Serial Saudi admissions of lying about Khashoggi murder

Can anyone trust anything that the Saudi Arabian government says about the death of Jamal Khashoggi? Their lies have been so shameless that it is no wonder Donald Trump and Mohammed bin Salman are so close because they are both cut from the same cloth, using one lie to cover up earlier lies and never bothering to explain why they uttered the earlier lies. Take the latest concessions by the Saudi government.

Shaalan al-Shaalan, the kingdom’s deputy public prosecutor, told a news conference in Riyadh that a 15-member squad was formed to bring Khashoggi to Saudi Arabia from Istanbul “by means of persuasion”. But after “talks with him failed” inside the consulate, Khashoggi was killed with “a large amount of a drug resulting in an overdose” and then dismembered, in the kingdom’s latest account of what happened.

Now it’s drugs? Recall how far we have come in the evolution of the lies. At the beginning they said that Khashoggi had left the consulate and that they did not know where he was. This later changed to him accidentally dying after a scuffle inside the consulate. Now they are actually admitting to a premeditated murder and dismemberment with instruments that the team took with them to Turkey.

So if they dismembered him, they have to know what happened to the body, information that they have not yet released. Why not?

What is clear that such a carefully planned murder could not have been due to rogue agents acting on their own. No agent is stupid enough to go to such lengths on their own initiative. It had to have the collusion of the members of the consulate in Turkey which requires in turn approval at the highest levels of the Saudi government which means the current strongman Mohammed bin Salman. It strains credulity that this stops short of him, which is why Trump seems to be going out of his way to avoid dealing with it.


  1. sonofrojblake says

    He’s not a strongman. A strongman wouldn’t bother lying. Explaining yourself is a sign of weakness

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    sonofrojblake @1:

    A strongman wouldn’t bother lying

    I disagree. They lie to show their contempt for the truth. We know they’re lying, they know we know, etc, but they just don’t care. See Putin, Vladimir.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    I was thinking about Putin when I typed that, and why I thought he didn’t fit the bill. I think Putin is a qualitatively different thing from Trump and MBS. He has more in common with the ultimate strongman (currently) Kim Il Sung.

    Kim had a lovely way with a story. My personal favourite is the one where he plays golf for the first (and only) time, shoots 38 under par including 5 holes in one, and retires satisfied that he’s nailed that game. That’s not lying in the normal sense, that’s some Olympic-level bullshit.

    Putin’s up there with the “we went to Salisbury to look at the famous cathedral” story they put out about the novichok poisoners. There comes a point where the story presented is so outlandish, so designed to be disbelieved, that yes, it demonstrates contempt for the truth. The trick, though, is that once you’ve committed to such a thing, you play it to the hilt.

    This is where MBS has fallen down. It’s the fact he’s changed his story, and continues to, that makes him look weak. He should have had a bullshit story prepared in advance, and just stuck with it. Flailing around trying to explain stuff away is not a good look. I suspect they never expected this much attention, and were caught off guard.

    Trump also fails the test, but for a slightly different reason. Putin has the intellectual capacity and the discipline to remember what bullshit he’s spun on any given subject, and to repeat it, note for note. He’s a machine. Trump lacks that. Any time he’s in front of a microphone (or Twitter keyboard), you’re getting what’s in his head that minute, with no reference to anything that’s gone before. He’s the John Coltrane of bullshit, and to expect any performance to bear any relation to one that’s gone before is to misunderstand what he’s doing.

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