, according to the report.
Likely the leaked audio death tape is the next big bombshell to come out of the consistent pattern of information drips the Turks appear to have engineered to inflict maximum humiliation on Saudi Arabia. Given recent talk of Western sanctions and a potential US weapons ban on Riyadh now proposed in the Senate, it appears to be working.