Under the Veil of "Counter Terrorism"

Amnesty International has just released a report detailing the consistent human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia under the facade of combatting terrorism. Thousands of people have been arrested and detained in virtual secrecy, while others have been killed in uncertain circumstances. Hundreds more people face secret and summary trials and possible execution. Many are reported to have been tortured in order to extract confessions or as punishment after conviction.

Reported methods of torture and other ill-treatment include severe beatings with sticks, punching, and suspension from the ceiling, use of electric shocks and sleep deprivation. Flogging is also imposed as a legal punishment by itself or in addition to imprisonment, and sentences can include thousands of lashes.

Since the attacks of September 11th, Saudi Arabia has been under intense pressure by the West to take on terrorism as 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi citizens. Abdulrahman Alhadlaq, a Saudi Interior Ministry official, told The Associated Press that Amnesty International’s assertions were “claims that have to be proven.”

Samah Choudhury contributed to this post

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8 thoughts on “Under the Veil of "Counter Terrorism"

  1. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12452834380552556

    Wall Street Journal, July 15th, 2009

    Human Rights Watch Goes to Saudi Arabia
    Seeking Saudi Money to Counterbalance "Pro-Israel Pressure Groups"

    A delegation from Human Rights Watch was recently in Saudi Arabia. To investigate the mistreatment of women under Saudi Law? To campaign for the rights of homosexuals, subject to the death penalty in Saudi Arabia? To protest the lack of religious freedom in the Saudi Kingdom? To issue a report on Saudi political prisoners?

    No, no, no, and no. The delegation arrived to raise money from wealthy Saudis by highlighting HRW's demonization of Israel. An HRW spokesperson, Sarah Leah Whitson, highlighted HRW's battles with "pro-Israel pressure groups in the US, the European Union and the United Nations. Ms. Whitson, who gave the presentation to potential Saudi donors, is director of HRW's Middle East and North Africa Division."

    "HRW sees nothing unseemly about raising funds among the elite of one of the most totalitarian nations on earth, with a pitch about how the money is needed to fight "pro-Israel forces," without the felt need to discuss any of the Saudis' manifold human rights violations, and without apparent concern about becoming dependent on funds emanating from a brutal dictatorship"

  2. http://jeffreygoldberg.theatlantic.com/archives/2

    "In attendence at the HRW fundraiser were at least several Saudi government officials, such as the (Saudi Government run) so called "National Human Rights Commission" and the Shura Council"

    " I'm simply asking the question, did your staff person attempt to raise funds in Saudi Arabia by advertising your organization's opposition to the pro-Israel lobby?"

    Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights WatchRoth responded:

    That's certainly part of the story. We report on Israel. Its supporters fight back with lies and deception. It wasn't a pitch against the Israel lobby per se. Our standard spiel is to describe our work in the region. Telling the Israel story–part of that pitch–is in part telling about the lies and obfuscation that are inevitably thrown our way.

    In other words, yes, the director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East division is attempting to raise funds from Saudis, including a member of the Shura Council (which oversees, on behalf of the Saudi monarchy, the imposition in the Kingdom of the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic law) in part by highlighting her organization's investigations of Israel, and its war with Israel's "supporters," who are liars and deceivers.

    It appears as if Human Rights Watch, in the pursuit of dollars, has compromised its integrity.

  3. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12452834380552556

    Wall Street Journal, July 15th, 2009

    Human Rights Watch Goes to Saudi Arabia
    Seeking Saudi Money to Counterbalance "Pro-Israel Pressure Groups"

    A delegation from Human Rights Watch was recently in Saudi Arabia. To investigate the mistreatment of women under Saudi Law? To campaign for the rights of homosexuals, subject to the death penalty in Saudi Arabia? To protest the lack of religious freedom in the Saudi Kingdom? To issue a report on Saudi political prisoners?

    No, no, no, and no. The delegation arrived to raise money from wealthy Saudis by highlighting HRW's demonization of Israel. An HRW spokesperson, Sarah Leah Whitson, highlighted HRW's battles with "pro-Israel pressure groups in the US, the European Union and the United Nations. Ms. Whitson, who gave the presentation to potential Saudi donors, is director of HRW's Middle East and North Africa Division."

    "HRW sees nothing unseemly about raising funds among the elite of one of the most totalitarian nations on earth, with a pitch about how the money is needed to fight "pro-Israel forces," without the felt need to discuss any of the Saudis' manifold human rights violations, and without apparent concern about becoming dependent on funds emanating from a brutal dictatorship"

  4. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB12452834380552556

    Wall Street Journal, July 15th, 2009

    Human Rights Watch Goes to Saudi Arabia
    Seeking Saudi Money to Counterbalance "Pro-Israel Pressure Groups"

    A delegation from Human Rights Watch was recently in Saudi Arabia. To investigate the mistreatment of women under Saudi Law? To campaign for the rights of homosexuals, subject to the death penalty in Saudi Arabia? To protest the lack of religious freedom in the Saudi Kingdom? To issue a report on Saudi political prisoners?

    No, no, no, and no. The delegation arrived to raise money from wealthy Saudis by highlighting HRW's demonization of Israel. An HRW spokesperson, Sarah Leah Whitson, highlighted HRW's battles with "pro-Israel pressure groups in the US, the European Union and the United Nations. Ms. Whitson, who gave the presentation to potential Saudi donors, is director of HRW's Middle East and North Africa Division."

    "HRW sees nothing unseemly about raising funds among the elite of one of the most totalitarian nations on earth, with a pitch about how the money is needed to fight "pro-Israel forces," without the felt need to discuss any of the Saudis' manifold human rights violations, and without apparent concern about becoming dependent on funds emanating from a brutal dictatorship"

  5. http://jeffreygoldberg.theatlantic.com/archives/2

    "In attendence at the HRW fundraiser were at least several Saudi government officials, such as the (Saudi Government run) so called "National Human Rights Commission" and the Shura Council"

    " I'm simply asking the question, did your staff person attempt to raise funds in Saudi Arabia by advertising your organization's opposition to the pro-Israel lobby?"

    Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights WatchRoth responded:

    That's certainly part of the story. We report on Israel. Its supporters fight back with lies and deception. It wasn't a pitch against the Israel lobby per se. Our standard spiel is to describe our work in the region. Telling the Israel story–part of that pitch–is in part telling about the lies and obfuscation that are inevitably thrown our way.

    In other words, yes, the director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East division is attempting to raise funds from Saudis, including a member of the Shura Council (which oversees, on behalf of the Saudi monarchy, the imposition in the Kingdom of the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic law) in part by highlighting her organization's investigations of Israel, and its war with Israel's "supporters," who are liars and deceivers.

    It appears as if Human Rights Watch, in the pursuit of dollars, has compromised its integrity.

  6. http://jeffreygoldberg.theatlantic.com/archives/2

    "In attendence at the HRW fundraiser were at least several Saudi government officials, such as the (Saudi Government run) so called "National Human Rights Commission" and the Shura Council"

    " I'm simply asking the question, did your staff person attempt to raise funds in Saudi Arabia by advertising your organization's opposition to the pro-Israel lobby?"

    Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights WatchRoth responded:

    That's certainly part of the story. We report on Israel. Its supporters fight back with lies and deception. It wasn't a pitch against the Israel lobby per se. Our standard spiel is to describe our work in the region. Telling the Israel story–part of that pitch–is in part telling about the lies and obfuscation that are inevitably thrown our way.

    In other words, yes, the director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East division is attempting to raise funds from Saudis, including a member of the Shura Council (which oversees, on behalf of the Saudi monarchy, the imposition in the Kingdom of the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic law) in part by highlighting her organization's investigations of Israel, and its war with Israel's "supporters," who are liars and deceivers.

    It appears as if Human Rights Watch, in the pursuit of dollars, has compromised its integrity.

  7. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124528343805525561.html

    Wall Street Journal, July 15th, 2009

    Human Rights Watch Goes to Saudi Arabia
    Seeking Saudi Money to Counterbalance “Pro-Israel Pressure Groups”

    A delegation from Human Rights Watch was recently in Saudi Arabia. To investigate the mistreatment of women under Saudi Law? To campaign for the rights of homosexuals, subject to the death penalty in Saudi Arabia? To protest the lack of religious freedom in the Saudi Kingdom? To issue a report on Saudi political prisoners?

    No, no, no, and no. The delegation arrived to raise money from wealthy Saudis by highlighting HRW’s demonization of Israel. An HRW spokesperson, Sarah Leah Whitson, highlighted HRW’s battles with “pro-Israel pressure groups in the US, the European Union and the United Nations. Ms. Whitson, who gave the presentation to potential Saudi donors, is director of HRW’s Middle East and North Africa Division.”

    “HRW sees nothing unseemly about raising funds among the elite of one of the most totalitarian nations on earth, with a pitch about how the money is needed to fight “pro-Israel forces,” without the felt need to discuss any of the Saudis’ manifold human rights violations, and without apparent concern about becoming dependent on funds emanating from a brutal dictatorship”

  8. http://jeffreygoldberg.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/07/fundraising_corruption_at_huma.php

    “In attendence at the HRW fundraiser were at least several Saudi government officials, such as the (Saudi Government run) so called “National Human Rights Commission” and the Shura Council”

    ” I’m simply asking the question, did your staff person attempt to raise funds in Saudi Arabia by advertising your organization’s opposition to the pro-Israel lobby?”

    Ken Roth, the executive director of Human Rights WatchRoth responded:

    That’s certainly part of the story. We report on Israel. Its supporters fight back with lies and deception. It wasn’t a pitch against the Israel lobby per se. Our standard spiel is to describe our work in the region. Telling the Israel story–part of that pitch–is in part telling about the lies and obfuscation that are inevitably thrown our way.

    In other words, yes, the director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East division is attempting to raise funds from Saudis, including a member of the Shura Council (which oversees, on behalf of the Saudi monarchy, the imposition in the Kingdom of the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islamic law) in part by highlighting her organization’s investigations of Israel, and its war with Israel’s “supporters,” who are liars and deceivers.

    It appears as if Human Rights Watch, in the pursuit of dollars, has compromised its integrity.