Newly revealed WhatsApp messages sent by murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi just weeks before his death could provide a crucial insight into why he was killed.
In the WhatsApp exchange, between him and Montreal-based activist Omar Abdulaziz, Khashoggi slams Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman – calling him a ‘Pac-Man’ who devours his enemies.
Abdulaziz, who revealed the messages to CNN, said he believes they were hacked in August by Saudi authorities just two months before Khashoggi’s brutal killing at the consulate in Istanbul.
In WhatsApp messages between him and activist Omar Abdulaziz, Khashoggi (pictured) slams Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman
Omar Abdulaziz (pictured) said he believes the messages were hacked by the Saudi government which caused Khashoggi’s death
Last month, researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab reported Abdulaziz’s phone had been hacked by military-grade spyware.
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And Abdulaziz later told CNN: ‘The hacking of my phone played a major role in what happened to Jamal, I am really sorry to say. The guilt is killing me.’
In over 400 messages sent between the pair over the course of a year, Khashoggi and Abdulaziz conceived plans to mobilize the Saudi youth against Bin Salman by creating an ‘electronic army’ to fight the state’s propaganda.
The pair developed intricate plans for the scheme they called the ‘cyber bees’, which involved sending foreign SIM cards to dissidents back home so they could tweet without being traced.
In the messages Khashoggi described Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman as like a ‘pac man’ devouring all in his path
Khashoggi, seen on CCTV entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, was murdered by a Saudi death squad after entering the building on October 2
According to Abdulaziz, who lives in Canada after fleeing Saudi Arabia, Khashoggi also pledged $30,000 to implementing their plans.
Khashoggi is said to have used the WhatsApp thread to engage in stern criticism of Bin Salman.
In one message, Khashoggi tells Abdulaziz, ‘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.’
Plans developed between Abdulaziz and Khashoggi included sending SIM cards to Saudi dissidents still living in the country
The journalist’s death has sparked international outcry with many calling for Bin Salman to step down
Abdulaziz on Sunday launched a lawsuit against an Israeli company that invented the software he believes was used to hack his phone.
A lawsuit filed in Tel Aviv on Sunday shows Abdulaziz is suing Israel’s NSO Group, who make hacking software, and have already been sued by Mexican and Qatari citizens on similar grounds.
After receiving word from Saudi Arabia that authorities had seen messages between the pair, Abdulaziz informed Khashoggi who simply wrote back: ‘God help us.’
Bin Salman made a controversial appearance at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires last week where he shook hands with world leaders including Theresa May and Donald Trump.