By Dan Christensen, FloridaBulldog.org
Why was Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi murdered?
Speculation about the motive for Khashoggi’s assassination inside Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul has centered on his outspoken criticism of the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, also known as MBS, in opinion pieces published in the Post. Now, a new potential motive is in play.
“Khashoggi was killed not because he was a dissident, but because of his contact with us,” said James Kreindler, a prominent New York attorney who represents thousands of 9/11 family members and survivors who are suing Saudi Arabia.
A month after Saudi-born Khashoggi was allegedly killed and dismembered by a Saudi hit team on Oct. 2, 2018, the U.S. intelligence community disclosed intercepts of communications with Khashoggi’s phone to others. One exchange was with Khalid bin Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed’s younger brother who was then serving as the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.
The Post reported that unnamed intelligence sources said Khalid told Khashoggi “he should go to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to pick up the documents he needed” for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman he’d met in May 2018. KBS, as Khalid is also known, “gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so.” The disclosure was part of a story that reported the CIA had concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed ordered Khashoggi’s death – a charge Mohammed has denied.
‘Never talked’ to Khashoggi
Within hours of publication, Khalid took to Twitter to respond personally.
“As we told the Washington Post the last contact I had with Mr. Khashoggi was via text on Oct 26 2017. I never talked to him by phone and certainly never suggested he go to Turkey for any reason. I ask the government to release any information regarding this claim,” Khalid wrote on Twitter on Nov. 16, 2018.
According to Kreindler, Oct. 26, 2017 was also the day Khashoggi had met with an investigator for the 9/11 families in Washington.
“Khashoggi was part of the intelligence community and we knew he knew a lot about the Saudi government’s involvement in 9/11. He was connected to the Muslim Brotherhood and to [former Saudi Crown Prince] Muhammad bin Nayef, and that’s the reason our investigator went to speak with him,” said Kreindler. “She said would you come to New York and talk to my boss? He said yes.
“I’m sure that as soon as she left, he called KBS [Khalid bin Salman] and said, ‘Look, the 9/11 lawyers are on to me. They know that I know what you guys did and I didn’t give ‘em anything, but you’re holding my kid in Saudi Arabia and if you harm him I will.’ So my belief is that Khashoggi was killed not because he was a dissident, there are lots of dissidents, but because he was holding this ax over the Saudis’ heads.”
A month earlier, in September 2017, Khashoggi went into self-imposed exile. He explained in a column that he’d left his family behind so he could freely raise his voice against a “climate of fear and intimidation” back home in Saudi Arabia under MBS.
Exactly what Khashoggi might have known, if anything, about the government of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in 9/11 may never be known. No information was obtained from Khashoggi during the October 2017 session. “It was a preliminary meeting,” said Kreindler.
There are still other reasons why the kingdom may have wanted Khashoggi dead.
In early 2018 Khashoggi was reportedly involved in the creation of an advocacy group called Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN).
“According to a statement of core principles, the group would aim to provide ‘a counter narrative in the Arab world and the West to the Arab Spring skeptics.’ Its members also planned to advocate to corporate leaders, policymakers, journalists, and think tanks on behalf of democracy in the Middle East,” The Daily Beast reported.
The New York Times reported Khashoggi was raising money for DAWN when he disappeared. His body was never found.