By Scott Taylor
In the bizarre world of international espionage it would seem that foreign spy agencies are more bungling than Hollywood comedy characters Austin Powers and Johnny English.
First it was the alleged Russian assassination attempt on a former double agent. According to the latest account from the UK authorities, President Vladimir Putin dispatched two of Russia’s top operatives to Salisbury, England to eliminate Sergei Skripal.
The cover story for the two Russian assassins was that they were interested in seeing some churches in this scenic town in southern England.
Rather than simply shooting or stabbing Skripal and making it appear to be a random robbery in order to deflect responsibility, the dynamic duo allegedly coated the door handle of Skripal’s house with the deadly nerve agent called Novichok. After leaving the Skripal residence, the two Russian agents went to a park several kilometers away and carelessly disposed of the remaining Novichok, which was allegedly transported in a perfume bottle.
The result of this elaborate plot was that though Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia got ill from their exposure to the deadly Novichok both of them survived.
Not so lucky was Dawn Sturgess, a lifetime drug addict who found the not-so-empty perfume bottle, exposed herself to the toxic substance, and died 8 days later.
To summarize; the intended target survived, an innocent bystander died, and the use of Novichok directly implicates the Russian state.
Then we have the tragic death of Saudi Arabian columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of a Saudi Intelligence death squad. The storyline on this one makes the keystone cops look like an elite SWAT unit.
According to official Turkish sources a team of eighteen Saudi operatives was dispatched to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul.
Khashoggi arrived at the consulate intending to tidy up some divorce paperwork in order to allow him to remarry. Khashoggi was filmed entering the consulate while his fiancé waited outside. When Khashoggi failed to exit the consulate, the fiancé cried foul and alarm bells started going off.
Initially the Saudis claimed that Khashoggi – a harsh critic of the Saudi regime in general, and even harsher critic of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in particular – had left the consulate safe and sound.
The Turks weren’t buying that line and neither was the fiancé. It was alleged that the eighteen-man death squad had included a pathologist and a body double intended to fake Khashoggi’s exit from the consulate.
There is apparently audio recordings of Khashoggi being tortured and the Turks further allege that a bone saw was used to dismember the unfortunate columnist/dissident. The remains are purportedly scattered in some woods outside the sprawling suburbs of Istanbul.
The Saudis stuck to their story – that Khashoggi walked out upright – for about two weeks. Then they suddenly admitted that the journalist in question had indeed died inside the consulate, but that it was the result of an accident following a fistfight.
To believe the new Saudi version we would need to assume that deaths from fistfights are so commonplace that Khashoggi’s incident simply slipped the minds through fourteen days of repeated questions as to his whereabouts.
“Oh, you mean that Khashoggi? Yeah well maybe he was that guy who died in a fistfight, so we cut him up and threw his remains into the forest. Now it rings a bell.”
In response to this nonsense, Canada’s Foreign Ministry has called for more answers and is demanding an investigation into Khashoggi’s death, yet no one in Trudeau’s Liberal government wants to pull the plug on an arms deal worth a reported $15 billion.
Trudeau claims that cancelling the deal would cost Canada billions of dollars and he puts blame on the previous Harper government for having signed the contract in the first place.
Canada brazenly chastises the Saudis for their human rights abuses – Khashoggi’s murder being only the latest incident in a long list that includes the Saudi military intervention in Yemen that has left some 14,000 dead and a further 3 million displaced.
The continued sale of Canadian made Light Armoured Vehicles to the Saudi regime illustrates the hypocrisy of the Trudeau government.
These are not washing machines or medical devices – they are the very means of death and oppression for which we criticize the Saudis.
The cancellation will cost us dollars and jobs – the continued sale of weapons to the Saudis costs us our international credibility and integrity.