, 08.13.2018 05:54 AM

Column: when monsters oppose you

Canada is in a social media war with Saudi Arabia.

It’s not a real war – at least not yet.  Real wars involve bullets and bombs and bodies.  This one is presently confined to Twitter and press statements.  Conscription hasn’t happened just yet.

There has been one truly extraordinary statement made by Saudi Arabia, however, one that promised violence on a grand scale.  A week ago, the state-controlled Saudi media tweeted this at Canadians: “Sticking one’s nose where it doesn’t belong! As the Arabic saying goes: ‘He who interferes with what doesn’t concern him finds what doesn’t please him’.”

Those words were superimposed on a graphic of an Air Canada plane, about to collide with some tall buildings in downtown Toronto.  The message was unmistakable.

We are willing to murder you, Canadians.

It was not subtle.  Continue to criticize Saudi Arabia’s dictatorship, and its unchanging abuse of human rights – as the Department of Global Affairs did, with an innocuous and fairly routine tweet of its own, the week before – and a plane will be dispatched, as on 9/11, and piloted into the CN Tower.  We did it before, Saudi Arabia’s rulers were saying, and we will do it again.

To you.

Because, you know, they did.  They did. There were 19 men who carried out the mass murders at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and just outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Of the 19 killers, 15 were Saudis.  Their leader, Osama bin Laden, was a Saudi, too.

A U.S. 2016 congressional inquiry found that there had been substantial Saudi involvement in 9/11.  The bipartisan inquiry reviewed half a million documents, interviewed hundreds of witnesses, and released an 838-page report.  Bob Graham, the former Democratic Senator who co-chaired the inquiry, said the hijackers had an extensive support system while they were in the United States.  From the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The definitive probe into the attacks, The 9/11 Commission, concluded that there remained a “likelihood that charities with significant Saudi government sponsorship diverted funds to al-Qaida.”  Those funds were used to carry out the murders of 2,998 people – 24 Canadian citizens among them.

So: the Saudi government’s little tweet, and accompanying infographic, isn’t so far-fetched, is it?  The tyrants who run Saudi Arabia evidently did fund efforts to murder two dozen Canadians, and many more Americans.  They did it before, their tweet strongly suggested, and they are unafraid to do it again.

None of this should surprise us, unfortunately.  The human rights record of Saudi Arabia, according to the watchdog Freedom House, is among “the worst of the worst.”

Saudi Arabia uses corporal punishment against wrongdoers, dissidents and critics.  This includes amputations of hands and feet for petty theft – and fines, floggings, and torture for being gay.  You can also be sentenced to life in prison, or death, for being gay or a “witch” in Saudi Arabia.

Until recently, women were not permitted to drive in the “kingdom.”  Women who protested this were jailed.  Oh, and this: over there, women have been flogged for being the victims of rape, as well.

Amnesty International has reported that the Saudi government habitually uses torture to extract false confessions.  Human Rights Watch has said that the torture includes “beatings, electrocution, and pouring chemicals into the mouth.”

Unsurprisingly, capital punishment is also a regular occurrence in Saudi Arabia, and it is done with the utmost viciousness.  Human Rights Watch reported on one 2015 case in which Saudi security officials “filmed the beheading of a Burmese woman in Mecca in which the swordsman required three sword strikes to sever the victim’s head.”

Sometimes, the Saudis behead as many as a dozen people in a single day.  Afterwards, they will often crucify the headless body, so that it can be displayed publicly.  If one is convicted of adultery, the death penalty is carried out by stoning.  Saudi women are usually the ones stoned to death.

The Saudis execute children, as well. In 2016, the United Nations’ Committee on the Rights of the Child reported that the Saudis were stoning children to death in Yemen, with whom the Saudis are at war.  The UN has also documented that, out of the 47 people executed by the Saudis on Jan. 2, 2016 – their biggest mass execution day in decades – “at least” four were children.

We could recite many such figures, here, but banal statistics do not adequately capture the full extent of the brutality and savagery that is familiar in Saudi Arabia.  Suffice to say Saudi Arabia is one of the three countries who executes people the most – along with China and Iran.

In the past few days, Saudi Arabia’s “royal” goons have said they will be expelling our ambassador, pulling out of Canada thousands of Saudi students and hospital patients, barring Canadian grain exports, and making attempts to tank Canadian bonds in the marketplace.  And, as noted, they have now even hinted at a 9/11-style attack on Canadians.

Asked about all that, our Prime Minister has not blinked.  He has said: “We will continue to speak clearly and firmly on issues of human rights at home and abroad wherever we see the need.”

Canada is quite literally under attack.  As a nation, we need to rally behind the position taken by Prime Minister Trudeau – and all of us need to refuse to be intimidated by a vile mob of homicidal scum posing as Saudi Arabia’s leadership.

Because that’s what they are.



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    Sean says:

    We learned that Hezbollah has sleeper cells in Canada so it’s more than likely that Saudi Arabia has as well. We know that Trudeau welcomes hard core members of ISIS with open arms so it would nor be much of a stretch for one of these guys to be motivated by the Saudis. We also know that we have an amature government in part because the advisors are incompetent.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      Seriously. Do you actually think that returning ISIL fighters are not CSIS and CSE monitored?

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    Peter says:

    Wow, it sounds like we’ve found our own distinctive made-in-Canada mission civilisatrice. I’m getting nostalgic for 2003. Then the Americans sent an army to bring democracy to the Iraqis, now we’re going to bring human rights to the Saudis via social media.

    Listen up everybody. Smartphones at dawn.

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    Art says:

    You sure got that all right. They are despicable and the way numerous countries including the USA cowtow to them for financial reasons is disgusting.
    Also too let’s not forget a good number of our chickenshit Tories who would rather take potshots at Trudeau than stand up for our country.

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    RKJ says:

    Royal “goons” is a fair term, and can apply to numerous other countries with which Canada chooses to maintain full diplomatic relationships. Reflecting on this issue of Saudi Arabia and Canada, I note the Saudi’s have reassured Canada daily oil shipments to our east coast will keep flowing uninterrupted. Media reports indicate Canada buys 80,000 barrels per week. Canada has made no indication to the Saudi’s they can put their oil “where the sun doesn’t shine”.

    Further reflection leaves one wondering if “tweet storm” diplomacy is easier than dealing with our own domestic inability or deliberate unwillingness to move oil from western Canada to the east coast. A cynic might wonder if the Prime Minister has made this calculation as a means of diverting attention away from Canada’s failures to manage our own internal energy problems.

    I would take our Prime Minister much more seriously if his government would take steps to reduce our reliance on foreign oil by building a “made in Canada” energy policy. This would provide a much more credible platform from which to launch diplomatic “twitter storms”.

    A “made in Canada” energy policy would also help end our silly national policy of exporting oil wholesale to the Americans and buying oil retail from the Saudi’s.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      This is a non-desired out for the Trudeau government. Like the previous government they know that the Quebec Union of Municipalities are dead set against Energy East. Same thing for the province. Electoral considerations always inevitably rule the roost on these types of issues. It’s all about votes in Quebec.

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        RKJ says:


        My experience working with people from Quebec is very positive – have found them to be reasonable and pragmatic. There is an understood foundational loyalty to their province/nation. My expectation is some within Quebec municipal governments have more in common with a left-wing Toronto councilor than with other Quebec residents.

        I maintain this Prime Minister is likely taking the easy way – button pushing attracts votes and keeps his base in line, without doing the hard work of developing a Canadian energy plan and weaning Canada from reliance on Saudi oil. I’ll note the previous Prime Minister, foolishly, tried the same button-pushing plan in the last election.

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        Gord says:

        This is very true. I wonder, though, if a pipeline was built as far east as eastern Ontario, if there would be a measurable difference in gas prices between Ontario and Quebec which in turn could change political opinion pretty quickly.

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    Richard Besserer says:

    What to add, Warren?…

    What do we call Canadians who have claimed that our prime minister’s standing up for human rights is proof he’s unfit to govern, and openly long for the day he’s replaced with a Trump-like character willing to lick the boots of every tyrant and would-be tyrant on earth?

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    crabby says:

    And yet we should continue to permit deliveries of LAV fighting vehicles to the Saudis knowing that the promises they won’t be used against civilians is a bald face lie? That’s the government we should be supporting?

    We should be supporting the government that marches lockstep with Washington in condemning Iran as some monstrous ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ when every major terrorist attack from the embassy bombings (Kenya and Tanzania) to the attack on USS Cole, the first parking lot bombing of the World Trade Center, the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, every terrorist attack on European cities – London, Paris, Stockholm, Brussels, Madrid, and Berlin; the Taliban, al Qaeda, ISIS, Boko Haram and all the future groups that will succeed them – all of them are adherents of the malignant form of Sunni Islam, Wahhabism, perpetuated by the House of Saud, our supposed ally, both in Saudi Arabia and through Saudi funded madrasas across the Arab world. These aren’t the work of Iranian directed Shiites. They’re entirely the work of the sheikhs, emirs and princes of the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia. So, who exactly is the state sponsor of terrorism? That would be our ally.

    Look up Bandar bin Sultan and try to figure out who raised, trained and equipped ISIS seemingly out of nowhere. Google Prince Bandar’s eerie warning to then outgoing head of Britain’s MI6, Sir Richard Dearlove. Read then secretary of state, Hillary Clinton’s hacked email in which she discusses how the Saudi royals and the Gulf princes covertly funnel money to these bloodthirsty outfits.

    Not only do they support these terrorists but they get
    us to arm the Gulf states and to point fingers at Tehran as the state sponsor of all this dastardly terrorism. And our government, Canada’s foreign policy largely outsourced to Washington, plays along with all of this.

    So, yes, by all means, let us get up and wave the Maple Leaf in defiance of this Saudi outrage.

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    Matt says:

    Or maybe this was all just team Trudeau intentionally trying to throw a wrench into business agreements that were about to be announced between Saudi Arabia and some prominent people with strong ties to the Conservative Party of Canada, like John Baird.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      What’s next? Trying to put the kibosh on a potential deal between Mr. Conservative and Jordan??

      Bit of a stretch, I’d say.

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    Liam Young says:

    As it happens, some of the key players of the previous government are behind a lot of this nonsense. Stephen Harper was quick to land at the steps of the White House shortly after Canada basically bought the Kinder Morgan pipeline, whispering in the Great Cheetos ear that Trudeau is a putz and a child leader.

    Could it be that Canada may prove to have a say in its oil affairs, above and beyond the machinations of the Saudis and Americans, both of whom have always wanted to control oil sales around the world?

    Then Harper’s #2, John Baird, reared his angry bobble head somewhere in Saudi Arabia, demanding that Trudeau issue an apology.

    They are meddling in affairs in which they don’t have any authority.

    If this *were* a war, these people might be at risk of being tried for treason!

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      And that’s supposed to stop former politicians, of any stripe?

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    doconnor says:

    I remember in the 1980s when Canadians where united in support of our fight against South African Apartheid even when many of our allies didn’t support us. It seemed futile at first, too.

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      Ronald O'Dowd says:


      Yeah, and Brian had to take a boatload of shit from both Attila the Hen and All Smiles.

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      Peter says:

      In that case, the adversary was a small minority of non-native colonizers of our race and religion who were clearly opposed by a large disenfranchised and oppressed majority. The cause dovetailed with both civil rights and anti-colonialism. In the case of the Saudis, we’re up against a different race, culture and religion and can easily be painted as following in the footsteps of European 19th century missionaries. Plus we have no idea what level of popular support the Saudi rulers enjoy. This isn’t a case where the “thugs and monsters” seized power recently in a coup and imposed totalitarianism. Their legal codes and enforcement procedures are no different than they were when the kingdom was first cobbled together from disparate desert tribes in 1744.

      Do you really believe we are prepared to pay the price for this one? Singh is already walking back his call to stop importing their oil and saying it’s not his priority. No word on the LAV vehicles. Maybe we’ll end up freezing trade in dates and hockey pucks, consider our honour vindicated and move on to other causes in faraway parts needing a dose of Canadian values.

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      Gord says:

      This has always baffled me. I mean clearly nobody was going to defend the apartheid system, but were Western nations really doing that much business with South Africa that they were prepared to look the other way for economic reasons?

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        Fred from BC says:

        No, and that is exactly why so many western nations decided to gang up on them: they just weren’t economically important enough, and the PR bonanza was too tempting to pass up.

        When asked about continuing to trade with other similar countries, though, all these Paragons of Virtue suddenly had no comment. Our own Prime Minister at the time at least had the balls to respond with, “what…you want Canada to be the only country not doing business with China?”

        So the lesson here, clearly, is that money trumps human rights every time.

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    steve baker says:

    Like who are the White Helmets and why might some real refugees be scared to death they are comming to Canada?
    I think it was a mistake by both sides, but now that we want to start telling some truth, give the Saudi broadsides. I cant think of a case since South Africa where Canada stood alone on the high ground.

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