The audio recording that detailed the torture and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi also starred an Australian-educated forensic doctor who performed the dismemberment – to music.
Earlier this week, the Saudi government reluctantly put their hand up to sort of claim responsibility for the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, stating that it was merely an accident gone horribly wrong. It was just one of those walk-into-an-embassy-on-foreign-soil-to-get-papers-signed-to-get-married-and-get-dismembered kind of accidents. It happens.
While both Donald Trump and his Saudi counterparts washed their hands of the situation, with the former claiming that it was a collection of rogue antagonists, the latter dismissed the claims that a team of fifteen Saudis arrived from Riyadh on the same day Khashoggi was murdered as “baseless”
Well, one audio recording allowed the world got a glimpse at the visceral end of Khashoggi, as one official Turkish official walked us through an audio recording of the entire incident. Published in the local newspaper Yeni Safak, the audio recordings illustrate the grim final moments of Khashoggi at the hands of the killers lay in wait in the embassy.
Per the recordings, Khashoggi was lead into the office of the Saudi consul, Mohammad al-Otaibi, whereupon he was seized, beaten and tortured. “Do this outside. You will put me in trouble,” al-Otaibi claimed, with a second voice hissing back “…if you want to live when you come back to Arabia, shut up.”
They eventually removed Khashoggi’s fingers, and later his head.
In a move closer to a Tarantino flick, the recording was cameoed by the appearance of a doctor of forensics, one of the aforementioned brutal fifteen, who had been brought along for the practicalities of the dissection, and according to the Turkish official, the disposal of practical advice.
One such piece of advice was the insistence that music makes the task tolerable, apparently demonstrated by him placing headphones in his own ears. I don’t want to cheapen the brutality, but the unreality of the moment is staggering. As the consul watched on, aghast, a surgical dissection was performed to a pre-selected collection of suitable tunes.
The doctor was identified as Dr Salah al-Tubaigy, who according to the ABC, held a Saudi-sponsored education in Melbourne, and according to the officials, a bone saw in his hand when flying in and out of Istanbul.
According to Professor Noel Woodford, the director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, where Dr Tubaigy studied, the doctor was officially responsible for the supervision of the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
In other words, a serious man, with serious official backing. Again, it doesn’t seem real, but it certainly seems it is.
We can accept the recordings as canon, as the independent leaking of sensitive material to media outlets does not occur in Turkey without the strict consent of the government, as media outlets and newspapers are closely controlled, by either the government, or those closely connected to it.
Whether this changes Donald Trump’s standing on the issue, is unknown. This morning, he doubled down on the diplomatic line, claiming that he wouldn’t protect the Saudis, but also reiterated the finer points of their trade deal.