What Kind of Government Controls the World's Economy?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

In an article in US News and World Report entitled, Activists Say 2013 Dark Year for Saudi Rights, activists warn the world about Saudi Arabia's egregious human rights violations. I will excerpt part of the article below, but first think about this:

1. Because of our lack of fuel competition, petroleum is the foundation of the world's economy. Without transportation fuel, the world's economy as we know it would collapse.

2. OPEC determines the world's price of oil (find out how here).

3. Saudi Arabia has the most influence over OPEC.

4. When the price of fuel is low, the entire world's economy booms. When the price of fuel is high, the entire world's economy struggles (except Brazil).

5. OPEC is deliberately keeping oil's price high.

In other words, the country with the terrible human rights record you will read about below, has a controlling influence on the world's economy. This intolerable reality can be changed quickly and inexpensively with the introduction of fuel competition in America. The fastest way to achieve it is to pass The Open Fuel Standard. Here are the excerpts:

With global attention focused on upheaval elsewhere in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia quietly intensified its clampdown on dissent in 2013, silencing democracy advocates and human rights defenders with arrests, trials and intimidation in what reformists say was one of the darkest years ever for their efforts in the powerful U.S.-allied Gulf state.

This year, at least nine prominent reformers were given lengthy jail sentences for offenses including "breaking allegiance with the king." A leading rights lawyer was forced to flee the kingdom for fear of arrest. One of the kingdom's most prominent rights organizations — the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights, was shut down. A tough anti-terror law was approved by the government, defining acts as vague as "defaming the state's reputation" as terrorism.

More than 200 protesters, including women and children, were detained in Buraydah, north of the capital Riyadh, for demanding the release of imprisoned relatives. A Saudi man was sentenced this week to 30 years in prison for his role in leading protests by the country's Shiite minority, who complain of discrimination. At least five women were detained for several hours for flouting a driving ban, and a Saudi male writer supportive of their push was detained for almost two weeks.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world's last absolute monarchies. All decisions are centered in the hands of 89-year-old King Abdullah, who has the sole power to ratify new laws. There is no parliament. There is little written law, and judges — implementing the country's strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam — have broad leeway to impose verdicts and sentences. A Specialized Criminal Court created in 2008 for terrorism cases has tried reformers and activists. Offences such as "disobeying the ruler" can result in years in prison.

When Saudis speak out, they say their phone calls and emails are monitored and that they are tailed by security officers. The kingdom has aggressively monitored social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, where jokes about the aging monarchy are rife and anger over corruption, poverty and unemployment is palpable.

One female activist, who was recently put under house arrest and banned from Twitter for her criticism of the government, said people are terrified of the "security state."

"Everyone expects a revolution in the kingdom. We don't want one because the people are divided. The only thing uniting us is repression," she said. She spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution against her family, saying security officials warned that her parents could face arrest for her activism.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights over the weekend voiced its "deep concern" about what it said was the "intimidation and prosecution of individuals in Saudi Arabia for exercising certain fundamental freedoms."

Human Rights Watch released a report last week saying Saudi authorities have redoubled their harassment of activists since early 2011.

The Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights was formed in 2009 to challenge detentions of people held for years without trial or kept imprisoned far beyond their sentences. Since then, it became one of the most vocal organizations in the kingdom, though it was never given a license to operate. There are two licensed human rights bodies in the kingdom but unions and most independent civil society groups are not allowed to operate.

Two years ago, the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights and other rights advocates were strong enough to pressure the government to shelve a version of the anti-terror law that was recently approved by Cabinet. Last year, the group challenged a law that says citizens must pledge allegiance to the king in accordance with Islam and the Quran.

Now around a dozen members of the group are in detention, on trial or under investigation.

One of them, 23-year-old Umar al-Saeed, was sentenced in December to four years in prison and 300 lashes. The verdict came in a secret, surprise session of his trial without his defense lawyers or family present, and the court has not announced what charges he was convicted on, al-Saeed's lawyer Abdullah al-Shubaily said. Another activist got seven years and 600 lashes for "insulting Islam."

Separately, two founding members of the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights and icons of the reform movement, Mohammed al-Qahtani and Abdullah al-Hamid, were sentenced to between 10-11 years in prison, with a five- to 10-year ban on travel after that on charges of breaking allegiance with the ruler, inciting disorder, disseminating false information to foreign groups and founding an unlicensed organization.

Rights lawer Alhussan, who represented the two, was later interrogated by authorities and accused of trying to damage the reputation of the prison system because of tweets critical of his clients' treatment. Shortly after, he left to the United States as a visiting scholar at Indiana University.

Read the whole article here: Activists Say 2013 Dark Year for Saudi Rights.

Amnesty International has censured Saudi Arabia for not addressing the “dire human rights situation” in the kingdom. Amnesty published a report saying a paper was submitted to the United Nations detailing “an ongoing crackdown including arbitrary arrests and detention, unfair trials, torture, and other ill-treatment over the past four years.” 

And we haven't even mentioned the lack of women's rights in Saudi Arabia and the systematic use of Saudi oil money to spread misogyny around the world. Saudi women can't even drive cars!

And last but certainly not least, the Saudi government beheads and crucifies criminals.

If you would like to see this brutal and backward monarchy collapse due to lack of funding, and if you'd like to see America's economy thrive, support the Open Fuel Standard with all your might. Start here.


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