Oct 172018
Pompeo lands in Turkey as probe into Khashoggi case heats up

A pro-government Turkish newspaper on Wednesday published a gruesome recounting of the alleged slaying of Saudi writer Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, just as America’s top diplomat arrived in the country for talks over The Washington Post columnist’s disappearance. The report by Yeni Safak adds to the ever-increasing pressure on Saudi Arabia to explain what happened to Khashoggi, who vanished Oct 2 while visiting the consulate to pick up paperwork he needed to get married. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told journalists before leaving Riyadh on Wednesday that Saudi leaders, including King Salman and his son, the 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, “made no exceptions on who they would hold accountable.” “They made a commitment to hold anyone connected to any wrongdoing that may be found accountable for that, whether they are a senior officer or official,” Pompeo said. However, no major decision is made outside of the ultraconservative kingdom’s ruling Al Saud family. Khashoggi had fled the country last year amid the rise of Prince Mohammed, whom he wrote critically about in the Post. The Yeni Safak report cited what it described as an audio recording of Khashoggi’s slaying, which it said showed the writer was tortured. The newspaper said Saudi Consul General Mohammed al-Otaibi could be heard on the tape, telling those allegedly torturing Khashoggi: “Do this outside; you’re going to get me in trouble.” The newspaper alleged that one of the Saudis torturing Khashoggi replied: “Shut up if you want to live [Read More…]

May 012017
Uber suspends Pakistani driver in Australia over bomb plot allegation

Uber has suspended a driver in Australia while police investigate allegations that he told a passenger he led an organisation related to the militant Islamic State (IS) group and planned to blow up Parliament House, the ride-hailing company said Monday. The passenger, a woman who declined to be identified out of fear for her safety, said on Monday she was heading home from downtown Canberra after a night out with friends when she caught an Uber early Sunday morning. The woman said the driver said he was from Pakistan and asked if she had “ever eaten human flesh.” He said he planned to blow up a Canberra shopping mall as well as Parliament House and told her he was not taking her to her home on Canberra's outskirts but to the town of Cooma, 100 kilometres to the south, the woman said. She said she told the driver to pull over at a gas station so she could use the toilet, and called the police emergency number from there. Two police cars arrived about 10 minutes later, she said. Police said they searched the Uber car but found nothing suspicious. Police drove the woman home and did not arrest the driver. “Police conducted initial background checks and established there was no threat to the public or the complainant,” a police statement said. It said an investigation of the woman's allegations was continuing with the involvement of national police and security agencies. The driver's access to the Uber app was restricted [Read More…]