Canadian intelligence officers have now listened to the grisly audio recording of journalist and Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi’s death, according to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Speaking to journalists in Paris today (Nov. 12), Trudeau said he had not heard the recordings personally, but had spoken to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about it over the weekend.
“Canada’s intelligence agencies have been working very closely on this issue with Turkish intelligence, and Canada has been fully briefed on what Turkey had to share,” Trudeau said.
The audio was reportedly also shared with the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Saudi Arabia, though French authorities have since denied having it. “We gave them the tapes,” Erdoğan said at a news conference in the Turkish capital on Saturday (Nov. 10). “They’ve also listened to the conversations. They know it. There is no need to distort this.” But the White House has been loath to acknowledge whether it has a copy of the recording, much less who US President Donald Trump believes is the responsible party for Khashoggi’s death. If Erdoğan’s claim is true, however, US intelligence officials have had the files for a matter of days.
Trudeau has similarly dodged questions about potential Canadian sanctions for Saudi Arabia. With an election year in 2019, he may be looking to his sliding approval numbers, ahead of potentially nixing an arms deal worth $13 billion. Three thousand Canadian jobs would be at stake. For now, he said, he would continue to speak with Canada’s allies about the investigation and how best to proceed.
In the meantime, ghoulish details about Khashoggi’s alleged murder continue to leak out of Turkey. After last week’s reported revelations about the use of acid in disposing of the body, a report yesterday (Nov. 11) in Al Jazeera claimed that the journalist’s final words were: ”I’m suffocating … Take this bag off my head, I’m claustrophobic.”