Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – While American mainstream media propagandizes the general population with Islamic State (ISIS) decapitations, close U.S. strategic ally, Saudi Arabia, has amassed a beheading body count far outpacing that of ISIS.
While the crimes committed by ISIS are horrific in nature, the fact that the US not only condones but supports a state that is far more violent than ISIS should be pointed out.
The constant drumbeat from pundits and politicians alike is that America must stop the menace known as the Islamic State. The impetus given is that we must stop the brazen public beheadings, as it is an affront to the civilized world and a blatant violation of human rights.
This of course begs the question; if ISIS is considered terrorist human rights violators by the U.S. for their barbaric actions, why is the government of Saudi Arabia not held to the same standard?
Over the past 12-months, Saudi Arabia has beheaded at least 175 people, including mentally disabled individuals and children that were under 18, according to a new report by Amnesty International.
The House of Saud, under King Salman, currently executed 110 people convicted of crimes thus far in 2015, putting it on a pace to surpass its 1995 record number of 192 executions for the calendar year.
To highlight the Saudi’s unbridled brutality, by comparison, ISIS is reported to have beheaded 65 people since the beginning of this year. That number is slightly over half the number of individuals executed by Saudi Arabia in the same period.
Many of those executed by Saudi Arabia signed “confessions,” often after being subjected to outright torture. The list of offenses that warrant death in the Kingdom range from the serious to the ridiculous
“Saudi Arabia’s faulty justice system facilitates judicial executions on a mass scale. In many cases defendants are denied access to a lawyer and in some cases they are convicted on the basis of ‘confessions’ obtained under torture or other ill-treatment in flagrant miscarriages of justice,” Boumedouha said.
Some of the offenses, which can result in death, include murder, non-violent drug offenses, adultery, sorcery, apostasy, witchcraft and “consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex.” Saudi Arabia imposes amputation of limbs and body parts for lesser crimes such as theft.
Therefore, “what constitutes a crime, the proof required to prove it, and the sentence it carries are entirely up to a judge to decide,” according to Human Rights Watch.
The lack of an established penal code, or sentence guidelines for specific crimes, leaves those judging the accused extremely broad latitude for imposing wanton brutality and death.
A scathing 44-page report, released by Amnesty International on Tuesday, calculates that since January 1985 there have been at least 2,208 people executed by the Kingdom.
Of those executed, almost half, 48.5 percent, were foreign nationals. The international human rights group claimed in its report that the foreign nationals were subjected to xenophobic prejudice and lack of access to Arabic interpreters to understand the court proceedings.
Amnesty International’s acting Middle East director, Said Boumedouha, stated that the fabric of the Saudi justice system was “deeply-flawed.”
“The use of the death penalty is horrendous in all circumstances, and is particularly deplorable when it is arbitrarily applied after blatantly unfair trials. Instead of defending the country’s appalling record, the Saudi Arabian authorities should urgently establish an official moratorium on executions and implement international fair trial standards in all criminal cases,” Boumedouha said.
The U.S. government’s support of the House of Saud has been unwavering since 1973 when President Nixon negotiated a deal in which the U.S. would supply arms and act as the protectorate of Saudi Arabia. In exchange for this protection, the Saudis would denominate all future oil sales in U.S. dollars, thus the “Petro Dollar” being born.
Consistently ranked as one of the worst humans rights violators in the world, Saudi Arabia is currently rated by Freedom House as one of only ten nations on the planet that are “not free.” They have earned the absolute lowest score possible.
Additionally, the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi citizens, in concert with significant indications that the 28 still classified pages of the 9/11 commission’s report implicate Saudi Arabian financiers in the attacks, raise severely troubling questions about the U.S.-Saudi relationship.
The Saudi regime has also been revealed as the largest financial backer of terrorist groups globally, according to U.S. State Department cables released by Wikileaks, from then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The U.S. government’s outright acceptance of a fanatical fundamentalist regime as a strategic ally, which works against U.S nation interests and slaughters it’s own citizens wholesale, while consistently attempting to propagandize the U.S. public into fearing ISIS, reeks of hypocrisy if not something much more insidious.
Jay Syrmopoulos is an investigative journalist, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on BenSwann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, AlterNet, InfoWars, MintPressNews and many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.