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The NSA's New Partner In Spying: Saudi Arabia's Brutal State Police 125

Posted by Soulskill
from the with-friends-like-these dept.
Advocatus Diaboli sends this news from The Intercept: The National Security Agency last year significantly expanded its cooperative relationship with the Saudi Ministry of Interior, one of the world's most repressive and abusive government agencies. An April 2013 top secret memo provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden details the agency's plans "to provide direct analytic and technical support" to the Saudis on "internal security" matters. The Saudi Ministry of Interior—referred to in the document as MOI— has been condemned for years as one of the most brutal human rights violators in the world. In 2013, the U.S. State Department reported that "Ministry of Interior officials sometimes subjected prisoners and detainees to torture and other physical abuse," specifically mentioning a 2011 episode in which MOI agents allegedly "poured an antiseptic cleaning liquid down [the] throat" of one human rights activist. The report also notes the MOI's use of invasive surveillance targeted at political and religious dissidents.
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The NSA's New Partner In Spying: Saudi Arabia's Brutal State Police

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  • by danbuter (2019760) on Friday July 25, 2014 @05:36PM (#47534869)
    I wouldn't be surprised at all if the US didn't set this agency up in the first place. At the very least, we probably provided the initial training.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Are there any cultural differences between torture techniques? If yes, we could compare the american techniques to the saudi ones.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Saudi? Hey! And Israel! Don't forget NSA and Israel [theguardian.com] - the most moral military on earth! They bomb hospitals under UN protection with the morality of the old testament!

        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by Mashiki (184564)

          They bomb hospitals under UN protection with the morality of the old testament!

          You mean the hospital where snipers were shooting at soldiers? Bet you also turn a blind eye to them transporting terrorists around in ambulances. You know that automatically makes it a military target. I'm surprised you didn't try trotting out the story of the school, where a bunch of people died the other day. Where various groups, including hamas started screaming "it was an israeli shell(ever see a shell not leave an impact crater?)" And surprise, it comes out today that the people were killed by

          • by dcollins (135727)

            Citation? Will presume this is BS propaganda until then.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Mashiki (184564)

              Hospital [theguardian.com]
              Hamas using UN ambulances [youtu.be]
              Bombing at gaza school, probably from hamas rocket falling short [algemeiner.com]
              Hamas rockets in two different UN schools [ctvnews.ca]

              This isn't rocket surgery, not by a long shot. Hamas really is "the bad guys." Haven't even started on the tunnel stuff yet, and them using them as weapons storage. And commandeering all those materials meant for housing, and instead built it up for the sole purpose of terror, war, and screwing over the civilians.

              • by jenningsthecat (1525947) on Friday July 25, 2014 @09:02PM (#47536013)

                ...Hamas really is "the bad guys"...

                Did you ever stop to wonder if perhaps Hamas are "bad guys" because the Israelis have really left them no choice? [youtube.com]

                If you watch the entire video while maintaining a little intellectual honesty, you won't be so quick to condemn Hamas as being so much worse than the Israelis. There's plenty of evil in that region, and Israel is both directly and indirectly responsible for a very large part of it.

                • Where did the first shot come from? That's all I want to know. ????

              • Lemme guess. YOU have a horse in this race...

                Israel is an illegal colony, built on the murder and displacement of natives...

                No wonder the only country supporting them is... the US. Also built on the blackened bones and murdered children of the people here before them.

                • by sumdumass (711423)

                  Israel is a boma fide countty recogmized ny yhe UN and every other country in the world. I don't know how you got this colony thing, but if it is grom the fall of trippli in WWI, it would at minimum be a legal colony.

                  • Israel is a racist, fascist little hole, promoting genocide and ethnic cleansing.

                    • by Sun (104778)

                      Israel is a racist, fascist little hole, promoting genocide and ethnic cleansing.

                      I always wonder about people who say that. Can you, please, explain, if Israel is after genocide, how come there are so few Palestinian casualties? I mean, the number, while indeed extremely high for warfare, don't even begin to threaten even natural growth.

                      Either Israel is completely incompetent at performing genocide, or genocide was never the intention, and you (and your ilk) just made it up to make Israel sound bad.

                      Shachar

                    • by Mashiki (184564)

                      That's cute. Can you explain then why non-jews can vote in their elections if they're a citizen of the country? Can you explain why the leader of hamas, has two daughters living in Israel in which they are both citizens. Can you explain why their population has increased 2500% in the last 20 years. Can you explain why israeli's have no problem with the west bank? Can you explain why israeli's have no problem hiring palestinians, but people of the BDS insanity would rather put these companies out of bus

                    • "Why have they killed only a few hundred children, instead of all of them?"

                      There's a strong moral defense for the Israeli practice of driving a population out of their homes, into a confined reservation, then carpeting the enclosed with illegal munitions as collective punishment.

                    • "Standing with Israel" will soon be understood to be no different than "riding with the KKK"

                      Can you explain why an Arab boy will get murdered if he walks down the street, holding hands with a Jewish girl? [972mag.com]

                      Can you explain why dissident/tolerant Israelis are afraid to post facebook profiles, because black-shirted gangs will hunt down their street address and beat them into a pulp? [mondoweiss.net]

                      Can you explain why African refugees live in fear for their lives? [leaksource.info]

                      Why do Israeli snipers kill already wounded civilians and the RESC [youtube.com]

                    • by Mashiki (184564)

                      Really? You're posting actual propaganda and expect people to believe it. I really like that "israeli snipers killing a wounded one" probably my favorite, especially since there's a whole pile of pictures on that one(use google) showing how they staged it.

                    • Really? You're posting actual propaganda and expect people to believe it. I really like that "israeli snipers killing a wounded one" probably my favorite, especially since there's a whole pile of pictures on that one(use google) showing how they staged it.

                      Not staged. Witnessed. No google. No results for my search. Like everything from a Zionist/Fascist: LIES. Straight out of the Frank Luntz playbook. Best liar's manual since Netanyahoo had Goebbels translated from the original German.

                • by amiga3D (567632)

                  Every country in the world has blood on the land. The land of Palestine has been occupied by so many different groups through the years. Conquered and reconquered. It's currently the State of Israel and it is so recognized by the UN. You call it a colony if you like but the rest of us have moved on.

                  • Move on? It is going on NOW. This isn't some historical, memorial grudge. And if you are USian? You pay for this, instead of highways and healthcare at home.

              • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Friday July 25, 2014 @09:36PM (#47536213) Homepage Journal

                Some Palestinians have, if at all, just seconds to leave before an attack but many do leave and flee to the school buildings that under control of the United Nations. The schools are opened especially for this and the UN personnel take care of the refugees and keep both "militants" and weapons out of its buildings.

                It also provides the Israeli military with the exact coordinates of the schools. So guess what happens next:

                Israeli shells hit UN shelter in Gaza [aljazeera.com]:

                As many as 30 people have been reported killed and 100 injured in the Israeli shelling of a UN school in Gaza that was being used as an emergency shelter.

                Al Jazeera's correspondent Nicole Johnston, reporting from Gaza, said the school in Beit Hanoun came under shelling on Thursday. She said sources had told Al Jazeera that up up to 30 people had been killed in the bombardment.

                The AFP reported a UN official as confirming "multiple dead and injured".

                In an interview with Al Jazeera, Robert Turner, the director for UNRWA, the UN's refugee organisation in Gaza, said there was no warning from the Israelis before the shells landed. He confirmed there were casualties.

                He said the UNRWA were in contact with Israeli forces about a window to evacuate the school before the attack happened

                "This is a designated emergency shelter," he said. "The location was conveyed to the Israelis.

                "This is the fourth strike on our installations in three days."

                Four attacks on well known refugee centers within three days. Does anyone still believe that such attacks are some random accidents?

                • Yes. Thing is, if Israel really wanted to maximize Palestinian civilian casualties, they'd turn Gaza into rubble literally overnight, with casualties in hundreds of thousands. They certainly have the means - it being packed as dense as that, a few fuel-air bombs would cause immense casualties, without a single shot being fired in response.

                  Ironically, the fact that Palestinian casualties haven't even reached a thousand yet (and this includes the combatants) is ipso facto evidence that Israel is not deliberat

                  • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                    by William Baric (256345)

                    All around the world, there are manifestations against Israel. I live in Quebec (Canada) and if I look at the what people post related to what's happening in Israel on our main newspapers' websites (mainly La Presse and Le Devoir...), I'd say a clear majority of native Quebecers (not Muslims) now have an anti-Israel sentiment. I guess the rest of Canada is a bit less anti-Israel, but I'd still say the general opinion is not pro-Israel. If the death toll were higher, the anti-Israel sentiment would probably

                • by Mashiki (184564)

                  Four attacks on well known refugee centers within three days. Does anyone still believe that such attacks are some random accidents?

                  You mean that the palestinians have fired over 2500 rockets in the last week and a half [nationalpost.com] that there's 0 chance that they're going to go awry and land in their own territory. Come on, there's several hundred incidents of this previous to the latest round of them firing rockets. And that was in the first quarter of this year.

                  • Except IDF CLAIM THEY DID THIS! [blogspot.com]

                    You may remember, IDF have a HISTORY of firing on UN installations, for which they have been given exact coordinates. They use them to TARGET, not to protect.

                    Remember, International law DOES NOT enshrine right to protection of occupiers! In fact, the post-Nuremberg laws hold the occupier accountable for PROTECTION OF THE OCCUPIED.

              • by dcollins (135727)

                None of these count as either citations, or even support your original statements. (a) A citation is a short on-topic quote with reference on where to find it -- it is not the entirety of a book, video, or article. (b) All of these sources actually say that Israelis are to blame, except that some Israeli military spokesperson makes a claim that "maybe" Hamas is to blame. I don't see anything here about your GP claim that "You mean the hospital where snipers were shooting at soldiers? Bet you also turn a bli

          • by Anonymous Coward

            People defending themselves against invaders of their county, shooting at soldiers. But that is despicable...

          • You basically argue: "We have a right to violate the norm of humanity and just, moral behavior because of a military expediency."

            I spoke with the head military lawyer for the IDF, Joel Zinger. And I said “It’s clear you people are inflicting Nuremberg crimes on the Palestinians. Exactly what the Nazis did to the Jews. What’s your explanation?”

            He said: “Military necessity.”

            Notice, he didn’t disagree with m

        • by marcgvky (949079)

          Saudi? Hey! And Israel! Don't forget NSA and Israel [theguardian.com] - the most moral military on earth! They bomb hospitals under UN protection with the morality of the old testament!

          Troll. Can't mod you. Moron. Jihadi's are homosexuals and pork eating cowards.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Not sure what that would prove. The US, along with the UK, Canada, France and other Iraq War coalition governments outsourced torture interrogations to countries including Syria, Uzbekistan, Egypt and probably the Sauds as well. Its just the difference between DIY torture, or paying someone else to do your dirty work. You're just as culpable.

        • by TarPitt (217247)

          I am waiting for the ads for H1B candidates for these positions.

          Another job that kept so many American employed now outsourced to foreigners.

      • by jythie (914043)
        Not much point in comparing consider the CIA often outsourced its torture to such countries.
  • Am I the only one who sees this as foreshadowing of the possible future for the U.S., assuming the NSA isn't reined in starting now?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I seriously doubt the NSA will be reigned in any time soon; unless we have a coup but don't hold your breath whilst we have a docile population with a severe celebrity fetish.

      • by GNious (953874)

        I seriously doubt the NSA will be reigned in any time soon; unless we have a coup but don't hold your breath whilst we have a docile population with a severe celebrity fetish.

        Wouldn't the solution then be to get mobilize the celebrities, to get them into offices around your country, and have them deal with the NSA?

    • by Livius (318358)

      When it's already started 'foreshadowing' is not the right word any more.

      • Re:Foreshadowing? (Score:5, Informative)

        by digsbo (1292334) on Friday July 25, 2014 @06:12PM (#47535059)
        Seriously. Bradley/Chelsea Manning was tortured to the point of having severe psychological problems (I am not saying being transgendered is a psychological problem, but I strongly question any psychiatrist who would not wait several years until after Manning had access to therapy to get over the trauma of isolation and torture to determine that Manning is indeed transgendered and not just showing signs of having been tortured). America is 100% on the hook for that. One of our own.
        • Re:Foreshadowing? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by cold fjord (826450) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @01:55AM (#47537011)

          Seriously. Bradley/Chelsea Manning was tortured to the point of having severe psychological problems (I am not saying being transgendered is a psychological problem, but I strongly question any psychiatrist who would not wait several years until after Manning had access to therapy to get over the trauma of isolation and torture to determine that Manning is indeed transgendered and not just showing signs of having been tortured). America is 100% on the hook for that. One of our own.

          Sorry, but your view is total nonsense that isn't connected to the facts. Bradley Manning apparently had mental health and temperament issues long before he was arrested, and I doubt they are resolved. They seem to have played a role in the actions that put him in prison.

          WikiLeaks: Bradley Manning 'had history of suicidal thoughts' [telegraph.co.uk]

          ...Manning had contemplated suicide six to eight months earlier after his arrest in Iraq. The evidence included a noose Manning had fashioned from a bedsheet while confined in Kuwait, and a written statement he made upon arrival at Quantico in July 2010 that he was "always planning and never acting" on suicidal impulses. .... Blenis, who spent more time with Manning, said Manning chose not to speak most of the time except for short, yes-or-no answers. He said Manning spurned his offers to play chess or work brain teasers by arrogantly responding, "They're a little below my level."

          WikiLeaks: Private Bradley Manning sent superiors picture of himself dressed as a woman [telegraph.co.uk]

          Bradley Manning told his military superiors that he was emotionally unstable and sent them a picture of himself dressed as a woman but his warnings were never passed up a chaotic chain-of-command, a court heard on Friday. ...

          Pte Manning's civilian defence lawyer, David Coombs, told the court martial hearing that his client had sent a distressed email to his immediate supervisor, Master Sergeant Paul Watkins. "He told [Watkins] he was suffering a gender identity disorder and in that email even had a picture of himself dressed as a woman."

          In the email Pte Manning warned that his ability to work as an analyst of attacks by Shia militants in Iraq was being impaired by his emotional problems. .....

          On December 12, the defendant apparently became enraged during a meeting and knocked over a chair while screaming at more senior soldiers.

          Then on December 20, he allegedly flipped over a table during a counselling session, destroying the computer monitor that was sitting on top of it. Comrades had restrain him because they believed he was "going for a weapon rack", Mr Coombs told the court.

          Bradley Manning, suspected source of Wikileaks documents, raged on his Facebook page [telegraph.co.uk]

          Mr Manning, who is openly homosexual, began his gloomy postings on January 12, saying: "Bradley Manning didn't want this fight. Too much to lose, too fast."

          At the beginning of May, when he was serving at a US military base near Baghdad, he changed his status to: "Bradley Manning is now left with the sinking feeling that he doesn't have anything left."

          Five days later he said he was "livid" after being "lectured by ex-boyfriend", then later the same day said he was "not a piece of equipment" and was "beyond frustrated with people and society at large".

          His tagline on his personal page reads: "Take me for who I am, or face the consequences!"

      • by kheldan (1460303)

        When it's already started..

        When I can still say things like "HEY NSA, YOU SUCK ASS AND NEED TO BE SHUT DOWN, YOU'RE UN-AMERICAN!" and not get arrested in the middle of the night? Then it's still 'foreshadowing'.

        • by Livius (318358)

          If you think freedom is just about insults, you have completely taken it for granted. Which is probably why you haven't noticed now that's gone.

  • Saudi ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 25, 2014 @05:40PM (#47534895)

    At least a country in middle east that have nothing to do with 911, of course...

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hijackers_in_the_September_11_attacks

    • No Big Deal (Score:2, Interesting)

      by xdor (1218206)
      Since the CIA and Saudi worked together to organize 911, its only natural the relationship should continue...
    • The government of Saudi Arabia didn't have anything to do with the attacks. Or are you trying to claim that they did because some members of the international terrorist group al Qaida that happened to be Saudi citizens took part in the attack? You do realize that al Qaida threatens the Saudi government as well, don't you?

      What is that post we keep seeing on Slashdot? Correlation is not causation?

      It is hard to understand or solve problems when you keep focusing on irrelevant details.

      • by mwasham (1208930)
        I think you are wrong. http://nypost.com/2013/12/15/i... [nypost.com]
      • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @11:10AM (#47538393) Homepage

        It's called "Blowback". In order to prevent another 9/11/2001 or worse, it seems important to understand the motivations behind the first one (I'm using the year to distinguish from the US-supported 9/11/1973 coup in Chile). Like you, I also doubt the Saudi government had anything to do directly with funding that 9/11. In fact, that 9/11 seems more a protest against the Saudi government by Saudi citizens, but with the protest directed at the perceived source of funding for the Saudi government by the USA. Let's turn the political situation around hypothetically to try to understand the emotional aspect of it better, imagining what it might be like if the Saudi government was meddling directly in US affairs.

        Here is a first cut at trying to understand the social/psychological dynamics of the situation from a different perspective. Imagine Saudi Arabia somehow was sending billions of dollars of campaign donations annually to the USA to keep in power an oppressive administration in the USA (passing laws forcing all US women to wear burkas, only allowing males with brown eyes to hold public office or get university degrees, and with capital punishment on suspicion of premarital sex or homosexuality). Also, imagine that there were millions of Saudi soldiers stationed in US states to ensure a flow of manufactured goods to Saudi Arabia despite strikes and other unrest in the USA and nearby countries. Also imagine that the Saudis were also funding Japanese people who, from fear of earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan, had moved to Canada, bought a lot of the land, claimed a right to govern all of Canada because some Japanese people had moved to Canada 10,000 years ago across the land bridge from Siberia, and then forced most non-Japanese Canadian citizens in all of Canada to flee to the USA and were killing non-Japanese Canadians who remained and resisted the Japanese occupation. If you are a US citizen in such a hypothetical world, would you be at all upset by such a situation whatever your eye color? Imagine that some very upset and frustrated young US citizens decide to protest this situation by attacking some big buildings in Saudi Arabia by hijacking airliners to show how unhappy they are with Saudi government foreign policy and to show how they felt their hopes and dreams for a good life in the USA had been thwarted by Saudi meddling in US government. Imagine this attack is then used by Saudi Arabia to justify invading Mexico (where some of the hypothetical American hijackers trained) and Brazil (because it is claimed by the Saudis to have WMDs that hypothetical young Americans might use against Saudis). Imagine the Saudis then start supplying "intelligence" to the US government from listening to all US telephone calls about specific US citizens who might be unhappy about the situation and perhaps plotting unrest in the USA or planning more blowback against the Saudis.

        Now flip this scenario around and back to reality (US funding Saudis and Israel and US troops in the Middle East) and does the fact the almost all of the 9/11 hijackers were frustrated young Saudi men make more sense?

        Soon after 9/11 I saw an analysis in a magazine (maybe the Atlantic or New Yorker) of why the hijackers did what they did. I have not seen many such articles since. The point made there was that these were mostly young men whose hopes for significant advancement in Saudi society had seemed thwarted and they were led to blame the USA for that, because the USA was propping up the Saudi regime and otherwise meddling in the Middle East. Of course, being promised eternal bliss in "paradise" for becoming murderers can not be ignored as a related aspect of religious fundamentalism (including outrage about the occupation of Palestine), so there are layers of complexity here for that and other reasons. The motivations of the hijackers themselves may also be somewhat different than the motivations of the organizers at higher levels.

        See also:
        http://en [wikipedia.org]

  • by dremspider (562073) on Friday July 25, 2014 @06:00PM (#47535009)
    Had to go somewhere. http://www.thoughtcrime.org/bl... [thoughtcrime.org]
  • ...that this hasn't come up sooner.

    I guess the NSA has given up on trying to be subtle.

  • Hey, you put your illegal spying program in my torture organization. No, you put your torture organization into my my illegal spying program. Wait...what? Oh, this is delicious!

    For those too young: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]
  • Yep - 12 major terrorist plots foiled this week alone.
    Be thankful for this.
    And don't forget to check under the bed before you go to sleep.

  • Do by invasive surveillance they mean something like what has happened to mean something like what it appears the NSA is involved with for James Walbert. Perhaps some nice extremely invasive tech as described here... http://www.extremetech.com/ext... [extremetech.com]
  • What, no panopticon? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Andy_R (114137) on Friday July 25, 2014 @06:57PM (#47535363) Homepage Journal

    "The report also notes the MOI's use of invasive surveillance targeted at political and religious dissidents."

    So, arguably less evil than western governments, who use invasive surveillance targeted at absolutely everyone.

    • by Sabriel (134364) on Friday July 25, 2014 @08:32PM (#47535887)

      I worked that argument out with a simple question: "Self, if you were a random peasant with a vocal opinion on how things should be run differently, would you last longer in the West or in Saudi Arabia?"

      That the NSA is knowingly supplying the torturer doesn't make the torturer less evil, any more than someone else doing the torturing makes the NSA less culpable for their knowing supply.

  • You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
  • and weren't willing to play ball our way we'd decry them as a murderous regime.
  • with a place like saudi arabia and all the bloody religious fanatic countries the ONLY thing we should export are BOOKS...books and fucking books again. And THEN after everyone damn reads them all and LEARN and understands how things works in a civilized world , we start to talk some actual business.... we are empowering states that if could have their way would bring humanity back to 1000AD... we are doing it thinking that we'll always have the upper hand....but if our side of the gear glitches.. I'lll be
    • with a place like saudi arabia and all the bloody religious fanatic countries the ONLY thing we should export are BOOKS...books and fucking books again. And THEN after everyone damn reads them all and LEARN

      What makes you think that Saudi Arabia would permit the kinds of books from which people might learn such things?

      Remember how it went? "If these books contradict the Holy Qu'ran, then they are blasphemy - burn them. If these books are in agreement with the Holy Qu'ran, then they are superfluous - burn them."

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Friday July 25, 2014 @08:43PM (#47535953) Homepage Journal
    When that way to handle "dissidents" comes to your shores, won't be disclosed that it is happening, wannabe whisteblowers will be the first victims.
  • The US government needs a strict law that disallows any aid of any kind or financial contacts with nations that use torture. No imports and no exports and no military or humanitarian aid as well as clauses that disallow work arounds by hiring a third party to deal with these nations. For example if either Israel or Palestine tortures just one person we would be required to hold them in total isolation regardless of any consequences. Nations such as we have seen in S. America that use torture throu
  • Saudi Arabia is ISIS, the only difference...Americans think "they are bastards, but they are our bastards".
  • Why does the US government get along so swimmingly well with Saudia Arabia? The place is a human rights disaster. They support, directly or indirectly, various terrorist organizations. It's a lovely place...as long as you are a muslim male. Then you are free to preach strict abstinence and sexual fidelity - ok, sure, you drive over to Bahrain every Thursday to get drunk and get laid - but you make up for this by going home and oppressing your wives and daughters. What's not to like?

    Of course, the US support has nothing to do with the fact that there is lots of oil money floating around. Lots of Saudi purchases from US companies, which just happen to have certain politicians on their boards, or which happen to make lots of contributions to campaign funds.

  • Since this is Obama's NSA, and has been for over a term?

    The National Security Agency last year {...}

    Must find way to blame on Bush ... getting harder and harder ...

  • I hope these pages get released soon.. (not holding my breath) http://nypost.com/2013/12/15/i... [nypost.com]
  • Instead of invading Iraq and Afghanistan, we would have nuked the Tora Bora fortress and then dismantled Saudi Arabia, doing whatever it might have taken to eliminate the Wahhabi influence on Islam.

  • The obsession of ISIS with killing Shias flows directly from the top.

    http://agonist.org/how-saudi-a... [agonist.org]

  • This post highlights the possibility that the NSA could spy on Americans in America by working with a foreign partner to act as a proxy in exchange for the NSA spying on their people, sort of like wife-swapping. Obviously, it would not be Saudi Arabia, as they lack the resources for such a grand effort. However, the British could do it quite well. More importantly, it fits with the American business trend of outsourcing and off-shoring work. As for Saudi Arabia, they see like a good place to outsource '

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