Jamal Khashoggi’s private WhatsApp messages may offer new clues to killing

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Monday December 3, 2018 (RBB NEWS) – London (CNN)In his public writings, Jamal Khashoggi’s criticism of Saudi Arabia and its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was measured. In private, the Washington Post columnist didn’t hold back.
In more than 400 WhatsApp messages sent to a fellow Saudi exile in the yearbefore he was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Khashoggi describes bin Salman — often referred to as MBS — as a “beast,” a “pac-man” who would devour all in his path, even his supporters.
CNN has been granted exclusive access to the correspondence between Khashoggi and Montreal-based activist Omar Abdulaziz. The messages shared by Abdulaziz, which include voice recordings, photos and videos, paint a picture of a man deeply troubled by what he regarded as the petulance of his kingdom’s powerful young prince.
“The more victims he eats, the more he wants,” says Khashoggi in one message sent in May, just after a group of Saudi activists had been rounded up. “I will not be surprised if the oppression will reach even those who are cheering him on.”
  • JAMAL KHASHOGGIArrests are unjustified and do not serve him (logic says), but tyranny has no logic, but he loves force, oppression and needs to show them off. He is like a beast “pac man” the more victims he eats, the more he wants. I will not be surprised that the oppression will reach even those who are cheering him, then others and others and so on. God knows
  • OMAR ABDULAZIZAmazing
  • Is there a possibility that when he becomes a King he would pardon them
  • In a gesture to show pardon and mercy
  • JAMAL KHASHOGGIThis is what logic says, but I no longer have faith in it to analyze the man’s mind.
The exchanges reveal a progression from talk to action — the pair had begun planning an online youth movement that would hold the Saudi state to account. “[Jamal] believed that MBS is the issue, is the problem and he said this kid should be stopped,” Abdulaziz said in an interview with CNN.
But in August, when he believed their conversations may have been intercepted by Saudi authorities, a sense of foreboding descends over Khashoggi. “God help us,” he wrote.
Two months later, he was dead.
Abdulaziz on Sunday launched a lawsuit against an Israeli company that invented the software he believes was used to hack his phone.
“The hacking of my phone played a major role in what happened to Jamal, I am really sorry to say,” Abdelaziz told CNN. “The guilt is killing me.”

Omar Abdulaziz believes Saudi authorities intercepted private messages between him and Jamal Khashoggi.

SIM cards and financial support

Abdulaziz began speaking out against the Saudi regime as a college student in Canada. His pointed criticisms of government policies drew the attention of the Saudi state, which canceled his university scholarship. Canada granted him asylum in 2014 and made him a permanent resident three years later.
In almost daily exchanges between October 2017 and August 2018, Khashoggi and Abdulaziz conceived plans to form an electronic army to engage young Saudis back home and debunk state propaganda on social media, leveraging Khashoggi’s establishment profile and the 27-year-old Abdulaziz’s 340,000-strong Twitter following.
The digital offensive, dubbed the “cyber bees,” had emerged from earlier discussions about creating a portal for documenting human rights abuses in their homeland as well an initiative to produce short films for mobile distribution. “We have no parliament; we just have Twitter,” said Abdulaziz, adding that Twitter is also the Saudi government’s strongest weapon. “Twitter is the only tool they’re using to fight and to spread their rumors. We’ve been attacked, we’ve been insulted, we’d been threatened so many times, and we decided to do something.”
The pair’s scheme involved two key elements that Saudi Arabia might well have viewed as hostile acts. The first involved sending foreign SIM cards to dissidents back home so they could tweet without being traced. The second was money. According to Abdulaziz, Khashoggi pledged an initial $30,000 and promised to drum up support from rich donors under the radar.
In one exchange, dated May this year, Abdulaziz writes to Khashoggi. “I sent you some ideas about the electronic army. By email.”

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