Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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Video Report - UN: #SaudiArabia must accept responsibility for #Khashoggi murder

Video Report - #SaudiArabia behind #Khashoggi's 'deliberate, premeditated execution,' report says

#KhashoggiMurder - U.N.: ‘Credible Evidence’ Crown Prince Is to Blame for Khashoggi’s Killing

By Jamie Ross

There’s “credible evidence” that Mohammed bin Salman is liable for the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to a damning new report from the United Nations that calls for a full investigation into the involvement of the Saudi crown prince. Agnes Callamard, the U.N.’s special rapporteur, reports the writer’s death was “an international crime” and goes on to say: “It is the conclusion of the special rapporteur that Mr. Khashoggi has been the victim of a deliberate, premeditated execution, an extrajudicial killing for which the state of Saudi Arabia is responsible under international human-rights law.” 

The report finds that both the Saudi investigation into the killing was not conducted in good faith and may even count as obstruction of justice, The Guardian reports. Khashoggi, 59, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 last year. A Saudi foreign minister rejected the U.N. report as “nothing new” with “clear contradictions and baseless allegations which challenge its credibility.”

#Saudis Called #Khashoggi ‘Sacrificial Animal’ as They Waited to Kill Him

By David D. Kirkpatrick and Nick Cumming-Bruce

Key takeaways from the United Nations report on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi:
• Saudi officials carried out an extensive cover-up of Mr. Khashoggi’s killing in a Saudi consulate in October, scrubbing down rooms, blocking investigators and possibly burning evidence.
• The destruction of evidence and the active role of the Saudi consul general in organizing the operation in coordination with officials in Riyadh suggest that the killing and cover-up were authorized at the highest levels of the Saudi royal court.
• The report presents a new challenge to President Trump, who has embraced the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, as a pivotal ally and sought to avoid blaming him for directing the killing.
As the killers waited for the victim, the Saudi autopsy specialist reassured them that dismembering the body would “be easy.”
“Joints will be separated,” he said. “It will not be a problem.”
Then, as the minutes passed, a Saudi intelligence officer asked whether the “sacrificial animal” had finally arrived.
That “animal” was the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist, and the exchange between the Saudi operatives as they waited to ambush and kill him last October was among the many details disclosed Wednesday in a new United Nations report on the case.
Within a day, the report said, new teams of Saudi operatives were already working diligently to thwart investigators and cleanse the crime scene — the Saudi consulate in Istanbul — including setting a fire in a barrel outside that may have been used to destroy evidence.
“Credible evidence,” the report found, points to “the crime scenes having been thoroughly, even forensically, cleaned.”
All the while, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, professed ignorance of Mr. Khashoggi’s fate.
“We are very keen to know what happened to him,” the prince said in a television interview three days after the killing.
But the destruction of evidence “could not have taken place without the crown prince’s awareness,” the report concluded. The kingdom’s current secret trial of 11 Saudis in connection with the killing lacks credibility, the report said, and may be an effort to deflect blame from the most senior figures behind it.
The report, by Agnes Callamard, the special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions for the United Nations human rights agency, makes the most detailed and authoritative case to date that responsibility for the killing of Mr. Khashoggi and its cover-up lies at the highest levels of the Saudi royal court.
Drawing on extensive access to surveillance by Turkish intelligence agencies and the accounts of Turkish investigators, the report finds that “credible evidence” justifies the “investigation of high-level Saudi officials’ individual liability, including the crown prince’s.”
It urges further criminal investigations both by the United Nations and, because of Mr. Khashoggi’s status as an American resident, the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Western intelligence agencies have already concluded that Prince Mohammed ordered the killing. But the report may present a new challenge to President Trump, who has embraced Prince Mohammed as a pivotal ally and sought to avoid blaming him for directing the murder.
“Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Mr. Trump said in a statement last November.
Administration officials have since repeated that they were awaiting the results of Saudi Arabia’s own investigation, which Ms. Callamard dismissed as a potential “miscarriage of justice.”
Outraged by Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, the Senate and House passed a resolution to end American military assistance for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen and to curtail Mr. Trump’s war powers. But the president vetoed it in April. Responding to the new report, Adel al-Jubair, the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, said in a statement that the report offered “nothing new” and only “reiterates what has been published and circulated in the media.”
He argued that unspecified “unfounded allegations” undermined the credibility of the report, and he insisted that the kingdom’s own courts were “the only relevant authority in dealing with this case.”Ms. Callamard’s report, however, said that the Saudi trial has been “clouded in secrecy and lacking in due process.” She called on Saudi Arabia to suspend the trial altogether.The court has not publicly disclosed the names of the defendants, the accusations against them or the evidence in the case. But Ms. Callamard said that some of the 15 members of the Saudi assassination squad identified by Turkish authorities have not been charged.
Western intelligence agencies have concluded that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered the killing of Mr. Khashoggi.
On top of that, the report said, the defendants do not include other Saudi officials sanctioned by Western governments in connection with the killing — most notably Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide to Prince Mohammed, and Mohammed al-Otaibi, the Saudi consul general in Istanbul.
The new report also highlights for the first time Mr. al-Otaibi’s role in organizing the killing, detailing a level of coordination that makes it hard to depict the killing as an unauthorized or a rogue operation.
In the days before the killing, the report notes, Mr. al-Otaibi sent two consular officials for a “top secret mission” to Riyadh, instructing them to buy plane tickets for their families in order to disguise their travel as a family vacation but to disclose the trip to no one, not even to their families.To accommodate the incoming operatives, Mr. al-Otaibi then helped book hotel rooms in Istanbul with sea views, apparently to disguise their travel as vacation as well. And on the eve of the killing, the report said, he was recorded instructing his staff to stay away from the area around his office.“A commission” from Saudi Arabia “will have something to do on my floor in the office,” he told subordinates, and “their work inside will take two or three days,” the report said.Starting as early as the next day, successive teams of Saudi officials with forensic expertise began to arrive, apparently to remove incriminating evidence while Saudi diplomats held Turkish investigators at bay, the report notes.
When the investigators finally examined the crime scene for genetic material or other evidence, the reports notes, the Turkish detectives reported finding it suspiciously immaculate.
“Even in a normal room, we would expect more reactions,” one investigator said, according to the report.
Evidence of a professional cleanup, Ms. Callamard said, suggested “that the Saudi investigation was not conducted in good faith, and that it may amount to obstructing justice.”
Although representatives of some foreign governments have been invited to attend the trial in Saudi Arabia, the report said, they have been required to commit to nondisclosure agreements, preventing them from reporting or commenting on the proceedings.“A shadowy presence of international observers cannot, although clearly meant to, lend credibility to eminently problematic proceedings,” the report said. It argued that the presence of foreign diplomats could make them complicit in the “miscarriage of justice.”Mr. Khashoggi disappeared after visiting the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 to obtain papers that would have enabled him to marry his Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, who was waiting outside.
Saudi officials said at first that Mr. Khashoggi had left the consulate alive and denied any knowledge of his whereabouts. But they later admitted that he had been killed in the building after what they said was a botched mission to bring him back to Saudi Arabia. A “local collaborator” disposed of his body, Saudi officials have said, but has not been found.
“Mr. Khashoggi’s killing constituted an extrajudicial killing for which the state of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is responsible,” and may also have been an act of torture under international treaties, Ms. Callamard wrote. “His attempted kidnapping would also constitute a violation under international human rights law.”
[Prince Mohammed has close ties to President Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. The Khashoggi case puts them in an uncomfortable position.]
Ms. Callamard also called on the international community to impose targeted sanctions on Saudi officials suspecting of being involved in the murder, including Prince Mohammed. The sanctions should focus on the prince’s personal assets abroad “until and unless evidence has been produced that he bears no responsibility for the execution of Mr. Khashoggi.” Ms. Callamard is to present her findings to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva next week in a session that will also be addressed by Ms. Cengiz, Mr. Khashoggi’s fiancé.
Ms. Callamard coupled her recommendation with a scathing assessment of Saudi Arabia’s actions after the killing.
She said that Saudi Arabia did not respond to her requests to visit the kingdom and did not reply to questions she submitted. The Turkish authorities gave her only limited access to evidence, allowing her to listen to about 45 minutes of the seven hours of recordings they had of Saudi officials in the period around Mr. Khashoggi’s death.
Despite such obstacles, her report presents a damning picture of meticulous Saudi preparations for dealing with Mr. Khashoggi that began as soon as officials knew when he would visit the consulate.
Ms. Callamard said she did not have evidence indicating who ordered the crime. “What I do present is information that points to the potential responsibility of individuals and that is what needs to be investigated as a next step.”
Even if a high-level official did not order the killing, she added, “that did not mean that they are not responsible and do not have liability” for it.
She expressed concern about the possibility that Saudi Arabia might take similar actions in the future. Since Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, she said, there have been credible reports of continuing rights violations, including torture and arbitrary detention, and threats against Saudi dissidents abroad.

#PPP Music Video - Kal Bhi Bhutto Zinda Tha,Ajj

Asif Ali Zardari’s production orders issued

Speaker National Assembly (NA) Asad Qaiser has issued production orders of former president Asif Ali Zardari for attending the budget session, sources said Wednesday. The sources added that PPP stalwart Khursheed Shah telephoned the speaker several times before the production orders were issued. PPP leaders Abdul Qadir Patel, Shazia Marri, Shaghufta Jamali and Agha Rafique were present for receiving the production orders.
The PPP leaders have received the copy of production orders for Asif Ali Zardari, sources added.NA Speaker also apprised Khursheed Shah over the issuance of production orders.Earlier, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his sister Aseefa Bhutto Zardari held meeting with their father Asif Ali Zardari at NAB headquarters Rawalpindi.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had arrested Asif Ali Zardari after Islamabad High Court rejected Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur's bail application in mega money laundering case.
PPP Co-Chairman was taken into custody from Zardari House Islamabad. He was shifted to NAB headquarters Rawalpindi.

#Pakistan - #PPP - Bilawal Bhutto appreciates MQM for demanding Zardari’s production order

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Wednesday praised the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), a coalition partner of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), for demanding the production order of former president Asif Ali Zardari.
“I must appreciate the MQM for speaking up for [a] democratic constitutional right regardless of political differences. On the floor of the house yesterday they demanded the production order of [former] President Zardari,” he tweeted.
Bilawal asserted that the former president was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) so that the incumbent government of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) could succeed in having the budget for the new fiscal year passed. “The people of Nawabshah [have been] deprived of their right to be represented in [the] budget process. [For the] First time in the history of Pakistan four members arrested & not produced for NA,” he added. “Innocent until proven guilty is a right not a privilege.”
On June 10, Zardari — the co-chairman of the PPP — was arrested hours after the Islamabad High Court (IHC) recalled the pre-arrest bail granted to him and his sister Faryal Talpur in the fake accounts case.
He was taken into custody from his residence in Islamabad while his sister Talpur was arrested on June 18.
On Tuesday, Bilawal said the second letter written to the National Assembly speaker for issuing the production orders of detained lawmakers also carried the signatures of MNAs belonging to the MQM-P.
He added that Moonis Elahi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) had also assured him that his party supported the opposition’s stance on the matter.
The PPP chairman accused the government of resorting to dirty tactics to have the budget passed, noting that the opposition leader in the National Assembly was not even allowed to speak in the house.
He maintained that the production orders of Zardari, Mohsin Dawar, Ali Wazir and Khawaja Saad Rafique were not being issued to prevent them from voting on the budget.
MQM ministry
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Bilawal said he welcomed the government’s decision to give another ministry to the MQM-P.
“I am glad that a lawmaker from my province [Sindh] is being given a ministry,” he remarked.
The PPP chairman said Prime Minister Imran Khan should fulfill the promises he had made, especially about the development of Karachi.
“He [the prime minister] had announced a development package for Karachi but the city hasn’t been provided with the funds it requires,” he maintained.“The prime minister had also promised that a desalination plant would be set up in the city. The Sindh government wants to cooperate with the centre for the project but the prime minister doesn’t seem interested anymore.”According to reports, Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised to give the MQM-P another ministry in a meeting with party leaders that was also attended by Sindh Governor Imran Ismail.

#Pakistan - Bilawal, Aseefa meet Asif Zardari at NAB Rawalpindi

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and his sister Aseefa Bhutto Zardari held meeting with their father former president Asif Ali Zardari at NAB headquarters Rawalpindi.
The meeting of Asif Ali Zardari with his children continued for an hour, sources said.
Meanwhile, according to NAB officials, NAB chairman has allowed Asif Zardari’s children to meet their father any day and directed that they should not face any difficulty in this regard. National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had arrested the former president after Islamabad High Court rejected Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur's bail application in mega money laundering case.
PPP Co-Chairman was taken into custody from Zardari House Islamabad. He was shifted to NAB headquarters Rawalpindi.
A day later, an accountability court handed over Asif Ali Zardari to the NAB on a 10-day physical remand.
The judge ordered the NAB to present the former president before court on June 21 after expiry of his remand.

#Pakistan - #PPP - Asif #Zardari to attend Thursday’s NA session

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique will attend Thursday’s National Assembly (NA) session after the speaker on Wednesday night issued their production orders.
The matter of production orders of the detained leaders has been the bone of contention between the government and the opposition and had contributed to ruckus in the House during the past few sessions. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal-Bhutto Zardari had repeatedly raised the issue in the House, saying that it was the right of the elected representatives to be present during the session to present their opinion on the federal budget.
Earlier, PPP on Wednesday urged the NA speaker to issue Zardari’s production order. During a protest at Minister’s Enclave, Senator Sherry Rehman had said that PPP had requested NA Speaker Asad Qaiser to issue production order of Asif Zardari.
She alleged that constant pressure was put on the NA speaker who should play his role impartially. She also expressed the hope that the production order would be issued this evening.
On this occasion, Syed Nayyer Hussain Bukhari said that the government should issue production order of the four NA members, including Zardari.
He said that it was the constitutional right of every member to participate in the budget session, adding that if production order would not be issued, the opposition would decide its own strategy.
Former deputy speaker Faisal Karim Kundi, Amir Fida Paracha, Senator Rubina Khalid and other leaders of PPP took part in the protest.