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Lets's talk about democracy
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Saturday, 3 July 2004
Saudis have a friend in the White House. (And torture with impunity)
Mood:  on fire
The New York Times reports today that in, "February 2003, an agreement was reached in principle...(that) Prince Saud, the foreign minister, (had) agreed to arrange pardons and release... (of ) five Britons and the two others if the United States would send home a handful of Saudi prisoners from Guant?namo, the American official with knowledge of the negotiations said...

One Defense Department official said a basic question hanging over the discussions was, `Why are we doing this for these guys when we haven't done this for other, better allies?" The official added, "We were just told to do it.'"

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/04/international/middleeast/04SWAP.html?hp=&pagewanted=print&position=

The Britons in question were tortured repeatedly by the Saudis; according to the Guardian from 2003: "One of the Britons released last month from a Saudi jail has said he was tortured "beyond endurance" during his imprisonment.

Sandy Mitchell said he was chained, beaten and denied sleep until he confessed to a crime he did not commit.

Mr Mitchell, 44, from Kirkintilloch, was one of six men from the UK arrested three years ago after a series of bomb attacks in Riyadh that left one Briton dead and several other westerners injured.

"I was kept awake for nine days chained to the door of my cell so I could not sleep or sit down," he said. "In the evening times I was hooded, taken upstairs in chains to one of the interrogation rooms where the beatings then progressed to torture.

"The beatings started with punching, kicking, spitting, and eventually progressed to hitting me with sticks. They had this axe handle and I was beaten on the soles of my feet."

Crucifixion?

Mr Mitchell told the Sunday Times that he had been told his death sentence was to have been a crucifixion,which involves the victim's head being partially severed and their body fixed to an x-shaped cross and hung in public for three days.

The Saudi authorities claimed that the blasts were part of a feud between illegal alcohol smugglers and not the work of Saudi dissidents." [Not that they have any insurgency problems.]

(60 minutes reporting last year on the torture and forced confessions of these men said they were arrested in order to get the British to shut down an anti-Saud newspaper that was being published in London.)

In August 2003 Al-Jazeera reported
further:

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/C0893650-2363-47A5-AD58-6851F0B30759.htm

"Mitchell said that he had also been pressured into making a public confession on television after being told by Saudi police that his wife and young son were being tortured, the newspaper added.

Mitchell and British-born William Sampson, who now holds a Canadian passport, faced execution for allegedly masterminding bomb attacks in 2000 and 2001. The bombings left a Briton dead and two other Britons and an Irishwoman injured.

But the men's families, lawyers and others argued they were scapegoats for attacks carried out by Islamist radicals operating in Saudi Arabia.

All seven were released after Saudi King Fahd granted them royal clemency. According to the Observer newspaper, the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, played a key role in securing the men's release.

"The prince has excellent connections within Saudi Arabia. He has been very keen that the case should be re-looked at by the Saudi authorities," a spokesman for Charles was quoted as saying."

Well, of course, now we know the Saudis have better connections with the Bush White House, which is what this is really all about.

The whole thing was a big quid pro quo; for the Brits to get their people back and get the pressure off Blair, get the Saudis sweet for the invasion of Iraq and ultimately to clear the decks for "W's" holy crusade.

Typically, the Saudis are the big winners. Bush and CO. are all about keeping us safe from terror by locking hundreds of people up and throwing away the key, except when it comes to Saudi terrorists.

(The NY Times)

"American officials involved in the Saudi case described it as highly unusual and said the backgrounds of those detainees raised greater concerns than those of others. Some officials also said the case showed how considerations other than security and intelligence could influence releases of prisoners."

Our good friends the Saudis, of course, are blameless:

[The Guardian]

http://www.guardian.co.uk/saudi/story/0,11599,1037311,00.html

Preposterous!

"No one was available for comment at the Saudi embassy in London yesterday but last month Adel al-Jubeir, foreign affairs adviser to Crown Prince Abdullah, said: "We have the evidence, we have the proof, and we stand by it. I don't expect that the men who were pardoned would come out and say 'Oh gee, the Saudis were really right, we were alcohol smugglers and we tried to shoot each other'.

`But for people to think that Saudi Arabia tried to pin charges on foreigners in order to hide a terrorism problem is preposterous.'" {How crazy is that?}


Posted by bushmeister0 at 4:17 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 3 July 2004 5:05 PM EDT
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