The grisly recording of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi's final moments (before his body was butchered and remains dissolved in acid) that was purportedly captured by Turkish intelligence has reportedly been shared with international intelligence agencies including the US, and we imagine it's only a matter of time before it leaks.
In a chilling preview of what's to come, a Turkish news website has published quotes allegedly excerpted from the tape that delineate Khashoggi's final struggle with members of the 15-man hit squad that Turkey believes was sent to the consulate with specific instructions to murder Khashoggi.
Haaretz gathered the quotes and translated them into English. According to the website, Khashoggi was immediately confronted by four Saudis after entering the consulate, one of whom grabbed his arm.
"Release my arm! What do you think you are doing?" website Haberturk quotes Khashoggi as saying at the consulate's "A unit," where the visa department is located, and where seven minutes of the tape are recorded.
Khashoggi was then brought to the embassy's "B Room", where the purported leader of the hit squad, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, started threatening the journalist.
"Traitor! You will be brought to account," Mutreb is heard shouting, according to Haberturk.
The rest of the recording features what the Turkish news organization described as verbal fighting, brawling and torture. After Khashoggi had been murdered, one of the hit squad members donned his clothes in an attempt to disguise himself as the journalist to bolster the embassy's eventual claim that he left the embassy. This prompted a joke from one member of the hit squad, according to RT.
It is spooky to wear the clothes of a man whom we killed 20 minutes ago.
As the recording shows, some 19 phone calls were made to Saudi Arabia from the embassy's "C Unit", where the consul's office was located. Four of those calls were reportedly made by Mutreb and Saud al-Qahtani, the close adviser to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman who has been targeted by Treasury Sanctions and is also facing punitive measures in Saudi Arabia. According to previously released details from the recording, when the Saudi consul (who has also been targeted by US sanctions and has been implicated in the Saudis investigation) objected to the hit squad's killing, he was told that "if you want to live when you get back to Saudi, shut up."
Khashoggi disappeared on Oct. 2 after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve paperwork that would allow him to marry his fiance. His remains have not been found.