Software made by an Israeli cyber security firm was used to track murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a former U.S. National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower claimed Wednesday.
Addressing a conference in Tel Aviv, Israel via a video call from Russia, Edward Snowden said Pegasus spyware sold to governments by NSO Group Technologies was used to track opponents.
“The Saudis, of course, knew that Khashoggi was going to go to the consulate, as he got an appointment. But how did they know his intention and plans?”
Khashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
EU urges Saudi cooperation with Turkish Khashoggi probe
The European Commission on Tuesday called on Saudi Arabia to collaborate with Turkish authorities on investigating the killing last month of a journalist at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul."We expect Saudi institutions to provide all the information they have about the case and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice. This needs to be done in full collaboration with the Turkish authorities," commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told a press briefing in Brussels."From the very beginning we have been asking Saudi Arabia to shed light on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi through a full credible, transparent and prompt investigation," she added.Germany says all behind Khashoggi murder should be punishedKhashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2.After weeks of denying involvement, the kingdom admitted that Khashoggi had been killed at the Saudi Consulate but claimed that the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of a plot to murder him.EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini earlier said: "We expect a thorough investigation and full transparency from the Saudi authorities on what has happened."Journalists in UK call for action against Saudi ArabiaIn a non-binding resolution on Oct. 25, the European Parliament condemned “in the strongest possible terms” the reported torture and killing of the journalist.The EP urged an "independent and impartial" international probe of the killing, also warning that targeted sanctions could be imposed if Saudi agents are found guilty in his death.Last week, Turkish prosecutors announced their preliminary findings, saying Khashoggi was strangled to death in a premeditated killing soon after he entered the consulate.The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said Khashoggi's body was disposed of after being dismembered.Saudi authorities have so far claimed that they do not know the whereabouts of his remains.UK, Canada say urgent need to resolve Khashoggi murder
Germany says all behind Khashoggi murder should be punished
Germany urged Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to support Turkey’s investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and bring the perpetrators and their superiors to justice.Speaking at a news conference in Berlin, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas stressed that Germany expects a “full investigation” into the killing of Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.“We have supported the investigation done by the Turkish authorities. And we also think that the Saudi authorities should have supported the investigation more than they did. Many questions remain open,” he said.Maas stressed that all those responsible for the murder should be brought to justice and punished.“We expect that those responsible for this crime will be held responsible. Not just the perpetrators, but also those who ordered this murder, if indeed there were such people,” he added.Journalists in UK call for action against Saudi ArabiaKhashoggi, a Saudi national and columnist for The Washington Post, was killed on Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.After weeks of denying involvement, the kingdom admitted that Khashoggi had been killed at the consulate but claimed that the Saudi royal family had no prior knowledge of a plot to murder him.So far, 18 people, including security officers, have been arrested in Saudi Arabia in connection with the murder.Last week, Turkish prosecutors announced their preliminary findings, saying Khashoggi was strangled to death in a premeditated killing soon after he entered the consulate.The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office said Khashoggi's body was disposed of after being dismembered.Saudi authorities have so far claimed that they do not know the whereabouts of his remains.
Once inside, he was immediately strangled and then dismembered, according to the Istanbul Prosecutor’s office.
After announcing he was killed, Saudi Arabia has yet to reveal the location of Khashoggi’s body.
Snowden said the smartphone of one of Khashoggi’s friends, who was living in exile in Canada, had been infected with NSO’s Pegasus spyware.
He said the software allowed the Saudis to collect information about Khashoggi.
“The truth is that they pursued some of his friends through a program written by the Israeli company.”
A report issued by Canadian research institute Citizen Lab said: “We have high confidence that the cellphone of Omar Abdulaziz, a Saudi activist and Canadian permanent resident, was targeted and infected with NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware.”
The software, which allows almost unlimited surveillance of mobile phones, is seen as the world's most powerful mobile spyware application.
Snowden, who leaked thousands of documents detailing a long-term surveillance program by the U.S. government, was granted asylum by Russia in 2013 after the U.S charged him with espionage.
His residence permit in Russia was extended until 2020.
Saudi prince launches country's 1st nuke plant project
Saudi Arabia's crown prince set in motion seven major energy projects, one of which is to build the kingdom’s first nuclear research reactor, according to the Saudi Press Agency’s report late Monday.During his visit to King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched key projects for atomic energy, renewable energy, water desalination, genetic medicine and aircraft manufacturing.Among the launched projects is a nuclear reactor described as a "low-energy research reactor," a solar energy-powered desalination plant in Khafji with a capacity of 60 thousand cubic meters of water per day, and a desalination plant in Yanbu with a capacity for 5.2 thousand cubic meters per day.Israel’s new favorite: OmanThe nuclear reactor is likely to draw international attention as the kingdom selects bidders for its first nuclear plant.According to the World Nuclear Association, Saudi Arabia plans to build two large nuclear power reactors to diversify its energy supply, at a cost of more than $80 billion.In April 2013, the King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy (KA-CARE) aimed to have 17 gigawatts (GWe) of nuclear capacity by 2032 out of a total of 123 GWe. In January 2015, the nuclear target date was moved to 2040 and KA-CARE announced that it was soliciting proposals for 2.9 GWe of nuclear capacity from South Korea, China, Russia and Japan.With the realization of the nuclear project, the kingdom is set to become the second Gulf Arab state to launch a nuclear power project after the U.A.E.'Gulf crises will pass, but economy is stronger'
Saudis sent 'clean-up' team to Turkey after Khashoggi killing, official says
Saudi Arabia sent a two-man "clean-up team" to erase evidence of journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing a week after he disappeared at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, a Turkish official said on Monday, calling it a sign top Saudi officials knew of the crime.Confirming a report in Turkey's pro-government Sabah newspaper, the official said the chemist and toxicologist were tasked with erasing evidence before Turkish investigators were given access to the Saudi consulate and consul's residence.Sabah identified the two men as Ahmed Abdulaziz al-Jonabi and Khaled Yahya al-Zahrani, saying they arrived in Turkey as part of an 11-person team sent to carry out the inspections with Turkish officials.Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist critical of the Saudi government and its de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, disappeared at the consulate on Oct. 2.Saudi officials initially insisted had left the consulate, then said he died in an unplanned "rogue operation". The kingdom's public prosecutor Saud al-Mojeb later said he was killed in a premeditated attack.Khashoggi's fiancee says killers must be brought to justiceErdoğan says top Saudi officials ordered Khashoggi hitNorway summoned Saudi ambassador over Khashoggi murderTurkish and Saudi officials have carried out joint inspections of the consulate and consul's residence in Istanbul, but President Tayyip Erdogan says some Saudi officials are still trying to cover up the crime. Ankara has also demanded Riyadh cooperate in finding Khashoggi's body, which Istanbul's chief prosecutor said had been dismembered.A senior Turkish official confirmed the names of the men identified on Monday by Sabah. "We believe that the two individuals came to Turkey for the sole purpose of covering up evidence of Jamal Khashoggi's murder before the Turkish police were allowed to search the premises," the official said.The two individuals carried out clean-up operations at the consulate and the consul's residence in Istanbul until October 17 and left the country three days later, he said."The fact that a clean-up team was dispatched from Saudi Arabia nine days after the murder suggests that Khashoggi's slaying was within the knowledge of top Saudi officials," the official said.Saudi Arabia says 18 people have been detained over Khashoggi's killing and the head of its human rights commission told a meeting in Geneva on Monday Riyadh was investigating the case with a view to prosecuting the perpetrators.Acid ReportsSaudi Arabia's conflicting accounts of Khashoggi's killing have prompted international outcry against the world's top oil exporter, upending the young crown prince's international image as a reformer.Turkey has released a stream of evidence challenging the initial Saudi denials of involvement, and continues to press Riyadh for details.On Monday Vice President Fuat Oktay called for an investigation into newspaper reports last week that Khashoggi's body was disposed of by dissolving it in acid."The question now is who gave the orders. This is what we are seeking answers to now," Fuat Oktay told Anadolu news agency. "Another question is where the body is... There are reports of (the body) being dissolved with acid now. All of these need to be looked at".In an article in the Washington Post on Friday, Erdogan said the order to kill Khashoggi came from the "highest levels" of the Saudi government and called for the "puppetmasters" to be unmasked.Turkey praised for handling of Khashoggi affairUS mourners gather at service for Jamal KhashoggiAmnesty places Khashoggi sign outside Saudi embassy in UK