Stop the Torture of Political Prisoners

Originally published on August 13, 2014, at ForceChange.com

Target: Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, King of Saudi Arabia

Goal: End the heinous practice of torture and human rights abuses in Saudi prisons

Although the law prohibits the use of torture, many prisoners in Saudi Arabia are regularly beaten and humiliated by their jailors. Imposing degrading punishments on their prisoners, government officials in Saudi Arabia consistently break both Sharia law and statutory law by continuing these practices well into the 21st century. Instead of falsely claiming that inflicting torture prevents terrorist attacks, government officials simply torture prisoners to flaunt their abusive power.

According to the U.S. State Department, the Saudi Arabian government is guilty of kidnapping, torture, human trafficking, illegally detaining citizens without charges, and murder. By regularly committing human rights abuses against its own people, the Saudi Arabian government exerts its power through absolute fear and intimidation. Human rights activists are often secretly arrested without committing a crime, and then are imprisoned and tortured.

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NSA Colluding with Abusive Saudi Arabian Secret Police

Originally published on July 27, 2014, at NationofChange.org

While the U.S. State Department denounces human rights abuse in Saudi Arabia, the NSA is secretly helping the oppressive state police to capture and torture political activists. A 2013 NSA memo exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals the NSA has been providing surveillance assistance to the Saudi Ministry of Interior (MOI) in exchange for signals intelligence on terrorists and “Maritime Force targets of mutual interest.”

According to the NSA memo, relations between the US and Saudi intelligence communities had become strained after the first Gulf War in 1991. The NSA experienced years of stagnation while attempting to work with the Saudi Ministry of Defense, Radio Reconnaissance Department. But in December 2012, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper authorized sharing SIGINT with MOI’s Technical Affairs Directorate.

Influenced by the CIA’s successful relationship with the MOI’s General Directorate for Investigations, Mabahith (equivalent to the FBI), Clapper strengthened the NSA’s faltering relations with the Saudi state police. By providing technical assistance and decryption tools to the MOI, Clapper gave the Saudi government the ability to improve their surveillance systems and spyware against political dissidents, bloggers, and human rights activists.

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