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"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." - George Orwell

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

There's been an important development in the case of the Britons unjustly imprisoned by Saudi Arabia in the British "Bombs" case. The imprisoned men were James Cottle, Dr William Sampson, Ron Jones, Sandy Mitchell, Les Walker, Peter Brandon, Glenn Ballard, and James Lee.

I first reported their story in a May 24 post.

A New York Times story posted on their web site Sunday July 4, alleges that the US and UK entered into a secret deal with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) to have the men released.

The Times story says that five Saudi terrorist suspects were transferred from Guantanamo Bay to Saudi Arabia. Three months after the men were transferred, Saudi Arabia released the seven Westerners.

As readers will recall, the seven Westerners had been arrested on terrorism charges. The Saudis alleged that they were behind a bombing campaign in their country. It has been proven that the seven men were tortured by the Saudis into making confessions.

Saudi and Pentagon spokespeople have denied the report.

Since the New York Times makes you register to view their stories, I'm linking to stories on CNN and Yahoo News as sources.

If the story is true, there is no doubt that we did it to get KSA help for an invasion of Iraq. Although I can't find the link to prove it, I remember reading that it came out after the invasion that the had provided much logistical and basing support. They allowed us to use several of their bases as "jump off" points for special operations forces. They also sold us fuel at cut-rate prices. We wanted that support and so bought them off to get it.

But I find it hard to believe that this is what it took to get the KSA to help us out. We should not have had to do this, and it represents a failure by the Bush and Blair administrations. It was in the Saudi's interests to help us, as Saddam threatened them more than he did us. We should not have to go to these lengths to get their "cooperation", especially since the Saudis have been funding terrorism for years anyway.

We don't know what happened to the Saudis sent back home. But if they were released, as they might well have been by that corrupt regime, they're probable back to committing acts of terrorism, as were these Afghans after being released from Gitmo.

Unfortunately such secret deals are nothing new. We were not told of the secret deal to remove our missiles from Turkey as the quid pro quo for the Soviets removing their missiles during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It isn't pretty, and in fact it stinks, but this is often how things are done.

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