The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A book and a TV program 

First the book. You remember The sorrowful saga of the so-called "Booze Bombers" story? That's the one where Al Qaeda terorists blew up a Westerner with a car bomb. So "Nasty Naif" decided that it was evidence of a "turf war" between Westerners involved in the expat "drinks industry", and started to lock them up, plus a few others as well. Trouble is, the more he locked up, the more explosions took place. Finally, three western compounds were blown up in one night by Al Qaeda, leading eventually to the release of the obviously innocent Westerners. As I said in that posting

Finally, Prince Naif and the Keystone Cops "get it". They can no longer pretend that the bombers are Westerners, when a gang of Saudis drive into Western residential compounds, shouting "Allahu Akhbar" and shooting everyone in sight, before blowing the places to bits. In any other country, Naif would now have resigned before he got fired. By denying the Al Qaeda plot, by persisting with this "Booze Bomber" nonsense, he missed the chance to put down a major terrorist campaign in its early days, a campaign that it took another year to finally deal with. However, as a member of the Saudi Royal Family, his job is his by right, not by agreement. He will decide when he resigns, not anyone else. And he's going nowhere. Meanwhile 22 innocent people were imprisoned, terrified, their lives ruined, denied consular or legal access for prolonged periods, tortured, beaten, subject to "joke" executions, and no doubt scarred physically and mentally for the rest of their lives. And all because the Idiot Child of the House of Saud didn't have the brains, guts or balls to say "I got it wrong. I'm sorry. I'm letting you go".

One of the victims has emailed me to point out that another of the victims, William Sampson, has now published a book telling the story of his traumatic time.

On Sunday, December 17, 2000, Canadian engineer William Sampson stepped outside his house in Riyadh only to be hauled into a car and beaten by two Saudi men he didn’t know. Within an hour, he was incarcerated in one of the city’s most notorious jails. Within two months, he was tortured into a confession of responsibility for a wave of car bombings he did not commit. Sometime in that first year, he was sentenced to death in a secret trial. For two and a half years, Sampson was continually subjected to beatings and torture, convinced his death was just around the corner. Inept diplomacy failed him but human rights groups took up his cause and on August 8, 2003, he was finally freed in a controversial prisoner exchange.

I don't usually advertise on here, but I'd recommend anyone to get hold of the book. It's available on Amazon. It's a story that needs to get out, and to shame the Saudi Government into making proper restitution to all these victims.

The TV program is a 15-minute interview involving John Bradley, an English journalist who used to work in Saudi, whose site I link to above, and Jamal Khashoggi, who was sacked as the too-liberal editor of Saudi newspaper Al Watan. The strange thing about Khashoggi is that he seems to have gone thru some sort of life changing experience, and has now emerged as a media advisor to the Saudi Ambassador to the US. Perhaps losing a prestigious job "got his mind right", but it's bizarre watching him mouthing inane platitudes like a regular Saudi Government munchkin. John Bradley makes a number of very valid points, I just wish he weren't so damned polite about it. I also wish they'd had a real chairman, someone like the BBC's Jeremy Paxman, who would have been much better briefed, and would have sunk his teeth into Khashoggi's leg until he got a proper response to John's criticisms.

You can see the interview here. It lasts about 10 - 15 minutes, and is the first item in the clip.

(The most chilling part, unless I mis-heard, was Khashoggi's revelation that they are sending Saudi judges to Oxford. The mind boggles. Presumably not to the University, for our judges, as graduates of you-know-where, would have great difficulty competing even with the local kindergarten kiddies. Perhaps they are going to help out in the local courts. Imagine that bozo in the previous post, dispensing justice in Oxford? Congratulating kiddy-fiddlers and wife-beaters, while having undergraduates in Halloween outfits lashed publicly in Broad Street. Now that would be a cultural exchange. I do hope I misheard him.)

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