Saudis may offer an excuse for journalist’s murder

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By Teresa Hanafin,  Boston Globe Staff

News reports say Saudi Arabia is going to admit today that men from its country killed Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident, inside its embassy in Istanbul two weeks ago. But officials will claim it was an accident, the result of an unauthorized interrogation gone wrong. That’s some interrogation. Did the tape recorder explode? Did Khashoggi have a heart attack from intense questioning? Did he trip on a Persian rug and hit his head?

I’m sure the forensics/autopy expert packing a bone saw who Turkish officials say flew into Istanbul with 14 other men from Saudi Arabia was there simply to visit Göbekli Tepe, the ancient archaeological site where human and animal bones have been found.

It’s interesting that Trump laid the groundwork for this fiction when he mused yesterday — after a chat with the Saudi king — that maybe the murder was performed by “rogue killers.” It gets the Saudi regime off the hook and gives Trump an excuse not to impose sanctions.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spent the morning gladhanding and smiling for the cameras with Saudi King Salman “I know nothing” bin Abdulaziz and his son, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. You’d think he was there to sell the Saudis some Hershey bars instead of pressing them on their role in the assumed murder of Khashoggi, who wrote for The Washington Post and whose children are US citizens.

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